Protecting Your Assets in a Digital World

As anybody who has made progress along the road to financial independence knows, building wealth doesn't make all your problems go away or automatically bestow peace of mind. Along with increasing financial assets come inevitable concerns about … [Continue reading]

The 3 Unknowns that Dominate Your Retirement Calculation

Retirement calculators are supposed to make retirement-related decisions easier, showing you how much you need to save, or how much you might be able to spend once you reach your retirement goal. But as soon as you open up one of these calculators … [Continue reading]

The Best Free Retirement Calculators: Round 2

Last month's post on the best free retirement calculators had the most comments ever on this blog. There were many good technical questions, a number of helpful suggestions, and even a bit of controversy. People are clearly fascinated by this topic. … [Continue reading]

How to Buy a Used Car

We're in the market for another vehicle in our family and, though it hasn't always been the case, it will almost surely be a used one. I confess we've bought our share of new vehicles over the years, back when we had more money than time, and before … [Continue reading]

The 3 Best Free Retirement Calculators

Retirement calculators have an impossible job. They use various imperfect mathematical techniques in an attempt to predict the distant future. That can't be done reliably. So they will inevitably be "wrong." Add to that the difficulties in … [Continue reading]

Looking Ahead: Another Retirement, and a Book or Two…

It's official. Caroline has announced her retirement. She'll wrap up her elementary school teaching career later this year. I imagine she'll be drawn back to working with kids in some fashion, eventually. But for now, she's ready for some much … [Continue reading]

Annuity Shopping: GLWBs and Asteroid Insurance

Vanguard made waves in late 2011 by introducing a budget-priced Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) rider on its variable annuity. I knew I would be in the market for guaranteed lifetime income at some point. And, though I didn't know much … [Continue reading]

“Working” in Retirement

man at beach working on laptop

Working and retirement would seem to be contradictory terms, but today’s retirees, especially early retirees, know that isn’t so. CNN Money reports that “70% to 80% of preretirees plan to include part-time or some other type of work in their … [Continue reading]

Why I Don’t Fret About Taxes

On either side of the aisle these days, it's not politically correct to be ambivalent about taxes. If you lean to the left, you're supposed to feel the tax code should be more progressive, that taxes should be higher on the wealthy and on … [Continue reading]

Computing Your Overall Investment Return

I just completed an annual ritual that involves calculating one of my favorite metrics, other than monthly expenses and net worth, and that is overall portfolio return. This is an exercise that I've performed annually for many years, and that I … [Continue reading]

My Investment Portfolio: Full Disclosure

In writing about safe, simple investing, I often mention that I hold just 9 funds in 2 accounts. And often people ask me about those specific investments or accounts.... I've been reluctant to talk about this, for a variety of reasons. … [Continue reading]

Year-End Projects

It's been a good year for Can I Retire Yet? — growing to average daily traffic in the hundreds of visitors, with peaks in the thousands. In early October, Yahoo Finance picked up the story, and then I was invited to guest post on two of the top … [Continue reading]

How Much is Your Social Security Worth?

Despite its nearly 80-year history, and its status as one of the two largest government programs in the world (the other is Medicare), Social Security remains an enigma to many of us. Some say it's going bankrupt and you shouldn't count on receiving … [Continue reading]

The 3 Paths to Wealth

What's the surest path to riches? Since the dawn of history, human beings have fretted over this question, throwing themselves into schemes and enterprises to produce wealth. Often those schemes have promised to create wealth quicker and with less … [Continue reading]

Retirement Savings Vehicles: What Do You Drive?

A primary rule of retiring earlier is to “live below your means” — spend less than you take in. An unavoidable conclusion is that you'll have money left over. So what do you do with that? Where do you put it? The first, second, and third … [Continue reading]

Do You Really Need a Financial Advisor?

I often hear from readers about their advisor relationships. Some wonder how they should go about choosing an advisor. Others already have one, but are concerned about the quality or expense of the advice they're getting. Some readers are inclined to … [Continue reading]

How to Model the Retirement Income Gap

The textbook, or fairy tale, version of retirement goes something like this: you work your entire career, until you save your retirement "number," or reach the pension or Social Security age around 65 (later for many boomers). Then, your … [Continue reading]

Luxury or Essential?

It's safe to say that most of us in line to become financially independent or retire early do not lead lives of luxury. For example, I shave with bar soap, buy socks at Walmart, don’t pay for cable, and still don't own a Smartphone. I’m just a … [Continue reading]

8 Tips for Saving Big and Retiring Earlier

A key aspect of financial independence and retiring early is controlling your expenses. While developing your career to earn more gives you powerful leverage over the retirement equation, saving more is a simple strategy that you can apply every day. … [Continue reading]

My First Dip Into Principal: Market Timing or Cash Management?

This isn't one of those full-disclosure "reality" blogs where I document every lurid detail of our financial life. I'm a pretty private person by nature and it's been a long, drawn out process just for me to talk about our finances as much … [Continue reading]

The Optimal Mix: How Much Annuity Do You Need?

Lately I've been writing about the case for annuities and my gradual acceptance of their likely role in my own retirement. (See Why an Annuity Could Be in Your Future and A Floor with an Upside: The Best Strategy for Lifetime Income?) Unless you … [Continue reading]