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Blueprint: Retirement Health Care

Special Note (2014): The diagram below has been dated by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Until I'm able to update it, please do not consider it an accurate guide to the current state of retirement health care. … [Continue reading]

Three Wildcards for Boomer Retirement

The first wave of the post-war baby boom generation reached age 65 last year, and finally started coming to grips with retirement realities. These are the same realities that anybody contemplating retirement in the foreseeable future must face. … [Continue reading]

When Should You Self-Insure?

Some people have an affinity for insurance and buy all the coverage they can get. It gives them peace of mind, at a price. Others are suspicious of insurance and loathe paying premiums for services they may never use. Count me in that latter … [Continue reading]

Blueprint: Building Wealth

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Blueprint: Rebalancing

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How I Rebalanced Through Perilous Times

“Benign neglect, bordering on sloth, remains the hallmark of our investment process." —Warren Buffett To rebalance, or not to rebalance? When? How? We've reviewed the sometimes conflicting and arbitrary advice of a number of experts. … [Continue reading]

Blueprint: Can I Retire?

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Rebalancing: Should You Bother?

In my earlier post we analyzed when to rebalance your portfolio and discussed the mechanisms for how to rebalance. Now let's take a contrarian step back and question the entire rebalancing process. Does rebalancing actually pay off in the real world? … [Continue reading]

When and How to Rebalance Your Portfolio

Rebalancing your portfolio means adjusting the current asset allocation, moving it closer to some previously-chosen target. In theory, rebalancing captures a portion of the profits earned by your winning investments, and reinforces your losing … [Continue reading]

Diversification: Why Seeing Red Can be a Good Thing…

Can watching your investments go down ever be a good thing? To answer that, you need to know a little about my weekly investing routine.… For years I've tracked my investment portfolio on a My Yahoo page. It doesn't take much space: … [Continue reading]

A Guide to Retirement Health Care – How Will YOU Get It?

Health care is the single biggest obstacle to retirement for many Americans. My ongoing Reader Survey indicates that health care is also the most common concern for readers of this blog — trumping even running out of money, Social Security, the … [Continue reading]

My Top Investment Picks for the Future…

I'm often asked where I think the economy or market is headed. Readers of my CNN Money interview, or my recent article on overcoming the fear of stocks, might think I'm especially bullish on stocks. But that's not the case. I'm bullish on … [Continue reading]

Is the 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate Obsolete?

One of the first questions that comes up when looking at modern retirement is "How much money do I need to save?" Amazingly, there was little hard research aimed at answering this question until about the mid-1990's. Some of the first answers were … [Continue reading]

Mastering the Fear of Stocks

"I won't own stocks — I don't want my savings to go down." That seems to be the primary investing criteria for a number of people. But understanding and mastering this fear can be key to achieving financial independence. There are a select few … [Continue reading]

One Solution for Cheaper Retirement Travel: A Small RV

If there's a common retirement dream across many personalities, budgets, and lifestyles, it's probably traveling more. Though there are some retirees who prefer to stay on the home front during their golden years, the majority seem to envision … [Continue reading]

How Much is Too Much in a Single Investment?

A reader writes: "...what would you consider a safe percentage of one's portfolio in brick and mortar real estate investments? Currently, approximately one third of my portfolio is in rental properties. I have pulled back on investing in the stock … [Continue reading]

Understanding the Two Sides of the Retirement Equation

It's enough to make even a number-happy engineer dizzy: savings, expenses, interest rates, investment returns, inflation rates, tax rates, safe withdrawal rates.... I pity the prospective retiree who doesn't like math! What are we talking … [Continue reading]

Passive vs. Active Investing: Will We Ever Learn?

Did you monitor the political and economic news of the past year with unease? Did you make any changes to your investments in response, or wish you had — or hadn't? As much as I follow passive index investing, there are still vestiges of … [Continue reading]

How Investment Newsletters “Beat” the Market

You've probably seen the over-sized envelopes in your mailbox: "Get the Prognosticator's Latest Picks," "We Were Right About Company ABC - Buy XYZ Before It's Too Late," "Lock in Returns of 400% or More..." Inside you find a half-dozen various-sized … [Continue reading]

Is Rebalancing the Achilles’ Heel of Passive Investing?

Pick up any mainstream personal finance publication and you'll read about the benefits of passive or buy-and-hold investing — putting your assets in a few low-cost index funds or exchange traded funds (ETFs) that will capture market returns with less … [Continue reading]

Recurring Expenses: Why “A Dollar a Day” is Really $9,000

Whether your goal is retiring early, building wealth, or just making your dollars go farther — an effort that pays huge dividends is cutting recurring expenses. Here I'm talking about regular, usually monthly, charges such as phone bills, gym … [Continue reading]