September 2018 Best of the Web

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It’s time for the best articles we’ve found around the internet in the last month to help you save more, invest smarter, and retire sooner.

This month’s articles explore how to generate income in retirement from your portfolio and Social Security.

We also explore ideas on how to give yourself the best chance of success with your investments, and look at the positives and negatives of relocating.

The FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement has been gaining steam in mainstream media. Our selected articles address some of the misconceptions about who is pursuing FIRE and the fallacy that FIRE will solve all your problems.

We finish on a more upbeat note, exploring the true value of financial independence and ways to avoid some of the potholes that trip people up in the pursuit of FIRE.

Enjoy this diverse collection of insights and opinions that will help you retire sooner, happier, and more securely.

Creating Retirement Income

You’ll need a strategy to take money from your portfolio to produce retirement income. Glenn Ruffenach writes Why the 4% Rule is Just the Starting Point. The article cites several frequent contributors to our “Best of” round-up, as well as Darrow’s Flexibility Scale for Choosing Your Safe Withdrawal Rate.

Another big piece of retirement income for many retirees is Social Security. Allan Roth had an “aha moment” when he ran the numbers to Calculate When to Take Social Security.

Investing Wisely

Draw down strategies are important, but first we need to learn to build and manage a portfolio.

Dick Young writes The 6 Basic Investing Principles That Will Make You a Winner.

Ben Carlson advises Don’t Take Asset Allocation Advice from Billionaires.

Moving On

A popular topic among blog readers is moving to a new location after retiring. It’s a topic that’s front of mind for me, two months after making a cross country move. Scott at Making Momentum provides excellent insights with 9 Life Lessons & Realizations From Moving Across the Country. He writes of moving to start his career, but the lessons are timeless and spot on.

Who Pursues FIRE?

Tanja Hester tackles stereotypes and misconceptions that FIRE is limited to white, male, engineer types with The False, Persistent Myth about FIRE and Tech Bros.

Is Early Retirement All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

Another misconception is that life will be magically better once we achieve early retirement.

Sam at Financial Samurai writes The Negatives of Early Retirement Life Nobody Likes Talking About.

And for those who think mini-retirements or semi-retirement are magic bullets that eliminate the mental and financial challenges of traditional retirement, Chris Durheim bares all in Where My Mini-Retirement Mental Breakdown Led Me.

The Positives of Financial Independence

Despite the downsides, there is more good than bad that comes with achieving financial independence. Mark Trautman wrote Learning the True Value of Financial Independence.

We’ll close with Susan Bruni who taught me a new term, JOMO. It’s the Joy of Missing Out as she explains in My Jane Muir Hikes – Finding Your Own Pace and Path to FI.

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  1. Thank you for including my post — it’s quite an honor. JOMO, the joy of missing out, is something that will challenge all of us that are going to attend FinCon. This will be my first and I hear that you “have” to do this, that, and the other thing. Well, we will see if anyone is out at the pool, relaxing!

    The posts you include are excellent. I particularly like the Social Security calculator as my husband just turned 62. We have been thinking that even if it isn’t optimal, maybe we should take it now before they start means testing. We have a lot of IRA money that will come out at 70.5 years old.

    • Chris Mamula says

      I’m leaving for FinCon tomorrow. I’ll definitely look for you. I need someone to help me learn to slow down and remember to enjoy the JOMO.

  2. On SS I made much more than my wife. So my thought is for her to draw at 62. Then when I start drawing say 6 years later she could the draw on half mine which is a much higher number.

    • Chris Mamula says


      Have you tried Mike Piper’s calculator that Roth referenced in the article and we featured in a previous “Best of”. You can find it here: Several readers have shared Roth’s positive feedback. I’d be curious if the calculator confirms your assumptions or gives you different insights.


      • My situation is similar to David H’s. I compared the recommendation at Maximize My Social Security with the one from Mike Piper’s Open Social Security software. MMSS recommended that both my wife (the lower earner) and I (higher earner) retire at 70. OSS recommended my wife retire right now and I retire at 70. The dollar difference between the two recommendations was very small, so my wife starting earlier makes the most sense. Also, I found that changing the rate of return, inflation, and date of death assumptions in MMSS could give me a different recommendation. Bottom line: I concluded that the free OSS software did at least as good and probably a better job than the $49 MMSS software.

        One more comment: as far as I know, none of these kinds of programs consider tax rates. In my case, my tax rate will probably be higher after I’m 70 than it is now (due mostly to RMD’s), so that’s another reason for my wife to start taking the money now, rather than waiting.

        • Chris Mamula says

          Thanks for the feedback Brad. Good observation that the output of any calculator is only as good as the data you can input and the accuracy of your assumptions.

  3. Thank you for including my post Chris. I hope you have fun at Fincon!

    I’ll try to go next year or the following year if it’s closer to San Francisco.