September 2019 Best of the Web

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We have a collection of great articles and exciting blog news to share this month.

There is a lot of angst about market bubbles and pending recessions, so we kick things off there. We also share some great resources for those grappling with complex investment decisions.

We go to a place that we usually try to avoid on this blog, exploring the intersection of politics and personal finance. One area where this intersection is impossible to ignore for Americans is dealing with our medical insurance marketplace. This month’s articles provide important information whether you are considering short-term policies, navigating ACA open enrollment, or utilizing Medicare.

We close with inspiration and practical ideas for those who feel stuck because you’re late to the game with saving, investing and planning for retirement or because you don’t think early retirement is realistic. . .

Blog News

Before we dive into this month’s articles, I have two exciting pieces of blog news to share.

Earlier this month, Can I Retire Yet? won the Plutus Award for Best Retirement Blog. The Plutus Awards celebrate excellence in independent financial media. Darrow and I are honored for the recognition and wanted to share the news. You can see all of the winners here.

The other writing project I’ve been working on is the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. It will be released Tuesday, October 1.

With that, let’s get to this month’s articles. . .

Recessions and Bubbles

Darrow’s post about Preparing for the Next Recession was very popular this month as angst grows among investors. We start with a few other perspectives on this topic.

Karsten “Big ERN” Jeske writes My Thoughts on the Upcoming Recession.

Michael Burry became well known as one of the memorable contrarian characters in “The Big Short.” He placed massive bets against the sub-prime mortgages that led to the 2008 housing bubble that none of the “experts” recognized was forming. So he created quite a buzz when he suggested a bubble is now forming in index funds. Ben Carlson addresses this with Debunking the Silly “Passive is a Bubble” Myth.

Investing is Simple?

There is a saying that investing is simple, but not easy. But it’s not always simple.

Mike Piper gives a good framework for thinking about risk, writing Risk Adjusted Returns: What’s the Point?

Investing can be fairly simple if you start with a coherent strategy. Unfortunately, many of us didn’t. This can create unnecessary taxation in taxable investment accounts. Christine Benz addresses this with Stop the Mutual Fund Capital Gains Distribution Madness!

An annuity may be the right decision for some retirees. But, it can be difficult to sort through annuity products. The worst products for consumers are often the most aggressively sold products due to high commissions they create for salespeople. Penelope Wang writes Why Indexed Annuities May Promise More Than They Deliver.

More Politics in Personal Finance?

Earlier this month, I attended FinCon in Washington D.C. The Washington Post’s Helaine Olin was there as well, following which she wrote Why the world of personal finance needs more politics.

JD Roth countered by asking Does the world of personal finance need more politics?

Our policy has always been similar to Roth’s, emphasizing empowering readers to learn the rules as they are rather than discussing how we wish they were.

A perfect example is sharing the next article from Bloomberg Businessweek: Health Insurance That Doesn’t Cover the Bills Has Flooded the Market Under Trump. Anyone considering short-term medical insurance to bridge the gap between early retirement and medicare eligibility needs to understand the risks involved with these policies.

Open Enrollment

Continuing on the theme of health insurance, we have about one month until the annual open enrollment period begins.

Clint Proctor writes Choosing Your Health Insurance: A Guide for Open Enrollment.

For those who have bridged the gap to Medicare, Eleanor Laise writes Navigate 2020 Medicare Changes During Open Enrollment.

Getting Unstuck

Making the changes to do what it takes to achieve FIRE, or even reach financial independence and retire securely at any age, can be much harder once you are entrenched in a particular way of life. Seth Godin writes Being Stuck is Reasonable.

Some folks decided to be unreasonable and in the process changed the trajectory of their lives. Jill Confield writes Think time isn’t on your side? These late savers are all on track to hit financial independence.

What Do We Really Want?

It is much easier to get unstuck when you have a goal. Let’s close with two awesome articles that give perspective on finding the right goals.

Chuck Jaffe writes Make ‘gaining choice’ — and not early retirement — your real goal.

Dawn Baker writes A Slowly Spreading FIRE.

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Valuable Resources

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[Chris Mamula used principles of traditional retirement planning, combined with creative lifestyle design, to retire from a career as a physical therapist at age 41. After poor experiences with the financial industry early in his professional life, he educated himself on investing and tax planning. After achieving financial independence, Chris began writing about wealth building, DIY investing, financial planning, early retirement, and lifestyle design at Can I Retire Yet? He is also the primary author of the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. Chris also does financial planning with individuals and couples at Abundo Wealth, a low-cost, advice-only financial planning firm with the mission of making quality financial advice available to populations for whom it was previously inaccessible. Chris has been featured on MarketWatch, Morningstar, U.S. News & World Report, and Business Insider. He has spoken at events including the Bogleheads and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants annual conferences. Blog inquiries can be sent to Financial planning inquiries can be sent to]

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