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We have thought provoking and actionable resources this month. Let’s jump right in.

The Best

Bill Bengen updated his original research that led to the 4% rule. His findings were far more conservative than conventional wisdom at that time. I start by sharing his recently updated research. His results may surprise you.

Articles explore a variety of topics that will impact your retirement security including social security, investment portfolio management, and annuities. We also look at early retirement’s “open secret.”

Aging gracefully is a challenge. We explore how the pandemic has hit baby boomers particularly hard and a timeless challenge that many of us will face.

I address the concept of giving more generously and effectively. I’ve been thinking of ways to do more for others. Read to the bottom to see how this may include me giving more to you personally.

The 4% Rule

Is a 4% withdrawal rate in retirement safe? For years, retirement experts have been saying that with high stock market valuations and extreme low interest rates the 4% Rule is obsolete and anything but safe.

This month, Bill Bengen updated his research that led to the 4% Rule to factor in CAPE ratios and inflation to better predict maximum safe withdrawal rates for those beginning retirement in different economic conditions. 

His conclusions may surprise you. Bill Bengen Revisits The 4% Rule Using Shiller’s CAPE Ratio, Michael Kitces Research.

Simplifying the Complex

Mike Piper answered the question How Do Social Security Inflation Adjustments Work?

JoeTomlinson writes The Unimportance of Asset Allocation in Retirement Planning. He makes  a compelling case that once you have a reasonable portfolio, at best, you’re probably wasting your time trying to fine tune it.

Harry Sit shares the open secret of many of us in the FIRE community, writing Positive Cash Flow: Open Secret in Early Retirement.

Jonathan Clements on…

Jonathan Clements is one of my favorite personal finance writers for the constant reminders to ignore the noise and focus on things that actually matter.

This month on his Humble Dollar blog he shares the importance of knowing what you don’t know, writing Playing Dumb.

I often talk and write about the need to learn the rules of personal finance. This month on The Evidence Based Investor, Clements asks Are You Still Playing by the Old Rules?

Another frequent contributor on these “Best of” roundups is financial planner Allan Roth. He’s apparently a fan of Clements as well. Clements’ writing led Roth to take a closer look at single premium immediate annuities and he was surprised what he found. Roth writes, A Skeptic Takes a Second Look at SPIAs.

Challenges of Aging

The pandemic has been challenging for everyone. Janet Siroto writes that older adults are facing unique challenges. ‘I Feel Cheated’ – How Boomers Are Dealing With the COVID-19 Curveball.

Last summer I reviewed Cameron Huddleston’s book about having hard conversations with your aging parents. She wrote the book to prevent others from finding themselves where she was, surprised by and unprepared for the task of becoming caretaker for her mother. Her mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at a relatively young age. 

Huddleston recently wrote an important blog post sharing her experience over the past decade, What It’s Really Like When Your Parent Has Alzheimer’s Disease

If you’re a parent or an adult child with aging parents, this isn’t something to think about while procrastinating. Start having these conversations now, before it’s too late!

Giving With Impact

Most of us start off equating the question “Can I retire yet? with the question “Do I have enough money to retire?” However, money is only one component of the retirement decision. For me at least, it has been the easiest piece of the puzzle.

This month, I found two resources that have me thinking about how to better give time and money.

Steven Bertoni writes The Billionaire Who Wanted to Die Broke… Is Now Officially Broke. This is a fascinating story of 89 year old Charles Feeney who set aside about $2 million dollars for his and his wife’s retirements. They recently finished giving away the other $8 billion plus dollars of their fortune!

This story is fascinating at many levels. The one thing that really jumped out at me is that he set a specific and quantifiable goal of giving away his fortune before he turned 90. Even the best and most important goals can get pushed to the backburner waiting for a better time if not given urgency.

For those that enjoy audio content, this interview from Peter Attia’s Drive podcast made me think about ways of giving time and money for maximal effect. I especially loved the idea that in these hyper-partisan times that no one has a monopoly on good or effective ideas. If you’re truly doing good, effective, and impactful work then everyone will disagree with you at some point. John Arnold: The most prolific philanthropist you may not have heard of.

Maybe I Can Help

Nearly three years ago, I left my career as a physical therapist. Since then, our family has moved across the country and adapted to a new way of life. I undertook and completed the passion project of writing and releasing a book.

I’ve struggled to determine what’s next. Dealing with the pandemic over the past few months, I’ve found the uncertainty crippling at times.

I’ve always been happiest and felt I was answering my life’s calling when helping, teaching, and serving others. With limited opportunities for person-to-person contact, opportunities to do things I’d planned in my community are limited.

I’ve been kicking around starting to do one-on-one financial coaching or pursuing a CFP designation. But committing to anything feels overwhelming right now.

I recently discussed these challenges with my friend Jillian Johnsrud. She encouraged me to stop thinking and start doing. She shared a motto that has helped her reach out to others and get started, “I have an hour, maybe I can help…”

So, I’m taking her advice. I set aside an hour a week over the next five weeks on Wednesdays from 2-3 PM Mountain time to meet with a few blog readers. I want to learn what you’re struggling with and see if I can help. I am not a financial advisor or accountant so I can’t give any specific investing or tax advice. 

Aside from that, I’m open to discuss anything and help you in any way I can on your journey to financial independence, transitioning to early retirement, or any other area where you’re stuck, struggling and would like to chat about it. Maybe I can help.

Click the link to grab one of the five spots to chat. First come, first served. No charge. No strings attached.

*** Update*** The spots are filled so I removed the link. I may open up more spots at different times in the future, so keep an eye out. I look forward to chatting with those of you who scheduled. — Chris

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Valuable Resources

  • Free Travel with credit card travel rewards. Find the best current travel rewards offers. Learn how Chris uses credit card sign up bonuses to get thousands of dollars of free travel every year.
  • The Best Retirement Calculators can help you perform detailed retirement simulations including modeling withdrawal strategies, federal and state income taxes, healthcare expenses, and more. Can I Retire Yet? partners with two of the best.
  • Our Books

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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. Now he draws on his experience to write about wealth building, DIY investing, financial planning, early retirement, and lifestyle design at Can I Retire Yet? Chris has been featured on MarketWatch, Morningstar, U.S. News & World Report, and Business Insider. He is also the primary author of the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. You can reach him at chris@caniretireyet.com.]

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