Containing the Issue

Adam M. Grossman  |  Sep 5, 2021

THE MUCH-DEBATED 4% rule—which I wrote about back in July—is a popular way to think about portfolio withdrawals in retirement. But it isn’t the only way. Another approach, called the bucket system, is also worth understanding. Below is some background.
What is the bucket system? As its name suggests, an investor divides his or her portfolio into multiple containers. Each container, or bucket, is then assigned a different role.
The most popular implementation of the bucket system involves three containers: The first is earmarked for a year or two of spending and is held entirely in cash.

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Trading Off

Jonathan Clements  |  Sep 4, 2021

WHEN WE CHOOSE to do one thing with our time and money, we’re also choosing not to do countless other things. The purchases made and the possibilities forgone sometimes turn into lasting regrets.
That is, to a degree, unavoidable. We often misjudge not only what we want today, but also the wants of our future self. Still, I firmly believe we can all do better—if we avoid impulsive decisions and instead spend time thinking through life’s key tradeoffs.

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Let’s Be Honest

Jim Wasserman  |  Sep 3, 2021

THE GREEN KNIGHT is a new, Arthurian-age fantasy film that was released at the end of July. The crux of the story: The Green Knight offers a challenge at King Arthur’s court. He will allow any knight to take a swing at him with his great axe, as long as that knight agrees to receive a blow a year and a day later. Sir Gawain, one of the youngest of the Round Table,

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College in 72 Hours

Greg Spears  |  Sep 2, 2021

OUR NEPHEW JESSE, age 19, took a gap year after high school to explore meditation and work for UPS. He’s a great kid. But he had worn out his welcome with family friends in Florida, so he decided to sleep in his car.
That was in May—and that’s when we invited him to live with us in Pennsylvania.
Jesse hasn’t had an easy life. His mother died of cancer when he was four years old.

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August’s Hits

Jonathan Clements  |  Sep 1, 2021

LAST MONTH WAS OUR best ever for pageviews—perhaps not surprising given the site’s expansion. HumbleDollar continues to run longer articles every day. But since late July, we’ve also been publishing shorter blog posts each morning and afternoon. What’s been catching readers’ attention? Among the longer articles, here are August’s seven most popular:

“Hooking up a railcar in subzero temperatures isn’t something I’ll be doing if I can supplement my savings with Social Security,”

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Learning by Going

Richard Quinn  |  Aug 31, 2021

SINCE FIRST venturing outside the U.S. 14 years ago, I’ve come to realize the tremendous value that travel offers.

I began writing this article in Buenos Aires 18 months ago, shortly before a cruise around South America. We sailed on March 6, 2020—and it didn’t turn out so well. But I’m not deterred. As Mark Twain observed, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.” I second that.

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College or Plan B?

Howard Rohleder  |  Aug 30, 2021

WE’RE PROGRAMMED to believe that a four-year college degree is the only path to success. After spending several years on both a small-town school board and an economic development board, I saw the disservice that this belief is doing to many of our students.
Students and their parents are led to believe that everyone is taking a college prep curriculum in high school. There are indeed students who are actually preparing for college.

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Back to School

Adam M. Grossman  |  Aug 29, 2021

A WHILE BACK, I assembled two personal finance reading lists—what I called 101 and 201 level titles. But time doesn’t stand still. Below is a list of newer books, along with a few classics that didn’t fit on the earlier lists. They’re organized into three categories: retirement planning, investing and behavioral finance.
Retirement Planning

Can I Retire? by Mike Piper. There’s no shortage of retirement books. But if you want a straightforward guide that covers the most critical topics in an easy-to-read format,

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Seeing Visions

Jonathan Clements  |  Aug 28, 2021

WE SAVE TOO LITTLE, spend too much and what we buy often disappoints. Is there an antidote for this financially self-destructive behavior? One intriguing possibility: visualization.
If you’re like me, the word itself makes you a little queasy. It conjures up images of both self-absorbed, navel-gazing yuppies (not something I aspire to be) and Olympic athletes getting in the zone (not something I’ll ever be). Still, I think there’s value in spending serious time pondering our financial goals.

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Life Happens

Tom Sedoric  |  Aug 27, 2021

WHEN I TELL FOLKS that they’ve just met the only guy to lose money on a house in New Castle, New Hampshire, they usually respond with great surprise.

The fact is, in good economic times and bad, it’s hard to lose money on a New Castle home. This quaint New England village—a collection of island connected by causeways—has the honor of having some of the highest-priced homes and lowest property taxes in New Hampshire,

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Brave New World

Mike Zaccardi  |  Aug 26, 2021

I MAY BE THE POSTER child for the new retirement, switching back and forth between standard employment and side gigs, as I seek work that I find fulfilling. I’m not alone: It seems many people are retiring earlier than they planned and then working part-time, moving in and out of the workforce based on need and opportunity.
The annual Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) shows that—while workers expect to retire at age 65—the median retirement age is actually 62.

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Rule Your World

Adam M. Grossman  |  Aug 25, 2021

I’VE NEVER BEEN a fan of financial planning rules of thumb. To understand why, consider a common shortcut for choosing an asset allocation: The allocation to bonds in a portfolio, according to this rule of thumb, should equal an investor’s age.

For example, if an investor is 65 years old, his or her allocation to bonds should be 65%. That sounds reasonable—until you realize that Microsoft founder Bill Gates is 65. Should he have the same asset allocation as everyone else his age?

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Working My Losses

Michael Perry  |  Aug 24, 2021

AT THE START of the pandemic, we picked up a nice chunk of capital losses. I say “nice” because these were intentional. When the market dropped significantly, we realized losses and immediately reinvested the proceeds in other fallen stocks.
What about capital gains? In 2020, some of our mutual funds distributed capital gains, but we didn’t intentionally realize any other gains. Some of our realized losses offset the distributed fund gains. Another $3,000 was applied against ordinary income.

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Going Direct

Phil Kernen  |  Aug 23, 2021

HEARD OF DIRECT indexing? It’s supposed to be the next big thing in investing. Let me tell you why that isn’t likely.
Direct indexing arose from a shortcoming in the way exchange-traded funds (ETFs) work. Most ETFs mimic a market benchmark such as the S&P 500 or the Russell 2000, and are bought and sold on an exchange like stocks. Their main selling point is that there are no active portfolio managers selecting the securities,

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The Good Steward

Joe Kesler  |  Aug 22, 2021

I GOT STUCK IN a conversation at a dinner party recently with a name dropper. It was painful. Wanting to impress me, I suppose, I learned that, “Yes, Janet Yellen and I are good friends. I’ll be traveling to D.C. soon and I’m looking forward to connecting.”
But it didn’t end there. I also heard about this person’s exotic travels and homes around the world. And the fabulous career that supported this lavish lifestyle.

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