February 2022 Best of the Web

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Resources this month cover a wide variety of important topics. News continues to develop by the hour in Europe. We take a look at what the stock market has done historically in times of war.

Retirement income is always a popular topic among readers. Articles explore why the 4% rule may still be valid despite current high stock valuations and low interest rates, and whether changes to required minimum distribution rules will impact you. We also explore the important topic of asset location. It impacts how much you ultimately have to spend in retirement after the government takes their share in taxes.

I share a thought provoking perspective on using debt in retirement that’s very different than my own. Other articles present varying perspectives on Modern Monetary Theory.

Finally, we discuss how you can make better decisions that will minimize regrets. Dive in and then let me know what resonates with you.

Markets During Wartime

I use social media primarily to stay abreast of what is happening in the personal finance space. In the past week since Russia invaded Ukraine I’ve noticed two frequent themes.

One group of people express excitement for market drops as “buying opportunities.” The idea of publicly rooting for bad things to happen so you can profit is gross. Not to mention it is a form of market timing which is rarely effective.

On the other side, virtue signalers say that with such terrible things happening in the world, it is wrong to worry about money and our own financial interests. This viewpoint assumes we can’t hold two complex ideas in our head at the same time, when in reality that is exactly what we must do all of the time in order to be successful investors.

Markets go up and down, often in unpredictable ways, in response to events that harm many people. We’ll have to make decisions to stay invested (or not) through wars, social unrest, pandemics, natural disasters, etc.

It is important to make informed rational decisions. Ben Carlson helps us do so, writing The Stock Market is Heartless.

Retirement Income

I recently shared Morningstar’s research on safe withdrawal rates. Ben Henry-Moreland presents a thoughtful rebuttal on the Nerd’s Eye View blog: Why High Equity Valuations and Low Bond Yields Won’t (Necessarily) Break the 4% Rule.

Required minimum distributions are changing to reflect longer life expectancies. Jeffrey Levine shares 3 Reasons The New RMD Tables For 2022 (And Beyond) Are Overrated.

A Different Perspective on Debt

When writing, I try to be transparent when expressing my points of view. However, personal finance is personal. What works for me may not be right for you. I enjoy using these round-up posts to share different perspectives.

I often share my debt aversion. Jeremy at Go Curry Cracker shares a far different approach to using debt in retirement, writing Sweet, Sweet, Debt

Modern Monetary Theory and Inflation

Last year I used Stephanie Kelton’s book about modern monetary theory to broaden my knowledge of macroeconomics and help make sense of the massive government spending that occurred in response to the pandemic. 

I’m not the only one interested in this topic. That blog post was the most read on the site last year. The next two articles present different viewpoints on whether all that spending was worth it.

Jeanna Smialek asks Is This What Winning Looks Like?

Cullen Roche writes MMT Failed Its First Big Inflation Test.

Asset Location

I communicate with many people who get hung up on the minutiae of asset allocation. They are in search of the “optimal mix” of stocks and bonds in a portfolio, when the best any of us can do with imperfect information is an allocation that is “good enough.”

Conversely, asset location gets relatively little attention. This is a shame. Gaining an understanding of how investments are taxed and optimizing for that is a better use of our time. The next two articles address this important topic.

Christine Benz writes Which Investments to Keep Out of Your Taxable Account.

James Dahle writes 4 Lessons from the Vanguard Target Retirement Long Term Capital Gains Distribution Disaster.

Regrets, I’ve Had a Few….

Retirement is one of the biggest decisions of your life. Work too long, and your future self may regret missing out on years of life experiences that you can’t get back. Leave too early, and your future self may feel boxed in and regret not having more money and options that money could provide.

In his new book, The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward, Daniel Pink examines the biggest regrets in life of people from a wide range of demographics. It is a fascinating, short, easy read. I highly recommend this book for the perspective it provides to anyone interested in making better decisions.

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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]

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