Best of the Web 7/25/2022

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Financial markets have been getting battered this year. This makes the common challenge of shifting from saving for retirement to spending from assets in retirement even harder. We’ll start with resources that may help ease your mind.

We’ll also explore the topic of burning out on stressful careers and alternative paths to retirement that can help you avoid this fate.

Resources explore the many conflicts of interest inherent in the financial industry. I’ll also share resources that will help give yourself the best chance at getting a fair shake.

I close out with a few articles that will help you use math to make better decisions with your investment and retirement withdrawal decisions….and a reminder that as much as we desire certainty, it is an illusion.

The Challenge of Shifting From Saver to Spender

A topic I’ve written and spoken about frequently is the challenge of making the shift from being a natural saver to spending down those savings in retirement.

Mr. Money Mustache sees this pattern among his friends as well. He offers a pep-talk and powerful reminder Why You’ll Probably Never Run Out of Money.

If you’re not convinced by a couple of FIRE bloggers, respected retirement researcher Michael Kitces shares Why Most Retirees Will Never Draw Down Their Retirement Portfolios.

Redefining Retirement

One physician, Doc G, interviewed another, Jimmy Turner, on the Earn & Invest Podcast. They discussed The Cost of Burnout. A small amount of the conversation is specific to physicians, but I related to most of this important conversation as I think many others will as well.

The combination of frequent burnout on the path to financial independence with difficulty spending the money we work so hard to save and invest once we get there reinforce an idea I’ve long thought about, the need to Redefine Retirement.

I’m certainly not the only one questioning if there is a better way. Elle Hunt writes ‘A bigger paycheck? I’d rather watch the sunset!’: Is this the end of ambition?

Navigating the Financial Industry

Rick Ferri highlighted some of the conflicts of interest inherent to financial advice and why they exist on the Bogleheads on Investing Podcast: Michael Kitces and Nicole Boyson on the Investment Adviser Industry.

This next article is industry specific. I’m sharing it because I know this topic needs a spotlight shined on it after having witnessed it while helping my two sister-in-laws who are educators. I encourage you to share it with any educators in your life, who are likely getting a bad deal in their retirement plans.

It also does demonstrate a larger pattern of the massive conflicts of interest inherent to the financial industry which we all need to be aware of.

Melanie Waddell writes Equitable to Pay $50M for Misleading Teachers on Annuity Fees.

Getting a Fair Shake

In recent months, I’ve been critical of Vanguard on a number of fronts. Despite my critiques and willingness to share others’, I continue to hold almost all of my investments in Vanguard funds, housed at Vanguard. 

The reasons why I choose to do so were the topic of a blog post that has been on my to-do list. Allan Roth summed up my thoughts, thus saving me the effort. He writes Why I’m Not Leaving Vanguard.

Since I began working towards CFP certification earlier this year, I’ve been paying closer attention to the financial advice space. One person who has impressed me with his dedication to helping educate both advisors and those needing advice is Cody Garrett.

He advocates paying directly for financial advice, the model I have long advocated for those that don’t want to or can’t do everything yourself. However, he also recognizes the challenge of finding those professionals.

He recently put together and is frequently updating this list of Advice Only Financial Planners and their specialties. If you are in search of financial advice, the list is a great place to start. (Note: I have no financial relationship with Cody or anyone on the list.)

Spreading the FIRE

I wrote the Choose FI book to transform the perception of FIRE from an extreme lifestyle to a set of solid principals that could be applied by anyone. I was, and continue to be, very proud of the book.

But I wrote at the time we published it that I had one regret about the finished book. In highlighting the early adopters and influencers, we may have reinforced who the stereotypical person pursuing FIRE is.

I’m excited to continue to see this movement grow as highlighted by Kimanzie Constable’s feature on Julien and Kiersten Saunders: They’re On a Mission to Bring FIRE to the Black Community. ‘It is Harder, But It Is Still Possible.’

Playing the Odds….

Ben Carlson highlights how stocks look better the longer you hold them, writing Stocks For the Long Run.

Nick Maggiulli reminds us that, despite the past few months, the market goes up in more periods than it goes down. Thus as we take money from investments in retirement, we should Sell Slowly.

But Certainty is An Illusion

The common theme throughout today’s articles, and life in general, is that we tend to focus on the wrong things in life. This is particularly true when we think about risk and tend to be driven by our biggest fears.

I’ve been reflecting on this after watching this stunning avalanche video:

My personal approach to risk management is shaped by my love of the outdoors. One of our favorite family activities is scramble in a field of massive boulders a few blocks from our home.

I occasionally pause to think that at one point, each of these massive rocks, some the size of cars or even small houses, broke free from the mountain above and settled into the stable position it now sits in today. If you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, no amount of knowledge, skill, or preparation could save you.

Yet we worry so much about the one in a million thing that we can’t control, when there is so much we can. We can know history and make better decisions based on probability. And we can almost always adjust when things don’t work out quite as expected.

That’s where our attention should be focused specifically as we plan our financial futures and generally as we try to live our best lives.

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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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