Early Retirement Resources 3/13/2023

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I was finishing up today’s collection of resources last Friday. News broke of a bank run on, and subsequent rapid failure of, Silicon Valley Bank, one of the twenty largest banks in the country. So I’ll start with a few resources to help explain the current headlines about bank runs as we watch how things play out. What can we do to protect ourselves? What can we learn from these phenomenon?

Returning to our regularly scheduled programming, I have excellent resources exploring the impact of flexibility on your retirement outcomes, learning how to spend in retirement, and finding the right type and amount of structure in retired life.

Selected resources will explore technical topics of tax diversification and disability insurance. We’ll look beyond the technical aspects of estate planning to the personal issues that make this topic so challenging.

Finally, I close with one of my favorite topics, finding the right mountain town for a retirement location. Enjoy and let me know in the comments what resources you found particularly valuable….or where they miss the mark.

Bank Runs

Bank runs were a common feature of our financial system until the 1920’s. Changes to the banking system and the creation of FDIC insurance made bank runs rare. But as we saw last week, this phenomenon still occurs today.

Ben Carlson compares Bank Runs, Now & Then.

The All-In Podcast is a weekly conversation between four Silicon Valley billionaire venture-capitalists. The podcast provides a radically different perspective on investing and the world in general than I am generally exposed to.

The most recent episode, Silicon Valley Bank implodes: startup extinction event, contagion risk, culpability and more, provides in depth analysis of SVB’s collapse. It is a fascinating conversation in many respects from these four individuals who live and operate in this space. After listening to their analysis, it will be interesting to watch how things play out in the days and weeks to come.

Of particular interest to me was discussion of the bank’s poor risk management that set off this cascade of events. It is directly applicable to management of your own portfolio.

The Importance of Flexibility in Retirement

A common theme on the blog over the years is the idea of having flexibility in your retirement plans. Darrow developed a qualitative Retirement Flexibility Scale for Choosing Your Safe Withdrawal Rate.

David Blanchett shares new research that attempts to quantify the impact of flexibility with retirement spending. He writes Redefining the Retirement Income Goal.

Shifting From Saver to Spender

Another common theme on the blog is exploring the challenge many of us who are natural savers have making the transition to spending from our portfolios in retirement. Kim and I certainly fit that profile. I recently shared our exploration into whether we’re spending too much.

FIRE guru Brandon, aka the Mad Fientist, struggles to spend money as well. He had Ramit Sethi on his podcast to teach him How to Spend (And Actually Enjoy It).

Jonathan Clements and Peter Mallouk have clear advice for those wondering if it is time to spend and/or gift their money: Don’t Delay!

Structure vs. Busyness in Retirement

Finding the right balance between having too little structure and being too busy is a struggle for many of us after reaching financial independence and transitioning to retired life.

Wes Moss talked with Steve Lopez about The Importance of Structure in Retirement.

Fritz Gilbert shared how he and his wife have become victims of their own success. They’ve become too busy as their post-retirement project has taken off. Now they’re Running Fast to Slow Down.

The “Other” Diversification

In investing circles, a lot of attention is paid to diversification between stocks, bonds, cash, and alternative investments. Jim Blankenship shines a light on another important consideration to be truly diversified, writing Tax Diversification for Investments.

Disability Insurance

In the past, I’ve shared that I never bought disability insurance. I consider this a bad decision, but one that helped me achieve financial independence more quickly.

Jim Dahle shares some reasons why many people are making similar decisions to mine, but they probably shouldn’t. He writes People Aren’t Buying Disability Insurance, But They Should.

Estate Planning….Beyond Insurance and Legal Documents

A few years ago, I reviewed Cameron Huddleston’s book Mom and Dad We Need to Talk: How to Have Essential Conversations With Your Parents About Their Finances. Fortunately, my parents, brother and I were all willing and able to have those conversations.

It is a relief that finances are not a point of stress or tension for our family. Despite eliminating this stress, I’m learning being a caretaker for a loved one is a tremendously challenging experience, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

So my heart goes out to Scott Martin. He vulnerably shared how much harder it was going through this phase of life in his family where they weren’t able to have these conversations in advance, writing On My Shoulders.

Whether you are the parent or child who has been avoiding these challenging conversations, read this article. Read Huddleston’s book. Then use these resources to spur you to take action.

Mountain Towns

I’ll close with a much more fun topic. It’s one that has been central to both Darrow’s and my post financial independence story: finding a mountain town to call home.

A recent episode of the Outside Podcast explored how To Save the Soul of a Mountain Town. This was a really interesting look at how Aspen, CO has changed over the years.

Almost every theme discussed had parallels to my own town of Ogden, UT. It seems these issues are universal throughout the mountain west. If you are considering living in a mountain town, give this a listen.

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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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