Early Retirement Resources 7/10/2023

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Today’s resources start with some technical topics I’ve been thinking more deeply about as I do financial planning work with clients. We’ll also examine whether it is worth thinking about IRMAA and certain annuities at all.

Articles also explore non-financial retirement planning issues. This includes a resource that will help you to continue to grow and learn, wherever you are on your financial and personal journey.

I also share personal struggles I’ve dealt with in early retirement and resources I’ve found useful to address them.

Financial Planning Lessons to Pay Attention To

A few years ago, Darrow attempted to answer the question of how much umbrella insurance you should have. I’ve recently been giving this topic more thought. In the process, I came across this article by Erin Bendig: How Much Umbrella Insurance Do I Need?. It contains a calculator and some additional insights about the legal protections already provided by retirement plans to help answer this question.

I never had the opportunity to participate in employee stock purchase plans. However, I do see them frequently in the clients I serve. So I assume at least some readers will benefit from this resource I’ve found helpful. Meg Bartelt writes Employee Stock Purchase Plans (ESPP): Enroll But Don’t Get Too Excited.

Financial Planning Issues You Can Probably Ignore

I regularly monitor retirement planning groups on social media to see what people are talking about. This helps me determine what topics to cover. One topic that I see frequently discussed is Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amounts (IRMAA) to Medicare premiums. It has been on my list of topics to write about, but it never seemed important or exciting enough for me to dig into.

Jim Dahle did dig into the topic. He validated my preconceived notions, writing Quit Worrying About IRMAA

In response to recent law changes Mike Piper answers the question What is a Qualifying Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC), and Who Should Buy One?. If this is a question you’ve been pondering, read his well reasoned explanation of why it is hard to imagine anyone for who they are a great fit.

Non-Financial Retirement Planning

Anne Tergesen writes Your 401(k) Isn’t Enough: To Invest for Retirement, Build Friendships and Hobbies. (This one is from the Wall Street Journal. I think this link will work, but if it is behind a paywall for you I apologize.) 

I shared this one, despite the potential access issues. That is because a common theme I hear from people on the other side of retirement is the surprise of how hard it is to form and/or maintain social connections. See our most recent reader case study as an example.

So I found the following quote from Tergensen’s article notable. “On average, it takes 200 hours over four months to build a close friendship and up to 60 hours to establish a casual friendship.” Plan accordingly!

Kathleen Coxwell puts a different spin on friendship in retirement. She says that to increase the odds of being happy in retirement you should Make Friends with Your Future Self to Achieve the Life You Want.

Better Questions → Better Answers

One thing I hope you get out of my writing on the blog and the sharing of these resources is a desire to remain curious and be lifelong learners. This includes constantly learning about yourself. I believe that the quality of your life is directly related to the quality of the questions you ask.

Morgan Housel provides A Few Questions we should all be asking ourselves.

Psychological Challenges of My Early Retirement

A common theme on FIRE blogs and podcasts is that financial independence gives you the opportunity to do “whatever you want” in life, without the need to worry about money. I agree this is true…. and potentially amazing.

However, it’s also important to share the at times challenging reality from the other side of financial independence. One challenge is that with all of this freedom, you at some point ultimately have to decide what you actually want to do.

After years of being overscheduled, I continue to find it a challenge to manage my time effectively when there are few places I “have to be” and few things I “need to do.” I’m a chronic procrastinator who tends to get things done when I have hard deadlines.

I got valuable insights from this recent conversation between Derek Thompson and psychology professor Tim Pychyl: The Science of Procrastination-and How to Really Get Stuff Done. The value of the conversation was disecting why we procrastinate, the cycle of guilt and shame that comes with procrastinating, and how to overcome it.

One thing I decided I “really wanted to do” after leaving my original career was to create an encore career as an entrepreneur, writer, and more recently financial planner. 

I left behind a career in which I felt a sense of mastery after a couple of decades of education and practice as an employee in a physical therapist practice. I replaced it with becoming a beginner, learning completely different bodies of knowledge and skill sets. 

This decision has at times left me with a serious case of imposter syndrome, something I hadn’t experienced in decades. As I work through these feelings, I found this conversation with Jess Bost and Carl Richards about Welcoming Imposter Syndrome powerful for anyone considering a similar path.

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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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