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February 2024 Best of the Web

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This month’s resources explore the benefits of utilizing tax-deferred accounts as well as the potential upsides and challenges of later converting to Roth.

Resources will challenge you to think about aging well at the individual and societal level. I also have an interesting take on the challenging marketplace for homeowner insurance.

I’ll share a few interesting early retirement case studies. Finally, I close out with some interesting offers from blog partners. Read to the end to learn about big changes to expect with the blog in the upcoming year.

The Benefits of Tax-Deferred Accounts

Roth IRA and more recently Roth 401(k) accounts have become popular. Jonathan Clements shares four benefits of tax-deferred accounts that are often overlooked, writing Called to Account.

There are also good arguments for using Roth accounts. I explain them here.

The most common argument I hear in favor of Roth accounts is also the weakest: an assured declaration that your taxes will be higher in the future. In a Valentine’s Day post, Sean Mullaney laid out a powerful counterargument to this assertion based on recent history. Mullaney “hopes your valentine loves you as much as Congress loves retirees.”

Roth Conversions

Converting tax-deferred accounts to Roth is an option in lower income years. Olivia Lima writes Timing a Roth Conversion to Supercharge Your Retirement.

For those of you waiting until the end of the year to do Roth conversions, Laura Saunders shares how it is possible to overpay your taxes and simultaneously have an underpayment penalty and what you can do about it. She writes Your Questions on Paying Estimated Taxes, Answered. (This one is from the WSJ so it may be behind a paywall for some of you. Sorry!)

Allan Roth dives into the details of The Law and Strategies to Convert a College 529 to a Roth.

Thinking About Aging Well – Individuals

These “Best of” posts are popular because I curate and share often quick hitting articles, blog posts, or deals that pack a lot of information that can be consumed quickly in the course of a busy life.

The next two resources are a long-form podcast conversation and a book. I encourage every member of this audience to consider making the time for them. 

Peter Attia interviewed Walter Green about The impact of gratitude, serving others, embracing mortality, and living intentionally. I hope this interview challenge you to think differently and create your own conversations about living a good life and aging well. It certainly has for me and the family and friends with whom I’ve shared it.

Thinking About Aging Well – Societally

Atul Gawande wrote the book Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. This resource addresses how we think about aging and death at a societal level. 

My hope is that Gawande’s different perspectives as historian and practicing physician mixed with his personal experiences helping his father through physical decline and end of life will lead to a greater understanding of the challenges of aging and navigating our medical system that all of us will face. 

This isn’t a pleasant topic to think and talk about. Unfortunately, the results of not thinking and talking about it are even more unpleasant.

The Challenges of Insuring Homes

Blair duQuesnay asks Should You Self Insure Your Home? The premise of this question would seem absurd just a few years ago. But as premiums climb rapidly, especially in fire and storm prone locations, this is a question many of us may be asking in future months and years.

Retirement Case Studies 

When I share case studies on the blog, they are always popular with readers. So I think you’ll find these next two posts by retirees interesting.

Robert at the blog Stop Ironing Shirts ponders Tax Decisions in Early Retirement.

Tom Short reflects on he and his wife’s first year of retirement, writing Our Freshman Year.

Pralana 2024 Gold Has Been Released

Long-time blog affiliate Pralana recently released the 2024 version of the Excel-based Pralana Gold. Significant updates include incorporating 2024 tax and IRMAA tables and improvements in Roth conversion analysis.

Also of note, Pralana Online is slated for a March release. The new version of this powerful retirement planning tool will maintain virtually all of the Excel-based version’s functionality with a more user-friendly interface and the ability to update the program without downloading a new version.

Credit Card Deals

For anyone in the market for a new credit card and looking to accumulate travel credit card rewards, there are currently a couple of exciting sign-up offers.

Earn a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass

One of the best deals in the world of travel rewards is Southwest Airlines Companion PassⓇ. As long as you have the pass, your designated companion can fly with you every time you fly for free (except for a nominal $5.60 fee on every one-way domestic flight).

For a limited time, you can earn this valuable pass which is good through February 28, 2025 by taking advantage of a promotional offer on one of three Southwest credit cards. You can earn the Companion PassⓇ plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months after opening your account.

This offer is available with any of three Southwest Personal Cards:

Increased IHG Sign-Up Bonuses

One of my favorite hotel credit cards, card_name also currently has an increased sign-up offer. This card usually enables you to earn a 165,000 point bonus after spending $3,000 on it in the three months after account opening. This card also provides a free night each year on the anniversary of card opening among other perks. The card has an annual fee of $99.

For anyone who prefers the trade off of getting fewer rewards from a card to avoid paying annual credit card fees, there is also a no annual fee card_name which also currently has a promotional offer of 100,000 bonus points after spending $2,000 on the card within the first 3 months of account opening.

New Voices and Perspectives on the Blog

There are two big changes you will be seeing on the blog over the next few months. I want to take a minute to share them with you.

Welcome Aboard David Champion

Over the past few months, I have been featuring guest posts from David Champion. Dave is a long-time blog reader and early retired software engineer. Several years into his early retirement, he is looking to pay forward some of his good fortune. He responded to my call for help on the blog.

I’m excited to report that Dave will be working with me consistently moving forward. In addition to getting an outstanding writing partner, I’m excited to have someone far more qualified than me to work on the behind the scenes aspects of the website. 

As had been the case with Darrow and I, this is a passion project for Dave. He is a dedicated rock climber. Change will be slow while he is traveling over the summer months. Our goal is for the site to get a much needed facelift, improve website navigation, and cut back on ads to improve reader experience by the end of this year.

Increasing the Synergy with Abundo Wealth

This isn’t the only change. Last year at this time I reported that I was starting to do part-time financial planning work with Abundo Wealth. At the time, I honestly wasn’t sure how I would like working for someone else again or how willing they would be to put up with me wanting to work very limited hours.

As I start my second year with Abundo, I could not be more excited about this company and the work that we’re doing. We have an amazing (and growing) collection of talented individuals who work together towards the goal of revolutionizing how financial planning is done. We’re expanding the reach to populations who couldn’t previously afford quality financial advice or who realize paying 1% of their investment accounts to an advisor every year doesn’t make sense.

Starting in March, I will also be publishing regular blog posts from different members of the Abundo team. This will provide unique perspectives and insights to you, exposure for Abundo, and reduce my writing workload which frees up my time and energy for these other projects.

Onward and upward!

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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. After achieving financial independence, Chris began writing about wealth building, DIY investing, financial planning, early retirement, and lifestyle design at Can I Retire Yet? He is also the primary author of the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. Chris also does financial planning with individuals and couples at Abundo Wealth, a low-cost, advice-only financial planning firm with the mission of making quality financial advice available to populations for whom it was previously inaccessible. Chris has been featured on MarketWatch, Morningstar, U.S. News & World Report, and Business Insider. He has spoken at events including the Bogleheads and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants annual conferences. Blog inquiries can be sent to chris@caniretireyet.com. Financial planning inquiries can be sent to chris@abundowealth.com]

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Disclosure: Can I Retire Yet? has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Can I Retire Yet? and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Other links on this site, like the Amazon, NewRetirement, Pralana, and Personal Capital links are also affiliate links. As an affiliate we earn from qualifying purchases. If you click on one of these links and buy from the affiliated company, then we receive some compensation. The income helps to keep this blog going. Affiliate links do not increase your cost, and we only use them for products or services that we’re familiar with and that we feel may deliver value to you. By contrast, we have limited control over most of the display ads on this site. Though we do attempt to block objectionable content. Buyer beware.

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