Last time we saw Christy Shen and her husband, Bryce, living one version of a radical retirement: they retired in 2014 (Christy was 31 years old) after only a few years of work. Each year while working they saved more than half of their earnings. Can anyone do that, or were they just lucky to invest when returns were high? Continue reading
I recently taught a course to retirees on passive investing at the University of Georgia’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). Many in the class had portfolios with various brokers or financial planners, some local, some far away, and the portfolios were complicated and laden with high-cost mutual funds as well as individual stocks and bonds. They were not making much money, and they wanted to hear about a different approach. Continue reading
With the end of 2014, year-end investment returns are coming in, and two noteworthy results are these:
- Passive investing, especially with Vanguard Group, continues to gain momentum
- Passive investing, according to preliminary results, produced higher returns than many competing styles of investing.
What should your stock allocation be at your retirement date, or in different words, how much risk (variability) should you tolerate near and at retirement? I discussed this issue in a series of posts earlier this year (see links at end), and recently the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an article (paywall) about it. Continue reading
Risk is sometimes the elephant in the investing room, especially for retirees. People understand stocks as ownership and bonds as debt, but risk is hard to grasp and instinctively dangerous.
Later Living has recently published four posts on risk. Risk and high returns go together, so retirees who want high returns must deal with risk. Here are the four earlier posts knit together into one risk story: Continue reading
Retirement might be easier if spending needs stayed nearly constant from year-to-year, but they don’t. Long-term care, motor homes, family members in need, and other special plans require lumps of cash at particular times. Continue reading
Investment risk is good in that it accompanies greater long-term wealth but it is bad if investors sell during a downdraft. Stocks are riskier (more volatile) than bonds yet offer more long-term gain.
Should retirees dial back their risk exposure to, say, 30% stocks, as is sometimes recommended, or can they carry much more risk, perhaps up to 70% stocks? The answer follows their goals and plans. Continue reading
When should someone retire? The answer may be fraught with danger if the retirement portfolio is overly weighted to stocks or other risky investments. There is one small window of time surrounding the retirement date in which sharp declines in stock values can ruin retirement. Continue reading
There are standard narratives about investing that lead people to particular strategies. Risk, we’re told, infects all investments, and it is often viewed as potential injury or loss. Continue reading
Last weekend TV viewers watched the beginning of the third season of BBC’s Downton Abbey, a story about an aristocratic family in England in the 1920s. Sir Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, with his family and staff, live on investments in a splendid castle.
Last July readers of this blog met Alice, a model retiree, who also lives on investments and manages her portfolio of four different index mutual funds. Moreover, Alice has Social Security and a pension, both of which postdate Lord Grantham. Continue reading