Christy Shen Retired at 31: Is She Crazy?

Christy and her husband, Bryce, retired in 2014 at age 31; they had about $1.16 million saved, which includes about 4 years of living expenses ($160 thousand–my estimate). Can two people make the money last in Toronto, Canada, where they live? What if they have kids? Continue reading

Passive Investing: Seniors Near the Edge of Change

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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

A Winner: Passive Investing in 2014

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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.

Continue reading

What the Big Guys Say about Risk at Retirement

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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

Make Money by Managing Investment Risks in Retirement

Managing your trip in a risky environment

Managing your trip in a risky environment

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

Killer Moves Can Help Wrestle Lumpy Retirement Spending

Afternoon at a long-term care facility

Afternoon at a long-term care facility

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

Later Living Encores: Ola’s Quilt Shop

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When retirees get to their middle 80s, most don’t want to or can’t stay physically active. Instead they relax, take up hobbies or devote full-time to television. Their conversations often concern their health problems. But there are exceptions, like Ms. Ola Coombs.

Ola had always wanted to have her own quilt shop and she got her chance at age 79. Ola’s Quilt Shop in Lavonia, Georgia opened in May, 2006. This year Ola will turn 87. Continue reading

Retirees Can Wrestle Investment Risk and Win

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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

Managing the Danger of Investment Risk at Retirement Time

Risk in stocks and bonds--Seventeen years of returns

Risk in stocks and bonds–Seventeen years of returns

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

Images of Investment Risk

Risky? These women compete in a roller derby where they skate, block and score on a concrete floor. There is risk—in the sense of loss or injury.

Risky? These women compete in a roller derby where they skate, block and score on a concrete floor. There is risk—in the sense of loss or injury. “No pain, no gain,” analogizes the SEC, which is almost a sports metaphor: play hard, risk injury and you may win.

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