Tag Archives: Goals (met and un-)

Bogleheads’ Retirement Planning: Determining a Retirement $$ Goal

This is the first of my Bogleheads’ Retirement Planning series.

The ultimate question is simple: how much do I need to have when I “retire” to be able to live for decades on the proceeds?

It’s worth getting over the hump of the definition of retirement, because it always seems to come up as a side topic in retirement discussions. Retirement, to me, isn’t buying a boat and spending all day golfing.

…Especially since I’d rather just take a group walk through a park instead of hitting and chasing a small ball in the process.

To me, retirement is getting out of a 40 hour a week job and working on things I love, even if they’re less profitable. That might mean I only work 15 hours a week for pay. Or that I publish a novel every couple of years, rather than racing to meet deadlines. Or that I join the Peace Corps and do something, you know, useful.

Whatever. Retirement is being out of the crunch.

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Bogleheads’ Retirement Planning: Hitting the Highlights

I finished The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning last week, and I have to say, it’s the single best resource on retirement planning that I’ve seen or read so far. Hands down. Other books might add more depth to particular areas or have different approaches, but this book has given me the crucial vocabulary and background to know where I need to research further.

Greg, trying on a way-too-big sports coat.Each chapter is written by different combinations of writers (with repetition) and touches on everything from how much to save, how taxes work, retirement account and plan types, investment strategies, how to withdraw for retirement (including some tax minimization strategies), and what to do when fecal matter hits the rotary impeller (divorce, nasty debt, etc.).

That said, it’s not a personal finance book in the popular sense. It includes some ideas on how much to save, but doesn’t throw out anything like “save 15% of your income” or get into coupon clipping. If you need to save $10 million to have the post-retirement lifestyle you want, then you need to figure out what that means on a paycheck-to-paycheck budgeting level.

…If $10 million is what you need for self-sustainability, you may want to switch to cat food (much tastier than dog food!) now so that you can eat well later.

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Financial Advisor: Not This One

My first financial advisor discussions have ended with a quiet crash and burn. The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning warned me about commission-based folks. I listened to them and then called him on some junk.

Jackie, sitting in our PS3 shipping box.We met yesterday to catch up on some of the things we talked about the first time, such as pre-tax vs. post-tax investments, “real wealth” vs. “paper wealth”, etc.

Showstopper: he was trying to sell me insurance.

Lousy insurance at that.

His ideas of safe, “real wealth”, tax-protected investments were whole life and variable universal life insurance. Which he’d get a commision on for selling me.

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Cell Phones: Going Prepaid?

So, I have this iWone 3G. Greg has one, too. It’s something of a boat anchor these days, now that the novelty has worn off (it’s been about a year and a half).

I’m not an iPhone gamer. I don’t really use social networking stuff (Hootsuite) on it except on rare occasions. Email is only for reference rather than composition. It is my primary camera at the moment, sadly, since my real one won’t hold a charge on fresh batteries.

So what do I use it for? Contacts, calendar, phone calls, static music, and Pandora. The first two come from our good friend Uncle Google. The last two are definitely “wants” rather than “needs”.

I’d say making phone calls is a requirement.

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Stereo Reduction

One of my latest home pet peeves is my stereo. I’ve got a nice, old-skool 5.1 setups (sans a subwoofer)… which means that my living room is chock full of cables.

As I clear out things like the broken desk chair that’s been in our living room for a year and a half, more speaker cables are exposed. Fugly eye sore. I like my sound system–I’ve had it for over a decade now (mostly). The receiver is an old Harman Kardon AVR 110, and despite predating component inputs (much less HDMI), it sounds beautiful when I use optical/coax audio.

In addition to the eye sore of the speaker cables, though, I’m also finding myself with fewer and fewer components. My massive 200-CD player died a while ago, and all my music is digitized now, disks stashed. I also don’t really listen to music in the living room anymore–headphones work better for dishwashing and general chilling.

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