I read a number of personal-finance discussion boards, and one of the largest is Bogleheads.org. Their best feature is the user's wiki, which has grown way beyond a basic FAQ page to become one of the Internet's top unbiased online guides to investing and retirement. Just over a year ago a poster started a thread on military investing … [Read more...] about TSP tips and trivia
What if 4% is all wrong? By "4%" I mean the method tested by the Trinity Study over a decade ago. It determined a portfolio would survive for 30 years if withdrawals started at 4% of the portfolio's initial value and then were raised each year by the rate of inflation. Skeptics point out that the Trinity Study is based on a narrow slice of U.S. … [Read more...] about Is the 4% withdrawal rate really safe?
Today's (lengthy) post has been inspired by a reader question. Let me try to stop sounding like a USAA fanboy for a few paragraphs and talk about the issues of pricing and service. "Some of my relatives use USAA and the costs on the services they get are cheaper than what we pay. Which USAA services did you find to be higher than … [Read more...] about Pricing insurance and investments
Let's follow up on questions from last week: Explain again this 4% – is that 4% withdrawal from the “investment pot” each year in retirement? Wouldn’t that automatically reduce the amount withdrawn each year? And the 25 times living expenses…we might be unusual in that our children are both college age as we approach 65 so our current expenses … [Read more...] about Details of the 4% Safe Withdrawal Rate
Brandi F on Dollar Stretcher asked an excellent question on the "Money Rules to Break" post: I've always wondered if it was prudent for military members to keep a smaller emergency fund, given their job security and health care. I personally keep the traditional 3-6 months of expenses in my emergency fund for a few reasons: 1) if I separate early … [Read more...] about Chasing yield
I've been reading financial discussion boards for over a decade, and they tend to converge on a few perpetual topics. One of them is "How's my portfolio?" Here's a typical example: "Hi guys glad I found this board great to be here. So dudes im reading alot of financial books this month and heres my portfolio check it out: 10% VFINX 34.2% FMAGX … [Read more...] about Building the Ultimate Investment Portfolio
Cherie asked a very pertinent question in the TSP post: I joined the Navy in 2002 and contributed to TSP until I got out 5 years later. Since I have gotten out I have lost over 1/2 of the money in my TSP. Should I just leave it there and let it do its thing or should I take what is left and roll into a Roth IRA? I’m only 28 so figured that leaving … [Read more...] about So where should I invest my money now?!?
The last post talked about the TSP's withdrawal options, including penalty-free ways to tap into your account before age 59.5. It also includes the TSP's draft of their rules for the 2012 Roth TSP. Before we get into the "how" of a TSP annuity, let's ask "Why?" If you're retired from the military then you already have an annuity: your … [Read more...] about TSP annuity options
So you've been in the military for a few years and you've been dutifully putting part of your paycheck into the Thrift Savings Plan. (If you haven't been contributing to the TSP then go read this post and get hot.) Maybe you're even maxing out your contributions. But if you're like me, you've been so focused on the "saving" and "investing" parts … [Read more...] about TSP withdrawal options
Today's post will be a sensuous reading experience that only a financial planner or an economist could love. If you're just getting started on your own finances then you probably want to skip this post (!) in favor of reading the “Armed Forces Guide to Personal Financial Planning”, or "The Military Advantage", or another book from the … [Read more...] about Back to the Trinity Study