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Blogging WealthTrack: Christine Benz (Retire Early? Or not?)

 This morning I've watched an interesting video on Consuelo Mack: WealthTrack. Here, Consuelo's guest, a longtime contributor, Christine Benz, a personal finance expert from Morningstar joined Consuelo for a discussion on issues related to retirement, in particular in the current market environments. This conversation is even more interesting against the backdrop of The Great Resignation. I found Christine's advice to be particularly interesting on a couple of fronts. Her advice in dealing with talking about retirement in general, in particular for people who are in the process of thinking about retiring early gave me pause. She is considering the traditional advice of a 4 percent withdrawal rate to be dangerous and indeed, actually concerning. According to the recent research she cites, a 3% withdrawal rate is a better option. Even more than the four percent rule, I think that her comments on annuities are particularly interesting. While annuities have been given a bad nam
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More Money Into Ibonds

 At this point, it seems like a well-known strategy for handling inflation: ibonds. While there was not much press about this, it is in fact something that I did late last year in order to capitalize on the fact that this interest rate was bound for up to 10000 dollars as part of my allotment for 2021. Then now that we're in the new year, I have moved another 10000 into the account. All of this can be done easily at if you're willing to give up the fact that the money is locked up, that the interest rates to be paid will be somewhat lower than you could earn in the market, and you're able to ensure that you're not needing the money for the near future.  For me personally, I find that this is a great way to lock up about 25% of my emergency (safe) money instead of putting it into a High Yield Savings account. This interest rate changes every six months, but even if it is much lower, I think that we're going to be in much better shape than if

Diversifying, but no the Market is not going to Crash

 There are a number of items in the news lately that give investors a large amount of concern. There is a looming debt ceiling issue in the United States that continues to be an issue as it does not seem like it is going to be resolved in the near term. However, from the news I've seen it seems like the consensus view is that the ceiling will be raised, eventually.  The second issue is that there is a non trivial amount of debt that has been issued by the Federal Reserve. Even if you believe/support Modern Monetary Theory , the amount of money that has been issued is huge. Close to 1 20 Billion Dollars per month has been injected into the US Economy. The tapering of these purchases is looking like it will start happening, but it is definitely challenging to know the exact timing. The Infrastructure Spending bill total is at 1 Trillion dollars at this point. And the news is that the house of representatives is voting on it this week.  So, with all of that news in the background I

Real Estate Update

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My Call Options Experience explained Simply

 So in my previous post, I detailed that I had started to experiment with Options Trading. None of this is advice, but just a description of my experience and thinking. I think that this was an interesting part of my experience in the past year because I didn't previously understand the appeal of some of the more complicated parts of the financial system despite being interested in it for a very long time.  In the past few months, I've begun to take additional opportunities when I can with the shares that I own free and clear via covered calls. I've heard about this option more and I encourage people to read about it more if they are interested. However, this strategy works well for me. In my case, I own a large number of shares in my trading account of certain stocks or ETFs.  It is my intention to buy more if we ever see a market drop. That said, I certainly don't intend to sell. Even in a crazy, 80% style drop like the great depression. I'm holding to zero. It

First Options Trades

 In all the time that I have been investing in the stock market, both as an individual investor and as a future retiree, I've never invested in stock options. However, in the world of stimulus checks, these have become more and more popular and even more so in the world of meme stocks like Gamestop GME . What is an Option In my brokerage account I had to first ask for permission to trade options. Presumably, this was to ensure that I had enough money and I understood that there were risks that were not clearly understood to the average stock market investor. Indeed, in some cases your losses could be severe -- much more severe than in the case that you actually bought a stock. Put simply, a put option is a bet the price of a stock will go down. A call option is a bet the price will rise. On a stock that is at 100, you could buy a put at a strike price of 90. That means, you're betting that the price will drop below 90 dollars, and the put option gives you the right to sell the

Are ETFs going to replace Mutual Funds

 In recent weeks my circumstances have changed with my retirement account and the bulk of my retirement savings is in a self-directed rollover IRA. I am able now to look and invest more broadly. This has caused me to be more and more interested in mutual fund alternatives like ETFs.  ETFs are Exchange-Traded Funds which are a newer investment vehicle that are traded on the open market during the day with most mainstream brokerages and you're able to know the going price during the day instead of waiting for the close of market to have the mutual funds be priced. Also, whereas traditional mutual funds often have a fee in order to get in, many of the ETFs have no load and also very low expenses.  Impact to the Market I've followed Consuelo Mack WealthTrack for some time. This week's guest is a longtime expert in the industry and while he previously has favored mutual funds, in particular index funds, he now believes that their days are numbered.  Indeed, Morningstar  reports