Top 5 Expenses that Go Down in Retirement

boys fighting

In order to safely plan for a successful retirement, it’s imperative to have a general idea of what your spending needs will be when retired. We cannot calculate whether or not our anticipated withdrawal rate would be considered safe (in the range of 3% to 4%) without knowing the size of the annual withdrawal. That number can be difficult to pin down, as there are many variables. It can be informative to budget (we don’t) or track spending (we do), but this year’s spending might not look like last year’s, and could be entirely different than what we will end […]

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Top 5 Reasons to Work After Financial Independence

Holmsvollur Golf Course

I was browsing the Bogleheads forum last night, and my eyes naturally gravitated to the thread titled “What is FI if you love your job?” The short answer is that FI is financial independence. Nothing more, nothing less, and it doesn’t look any different if you love, hate, or feel indifferent towards your job. The long answer, after learning that the man asking the question is about 10 years away from FI, includes the fact that the person or the job is quite likely to look and feel quite a bit different in 10 years, and Fi is a smart […]

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Top 5 Reasons This Physician Holds $500,000 in Cash

Minnesota 51 Iowa 14

Today’s Top 5 list is a guest post from VagabondMD, a late-career interventional radiologist who has been a regular reader here, and a frequent contributor of wisdom on the WCI forum. In his early fifties, he is looking forward to reducing his workload to part-time status this fall. Take it away, VagabondMD!  Top 5 Reasons I Keep a Half Million Dollars Under My Mattress*   (* my wife asked me to add here that we really do not keep any money under the mattress. None at all. Really.)   It is personal finance dogma to maintain a liquid (i.e. cash) […]

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Top 5 Reasons to Front-Load Your Investments

amana front loading washer

As January comes to a close, it’s a great idea to explore what it means to “front-load” your investments, and why you should do so if you can. To front-load is to invest a lump sum of money early on, as opposed to dollar cost averaging over a longer period of time. Typically, we’re talking about investing as much as you can afford in the beginning months of the year, although there are other ways to front-load, as we’ll discuss in reason number four. Note that front-loading has nothing to do with a front-end load, which is a fee paid up […]

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Top 5 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self

With ten years of real world experience as a physician anesthesiologist, there are a few things I wish I would have known as a young buck just starting out. Presenting, The Top 5 Things I’d Tell My Younger Self   1. You don’t need to build a 4,000 square foot home.   There’s a reason really nice homes are called “dream homes.” We long to own one someday. We can’t wait to be able to afford the home we’ve dreamed of for years. When you sign your first contract as a physician, the dream home can be yours.   “Don’t […]

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Top 5 Reasons I Chose Not to Retire at 39

A year and a half ago, at age 39, I was studying for an exam required to maintain my status as a board-certified anesthesiologist. Most of the study materials were only peripherally related to my actual job, and the practice questions were equally inane. I started wondering if I would have to repeat the process in 10 years. A google search between study sessions quickly opened my eyes to the concepts of Financial Independence and Retiring Early. The FIRE blogging community provided me with a great education, and over the last 6 months has welcomed me graciously as one of […]

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The Top 5 Reasons I Want to Retire Early

Personal finance is personal, and personal posts tend to be more interesting than the typical clickbait lists that perpetrate our Facebook and Twitter feeds. I’ve written a couple not-so-personal Top 5 lists, including the Reasons to Retire Early, and the Reasons Not to. The writing comes easier when I’ve got something more personal to say, as I did when I wrote the Top 5 Things I’ll Miss When I Retire Early. Today, I’m going to give you my own reasons for wanting to retire early. These aren’t the best reasons to retire early, or reasons you should retire early; these are […]

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Top 5 Things I’ll Miss When I Retire Early

Cheboygan River Sunset

I started thinking about an early retirement about 18 months ago. I’ve read extensively on the topic in the interim, and I started writing about it 4 months ago. When you write about early retirement, you think about early retirement. A lot. I ask myself questions. Why do I want this? What will retirement look like for me? How will it change life for my family and I? I think I’ve got some pretty good answers and of course I’ll be sharing them with you in due time. The fact that I actually like my job most of the time […]

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Top 5 Reasons to Be a Locums Doc

Locum Tenens, Latin for “To hold a place”, describes a unique way for a physician to practice medicine as a temporary or traveling doctor. I’ve had ample experience working as a locum, which I have detailed in a guest post @ whitecoatinvestor.com. My various turns as a locum tenens physician have been quite positive. A competent physician with the ability to easily adapt to new surroundings can be in high demand. Anesthesia lends itself well to fill-in work, as do other specialties where established relationships between physician and patient are not the norm, such as emergency medicine, radiology, pathology, etc… That being said, opportunities exist in every specialty.     […]

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Top 5 Ways to Pay No Tax on Capital Gains & Dividends

Today, I’d like to explore strategies to avoid taxes on capital gains and dividends. Both of these investment returns come in two flavors. Short-term capital gains and ordinary non-qualified dividends are taxed like income, so it’s awfully difficult to avoid taxes on those. Long-term capital gains (LTCG), realized when you sell an asset you’ve held for more than a year, and qualified dividends (QD) are a different variety. The tax treatment on them can be much more favorable. It can also be not so favorable. Typically, even though these are a better flavor of payout, you can expect to pay […]

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Top 5 Money Lessons from Prince

I was working on a bathroom remodel in the basement today, listening to Hawaii’s New Music Alternative Star 101.9 via the magic of the internet, when the eerily majestic “Purple Rain” came on. I knew something was amiss. This station’s idea of a throwback classic is spinning a tune from Sublime‘s 1996 self-titled album, and they never play pop music from the eighties. When the DJs came back on, they shared the news. Prince died. Celebrity deaths don’t normally affect me much. At least the news doesn’t ever put a lump in my throat or make my eyes all glossy. But […]

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Top 5 Ways to Lower Your Tax Bill

Tax Day is just around the corner. Be sure to file your tax return (or file for an extension) before it’s too late! If you’re like me, this was taken care of weeks ago. If not, you (or your CPA) have some work to do. Have fun with that! Did you know that America’s retailers and restaurants now “celebrate” the date with weird deals, including free document shredding, $10.40 meals and bagel bundles, and free cookies? I’m a sucker for a good deal, and I’d never turn down a free cookie, but I won’t be out chasing deals on Tax […]

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Top 5 Ways to Derail Financial Independence & Early Retirement

Does the concept of financial independence appeal to you? Would you like to have the option to retire early? Great! Me too! One of my goals is to help give you the knowledge and motivation to help make FI a reality. I’ve talked about why you might want to retire early and how to go about it. I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about how not to do it. Presenting, the Top 5 Ways to derail your FIRE plans.   1. Live Beyond Your Means   This one is obvious. The only way to accumulate the money required to […]

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Top 5 Ways to Manage Your Money

I’ve written a few Top 5 posts so far, and the 5 top items have generally been listed in no particular order. That won’t be the case today. Presenting, from best to worst, the Top 5 ways to manage your money:   1. DIY (Do It Yourself)   Invest in low cost stock and bond funds. Diversify. Invest early and often. Know the tax implications. Create an Investor Policy Statement with a thoughtful asset allocation for your portfolio. Read a recommended book or three. Avoid costly mistakes. Acknowledge that you don’t know what you don’t know, like the future for example. Educate yourself. Understand […]

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Top 5 Reasons to Achieve Financial Independence

Welcome to another Top 5 list, the Top 5 Reasons to achieve Financial Indendence (FI). I’ll admit, it wasn’t easy whittling this list down to 5.   1. Give yourself options. Being FI, you’ve got a nest egg that should support you indefinitely. Work becomes optional. That’s right, you can choose how to spend your days. If you’ve longed for a 3-day workweek, now is the time to make that a reality. If you’ve wanted to do some teaching or research, but had chosen private practice for the better pay, now is the time to explore that academic position. If […]

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Top 5 Reasons NOT to Retire Early

In a previous post, I shared with you the Top 5 Reasons to Retire Early. Next up in the Top 5 series, we have five reasons not to consider it.   The Top 5 Reasons NOT to Retire Early   1. You love your job.   You had a life-altering experience as a teenager. You made up your mind that you were going to help people. You studied your butt off for the next seven years and got into medical school. After three to six years of residency and perhaps another year or three in fellowship, you’re finally doing it! You’re a real doctor and […]

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Top 5 Reasons to Retire Early

Have you ever seen the John Cusack film, “High Fidelity“? No? That’s OK, you don’t really have to see the movie to understand and appreciate the concept of a Top 5 list. Cusack’s character, Rob, is a big fan of them; so am I. David Letterman had his Top 10 lists, but half the list was nonsense and the lame answers distracted you from laughing at the 4 or 5 funny ones. So I’m taking Rob’s approach. My top 5 reasons to retire early are:   1. Because You Can   If you live below your means, save and invest […]

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