Alternative Retirement: Downsizing

This is the third in a series of blog posts called Alternative Retirement. This post will focus on downsizing in an effective manner which means a discussion of the economics of two different ideas; not so much Tiny Houses but instead very small houses as well as retiring in another country. With a nod to the past series on Figuring It Out and Self Sufficiency this is something that will have to be figured out; studied and then implemented. There’s nothing new about downsizing but traditional downsizing may become harder to do. As of earlier this year the median home sold for $205,000 which doesn’t leave too much room for downsizing financially. Tiny Houses amount to trailers, they can be very high end and while people do make them work it seems very challenging to live in 120 square feet. Here is one small house that cost $18,000 to build at looks very nice and pretty big for 240 square feet. With a little bit of effort a 400 square foot house could be had for a similar dollar amount especially for people willing to pitch in some of the labor. Remember the context here is alternative retirement, people for whatever reason needing to take a different approach. As we in an earlier post, something will have to give and in this case it is square footage. While it might take some adjusting; a bedroom, a living area/kitchen and a bathroom with room for a washer dryer can be pretty big, all the more so if as is the case in the above linked cabin a deck is incorporated. The...

Don’t Follow The News? More Like Don’t Overreact To The News

My latest post at Alpha Baskets looks at the fine line between consuming news and information and overreacting to it. It is not uncommon to get convinced to buy something that should have never been bought or to get spooked out of something for no reason at all. From the post; Chances are that whatever your philosophy on investing (so investing, not trading), an earnings report from a small cap social media company or the subsequent discussion about those earnings on stock market television does not play into that philosophy. Please click through to read the entire post. The picture is of the Walker Fire Department after we did a hike for...

Does It Make My Portfolio Better?

My latest for Alpha Baskets is posted and includes the following; Last year was just such a year when broad based, domestic indexing was far ahead of anything else and people were throwing in the towel somewhat on maintaining diversified portfolios. An important point we’ve made here repeatedly is how much diversification do you really have if everything you own goes up together. Please click through to read the entire post....

Weekly Market Update

This week’s Market Update is posted and includes the following; One interesting theme in global markets for 2015 has been the heightened volatility in just about every asset class except US equities. Many of the various fixes applied to the Great Recession, both past and current policies, were unprecedented which created visibility for unknown consequences and one those consequences could be extreme moves in currencies, yields, certain commodities and even the news. Whether connected or not there is no denying how volatile some of the asset classes and headlines have been this year. Please click through to read the entire...

Alternative Retirement: Healthcare & Fitness

This is the second installment of the Alternative Retirement series. Last week was an introduction and this week we look at some of the dollars and cents around healthcare saving and the role fitness might play against a backdrop where many people might come up short in saving for their retirement. Earlier in the week I posted a link on Facebook that asked When Can You Afford To Retire and while the article itself did not offer much the comments were very interesting. Many said retiring at 62 is unrealistic for financial reasons and retiring at 70 is unrealistic for physical/health reasons. My comment in posting the story was that we all have our own circumstance and that we must all adapt to whatever our circumstance is/turns out to be. I further noted that at 65 some people will be able to bench press 200 lbs while unfortunately some will need a walker. I also found a very short blog post from Forbes that very superficially extolled the virtues of Health Savings Accounts or HSAs. They are companion savings accounts that pair with high deductible health insurance plans. Contributions are usually tax deductible and withdrawals for qualified medical expenses can be tax free. Withdrawals for just regular expenses above a certain age are taxable similar to non-Roth IRAs. The amounts that can be contributed usually go up a little every year, but not always, and the limits for 2015 are $3350 for individuals and $6650 for families. Arguably an HSA should be the second retirement vehicle after a 401k with an employer match in that you can usually deduct contributions...