October Financial Update

Its Autumn! Living here in Portland, October definitely felt more like fall than Houston ever did. The leaves are changing, it’s chilly in the morning and everyone seems to be getting excited about the various upcoming holidays. October is also in the Pacific Northwest when the rainy season starts. w\We were lucky this year that we actually had quite a dry month, this year’s Halloween was supposedly the first dry one in 10 years.

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It’s Health Insurance Week – Part 2

As I discussed last week, as of January 1st we are likely moving to an ACA (Affordable Care Act) approved plan. We saw that using a representative set of plans from Kaiser for our family of 4 the annual premiums would be somewhere between $11,000 and $18,000. However this doesn’t include any relief due to the premium tax credit (PTC).

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It’s Health Insurance Week

For those in the US who are self employed, work in small business, or FIREd, this is a big week as open enrollment in the ACA (Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare) starts on Wednesday. A couple of days ago the 2018 details were released, so we can start perusing options now in order to sign up. We fully anticipate the ACA website to experience high-load crashes the closer we get to the December 15th deadline, therefore it is in our best interests to investigate the options and sign up sooner rather than later.

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A FIRE Family Can Live Anywhere

One of the big advantages of living the FIRE life is that you can live basically anywhere you want to. We moved from Houston to Portland and approached our move in a methodical way.

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Monte Carlo or Bust

I have been looking at some Monte Carlo simulations this week. For those unfamiliar with them, they allow you to take your portfolio and input factors such as withdrawal rates, inflation and portfolio make up. The software then runs something like 10,000 scenarios and gives you an idea as to whether your portfolio will run out before you do.

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FIRE Life : The Pros and Cons

The two questions/comments we are asked most often are, “Wow, you are so lucky” and “What do you do all day, don’t you get bored?”

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Mitigating Risk

As mentioned a couple of weeks back the best way of spreading risk within a stock portfolio is to buy an index fund, which will likely contain several hundred stocks and track an index such as the S&P 500.

However you will still have an all-stock portfolio, which is very risky. So how do you reduce that risk even further?

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Brain Games

For me, one of the difficulties of retirement is keeping my brain active. In my past life (i.e. when I worked) I struggled at least once a day on some sort of problem that required both knowledge and logic to figure out, but now I require neither. I can almost feel the little grey cells decaying each day so I’ve got to try and find things to help them grow – like Sudoku, or the New York Times Crossword, or a cryptic crossword (OK – I can never get the cryptic crossword), logic problems, etc. Pub Quizzes are more engaging and the beer an exceptional compliment to the experience.

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September Financial Update

We are into October already! Last quarter of the year, so I thought it would be a good idea to see how the market did in the last month and quarter and also how we did.

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Active vs Passive Fund Management

When investing money you have a choice you can have it invested actively or passively.

Active management means handing your money over to an investment or fund manager who will routinely buy and sell individual stocks in order to hopefully produce superior results.

Conversely passive management involves investing usually in an index tracker fund (such as the S&P 500) and leaving it. Although there is a manager looking over it, it is more for book keeping purposes as there is little active trading of the money.

Lets look at the two styles in more detail.

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