The two week vacation to Hawaii was perfect except for one thing. My financial advisor from Citibank failed to call me the day a particular deal was closing as previously discussed. This investment offered between a 15% to 20% guaranteed return on the Dow Jones over four years if the Dow closes above the initial strike price plus any upside beyond the guarantee and a 10% downside buffer. I wanted to know whether the guaranteed return was 15%, 16%, 17%, 18%, 19%, or 20% to determine how much to invest. I already made up my mind that I would lob anywhere between $20,000 – $30,000 into this note.
Instead of getting a call on the day of closing, I get an e-mail two days after the close saying he got his calendars totally mixed up. Sigh. At least give a believable excuse! You know like, “I went binge drinking the night before and called in sick on Monday.”
Tim’s lack of follow up is costing me around $1,000 in paper gains in just a couple of weeks as the Dow has moved from 14,300 to over 15,000 at the moment. As an early retiree, I’m investing all the disposable income I’ve got because I’m looking for capital appreciation and income to help replace my lack of W2 income. Leaving cash in a money market account yielding 0.1% is a financial crime I refuse to commit.
Lesson learned. For those of you who are interested in an upcoming IPO and plan on going away for vacation, put in your IOI (indication of interest) before you leave and stagger your order size depending on the final price. My financial advisor might still forget to input the order, but at least there will be an e-mail trail indicating my IOI, and the firm can fill the order in arrears.
THE MAIN REASONS TO HAVE A FINANCIAL ADVISOR Read more…
If you have tremendous money strength, you will never have to draw down on your retirement principal. Your goal, if you choose to accept, is to create an estate that will provide for your loved ones long after you are gone. This is what endowments do. Why not consider doing the same if you are a magnanimous and financially savvy individual? You’re reading Financial Samurai after all!
I always scratch my head when I hear advisors talk about the “4% withdrawal rule” or any withdrawal rate that’s greater than a risk free rate of return for that matter. Times have changed folks. Interest rates are close to zero, the stock market isn’t a slam dunk, and we are living much longer now.
There are so many variables that it is impossible to calculate a bullet proof withdrawal rate rule unless that rate is 0%. Sure, there’s a 99% chance you will die before 110 and a 99.9% chance you’ll die before 150, but who really knows? We might be one with machines by the year 2030 and live forever!
Instead of thinking about how much you can withdraw to bleed your retirement funds down to $0 by the time you die, I highly encourage everyone to think about leaving a financial legacy for your loved ones that is so great you’ll never run out of money. Even if we fail to come up with a perpetual giving machine to leave for others, the end result will be much better than if we only focused on ourselves. Related: Is Not Wanting To Be Rich Selfish?
BREAKING DOWN THE IDEAL WITHDRAWAL RATE Read more…
View from Koko Head, Oahu
After rolling over my 401(k) into an IRA, I’d like to focus on potentially the single most beneficial reason why everyone should convert their 401(k) into an IRA after they leave their jobs: Rule 72(t).
Rule 72(t) allows for penalty-free withdrawals of your IRA account before the age of 59.5 provided that the IRA holder take at least five “substantially equal periodic payments” (SEPPs). The amount depends on the IRA owner’s life expectancy calculated with various IRS-approved methods.
Three IRS approved methods to calculate SEPP:
1) Required minimum distribution method: This method takes your current balance and divides it by your single life expectancy or joint life expectancy. Your payment is then recalculated each year with your account balance as of December 31st of the preceding year and your current life expectancy. With this method, your payments will change depending on your account value.
2) Fixed amortization method: This method amortizes your account balance over your single life expectancy, the uniform life expectancy table, or joint life expectancy with your oldest named beneficiary. Such a method is more stable.
3) Fixed annuitization method: This method uses an annuity factor to calculate your SEPP. It’s hard enough calculating life expectancy and portfolio performance, let alone forecast interest rates for annuities so let’s skip this method.
The most common withdrawal calculation method is #1. I’d like to use my example for how using Rule 72(t) can help an early retiree extract more income and lead a more comfortable financial life.
TAXES BAD, MORE INCOME GOOD Read more…
Mahalo! I’m currently on vacation from vacation so apologies if comments or e-mails do not get responded to in a normal fashion. Long time FS reader Jason is sharing his early retirement story and isn’t quite sure whether it’s all worth it. Hopefully you guys can provide some different perspectives as always. Thanks!
After almost 20 years of work, I feel like I’m on the road to an early retirement. According to my back-of-the-napkin calculations, I’ll be done in another 5 years, give or take, which will put me in my mid-40s. But, as much as it’s inspiring to have a game plan and see the progress, I feel it’s also sucked some of the happiness out of my life.
From No Net Worth To $500 After Four Years Of Work
When I came out of college with a degree in Math in 1995, the economy was not the best and I had no idea if I was even remotely employable. It took me close to 6 months (sending out 10 resumes by mail each day) but I finally landed a beginning-level job in the IT industry. The salary was over minimum wage, but not by much. I was very happy with getting the job, but I felt as though I could do better. I then asked myself “What’s next?”, a phrase that even now drives my wife crazy. Within 1 month, my resume was updated and I was fishing for the next thing.
In the following years, I worked like hell at my career. Working during the day, taking courses at night, learning all I could. I was now a software developer (a job I still do) and was switching jobs every 2-3 years, always negotiating a higher salary. During these years, I also moved to the US from Canada and became familiar with the harsh and often arbitrary immigration system.
It was very clear that if I were to become unemployed, there would be no safety net. Then, the large layoffs from the dot-com implosion started to happen in 2000 and the company I was working for closed. I managed to find something else, but it was not easy and I had to move across the country to do it. Even in a good economy, few companies want to spend extra money on immigration lawyers and paperwork.
Starting A Failed Online Business Read more…
This past week I decided to convert my 401(k) into a rollover IRA and I’d like to share with you why. As I wrote in a previous article, I took profits in my 401(k) after the S&P 500 reached the 1,551-1,555 range. That’s a 9% gain for the year and inline with my 2013 forecast which now seems conservative with every pundit on the street calling for 1,600+. Where were their calls at the end of last year I don’t know. I guess it’s easy to get bullish after the market has made a strong move!
Given I no longer have earned income, I can no longer contribute to my 401(k). The market is fully valued in my opinion which means I see a greater risk of a pullback during the summer than continued gains. Even though my 401(k) has 40 or so mutual fund choices provided across various sectors, countries, and asset classes it isn’t enough for what I want to do.
THE BENEFITS OF ROLLING OVER TO AN IRA Read more…
I want to get everybody talking about their retirement portfolios because making the proper net worth allocation, deciding on how often to rebalance, and running different growth scenarios matters more over time. Contributing the maximum $17,500 a year to your 401(k) should be standard. If you’re making more than $60,000 a year and not maxing out your 401(k), then you should probably give yourself a timeout to contemplate why you’re slicing off your toes.
As you can tell from my 401(k) by age chart, contributions add up quickly over time. Assuming you receive no company match and suffer no losses, you’ll have at least $100,000 in your 401(k) in six years. In 10 years, you’ll probably sock away over $200,000 and in 30 years you’ll finally reach that magical $1 million dollar mark.
The S&P 500 is up roughly 10% year to date. That’s a healthy $100,000 gain in your million dollar portfolio in three months without having to do much of anything. I’m cautious investing new money now, but the point is once you’ve amassed a sizable nut there’s no longer a need to work in a bull market - unless you are restless like me.
401k CONTRIBUTIONS AS A PERCENTAGE OF YOUR PORTFOLIO Read more…
Financial independence and retirement are used interchangeably, but there are some subtle differences. Financial independence is usually applicable to people across their entire lifespan. Those who cashed out $5 million dollars worth of Facebook stock at the age of 30 are financially independent just like those who saved $5 million in their retirement funds by the age of 65.
Retirement, on the other hand, is a term often used to describe someone in the last quarter of their lives e.g. ages 65 and up. This is why some folks get so hot and bothered if you aren’t in the upper ages but say you are retired. They don’t think you deserve retirement because you’re not old enough! If you don’t want unwanted attention as an early retiree, just say you are unemployed, on sabbatical, or an entrepreneur.
The reality is all of us would rather be financially independent earlier, so we have more time to enjoy our wealth. When the director of admissions at Berkeley asked why I was applying so early (25), I told her it was because I knew what I wanted to do and felt it best to leverage an MBA degree sooner, for a longer period of time. Little did I know I’d be done 10 years later.
The older we get the more we are willing to trade money for time since we have less of it. Given I’ve already described what financial independence feels like, I’d like to now describe what life is like once you no longer have to report for duty. I’ll be as candid as possible so you can get a realistic understanding.
THE CHANGED LIFE OF A RETIRED MAN – THE POSITIVES Read more…