Prioritizing Each Investment Account for FIRE

Prioritizing Each Investment Account for FIRE

As I became a little more familiar with the idea of FIRE (financial independence / retire early), I needed to learn where I should be putting my money.  And I’m not talking about the specific investments – I’m referring to the type of investment account. Terms like taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free can make a huge difference in the outcome of your portfolio.  When I started out, I didn’t understand just how much of a difference each of these accounts could make in the long run. Most of the articles you read or the standard investment advice you hear from planners on TV anticipates that you’ll be retiring at the traditional age… or even working for the rest of your life. Because of

The Move to Vanguard… Bye, Bye TD Ameritrade!

The Move to Vanguard… Bye, Bye TD Ameritrade!

If you’ve delved into the FIRE community even slightly, you’re probably already familiar with the shrine that is Vanguard.  The Vanguard Group is an investment/brokerage firm out of Pennsylvania that manages over $4 trillion in assets. Eh, who cares?  All the big brokerages manage big dollar assets like that. True, but Vanguard’s different from the other firms out there in that Vanguard is structured as a mutual company. What that means is that it’s a private company where the owners are actually the clients themselves.  In other words, if you’re a Vanguard customer, you’re also a part owner of the company. That’s part of the reason people love this company.  This isn’t to say that the other big brokerages don’t have your interests

Is Rule 72(t) the Escape Tool for Me?

Is Rule 72(t) the Escape Tool for Me?

Rule 72(t).  The name sounds as boring as 401(k).  And it should because it’s from the same place – the Internal Revenue Code. Both are part of the tax law that the IRS gets to govern. Coincidentally, both Rule 72(t) and 401(k) plans are pertinent to this post. I recently wrote a post about our FIRE plans titled The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder Dilemma.  I talked about how we plan on using the ladder to access our tax-deferred accounts earlier than the traditional retirement age. The problem we ran up against is covering the 5-year gap in the meantime until we can access the funds.  We need to have enough money in our taxable accounts to make that happen… and we

The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder Dilemma

The Roth IRA Conversion Ladder Dilemma

I’ve been a bit moody the past couple of weeks.  I’ve been focusing a lot on trying to pinpoint our exact retirement date and I’ve been struggling.  The problem all stems with the Roth IRA Conversion Ladder we plan to do. First off, if you’re on the path to FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) and you’re not familiar with how a Roth IRA Conversion Ladder works, this could be important to you. It’s not the end-all-be-all solution, but the ladder is a method that many early retirees are able to use to make FIRE actually happen. You see, normally you don’t have access to your traditional 401(k) and other retirement accounts until 59½.  This is a problem for young whippersnappers trying

What to Do with Your Money Right Now

What to Do with Your Money Right Now

We’re in an interesting cycle of the economy right now.  Things are looking good, which helps boost the value of your money.  When it comes to investments, stock prices and property values are generally up. And if you’re selling, that’s a good thing.  Retirees and folks selling their houses or some of their stock investments are partying it up during these times. However, if you’re still in the wealth-building phase of your life, this isn’t as exciting.  Sure, it makes your portfolio look good, but if you don’t need the money right now, it’s taking its toll on your buying power. Using your money to buy new shares in the stock market is expensive right now.  Expensive is a subjective word,

Property Management Companies – Why I’m Firing Mine

Property Management Companies – Why I’m Firing Mine

Ah, property management companies – the answer to anyone wanting to get into real estate without the headaches, right? The thought makes sense.  Rental properties are a great way to help diversify your investment portfolio and earn a solid cash flow. The only problem… managing the properties. Now, some folks like the idea of running the operation and handling any repairs themselves.  The good news is that they tend to make more money on their properties every month since they’re doing all the work. However, not all of us want to do this.  The other side of the coin has the masses that just want the investment for the returns it can provide. These folks want someone else to handle