Why the Rich Get Richer

Why the Rich Get Richer

Have you ever heard the saying “the rich get richer”? It’s the go-to cry of the American working man and woman against the inequality that seems to arise when more fortune seems to fall on the wealthy. I started thinking about that saying recently and you know what?  I think it’s true. It’s not that hard to see that the middle class is slowly being squeezed out.  Wages for middle-class Americans have been relatively stagnant while prices continue to rise. On the flip side, the wealth of the top 1% continues to grow to tremendously disproportionate levels. But why is that – is there a reason that the rich get richer? The more I thought about it, the more I

The Three-Year Blog Post… Finance Lessons Learned

The Three-Year Blog Post… Finance Lessons Learned

3 years.  That’s what this blog post marks… three years of blogging on Route to Retire. For new bloggers, this might sound like a long time.  However, I look at some of the others out there who have been doing this for over a decade – like J.D. Roth at Get Rich Slowly or J. Money at Budgets Are Sexy.  It’s then that I realize I’m still somewhat of a rookie in the blogosphere. I’ve consistently posted a minimum of once a week (haven’t missed a week yet!) and I’ve seen a steady increase in both readers and blog income. On last year’s anniversary, I talked about what I’ve learned about blogging.  That seemed to help a lot of newer bloggers out.

Adjusting My Asset Allocation… Tastes Great, Less Filling

Adjusting My Asset Allocation… Tastes Great, Less Filling

This might be sacrilegious to say in a personal finance blog, but I’ve never really paid that much attention to my asset allocation. Yeah, yeah, quit your mumblings about what a terrible personal finance blogger I am. What it really comes down to is that I just kept saving and investing.  It was as if I just kept shoveling dirt into a pile and never looked up. Then one day I looked at the pile and went, “Huh?  Oh, hey, that’s pretty nice.” I built up a nice nest egg over the years by just saving and investing in a pretty haphazard way.  This isn’t a horrible thing, but it’s far from the most efficient way of planning for our future.

Is the 4% Rule Safe to Use in Retirement Planning?

Is the 4% Rule Safe to Use in Retirement Planning?

The 4% rule is probably one of the most well-known ideas in the FIRE (financial independence/early retirement) community.  It provides a way to put some actual numbers to your future needs. But is it safe to rely on this rule for your own retirement planning? Let’s start with digging in a little further on what the 4% rule is first…   Some background on the 4% rule The biggest focus folks have in retirement planning is how much money they need to have socked away.  Will it be enough to sustain them throughout the rest of their lives? If you build up a portfolio of investments over the years, your hope is that you can withdraw from that portfolio over

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