25 Sep 2017

Changes to the Missouri Most 529 Plan

I received a package from Missouri Most last week highlighting a change to the college savings plan. For those investors, like me, that use the age-based options, Vanguard is expanding the stock/bond options to make the journey a little smoother for investors. Currently, there are five age categories, starting with zero to five years old, then six to ten years old, 11-15 years old, 16-18 years old and for 19-year… Read More

29 Aug 2017

Forecasting Expected Returns

“Price is what you pay.  Value is what you get.”  -Warren Buffet How can investors know the value of an investment?  Bond yields remain very low and stocks continue to climb higher across the globe.  Using typical valuation measures, markets everywhere look very expensive.  However, investors continue to pour money into them, so they must see value.  The value of an investment is subject to an uncertain future, so how… Read More

31 Jul 2017

Could the Inherited IRA Be Eliminated?

While it’s always unclear what will come out of Washington, it appears that the inherited IRA (also known as a ‘stretch’ IRA) may be on the chopping block. To incentivize retirement saving, the government allows people to make pretax contributions to IRAs and allows the funds to grow without annual tax bills. Ultimately, though, IRAs are tax-deferred, as opposed to tax-free and the government taxes the money when it comes… Read More

17 Jul 2017

Retirement Spending Rules of Thumb

I suspect that, at some point, everyone has heard the old rule of thumb that retirees need to replace 80 percent of their income in retirement to continue to maintain their lifestyle. Although I think that the rule is conceptually reasonable, it’s imperfect and can be improved upon.  At the very least, spending in retirement isn’t fixed – it tends to decline over time as people age (for more on… Read More

21 Feb 2017

The High Cost of Healthcare for Retirees

A study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) released in January estimates how much savings people need just to cover out of pocket healthcare expenses.  (You can see the entire study here) Like our retirement planning software, the EBRI conducted Monte Carlo simulations to estimate the effect of varying mortality rates and portfolio returns. The EBRI found that for a 65 year old man to have a 50/50 shot… Read More

31 May 2016

Lessons from Lawn Care

Three or four years ago, I gave up cutting the grass, which I wasn’t too happy about because I really liked seeing a physical change to my yard after a few hours of work. I love my job, but at the end of a year, the numbers on a screen may have changed, but they are still numbers on a screen.  It’s simply not as inherently satisfying. In any case,… Read More

25 Feb 2016

Another Year of the Bump

When I first took over Daily Insights, I wrote an article entitled ‘The Year of the Bump,’ which was about several of the Acropolitans that were having kids that year.  Unfortunately, I wrote that article before our current website, so it isn’t online, but I thought about that in a meeting today. We were visited by representatives from Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) and our primary contact said that he and… Read More

1 Dec 2015

A Good Way to Give Back

It looks like Black Friday was a dud, I hope that Small Business Saturday was successful and I trust that Cyber Monday was largely ignored here in the office. Last year, Marie Tustin apprised me to Giving Tuesday, which always follows the aforementioned ‘holidays’ but is dedicated to giving back instead of getting good deals. Even if you don’t have specific plans for Giving Tuesday, this is the time of… Read More

20 Nov 2015

Possible Law Changes Beyond File and Suspend

Back in 1995, I subscribed to the big industry rag for stock brokers, Registered Rep Magazine.  Twenty years later, I still get the magazine, although I haven’t held a broker’s license (the Series 7) for more than a decade. When I sat down to read it a few days ago, I was struck by one of the articles, which said that the popular Social Security maximization strategy, File and Suspend,… Read More

18 Nov 2015

What Retirees (and Pre-Retirees) Worry About

One of the interesting (but less than encouraging) data points in the inflation data is that medical care service costs increased 3.0 percent in the 12 months ending in October while core inflation was 1.9 percent (core inflation excludes volatile food and energy costs). Everyone at Acropolis knows that retirees and pre-retirees worry a lot about healthcare costs.  A recent UBS study of 1,849 high net worth individuals with an… Read More