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An Economic Game of Chicken: Covid vs. the Fed vs. Inflation

You may remember hearing horror stories, a decade or so ago, about how poor monetary policy in Zimbabwe sent prices for consumer goods skyrocketing to absurd levels. For example, at one point the price of a loaf of bread exceeded $500 million (yes, really). Granted, those are Zimbabwean dollars – but it’s still just as bad as it sounds. 

That is one very dramatic example of how much influence governments can exert over their nations’ economies. Right now, as lockdown measures lift and economic recovery ramps up, the threat of excessive inflation is on many people’s minds. And the government’s response to it – specifically that of the Federal Reserve (or just “the Fed”) – has come under scrutiny. 

Sequence of Returns: The Secret Trap for Your Portfolio

Two weeks ago we started down a rabbit-hole of retirement prep fundamentals: first by looking at how long-term tax projection can beef up your saving strategy; then, last week, we looked at how to get the most mileage out of your retirement spending through what’s known as a “sequence of withdrawals.”

However, both of these posts – in particular last week’s – left a pretty big elephant in the room: the unpredictability of your stock market investments. This is understandably a major source of anxiety for most (if not all) retirement savers, so we’d be remiss to not dig into it a bit.

Using Sequential Withdrawals to Maximize Retirement Income

There’s a lot of talk about how to best save up for retirement: when to start, how much to put away, what sort of accounts and investment vehicles to use, how to minimize your tax burden… the list goes on and on. That last topic, in fact, is precisely what the first part of this post dealt with (be sure to catch up with that one before reading this. We’ll still be here). 

All this coverage on retirement saving makes a lot of sense, of course. But the other side of the equation, while just as important, doesn’t get nearly as much attention – namely, how to do your retirement spending. 

Tax Projection: the "Secret Sauce" of Retirement Saving

Most of us assume that there’s a certain lump sum we’re just going to have to pay in taxes every year. Our CPA looks over a bunch of forms, plugs some things into a calculator, gives us a number and that’s it. 

Robinhood: The Power and Perils of Amateur Trading

Last week I spent some time digging into the details of January’s big stock market upset at the hands of a bunch of “meme traders:” that is, individual traders coordinating via social media to pump up a particular stock that may or may not deserve the hype. Now I want to dig into the broader context of that whole episode: namely, the new stock trading landscape that made it possible, and what it means for personal finance at large.

Wall Street Bets: A Revolution Or A Distraction?

If you’ve been following financial news throughout 2021 so far, you’ve probably heard something about Wall Street Bets or GameStop, probably Robinhood as well, maybe even “stonks” or “meme traders.” Most of the fiasco involving these terms happened back in January; ancient history as far as the news cycle is concerned. But I think it’s worth revisiting, because it highlights some troubling trends in the world of investments and trading. 

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