New Here? Get the Free Newsletter

Oblivious Investor offers a free newsletter providing tips on low-maintenance investing, tax planning, and retirement planning. Join over 21,000 email subscribers:

Articles are published Monday and Friday. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Investing Blog Roundup: David Swensen vs. Target-Date Funds

Target-date funds are often characterized as the sort of thing that’s only suitable for beginner investors — knowledgable investors can surely do better.

As long-time readers know by now, I don’t agree at all. I think a simple all-in-one fund makes a great portfolio in quite a lot of cases, even for people with plenty of experience/knowledge.

And as Ben Carlson notes this week, even very knowledgable investors — famous ones, even — don’t necessarily do any better.

Other Recommended Reading

Thanks for reading!

Investing Blog Roundup: Lifetime Annuities — With or Without Inflation Adjustments?

On a number of occasions we’ve discussed the concept that boring/simple lifetime annuities can be a very useful tool for those who are concerned about longevity risk (i.e., outliving their money). We’ve also discussed the fact that annuities with a fixed COLA not only fail to protect against inflation, they do worse in inflationary environments than regular (no-COLA) annuities do.

David Blanchette recently looked at annuities with actual inflation adjustments and came to the conclusion that, at least right now (as offered by the single insurance company selling such annuities), they are not a good deal.

Zvi Bodie and Dirk Cotton provide a counterpoint this week, arguing that nominal annuities (those without inflation adjustments) are “a speculative bet on future inflation rates, a bet that is imprudent for retirees and, indeed, one which many would make unwittingly.”

Other Recommended Reading

Thanks for reading!

Investing Blog Roundup: House Passes Bill Affecting Retirement Accounts

This week the House passed the “SECURE Act” with clear bipartisan support (417-3). The version passed in the House makes an assortment of minor changes to retirement accounts (e.g., pushing the RMD age back to 72, eliminating the age limit on traditional IRA contributions). Likely the largest change from an individual tax planning standpoint would be a change that requires inherited IRAs to be distributed over just 10 years, in many cases.

Given the bipartisan support in the House, we’ll likely see something similar passed in the Senate. Though of course the details could be different — and when it comes to tax law, the details are everything.

Other Recommended Reading

Thanks for reading!

Investing Blog Roundup: Tax-Efficient Portfolio Management

Portfolio-related topics are one of the major focuses of tax planning. And there’s a good reason for that: this is the area of your life where you have the most control over taxation. (By way of comparison, there’s isn’t very much you can do to make your home more tax-efficient. Ditto for your job — unless you’re self-employed.)

This week Advisor Perspectives published a great primer on tax-efficient investing from financial planner Allan Roth.

Other Recommended Reading

Thanks for reading!

Investing Blog Roundup: Financial Planning for Young People

Conventional wisdom states that financial planning is simpler for younger people than it is for people nearing or in retirement.

Michael Kitces argues to the contrary. The portfolio itself may be simpler, but for an actual financial planner (i.e., somebody doing financial planning rather than just portfolio management), there’s still plenty going on, because life circumstances are changing at a fast pace. Insurance needs change as family size or work status changes. Advice could be appreciated regarding a first home purchase. Changes to employment, which are especially common in the early years of a career, require adjustments to plans.

Other Recommended Reading

Thanks for reading!

Investing Blog Roundup: Getting an Accurate Benefit Estimate from Your Social Security Statement

The benefit estimate on your Social Security statement assumes that you retire and file for retirement benefits on the same date — and the SSA’s online calculators make the same assumption. So how can you calculate a benefit estimate if you plan to retire prior to (or after) filing for benefits?

Short answer: by using either of two calculators from the SSA and a very slight bit of arithmetic.

Other Recommended Reading

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: By using this site, you explicitly agree to its Terms of Use and agree not to hold Simple Subjects, LLC or any of its members liable in any way for damages arising from decisions you make based on the information made available on this site. I am not a financial or investment advisor, and the information on this site is for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial advice.

Copyright 2019 Simple Subjects, LLC - All rights reserved. To be clear: This means that, aside from small quotations, the material on this site may not be republished elsewhere without my express permission. Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

My new Social Security calculator (beta): Open Social Security