Good Reads from Mr. PIE

I thought I would share the various sites, books and podcasts that are currently helping to further my education on money, investing and life.

Each blog reference below is a link to a recent article I have enjoyed along with the actual blog site in parentheses.


While you were Worrying (A Wealth of Common Sense)

As the blog is entitled, great discussion on all things money related and distilled down to, well, a wealth of common sense. If you are looking for a sensible perspective on market dynamics, investing habits, bookmark this one. I guarantee when you browse through the title of posts, you will find something very readable and of direct relevance to the markets today and your own financial situation. It is a favorite blog of Mr. PIE. In this particular post, the quote on “Investors now spend 90% of their time planning for events that happen 5% of the time” is a reminder to focus on the long view and not get caught up in the doom and gloom speak.

Opportunity Cost and the Concept of Enough (The Finance Buff)

The important topic of knowing for yourself when you have reached “enough”. Whether that is in a work situation, or the size of your portfolio. With each, there is an opportunity cost to walk away from a job or to build a larger portfolio respectively. No right or wrong answers here. Only you can think it through. It is a topic that seems to get people quite vocal in their opinion. Perhaps because of the polarizing views and the angsts that such discussions cause within families.

Trends in the Land of Mutual Funds (Basonasset)

Some outstanding data that perhaps reinforces feelings you may have about the popularity of Vanguard.

  • Traditional actively managed mutual funds had net OUTFLOW of $123 billion in 2015
  • Index mutual funds had net INFLOW of $166 billion in 2015
  • That means actively managed funds lost around $290 billion in Assets Under Management (AUM) in 2015
  • Index equity mutual funds’ share has risen to 22%
  • The overwhelming majority of assets in all categories of mutual funds are in the cheapest of funds

Bottom line – Vanguard owns asset management and investors are benefiting. You heard that right, investors are benefiting! Who knew?

Is 4.5% Still Safe (Financial Advisor Mag)

William Bengen is a highly respected and retired financial advisor. He first articulated the 4% rule which was later popularized by the Trinity Study. Bengen then coined the withdrawal rate SAFEMAX rate and revised it in 2006 to the 4.5% rule in his book “Conserving Client Portfolios during Retirement”. In this June 1, 2016 article in the Financial Advisor Magazine, Bengen provide a short commentary whereby he compares the SAFEMAX rate for retirees in 2000, 2008 and compares them to the 1969 retiree. The bottom line is that he sees no significant change from analyzing the SWR for both 2000 and 2008 retiree. Of course, the 2000 retiree’s portfolio has gone through some wild swings of the S&P 500 index. Yet the vigorous market recovery stabilized things for the 2000 retiree. If you are looking for a clear-cut answer by the expert on the SWR concept, you won’t find it. He finishes with a teaser that “the next few years should be intriguing for students of withdrawal methodologies”. Well, that’s all very clear then….


Can I Retire Yet – The Book (Can I Retire Yet)

The author Darrow Kirkpatrick is well known early retirement blogger and his second book is out. For those who are close to FIRE or even those who are some way off, this is a must read. Mr. PIE just finished it and it’s a gem. His approach to back-up plans (Lifeboat Strategies) you need to have in place is one of the best sections in the book. His research on Retirement Calculators and also on different Withdrawal Strategies (which can dramatically affect the growth of your portfolio) are excellent.

The Simple Path to Wealth (JLCollinsNH)

We were delighted to be invited to review this book ahead of the upcoming release. Look out soon for a post with our review of the book.


The Scariest Navy Seal Imaginable (Tim Ferriss Podcast)

The Tim Ferriss podcast is the top iTunes podcast. This September 2015 podcast with Jocko Willink (a retired navy SEAL) is a reminder of those who go into battle in dark corners of the world in order to protect our freedom. Jocko’s mantra is “Discipline equals Freedom” which can apply in many aspects of life. The whole podcast, nearly 2.5 hours long, is stuffed full of brilliant material but the section around 1hr 19mins on fallen comrades and his heroes will stop you in your tracks.

What are you reading / listening to this week? Any gems of information you have found out there?




    1. You are very welcome. I benefit greatly from the recommendations of others.
      Just our little way of giving some back.

  1. Great links. Found some new ones!

    “Is 4.5% Still Safe (Financial Advisor Mag)
    […]If you are looking for a clear-cut answer by the expert on the SWR concept, you won’t find it.”

    That’s a big concern that troubles me too. First, for the traditional “retirement researchers” a safe withdrawal rate means you withdraw for 30 years and then run our of money. To preserve your capital for 50-60 years in the FIRE crowd you need a lower SWR, by about another 0.25%-0.50%. Also, it seems like researchers are now squeezing out a few extra 0.1% of that SWR by playing around with the target allocation. Now they recommend intermediate government bonds (5 years?). 1.17% nominal yield, negative real yield. I wouldn’t think that this would last for the next 60 years.

    For us personally, it’s still 3%:

    1. Glad you enjoyed the new stuff.

      Like you we aim to be around 3.3% for first four years and when my company pension kicks in at age 55, we will be at 2%. We are super conservative but this is how we think folks should be. I would not want to be starting a 40 -50 year FIRE journey on anything like 4-4.5% It is unfortunate that there is no good way of projecting how SWR will play out other than taking the conservative approach or gambling or being able to work part-time. For many younger folks, the latter is fine. For us, not what we want to be doing.

  2. Thanks! I hadn’t heard of many of these so I’ll have to check them out! I’m a little hesitant to rely on 4% or 4.5% considering the long retirement horizon I, along with other early retirees, will have.

    1. I think you are very wise to be planning for less than 4.5%. You will reap the benefits of this approach and planning.

    1. The beauty of the first two blogs I mentioned is they are very succinct. No-nonsense write ups that are easily digestible. In our crazy world of rush, rush, rush that is a good thing!

    1. Glad to be of help. I think you will find the Jim Collins book incredibly useful. If you can buy a copy of that, he offers advice that is just so simple and powerful, you won’t look back.

  3. I hadn’t heard of any of these blogs, books or thanks for opening me up to them. We also aren’t going to be withdrawing much money money – hopefully we can get to the point where don’t have to withdraw any of the capital at all. We’ll see what happens 🙂


    1. Hopefully you will find some of use. I like the Ben Carlson one a lot. ( A Wealth of Common Sense). Very readable and full of gems of information.

    1. Darrow has a much different style to Jim. His book is so very well researched.

      Both books are must haves for any person on the journey towards retirement, either early or traditional.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *