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Investing Blog Roundup: Investing During a Presidential Campaign

I’ve always made a point to keep my political views out of my writing. Still, some readers have asked me over the last few months what they should do to protect their portfolios in case an undesirable candidate is elected in November. Allan Roth’s recent answer is spot-on, in my view:

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Investing Blog Roundup: Actuaries Longevity Illustrator

One of the most critical questions in retirement planning is how long you expect to live. Longevity expectations affect everything from how much you can spend per year, to tax planning decisions, to Social Security decisions.

It’s easy to look up your life expectancy in a table. But all that tells you is the average outcome. It’s also very helpful to see somewhat more detailed information (e.g., how likely it is that you — and/or your spouse, if married — will live to various ages).

This week, via Walter Updegrave, I encountered a new, easy to use tool from the American Academy of Actuaries and the Society of Actuaries that can give you such information:

http://www.longevityillustrator.org/

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Investing Blog Roundup: Insurance is Tricky Business

Insurance is one of the trickier areas of personal finance. The problem isn’t just that insurance is complicated — it’s hard to make the case that insurance is decidedly more complicated than tax planning, for instance — but rather that it’s hard to get good information due to conflicts of interest. (That is, most professionals in the field are compensated via commissions, so they have an interest in getting you to take one specific course of action rather than another, regardless of what is best for you.)

For somebody who is not an insurance professional, author Jim Dahle spends a lot of time researching and writing about insurance. I frequently find his articles to be refreshing, because a) he’s willing to take a look at any proposed strategy or product and b) he has no significant conflict of interests. This week, he takes a look at annually renewable term life insurance and options for getting rid of a whole life policy.

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Investing Blog Roundup: Early Retirement and Comparative Advantage

Ever since taking my first economics course in high school, I’ve found the concept of comparative advantage to be both fascinating and informative, in terms of explaining why people do the things they do. This week, Harry Sit uses the concept to discuss why an extremely early retirement is often economically inefficient, even for people who can afford to do it.

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Investing Blog Roundup: So Long, “File and Suspend”

After today, the world of Social Security will be slightly less complicated, as there will be one less strategy for retirees to consider. (Also, just FYI, I will be traveling today, so if you are looking for last-minute guidance about whether you should file and suspend before today is over, I am not the person to ask!)

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Investing Blog Roundup: Feedburner Acting Up

Again, I apologize for the erratic behavior of my article-to-email delivery system (Google’s Feedburner) this week. After nearly 8 years of working without problems, it has decided to start behaving strangely — delivering the wrong article on Monday, delivering multiple articles (along with the correct article) on Wednesday, and delivering an extraneous email on Thursday.

I’ve been working on finding a solution, but unfortunately the nature of the beast is that I can only try 1 thing per day (i..e, change a setting and hope that on the following day Feedburner does what it is supposed to do).

If things aren’t fixed within the near future, I’ll be switching services.

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