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Old 04-04-2014, 04:48 PM   #41
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...about land... I really never looked at the actual value of my friend's cropland in Illinois...
He bought in the 1930's and 40's at from$200 to $500 per acre... and continued to add. He now has 2000+ acres... I just took a peek at this site, 2012 USDA government value for land and found that Illinois acreage rose by nearly 18% between 2011 and 2012 alone, to $6700/acre.
http://usda01.library.cornell.edu/us...08-03-2012.pdf
Not bad for a guy who didn't graduate high school. BTW... also a WWII Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:05 PM   #42
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I think it is much easier to invest [to live] than in the past. Much, much easier and much, much cheaper.

The newer index funds and ETFs make things easier and cheaper. It wasn't too long ago that one could NOT buy an index fund for foreign small-caps, could NOT buy an index fund for emerging markets small caps, could NOT buy an index fund for TIPS, could NOT buy an index fund for …. Well, you get the idea.

Online discount brokers now charge zero for trades and many give rebates. If one is paying any commissions, then they simply are not investing with their brains. The internet has levelled the rigged playing field. Even HFT shouldn't affect one at all.

Everyone now should know about behavioral finance avoiding those traps such as loss aversion, anchoring, etc.

One's brokers have to keep track of cost basis, too, and one can download tax info into TurboTax.

Need a chart? In the old days, one might have to draw it by hand. Nowadays, it's a mouse click.

One doesn't even need to use a spreadsheet either since one's broker has all the presentation one needs. Tools like Fidelity GPS, Morningstar Portfolio X-ray, and Vanguard Portfolio Watch have got you all covered.

And one more good thing: Lots and lots of financial porn keeps the suckers in the game and you can take advantage of them.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:05 PM   #43
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You are right. (I and I guess others) will really come down with a 'throw the bums out' mentality. You know they pass problems to next generation, anything to keep seat.

But it is my money, they took it out of my paycheck, I really want it back.

Now if possible, I'll opt out of SS.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:10 PM   #44
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Brewer, No, has to be much more smooth, we'll send a bill. Seriously, I think if over 55 you'll be grandfathered.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:18 PM   #45
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Brewer, No, has to be much more smooth, we'll send a bill. Seriously, I think if over 55 you'll be grandfathered.

Payroll taxes are a problem for other people, I am retired. I am also under 55 by a wide margin, so I expect to get the shaft on SS.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:19 PM   #46
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LOL - you are right if the person knows where to get AND what it means. Unfortunately, many people usually through no fault of their own, don't have a clue about finances. The last person I reported to lost 95% of his 401k. Can you believe it, they called him and said he was the only investor left in the fund. Wiped out a very nice person's retirement. He just invested in emerging tech, as US he thought is good at that.

add: Personal finance should be mandatory in HS & College, that might help, but a lot of people are either afraid of it or don't like it, so back to 40's broker days for them.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:24 PM   #47
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Wow Brewer your avatar? suggests otherwise. Thought you were older than me - 57. Well keep your fingers crossed they won't get around to it until 2018 mid-term elections, and the age increase will be for much younger. You didn't retire at 20 did you? Well if do did, congrats.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:51 PM   #48
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Wow Brewer your avatar? suggests otherwise. Thought you were older than me - 57. Well keep your fingers crossed they won't get around to it until 2018 mid-term elections, and the age increase will be for much younger. You didn't retire at 20 did you? Well if do did, congrats.
My avatar is the Good Soldier Svejk, a classic character from Czech literature: The Good Soldier *vejk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia He is the classic "little man in the machine" figure who manages to thumb his nose at his superiors and get away with it. My hero.

I retired at 40 earlier this year. So far, so good.
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Old 04-04-2014, 05:57 PM   #49
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Brewer, thanks for the explanation. I just thought you liked beer? 40 WAY TO GO - literally.
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:48 PM   #50
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Some ER members provided some good advice in another thread, I think it's about done now, see: Hi, New & wanting to retire early

Wanted to switch topics: Has Investing Become Harder?

My Background: BA, Finance, MBA, Int'l Fin. There's a catch though, I graduated in 1986. I've followed it finance, economics, etc., ever since. But don't work in the financial industry.

Question please: Can ER's get a decent return at low risk somewhere? Something more than 1% saving account. How about buy the markets with EFT's? Annuities while appealing have custodial risk which concerns me.

Sometime around 2012, several of us (ages 50s to 70s) came to conclusion that this was the most challenging investment environment of our lifes. The combination of record low interest rates, a fairly value stock market, and the threat of having to reverse the huge amount of money injected in the system by central banks made it very difficult.

More than year later, not much has changed stocks have gone from fairly valued to over valued, while the 1% increase in interest rates have made bonds go from crazily overvalued to merely overvalued. The Fed has tapered but is still injecting money into the system.

Truth be told there has never been a low risk, high reward investment ever. On the other hand I do remember most times in my life that something (growth stocks, value stocks, international stocks, junk bond, TIPS, real estate etc.) looked attractive.
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:57 PM   #51
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Sometime around 2012, several of us (ages 50s to 70s) came to conclusion that this was the most challenging investment environment of our lifes. The combination of record low interest rates, a fairly value stock market, and the threat of having to reverse the huge amount of money injected in the system by central banks made it very difficult.

More than year later, not much has changed stocks have gone from fairly valued to over valued, while the 1% increase in interest rates have made bonds go from crazily overvalued to merely overvalued. The Fed has tapered but is still injecting money into the system.

Truth be told there has never been a low risk, high reward investment ever. On the other hand I do remember most times in my life that something (growth stocks, value stocks, international stocks, junk bond, TIPS, real estate etc.) looked attractive.
Hi Clifp, like your post a lot. Thanks.
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Old 04-04-2014, 06:59 PM   #52
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Sometime around 2012, several of us (ages 50s to 70s) came to conclusion that this was the most challenging investment environment of our lifes. The combination of record low interest rates, a fairly value stock market, and the threat of having to reverse the huge amount of money injected in the system by central banks made it very difficult.
I think history though tells a different story. Let's just say that in 2012 the US total stock market index (fund) was up more than 16% and in 2012 it was up more than 33%. Great returns without any difficulty at all. I would not be surprised if it was one of the top ten 2-year-returns of all time.

But I think one has to get past one's own biases and wishful thinking and become completely unemotional about investing in order to get rid of any perceived difficulty.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:04 PM   #53
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Just to share, AAII is fully bullish (bear single) the public is all in now & insiders are dumping stock options. Little guy will get hit again I fear. This game I think is over for now. Could supply reams of stats, a lot from USG, but overall this is going to be a tough year esp. after elections are over. Until then keep pumping Fed, just delays inevitable and makes correction worse, history shows that. But their pols, they have status & enough $.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:42 PM   #54
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Just to share, AAII is fully bullish (bear single) the public is all in now & insiders are dumping stock options. Little guy will get hit again I fear. This game I think is over for now. Could supply reams of stats, a lot from USG, but overall this is going to be a tough year esp. after elections are over. Until then keep pumping Fed, just delays inevitable and makes correction worse, history shows that. But their pols, they have status & enough $.
It is always possible you are right.
However, I heard very similar ideas from various posters last year, 2 years ago, 3 years ago, and 4 years ago.
One was dead certain that we would see S&P at 750 within months (as I recall).

This is why good diversification is so important. No one can know for certain what will or won't happen.
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Has Investing to Live Become Harder? YES!!!
Old 04-04-2014, 07:51 PM   #55
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Has Investing to Live Become Harder? YES!!!

This very month is the hardest month in the entire history of the human race to think about investing to live. How do I know this to be the absolute truth? Because this is the first month of my retirement, now it is more than theoretical, it is how well I eat each month. So yes, investing to live suddenly got much harder.
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Old 04-04-2014, 07:55 PM   #56
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So yes, investing to live suddenly got much harder.
It does get easier.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:02 PM   #57
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I always said if necessary I'll work at Disney World as Big Bird if I have to. Hope you're right, but I've been doing this since 1987 and it seems to just get more complicated and risky. I don't like losing capital, so I watch it carefully.
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:40 PM   #58
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If your savings / other income streams are high enough compared to your spending you can live off TIPS, CD ladders, I bonds, stable value funds and still save money in retirement.

Bill Bernstein has referred to this as won the game, stop playing:

The worst retirement investing mistake - Sep. 4, 2012

"A lot of people had won the game before the crisis happened: They had pretty much saved enough for retirement, and they were continuing to take risk by investing in equities.

Afterward, many of them sold either at or near the bottom and never bought back into it. And those people have irretrievably damaged themselves.

I began to understand this point 10 or 15 years ago, but now I'm convinced: When you've won the game, why keep playing it?

How risky stocks are to a given investor depends upon which part of the life cycle he or she is in. For a younger investor, stocks aren't as risky as they seem. For the middle-aged, they're pretty risky. And for a retired person, they can be nuclear-level toxic."
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Old 04-04-2014, 08:51 PM   #59
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Hi daylatedollarshort, well I'm done then Thanks.

& agree
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Old 04-04-2014, 10:57 PM   #60
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I am not sure I understand what OP is asking. Has it become harder to invest successully? Depends on your point of view, I suppose. If you are looking for livable returns over the long haul, what is wrong with a diversified portfolio that contains some flavors of US equities, EAFE equities, emerging equities, USD and non-USD fixed income and perhaps a dollop of commodities or merger arbitrage funds? It isn't complicated unless you really, really want it to be.
Well I guess it was easier in the 80s and 90s when we were in a bull market cycle plus inflation and interest rates were dropping.....

The mechanics are much easier now IMO. And more low-cost investment vehicles to chose from.

But nothing beats dumb luck (a bull market cycle)!
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