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Old 07-20-2015, 10:44 AM   #21
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I've received some amazingly bad investment advice from "experts" over the years, most of which I've ignored, but I have made some big mistakes on my own anyway. Fortunately, it all worked out, thanks to a surprising turn of good luck, high income and not much taste for material goods.

You can easily and accurately estimate your state and federal taxes. Then you just need to pull a year's worth of bank and credit card statements and look at your real spending -- not much fun, but it's better than any estimator you could use.
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Old 07-20-2015, 10:50 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by bclover View Post



Got an article today from the Motley fool that says retirees often over state their tax bill and owe less than they thought.

two email later I got another email that says "retirees always underestimate their tax burden".



lol, so which is it? am I under or over estimating my bill



Am I the only one that gets frustrated at this or do you just carry on and try to weed out the best information for your particle situation?

Where is the article that features the retirees who estimated their tax bill within $100 of the correct amount and went on with their lives?


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Old 07-20-2015, 10:51 AM   #23
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I'm a scientist as well. I learned to never believe what anyone said (especially scientists) without looking at the data myself and making up my own mind. In short, I don't believe anything I read at first.

To see how crocked up things are, here is something I read yesterday: An egg contains 6.29 grams of protein. That's stated as fact on several web sites. (Just google the phrase "6.29 grams of protein eggs".) Clearly, someone wrote something and it got repeated over and over. The reality is that probably an average egg has on average about 6 grams of protein and not precisely 6.29 grams of protein.

So take everything you read and learn with the proverbial shaker of salt. As a scientist you should not expect anything to be true until proven with the data. You should be asking "Where's the data? What were the positive controls? What were the negative controls?"

If you are scared witless that you might make some horrible mistake, that has less to do with science and your readings than it does with your personality. Clearly, you have been making mistakes all your life. So what?

Finally, I suggest read Dan Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow". It is write-up of his life work as behavioral economist and has quite a bit of fun with experts.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:00 AM   #24
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+1

Ignore the "experts". For the most part, they are just writing click bait.

Educate yourself. Get help from folks that aren't looking to enrich themselves. This site and bogleheads.org are good resources.
That's decent advice, to an extent. I never take advice from here without verifying it for myself. Many people here are good about including the source of where they got info, so I go to the source and judge for myself whether the source is factual and/or useful, which often means going beyond that source. Often this sources are "expert advice" that has passed a sniff test and posted here. This forum does a good job in general of separating good advice from questionable.

Just for example, there's a large contingent here that believes in index investing and staying invested with an asset allocation plan. I'm one of them, but I wasn't always. I got swayed to that camp in large part because of posts here, but before I made any changes, I examined expense ratios on my own, looked at the various studies of managed vs. indexed funds, and measured my own mix of individual stocks and managed funds vs. return of indexed funds, and saw I wasn't able to beat the index. If I had been beating the index, I'd be sticking to my former way. Whatever your strategy is, I think it's important to stick to your plan. Not "no matter what", because you can and should regularly reevaluate if there's a better way, but not because an article or a poster said to do it differently.

Partial Roth conversions in ER was another good tip I got here. But I did further reading, and ran spreadsheets for my own case to convince myself it was a good idea, and to see how much to convert each year. Where did that idea come from originally? Maybe some smart person here figured it out, or maybe it came from "expert advice" somewhere and was shared here.

For any tax issues, I'll always go to the IRS site itself, and use Fairmark.com to help understand the tax laws. I'll read advice here, and I may have even asked questions here myself a couple of times, but I'd rather go directly to the source than get someone's interpretations that may be wrong.

The examples in the OP were funny in that the same site gave such conflicting information, but I find that most generalized statements like that are nearly useless. What do I care whether the typical retiree under or over estimates taxes? About the only thing I'll look for in such an article is what specific mistakes people commonly make, to see if I make the same mistake, if I even bother to read it.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:26 AM   #25
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This is more of a vent, so mods feel free to delete if it doesn't have any redeeming value....

So I haven't retired yet but I'd like to next year, I'll be 55. One aspect that I find frustrating is how everyone says how "easy" investing seems to be. Now I'm a scientist so maybe my brain is wired differently because I'm not finding it easy at all.
LOL, which is why I do appreciate you guys...

Anyhoo, here is one of my frustrations. conflicting stories every other day.

I've been trying to get a handle on my post retirement budget and reading up on taxes.

Got an article today from the Motley fool that says retirees often over state their tax bill and owe less than they thought.
two email later I got another email that says "retirees always underestimate their tax burden".

lol, so which is it? am I under or over estimating my bill

Am I the only one that gets frustrated at this or do you just carry on and try to weed out the best information for your particle situation?
Many say that investing is easy (and I agree, but learning that it's easy is not necessarily easy), but this refers mainly to the accumulation phase.

What you're referring to is the spending phase - estimating and minimizing taxes during retirement, balancing the (sometimes conflicting) goals of maximizing your expected income/net worth versus maximizing your chances of not dying broke, etc. This is far from simple, and I haven't heard many claim that it is. And there's no one-size-fits-all approach, since everyone has a unique financial situation and goals.
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Old 07-20-2015, 11:35 AM   #26
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:02 PM   #27
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My expert...



OMG, I just laughed coke up out of my nose. that is what I need.

BC
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:30 PM   #28
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Scott Burns, that's it.
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:38 PM   #29
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OMG, I just laughed coke up out of my nose. that is what I need.

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Originally Posted by Throwdownmyaceinthehole View Post
Scott Burns, that's it.
Though my portfolio is slightly more complex than the "couch potato", +1.
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Old 07-20-2015, 12:51 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by bclover View Post
This is more of a vent, so mods feel free to delete if it doesn't have any redeeming value....

So I haven't retired yet but I'd like to next year, I'll be 55. One aspect that I find frustrating is how everyone says how "easy" investing seems to be. Now I'm a scientist so maybe my brain is wired differently because I'm not finding it easy at all.
LOL, which is why I do appreciate you guys...

Anyhoo, here is one of my frustrations. conflicting stories every other day.

I've been trying to get a handle on my post retirement budget and reading up on taxes.

Got an article today from the Motley fool that says retirees often over state their tax bill and owe less than they thought.
two email later I got another email that says "retirees always underestimate their tax burden".

lol, so which is it? am I under or over estimating my bill

Am I the only one that gets frustrated at this or do you just carry on and try to weed out the best information for your particle situation?
When you retire you'll have enough time to spend on questions like this. There are so many annoying aspects to life, that it makes no sense to worry about little things like taxes...

I just spent an hour on the phone, mostly on hold, with the EYE ARRRGH SSS. That's IRS. When I was working like a fool for the the man@mega_dot_corp, this would have un-nerved me. Now I have time to sit here with the IRS wait music playing endlessly. I laugh out loud, even.

Turns out my 2012 and 2012 amended did get to the IRS. Gentleman on the other end was so kind, and said we should play it safe and mail in the letter with my 1040x.

Life is chock-full-of ridiculousness. Don't waste your precious time on the Motley Fool (half right with that name) or other inane `expert`.
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Old 07-20-2015, 02:33 PM   #31
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Finally, I suggest read Dan Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow". It is write-up of his life work as behavioral economist and has quite a bit of fun with experts.
+1 on that book. I've read it, and although a bit long I found it fascinating.

Shorter books covering similar material are Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational, Your Money & Your Brain by Jason Zweig, and Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes by Gary Belsky & Thomas Gilovich.

I've often wondered why so many otherwise intelligent-seeming people so often do foolish things and these books answer some of those questions.
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Old 07-20-2015, 04:10 PM   #32
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I've always wonder why so many financial experts are still working for a living?
Now that is funny! LOL. Kind of like the person who "always wins at the casino" but can't afford to fix their car that is parked in the front yard being mowed around for years on end.

We don't allows here about the losses. Ha.
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Old 07-20-2015, 04:19 PM   #33
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OMG, I just laughed coke up out of my nose. that is what I need.

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Old 07-20-2015, 04:45 PM   #34
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I did read that folks around here give higher credence to Harvard economists.
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Old 07-20-2015, 04:48 PM   #35
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The best place to start with is determining what an expert is.

If you ask a financial network host, an expert is anyone who can boost their ratings by making a "bold" prediction. In other words, he has to say something, anything, as long as it's not boring. If he or she is wrong, few will ever remember the statement or hold him/her to account for it. If he or she is right, it's an act of genius.

If you buy into the indexing paradigm, then there may be experts in risk avoidance, and tax minimization, but there really are no experts in stock picking or the like. Ultimately, you have to choose between becoming enough of an expert to make your own decisions, or trusting a salesman to be "your expert". However, in all likelihood, that advisor/salesman knows little that you don't, but may very well make you feel better by effectively pretending that he does.
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Old 07-23-2015, 10:23 AM   #36
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....
Finally, I suggest read Dan Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow". It is write-up of his life work as behavioral economist and has quite a bit of fun with experts.
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+1 on that book. I've read it, and although a bit long I found it fascinating.

Shorter books covering similar material are Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational, Your Money & Your Brain by Jason Zweig, and Why Smart People Make Big Money Mistakes by Gary Belsky & Thomas Gilovich.

I've often wondered why so many otherwise intelligent-seeming people so often do foolish things and these books answer some of those questions.
I agree that Dan Kahneman's "Thinking, Fast and Slow" is a great book. Like Walt, I found it a bit long - IMO, too many pages just restating examples of the concepts - I ended up skimming a lot of it after the first 1/3rd or so. But the concepts are important to be aware of.

The Freakonomics team references back to Kahneman as well.


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I'm a scientist as well. I learned to never believe what anyone said (especially scientists) without looking at the data myself and making up my own mind. In short, I don't believe anything I read at first.
... .
Yes, it was a bit of cognitive dissonance to me that the OP describes themselves as a scientist, and then is reacting to media hype, and questioning which of two contrary camps they would be in? A technical person should realize that any grouping may exclude a specific individual.

-ERD50
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Old 07-24-2015, 11:37 AM   #37
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The best place to start with is determining what an expert is.

If you ask a financial network host, an expert is anyone who can boost their ratings by making a "bold" prediction...
Or lying. Or cheating. Or being dishonest. It's happened before, is happening now (somewhere), and unless human nature turns into something never seen before, it will always happen.

No one will ever care more about you or your money than the man in the mirror. This applies particularly to anyone called an "expert".

See this:

History of Business Journalism

And then this:

http://www.amazon.com/Wrong-us-Scien.../dp/B005DI6QAM
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