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The Hellhound of Wall Street – How Ferdinand Pecora’s Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance

The Hellhound of Wall Street – How Ferdinand Pecora’s Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance provides a narrative of the Senate hearings that followed the Great Crash. It is an interesting story for it’s lively details of the personalities involved but also illustrates how far our perceptions of the financial elite have come.

This historical account illustrates how prominent bankers were held in such high regard that they were inherently trusted by the public. That idea is laughable now, but was a crucial truth in the buildup and subsequent unraveling of American financial system of the 1920’s.

In this review I highlight some of the key points of the story. If you are interested in the history of the American financial system, and particularly the crash, this is a great book.

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What is a 72(t) Distribution?

If you withdraw money from your tax-deferred IRA or 401k accounts before you turn 59.5 you will owe a 10% penalty in addition to income tax.  A 72(t) distribution is a way of accessing the money in your retirement account before you turn 59.5 without incurring the penalty.

No doubt, you are aware that withdrawing from your retirement accounts early is an excellent way to  ruin your retirement. For many, its a guarantee that their money will not last for as long as they need it to.

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How to protect your portfolio with a variable withdrawal strategy

One of the key considerations in a retirement income plan is the amount of money that you will withdraw from an investment portfolio. Your decision regarding  how much income to take from your retirement account necessitates that you strike a balance between current consumption and future account value.

In simple language, this means that you are deciding how much income to take now, and weighing the risk of withdrawing too much and running out of money, or withdrawing too little and leaving more than you anticipated to heirs. The last part may not seem as bad, and it arguably isn’t, but it depends on which end of the income spectrum you are on and how much you value your own consumption.

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Adaptive Markets

Adaptive Markets – Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought by Andrew Lo is a deep dive into market theory. This book is not a surface-level read on retirement planning or investing. It provides insight into how markets operate and change over time. The takeaway from the book is enhanced understanding of market behavior.

I recommend this book for academics, professional advisors, and those with a deeper curiosity of market theory.

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Asset Location is Important Too

That’s not a typo. Asset location is an often overlooked aspect of retirement planning. That is unfortunate because asset location can significantly affect the after-tax value of your retirement income. I’ll explain what asset location means and how you can use that information to increase your retirement income.

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