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Lower risk through leverage

You heard that right! You can use leverage the smart way and reduce risk, all the while keeping the expected returns the same as in an unleveraged portfolio. Leverage has gotten a bad reputation, sometimes for a good reason, think Global Financial Crisis in 2008/9 or the LTCM debacle that almost sank the financial system in 1998. But every force can be used for good or bad, think Star Wars. So how do we change leverage from a Darth Vader to a Luke Skywalker?Read More »

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That sneaky 30% Federal Income Tax Bracket

Running some income tax scenarios for when we finally retire in 2018, we ran into a situation where our ordinary income would be taxed at a whopping 30% marginal rate on our federal return, despite having a total income of “only” around $100,000 (married filing jointly). How is that possible? There is no 30% bracket, only 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35, and 39.6%. Moreover, the 30%+ rates don’t even start until $231,450 taxable income for married joint filers, right?

Wrong! Read More »

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Happy Birthday, USA

Every year around this time, when Americans celebrate Independence Day we gather with friends and family, get the BBQ going and watch fireworks at night. We celebrate Independence Day on July 4, but of course every single day of the year we celebrate independence. Just like we celebrate diversity, tolerance, hard work, innovation,… you name it. But Independence has always been particularly dear to our hearts. All of us in the FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) community must have that Independence bug in us, too. We think outside the box, we are nonconformist and declare Independence from paychecks, rush hour traffic and out-of-control consumerism. While we don’t want to draw any parallels between Mr. ERN’s boss and King George III, we will certainly not miss leaving behind all the nonsense of work life, least of which the excessive taxation.

Incidentally, excessive taxation was one of the sparks that set off the American Revolution. Moving to a state with no income tax and getting into a much lower federal income tax bracket, hopefully within the next two years, will be our way of sticking it to the tax-man. It’s a little bit like one mini Boston Tea Party for everyone of us achieving FIRE. Obviously not as violent and risky as facing his majesty’s well-armed and trained soldiers centuries ago but nevertheless quite revolutionary.Read More »