I hope I don’t disappoint anyone by revealing that my real name isn’t Ern. Or Big Ern. But I am a big guy, at 6’6″ (just under 2 meters), which explains why the name “Big Ern” stuck! My real name is Karsten. I am originally from Germany but came to the U.S. in 1995. Initially as an exchange student at Purdue University and then for my Master’s and Ph.D. in economics at the University of Minnesota. After graduating, I got my first “real” job at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and I also did a number of side gigs/hustles: teaching both undergraduate and Ph.D.-level economics at Emory University in Atlanta. In 2008, I moved to San Francisco to join Bank of New York Mellon Asset Management, and since 2010 I also hold the prestigious Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.
I retired from my finance job in June 2018 after a nice, productive 10-year run. Right after leaving my job, we went on a 20+ country trip around the world and we’re now settling down in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, just outside of Vancouver, Washington.
I am married to my beautiful wife Kristal who is also an immigrant. She’s from the Philippines originally, and just like me, she’s become a U.S. citizen after spending many years in this country now. Our daughter Kati is the sunshine of our lives and definitely one big motivator for us to retire early and spend more time with each other. So, my wife has also quit her job as a nurse (RN) in 2018 (even before I retired) and she has joined me on this journey.
In the large spectrum of existing Early Retirement blogs, where is my niche? I hope that people will enjoy my views on everything financial. Sometimes I read other blogs and we have something intelligent and new to say, but by posting in the comments section, not many people will get to see it. I like to create a permanent record, share our views with a hopefully larger audience, and get feedback and suggestions for our journey to Early Retirement. Some of the topics I write about:
- Safe Withdrawal Rates for early retirees: See the multi-part series on the topic and the SSRN working paper!
- Check out the Safe Withdrawal Rate Case Studies.
- I don’t like Robo-advisors! You can easily replicate what they are doing for free.
- I like alternative investments, especially option writing.
- I think the Emergency Fund is overrated.
- Even though, I am not too optimistic about expected equity returns going forward we like bonds even less!
Start here: List of all articles
Links: Our blogroll and other useful links
Check out my interviews and podcast appearances:
- The Trade Busters podcast, about options trading.
- On the Two Sides of FI podcast:
- What the FIRE Community Gets Wrong. Also available on YouTube.
- What’s Wrong with the Bucket Strategy? Also available on YouTube.
- On the White Coat Investor Podcast. Also available on YouTube.
- I appeared on the ChooseFI podcast several times:
- Episode 35 talking about Sequence of Return Risk
- Episode 66 to talk about emergency funds
- Episode 109R talking about the stock market outlook after the bad 4th quarter
- Episode 122R talking about dividend investing
- Episode 126R talking about annuities
- Episode 152R: A Case Study for Becky
- Episode 196: Have we seen the bottom? (2020 Bear Market Edition)
- Episode 199: Making Portfolio Adjustments, dealing with a bear market in retirement
- Victor Vulpecu Podcast:
- Morningstar “The Longview Podcast”: Cracking the Code on Retirement Spending Rates
- My presentation at the 2019 Texas CampFI (Youtube)
- Talking about my approach to real estate investing through private equity funds on the Passive Wealth Strategies for Busy Professionals podcast.
- In German: Millionär Interview on the Freiheitsmaschine blog.
- My podcast appearances on Hack Your Wealth:
- The shockingly un-simple math behind retirement safe withdrawal rates: Part 1 and Part 2. Also available as a Youtube video!Retirement glidepaths and the bond tent
- Interview on My Own Advisor, talking about early retirement, the 4% Rule, options trading, dividend investing and more: The proven path to early retirement ignoring the 4% rule
- My podcast appearance on “Richer Soul“
- Watch me on the Mission Money Youtube channel in HD(!), talk about FIRE and Safe Withdrawal Rates. It’s in German, though!
- My podcast appearance on the Your Money, Your Wealth Podcast
- I sat down with Steve Chen from NewRetirement.com
- … to talk about Safe Withdrawal Rates, see episode 6 here…
- … and about my first year of FIRE in episode 32, where Steve interviewed me together with Fritz Gilbert (The Retirement Manifesto) and Chris Mamula(Can I Retire Yet)
- My podcast appearance on Chain of Wealth
- My podcast with Gwen and J: Fire Drill podcast on real estate crowdfunding
- My Christopher Guest Post on Physician of FIRE
- Options trading interview on Amber Tree Leaves
- Interview with ERN on From Cents to Retirement
- “Housing, mortgage bailout guarantees and the macro economy” (with Dirk Krueger und Kurt Mitman) Journal of Monetary Economics Volume 60 (November 2013), pp. 917-935.
- “Should the Central Bank be Concerned about Housing Prices?” (with Zheng Liu) Macroeconomic Dynamics Volume 17 (January 2013), pp. 29-53.
- “Productivity, energy prices and the great moderation: A new link” (with R. Dhawan and P. Silos), Review of Economic Dynamics, Volume 13 (July 2010), pp. 715-724.
- “U.S. Tax Policy and Health Insurance Demand: Can a Regressive Policy Improve Welfare?” (with S. Kitao), Journal of Monetary Economics, Volume 56 (March 2009), pp. 210-221.
- “What determines the output drop after an energy price increase: Household or firm energy share?” (with R. Dhawan), Economics Letters, Volume 101 (December 2008), pp. 202 – 205.
- “Energy Price Shocks and the Macroeconomy: The Role of Consumer Durables” (with R. Dhawan), Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Volume 40 (October 2008), pp. 1357 – 1377.
- “Private International Debt with Risk of Repudiation,” Journal of Political Economy, Volume 114 (June 2006), pp. 567 – 593.
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