This week is The Retirement Manifesto’s Birthday!
I’ve decided to give you a gift!
On April 12, 2015 history was made.
On April 11, there was no such thing as “The Retirement Manifesto”.
On April 12, it arrived in this world.
“Contentment – A Personal Choice” was the first thing it presented as it entered the world on that fateful day in history.
It may have technically been history making, but in reality it was a very low key event on the world stage. I was really excited, but it seems hardly anyone else noticed (besides my family and a few friends). From what I’ve read, that seems to be the norm on the birthday of a blog. Hard to imagine, I know…
Since that date, however, the baby has been growing. Here’s a picture of his first year, compliments of Google Analytics. You can see he’s getting taller (# of site visits per month, Apr 2015 – March 2016). March hit a record high of 3,700 visits.
Since his birthday, he’s had over 20,000 visits. Not bad for a first year.
Time for a party!
Are you ready for your gift?
(Bear with me, I’m a bit giddy, what with it being my first birthday and all. I trust you’ll understand. Besides, we all have to have fun once in a while!)
I Couldn’t Figure Out What To Get You
I just couldn’t think of what to get you.
There are so many of you now, and some I don’t even know.
What to get so many people, who each have different needs.
Hmmm…..for every need, there’s a different tool.
That’s It! So……
I Brought You A Toolbox – Hope You Like It!
The Tools, & The Toolbox
One of my goals when I started this blog was to share some of the things I’ve learned in my 30+ years of personal finance. I’ve always used a lot of “tools”, and planned from the start to build a toolbox full of the most useful tools for my readers. Some of you, I suspect, have already taken a peak at your gift. It’s hiding in plain site. Others of you, however, may not be aware of the gift I’ve decided to grant.
So, for my birthday, I’ve decided to provide a quick review of each of the “tools” I’ve built over my first year. You can find them all in the “Toolbox” (otherwise known as my Resource Page). If you haven’t taken a look in the toolbox lately, this will be a good chance to get an overview of what’s available to you, compliments of The Retirement Manifesto. Click on the title or any section of the picture to be taken to the actual gift.
Probably the single most important tool in the toolbox for measuring your financial progress on the journey through life, and the first tool I added to the box (many of you had access to this as your “gift” for signing up for my emails). It’s important. Use it. You wouldn’t make a trip without knowing how much gas you had in your car, and the Net Worth Statement is your gas gauge for your trip.
This is a useful tool to help you develop a realistic forecast for your post-retirement spending needs. By tracking your actual spending over several months, and breaking out spending which will continue after retirement, you can have a much better estimate of your retirement cash flow needs. Step 1 in answering the “When Can I Retire” question is “how much will you spend”. I wrote about the use of The Spending Tracker as a tool to estimate your retirement spending in my “When Can I Retire? (Step 1 – Spending)” article.
I developed this retirement cash flow model for use in the “Can They Retire: A Case Study”, which shows how this spreadsheet can be used to analyze several different retirement scenarios to determine if you have enough money for retirement, and which scenario works best for your situation.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the past year populating my “Resources” page with other tools that may be helpful for your personal situation. Below is a bullet list of what’s available – head over to my Resources page to get more details.
- Year End Financial Checklist
- Monthly Budget Template
- Dave Ramsey Guide To Budgeting
- Retirement Calculator
- Are You Saving Enough To Retire?
- RealDealRetirement Toolbox:
- The Retirement Daily:
FINANCIAL WEB SITES:
- www.bankrate.com: A good site to get the best CD rates, also calculators & articles.
- www.dol.gov: The most comprehensive 1-pager you’ll ever see on Personal Finance.
- www.mint.com: A free internet tool that categorizes your expenses, good for budgeting.
- www.personalcapital.com: A great tool to track your portfolio, net worth, asset allocation.
- www.treasurydirect.gov: The place to buy U.S. Savings bonds and I Bonds.
- Financial Glossary: A glossary from Rutgers University on all things financial.
Thank you for making the first year of The Retirement Manifesto a success. I hope you appreciate your birthday gift. If you’ve not had a chance to browse around my Resource page, I hope this birthday party has provided you with an excuse to look things over. Feel free to use whatever brings you value, or let me know if there are any additional tools you’d like me to develop.
I’m looking forward to what the second year has in store.
Thanks to each of you for being a part of it.