About Retire Certain
Retire Certain is a website that provides inspiration, strategies, and solutions for people to have the money to live how they really want from both traditional investments and alternative assets.
While I hold an AFC© (Accredited Financial Counselor) credential to support my work as a financial coach, most of what I write about is from my own research and lifelong experience as an investor in making, sustaining, and increasing that amazing, paradoxical, satisfying, and necessary thing we call money.
The Inspiration for Retire Certain…
Following a major career disruption, a startling late midlife realization that we weren’t on track to support our comfortable lifestyle for life from traditional stock and bond investments, and two giant bear markets in one decade, my husband and I began a wonderful adventure to create diversified income streams from investments and alternative assets.
(I so naively asked: “Other people are doing it; why can’t we?” Oh, the things we’ve learned since posing that question over 15 years ago!:)
Eventually, this bold endeavor completely replaced job income and it also allowed us to “work” when and where we wanted. In this process, we pursued lifelong passions and capitalized on areas of expertise from previous careers while establishing long term income streams. As a result, it turned out to be both fulfilling and financially rewarding.
At first, however, we were really confused about how to begin paying the bills with something other than someone else’s paychecks, especially since there was a lack of reliable information on anything other than saving (cutting lattes, etc.), employment, and investing in stocks and bonds (for decades).
Along the way, unfortunately, we made lots of mistakes, but we also, fortunately, learned a ton and finally succeeded in creating financial independence.
What we learned on this journey is the inspiration for this website.
About the Creator and Author at Retire Certain
At the urging of the smartest investor I’ve ever known, my dad, I bought my first mutual fund when I was twenty-one; a Fidelity Select Utility Fund that had dropped in value significantly. Since then, I’ve personally invested in thousands of companies (mostly in stocks, but a very few private offerings that have yet to hit the jackpot!), hundreds of funds of all types (ETFs, CEFs, hedge, index, mutual), hired and worked with multiple financial advisors, sold hundreds (thousands?) of covered calls, launched and run online businesses, and bought and managed multiple real estate properties.
I don’t say this to brag, but to demonstrate my degree of both passion and experience over the decades around the taboo topic of investing. (I just don’t get why everyone doesn’t LOVE finding new ways to make money!)
While it may sound like I’m a bit over diversified, these strategies have all been huge learning (sometimes painful!) experiences done with lots of refining and pruning over the decades. Also, these strategies are all done on a relatively small scale because I’m just a regular investor/now tiny entrepreneur, maybe much like you if you’re here.
As you may have guessed, I actually analyzing and making investments, growing online businesses, and then writing about those experiences. This is more than a hobby because it pays the bills instead of creating more of them, yet I enjoy it every bit as much as my occasional (and expensive!) oil painting and snow skiing hobbies.
Larry, my husband, and co-conspirator, is well known for his successful options trading education programs and trading software at our website, PowerCycleTrading.com. Years ago, we married my online business experience with Larry’s in depth expertise after over three decades as a professional commodities and options trader. (We met in the 1980s while I was working as the “avoid as much as possible” accountant for Larry’s trading group.)
Maybe like you, we were taught that financial independence would come from saving enough money for our investment accounts to allow us to withdraw 4% a year during retirement, thereby spending down our life long savings. This unappealing plan, plus social security, would allow us to retire comfortably IF we cut back our spending and slowly depleted our savings.
This has worked well for a lot of investors, but we didn’t want to count on it. Besides, who really wants to live on less as they get older?
While we rely on a nice diversified portfolio in stocks, bonds, and commodities for a solid foundation for long-term wealth accumulation, we discovered that financial independence came from having income streams to fund our lifestyle, leaving our investments to grow as much as possible. This meant delaying if not avoiding entirely the popular plan for 4% “retirement withdrawals”; we simply weren’t rich enough to relax into that strategy, and we didn’t want to spend our investment savings to live, anyway, because it just felt wrong and limiting.
The reality is that even one or two million dollars in stocks and bonds don’t generate much income given all time low yields. Plus, investment capital in traditional asset allocation portfolios goes through unexpected bear markets every few years, adding to the uncertainty of having funds for life.
“All time lows” of anything means we are in unprecedented times, which calls for a new way of thinking because old strategies simply no longer work for most investors. Long gone are the days of generous bond income that retirees lived on, along with a pension, in decades past. Yet few traditional financial advisors have appealing solutions for this new reality.
Plus, the Fed’s monetary intervention is usually inflationary; we have seen unprecedented amounts of it since 2008, leading us to personally implement stronger risk management strategies to protect both our savings and our lifestyle in anticipation of the value of our money further deteriorating in the decades ahead.
But, forgive me; here I go down a financial rabbit hole when you only want to know what Retire Certain is all about so you can see if it might offer something useful for you.
Here, I write about what we have learned and continue to learn daily on this financial independence and income stream adventure. If you would like to:
- Discover doable ways to build wealth besides passively investing in stocks and bonds
- Want to enjoy life now (instead of later after you have finally saved “enough”)
- Be fulfilled and financially rewarded at the same time
- Feel more confident in your knowledge and financial plan…
…Then I’ll go so far as to say that you’re going to love it here! Welcome. Check out my articles, videos, and training here, and share them with your friends on social media if you found them helpful.
My humble mission is to inspire, educate and motivate others who may feel as though they’ll never be able to maintain their desired standard of living both now and later. You can; we’re living proof.
My related YouTube channel has over 450,000 views and can be seen here.
My Ultimate RISE Wealth Plan summarizes our financial independence journey into 4 actionable steps you are not going to get elsewhere, all for less than the cost of a good bag of organic groceries (but will pretty much change your life should you choose, unlike the groceries).
My AFC Certification and Random Images