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At 72, Vicki Robin is the “poster elder” (her phrase) for early retirement. The author of the 1992 best-seller Your Money or Your Life hasn’t worked for a traditional paycheck in 50 years. While she’s back in the spotlight today with the re-release of her book, she never really left. Unbeknownst to Robin, her original book had for years inspired throngs of millennials who hope to reach FIRE, an acronym for financial independence, retire early. She only learned of her guru status last year, after she had already started updating her 25-year-old classic. I had the pleasure of interviewing Robin for MONEY’s May cover story--you don't have to be a millennial, or have plans to retire early, to learn plenty from her.

Best wishes,


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Why Tons of Millennials Are Obsessed With the Idea of Early Retirement

Young Americans are making an icon of Vicki Robin, a 72-year-old author who advocates tracking every penny you spend, with the idea that dollar amounts should be equated to 'hours of life energy'

How to Become Financially Independent and Retire Early in 10 Easy Steps

'Your Money or Your Life' author Vicki Robin has the blueprint.

Here's How Much Couples Spend on Health Care in Retirement

Fidelity has released their annual report.

Should You Throw Out Your Lettuce? Here's What to Know About the Romaine Lettuce E. Coli Outbreak

53 cases of illness in 16 states have been reported


Our next question comes from Heather Jones, 54, of Minnesota, who asks: “Does anyone have experience using a Roth IRA as a savings vehicle for college?” Please send responses to me at retirewithmoney@moneymail.com.

Thanks to all who responded to Gopal Gopalan’s question about withdrawal strategies and asset allocation in retirement! Here are some excerpts:

Bruce Smith, 84, of Hilton Head Island, S.C., shared his distribution strategy: “I set up a money market  account from which I receive a monthly income distribution. I fund the account with any distributions (capital gains,interest, dividends, etc.) from my taxable investments--not from deferred investments--and my RMD. I take my RMD in January to be sure that I don't have to withdraw from an account that has lost value in a bad year. Also in January, I evaluate my needs for the coming year. If I have too much money in my money market account, I withdraw it and reinvest it. If I don't have enough, I sell taxable investments to make up the difference. I use the 4% rule to keep my net annual withdrawals in a ‘safe’ range.”

Michael Golden, 71, of Clovis, Calif., writes, “Since he does not need the money, I would go with the minimum RMDs, as this will probably result in a smaller amount than the 4%. I would consider putting the RMD into tax-exempt muni bonds to build another income stream without increasing his taxes. I would also advise that he makes sure he has an adequate amount withheld from his RMDs for taxes, so he does not get a big surprise come tax time next year.”

Eva Levine, 70, of San Jose, Calif., shared two articles she found helpful on the topic. Read them here and here.

As for asset allocation in retirement, David Shekmer, 57 and happily retired, of Cary, N.C., recommends putting all assets into a low-cost S&P 500 index fund while also creating an emergency fund with between three and five years’ worth of expenses to provide for market downturns.


Credit Unions Are Becoming A Popular Antidote to Fraud

Business at credit unions is growing, thanks in part to a marketing pitch that they care more about their customers than banks. SQUARED AWAY BLOG

Jean Smart on Combating Ageism in Hollywood

The Designing Women actress, now on FX’s Legion, reflects on her lasting career. VOX

Should You Use Your Roth IRA to Buy a Home?

Just because the IRS allows youdoesn’t mean you should. NERD WALLET

Barbara Bush’s End-of-Life Decisions Stirs Debate Over ‘Comfort Care’

A common misperception about palliative care is that it means denying patients medical help. KAISER HEALTH NEWS


Elizabeth O'Brien is a senior writer at MONEY, covering retirement and health care. You can email her at elizabeth.o'brien@moneymail.com and follow her on Twitter at @elizobrien.

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