Friday, October 9, 2020

Short Takes: Revisiting the 4% Rule, Vanguard’s new Monthly Income Fund, and more

Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed that I removed ads from my blog.  The income has been dismal for some time, and I was never really doing this for the blog income.  The deciding factor was that so many of the ads I saw on my blog were at odds with my messages.

I started writing because I wanted to learn more about investing and about personal finance in general.  With the help of readers I've made great strides, and I've been pleased to educate others while learning myself.

I wrote one post in the past two weeks:

Rebalancing When There are No Trading Fees

Here are some short takes and some weekend reading:

William Bengen, author of the original “4% rule,” revisits his work on safe retirement withdrawal rates.  (The paper appears to now be caught behind a paywall or sign-up.)  This paper is quite interesting, although it travels significantly into data-mining territory.  Here are a few things I wish he would consider in his analysis: longer retirements than 30 years, investment costs, and flexibility to reduce spending somewhat if necessary.

Canadian Couch Potato answers questions about Vanguard Canada’s new monthly income ETF with the ticker symbol VRIF.  His analysis of VRIF continues in a second post, and in the third he explains the ways VRIF is different from problematic monthly income funds.  In the last post of this series, Canadian Couch Potato explains which types of portfolios are suitable for VRIF.

John Robertson finds some problems with a proposal to try to save money unbundling all-in-one ETFs.

Justin Bender compares the gold ETFs IAU and GLD (in a video no longer online).  My favourite part came in an example with two hypothetical traders: “immediately after purchasing their shares, Wayne and Garth realize they just bought a hunk of metal that doesn’t do anything.”  I keep waiting for the world to figure out that gold’s price makes no sense compared to its value as a metal, and that the world’s major currencies are no longer backed by gold.  It’s like a huge game of hot potato where whoever is holding the gold when we all wake up loses.

The latest Rational Reminder podcast includes Jordan Tarasoff describing in detail how badly clients were treated at his previous financial advice firm.  The bad advice of the week that follows is entertaining as well.

The Blunt Bean Counter describes how to gift money to grandchildren through RESPs, TFSAs, RRSPs, and your will.


  1. Just out of curiosity, would you mind sharing what ad income you were receiving for how many visitors?

    1. Anonymous: I'm afraid I don't know how many visitors I get. There's probably some way to find out, but I haven't checked. Google sends me money every time what I'm owed builds up to $100. Years ago this happened roughly monthly, but lately it's been only a couple of times per year. I stopped replying to anyone who contacts me directly about advertising; they always want to put some paid post on my site and pretend it's a real article. I've never done that.