Weekend Reading: Vaguely Right

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading vaguely right Weekend reading vaguely right
Weekend Reading

English philosopher Carveth Read once said, “It is better to be vaguely right, than exactly wrong.” While applicable to anything, this concept can also lend guidance to your financial planning approach.


Of the nine listed here, a few questions it can help you answer include:

📌 How to ensure you have enough for retirement: There is no precise answer here, so to be “roughly right”, ensure you stress test your retirement strategy against various scenarios and unknowns, such as inflation, taxes and market returns to pinpoint a “safe” amount range for you.

📌 When to stop contributing to tax-deferred accounts: Accumulating too much in your 401(k) or IRA can lead to a hefty tax bill. Be aware of how your tax bracket changes, and try splitting contributions between traditional and Roth retirement accounts to maximize tax efficiency.

📌 How much cash to hold: The answer to this question is often a follow-up question: What will help you sleep well at night? Try adding up the cost of all potential things that might go wrong (needing a new roof, a new car, etc.) and having a “roughly right” amount in liquidity to cover those.

📌 Whether to employ dollar-cost averaging: Dollar-cost average or lump-sum invest? To avoid loss with either option, author Adam Grossman advises, “If you have some money to put in the financial markets, you might invest half right away and then dollar-cost average with the rest.”

Don’t be misled by precision: Your “perfect” financial plan is a fallacy. In finance, there are no perfect answers, but a lack of implementation is also a sure-fire way to reach mediocrity, if not disaster.