The "Planning To Retire" articles are not intended as an introduction to personal finance or retirement planning. Even if I were qualified to write such an introduction (and I am not), many others have gotten there before me and done, I suspect, a substantially better job than I could have. Therefore below I list specific books that I believe will prepare the reader to understand this series.
Reading books, articles, etc. on retirement planning is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle with most of the pieces missing. To help me make sense of it all I started to write notes. These notes provided details on the what, the how and the why of Marina and my's retirement planning process. As I talked with my friends about the contents of those notes I found that although nobody had exactly the same financial situation as Marina and I, nevertheless, there were more than enough similarities for each of us to learn from the experiences of the other. It was this realization that inspired me to start writing a series of articles on how we have gone about our retirement planning process. This article is the introduction and outline for that series.
I had previously reported that Jose Padilla, an American citizen arrested on American soil and held in solitary confinement in a military brig as an "enemy combatant" without charge for three years was going to be charged with a civilian crime and transfered from military to civilian authority. But the 4th circuit appeals court which had previously granted Bush the right to arrest anyone he wants with only a kangaroo court to review (note, however, that the president even objected to this ruling saying he has the right to arrest and hold anyone he wants, for any reason he wants, for as long as he wants without review from anyone) has apparently got its nose out of joint.
[Updated to include instructions on how to configure web browsers to only use Tor for some websites but not others.]
Tor is an EFF supported open source software project that makes it difficult for anyone to figure out who a Tor user is talking to on the Internet. For example, someone using Tor can pretty effectively hide which websites they visit, where they download content from, who they are sending e-mail to, etc. As I explain below, Tor is a tool everyone should be interested in, even those who don't think they have anything to hide.
Unfortunately Tor's performance can be quite slow. But using proxy configuration files (pac files) it is possible to configure browsers to use Privoxy/Tor for some websites but not others. This is not a perfect solution since, as I explain below, there are some trivial ways to get around this technique but it is better than nothing.