Planning To Retire – A Financial Autobiography – Intro – The Times They Are a Changing

I'm good at obsessing. That's why it was so important for me to understand the limits of what I could know about the future. But in the same sense I also need to understand that the specific plans I make today for how to achieve our retirement will, inevitably change. Thankfully, change in the financial world doesn't come all that quickly.

Rolling', rollin', rollin'

  • 1964 – Eugene F. Fama's Ph.D. dissertation introduces the concepts that would lead to the Efficient Markets Hypothesis

  • 1975 – Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) introduced

  • 1976 – Vanguard offers the first Index fund to the general public

  • 1978 – Internal Revenue Code section 401(k) is introduced, although 401(k) plans as we know them wouldn't come into existence into the early 1980s

  • 1990 – The Toronto Stock Exchange introduced the first Exchange Traded Fund

  • 1997 – The United States Government offers its first Treasury Inflation Protected Security (based, I believe, on the Canadian Real Return Bond)

  • 2006 – The Roth 401(K) is introduced

The previous is just a random sampling of events that have a non-trivial affect on my retirement planning. The point being that every once in a while things do change, often in non-trivial ways and will require me to make significant changes in how I execute on my retirement plan. Thankfully really big changes in asset types, asset locations and financial theory are pretty rare so it's not like I'll be making serious changes every year or two. But the moral I take from this story is mostly that while it's important to get my retirement planning right I shouldn't over obsess on it since inevitably I will need to change our plan.

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