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Messages - Robert Johnson

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Your Turn / Re: Early Retirement
« on: Yesterday at 07:26:46 PM »
Part of retirement math is hard to quantify— how does a year in one’s 60’s compare to a year in one’s 80’s? Whether we view retirement as a change in service vocations or as a mere vacation, maximizing the total dollars only works if all years of life are comparable. More time in retirement in one’s 60’s may be far more valuable than more monthly income later on. Hard to calculate that kind of thing.

Yes. If you have no use for the money at age 62 or 66, then waiting seems to be a better deal. But part of my decision was that I could use that money now to put me in a position where I would have no mortgage, and I thought that was valuable.

But there is no ideal obvious solution. We don’t know if a stroke or heart attack will carry us off suddenly. So it’s all about what your priorities are and becoming comfortable with your decision.

It reminds me of every interaction I’ve ever had with a financial planner. They ask me how much I need per month in my future retirement. My answer always was “I have no idea what I will need.” Because I never know if we are going to elect an idiot who will devalue the currency and inflate what it takes to live. Which we have done.

My father died in 1968, and his death benefit was a fixed sum that was intended to fund my mother’s life. By the time the stagflation of the 1970s bloomed, the total amount she had been given at his death looked like chump change. Luckily she got full time work with benefits that carried her to retirement, but it was a dicey thing.

I’m looking at my 401 and 403 money now and wondering if it is going to turn into chump change before I need it.

Your Turn / Re: Early Retirement
« on: Yesterday at 05:09:25 PM »
Seems to me there’s a social security benefit to working until 70, ...

There is, but I did a little back-of-the-envelope breakeven calculation that showed me I'd have to live into my 80s before the wait would start to pay off. I hope to live that long but collecting SocSec before retirement allowed me to pay off our mortgage early, so I'm okay with that decision.

Your Turn / Re: Ben Carson on politics and cultural division
« on: October 14, 2021, 03:20:04 PM »
Come on Charles, are [you] really willing to defend anything anyone on the left does?

The answer to that so far is: Yes.

Your Turn / Re: Early Retirement
« on: October 14, 2021, 03:17:51 PM »
I retired 3 years ago at age 72. There was no ramp-down possibility for me, so it was a genuine retirement. On the one hand, it was 50 years of work getting increased unsatisfying due to institutional changes and I was glad to shed that; on the other, my 401 and 403 money has to last me the rest of my life. The inflation that is just now starting may make me regret not pushing further.

I see that we will get a 5.9% inflation increase in Social Security next year, the biggest increase in many years.

(Announcer's voice: but it's not even enough to cover the price increases already in place.)

Your Turn / Re: Understanding issues/working together
« on: October 13, 2021, 06:37:56 PM »
How about this? If Ben Sasse runs for President and if he is Ben Sasse as we know him now, it is quite likely I would vote him.

It would be a good fit: (

From the article: Sasse (R-Sanctimony) is a senator from Nebraska who has carved out a niche for himself complaining about how his fellow conservatives fall short. Think of him as Evan McMullin with a job.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: October 07, 2021, 06:37:36 PM »
Bunk! Peer review means that other scientist at other institutions, who do not have the same agenda-drive processes, do the same experiment and reach the same conclusions - or their experiment shows the errors in the original conclusions.

No, peer review does not replicate the work.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: October 04, 2021, 02:00:58 PM »
CDC numbers sure throw doubt on the contention that it's the back-to-school change that is driving cases.  Cases have been dropping off since about the time school started (some did start earlier than others, but the trends don't track with start of school).

There is a strong seasonal component to Covid. Places with similar weather patterns have similar to near identical statistics, leregardless of closings and masking.

For example: Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi have different histories of mask rules, but their rates of illness and death virtually overlap.

North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana: their patterns look completely different from the southern states but practically identical to each other.

California and Nevada are different in terms of public policies, but their rates look about the same.

Here is an interesting article on that point:

Check out the Sweden vs Germany graph toward the end of the article.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 27, 2021, 11:33:48 PM »
Senator Paul's view is not shared by 99% of physicians.

That's a bold assertion. Bold assertions need evidence. Got a cite?

Your Turn / Re: Lutherans and Socialism
« on: September 26, 2021, 07:12:05 PM »
And that old “food pyramid“ was partly fabricated by those selling certain food products. And at a time when we barely knew body chemistry and how nutrition truly works.

Yeah, so that makes the feds who propagated that nonsense as innocents.

Your Turn / Re: Lutherans and Socialism
« on: September 26, 2021, 05:04:41 PM »
I would be healthier eating meals prescribed by the FDA.

That’s not clear. It is now pretty well understood that the traditional food pyramid that was promulgated for about half a century is terrible eating advice (way too many carbs).

So in that case the government function was not only not necessary, it was harmful.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: September 22, 2021, 12:17:13 PM »
The narrative of rural, white resistance is a well-traveled trope at this point. The urban, minority resistance remains relatively unexplained in my reading. Your thoughts?

The county health district where I live recently broke down the fully vaccinated rates by race:
  • Asian: 4.3% of population, 7.5% of vaccinated - 1.74 ratio
  • White: 55.2% of population, 52.4% of vaccinated - 0.95 ratio
  • Hispanic: 26.2% of population, 18.1% of vaccinated - 0.69 ratio
  • Black: 11.2% of population, 7.1% of vaccinated - 0.63 ratio

Your Turn / Re: Is Wealth actually Satanic?
« on: August 30, 2021, 08:59:46 PM »
if Tony Hillerman had it right, traditional Navajo culture would say that accumulating wealth is intrinsically evil. Anything you gain that's above average should go to your family. Tony was close to the Navajo nation and culture when he wrote his famous Leaphorn and Chee mystery novels set on the reservation.

He wrote that the evil in the world came about when one of the originating spirits brought along the desire to make money. In many of his books a Navajo character makes the point that Navajo never get rich. If you have extra funds, you're supposed to think about your extended family members who might need it more than you do. If you bought an expensive truck or a gaudy saddle, that was in itself evidence that you were out of balance with the world as it should be.

His characters sometimes also note that this attitude (which I suspect has eroded in recent decades) is part of what keeps the Navajo nation poor.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: August 27, 2021, 05:18:27 PM »

I'm simply quoting the paragraph from which your author quoted the bolded words above. How is that "missing the point"?

Because the authors, having shown that masks are virtually useless, are recommending them anyway to be on the right side of the politics.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: July 26, 2021, 06:30:39 PM »
As vaccination rates lag and COVID cases again rise with the Delta Variant, businesses are weighing options regarding vaccine mandates.

I get a daily tweet from our county's health department. Since June, there has been a definite uptick in the number of cases recorded. Hospitalizations have gone up but far less than the rise in cases. There have been no deaths for a couple of months now. So it looks to me like the variant has some power to infect but does not come close to the original in terms of threat to life. Or the people who are still unvaccinated are the population that does not get very sick with this virus.

In either case, it's hard for me to see any purpose to reimposing mask requirements.  First, they just don't work. Second, even if they did work, they don't do much in this case.

Mask mandates are just pandemic theatre.

Your Turn / Re: Coronavirus news
« on: July 23, 2021, 03:59:00 PM »

... with Delta's potency, long COVID is highly likely ...

Do you have a cite for that?

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