Finding Kotlikoff

Larry Kotlikoff is now easier to find, some notes on his first post.

Larry Kotlikoff is now writing at Seeking Alpha. His first article there covers "tricks" to increase your income or reduce your financial footprint to have the effect of increasing your income. I've written several posts about Larry's work over the years. I don't necessarily agree with everything he says but he has a lot of great ideas and I find his approach useful. I am pretty sure that one post of mine many years ago made his radar and we exchanged a comment or two.

One idea that he's written about that I find interesting, and he touches on it in the current post, is loading up on TIPS and then going very high risk/reward with 5-10% of your portfolio. This is similar to an idea Nassim Taleb used to talk about where he suggested 90% in to T-bills from various countries and then taking a lot of risk with that last 10%.

The best way this works out is you get a safe 1-2% on 90% of your money and that the allocation to risk doubles in value and you rebalance. That would add up to somewhere between 10.90%-11.80% depending on whatever yield the cash actually received. If it goes horribly wrong, the damage would not have back the drawing board consequences.

When I talk about allocating 1-2% to Bitcoin, if you feel you have to own it, it is so that a run to $400,000 is life-changing but that an implosion to zero is not life-ruining, that is influenced by Kotlikoff and Taleb.

As far as Larry's ideas for increasing retirement income, they are good ideas but ones you've probably heard before and for which there good reasons to do the opposite, especially waiting to take Social Security. He believes you should wait until 70. Reasons not to do this include not spending from your own portfolio when you can spend the SS payout, the risk that you die before you start to come out ahead by waiting (often in your late 70's), simply needing the income sooner than 70. The reason to wait is that you collect a larger amount the longer you wait. In round numbers my full retirement amount at 67 would be $2800. If I take it at 62 it would be $2100 and if I wait until 70 it would be about $3700. You're likely to choose whatever resonates with you. Another reason I like waiting is that if I die early, but I waited, my wife would get a larger survivor benefit. There's no wrong answer but I would note that Kotlikoff is widely renowned expert on Social Security. It would be worth further exploring his writing on the matter even if you end up drawing a different conclusion.

Larry also talks about downsizing your house and increasing retirement plan contributions, I write about these ideas all the time, they are not new but they are important.