There is a program called PGP “Pretty Good Privacy”. It’s a cryptography program for emails and such and does what it’s name implies. The algorithm is good enough to protect your stuff from prying eyes. It’s based on using a set of rules as well as the algorithm and if you follow the rules… It’s not super duper government un-crackable requiring super computers but Pretty Good. It was designed as an educational tool to teach peeps how to wrap one’s head around cryptography. There is an open source version and a commercial version undoubtedly the commercial version is better and suitable for enterprise security.

My last series of articles constitutes PGRP. Pretty Good Retirement Planning

Goalscape Introduces a planning tool that succinctly allows you to encapsulate goals in a pictorial format. The ratios are variable and you can grow granularity. There is a free version to use but its somewhat crippled because it allows only one job at a time and has only 30 conditions to display. The limitation can be overcome by simply pasting screen shots of your Goalscape creation into a personal blog.

Goalscape is a planning tool so use it to make a plan. In retirement you need a portfolio and a cash flow to substitute for your job. There are a multitude of ways to get there and a multitude of accounts you can fund from Bank to Roth to IRA/401K to Brokerage. Money also comes from SS. The accounts are treated differently in distribution and most of them are owned by you AND the government understand the treatment is important since there are consequences to going down one path or another.

RMD Calc and Uses

RMD Calc and Uses looks at methodology and strategy to help plan those consequences by using Schwab RMD calculator, Tax Plan Calculator and Excel. The tax code is progressive and the RMD % is progressive so through out your retirement the government is taking a larger and larger bite out of “your” (plural) money because IRA money is owned by both you ad the government. By knowing whats waiting at the end you may make different choices at the beginning RMD calc shows you how to think about that prospect.

Where We Stand

Where We Stand is an article that looks back on a projected future from death back to accumulation. Very often planning is done from the other perspective from accumulation going forward. By looking backward from a projected future you can start to predict what is more or less important and how to optimize years in advance. You can’t spend Tax Loss Harvest if you never Tax Loss Harvested and you won’t see the advantage of a Brokerage and TLH if all you ever did was max out your tax deferred accounts which are owned by you and the government and taxed as ordinary income. Brokerage has different tax treatment so it’s like tax diversification, suddenly each account has a different risk and a different cost associated with ownership and can be incorporated to serve a different purpose in your old age. Money is fungible meaning you can’t tell one buck from another but the efficiency of how that money is created is specific and the plan and details matter. You only get to keep what the government says you can keep, harsh truth. No biggie, you got tools and a plan! Go slay the dragon!

Personal Capital

Personal Capital is an article on using a web based portfolio aggregator, a tool that tracks your portfolio in it’s entirety. Vitally important to making efficient decisions. The ability to accurately track and analyze is absolutely invaluable. It as important as giving sight to the blind. Use it or loose it.


Mint is an article on using a cash flow aggregator aka budgeting tool plus Excel to give you customized information on where the money goes. It’s implementation is trivial to use and it’s depth of knowledge is immense. I didn’t use it when I was getting rich because it didn’t exist. Had I used it I likely would be richer.

How I Knew When to Retire

How I Knew When to Retire is an article about understanding “enough” on a personal level using as a guide. Retirement is not boiler plate it’s personal. Retiring with “not enough” is a drag. Retiring with “too much” may mean you stayed too long. It may also mean your work pays you only in excess risk and stress, bad juju. The method along with the other articles gave me a personal way to understand my future in light of my past and be able to predict with virtual certainty the outcome even though I have yet to experience the outcome.

So there ya go! PGRP I could drone on about portfolio construction etc, but Personal Capital is adequate for that, in fact better than adequate it’s damn good.

Rock the Casbah

Rock the Casbah

Sharif don’t like it

Sometimes my opinions clash

4 Replies to “PGRP”

  1. I think your commentary will be valuable when the market takes a crap storm. The younguns have seen nothing yet.

    They all think they know things until they don’t. Then life blindsides them unmercilessly. Many of us have experienced all this time and again. That is why being able to read your version of your reality is useful.

    I am old enough to recognize the parts that would work for me and those that won’t. That has been learned from simply living my life.

    When I look back at all that I thought I knew during my 20’s and 30’s, I chuckle and now know all that I did NOT know.

    1. Nobody knows if a 50 year 4% retirement is going to work or a 3% NOBODY! Even Monte Carlo doesn’t know, so that’s why you can stack the
      odds more in your favor using these tools. In black jack the house has an 8% advantage, insurmountable unless you keep track of how the cards fall and what’s left in the deck. If you do that the house’s advantage drops to +.2% or near zero. If however you know how to bet the odds switch to the player. If you know the deck and know how to bet the casino’s won’t let you play. That’s the power of quant.

  2. Didn’t hear of a solid third of these which I look forward to checking out.

    Love the idea of reverse engineering from death backward.

    And of course, who doesn’t love the Clash…



    1. I wrote that series with you in mind since you’re starting a consulting business. You gotta send the client some charts man or he’ll feel gypped. Now you’re the chart master. “Look at that guy printin’ them charts on the MTV, look at that guy that’s the way you do it money for nothing and your chicks for free… gotta diagnose tonsilitis, heart attack and attend a delivery-a-ee-a-ee gotta move these patients outta here, drink some coffee, watch some color TVee…

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