how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

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kalrocmk
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how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by kalrocmk » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:13 pm

My wife and I are approaching retirement. I was wondering how to set up our accounts in order to optimize convenience, security and costs. I currently use Bank of America for my checking and Marcus for my high yield savings account. Our paychecks go into the checking account. We pay our bills from our checking account. Our taxable brokerage account is with Vanguard and retirement accounts are with TSP. We also use the safe deposit locker at our local BOA branch. Several posters on this site have mentioned Fidelity as a one stop shop.

what I would like is:
- minimize the number of entities that we deal with,
- should have a brick and mortar location for us to meet in person should some issues arise,
- minimize the cash that sits idle in the checking account while not having to closely monitor the funds to avoid overdraft (currently we land up keeping about 4xmonthly expenses in our checking),
- be able to remotely pay bills while we are on travel during retirement.

Any recommendations?

:sharebeer
Just trying to make a living

jebmke
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by jebmke » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:16 pm

Most of our spend is on credit cards. Most of the rest is direct debit. So I know pretty well when money has to be in the bank each month. All deposits are direct deposit - I haven't seen a check in years.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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FelixTheCat
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by FelixTheCat » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:19 pm

I did the Fidelity as a One Stop Shop.
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livesoft
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:23 pm

I have all my taxable account dividends go to my checking account at Wells Fargo. I spend the money. I use the free online bill pay. We keep about 2 weeks of expenses in our checking account. We don't have any savings account nor any cash in our investment accounts. That is, we stayed invested in stock funds and bond fund as much as we can.

It is really that easy.

I'm certain that Bank of America has free online bill pay and checking accounts.

All the places we get bills from send us an e-mail. We don't get bills in the mail anymore. When we travel, we check our e-mail. If we can check our e-mail, then we can pay our bills. Online for everything.
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obgraham
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by obgraham » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:34 pm

I have spent down our taxable accounts so everything is in IRA, now consolidated at Vanguard.
Checking and a small savings amount in Ally online, all bills paid from there, mostly autopay.
About every 2 months, sell some Vanguard, direct deposit to Ally, shows up in 2 days.

We do maintain a small account at a local SticksAndBricks where I have a HELOC for sudden emergencies, a lockbox, and a place to go when I want a free cookie.

Works for us. No fussing about.

spammagnet
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by spammagnet » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:37 pm

Read this thread for ideas: Fidelity as a one stop shop

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FelixTheCat
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by FelixTheCat » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:42 pm

livesoft wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:23 pm
I have all my taxable account dividends go to my checking account
Is all of your taxable account in stock mutual funds? The reason I ask is I am having mental difficulty taking dividends from Total Stock Index after running the "reinvesting dividends" scenario through Portfolio Visualizer. There is a massive difference in total return.

Wouldn't it be better to sell what you need when the needs arise? I am just wondering if it makes a difference in the long run.
Felix is a wonderful, wonderful cat.

livesoft
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:46 pm

FelixTheCat wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:42 pm
Is all of your taxable account in stock mutual funds? The reason I ask is I am having mental difficulty taking dividends from Total Stock Index after running the "reinvesting dividends" scenario through Portfolio Visualizer. There is a massive difference in total return.

Wouldn't it be better to sell what you need when the needs arise? I am just wondering if it makes a difference in the long run.
Yes, all our taxable account is in stock mutual funds and stock ETFs. We do not automatically reinvest dividends in our taxable accounts. Instead, we either spend them (I am retired) or we manually invest them and not necessarily back into the fund they came from.

Of course there is a a difference in total return if one is spending from their portfolio. But retirement is not about accumulation. It is about spending money from one's portfolio, isn't it?
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quantAndHold
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by quantAndHold » Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:54 pm

We have accounts at Vanguard, Capital One, and a local credit union. At Cap One, we have our checking account, a high yield savings account, and a CD ladder. We keep the CU account so that we have a local bank branch for the once a year that we need that kind of thing.

Social Security is direct deposited into the CU account, because we need to have direct deposit to get free checking.

Everything is set to autopay.

Once a month I go through and look at the bills and statements, move the social security money from CU to Cap One, rebalance investment accounts, and top up the checking account from the taxable brokerage account. The first time during the year that we need money, I take the RMD’s. We also don’t reinvest dividends in the taxable account, so they are the first thing that gets spent.

Once a year, I go through a budgeting exercise, where I figure out where all the money for the previous year actually went, and what I expect our spending to be for the next year, compare that to our current financial situation, and make adjustments as necessary.

That’s pretty much it.

livesoft
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:00 pm

BTW, I want to mention that while I pay most bills, but my spouse is responsible for paying some bills. The idea is that she knows how to do financial things if I die. And I know how to do financial things if she dies. I think the ability of either spouse to take care of things when the other spouse is incapacitated is important. I have seen where a surviving spouse doesn't even know how to login to look at their checking account nor bill paying stuff set up by their deceased partner.
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AstroJohn
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by AstroJohn » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:27 pm

livesoft wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:00 pm
BTW, I want to mention that while I pay most bills, but my spouse is responsible for paying some bills. The idea is that she knows how to do financial things if I die. And I know how to do financial things if she dies. I think the ability of either spouse to take care of things when the other spouse is incapacitated is important. I have seen where a surviving spouse doesn't even know how to login to look at their checking account nor bill paying stuff set up by their deceased partner.
A very important thing to do in retirement and probably before. When I started including my wife, I was surprised at how long it took her to come up to speed. Her earlier experience was back in the write a check for everything days.

MikeG62
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by MikeG62 » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:39 pm

kalrocmk wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:13 pm
My wife and I are approaching retirement. I was wondering how to set up our accounts in order to optimize convenience, security and costs. I currently use Bank of America for my checking and Marcus for my high yield savings account. Our paychecks go into the checking account. We pay our bills from our checking account. Our taxable brokerage account is with Vanguard and retirement accounts are with TSP. We also use the safe deposit locker at our local BOA branch. Several posters on this site have mentioned Fidelity as a one stop shop.

what I would like is:
- minimize the number of entities that we deal with,
- should have a brick and mortar location for us to meet in person should some issues arise,
- minimize the cash that sits idle in the checking account while not having to closely monitor the funds to avoid overdraft (currently we land up keeping about 4xmonthly expenses in our checking),
- be able to remotely pay bills while we are on travel during retirement.

Any recommendations?

:sharebeer
First congratulations on approaching this fantastic milestone.

DW and I are in our 4th year of early retirement. While we don’t use Fidelity as a one-stop shop, there are a lot of reasons why it makes a lot of sense (especially for one who wants simplicity and does not want to worry about keeping too much idle funds sitting in a B&M checking account). Should I eventually do it, I will set up a separate CMA account and not provide overdraft from my main brokerage account (security concerns). I would use a MMF in the CMA for overdraft and monitor it closely enough to ensure there were sufficient funds in the MMF to cover any upcoming debits.

We have most of our taxable financial assets at two brokers (Fidelity and UBS). UBS exists solely because that is where I source my muni bonds. So setting that aside, it’s Fidelity and a checking account at BofA (we do have a small online savings account at Ally and recently opened a 15-month CD there, but that’s not relevant to the discussion). All our muni bond interest is swept from UBS to BofA on a real time basis. We have dividend reinvestment turned off in our Fidelity account. All dividends (and interest) on our investments held at Fidelity are swept to our BofA account a day after they post to Fidelity. This provides a flow of funds to our BofA account. Additional funds are then periodically transferred from Fidelity to BofA on an as needed basis. BofA has a requirement that we maintain an average monthly balance of $1,500. We typically average about 3X that amount. Not too worried about $4,500 in idle funds sitting in BofA on average.

I built an electronic check register in excel and use that to manage our funds in BofA both currently as well as needed for pending debits. We try and put as much of our spending on our CC’s as possible and all are set to autopay from our BofA account. As I receive a notification that a CC statement is available I log in and download it. Then summarize the spending in my expense tracking spreadsheets and schedule it for payment in the e-check register. I’m usually in the e-check register several times a week (at least) so I am very close to all the activity going through or about to go through our BofA account. This process works well for me (note that I am an ex-finance guy).

While I see the logic of using Fidelity as a one-stop-shop, I remain comfortable with the setup I have and therefore have not moved in that direction. However, as I said, there is a good basis to do it and I may one day move in that direction. Hope all that helps.

Good luck.
Last edited by MikeG62 on Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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HomeStretch
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:42 pm

BofA checking account (for direct deposit/ATM/bill pay/safe deposit box/notary/cash deposits) and Vanguard taxable/retirement accounts works well for my parents.

Vanguard has money market fund rates that are better than Schwab, Fidelity and most banks’ high yield savings/money market account rates.

A monthly auto transfer is setup from Vanguard taxable account’s money market fund to replenish their checking account as SS doesn’t cover all their monthly bills. RMDs are transferred annually from their Vanguard IRAs to replenish their Vanguard taxable money market fund (VMMXX Prime MM).

If you prefer a walk-in office, Fidelity or Schwab could be a good substitute for Vanguard. For my parents, they are not a good replacement for BofA as the nearest Fidelity office is farther away from them, does not have safe deposit boxes or accept cash deposits. Yes they know there are workarounds for cash deposits but they prefer to keep it simple at BofA.

Edit - both vanguard and BofA have apps. Bill pay thru the BofA app is easy.

UpperNwGuy
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by UpperNwGuy » Wed Jun 19, 2019 3:57 pm

I’m in my late 60s, and I manage my cash flow in retirement the exact same way I managed it when I worked for a living. There’s nothing special about retirement that requires you to change the way you run your household finances.

My father has followed the same philosophy. When he reached age 95 he started consolidating his accounts and at age 97 he is now down to just one bank, and it has a branch in his retirement community. His stock portfolio is all in one account at single brokerage.

Topic Author
kalrocmk
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by kalrocmk » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:15 pm

Thank you all for sharing your approach. It really helps me to understand.

Based on the recommendations, I think the best way for me to do it will be:
- Keep my BOA checking account for direct deposit/ATM/bill pay/safe deposit locker. Maintain about 1 month of expenses in it. My pension & SS will be deposited directly in it. I will let dividends accumulate in VG MMF and transfer once a month
- Keep about 2-3 months of expenses in either High Yield Savings or MMF so that I can use it in case of emergency
- Transfer distributions as needed from TSP to BOA/VG

I do have my bills on autopay. One concern that I have is that when I am on travel internationally, if I need to transfer funds will the security algorithms at VG/BOA/TSP block these transfers? My plan was to go away for several months at a time. Any thoughts on that?

I use Personal Capital to aggregate my data so I have a good idea about the credit card bills that will come due. I guess, I can set up the budget bills with the utilities so that the monthly bills are more predictable. How safe is it to continue using personal capital overseas?
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Sandtrap
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:23 pm

kalrocmk wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:13 pm
My wife and I are approaching retirement. I was wondering how to set up our accounts in order to optimize convenience, security and costs. I currently use Bank of America for my checking and Marcus for my high yield savings account. Our paychecks go into the checking account. We pay our bills from our checking account. Our taxable brokerage account is with Vanguard and retirement accounts are with TSP. We also use the safe deposit locker at our local BOA branch. Several posters on this site have mentioned Fidelity as a one stop shop.

what I would like is:
- minimize the number of entities that we deal with,
- should have a brick and mortar location for us to meet in person should some issues arise,
- minimize the cash that sits idle in the checking account while not having to closely monitor the funds to avoid overdraft (currently we land up keeping about 4xmonthly expenses in our checking),
- be able to remotely pay bills while we are on travel during retirement.

Any recommendations?

:sharebeer
Suggest a minimum number of "Tiers" to get the job done.

For example:
1. Brokerage #1, #2, etc. IE: Fidelity, Schwab, Vanguard, etc.
1b. Set up ACH transfer links between the brokerages so it is easy to move funds around.

2. Physically accessible bank with multiple branches where you live or travel to. Checking, etc.
2b. Set up ACH transfer links between your banks and the brokerages.
(usually most efficient to initiate transfers from the brokerage end but YMMV)

3. Online bank somewhere in the above if you have them.
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jebmke
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by jebmke » Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:31 pm

We bailed on our physical bank in 2009 - haven't missed it once.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

fourwheelcycle
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by fourwheelcycle » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:27 pm

We use Bank of America, which has a physical branch near our house, for our checking and overdraft-linked savings accounts. Our cash rewards and travel credit cards are also at BoA. All of our taxable savings and rollover IRAs are at Vanguard, and our Vanguard account is linked to our BoA checking account for ACH transfers. Our remaining employer-based retirement accounts are at Fidelity, but we will probably transfer most of them to Vanguard when we are fully retired.

For cash flow, we have my pension and both of our SS payments set up for direct deposit to BoA. We pay all of our bills from our BoA checking account, mostly using online payments. We have all of our Vanguard taxable account index fund distributions set to distribute rather than reinvest, and we transfer a portions of those funds to BoA if we need extra money for large items like a new roof or a new car.

We used to have some money at Marcus, but we transferred it back to Vanguard when Vanguard's money market fund returns started to equal or exceed Marcus' rates.

livesoft
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by livesoft » Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:50 pm

kalrocmk wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:15 pm
I do have my bills on autopay. One concern that I have is that when I am on travel internationally, if I need to transfer funds will the security algorithms at VG/BOA/TSP block these transfers? My plan was to go away for several months at a time. Any thoughts on that?
I guess that's the reason you have an account at BoA: So you can go in and talk with a personal banker who can answer this kind of question for you.
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Dandy
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by Dandy » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:07 am

In retirement I have pensions and Social Security (2) sent to an online Savings account. Twice a month I have money transferred from Savings to our interest checking account - acts like a twice a month paycheck. Also, have a local bank checking account.

The savings and interest checking are online banks with 24/7 service with basically no fees unless you bounce a check.

Some benefits to this arrangements:

1. I pick the dates of transfer from savings to checking to be close to when major monthly bills are due so each month earn some extra interest. e.g. major credit card bill comes during 3 week but pensions arrive 1st of the month.
2. If the bank with interest checking starts adding fees or other issues I can just open a checking account at a different bank (or use my local bank) and redirect the transfers from Savings. (and not have to deal with moving 2 pensions or 2 Social Security payments to a new bank).
3. I have my monthly transfers total with my targeted monthly drawdown should be. If, at the end of the month I have extra I get the feedback that I'm living within our plan. If I often have to move more money to pay monthly bills then maybe I'm having expense creep and need to look into it.

SQRT
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by SQRT » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:37 am

I keep things as simple as possible. One bank with checking and savings accounts, one self directed brokerage associated with my bank. Scoop divs out as received, pensions deposited into checking account, transfer other funds to checking account as needed. All bills paid on line. Review CC useage, bank accounts and brokerage accounts every morning with my coffee. Keep a cash cushion in savings account. Can’t think of how to make it simpler while maintaining control and being “hands on”.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Thu Jun 20, 2019 8:56 am

Outgoing funds:

1. I auto-charge every recurring bill that can be paid with a credit card (with no fees). Minimum 2% rewards. Often times >2% rewards.
2. Recurring bills that I cannot use a credit card to pay are paid by pull from credit union, including credit card bills.
3. The one remaining bill that isn't paid via 1 or 2 is my yard guy, he gets a bill-pay check from the credit union, automatically sent each month.
4. Non-recurring/one time bills are paid either by credit card, or check.

Incoming funds:

1. SS benefit deposited 3rd Wednesday of the month.
2. By the 20th-25th day of the current month I know how much is needed for expenses for the next month.I initiate a transfer from Vanguard to my credit union.

Broken Man 1999
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Marmot
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by Marmot » Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:21 am

jebmke wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:31 pm
We bailed on our physical bank in 2009 - haven't missed it once.
We actually use ours. We are selling a property and wanted to confirm the routing numbers (they fill out the paperwork). The reason we do this is that we almost got scammed out of 530K in a fake title company scam last year. Scammers evidently stole our real estate agents password and had access to email information. They then created an email that mimicked our Title Companies information - names, dates, dollar figures. They created a spoof email with the name of the title company person we were working with. They screwed up by sending the request for funds too early, we caught it. This deal next week is 1 million, so no, I am not taking chances. Talking to someone helps once in a while.

LeeMKE
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by LeeMKE » Thu Jun 20, 2019 2:32 pm

I do have my bills on autopay. One concern that I have is that when I am on travel internationally, if I need to transfer funds will the security algorithms at VG/BOA/TSP block these transfers? My plan was to go away for several months at a time. Any thoughts on that?
I travel internationally and have made things very complicated for myself, just in case I get blocked. If you are traveling for 90 days at a time, this should not be a threat for you. Some banks like to have travel notice from you, some don't. Just let them know when you'll be traveling so they can use whatever extra measures they have to monitor your account activity.
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Grasshopper
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by Grasshopper » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:31 pm

Not to complicate life for you but Cap One has a no fee checking account, free debit card with no foreign transaction fees. And link a 2% money market at CapOne to your checking and it will automatically transfer to cover any checks that clear no charge. Get alerts on charges and purchases when you travel, so your checking doesn't get drained.

EnjoyIt
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by EnjoyIt » Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:48 pm

obgraham wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:34 pm
I have spent down our taxable accounts so everything is in IRA, now consolidated at Vanguard.
Checking and a small savings amount in Ally online, all bills paid from there, mostly autopay.
About every 2 months, sell some Vanguard, direct deposit to Ally, shows up in 2 days.

We do maintain a small account at a local SticksAndBricks where I have a HELOC for sudden emergencies, a lockbox, and a place to go when I want a free cookie.

Works for us. No fussing about.
I go to a brick and mortar. It appears the mortar instead of sticks has cut their cookie budget to simple lolly pops. I do indulge in one every time I'm there.

bck63
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by bck63 » Fri Jun 21, 2019 2:47 pm

Marmot wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:21 am
jebmke wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:31 pm
We bailed on our physical bank in 2009 - haven't missed it once.
We actually use ours. We are selling a property and wanted to confirm the routing numbers (they fill out the paperwork). The reason we do this is that we almost got scammed out of 530K in a fake title company scam last year. Scammers evidently stole our real estate agents password and had access to email information. They then created an email that mimicked our Title Companies information - names, dates, dollar figures. They created a spoof email with the name of the title company person we were working with. They screwed up by sending the request for funds too early, we caught it. This deal next week is 1 million, so no, I am not taking chances. Talking to someone helps once in a while.
Yikes!! So glad you caught that. I am naive. There are bad people out there.

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ChowYunPhat
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by ChowYunPhat » Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:43 am

We currently run any direct deposits into Vanguard where most of our investments are. MM is paying >2% and we hold a year of cash in reserves there....also push dividends into the same MM to take advantage of any loss harvesting opportunities which may arise in other funds. Each month, we push a living wage to our checking account at Chase where our mortgage and other checking accounts reside. Doesn't get much easier than that and you have the brick and mortar convenience. You could also substitute Fidelity for VG and have additional brick and mortar support.

For bills can charge most to a credit card and pay remainder through Chase.
Last edited by ChowYunPhat on Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Toons
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Re: how do you manage your cash flow in retirement

Post by Toons » Sat Jun 22, 2019 11:47 am

Quicken Software.(Planning)
Txt alerts regarding spending.
Monitor accounts online.
Move funds around.
We travel
Everything is auto debit.
No need for brick and mortar visit.
:idea:
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