Chapter Searches Every Medicare Option Nationwide to Find the Right Coverage for You

You’ve thought about retirement for years. But now that it’s approaching, you still have a lot of questions. A lot of them hinge on healthcare — and the prospect of having to part with an employer plan. And for those already on Medicare, too many wonder if they’re getting the best deal out of the government-sponsored coverage they invested so much in over their career.

Whether you’re enrolling in Medicare for the first time, shopping for a better deal or trying to improve your coverage or benefits, it can all be a bit overwhelming. Luckily, a free resource called Chapter will search every single Medicare option nationwide to match you with the right fit for your needs. It saves people an average $750 a year, plus it will help you find more benefits for less money.

Use This Service To Find the Right Medicare Plan for You

For most people who are turning 65 or retiring, enrolling in Medicare starts with a local broker. Unfortunately, those brokers usually only source from a fraction of the available plans in your area. They’re also often unable to search for all the benefits offered by these plans. That means you might not be getting the right plan for your needs.

Chapter offers the same service your local broker does, but what makes Chapter different is that their team of licensed advisors sources from every available plan nationwide to match you with the right one. The average person has upwards of 50 plans available in their area, so it should come as no surprise that the majority of plans have different benefits, drug costs, and of course, come with different price tags. Chapter’s free plan-finder consultation with a licensed Medicare expert saves older Americans an average of $750 a year. Chapter helps by finding plans with better benefits or by finding lower-priced versions of lookalike plans. If you’re already on Medicare, you could get your current or similar coverage for hundreds of dollars less by simply using this tool.

Here’s how it works:

Answer a few simple questions on Chapter’s website, including whether this is your first time enrolling, and some basic information about yourself, like your name and age, and Chapter will build a shortlist of recommendations for you. And don’t worry — the company won’t sell your responses to spammers.

Even easier? You can call 251-220-0839 to talk it over with an expert, who can walk you through the whole process. Whether you’re pretty much certain about a plan, stalled at a sticking point or haven’t even started searching, they’ll help. Chapter’s service is free, and its advisors’ compensation doesn’t vary based on the specific plan you choose.

Let Chapter Walk You Through the Process

When it comes to Medicare, wrapping your head around what you’re signing up for is the tough part. It can drive months of procrastination and possibly even cause you to miss a key enrollment period. About 700,000 people are hit with late enrollment fees every year for failing to enroll in Medicare on time, according to 2019 figures from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Luckily, Chapter Medicare will walk you through the whole process. Not familiar with all the insurance terms that thicken Medicare’s alphabet soup? Want to understand the difference between Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage and Medigap? Not sure how your prescription drugs will be impacted? Let Chapter help.

It takes just a few minutes to enter your information and get started. Chapter will take into consideration factors like your lifestyle, health and finances, then search every available plan to match you with the right fit for you — at the most cost-effective price.

Even better?  Each year, Chapter’s team helps you re-confirm or improve your coverage to make sure you’re always getting the right plan for you. So whether you’re shopping for a new plan or enrolling for the first time, get started here to see how much you could save, or call 251-220-0839 to talk it over with an expert.




10 Best Books On Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE Movement)

Retiring early is not a new concept. But in the 2010s, a wave of financial bloggers popularized the notion of financial independence: being able to cover your living expenses with passive income, at a young age.

Thus the FIRE movement (financial independence, retire early) was born.

If escaping the rat race appeals to you, pick up any one of the books below to start down the road to true financial freedom.

Best Books About FIRE

I teach about achieving financial independence with real estate and know some of the authors below. What’s struck me time and again is that few people who reach FIRE actually stop working — they just do more meaningful and fulfilling work. And they do it on their own terms and schedule.

In fact, the very journey toward financial independence changes how you think about not just personal finances, but also your career and designing your ideal lifestyle. I got serious about my own journey to FIRE three years ago, and a curious thing happened along the way. In working toward my ideal lifestyle, I’ve largely created it, even as I continue working.

When you control your work and your hours and can work from anywhere, it stops being a burden. I hope to reach financial independence within the next three years, and while my work will certainly continue evolving to suit me, I don’t plan on retiring.

But when I started, I wanted nothing more than to never have to work another day in my life.

Ambitious journeys change you. They change how you see the world around you, your role in it, and what you want from it. And the journey to FIRE is the ultimate ambitious journey, at least from a financial and lifestyle perspective.

1. “The Simple Path to Wealth” by JL Collins

JL Collins’ easy and accessible book “The Simple Path to Wealth” was born from his blog. The blog in turn started as a series of letters to Collins’ daughter, who was too young at the time to understand the financial and investing advice he was setting down.

Throughout, Collins maintains a deep commitment to simplicity. His writing style is simple and direct. His investing advice is as simple as it gets. He recommends starting with a single exchange-traded fund (ETF): Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index Fund (VTI).

He goes on to cover a broad range of fundamentals, such as how to get the most out of tax-advantaged accounts, how safe withdrawal rates work, and why most people underperform the average stock market return.

But he doesn’t stop there, continuing into more intermediate territory such as why he doesn’t like dollar-cost averaging, how to invest during different market phases, and how to preserve your wealth once you’ve built it.

I particularly love what filmmaker and author Malachi Rempen has to say about Collins: “In the dark, bewildering, trap-infested jungle of misinformation and opaque riddles that is the world of investment, JL Collins is the fatherly wizard on the side of the path, offering a simple map, warm words of encouragement, and the tools to forge your way through with confidence. You’ll never find a wiser advisor with a bigger heart.”

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, start here.

2. “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez

In their classic “Your Money or Your Life,” Robin and Dominguez aim to completely change how you think about money. And they succeed.

There are a few books on this list that could claim the honor of “starting the FIRE movement.” This is one of those books. Although first published in 1992, the authors released an updated edition in 2018 to cover more recent trends such as the explosion of the gig economy, tracking finances online through tools like Mint, and passive index fund investing.

Even so, it’s the money mindset topics that hit with the most punch. The book helps you think differently about budgeting, about decluttering your life, about instilling good financial habits, and much more.

Reclaim control over your life, both financially and otherwise.

3. “Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence” by Chris Mamula, Brad Barrett, and Jonathan Mendonsa

Having collaborated with Chris Mamula on his blog Can I Retire Yet?, I can tell you firsthand how lucidly he can cover complex topics. And while I’ve never had the pleasure of working with Brad and Jonathan, I feel like I know them well through their “Choose FI” podcast (which ranks among the best financial podcasts, in my humble opinion).

These three financial experts bring a (pardon the pun) wealth of knowledge on everything from frugality to investing to lifestyle design to free travel hacks. And like most books about FIRE, all the advice comes grounded with a different mindset around money.

Which doesn’t mean they scrimp on tactics and details. In each lesson, they get down into the granular details of exactly how to proceed.

If you want a straightforward but diverse book to get you to financial freedom as quickly as possible, look no further than “Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence.”

4. “Quit Like a Millionaire Next Door” by Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung

You might know Kristy Shen and Bryce Leung from their scrappy Millennial Revolution blog. They retired at age 31 and now travel the world, blog, and write awesome books (including children’s books).

Their financial book “Quit Like a Millionaire: No Gimmicks, Luck, or Trust Fund Required” is definitely not a children’s book, but the language and storytelling is simple enough for all ages to understand. It manages a perfect blend of motivation, personal stories, and ground-level tactics. And, amazingly, it’s funny to boot.

Shen and Leung didn’t grow up rich. They worked hard, lived frugally, invested their money, and retired young. In other words, they embody the FIRE movement’s principles perfectly.

For a more personal and quirky take on FIRE, pick up a copy of “Quit Like a Millionaire.”

5. “The 4-Hour Workweek” by Tim Ferriss

Another book that some say launched the FIRE movement, Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Workweek” remains a classic for good reason. And it’s not even explicitly about financial independence or retiring early.

Ferriss’ premise starts simple: in today’s world, it’s easier than ever to start a profitable online business, even if only a side hustle. And you can run it from anywhere, which allows you to retake control over your time, work, and money.

But the implications reach far beyond that simple foundation. Ferriss and his internationally bestselling book are credited with originating concepts like geoarbitrage, lifestyle design, mini-retirements, and more. Perhaps surprisingly, the mainstream media considers Ferriss a productivity expert, rather than a pioneer in lifestyle design.

It’s yet another book that will change the way you think about money, your career, and the value of your time.

6. “Retire Early with Real Estate” by Chad Carson

Chad Carson wrote the book I wish I’d written myself, all about how to reach financial independence with real estate investments, especially rental properties.

He’s a man after my own heart, who spent a year and a half living in Ecuador with his family because, well, they could. That’s the power of financial independence.

While Carson and his family can live on his rental income, his knowledge of real estate investing extends far beyond landlording. You can learn about vacation rentals, flipping houses, land investing, and more on his Coach Carson podcast, and of course in his book.

If you love real estate and want to pursue it as your main vehicle for FIRE, pick up a copy of Carson’s “Retire Early with Real Estate.”

7. “Financial Freedom” by Grant Sabatier

Grant Sabatier founded the popular Millennial Money blog and wrote one of the better books out there about financial independence. In fact, the foreword of “Financial Freedom: A Proven Path To All The Money You Will Ever Need” was written by none other than Vicki Robin — a familiar name in the industry.

Sabatier covers basics like investing in stocks and real estate of course, but he also tackles more mindset-oriented topics like how to change your relationship with money and how to maximize your happiness per dollar. He doesn’t overcomplicate matters and delivers a simple and straightforward book without financial jargon.

8. “I Will Teach You to Be Rich” by Ramit Sethi

Ramit Sethi recently released an updated version of his modern classic “I Will Teach You to Be Rich,” which fully earns all the praise it’s garnered.

Like every book on this list, Sethi aims for simplicity and accessibility for everyday people. Unlike many of the others, he spends more focus on boosting your income, especially through entrepreneurship.

Some FIRE industry critics complain that the movement focuses too heavily on frugality and cutting spending, rather than earning more money. It’s true, to an extent: the FIRE movement centers more around shifting your mindset to spend less and invest more, as there are plenty of other resources in the world to help you earn more money.

But if you want to learn how to build a successful business without falling into the common trap of overspending and lifestyle inflation, Sethi’s book makes the perfect read.

9. “Playing with FIRE” by Scott Rieckens

Scott Rieckens had what the average American considers the perfect life: a successful business, a happy family, a luxury car, even a membership to a boat club. But he wasn’t happy or fulfilled, and labored under constant stress to maintain his expensive lifestyle.

Then he discovered the FIRE movement, and within five months he quit his career, moved his family, and cut their spending in half.

Rieckens’ book “Playing with FIRE: How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom?” serves as a companion to his documentary film by the same name. It follows his journey from discovering the concepts behind financial independence to changing his own life, with a series of interviews with FIRE mainstays along the way.

More story-driven and less about tactics, it offers a different take on the journey to financial freedom.

10. “Early Retirement Extreme” by Jacob Lund Fisker

An early FIRE movement book published in 2007, Jacob Lund Fisker’s “Early Retirement Extreme” introduced many young adults to the concept before the likes of blogger Mr. Money Mustache and JL Collins entered the limelight.

Fisker later regretted the title, both because of the focus on retirement and branding the book’s core concepts as extreme. But in 2007, the idea of FIRE was extreme and hadn’t percolated through the public’s consciousness yet.

Like other FIRE books, “Early Retirement Extreme” focuses on cutting expenses and building passive income through investments. It also contests American consumerism as a huge obstacle to building wealth.

If you’re interested, read our more detailed analysis of “Early Retirement Extreme” as a road map to faster wealth and simple living.

Bonus Read: “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki

Like Dave Ramsey, Robert Kiyosaki has attained such celebrity status that he inevitably stirs up controversy in the media, and has plenty of detractors.

But his classic “Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not” remains a bestseller to this day, and with good cause. As with so many of the books above, it focuses less on the gritty details of budgeting and more on how to think differently about money. In particular, he argues that your money should work for you, not the other way around.

Kiyosaki is a huge proponent of real estate investing, but he’s also quick to tell you that your house is not an asset, it’s an expense (unless you house hack, of course!). That’s not advice that the middle classes like to hear — which makes it that much more important.

While “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” is not a FIRE book per se, it introduces a range of concepts that come in handy with reaching financial independence. He relates these concepts through fun parables about how his “rich dad” and his biological “poor dad” taught him such different lessons about money.

And really, what is FIRE if not putting your money to work for you, rather than you working for it?

Final Word

As a “FIRE blogger” myself, I’m the first to admit that the “retire early” portion is in some ways a marketing gimmick to lure in the uninitiated. Everyone knows what “retire early” means — it conjures images of lying in a hammock under palm trees while sipping margaritas.

But most people don’t really understand what “financial independence” means. Even when they do, it seems a lot drier than that mental image of the margarita in the hammock.

In my experience, however, no one actually “retires” and spends the next 50 years of their life bumming around the beach after reaching financial independence. That’s not the point.

The point is to take full control over your time and money, to do work that lights a fire in your belly. When you reach financial independence, you can do whatever work brings you the most joy and meaning, rather than endlessly running on the hedonic treadmill, trying to keep earning ever more money to keep up with the proverbial Joneses.

Come for the images of early retirement, stay for the financial freedom to reinvent your life.


4 Reasons Families Fail When Transferring Wealth

Over the next 25 years, analysts anticipate $68 trillion to be passed down to younger generations and charities. While the importance of legacy planning is not limited to the forthcoming Great Wealth Transfer, it does spotlight the significant amount of wealth that has been created, primarily by Baby Boomers, and the need to transition these assets thoughtfully. A legacy plan, regardless of the size of a portfolio, is an essential component of the financial planning process, ensuring the assets an individual has spent their entire life accumulating will transfer to the people and organizations they want, and that family members are well-prepared to inherit and execute their wishes.

There are, however, four common missteps that can cause individuals and families to veer off track.

1 of 4

Failure to create a plan

A woman lounges on a couch lazily.A woman lounges on a couch lazily.

It’s difficult for individuals to think about their own passing, so this tends to push planning off “to another day.” Of course, if an individual passes before a plan is in place, their goals and wishes cannot be executed.

I guide clients to establish a legacy plan as early as possible. While every individual is different and there is no steadfast rule regarding when precisely to create a plan, sooner is almost always better. When an individual begins to envision or has a preference about where and how their assets are transferred – say it is passing down specific heirlooms, charities receiving a portion of wealth, or a family business transitioning to younger generations – it should trigger the need to put a plan in place.

Understand that a legacy plan can evolve over time; you don’t just set it and forget it. A plan should be rooted in what an individual or family envisions today, but with the flexibility to accommodate for changes in the future.

2 of 4

Lack of communication and trust

A man makes the universal symbol for &quot;My lips are sealed.&quot;A man makes the universal symbol for &quot;My lips are sealed.&quot;

A common, and hazardous, reason that legacy plans often don’t succeed is a lack of communication and trust. Not communicating a plan early on can create a rift between generations, especially if it is different than adult children might expect or incorporates other people and organizations that come as a surprise to heirs.

I’ve seen individuals have great success by bringing their adult children – who are in their 20s and 30s – into the conversation to establish the communication early on. If sharing monetary figures is uncomfortable, focus on the overall, high-level strategy instead, reviewing timing, familial values and what the plan seeks to accomplish. Open communication can mitigate negative feelings, such as distrust or confusion among family members, allowing for a more successful transfer.

3 of 4

Inadequate preparation

A yellow road warning sign reads &quot;Oops!&quot;A yellow road warning sign reads &quot;Oops!&quot;

Another reason families don’t succeed in transferring wealth is inadequate preparation among intended heirs. The ability to get individual family members on board with defined roles can be challenging, but it can alleviate a lot of potential headaches and obstacles down the road.

I frequently work with clients to coordinate a Family Alignment Day, where we review the vision and values of the plan and make sure everyone is on the same page. From there, we think through what everyone’s contribution to the plan can be – for example, if one family member is highly organized, perhaps they take control of coordinating family meetings to oversee the plan and ensure it remains on course to meet objectives on an annual basis.

4 of 4

Overlooked essentials

Looking through a magnifying glass at a $100 dollar bill hiding in grassLooking through a magnifying glass at a $100 dollar bill hiding in grass

While a broad bucket, the final reason plans don’t succeed is because of mistakes, such as overlooking tax implications or legal issues.

Enlist the help of professionals and create an “A-team”— composed of specialists, such as a financial adviser, tax professional and estate planning attorney — who can work in tandem to ensure the plan will meet its intended goals. For example, from a tax standpoint, professionals should flag upcoming legislative changes, as they could justify altering the plan. One instance of this: Many provisions in the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 will sunset after 2025, specifically impacting income tax rates and brackets, and estate and gift tax exemptions. 

Whether creating a legacy plan today, or as part of the millions of households in the Great Wealth Transfer that will establish plans soon if they haven’t already, preparation and flexibility are keys to wealth transfer success. Set up an accommodative plan early on, have open communication with family members, and review philosophies and values to make sure everyone is on the same page. This will leave loved ones with the ability to understand, respect and meaningfully execute the legacy plan’s objectives.

Senior Financial Adviser, Vanguard

Julie Virta, CFP®, CFA, CTFA is a senior financial adviser with Vanguard Personal Advisor Services. She specializes in creating customized investment and financial planning solutions for her clients and is particularly well-versed on comprehensive wealth management and legacy planning for multi-generational families. A Boston College graduate, Virta has over 25 years of industry experience and is a member of the CFA Society of Philadelphia and Boston College Alumni Association.


How to Detect BS with John Petrocelli

Bullshit can be found all around us. But how do you know when it’s actually harmful and dangerous? John Petrocelli, social psychologist and author of the new book The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit joins Modern Mentor for a conversation to help decode, demystify, and push past the BS. And yes, it’s science.


Rachel Cooke
August 30, 2021

The Life-Changing Science of Detecting Bullshit joined me for a conversation to help decode, demystify, and push past the BS. And yes, it’s science.

What is the meaning of bullshit?

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Borrowing from a definition developed by moral philosopher Harry Frankfurt, BS, John explains,  is “a communicative substance that results from intentionally or unintentionally, consciously or unconsciously… communicating something that one knows little to nothing about” often to impress, to fit in, to persuade, or simply to hide the fact that one doesn’t know what they’re talking about.
“Essentially,” he continues, “it just involves talking about something with little to no regard for what we would call truth, genuine evidence, or established knowledge.”
And this matters because, as John told me, “the research so far suggests that BS can have a longer-lasting and more impactful effect on a person’s attitudes and beliefs.” In other words, BS carries consequences we need to attend to.

How does bullshit show up in the workplace?

“You would think,” he began, “that the workplace would be a place that people would engage in evidence-based communication and reasoning more than any other place, but you find just as much BS there as [anywhere else].”
Much of this is driven by people feeling obligated to have an informed opinion about everything. This is exacerbated in the workplace, where we are, after all, supposed to be experts at our jobs. So, when a question is posed, we should have an answer. When an idea is challenged, we should have a defense at the ready.
“But the reality is oftentimes we do not have well-informed answers and evidence-based beliefs about the things we do.”
I shared with John some of my own personal experience in starting and growing my consulting business. In the earliest days, I believed that by branding myself as an expert in organizational development, my clients expected a point of view always at the ready. But with time and confidence came the recognition that I was able to deliver greater value by sometimes saying “that’s a great question and I’d love to consider and research it before offering an answer.” 
It’s a tradeoff—more time equals more truth. And that tradeoff should be a win.
My clients appreciate this approach. But in today’s fast-moving world, it can feel risky. 

How harmful is BS, really?

Not all BS is created equal. John uses the BS Flies Index to help us categorize the innocuous to the harmful and everything in between. So, the number of flies landing on…well… the pile represents the degree of damage that BS inflicts.
One fly represents harmless BS. Imagine embellishing the details of a story to entertain or impress a friend or colleague.
Two flies are bad. And it deserves attention in the workplace—the kind of bullshit that needs to be called out. It’s “fail[ing] to conform to common standards of acceptable conduct. ‘Who would ever vote for her with a face like that?’ [would be] a good example.” (A good example of bad!)
And three flies are the most damaging. This is the BS “likely to cause direct harm or injury, perhaps…with adverse consequences.” Telling yourself you’re uniquely good at driving while texting is an example here. The consequences of the BS you’re feeding yourself could be fatal.

4 ways to minimize BS in the workplace

Minimizing BS at work is something we all carry responsibility for. Here are some of John’s recommendations.

1. Distinguish explanation from evidence

Recognize that when a colleague offers you a rationale (i.e., customers over 65 will love this product because it has a 1950’s feel, and it will remind them of their youth), an explanation isn’t the same thing as evidence.
Has your colleague market-tested the product? Have they talked to customers over the age of 65? Are there similar products on the market delivering similar results? These answers would serve as evidence—the antidote to BS.

2. Accept your vulnerability

This might blow your mind: the less susceptible to BS we believe we are, the more susceptible we actually are. By accepting our individual vulnerability to BS, we can consciously be on the lookout for it. We can’t combat what we can’t see.

3. Ask better questions

BS often sounds good on the surface, but it doesn’t stand up to honest investigation. Asking questions that challenge the BS-er to go deeper will often uncover the truth. Questions like…
o Can you give me more specifics?
o How will that work in the face of…?
o Have you considered what would happen if…?

4. Affirm the courage to say “I don’t know”

Often, people will BS not because they want to, but because the alternative is to say nothing which takes courage.
Leaders, John explains, should focus on creating cultures in which “I don’t know but I’d be happy to explore and find out” is an honorable response. Let your teams know we’d rather have the truth later than a false truth now.
Leaders should role model saying “I don’t know,” and they should reward and recognize people who do so.
It’s incumbent on all of us to pay attention to our own tendencies to deliver BS, as well as to keep our antennae up so we start recognizing it in others.
Let’s work together to keep BS at bay.