Ep 41: Lessons From Keyboard Warriors

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The Concept:

We were playing the dangerous game of perusing the comments section of a recent article about COVID-19 and the impacts on retirees and how much money you’ll need to retire going forward. The trip into the comments section is always a mixed bag of trolling, inaccuracies, and sometimes surprisingly helpful insight from what we’ve come to describe as “Keyboard Warriors.” So, let’s look at some of the sentiments found under this recent article and see if they resonate with how others truly see the financial world, retirement, and how to best prepare for it all.

The Reality of the Matter:

The general rule of thumb when perusing the internet is avoid the comment section. The anonymity lends itself to some pretty ugly replies and that’s the case with a recent article we read about the pandemic and its financial impact.

The article talked about how retirees will be affected by COVID-19 and what it means for the money you’ll need to retire. As you can imagine, the opinions below the story covered every possible side of the discussion. And everyone felt they were right, of course.

So we decided to pull some of the ‘best’ comments we found and get Mike’s response to them on this episode of the podcast. If there’s a positive to be found in the comment section, it’s that you get a pretty good cross-section of beliefs and that’s exactly what we found.

The comments ranged from positive to condescending to nervous and here’s a quick look at the points that were being made:

  • You can live on much less and be happy.
  • Returns are so bad right now that no one will be able to retire confidently.
  • Now is a great opportunity to up your contributions and invest more.
  • If you can’t make it through this dip then you were never in a good position to begin with.
  • I’m ready to retire ASAP because of all this.
  • I’ll just continue to save and wait longer before retiring.

As you can see, there were all types of opinions about how to deal with the economic volatility of 2020. So what does Mike think and how many of these does he agree with? We’ll find out on the show.


We have time for one question from the mailbag today and it’s about choosing between paying a penalty to avoid high fees. A listener has a variable annuity but found out about the fees associated with it and wants to move that money now. Is it a good idea to pay the penalty to avoid the fees or should he just keep the investment as is? Mike will give his thoughts on annuities and which way he generally leans in this situation.

Listen to the full episode or click on the timestamps below to skip around to a specific topic. 

0:58 – Mike has his first seminar scheduled since the pandemic started.

3:22 – Let’s talk about keyboard warriors and the comments on a recent article.

4:11 – First comment

5:46 – Second comment on concern

7:44 – Third comment on opportunity

9:22 – Fourth comment

10:54 – Fifth comment with opposite views.

13:22 – Final comment on planning

15:27 – Mailbag Question: I have a variable annuity and found out that the fees are very high. I’d like to move the money but I’d have to pay a penalty to get it out. Is it worth paying the penalty to lose the high fees?

Thanks for checking out the Retirement Reality Podcast. We’ll talk to you again next week.

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