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Conserving Client Portfolios During Retirement Paperback – May 1, 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 168 pages
  • Publisher: FPA Press; 1st edition (May 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0975344838
  • ISBN-13: 978-0975344835
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


As planners confront the dubious task of helping their clients to safely withdraw income for retirement, William Bengen may very well be a luminary. His just released Conserving Client Portfolios During Retirement, a from scratch attempt to confront this dilemma, is likely to take its place in the canon of financial planning literature. Some of the MIT trained rocket scientist cum planner's research has been previously published in the Journal of Financial Planning, but those chapters have been meticulously updated, and there is plenty of new material. Using Ibbottson market data that reaches back to 1926, Bengen deflty dissects the retirement withdrawal dilemma into manageable layers. He arrives at the usual 4.15 percent "safe" withdrawal rate, but then shows how it can be adapted to any number of client profiles. The book's real magic is how Bengen weaves asset allocation, time horizon and other variables into his dynamic and thorough research to suggest formulas and methods, rather than arbitrary answers, for planning any given client's retirement withdrawal strategy. As with any good methodology, the book's findings can be used on the fly to recalibrate a withdrawal strategy for clients whose needs change mid flight. For the bulk of planners, trained more for accumulation than distribution, the book provides more than technical analysis; Bengen suggests intelligent ways to incorporate these strategies into conversations with clients facing these formidable decisions. Especially helpful is Bengen's methodology for predicting the probability of a given strategy's success. Remarkably, Bengen presents his complex findings, clever charts and all, in as tight and succinct a package as one can find in financial literature. --Marshall Eckblad, Financial Planning magazine, July 2006, p. 22

About the Author

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By R. Linek on May 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Every retiree concerned about making their assets last in retirement should read this book. It is ground breaking research that was originally done in the early 90's with all the data brought up to date combined with much new information that supplement and confirm the so called "4% solution". It will give you a clear understanding of withdrawal rates and how they affect the longevity of your invested portfolio based on real historical market data. It also gives good insight into how various investment vehicles impact overall returns and hence the ability to increase your withdrawal rate. It is a pricey book but if you read it carefully, it is more than worth its price and can provide valuable lessons for the remainder of your life. Though not a book about accumulating wealth, it is a very throughly done research about how to spend your wealth in retirement effectively. Very highly recommended.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. Giannetto on August 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an easy review to write so I'll make it short and sweet.

This book is probably worth more to me that every other book I have ever read on retirement planning (and I have read several dozen). Bill Bengen is a genius in the area of retirement planning and a pioneer in developing models to determine sustainable withdrawal rates. His work is considered by others (financial planners included) as the "gold standard". I cannot say enough about how much I learned from reading his book. It's simply a "must read".

You would be remiss (bordering on negligent) in not adding this tremendous work to your library.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Want to know how to maintain a realistic level of income during your retirement? This book tells you how it is done, statistically.

William Bengen, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) of many years, wanted a statistical history to show his clients how their portfolios could vary during 30-odd years of retirement. Finding none available, he compiled his own. This book is the end result.

He begins with a basic portfolio and how it has varied statistically for retirees from the 1920's on. Each chapter introduces additional variables that affect a clients' portfolios. In the process many treasured financial principles are upheld while a few are surprisingly debunked. (Hint: 4% may not be best for some.)

Written by a professional CFP for professional CFP's, this is no Tom Clancy novel. Considering the subject, however, it is clear, well-written and very readable. (I would go further and add it is downright fascinating--though I should add the disclaimer that my interest might be motivated by conserving my own portfolio for the next 30-odd years.)

Because it is a book for professionals, it has a heavy price tag. For myself, a retiree active in my investments, the price is far cheaper than what a CFP would cost. Please note this is not a replacement for professional advice, particularly for those not fully comfortable with investing and financial planning.

Pros: 1) Valuable, enlightening--even indispensable--information on its specific subject matter; 2) Highly readable for a topic that could easily have been dense and dull

Cons: 1) Expensive--though for this retiree the price was well worth it; 2) Written for a narrow audience--professionals and financially astute (ahem) amateurs.
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More About the Author

William P. Bengen practiced fee-only financial planning in Southern California for 25 years. He is a retired member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and the Financial Planning Association. Bengen received a B.S. from MIT in Aeronautics and Astronautics. He worked for 17 years with his family-owned soft-drink-bottling franchise firm in the New York metropolitan area, serving a tenure as president and COO. In 1987 Bengen migrated with his wife and two daughters to the gentler climes of Southern California, where he founded his practice, earning his CFP® certification in 1990 and his Master's degree in financial planning in 1993.

In October of 1994 Bengen published his first research paper establishing the so-called "4% rule", which posits limits to safe withdrawals from retirees' investment portfolios. In succeeding years, Bengen published additional research expanding on the original findings. Bengen's articles and quotations have appeared in numerous publications, including the Journal of Financial Planning, Financial Planning magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes, the NY Times, Kiplinger's, and Bottom Line. He has presented his research on conservation of client retirement portfolios at numerous financial planning conferences and meetings. In 2014 he was the recipient of the NAPFA Robert J. Underwood Distinguished Service Award.

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