Most helpful positive review
103 of 104 people found the following review helpful
Pay attention to the sub-title (Mar 2011 update)
on May 5, 2005
The reviewer plugging the "MarketBuster" book has totally missed the point of this NOLO book, which is given in the subtitle: Taking Your Money Out. The reviewer is talking about strategies for growing your account.
When you're in the savings/growing mode you're in a whole different situation than you're in when you're having to withdraw and/or live off your account. Going from one to the other requires a major change in strategy and, more important, a MAJOR change in mindset and, often, life style.
You're confronted with a whole new set of regulations, whether the reason for the change is retirement, inheriting an account, etc. The biggest change in mindset is that instead of the pleasant pre-retirement situation of watching the money accumulate, you have to recognize that you're now going to be watching it DECLINE. And unless you've got a tremendously more than sufficient account, you're going to have to live with the knowledge that you could outlive the account, possibly due to your own mistakes, some of which this book can help you avoid.
Four years ago I was confronted with making this shift a whole lot sooner than I'd planned, and with getting control of my retirement accounts under conditions where I had little help. Without the previous edition of this NOLO book, I would have been totally lost and probably made serious mistakes.
Now, one caveat: This book does not tell you how to MANAGE your withdrawals and account so as to produce INCOME; as one should expect from NOLO press as a LEGAL advice publishing house, it deals with the nuts, bolts, traps and hazards of the PROCESS of getting the money out.
In my situation I also found that there is not a whole lot of good material out there on the subject of managing your money and account IN the WITHDRAWAL stage, and this subject is affecting more and more people, as the country shifts from defined benefit (pensions) plans to plans like 401Ks and IRAs that place the job of investing and managing on the individual. (Written 2005)
The above paragraph is still true (Mar 2011), but with the "boomer wave" of retirements hitting the advice industry, the situation is beginning to change. I'm seeing more professional literature about managing accounts for income and sustainability and the use of more realistic/conservative estimates of expected returns. Catch 22 right now is that most investments these days with acceptable risk are also virtually income-less. (CDs, USA bonds).
It is a whole lot more complex, risky, and stressful than most people realize, especially considering the general abysmal education (lack of) even young people receive on the subject, let alone people my age who were raised to count on pensions, etc. (And thank goodness for Social Security, which while far from adequate, can still supply a firm base of about 30 to 50% of a retirement income; although that's another issue)
So I recommend this book as essential for the basic procedures, but you will also need additional information on how to manage your income account(s). Personally, in addition to a good fee based financial planner, I found invaluable help from folks who have actually been doing the job for years, especially in the forums of Morningstar, for example. But you have to be on constant alert for scamsters and the whole "how to be a billionaire" publishing crowd. You're going to have to invest some serious time and effort in educating yourself for a the whole new job of retirement, and this book is an excellent place to start, preferably BEFORE you actually have to start TAKING YOUR MONEY OUT.