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on February 25, 2010
Read this book. You'll be glad you did. As a middle class American couple with very little knowledge about what to do with our nest egg, we entrusted it to a financial advisor. Then a different one. In this down economy, with a shrunken nest egg, we are still being eaten alive with fees. After reading this book the first time (I will read it again and again), I feel I now have the tools to manage my own nest egg, to prepare for retirement and to best handle our estate planning. Thank you Mr. Solin for writing a book that explains the do's and don't's of retirement planning in a language that anyone can understand.
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on February 13, 2011
I first read this book over a year ago, having checked it out from the library when I was setting up a rollover IRA. Recently I was helping a relative with their investing, and checked out this book again. I decided to purchase a copy for my own resources. It is concise, easy to understand, and written so that most anyone can understand the concepts. Some reviewers have complained that it is too simple, but that's the point. It is aimed at the general consumer and investor who doesn't want to pay high fees trying to beat the market. I recommend it to anyone who is not completely sure if their investments are in the right assets, or who doesn't understand what their "advisor" has them putting money into. That was the case with my relative. Their retirement funds were being invested in equity-based variable annuities, INSIDE a tax-deferred fund, which is helping their insurance agent's fund but not so good for their own. When they asked me, "Why would he do this?" the best answer I had is that 1) he has no fiduciary responsibility to clients, and 2) these annuities pay high commissions to agents.
Anyway, if you don't know what you're investing in nor why, then this is one of a few books I recommend reading before you start throwing money around. Oh yeah, each chapter is about two or three pages long, then ends with a highlighted "point". This is another negative from some reviewers but I really like it.
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on April 28, 2011
As a Personal Financial Planner, this is one of the 4 books I recommend to people. Financial Planning isn't difficult and doesn't need to be done by someone working in a fancy office with all the trimmings that YOU'RE paying for via fees/commissions. Just remember, while this is a great book and will do 85% of what the general public needs, some people will still benefit from sitting down with a FEE-ONLY (not comissioned) financial planner. No one book can cover all the unique aspects of financial planning (Investments, Insurance, Estate Planning, Tax Planning, Retirement Planning, College Planning, and Charitable Giving.
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on June 17, 2011
This book is set up in an interesting, easy to read manner. There are 58 "real" chapters, as chapter 59 is effectively an end-notes section with further reading relating to references made earlier in the book. The chapters are very short, most are not longer than 4 pages. It makes the book a rather quick read, and Solin does a good job explaining everything in plain language. The target audience seems to be those closer to retirement than those just starting out. If you're inclined to read a lot about personal finance, there may not be a lot of new ideas in this book, but I did find out a few new things.

Solin stresses diversified investments in low-cost stock and bond index funds, where you determine the appropriate ratio according to your risk appetite. A suggested asset allocator is included in an appendix. He touts money market accounts over savings accounts for cash. He cautions against Variable and Equity-Indexed annuities that are hard to understand, although his supporting evidence is almost non-existent, his thesis is basically "Don't invest in these, they're bad." He talks about Social Security and pension pitfalls and astutely points out that there's no way to really know what the right age to take your SS benefits. He has some interesting discussion on nest egg withdrawal strategies, going beyond the 4% rule to more complex, market-based strategy. Also interesting is a strategy of leaving IRAs as inheritance, but informing your heirs to not cash in all at once, rather make minimum required annual withdrawals and allow compounding to continue to build the account. He discusses Long Term Care policies, setting up trusts, and estate planning as well.

Overall the book is a fine read. At times I found myself wanting a little more substance to his arguments (annuities in particular). He cautions upfront that his advice isn't sexy, but straightforward, and as I said before, a lot of it is probably familiar to you if you've read a Personal Finance book before.
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on September 30, 2009
I've read a few of Dan Solin's books now and I wholeheartedly agree with his message (with very few minor exceptions).

That said, I personally find that his books are best for those with little knowledge (or inclination toward further study) of the subject matter as the material presented is relatively basic.

This is not to say that if one followed the recommendations offered in the books that one would not be well served. Not at all...for I believe that the message is a good one and makes a great deal of sense.

However, for those looking for more in depth discussion of the subject matter covered, I believe there are more comprehensive books available.
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on September 4, 2009
Dan has a gift in the ability to make complex subjects simple and his new book is sensational! Dan does a great job of explaining things like:

* Why the biggest risk is not taking any risk.
* Why stock picking is for losers.
* Why an average return is way above average.
* How you should look at spending down your nest egg.
* What some prestigious sounding designations really are.
* What traps to watch out for, such as the most expensive free meal you'll ever have.

Dan leaves us with ten actionable "golden rules" that can help us retire smarter. This book is an easy and fun read. I couldn't put it down!
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on December 19, 2009
These chapters are about 1.5 pages on average. Those with short attention spans will be gratified. All of his advice makes sense, so you won't be steered wrong anywhere here. If you're already practicing what is preached here, you will enjoy having your actions validated. This is best for those with limited experience and knowledge of investing. Others will want more details, available elsewhere.
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on December 28, 2013
I have also read "the smartest investing book you'll ever read", and both offer comparable advice. The bottom line is to skip timing the market and investing in individual stocks, and to invest in index funds. The concept and principles make a lot of sense, although the investor needs to be aware that the timing of when one invests in an index fund will still impact the performance of their portfolio. As I gradually sell my holdings, I am, indeed, shifting to index funds. That speaks more to whether or not I value this book than anything else.
If you want to be a daytrader, trying to time the market, or want to make a killing by choosing a superb stock, and don't spend your money on this book. If you want a simple strategy for investing, along with a questionnaire to help you evaluate your own risk tolerance, this book is a good way to go.
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on July 15, 2011
This is such a great book! I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in business so I've taken my fair share of finance classes. I'm also a CPA. Yet everything looks different when it's YOUR OWN MONEY that you need to manage. There are many books about how to prepare for retirement, but not many that address how to invest/distribute your IRAs/tax-deferred savings/other monies that you need for 30+ years. I am rolling over a large tax-deferred company pension into an IRA and was feeling a little overwhelmed with how to distribute the money. But this book has taken away all my fears. He has short chapters that cut to the point, and a caption "What's The Point" at the end of the chapter that sums the chapter up into one sentence. Topics include annuities (and the situation when you might want to get one), how to withdraw your funds (Roth IRA last choice), and the importance of low transaction/expense fees on the investment funds. And at $5.58, it's more than a bargain!
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The book is a good description of the pitfalls of
retirement. A main objective is to make certain
that we don't outlive our money.

The author cautions against financial scams of
every kind. He warns of high fund expenses
in some cases. Index Funds tend to have lower
costs. Some ETF funds place risky bets on
financial products generally unfamiliar to
most consumers.

Bonds can provide an adequate liquid reserve.
Ultimately, we must determine what constitutes
a good withdrawal rate in retirement. Some
savers may defer retirement in order to build
a bigger nest egg. The market conditions on the
date of your retirement may be critical.

For instance, people retiring during the 2008
market free fall had concerns about the variability
of the portfolio, as well as the investment base.
The book reviews the steps necessary to leave
a will and an inherited IRA in the estate.

The acquisition reviews many important financial
considerations concurrent with retirement planning
at any stage of life. As such, the acquisition
would be very useful for the personal financial library.
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