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The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement Paperback – April 1, 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Safe Harbor Publishing, LLC. (April 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983573123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983573128
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,058,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


The 7% Solution has just been awarded the prestigious national book award from The Independent Book Publishers Assoc. It has been awarded the gold medal for best personal finance book for 2012.

"The Living Now Awards are presented each year to honor books that improve our lives. During these trying times, when the middle class is disappearing, family budgets are shrinking and the changing climate is inspiring a more 'green' approach, now is the time to read about enriching our lives in wholesome, Earth-friendly ways. These awards celebrate the innovation and creativity of newly published books in lifestyle categories from cooking to fitness to spiritual and financial health. That's what great books do: help us imagine change and give us information to make change happen. Books are the perfect thing to inspire and to inform us about keeping ourselves and the Earth healthy." --Jim Barnes, Award Director, IBPA

More About the Author

John Graves, ChFC, CLU has spent 28 years advising people how to become
better stewards of their resources. As an independent financial advisor, he focuses on designing and maintaining clients' portfolios consistent with their needs, rather than some market paradigm. John is a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant through The American College in Bryn Mawr Pennsylvania.

He has traveled extensively, with more than 80 countries' stamps in his passport. His avocation is adventure. He has sailed to Hawaii several times as well as across the Atlantic and throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. He has trekked the Andes, the Sahara, the Taklamakan, the Serengeti, and the Namib.

In his previous career, John was a chef.

John agrees with Benjamin Graham that the search for value is far more interesting than a brief joy ride in the markets. His passion is sharing knowledge with others so that they, too, might embrace all that life has to offer.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I think this book should be read in your 20s and 30s but it also has tips for people who are close to retirement age.
Rebecca of Amazon
Through the chapters the author provides worksheets with questions that help the reader to organize his current investments, needs, and priorities.
Ali Julia
He also teaches you how to achieve a portfolio which will be a balanced combination of stocks, bonds and some hedge investments.
John Chancellor

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Edelman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
The tile of this book refers both to the classic Sherlock Holmes story, and to the long term average return from the stock market. It also refers to the author's contention that the traditional 4% rule of thumb for investment withdrawals is too conservative. He believes- promises- that by following his recommendations, the average investor can generate a 7% annual return. How well does he make his case?

The bulk of this book is not advice, but basic background and explanation of the various investments instruments available to the average non-specialist investor, and this part of the book is first rate. Graves does an excellent job of clarifying the often opaque terminology of investments, and explaining the relative risks of different instruments, and to a degree, how to compare risks. He closes each chapter with an assignment to the reader designed to reinforce the lessons taught. All this is very well done, and I would strongly recommend this book just on the strength of how well he educates the attentive reader. There are a few areas where I think the author missed some very important points. Social Security, for one. It's a significant part of most retiree's income, and there are important tax consequences to consider when deciding when to start drawing on SS. Someone with a significant post-retirement income might draw more on that and put off SS to get a significantly higher Social Security check later on.

Risk is also mentioned, but not really treated in detail. The section on annuities suggest that with annuities there's a tradeoff between returns and risk- the investor might accept a 3% nominal return in exchange for no risk. But if course there's significant inflationary risk. A modest 2.5% annual inflation means a 3% annuity has a real return of only 0.
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Format: Paperback
World traveler, independent financial advisor, and author, John Graves, gives-back in his "The 7% Solution" with a proven, step-by-step program for retirees (or those soon to be) that will provide for an affordable and comfortable retirement. The program is rooted in the author's 26 years of experience advising others how to become better stewards of their resources.

Better stewards means we need to fully understand some ideas that run counter to the common wisdom found in the generally agreed upon principles of financial planning and portfolio management. They include:

* When you retire, you will need less capital than what you have been told you need.
* Your annual income needs will fluctuate.
* You may live longer than you (and planners) think.
* Financial models used to design portfolios are cartoons. Follow them at your peril.
* The key assumption of most retirement planning tools - a 4% return - is too low a target. It almost certainly assures failure.
* Portfolio challenges we face are different from what a portfolio manager thinks we face.

The book's title, "The 7% Solution," implies that the reader will learn how to generate as much as 7% in annual income distributions. This will be useful for both investors who want to go it alone as well as those preferring financial advisors. For the latter group, the book's value will be in fulfilling his/her responsibilities on being aware and informed of investment strategies, income personal needs, and income vehicles (stocks, bonds, low maintenance investments like mutual funds, annuities, MLPs, BDCs, and other income sources like real estate and REITs).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Todd Schanel on March 20, 2013
Format: Paperback
A couple of thoughts on the advice offered in this book:

1) The investment approach advocated in this book comes down to chasing yield. When an investor chases yield, the result is an un-diversified, unnecessarily risky investment portfolio. Chasing yield can be very dangerous. A more prudent approach is to include a broad array of asset classes that don't always act the same way.

2) A hold-to-maturity portfolio of bonds yielding 7% doesn't mean that the investor can expect to achieve a 7% return, because those investments have default risk. 7% is simply the maximum the investor can get, assuming everything goes perfectly, which it won't.

3) The author advocates using individual corporate bonds. Most investors can't cost effectively buy enough corporate bonds to be properly diversified. If 1 bond in a portfolio of 10 corporate bonds defaults, that might wipe out a year or two of earnings.

4) He advocates using a stop loss on investments. Even if this was a good strategy, it is impractical for many of the illiquid investments he suggests using.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
John H. Graves has brought to us a serious but very reader-friendly book about those items we are afraid to admit we don't understand and are uncomfortable seeking professional guidance for answers: the terms, definitions, differences, and significances of the various forms of investing money in order to have a secure retirement. Right off the bat he offers the following definition and purpose of this terrific little book: 'The book is called 'The 7 % Solution' because it will show you how your investment portfolio may generate as much as 7% distribution rate for your retirement income. You'll also learn how to determine your retirement needs, how to identify your resources of income in retirement, how to evaluate, select, monitor, and manage a variety of investments, from simple to complex.' Now, if that doesn't make the reader feel comfortable in what is to follow then read on.

In very easy to understand terms Graves gives ideas and explanations, follows these with worksheets to immediately relate to the information given thus far, and then slowly takes us step by step through chapters including: Bringing YOUR retirement into Focus; First Things First - Capturing Your Data; A Brief Word on Investment (really terrific chapter!); Stepping into Stocks; Embracing Bonds; Exploring Low Maintenance Investments - Mutual Funds, EFTs and CEFs; The Case for Annuities; Other Income Resources - Real Estate, REITs, Business Buyouts; Designing the 7% Portfolio; Maintaining and Monitoring your Portfolio; The Taxman Cometh; Getting the Most Out of Your Retirement Years. If the reader doesn't know the meaning of some of these abbreviations just mentioned, by the end of this book you will!
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