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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview and guide to retirement planning
This is an excellent read if you are ready to jump into planning for retirement. It does an excellent job of covering almost all of the things you need to consider. The book is organized well, and topics are covered to give you an excellent understanding of each with a few exceptions.

The annuity topic is well covered, but the fact of the matter is this topic...
Published on March 6, 2011 by JYoder

versus
145 of 148 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, But Not Detailed Enough To Create A Retirement Plan
I purchased this book because amazon.com alerted me to it and because it had all
5* customer reviews. After having read it I have mixed feelings about its usefulness :

On one hand, it provides a good overview of the financial planning process that needs to be followed to determine how much to save for retirement and how much to withdraw during retirement...
Published on November 17, 2010 by Motor Head


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145 of 148 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, But Not Detailed Enough To Create A Retirement Plan, November 17, 2010
By 
Motor Head (Columbus, IN USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Paperback)
I purchased this book because amazon.com alerted me to it and because it had all
5* customer reviews. After having read it I have mixed feelings about its usefulness :

On one hand, it provides a good overview of the financial planning process that needs to be followed to determine how much to save for retirement and how much to withdraw during retirement. It also provides a good overview of some of the retirement income products/annuities, and it has helpful checklists to select a financial adviser. Furthermore, I found the chapter on reverse mortgages a useful
introduction to a very complex subject, with several helpful web sites listed.

On the other hand, the book is not detailed enough to do a financial plan, i.e. establish an affordable expense budget in retirement that includes determination of the amounts that can be safely withdrawn from investments. There are better books available that include detailed worksheets to do this, such as J.K.Lasser's "Your Winning Retirement Plan", or "Getting Started In A Financially Secure Retirement" by Henry Hebeler (both of these books also refer the reader to useful
web sites for DYI financial analysis/modeling).

Part II ("Evaluating Retirement Income Products) provides a high level overview of annuities, enough to probably confuse/scare most readers to avoid these products altogether or to see a financial adviser (perhaps this is intentional).

Appendix D contains an interesting case study with a complete retirement plan; unfortunately it is presented without any explanatory comments accompanying the individual worksheets, thus leaves the reader with many questions as to the details/logic of the plan.

In summary, this book provides a good overview of the retirement planning process and does an excellent job cautioning readers about unscrupulous financial advisers, sales tactics and investment scams. It is, however, not detailed enough to be a "hands 0n" how-to-do-it guide with which people can do their own financial retirement plan.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent overview and guide to retirement planning, March 6, 2011
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This review is from: The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Paperback)
This is an excellent read if you are ready to jump into planning for retirement. It does an excellent job of covering almost all of the things you need to consider. The book is organized well, and topics are covered to give you an excellent understanding of each with a few exceptions.

The annuity topic is well covered, but the fact of the matter is this topic is just to big and complex to be well covered as part of a book, you need to get a book dedicated to this topic to really get the details of each type, but this book does an excellent job of giving you a real good handle on what products are out there and their basic pros and cons.

Second, this book does not cover the Buckets concept, an interesting approach to retirement planning, although I don't plan on following the exact model of the buckets plan, I think the concept is very important to understand so you can consider how to handle the up and down cycle of the stock market and how your financial plan needs to prepare to handle it.

Here is a list of some of the books I have read in preparing for retirement, and a one-liner, and ranking for each. I will order them in the order I would read them:

1. The AARP Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Julie Jason)
Rank: 5/5
Summary:Real good overview and introduction to the many considerations for retirement.

2. Buckets of Money: How to Retire in Comfort and Safety (Raymond Lucia)
Rank: 4/5
Summary: Interesting concept on planning for retirement. Although I'm not sure I will use the plan Raymond lays out here, I think the general concept is a real good idea on how to think about tapping your assets as you plan for retirement.

3. Annuities For Dummies (Kerry Pechter)
Rank: 4.5/5
Summary: Great details on the highly complex subject of annuities, a critical tool for your retirement planning to alleviate longevity and market risk.

If you read the books above, I don't think there is a need for reading the books listed below since either they don't have the depth, or have already been covered in sufficient detail in the books above.

The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning (Various Aurthors)
Rank: 3.5/5
Summary: I think this book tries to cover a little to much, and as a result has topics that I don't think are appropriate for the retirement planning. Since the book attempts to cover so many topics, it really doesn't give real good details on any one topic. I think of this book, more as an executive summary for the various topics it covers.

Can I Retire? How Much Money You Need to Retire and How to Manage Your Retirement Savings, Explained in 100 Pages or Less (Mike Piper)
Rank: 2.5/5
Summary: What do you expect for 100 pages? Although the author does seem to stay on-topic in this book, its just to broad to really give you any actionable information. Perhaps a decent book if you are just wading into the whole concept of retirement and don't want to put alot of thought into details(IE the big picture). This book does not answer the question it poses in the title.

Hope this helps
James
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for pre-retiree and retirees!, July 23, 2009
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This review is from: The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Paperback)
An extremely valuable and comprehensive decision making framework for pre-retiree and retirees. Beyond what you would normally see in books that cover investing for retirement, this book goes one step further and includes ways to evaluate financial advisors, what they say, and the investment products they sell. Julie's "Don't Be Fooled Rules in chapter 19 are particularly valuable in addition to her "Retirement Risk Assessment" on page 294. This book is an easy to understand and tremendously valuable resource. A must read!
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Boomers, just do it!, September 9, 2009
This review is from: The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Paperback)
For weeks, I have found one excuse after another not to think about the task of creating retirement income - I'm still trying to figure out how to save enough money for retirement after suffering double-digit losses in my own retirement account. But now that I've sat down with The AARP Retirement Survival Guide, part of which I helped the author edit, I'm finding one invaluable "to do" suggestion after another in its pages.
The book's short chapters, and use of bullets and boxes to highlight information, break down the retirement income process step by step. There are self-assessments, tables, checklists, and questions to ask, oh my, but Julie Jason's calm, reassuring tone leads you through it all. In my opinion, the book's tone is one of its best features.
Julie is passionate about sharing what she knows with investors and can explain the facts in plain English, which is not a given with all financial advisers. Over and over again, Julie, who I got to know during the editing process, will assure you that, "There's always something you can do to improve your financial situation." Most of us can't afford to walk in the door of Jackson, Grant Investment Advisers in Stamford, Conn., where Julie directs the investment management practice for well-to-do clients, but for a mere $14.95, you can tap into her expertise by buying a copy of this book.
You'll hear from plenty of advisers when you're ready to retire, but you'll find out just how important it is to choose the right one. Until 2006, when the first Boomer turned 60, many advisers focused on accumulating wealth for clients, not creating retirement income. But don't wait to educate yourself - arm yourself now with the information you need on creating retirement income by reading this book.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Comprehensive Approach to Retirement Issues, September 9, 2009
By 
cfin (Greenwich, CT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Paperback)
This is impressive coverage of financial matters in retirement situations (or leading to retirement). Chapter 7 was informative about the categories of financial providers; i.e. who regulates or licenses them, standards of conduct and obligations to the investor, and underlying motivations (how are they paid!). Good charts. There was meaningful discussion about categories of annuities, benefits, complexities, fees & costs and other pitfalls. Julie Jason has healthy skepticism about financial products and how they are sold. (Those free lunches and seminars are never free!). Julie's message and focus are clear: clients and their financial well-being come first. Costs matter in the compounding and wealth equations. As a retired CPA, I was familiar with many of the issues but there was much new information. I would highly recommend the book as a financial planning guide or as a reference for the financial library.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Is A Roadmap To Sanity Throughout Your Retirement, September 27, 2009
By 
j e lukaszewski (Bloomington, MN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Paperback)
Since so many seem so intent on making retirement as complex as any career could be, (When my wife and I joined Medicare we each received about nine pounds of reading material, plus a web site, several other places and programs to monitor . . . we still love it because it works for us.) Julie Jason comes along and sorts everything out in simple, sensible, constructive, positive ways. This book ought to be mandatory reading for every member of Congress, state legislators and governors and especially the whiners, complainers, bloviators, bellyachers, and complainers who clearly know nothing about what happens to those who move into retirement.

Julie's book is a handbook, a bible, a roadmap and a sanity saver.

If you know someone who is navigating into and through retirement get them this book and help them live long and prosper. Every time you hear one of the self-appointed, self-anointed, self-serving blabber mouths who argues, complains or is just mindlessly contentious, aim carefully and through this book at them.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The one retirement guide I'm glad we bought...., September 13, 2009
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This review is from: The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Paperback)
More helpful than most retirement guides I've read in the last few months. Twenty-one chapters detailing topics such as cash flow, retirement income, social security, investments, the joys of compound interest, and the biggie - will your money last as long as you do?

Jason speaks in specifics - not the generalized useless information of too many retirement guides - and is very good about warning consumers about scams and dubious practices.

My one complaint is her tendency to talk about potential investments in terms of 8% returns. While I remember those days, they seem to be gone for the moment.

This is the one retirement guide that I'm glad we bought. Now, here's hoping we live long and our money lasts forever....
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Retirement Book, August 17, 2009
By 
Linda (Greenwich, CT) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Paperback)
I highly recommend The AARP Retirement Survival Guide. I have been reading Julie Jason's Sunday column in the Greenwich Time over the last ten years and I couldn't wait to buy this book when it came out. It is clear, concise, and comprehensive. This book provides valuable information for everyone, from the novice to the experienced investor. A must read!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Salvation in tough times, August 12, 2009
By 
Eleanor Deridder (Old Greenwich, CT United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Paperback)
This is not a book that you read and put down. It's the kind of book that you want to keep with you and make part or your personal financial decisions. It is helping me save money (discresionary spending) while making me feel secure about my finances.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Passable, February 10, 2013
By 
Howard V Fisher "portmaster" (Carrollton, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad (Paperback)
This book has some good information and concepts tucked away here and there, but there is far too much time spent on finding a financial adviser -- something most people should not do, as index investing at discount brokers is far and away the cheapest, best way to go for the average investor -- and too much time is spent covering the details of indexed and variable annuities, rather than just telling people to avoid them. Considering the author's own analysis shows these are very complex insurance products that have been the subject of numerous lawsuits, you can't really tell how they will perform due to the ability of the company to change the factors involved, and they have costs of up to 4% per year, why not just come right out and say that these are terrible products due to their problems, and avoid them. And does she really think the average investor is going to read (and understand) the prospectus. If an investor is going to do that much review, they'd do better to read about how to invest on their own, and save the cost of advisers and products like indexed/equity/variable annuities.
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The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad
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