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The Big Retirement Risk: Running Out of Money Before You Run Out of Time
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2012
I saw this author on Consuelo Mack's program. Since the kindle version was under $8 I gave it a whirl. She gives very clear explanations of the various investment vehicles out there, and is especially good at explaining the various bond instruments. But come on! The average 61 year old like me, doesn't have, nor will have, millions to see them through retirement. $150,000 yearly income after retirement? I don't even spend $40K a year now and I live in a decent home, underwater though it may be, drive a decent car, make better than average money and save all I can in my 401K but I estimate that I will retire with $350K in my retirement fund. I felt pretty secure about that until I read this book. And she says she doesn't like publicly traded REIT's, but how else does the small potatoes investor like me allocate funds to privately held, non listed REIT's?

I keep hoping to find the kind of book will offer good advice for those of us in the 99% who will have a modest retirement but a good one nonetheless. It seems that we are still on our own. If you know nothing about investing, you can learn something from this book. However, unless you have a bundle to invest, look elsewhere for information that you can use. I have unlimited choices for my 401K because my employer allows us to use a brokerage account in addition to what they offer in our 401K, but where's the advice for those who have limited investment choices in their 401K's? Read up on lazy man investment choices and match those the best you can. That's what I've done with my grandkids college 529s with their limited investments and that's working out decently.

One last thing. There is shameless plugging of her website in the book, but not much useful information there for the reader. I think this book is a marketing tool to get those who have the money to come to her website and decide to purchase her services.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
The financial planning industry has no shortage of voices offering advice. Unfortunately, they all tend to say the same thing, and it's not what most investors need or want. In fact, it's often the exact opposite.

Above all, most investors want security. They want to know that the nest egg they've spent a lifetime building will be there when they need it. Somewhere along the way, the financial planning industry lost sight of this and turned the profession into something resembling a Las Vegas casino. The retirement hopes of millions of Americans depend on the stock market rising ever higher. Yes, the same stock market that lost half of its value during the 2007-2009 meltdown and had negative returns after inflation over the past decade.

Erin Botsford is a refreshing voice of prudent common sense, and her new book The Big Retirement Risk should be required reading for every financial planner in America. Clients would be well served if their planner used it as an instruction manual. Individual investors--particularly the 77 million American Baby Boomers fast approaching retirement--will also find its insights valuable.

If there is one dominating focus in Erin Botsford's financial practice, it is risk. The identification and elimination of risk is something of an obsession for Botsford, and this is not merely an academic exercise for her. As a woman whose early life was marked by tragedy, she has the instincts of a survivor and does a fine job of translating those instincts into actionable financial advice.

The "big retirement risk" that Botsford warns against is running out of money before you run out of time, and Botsford's perspective here is unique. As a young girl, she witnessed it happen to her own family. With the death of her father at the age of 50, Botsford's family saw her family's comfortable middle-class lifestyle reduced to one of poverty and constant worry. Tragedy struck a second time when, as a teenager, Botsford was in an automobile accident in which another motorist died. Faced with mounting legal bills, her family nearly lost their home.

As if these setbacks were not enough, in her early 20s Botsford got firsthand experience with investment risk. After winning a modest windfall as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, she trusted her newfound wealth to a stockbroker. In short order, the broker lost it all by taking risks that were woefully inappropriate.

Suffice it to say, The Big Retirement Risk is written by an author who knows a thing or two about risk and about the disastrous effects that a lack of planning can have on a family. Proper planning can never totally eliminate risk, but it can give you the means to manage it.

Botsford uses the opening chapters to explode a number of popular myths that dominate the investment profession (the stock market always goes up over time, diversification and asset allocation reduce risk, your net worth determines your lifestyle, etc.) and instead takes an approach that is a little reminiscent of Rich Dad Poor Dad author Robert Kiyosaki. She focuses on the generation of income, correctly pointing out that "Your net worth has no relevance to your lifestyle if it isn't in a form that can quickly be converted to cash to provide for your everyday living expenses."
Well said, Erin.

In later chapters, Botsford outlines the investments and strategies employed in her financial practice, including bonds, real estate, options strategies, and investment products that offer guaranteed returns and focuses on her trademarked Lifestyle-Driven Investing. Her focus throughout is not on "beating the market" or on generating some arbitrary annual return. Instead, her focus is on the preservation of her clients' lifestyles by guaranteeing sufficient and diverse income streams.

The Big Retirement Risk is a welcome addition to the existing literature on investing and financial planning, and fills in several gaps that sorely needed to be filled. Our compliments to Erin Botsford on a job well done.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 29, 2012
I have never met Erin Botsford. I am not a pilot. And I do not live in McKinney, TX. (Read the negative reviews and you will see what I am referring to here.) Although I wish Erin Botsford great success in her book, it makes no difference to me if the book sells or not.

However,I am a Certified Financial Planner with 20 years experience working with clients and managing money, and I agree with Erin's basic investment philosophy. If fact, it reminds me of the common sense advice my grandmother used to give me when I was younger: Don't risk what you can't afford to lose.

When it comes to retirement you cant afford to lose the income sources you need to meet your basic financial needs. One of the biggest risks today is that you outlive your retirement income. With today's volatile markets, an aging baby boomer population with high lifestyle expectations, and improved medical care, that's not hard to do.

"The Big Retirement Risk" offers straight forward and practical information to help you create a retirement income that is predictable and reliable. All investing entails risk and trade offs. The book does a good job of detailing the basic pros and cons - the risks and trade offs - of various investments. It doesn't go so far as to say exactly what you should do. Everyone is different. There is no one investment strategy or philosophy that will work for everyone or in all circumstances, but "The Big Retirement Risk" does provide a framework for making decisions as people plan for and enter into their retirement years.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2012
I would recommend Erin's book to anyone who wants to understand how the market works in general terms, what you can do to protect your investments, and how to define your goals for the lifestyle you want to live. I particularly liked the fact that the book is written in a way that I did not need to have an MBA to understand it. Because of Erin's book, I also realize retirement is something that I do not have to live in constant fear of losing my investments because of a sudden downturn in the market. She takes the market out of the equation and outlines a way where I can just worry about my grandkids instead of my nest egg.

It is clear her life experiences defined her view of investing but I think it also lends credulance to what she is saying because she is not just parroting what everyone else has already said many times over. I think her view is valid especially given what we have seen in the last 20-30 years of traditional market investments. I like the concept of being a "product agnostic". This book helped me to understand the different types of investments, and what is good and bad about each one. In particular, I understand more what annunities are about, how they work, and like everything else, that there are good ones and bad ones. I was one of the biggest skeptics ever when it came to annuities, but I get it now. I like the fact that I can have safe and predictable income stream if I decide that's what most important to me. I also like the fact that she says annuities may be a good choice for some people but perhaps not for others. You may be at a point in your life where you can afford to take more risk. Erin's book shows you the pros and cons of each type of investment in easy to understand terms. But if you cannot afford that risk, I think Erin has the right perspective on how to protect what you have. I saw her on PBS and what struck me most was her sincerity. She talked about what she believed and was not just trying to sell something. I think her book reflects that sincerity.

I like the fresh perspective Erin defines on how to look at money. Not as how much you have, but how what it can do for you. I had never thought about money in that way. Even if you use traditional investments to get you where you can retire, what then? How safe is it? I think Erin's book brings hope that you can protect what you have worked so hard to get in the first place and enjoy life in retirement without fear.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
When Erin shared her personal story I knew I could trust her advice. I had always believed that financial advisors were for rich people who had extra money they could afford to lose if it didn't work out, not for working people with average incomes.

Her recommendations for Lifestyle Driven Investing assured me that she understands the most important and fundamental uses for money and helped me distinguish between needs/wants/likes/wishes. I can also imagine it all gets blurred together when children and grandchildren are in the picture. Those of us who grew up without enough money for anything extra have a fear of being back there again. We've worked all our lives to ensure that doesn't happen (something we can control) only to be faced with economic conditions now and in the future that we can't control. Erin's advice helped me to understand that there is much I can control to mitigate the erosion of my assets with thoughtful investing and spending.

Explaining and defining different types of investments empowers the client to make decisions along with the advisor. Almost everyone understands how the stock market works, but other investment choices were unclear to me. Now I feel I could have discussion with an advisor and it would make sense.

Thanks, Erin. I read the Big Retirement Risk just in time!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2012
I read Erin Botsford's book and found it to give a different look at the types of income I should have. After investing in stocks and mutual funds for 30 years, there is no doubt that she hit the risk factors right on. When I got toward the end of the box and learned her opinion of annuities, I breathed a sigh of relief because my financial advisor had the same philosophy for income producing investments for my retirement years. As for the reviewers that think the earlier reviews are a set up.... if you wrote a book, wouldn't your friends be the first to read it? Friend or not, I'd give the book an honest review or no review at all. I would recommend this book to young investors so that they wouldn't make the same mistakes that I did.
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29 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2012
Once you have waded through the stories of the author's childhood, the main points are: (1) the stock market is risky and (2) people with several million dollars available should purchase a variable annuity. The main reason financial advisers caution against variable annuities is that they have outrageous fees relative to what they provide. And how does the author make her rather profitable living?
By raking in fees for selling variable annuities. For another perspective on annuities, check out this article:

[...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2014
The book doesn't really say anything of value if you have looked at your options for retirement income. It seems like she is just trying to make the case for low yield safe investments when most folks already know that they will have to diversify to fund short term and long term in retirement. A quick and un-remarkable read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2012
I read all the previous reviews and questions...and I saw the author on tv...and decided to download the book anyway.
I am so glad I did....
There are some real nuggets in the pages. I was so thrilled that someone from post 2008 had a real plan. The advice is the most sound advice I have ever heard or read.... And I plan on following her advice which is easy enough to do. I wish I would have had something like this years ago.
I highly recommend the read....
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2012
I just finished reading The Big Retirement Risk: Running Out of Money Before You Run Out Of Time which I found immensely informative and easy to read. It is a great primer on the essential components for getting ready for a successful retirement, both financially and emotionally. Determining what you want to do in your retirement is an important step: identifying needs, wants, likes and wishes. As Ms Botsford points out, it is not just figuring out how much money is needed, but also to make sure you have a dependable income stream. The explanations of the various investment vehicles are written so that it is easy to understand them, see the pros and cons and how they can be used. Especially helpful is the section on Wall Street Myths and why they are not "truths".

Reading this book is like sitting down and having a conversation with the author about the planning process and what one needs to do to be successful and accomplish one's goals. Having just retired myself, I appreciate the roadmap. This book will definitely help anyone contemplating retirement in the next 10 to 20 years. It's never too early to start planning.
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