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97 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete. Neutral. Many options, not enough guidance
The strongest features of this book are its truly exceptional breadth and completeness of coverage, and its level-headed neutrality. This book will protect you from blind spots, from overlooking things, and from the salesperson who wants you to focus on _which_ confrabulated glommis to buy, and not on _whether_ you need a confrabulated glommis at all. Buy this one book...
Published on October 5, 2009 by Daniel P. Smith

versus
68 of 75 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can't say it's the best investment of your time
I had high hopes for this book but was ultimately disappointed. I think there are two reason for this.

First, I think it tries to cover a little to much, including topics that I don't necessarily think should be part of the retirement planning (ie general investing stuff). I was looking for a more narrowly targeted book. So would this be a good...
Published on March 6, 2011 by JYoder


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97 of 104 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete. Neutral. Many options, not enough guidance, October 5, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The strongest features of this book are its truly exceptional breadth and completeness of coverage, and its level-headed neutrality. This book will protect you from blind spots, from overlooking things, and from the salesperson who wants you to focus on _which_ confrabulated glommis to buy, and not on _whether_ you need a confrabulated glommis at all. Buy this one book and you've got a solid basic reference for _everything_.

I wish I'd had this book a few years ago when I was planning for retirement. I browsed the bookstores and the library. I found dozens of books with "retirement" in the title, but all of them seemed to be focussed on accumulation for retirement, and on mutual fund investing. A subject like "social security" might get a one-page once over. Long-term care insurance might not be mentioned at all, or would say little more than "It exists; consider it."

You can see the breadth of coverage yourself from the table of contents (use "Click To Look Inside"). What other book on retirement discusses "Divorce and Oher Financial Disasters?" An exceptional chapter on "Seeking Help from Professionals" explains differences between all the various people who call themselves "financial advisors," and the importance of knowing whether the relationship is or is not a fiduciary relationship.

What's not as obvious at a quick glance is how neutral and balanced the book is. Much of it is written by people who learned about products by buying them rather than by selling them. The whole balance and tone is totally different from the typical money magazine article. For example, the chapter on life insurance is the most informative and even-handed discussion of term versus whole life I've ever seen.

The strength of this book is in pointing out options, explaining differences, and avoiding a Swiss cheese approach to retirement planning. Its biggest weakness is in helping you actually make your decisions. It is relatively light on things like worksheets, on step-by-step how-tos, on specific do-this guidance. And it feels to me more like a reference than an easy read. Probably the best use of this book is open at one side, with the product literature for some product you're considering at the other side... or as background reading to do before meeting with that insurance agent.

Disclosure: I'm not a listed author of the book, but I wrote one of the chapters. Amazon should make the appropriate judgement call based on their review policies.
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68 of 75 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can't say it's the best investment of your time, March 6, 2011
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This review is from: The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning (Paperback)
I had high hopes for this book but was ultimately disappointed. I think there are two reason for this.

First, I think it tries to cover a little to much, including topics that I don't necessarily think should be part of the retirement planning (ie general investing stuff). I was looking for a more narrowly targeted book. So would this be a good overview/introduction book? Well, no; and this brings me to my second issue.

The book is straddling the line between beginner and expert on knowledge of the topics covered. This is to say it covers a lot of topics, and does give you the basic concepts you need to consider in each of the topics(this is the beginner part), but since the topics are limited in scope, they tend to throw the concepts and terms at you without giving you the foundation for understanding the terms. So If you an expert, you say to yourself, yep, I know that already, and if you are a beginner, you are saying ok I got my marching orders, but I don't understand exactly what it means, or how to implement them.

To summarize, if you are well versed in the topic you will not be picking up much new information, but if you are a beginner you will probably get confused, or will not know how to implement the plans provided.

Now, the book is written by new authors for each topic, so the review I just provided does not apply for each topic, but the overall feeling I got when reading the book was that this book will help you to understand what topics you will need to investigate further (because you didn't understand fully what the writer was talking about), or you will decide okay, I am think I understand this topic quite well because I really didn't get anything new here. That is where I found I was, getting confirmation that I am at a point that I am ready to start drawing up and implementing my retirement plan. I'm not sure that reading the whole book was work that confirmation.

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 Planningg (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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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trustworthy source on personal finance, October 6, 2009
How do you judge financial advice? Do you trust professionals or rely on the word of mouth? Do you want DIY or plan to engage an adviser? As always, it all depends.

The beauty of this book is that it combines all of the above. Some of the authors are professional advisers, whereas others are highly educated and knowledgeable amateurs. The book can serve as a guide for your own planning, or it can be used to understand the service your adviser provides to you.

And, please, do not underestimate amateurs! I use this word to mean "A person who engages in an art, science, study, or athletic activity as a pastime rather than as a profession." While some authors do not do finance professionally, they are executives, medical doctors (MD), scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and other professionals who are passionate about personal finance. They applied their extensive skills to provide a comprehensive and coordinated analysis of some of the most complex issues in personal finance and brought it to you in this book.

You have heard that the Wall Street hires "rocket scientists" to do finance. In practice, it means that physicists, mathematicians, electrical engineers, computer scientists, and others bring their analytical skills to the financial industry and use their talents to create financial products. While I don't advocate many of those products, my point is that the authors of this book are your personal rocket scientists!

I would also like to comment on the DYI part. There is frequently a conflict between simple things that you can do yourself and that are good for you, and complex things serving a similar function that others are selling to you. You can have a free glass of water or you can pay for a designer drink. You can go for a walk or you can sign up for an expensive gym. You can have a support circle of family and friends, or you can pay somebody to entertain you or to listen to you. You can take cholesterol lowering medications, or you can control your cholesterol with diet and exercise (as many doctors recommend, depending on one's medical condition). While there are never clear "rights" and "wrongs", no strict "blacks" and "whites," in many cases free options are superior to expensive ones. The adage that there is no free lunch was invented by those who had something to sell.

This book teaches you how to get superior financial life at the lowest cost.

It is your task to sift through the marketing hype and hundreds of books on Amazon.com and in brick-and-mortar bookstores. If you are reading thus far, you have already done most of the hard work of finding what I consider one of the greatest resources on personal finance. Please do a couple more things. Read these reviews philosophically, consider which ones are the closest to your own philosophy of personal finance and other important personal decisions. And then check out the Bogleheads Forum (it's easy to find by Googling).

My advice:
Buy this book if you don't have it. Give this book to your friends and family if you want them to put their financial life in order.
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76 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent Book from The Bogleheads!, September 27, 2009
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It seems one of the first requirements to post a review here would be to read the book first.

I just finished reading the entire book and I can honestly say, it is a wealth of information in a concise and easy to read format.

IMHO, Every one involved should take a huge bow for the effort. For someone who will be considering planning for retirement, this is a straightforward and practical method to use in your planning. Each author lays it out in plain language, with explanations and links to pursue more detailed information.

As an early retiree, I particularly found the chapters on Social Security, Early Retirement and especially, Estate Planning and Taxes to be most useful for my situation. Perhaps many of these chapters will contain references to areas of retirement planning that have been visited from time to time in other periodicals and books. The real value of "The Bogleheads" Guide to Retirement Planning" to me is the fact that almost every area of planning is here in one remarkable book.

As we say in the Navy...Well Done!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My questions were, "What happens when you retire...", October 25, 2009
...do you pay taxes on your social security? How much? (there's a chart). What kind of accounts are the best places to put your money to assure continued returns and minimize paying extra taxes? What about life insurance? Pensions? Annuities? Withdrawal strategies? Just published, this book answered all my questions and more. I have read dozens of books on retirement and retirement investing and none of them are as comprehensive as this. With a forward by John Bogle, the Vanguard Diehards give good advice and solid information.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Book Review from the Aleph Blog, January 23, 2010
By 
David Merkel "Aleph Blog" (Ellicott City, MD United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This was a book that I did not ask for. Wiley has been sending some books unsolicited. I'm not glad on all of them, but I am glad they sent this one.

Much as I admire Jack Bogle, I am not a Boglehead. Low fees? Yeah. Diversification without overdiversification? Sure. Asset allocation? Top priority. Passive investing? Best for most of us, but not me. Quantitative methods don't work? Sorry, they do, if done right. And aside from all that, I think (unlike Jack) that unhedged foreign bonds are a core part of asset allocation, especially if used tactically. (Buy them when little looks good in domestic fixed income, like now.)

But in skimming/reading this book, I came away impressed with the acumen of those that call themselves "Bogleheads." They are not just dittoheads, but people who have thought hard about the retirement planning process for average individuals.

There is a decent amount of advice on tax planning. What sorts of vehicles will make sense for most people? How much can be contributed?

There is a decent amount of data on the usefulness of insurance, and it tends to follow my understanding of matters:

* Avoid combination products unless you have a specialized tax planning need. Keep savings separate from protection.
* Don't forget disability and health insurance.
* Immediate annuities can be a useful replacement for some of the bonds in a retiree's portfolio.

A small amount of the book deals with investing proper, but what is there is good, if simple. It posits fund investing and passive investing, which again, is best for most people.

Another part of the book deals with the neglected liquidation phase. How to do it? What to tap first? When should one file for Social Security, and what games can be played there?

Finally, the book considers what can go wrong in life (divorce and other disasters), and how to bounce back; also, how to find a good professional to help you with your specific needs, which "one size fits all" does not cover.

Quibbles

The book really does not deal with the troubles that will come in Social Security, Medicare and federal/state/corporate pension plans. Also, by its nature, tax law is ephemeral in the US -- in an era of rising structural deficits due to entitlement programs, who can tell what the tax situation will be 20 years out? 23 years ago, after the passage of the Tax Reform Act of `86, who would have thought that we would create something materially worse in complexity terms than what TRA `86 replaced? Rates are lower, though, but I don't see it staying that way for long. We can look at Roths, but will the government preserve the tax-free treatment if things really get tight?

Also remember that this is a single purpose book -- retirement, though they have some good sections on insurance and investing. For a good, short, all purpose book on personal finance, consider Easy Money: How to Simplify Your Finances and Get What You Want out of Life.

Summary

That said, I found it to be a useful guide for average people that might not be up on the nuances of strategy for retirement that an average person might use. Wealthy people should retain specialized advisors, because they will be aware of strategies that would not make sense for average people.

This was a book that I skimmed half and read half, because I'm familiar with the material and would just check aspects of sections that I was familiar with to see if they got it right.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Bogleheads Classic, October 27, 2009
By 
David Giddings (Delray Beach, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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Retirement Planning is a complex subject and there is not a lot of good, objective information out there on it. The book is a wealth of information on this subject. The authors have done an excellent job of explaining, in plain and simple language, the various areas which must be addressed when planning for retirement. They receive no material benefit from the writing of this book, so you can trust that you are getting unbiased information from people who are here to help.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Reference I've Found on the Topic, October 19, 2009
By 
Mike Piper (Manitou Springs, CO) - See all my reviews
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To date, The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning is the best reference I've found so far on its topic. (Note: The book is about planning for retirement--and all the financial aspects thereof--rather than simply saving/investing for retirement.)

The authors provide unbiased advice on an array of topics including retirement income planning, the differences between the various types of retirement accounts, estate and gift taxes, and how to find a professional adviser (should you decide you need one). The book is thorough in terms of the breadth of subject matter covered, and it's quite easy to read.

Each chapter provides a comfortable level of detail on the topic, neither too little nor too much. Perhaps my favorite part about the book is that each chapter includes suggestions for additional reading (thereby allowing the reader to decide for himself which topics to research further) rather than trying to conduct an exhaustive discussion of each topic.

I suspect that I'll be lending my copy out to a lot of people over the next few years.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply Outstanding, October 22, 2009
If you are looking for a thorough, comprehensive and highly readable book on retirement planning, look no further. Authors Larimore, Lindauer, Ferri, Dogu and scores of other Bogleheads, have written an outstanding book on retirement that could not have come at a better time.

Hidden agenda? I don't think so. All royalties from the sale of the book are being donated to The National Constitution Center. Having been a Boglehead for over a decade, I can tell you that their only agenda is to help the average investor learn how to invest and manage their money prudently. If you are tired of having your pocket picked by the so-called "experts," pay attention to the Bogleheads. Go to [...], join the forum and learn with the rest of us.

Some years ago, I read the results of a study on retirement. The study concluded that people who enjoy the most successful retirements are the ones who plan for it. You can't start planning too soon, and the younger you start, the sooner you will likely be able to retire. Get a copy of "The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning" and keep it handy as a ready reference. Someday you will thank yourself profusely.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bogleheads Guide to Retirement Planning, October 6, 2009
By 
As early retirees that successfully followed the wisdom of The Bogleheads Guide to Investing, we were excited to see the publication of another financial winner: The Bogleheads Guide to Retirement Planning. This is the definitive guide to everything one needs to know about both preparing to retire and making financial decisions in retirement.
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The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning
The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning by Richard A. Ferri (Paperback - February 22, 2011)
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