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4.5 out of 5 stars
You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The title "You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think" and subtitle "The 5 Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees" were intriguing enough for me to buy the book without reading any of the other reviews. Having read many retirement books, I have to rate this as one of the best retirement books ever. The book delivers big in interesting facts and in presentation of the facts. Although I have written one of the most successful books about the non-financial aspects of retirement, some of the traits of the happiest retirees were a surprise to me.

Here is what the book addresses: "Does money buy happiness in retirement?"

Here is the answer: "It does and it doesn't."

The happiest retirees, according to Wes Moss, are the those who live in the middle, who he calls "Masters of the Middle." Moss doesn't believe that you have to be frugal in retirement just as you don't have to be frugal when you are working. In other words, he doesn't believe in the deprivation mentality.

It was interesting to find out that the happiest retirees take an extra vacation each year compared to unhappy retirees. Happy retirees take an average of 2.4 vacations a year because they love to explore.

Not surprisingly, a happy retirement requires a balance of staying busy and staying curious. Just as important, to be a happy retiree, you must be living with purpose. Living with a purpose means having core pursuits, hobbies that empower you. Core pursuits are things that people really look forward to doing throughout the year, whether it's biking or visiting the grandkids or volunteering. Interestingly to me, volunteering is the most popular core pursuit of happy retirees.

There is a great deal more to this book than I have summarized so far. Indeed, Wes Moss lists "18 Traits of the Happiest Retirees" at the end of the book. Some of these traits will surprise you like some of these traits surprised me.

Summing up, with all the retirement books out there, it was a breath of fresh air for me to read "You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think" and learn a number of things about happy retirees that I didn't know about and to read a lot of things about happy retirees that were mentioned in "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free" by yours truly.

Retiring early is not about saving as much money as you possibly can. And it's not about working longer or harder. It's about working smart when you are working. What's more, an early retirement is about making smart choices with your money and your life.

There is an important caveat for this book: Not everyone can retire sooner than they think! Indeed, millions won't be able to. It does take a certain amount of money. The good news is that "You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think" will pave the way for an early and happy retirement that is infinitely more fun, thrilling, and fulfilling than you ever dreamed of if you have saved a certain amount of money and handle it properly during your retirement.

Ernie J. Zelinski
The Prosperity Guy
"Helping Adventurous Souls Live Prosperous and Free"
Author of the Bestseller "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free"
(Over 200,000 copies sold and published in 9 languages)
and the International Bestseller "The Joy of Not Working"
(Over 275,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)
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61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2014
Format: Paperback
I found this to be an easy read with some practical advice. I appreciate the insight on how much you'll need to save for every $1000 you want to have (monthly) in retirement. What I found curious were the examples used throughout the book were of individuals or couples who make (or made) well above the median household income. This alone makes planning for retirement easier. It would have been nice to see more of the examples scaled to those closer to the middle or lower end of the income scale. I feel as though some might not connect to the stories presented and find the change recommendations less than feasible. I would share the book with others but would preface it with "look for the nuggets that you can relate to, don't get frustrated if some of the examples and suggestions seem unattainable."
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I am not very savvy about financial planning. I'm a good budgeter, but at age 47, I've only thought about retirement in general, far-off terms. I'm SO glad I read this book. After starting to follow the basic steps spelled out here, I'm feeling better about our financial future. I'm learning that we're not only in better shape than I feared, but also that there are some pretty simple steps we can take to make things much better. From rebalancing our portfolio to paying extra on our mortgage principal each month, I now have a handle on what to do. The details in some of the investing chapters are a bit over my head, but even so, I feel confident that I can take concrete steps to make our future life better.

I also like that the book addresses happiness in retirement not JUST as a function of money.

The only thing I REALLY take issue with is the result of Moss' survey that says: Reading is a favorite pursuit of unhappy retirees. A retirement without books is one I would not want to contemplate. I plan to be a happy retiree who spends lots of time reading!
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66 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I thought this was a fair book, but there was not much new information that I wouldn't learn from a financial planner in an hour. The discussion on safe rates of withdrawal, and the buckets of income were helpful. The discussion on the different types of financial instruments was helpful and easy for a layperson to follow as well.

What I found to be a letdown are the real life examples that Mr. Moss uses that out of completely out of touch with average Americans. The first example of soon to be happy retirees is a couple that make $150,000 to $175,000 each. This example is the first one and is given a few pages into the book. Another example provided shows the husband making over $220,000. People making these types of income will easily be able to retire comfortably provided they use common sense in investing, and live beneath their means. The average household income in the United States is somewhere in the low fifty thousand dollar range. I really did not see a purpose for displaying how these couples will be able to retire comfortably- of course they will, unless they are complete idiots in which case they probably wouldn’t be making multiple six figure incomes!

The book also gives many examples of what happy retirees do versus unhappy retirees. Much of this is using correlation to imply causation. Unhappy retirees drive BMWs, while happy retirees drive a Lexus says the book, implying that an unhappy BMW driving retiree can swap vehicles and be in retirement bliss. Happy retirees have a home worth $300,000, while unhappy ones have ones worth $273,000 – with no mention of different regions of the country having vastly different prices for the same house. Happy retirees eat at Olive Garden – yes, this is really a statement in the book! Unhappy retirees read and go fishing. Well damn, my house is only worth around $250,000, I like to fish, and I am not a fan of crappy chain restaurants – misery here I come!
And, if you are a single guy or gal with no kids and making less than six figures and doesn’t eat steak, well, you might as well go jump off a bridge when you reach your golden years.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
The main problem with this book is it tries to tackle two subjects, how to plan for retirement and how to have a happy a retirement, superficially. Good books can be found, but confined to only one of these subjects. Addressing the latter topic, Moss is armed primarily with his survey responses from 1350 retirees. His analysis has a huge assumption that no one in the social sciences would make. He only has correlations, but he treats them like causes. Want to be happy? Act like happy people. I'm not sure happiness is as simple as that. He's quite serious about this: have as many children as happy people, travel and volunteer like happy people and you'll be happy. He may know what happy people do (that's the correlation), but that is not the same as knowing how to be happy.
His financial advice and examples of success are laughably out of touch with most people who would pick up this book. One of his "tips" on generating income is to "Find (and purchase) several properties (homes or buildings) that produce rent." What income level do you need to act on this plan? He advises his readers to pay off their mortgage in as little as 5 years. Easy to advise, but again, who can afford to do this? In his example of a couple (the Peppers) that turned around their finances and successfully saved for retirement in 16 years, the husband's income was 140 - 150K and 11 years later it was 220K. Is saving 1 million for retirement with that income such a miracle? Again, who has this income? And what do you do if you don't?

All this said, it was an easy read and there are some simple bits of advice and rules of thumb that anyone could actually follow. Don't make major purchases right after you retire---anyone can follow that. Those little bits are what makes this book (from the library) worth a quick skim.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2014
Format: Paperback
We received a copy of this book from Wes after meeting with him. For the last 5 plus years I have studied every possible aspect of retirement and financial planning by reading many books, various excellent and authoritative internet resources, listening to multiple podcasts from the financial planning experts and have been retired one year now.

After reading the book I can state it's excellent. An easy read, well written, interesting book with a very important message. It reminds me of that excellent book I couldn't put down named "The Millionaire Next Door". Wes references that book too. Everyone in financial planning has read that book and will agree it's also a great book. It should be mandatory reading in High School.

Wes addresses the multiple important aspects of a successful retirement. Yes, Money is important but it's only one element of happiness. Start off with a good marriage, adequate funds, a good well thought out plan then go from there which this books does.

There are no easy answers, or magic pill to avoid sacrifice to save for retirement. As my father used to say "it's more important what you spend than what you make". I see that message in Wes's book. Maybe he owes my father a royalty (only kidding). It's not rocket science just common sense coupled with living on less than you make with a savings goal taking priority over Beamers or Mercedes and knowing how to invest for the long term.

Everyone says "we'll worry about it later". The problem is later always comes with the bill delivered by the piper. And if you are unprepared you will pay for it later and maybe eating "cat" food. That's what happens when you are broke in retirement. Yes, face reality now.

Buy the book. It may change your life if it's not too late.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Interesting Survey of Retirees Which Shows What Makes them Happy. It has some suggestions about how to manage your finances to save enough to retire and makes good points about the importance of having strong interests to pursue after retiring. But many of the examples of successful retirees are people who made a good living while employed and therefore had the means to save enough to retire on. Also, the assumed rate of return on investments in today's interest rate climate, seem optimistic.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This is not a mainstream book about retirement. This is a well-considered, superbly written, friendly but serious book about achieving not just retirement, but a happy retirement. The author, Wes Moss, is a syndicated financial talk show host and certified financial planner of some standing and recognition. He attempted to quantify a happy retirement by conducting a survey of 1350 customers of his financial planning service and asking them if they were happy or unhappy and what their retirement experiences were. He then looked at commonalities of those who shared unhappy retirements and happy retirements to arrive at some causal evidence of how a happy retirement can be achieved. This book is the result of his analysis of the survey findings.

The good news is, there are plenty of things that happy retirees have in common. Enough of them, in fact, that they not only can be planned for, but they can also be controlled. This results in Mr. Moss's five "secrets" of a happy retirement. I don't think "secrets" is the best word here ("tenets" would be more like it), because none of the five are hardly unheard of, but I'll leave the discussion of artistic license alone. Suffice to say, the secrets are sensible and achievable, and worthy of pursuit both before, during, and after retirement. The bad news is, Mr. Moss tells you what you need to do, but not really how to do it. Sure, you can drive a sensible reliable car, but paying off the mortgage early or staying healthy? These are hardly cut-and-dried strategies. Thankfully, Mr. Moss shares some ideas for how to go about implementing his "secrets", but the details and planning are left to the reader. Still, I'm okay with that.

What I liked most about this book is the crisp writing, the friendly tone, and the original approach. Mr. Moss has plenty of examples of what can be achieved, and these are more than sufficient to motivate most readers. I especially liked that it vindicates many of my own personal viewpoints on early retirement and reinforces many of the ideas that I've been pursuing for some time now. Even without that, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to limit the amount of time they spend "working for the man" so they can spend the time not working for themselves. Mr. Moss has helped a bunch of people get there sooner than they thought, making this easily worth the five star rating.

Note: The publisher provided me with a gratis copy of the book for purposes of this review.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2014
Format: Paperback
I was convinced after hearing Wes Moss speak to a group of young professionals in my area. I'm in my early 30s, and after hearing him speak, I was compelled to read the book because I was really interested in learning more about the study he did and seeing where I personally align....If I were to retire today, would I be a happy retiree? I like the real-life scenarios given in the book and the fact that the "secrets" are broken down into plain language and easy to follow. I also like that the book is about quality of life and not just number crunching and financials on how to get to retirement. Overall, excellent read and I'm recommending it to a few friends.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Too many retirement books seem to suggest that you should never retire unless you have millions. This book has a much more reasonable and positive approach. This is refreshing. As in many retirement books, the "secrets" are largely common sense. You need to know how much money you need to retire. And to do that you need to know what income you need in retirement. It is a good idea to have no mortgage before you retire. Common sense, but very important.
Where this book is most useful is in the discussion of income investing. The author explains this very well. I like good rules of thumb and Wes Moss has a great one. Wes Moss suggests $240,000 should be able to produce $1,000 per month. So if you need monthly income of $3,000 from investments to supplement social security or a pension, you need to have about $720,000 invested.
Where I think this book falls short is on the discussion of happy retirees. The book leans heavily on a survey the author conducted with his clients to identify happy from unhappy retirees. While the results contain some interesting observations, such as Moss's happy retirees don't drive BMWs, I would take the survey results with a large grain of salt. So if you prefer BMW over Lexus, prefer to hunt or read over playing golf, go for it. I would not let Moss's survey make you think you are missing out on being happy.
In short, I would not seek to find secrets to happiness in this book. But it does contain some good financial advice for retirement planning.
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