- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: HarperBusiness; First Edition edition (August 22, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0066620430
- ISBN-13: 978-0066620435
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,705,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Money For Life: Build the Wealth You Need to Live Your Dream Hardcover – August 22, 2000
Most workers get it wrong: instead of saving for retirement, they should focus on investing for financial independence. Retirement, Robert Sheard argues, is an outmoded concept left over from the days when you worked for a company from your 20s to your mid-60s, retired with a gold watch and a pension, and then died a few years later. Today, the average worker will switch careers three times (something Sheard, now an investment adviser, notes he accomplished before the age of 40). And, of course, that worker will probably live far longer than pensioners of past generations. What that worker wants is the ability to do something he or she loves, no matter if it brings in revenue. In other words, an investment plan that will support his or her living expenses indefinitely.
Money for Life offers a way to do just that. The cornerstone of Sheard's plan is what he calls his "20 Factor Formula." You figure out your projected living expenses if you retired today (he offers tips to help you include everything), multiply by 20, and that's what you need in your portfolio to achieve financial independence. To amass that portfolio, Sheard offers an equally simple solution: forget diversification. He argues convincingly that investing in an array of stock and bond funds is a loser's game; your returns will always trail those of the S&P 500. You could just put all your money in an S&P 500 index fund, but Sheard shows a scenario in which a hypothetical investor did just that in 1960, and by 1983 his portfolio was busted, a victim of inflation and a couple of devastating bear markets. Instead, Sheard recommends the Dogs of the Dow approach, in which the lowliest of the Dow's 30 stocks are bought each year. As he showed in his previous book, The Unemotional Investor, this strategy has gained 2.5 percent more per year than simple index investing. Index investing is a complete no-brainer, but the Dogs of the Dow isn't much more difficult. Sheard says it takes about 30 minutes a year to pull it off. He balances the book with lots of other financial advice--of particular interest are his contrarian opinions on 401(k) investing--and maintains a nice levity throughout. It's genuinely fun to read, and by the book's end, you feel as if you've gained a lifetime's worth of investment advice with just a few leisurely afternoons of reading. --Lou Schuler
From Publishers Weekly
An investment adviser and author of The Unemotional Investor, Sheard believes that most people erroneously look toward retirement as a financial goal. Instead, he says, everyone should strive for financial independence, the point at which one has accumulated enough money that one no longer has to work. Obviously, this amount will vary by age, lifestyle and other considerations, but Sheard offers a foolproof formula that works for everyone: "Financial independence = annual income requirement x 20." To determine the annual income requirement, readers must determine what they currently spend on housing, income taxes, healthcare, transportation, etc., as well as any potential sources of future income (such as pensions). Sheard's strategy is straightforward and easy to understand. Yet, while financial independence is certainly a goal that people should work toward, many readers will need more help applying this formula to their own finances. The second half of the book offers advice on working with financial advisors, using index funds and selecting brokers, but some of this advice may confuse inexperienced investors. And Sheard touts the benefits of buying stocks on margin; a tactic that is too risky for most people. For readers already well versed in handling their investments, this book offers a fresh approach to long-term financial planning; beginners should look elsewhere. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The more intriguing promise of the book, to provide a plan to achieve this level of wealth while still relatively young, is a complete non-starter. The reader is offered such old chestnuts as "pay yourself first" and stash ten percent of your income annually. Gee, we haven't heard those tidbits before, have we? And please, for about 99.9% of the population, that advice might add up to a comfortable retirement at a ripe old age, but it certainly isn't going to get you to financial independence any time soon. The advice about investing is similarly a rehash of ideas we've heard a thousand times before.
There is almost nothing new here. If you're a total newcomer to financial planning, this book might be an okay place to start, since it offers advice that has been around from many sources for a long time. But if you're looking for new insights, look somewhere else.