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How To Retire Early And Live Well With Less Than A Million Dollars Paperback – January 1, 2000

4.1 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A rare 5 star offering -- worth reading. Retire Early has yet to review a book that gets essentially everything right on the subject of early retirement, but Gillette Edmunds', How To Retire Early and Live Well comes very close. This is a very personal book by a former tax attorney and journalist who retired in 1981 at age 29. He details what he has learned about "living off his investments" and provides some personal examples of how to ride out the ups and downs of the market. All in all How To Retire Early and Live Well is an excellent book and offers some very thought provoking ideas on the merits of diversification. It's one of the few volumes that merit 5 Stars from Retire Early's reviewers. -- The Retire Early Home Page

From the Publisher

Millions of readers have amassed nest eggs in savings, retirement plans, stock options or company stock, real estate, inheritances, or businesses they have built up over the years. According to the September 20, 1999 issue of Barron's there are six million households with $1 million dollars or more. The author estimates there are 15 million households with $500,000 or more. Most of these people can retire right now and do not know it.

HOW TO RETIRE EARLY AND LIVE WELL WITH LESS THAN A MILLION DOLLARS tells readers if they have enough to retire, and once they retire, how, step-by-step, they should invest to be certain their money will last the rest of their life. The author did not want anyone just starting retirement today to go through the confusion and learning process he went through. Therefore, he set out exactly what they need to do to live the rest of their lives on their investments. The author's message is encouraging. You can retire early in style with less than a million dollars and over the years, you will watch your nest egg grow larger and larger. Just follow the instructions in the book. You won't out live your money; you won't be forced back into a job you hate; taxes will not hurt you; you will survive market crashes; you do not have to pray that your rich relatives die soon. Enjoy your early retirement and if you want to worry, worry about where you are going on your next trip not about money. The money will grow and support you better and better over time.

This book is intend for any reader who wants to retire early and wants to know what it takes as well as all current retirees, savers within five years of retirement, anyone who has put together a decent size nest egg, anyone living partially off investments and partially off social security, pension payments, part-time work, consulting, or other forms of income, and the professionals who are advising these people but have no personal experience with living off investments. There are many professionals today who tell people they need two million dollars or more to retire early. This book refutes that myth. The book will also be of interest to people who are just now thinking about retirement and wondering what it takes to get there and what it is like when they are there. However, this is not a book for people looking for hot stocks, internet IPOs, day trades, shorts, options, derivatives, leveraged strategies, investments named after animals. This book is about long-term investing. Long-term here means 30 years not 30 days or 30 minutes.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Adams Media (January 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580622011
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580622011
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #429,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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As a person who is on the verge of retirement, this is one of many investment and retirements books I've read recently. If you take the author's advice in your retirement strategy many of the authorities on retirement planning would tell you that you will run out of money in a very untimely way! Written near the end of the boom cyle of the 1990's the book suggests that you can safely withdraw 8% or more of your investments a year for living expenses. This is an extremely optimistic approach. Most current experts recommend a 4% or so withdrawal rate is much more realistic considering the long term analysis of the various markets. This was proposed by the landbreaking research in the Trinity study, written several years before the publication of this book and has become the predominent thinking of modern investment advisors.

I especially was miffed at a short discussion suggesting that managing and reducing your living expenses was much less important than your investment strategy. These two items go hand-in-hand and each has a vital place in retirement considerations.

You may wish to buy this book for it's decent discussion of the various investment markets, but there are far better out there. This discussion was only fair. I've found the books by Boggle and Berstein to be among the best.

If you should have the temptation of following the author's advice regarding spending habits and safe withdrawal rates from your investments, I would stongly recommend that you weight this against other expert advice on the subject.
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Format: Paperback
This is a good investment book and extremely cheap. The real cover is also much nicer than the one shown here. It is quite realistic. It does not advocate living below the poverty line so your can save up enough to retire early off the meager returns from treasury bonds in a meager retirement. The main focus is investing well during retirement so you can afford to live well in retirement. This in not primarily a lifestyle book but an investing book. Humility in investing is mentioned many times but not living a humble lifestyle. It says many places that if we lose all our nest egg from bad investments during retirement, it does not matter how humble a lifestyle we have, we are going back to work. The concept that we are all sold our asset allocations rather than choosing them is also a big part of this book. Since stocks and bonds generally go up and down at the same time, only a salesperson could have convinced us that buying both is diversification. I have never seen any book or heard any stockbroker or mutual fund representative ever recommend real estate as part of a retirement portfolio. Yet I know people who have made a fortune in real estate and live comfortably off real estate in retirement. This is the first book I know of that thinks outside the box of conventional retirement investment planning. It advocates choosing between stocks, bonds, real estate, international stocks, and several other asset classes. Since I have concerns that the U.S. stock market can continue as it has in recent years, I am glad to know there are other places I can make money to get me to an early retirement. There is also a chapter on surviving a market crash with your nest egg and sanity intact. This is looking like a very timely book. Good book, great price.
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Format: Paperback
I thought this book was great and I would highly reccommend it. No book can answer every question and this one is, of course, no exception. Edmunds has actually walked the talk and survived ups and downs in the markets. I think that his advice about investing in multiple non-correlated asset classes is actually quite sophisticated in a Modern Portfolio Theory sort of way. It reminded me of a practical version of the approach advocated by Larry Swedroe in "The only Guide to a winning investment strategy you'll ever need." Although US stocks have been the place to be for a while, they may decline or stagnate and diversification into foreign and developing country stocks and US real estate could once again outperform. In his Amazon review Dr. Grimmel compares Edmund's book unfavorably to several other books on early retirment- all of which have severe limitations of their own. Terhorst used only fixed income assets (Cashing in On the American Dream) in his initial retirement plan. That was a good move at the time, but he did get back into the stock market- after the book was written (I read about this on his web site). "Your Money or Your Life" by Dominguez and Robin is a great book about redefining needs and reducing expenses but the investment advice is wacky (government bonds alone + inflation doesn't matter.) All in all I think that Edmunds has written the best book on this subject.
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Format: Paperback
Just imagine: retirement advice based on the real life experience of someone who has made it work for himself over nearly 20 years. Mr. Edmunds doesn't tell you to accumulate millions before you retire. He doesn't define "diversification" in terms of products he hopes to sell you. And he won't give you answers in terms only an MBA could understand.
Instead, he identifies 13 different asset classes (yes, 13!) and tells you quite simply which ones work, which ones don't, and how to create a workable portfolio to meet your needs. He uses numerous examples of people with differing needs and objectives, and shows how to apply his principals in each case. (Surely, one of them must be similar to your own...) But the world of finance is not static, so Edmunds goes a step beyond: he gives a detailed method for evaluating that new asset class you just learned about, and determining if it fits your needs.
While no book has all the answers, this one comes mighty close. I recommend it without reservation whether you have retired already, plan to retire soon, or are dreaming of the far-off future. For most folks, retirement is a question of assets rather than age, and this book can bring that dream closer than you might think.
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