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We're Not In Kansas Anymore: Strategies for Retiring Rich in a Totally Changed World Hardcover – April 20, 2004

3.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Likening the befuddlement that most investors feel in the post-stock-bubble era to the confusion that Dorothy experienced when she fell into the unfamiliar Land of Oz, Updegrave leads readers away from retirement planning myths and straight down a realistic path to financial security. A senior editor at Money magazine and a columnist for AOL Personal and CNNMoney.com, Updegrave manages to enlighten readers without pandering to their fears or overstating the complexity of accumulating wealth. And he shares the most important revelation at the start: it’s not how skillfully you invest, but how much and how routinely you save that ultimately matters. While this book is of obvious value to younger readers, the under-saved and over-50 receive substantial attention in sections that provide detailed strategies for catching up on savings. Throughout the book, Updegrave highlights the pitfalls and the self-delusions that undermine so many retirement plans, such as the fact that "40 percent of Americans are counting on the lottery, sweepstakes, getting married or an inheritance to fund their retirement." Social Security, the tax code and insurance coverage are demystified without ever evoking nightmares of the Wicked Witch. And though the Oz imagery might make some readers wary, the references fade as the book progresses, so they never get too tiresome or cutesy. Updegrave’s explanations and frequent referrals to useful online tools will help readers figure out exactly how to begin and exactly how to get to where they want to go, with far less difficulty than Dorothy herself experienced.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The trend of applying metaphors to the business world has just about run its course. Take, for instance, financial columnist Updegrave's application of the Wizard of Oz analogy to new retirement strategies. After one or two references to Dorothy, Toto, and her companions, the literary allusions fall flat. But don't let that detract from the content, which emphasizes today's realities--that we can no longer count on social security and corporate pensions to carry us through retirement. Featured are worksheets, charts, simple explanations of complicated financial instruments (such as the different types of annuities), and great advice. Some examples: 10 tips to boost savings, from "put it on autopilot" to "keep an expense log," or the 7 strategies to follow if your savings aren't robust enough. A money counselor for the millennium. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; First Edition edition (April 20, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400047897
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400047895
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,967,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By George Fulmore on November 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Book Review: "We're Not in Kansas Anymore," by Walter Updegrave. (Crown Business. 2004)

By George Fulmore

The subtitle of this book reads, "strategies for retiring rich in a totally changed world." Maybe I've been at this personal finance stuff for too long, but for me that subtitle means that I'm about to learn something new. In reading "We're Not in Kansas Anymore" I did not find that to be true.

To me, what this book is saying is that the old world of retirement pensions is gone and cannot be depended upon. Many of us have known that for decades. In my case, the defined benefit program where I worked was converted to a defined contribution (401K) program by the mid-80's. This is not big news. And this would seem to be one of the many books now coming out that warn Baby Boomers that they need to take this savings stuff serious or else. Again, I'm not sure that this is new stuff. (And I'm not sure that all those state, federal and county government workers need to be sweating out any of this. Their pensions will hopefully be there for them.)

The bulk of the book talks about standard personal financial stuff that has been printed for decades elsewhere and that you can find in endless current books: start early, think long-term, max out deferred options, don't think it's too late, don't be too conservative or too risky, live within your means, review your overall plan at least once a year, yada yada yada. This takes us to page 244 of this 277-page book.

Sure, if one follows all this, he or she or they build up a nest egg that will prove its worth in retirement. And that will be wonderful. But if we don't do all this, then we will be in the soup, unless we somehow catch up in time.
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Format: Hardcover
Updegrave succeeds in capturing the essence of the Baby Boomer's retirement dilemma--they are responsible for their own economic viability as ERISA legislation has largely shifted the burden of support from employers to employees. The challenge now is how to capitalize on the various tax-deferred and individual retirement plan allocations that will establish a safe and effervescent income stream. "We're Not In Kansas Anymore" does a good job of laying the framework for readers hoping to understand the big picture of the retirement of their futures. Additional work on actual strategies and implementation would have been helpful, especially for individuals who have fallen behind in establishing their nest eggs. (See perhaps "Rich Dad's Prophecy", "The Intelligent Asset Allocator", or even "A Random Walk Down Wall Street" for further reading.) With that said, Updegrave's writing makes it quite clear there is no financial panacea. I found his focus on leading a life of value and substance refreshing, all too often material wealth is glorified over the simple, free experiences of life--Scarecrow's brain, Tin Man's heart, and Lion's courage I dare say are all priceless.
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