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Yes, You Can Still Retire Comfortably!: The Baby-Boom Retirement Crisis and How to Beat It Paperback – August 1, 2006
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What I particularly like about the approach taken here is that it doesn't pretend that if everyone followed their advice that society would be rid of the problem of the Baby Boomers moving into their retirement decades (nowadays, retirement lasts much longer than most of us realize). This is a book for YOU. As the authors admit, the idea that everyone will follow the advice offered in this book is roughly nil. However, it is a book about each of us taking responsibility for our own future and rescuing our elderly self. I like the notion the authors put forward about our common fantasy of wishing we could help our younger self do better with what we have learned in life. However, the past cannot be changed. We do have ability to help our future self live better if we will take the proper steps now. When Stein and DeMuth say, "now", they mean today, not sometime when you finally have extra money to sock away. Somehow that time of future affluence never seems to materialize by itself.
Stein and DeMuth take away all our comforting delusions about Social Security and the inevitable choices the government will have to make someday. In all their calculations they also warn us about tax assumptions that can change as future politicians need access to our savings and wealth to fund their programs. The overall point of their warnings is that you need to prepare for your future as if you had to pay for it by yourself.
They help us think through our home, different kinds of investments to store our savings (and hopefully earn some more as well), thinking carefully about how and where we live, how long we should (need to) work, how to keep earning during retirement, and urge us to realize that any pain we think we would incur with the level of savings needed to fund our retirement will not go away if delayed. It will simply be pain that will be saved and collect interest and will make our future self more impoverished and miserable than he needed to be.
There are many worksheets so we can learn the principles by thinking carefully about our own situation. The book also has some helpful principles that are easy to commit to memory. I also liked the section of the book that takes us from our teenage years to retirement and what we should be accomplishing financially during those years.
The way Stein and DeMuth focus on doing prudent things with an emphasis on steady behavior, low cost investing, with rebalancing every five years (so you don't spend too much rebalancing every year, or finding your portfolio seriously out of whack current market realities), and taking as few risks with money you must preserve for your future, I think is extremely helpful. They warn against hoping that there is some kind of lottery win or stock market miracle that will come and provide for your future. The only person one who will care for the older you is the present you. Please do yourself a favor and read this book and then get to work.
The authors use that old joke about outrunning the bears. You don't have to be faster than all the bears, just the guys running next to you. And the truth is the YOUNGER you are when you start this marathon, the easier it will be to outdistance the bears. So, YOUNG PEOPLE will benefit from this book as much as or even more than those near retirement.
Fine book, and very much needed. Don't forget their other books on related topics "Yes, You Can Time the Market" and "Yes, You Can Become a Successful Income Investor".
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