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The Number: What Do You Need for the Rest of Your Life and What Will It Cost?

Jonathan D. Pond's excellent book, You Can Do It, The Boomer's Guide to a Great Retirement may well be the best guide to saving, tending to, shepherding, and acquiring your retirement number that I have read.  He even recommends specific mutual funds for your number.  Lee Eisenberg's  The Number, on the other hand, is the best book I have found about the number and how people relate to it.  This witty and amusing book doesn't attempt to tell its readers how to save their numbers, but rather guides them in their quest to determine why they want that number.  Eisenberg maintains that retirement planning is worth little unless we take the holistic approach and determine what it is we want to do with the rest of our lives first.  He does not minimize the need to save, avoid debt, and invest wisely; he does emphasize through his interviews with people in the field and his "crash test dummy"  fictional family, that there is much more to retirement planning than just "running the numbers."  He traveled around the country and spoke with folks at a Del Webb retirement village in Arizona, with a group of "downshifters" in Colorado, and with numerous folks in the business of helping their clients arrive at their number, and it seems that all had a little different idea of what the number means, how much it should be, and how they planned to use it.  People approach the concept of money and retirement from a great many different avenues.  Some want nothing more than to stay at home and work on their book or work in their gardens, while others want to travel the world and play all of the top one hundred golf courses.  One thing that all of these folks recognized though was that retirees, downshifters, second lifers, or whatever they preferred to be called was that they  wanted to stay engaged in a meaningful way with their communities and life in general.  Eisenberg's wise and humorous book explains how each approach can be fulfilling and that our number, whether large or small, can work for us.  Get this book.  It will give you not only some chuckles, but also some sage advice!

 

Retire on Less Than You Think, Revised Edition: The New York Times Guide to Planning Your Financial Future

 

Fred Brock's book is for all of us who are concerned that maybe we have not saved enough for our retirements.  A ful review will follow shortly; tune in later.