taking joy in human unreason

Bogleheads’ Retirement Planning: Hitting the Highlights

I finished The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning last week, and I have to say, it’s the single best resource on retirement planning that I’ve seen or read so far. Hands down. Other books might add more depth to particular areas or have different approaches, but this book has given me the crucial vocabulary and background to know where I need to research further.

Greg, trying on a way-too-big sports coat.Each chapter is written by different combinations of writers (with repetition) and touches on everything from how much to save, how taxes work, retirement account and plan types, investment strategies, how to withdraw for retirement (including some tax minimization strategies), and what to do when fecal matter hits the rotary impeller (divorce, nasty debt, etc.).

That said, it’s not a personal finance book in the popular sense. It includes some ideas on how much to save, but doesn’t throw out anything like “save 15% of your income” or get into coupon clipping. If you need to save $10 million to have the post-retirement lifestyle you want, then you need to figure out what that means on a paycheck-to-paycheck budgeting level.

…If $10 million is what you need for self-sustainability, you may want to switch to cat food (much tastier than dog food!) now so that you can eat well later.

I was pretty impressed at the ratio of interesting to uninteresting content in the book. I only skimmed through one chapter (Social Security) out of the whole book, and was enthralled by things like defined benefit plans (pensions), which I don’t have and likely never will. It covers things like annuities as well, which I’d relegated to the Brontë era.

I touched on commission-based financial services and the no-no of permanent insurance for me last week, but want to hit on some other specific topics that got me thinking. I’ll do a little post for each one over the next couple of weeks:

  1. Determining a Retirement $$ Goal
  2. Investment Policy Statements
  3. Tax Games
  4. Self-Employment Account Options
  5. Income Replacement