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Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-10-2007, 08:24 PM   #1
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Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

The editors are demanding a new edition of Work Less Live More (i've been procrastinating for months, but it is now due before the end of April so time to get serious )

I've been collecting piles of links, articles and suggestions for fixing things all along and making my way through them, but wanted to ask if anyone here has any ideas, specific or general, that you'd like to see worked into the next edition.

One thing I'm already adding is a much more complete discussion of healthcare insurance for us post-corporate types. Another is adding something about 72t and how to crack into your IRA early.

Also updating all the studies with 2 more years of data, new web address for billy and akaisha, that sort of thing.

There is a new companion workbook also coming out simultaneously (in the Fall) which will have spreadsheets, tools, questionnaires etc and more detail on budgeting, investing etc.

Any and all ideas welcome! thx

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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-10-2007, 10:23 PM   #2
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

Bob,

In my opinion a good sized chapter should be tailored for the singles. Since there are so many and it is challenging! Also included should be single parents and the caution of providing for children at the expense of security for self. Late life singles via divorce and squandering of assets as well as late life acquiring of trophy wifes and their spending habits.

Those are just some topics I have noticed to be under addressed. It seems as though about 90% of what is written is in regards to dual income homes where the kids are self sufficient by the parents late 40's which is not necessarily the norm anymore.

And THANKS for asking for our opinions!
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-10-2007, 10:25 PM   #3
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

I know! How about a companion website, call it WLLM, wherein financially independent early retirees and wannabes discuss all manner of...uh, er, never mind.

Have your book on my shelf, Bob. Can't wait to read it, though now I'm thinking I'll wait for the upgrade...

Seriously, end of April is a serious deadline. Recommend googling yourself on this FIRE site and surfing the extensive archives. Plenty of quotes, too (with permissions, natch).
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-11-2007, 10:52 PM   #4
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

Connie,
Good points and I have had this feedback in PMs so need to address it. Not sure if we will get a whole chapter or a lot of mentions, but either way I need to get more in there for sure.

FlogBlogger, thx and have been monitoring most of the threads (I think!) where questions and suggestions have come up. The forum overall has enough material for many books, though! Maybe I should turn the editor loose in here to collect tidbits? We might end up publishing the ER Cookbook which would sell better than tax advice, I bet!

thx
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-12-2007, 10:08 PM   #5
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

The section on cold appetizers will be a much faster read than that on the nuances of healthcare insurance...
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-12-2007, 10:17 PM   #6
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

What about in the 72T section discussing the pro's/con's of doing 72T vs. T-IRA conversions to R-IRA's. (5 year delay, but you don't lock yourself into a 72T)

I've played around with the idea for a couple years now, and I'm really beginning to lean towards using conversion, but would like to see some other opinions as well.

Laters,
-d.
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-14-2007, 02:55 PM   #7
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

D-

Good points, and I've never really thought them through. Open to any ideas from people who've wrestled with it more. Have printed out IRS pub 575, but not dug into it too deeply yet.

Here's what I'm thinking at this point: If you need the IRA money, then I guess there is no choice but to wait it out until 59 1/2 or go the 72(t) SEPP route. I guess I don't like the restrictions of the 72(t) distributions, but if you need the money, whatcha gonna do? And it probably also means you won't have a ton of taxable income aside from the IRA distributions, so you'll be in a low tax bracket and not get hosed with income taxes. If your money is in a 401k instead of an IRA, then the Rule of 55 may let you get it out starting then if you've just quit your job and if your employer cooperates.

If you have other taxable funds to live off, then I like Roths if you can pull off the conversion at low (10% or 15%) federal tax rates. I know we rage back and forth on whether you'll ever save money in the long run, but for me it is just instinct to try to take medicine early and avoid huge taxable capital gains later, and I guess I also hope we can give the Roth to our kids, which may be the real motivation -- 100 years or so of tax-free compounding and tax-free withdrawals -- that sort of thing makes my heart go pitter patter ;-)
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-14-2007, 04:05 PM   #8
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

Bob,

Another chapter that I would be in favor of would be "So now you've graduated, do you want to retire before you are 80?". The power of compunding is so profound and too few people understand that it can set you up for life early if you will analyze and commit to it.

Getting people talking about finances can only help them and if young folks learn, then maybe we could improve the odds for the coming generations. The wealth gap can be defeated 1 saver at a time!
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-14-2007, 04:50 PM   #9
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

Well, personally speaking, I always feel sort of left out when reading any books to do with retirement and money, as I do not fall in that catagory of ever having a 401K or even an IRA. I prepared for retirement by purchasing real estate, and so all my assets are non-tax sheltered. (once sold-as I am in process of doing now)

There are never any chapters in books for us former real estate mogels, with any guidance or suggestions of how to handle larger sums of money without the benifit of any tax sheltering. And I know I'm not alone out there. I am sure there are many such as me who have chosen this path to building wealth instead.--right or wrong.
So managing your money when ever you want to "sell out" and retire, without giving it all back to uncle sam, would be a nice addition to any book to do with finances.
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-14-2007, 06:00 PM   #10
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy connie
In my opinion a good sized chapter should be tailored for the singles. And THANKS for asking for our opinions!
I'll second those emotions! Look forward to the new edition....and the spreadsheets!
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-14-2007, 06:21 PM   #11
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh
I'll second those emotions! Look forward to the new edition....and the spreadsheets!
Third!!
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-14-2007, 06:25 PM   #12
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazy connie
Bob,

In my opinion a good sized chapter should be tailored for the singles. Since there are so many and it is challenging! Also included should be single parents and the caution of providing for children at the expense of security for self. Late life singles via divorce and squandering of assets as well as late life acquiring of trophy wifes and their spending habits.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meadbh
I'll second those emotions! Look forward to the new edition....and the spreadsheets!
Quote:
Originally Posted by kate
Third!!
OK...I'll 4th it!!
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-14-2007, 08:33 PM   #13
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

What is the "Rule of 55" mentioned in your post?
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-14-2007, 11:01 PM   #14
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

While I've read your book twice over the past year, I don't have a copy so if some of this is already covered, forgive me.

Suggestions:

1) increased coverage of international retirement especially those English speaking countries that seem to be welcoming US retirees: Malaysia & Philippines. (Panama as they use the US $) How about "US International" such as Puerto Rico, Saipan, American Samoa, and probably other places we "own" that I don't know about?

2) Medical tourism: Philippines and Mexico (I suspect Mexico is in the book)

3) Will the workbook be CD based on internet downloadable? (Hate building spreadsheets from scratch.)

4) Links to tax loads by states for those looking to move (including estate taxes which sites tend to ignore)

Your book is in my top 5 on retirement. Looking forward to the new revision!
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-14-2007, 11:30 PM   #15
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

This is starting to feel like work
A few quick responses here, and note that all these ideas are being absorbed and will do all possible to get them addressed in the books.

One thing the editor and I constantly tussle over is their contention that nobody with over a couple million dollars could ever need a book about how to manage money. I politely and consistently disagree. Anyway any votes here for issues of interest to those, like modhatter, wanting more in this area is useful ammo in those discussions.

More on some of the semi-retirement meccas is coming, but there is a book that just deals with those, and I'll try to track it down. I was thinking it would be a lot of fun to write that one especially with a publisher's expense account, though, right?
[Never gonna happen] Great suggestion on state-by-state tax data. It's online, but it's nice to get it all in one place.

Workbook will have a CD with spreadsheets preloaded with example data, as well as offered clean with no data, for pulling into excel on your PC. I don't know if they'll be downloadable from the web, though, as Nolo seems to have had trouble with that sort of approach in the past.

Rule of 55 says you can start withdrawing from 401k at age 55, whereas IRAs need to be age 59 1/2 (or else use the 72(t)). But there are a few wrinkles -- your need to quit your job in the year you turn 55 or later, and the only 401k you can withdraw out of is from that current/last employer, so you need to roll $ over from previous 401ks if you want to get at that $ prior to 591/2.

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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-15-2007, 06:31 AM   #16
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

Bob:

First, thank you for your book and the opportunity to comment. By asking for comments tells me enough about your true concern to put forth the best information possible.

My quick story: This year I passed through FI. I could almost see myself in your book as I read it. However to RE is different. Like a couple I know, health care insurance beyond the employer is my (our) major problem. Without health insurance, one is taking a major risk. Understanding that risk is something I never see referenced anywhere. The DW and I have medical issues that will not allow us to get our own policies. Thus, the decision will be: 1) stay at the job (no risk), 2) bail on the job and go the HIPPA route (very expensive), 3) go 6 months "bare naked" to join the state's high risk pool (less expensive, 6 months risky), 4) leave family behind and move to a better insurance friendly state, and/or 5) go to another country.

I think to warn people about the health (asset) insurance issues and how to address them (aka plan ahead) would be helpful. May make for a boring read, but if you ever get there and can't RE easily, you will see the issues more clearly.

IMHO, health insurance is the major issue just following saving/investing to FIRE. Without it, all the saving/investing one can mustard, may be in vain with one non-insured, unplanned event.

Thanks again for your concern to put forth a great book!

Hillbilly
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-15-2007, 08:18 AM   #17
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ESRBob
One thing the editor and I constantly tussle over is their contention that nobody with over a couple million dollars could ever need a book about how to manage money. I politely and consistently disagree. Anyway any votes here for issues of interest to those, like modhatter, wanting more in this area is useful ammo in those discussions.
The editor needs to read (or re-read) The Millionaire Next Door. A lot of these folks got where they are by being very frugal. A standard money management fee of 1% translates to $30,000/yr for a $3M portfolio. Even if you get the sometimes available .5%, its still $15k/yr. If you got $15K-30K worth of effort perhaps it would be worthwhile, but you're probably lucky to get an hour a week worth of focus. At that rate its better to have a DIY approach. (I'd readily invest an hour a week for a $15k-30K payback! )

If the CD version of the workbook is planned that's sufficient. I prefer a CD to a download myself..just don't like the hardcopy version that you have to enter yourself.

I mentioned I have read your book twice. The first time was as entering retirement and reading from a retiring viewpoint. The second was about 10 mos post retirement and reading from a financial viewpoint. Its a credit to you and your book that it reads well from both perspectives. Most books are tilted one way or the other. Thank you again for a great book!
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-15-2007, 10:55 AM   #18
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?


Improve WLLM? Are you serious? Look what happened when they tried to improve the Bible. Look what happened after "Rocky". Publishers demands can be like a cranial tourniquet cinched up really tight. Don't let it get to you Bob.

If a new edition is a must, I'd focus on how the ER world and its inhabitants have changed since the first edition and what new lessons are to be learned. I'm good at pointing out the obvious. Beyond that...


Doesn't matter what I say. I'll buy a copy anyway, and against my better principles; at full retail.






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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-15-2007, 11:14 AM   #19
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

I bought this book about 6 weeks ago, before finding this board. I think you've done a good job of covering a broad range of topics. I'd echo what others have said about addressing health insurance. I'd also suggest a broader list of references for further reading -- especially asset allocation.

-Rita
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?
Old 04-15-2007, 11:14 AM   #20
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Re: Any suggestions for improving Work Less Live More?

Gandalf,
Glad to hear that story as it validates one of the things I definitely was trying to accomplish, having the book work both for someone in the planning/pre-ER stages and in the semi-retirement or early retirement stages, too.

Hillbilly, you're right on target and health insurance is going to get a lot more treatment in the next edition, but it's a vast field, with slight differences state by state, to say nothing of the issues for FIREes in other parts of the world.

In the options you were considering, have you talked to a local insurance broker? They shouldn't cost you anything extra, since they get paid by the insurance companies, whose rates are set by law, so it isn't like hiring an expensive financial advisor. They may help you see through the thicket of choices. A few ideas that came to mind that I didn't see on your list: just paying COBRA for 6 months after leaving your job, and then going into your state's high-risk pool? (or do you literaly have to be uninsured to get into your state's pool? that would seem odd). Or what about High-deductible plans, where you just assume you'll probably have to pay the full deductible each year out of your linked HSA?

HIPPA, if I understand correctly, lets you transfer to another plan without excluding your pre-existing conditions for a period, but the trick of course is, which plan would you be able to qualify for. That's where some more creativity might help -- employer-based plans are often treated better than individual plans. But you can be a group of 1 now. Think about starting a little side self-employment company, even while you work, with an eye toward having this company start a group plan for you. Could be a good way to segue into semi-retirement, too, doing some consulting in your current field or making a hobby into a business with a small income stream.

Finally, if you're willing to consider moving out of the country as a last resort, what about considering moving to another state in the U.S.? Some states have pretty congenial guaranteed issue provisions. Your pre-existing conditions might not be covered right away, then again, HIPPA might ensure they are if you go straight from one plan to another-- their big worry seems to be uninsured people who suddenly see the light and want to get insurance when they are diagnosed with a major illness. If you stay insured, I think you're in better shape for having the pre-existing condition covered. In any event, I would certainly never recommend you go 'bare', and have trouble seeing scenarios where you would somehow be rewarded for doing so by being able to get new or better insurance -- is our system really that contorted that those incentives now exist?

Anyway, I'm going to get all these issues into the next edition, but if anyone has more thoughts on this, or corrections to anything I've written here that you think I'm misunderstanding or which wouldn't apply in your state, I am all ears, as there is a lot to learn. Anybody have any experience asking an insurance broker for help in getting coverage around the time of FIRE? My experience is that the corporate plan guys are better than the individual plan guys, but you might need to have a self-employment company started first. Having said that, I also have been burned by a fraud with a corporate guy who sent a post-card, so caveat emptor. Maybe best to ask a small business person who their insurance broker is, rather than just answer an ad.

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