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Old 03-03-2012, 01:38 PM   #21
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He doesn't say much about slice-and-dice.
He says keep it simple -- stick to stocks, bonds, TIPS and cash.
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Old 03-03-2012, 02:00 PM   #22
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I think I would rate this in the top couple of books on retirement that I have read. I also downloaded and I am using his retirement calculator. The trial version is fully functioning except that you can not change the current age from 55. This is not a problem for me for another 10 months.
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:07 PM   #23
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On these recommendations, I went there and bought it today.

A nice read. A little long, but a lot of information. I think he over-analyzed some things, but he comes back and basically says that it can be reduced to a few simple things because some of the alternate ways of doing things turn out pretty much the same in the end. Among them, the familiar 60/40 (more or less) equities/financial instruments is a good mix and 3.4% is a sustainable withdrawal rate. He does a good job of discouraging people from thinking that a 5% or a 6% withdrawal rate is a good idea. He likes to focus on the worst cases. He has a spreadsheet optimizer with a similar output to FireCalc that likewise uses historical data (and gives similar results, not surprisingly). He doesn't say much about slice-and-dice. If I followed his argument correctly, he does not think that diversifying internationally does any good. In a global economy, it is a reasonable argument (but I am still going with 50/50 anyway). He says that active management is better than indexing. He likes ETFs. He makes an argument that 100-your age = %bonds is not as good as keeping a 60/40 ratio over time. He suggests rebalancing every four years at the end of a US presidential election year. (That one was new to me!) He goes into a lengthy tutorial on varieties of annuities and how to use them. More than I ever wanted to know, but it is well presented and some day I may go back and read it more thoroughly. Then he says, be careful about who you buy the annuities from; you are only buying a promise, after all. (One good reason to stay away, for my money.) He has a buckets-type distribution scheme that he has designed.

He has done his own work, so even if he is covering the same ground as others, he speaks with authority. Sometimes he doesn't present things clearly enough for me. My eyes glazed over once in a while, but it is easy enough to skip such sections.

I liked his summary of parting thoughts on about page 500 or so. He wants you to think about what is really important to you.

Six bucks well spent, for me. Recommended.
Thanks Ed for the great review. Actually it was very concise and complete so I don't feel I need to read the book!
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:11 PM   #24
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How does his $99 excel calculator outcome calculator compare with FireCalc? I know he hisses most Monte Carlo calculators and intimates they are worthless. Doesn't he even mention Fire Calc?

My brain has been reading too much. Agree, it is scary as he-l. Wished he would stop using those 6% and 5% withdrawals. Would have rather seen some graphs using 3% ond 4%. Looking at the 1929 scenario was enough have you hair fall out.
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Old 03-03-2012, 03:54 PM   #25
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In my limited experience with Otar's calculator, it gives very comparable results to Firecalc. If so inclined, the Otar calculator permits increases/decreases to assumptions for expenses on an annual basis. Handy for me with numerous events with kids, retirement, pension, etc., over the next 10 years varying my expenses greatly. Also has nice sections to assist in making assumptions for annuities and selling the primary house as a last resort. (like his book).
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:32 PM   #26
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How about that, I downloaded the Otar trial calculator and it would not work with my Excel 2003. Guess it's time to upgrade to the 2007 (if still avail) or 2010 version...
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:43 PM   #27
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Guess it's time to upgrade to the 2007 (if still avail) or 2010 version...
You might want to try this freebie first: Home LibreOffice
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Old 03-03-2012, 07:52 PM   #28
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Yes it says you have to have Excel 2007, which I have, but still won't work. I get an error message.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:12 PM   #29
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You might want to try this freebie first: Home LibreOffice
I have the latest LibreOffice running on Win7. I am sure it won't handle the macros in a real Excel file. (Short review of LibreOffice: brittle, slow, somewhat compatible with Microsoft Office documents, free. I use it at home because I didn't want to buy MS Office again, but DW bought MS Office again, so we have it. When I use the LO writer, I always save the document as MS Word 2003 .doc, as I want to be able to read it with MSO somewhere else. It breaks a lot even with the simplest actions.)

Both FireCalc and Otar's spreadsheet use historical data and are NOT Monte Carlo-based.

FireCalc does everything I need (and probably everything that Otar's spreadsheet does) for a very reasonable cost (free). And it works.

Go ahead and buy Otar's book! How can you go wrong for $6? He says some interesting things that I didn't cover. I don't think he got the Efficient Frontier right, but close enough.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:17 AM   #30
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I once read that a high percentage of spreadsheets have at least one formula error.

I downloaded that sample spreadsheet, and actually looked through the various tabs and macros. My head was spinning so I closed it and got another drink.

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Old 03-04-2012, 08:49 AM   #31
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DH is preparing to "take the plunge" and I have found this to be the most comprehensive book in terms of determining if one is financially prepared for retirement.

I put a request into my county library system that it be considered for purchase.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:01 AM   #32
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This book is a wealth of information. I will have to go back and study some portions of it later.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:23 PM   #33
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DH is preparing to "take the plunge" and I have found this to be the most comprehensive book in terms of determining if one is financially prepared for retirement.

I put a request into my county library system that it be considered for purchase.
It is only $6 for the pdf file. Go for it!
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:45 PM   #34
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It is only $6 for the pdf file. Go for it!
Yup

PDF books can be a somewhat of a pain to read, but Otar is more of reference and so having the information in searchable format is very valuable.

I agree with your review, in truth I only read the first half and then skimmed the rest. Like many ebooks it would have greatly benefited from a better editor, but of course so would all have my posts.
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Old 03-04-2012, 06:13 PM   #35
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Pdf is free just read it and also being an engineer i love math but still skipped most of his graphs.

From most of what i have read on this forum i am a bit surprized that this book is well liked . It is down on index funds, it tells you to seek out active managers that will beat the market. And...it give you an equation to calculate market timing........?.?

I did find his sideways years interesting...and if i ever was to consider an annuity i would go back and read those chapters ( i skipped those they are a large part of the book)
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:01 PM   #36
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am I missing something? The 2nd post in this thread is a link to a free version of the PDF. I am looking at it now and it appears complete?

Why am I spending the money to buy it when its free in the beginning of the thread? Is there something else you get from the purchase?
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:43 PM   #37
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am I missing something? The 2nd post in this thread is a link to a free version of the PDF. I am looking at it now and it appears complete?

Why am I spending the money to buy it when its free in the beginning of the thread? Is there something else you get from the purchase?
Nope. That's it. Go for it.
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Old 03-04-2012, 07:50 PM   #38
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Pdf is free just read it and also being an engineer i love math but still skipped most of his graphs.

From most of what i have read on this forum i am a bit surprized that this book is well liked . It is down on index funds, it tells you to seek out active managers that will beat the market. And...it give you an equation to calculate market timing........?.?

I did find his sideways years interesting...and if i ever was to consider an annuity i would go back and read those chapters ( i skipped those they are a large part of the book)
Investment advice was not the "meat on the bone" of this book.
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:06 AM   #39
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am I missing something? The 2nd post in this thread is a link to a free version of the PDF. I am looking at it now and it appears complete?

Why am I spending the money to buy it when its free in the beginning of the thread? Is there something else you get from the purchase?
Because it's the right thing to do...

I've had some correspondence with Jim and I would be surprised if he intended for it to be free. My guess is whomever owns this site bought it and posted it figuring Jim would never figure it out. Or, alternatively, for about a month when it first came out, the book was free. Maybe this individual figures "I got it for free so I can give it out for free."

Either way, you need to be able to live with yourself and sleep at night. As for me, though I am a LBYM type and I pinch pennies, I'd rather do the right thing...

YMMV
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Old 03-05-2012, 07:16 AM   #40
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Pdf is free just read it and also being an engineer i love math but still skipped most of his graphs.

From most of what i have read on this forum i am a bit surprized that this book is well liked . It is down on index funds, it tells you to seek out active managers that will beat the market. And...it give you an equation to calculate market timing........?.?

I did find his sideways years interesting...and if i ever was to consider an annuity i would go back and read those chapters ( i skipped those they are a large part of the book)
The Zone Strategy sections and the related calcs are best part of the book IMO.

As for taking the book for free, I don't think it's asking too much to give the author (his cut of) $6. YMMV
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