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Old 06-08-2008, 09:11 PM   #21
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I am a little bit different in that my dear wife is a little bit older than I am (in years only, still a hottie) and she started SS on her own and then was increased to 50% of mine when I was eligible.
You are so sweet!

Regardless of the smoothness of our income, I aspire to having DH think I'm a hottie after I'm old enough to draw social security.
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Old 06-18-2008, 10:01 AM   #22
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I bought this book and am almost through it. I was shocked to find an extemely flawed bit of advice on page 177. When talking about insurance company risk in purchasing annuities it states: "Today Vanguard -the giant and highly secure mutual fund/insurance company - offers reasonably priced annuities that are fully protected against inflation." The clear inference here is that VG is standing behind and issuing the annuities. I had a financial planner once that made that neophyte conclusion and I called him on it. Embarrassingly , he admitted he was not aware that AIG was the one issuing the annuity. I was surprised to see the same error in this book!
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Old 06-18-2008, 11:56 AM   #23
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I'm still reading . . .

I found part 1 interesting, as they describe behavioral economics and making choices based on weighing current and future rewards. Part 2 was boring -- preaching to the choir about what economic activities to take part in (don't overspend on a house, consider why you need all THAT stuff, etc.).

I suppose this would be more helpful to those who haven't yet figured out how best to manage their money. The plugs for ESP Planner are a bit distracting.

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Old 06-18-2008, 12:10 PM   #24
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....Just one graph from the book (below) to pique your interest, I've never seen a recommendation like this (before you dismiss it, you'd have to read the explanation). My 2¢...
Love that graph. I read the book and that graph shows exactly what I've done over the years. (I'm just now on the point of Retirement). And I plan to do the rest of the graph as I get older. He's definitely preaching to the choir.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:11 AM   #25
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I'm still reading . . .

I found part 1 interesting, as they describe behavioral economics and making choices based on weighing current and future rewards. Part 2 was boring -- preaching to the choir about what economic activities to take part in (don't overspend on a house, consider why you need all THAT stuff, etc.).

I suppose this would be more helpful to those who haven't yet figured out how best to manage their money. The plugs for ESP Planner are a bit distracting.

-- Rita
I agree. Halfway through it. Decent book. Could have left out the excessive ESP plugs
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:16 AM   #26
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Gotta give those guys credit. Whenever they sell a book, they've succeeded in getting someone to pay them for advertising their planning software. Guys that smart should be wealthy enough to retire!
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:35 AM   #27
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Gotta give those guys credit. Whenever they sell a book, they've succeeded in getting someone to pay them for advertising their planning software. Guys that smart should be wealthy enough to retire!

Scott Burns is also pretty blatant in his newspaper columns. He seems to plug his books or the software at least once per month if not more frequently. He is pretty good about not plugging DFA funds or his investment advisory company that uses them.

He does do a pretty good job of encouraging people to not have a financial advisor and stressing how simple it is for people to do it themselves. Even with that, he still attracts clients with significant assets to his firm and charges them around 0.5% of assets and puts them into DFA funds with higher expenses than Vanguard index funds. I don't have any idea if "other services" are provided but there isn't anything mentioned on the website that I've stumbled upon.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:41 PM   #28
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What a great book.

Had some very interesting insights such as good sensitivity analyses around roth vs traditional IRAs, how to think about income and social security in making asset allocation decisions.

One of the problems with the software is that it automatically "smooths" my consumption so that spending is much higher after 75 -- maybe thats because of medical expenses, but I haven't figured it out yet.

Sales pitch didn't bother me -- happy to pay a one time fee for superior insights.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:32 PM   #29
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Thought that this book was a waste of time. Just another commercial for their software.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:55 PM   #30
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It didn't do much for me. I like Scott's syndicated column better.
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As if you didn't know..If the above message contains medical content, it's NOT intended as advice, and may not be accurate, applicable or sufficient. Don't rely on it for any purpose. Consult your own doctor for all medical advice.
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:25 PM   #31
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Finished the book. I concluded I knew everything they were preaching. However for someone being clueless it wouldn't be a bad read.


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Old 06-27-2008, 09:32 PM   #32
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Finished the book. I concluded I knew everything they were preaching. However for someone being clueless it wouldn't be a bad read.


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I agree - I'd give it a 'C' overall (aka wait for the library's copy). Of interest were the comments in the last chapter on the relative newness of behavioral finance and how what they have developed thus far will be improved upon. Still didn't provide an overall roadmap -- maybe that's in the software.

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Old 06-28-2008, 08:39 AM   #33
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Thought that this book was a waste of time. Just another commercial for their software.
We'll have to agree to disagree. Dismissing the book as "another commercial for their software" is intellectually lazy and hypercritical IMHO so in an attempt to put some objectivity to it:

ESPlanner is mentioned 9 times in 300 pages, and 3 of them are in the Intro or Epilogue, so 6 times in the body of the book. In 7 cases they do no more than mention they used ESPlanner as the tool used to calculate numbers presented, that's it. On pgs 12-14 there is a section titled "Full Disclosure" in which they describe ESPlanner - I would consider that the extent of the pitch.

On the other hand as you might expect, Social Security is mentioned over 100 times, often in great detail - so I guess you could more readily describe the book as 'another commercial for Social Security.' I still think it's a good read (among others) for those who fall between financially naive and expert.
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Old 06-28-2008, 08:43 AM   #34
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Midpack, are you going to purchase the ESPlanner software?
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Old 06-28-2008, 08:48 AM   #35
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Midpack, are you going to purchase the ESPlanner software?
Rhetorical question no?
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Old 06-28-2008, 09:01 AM   #36
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Rhetorical question no?
No, it wasn't intended as such but I suppose everything is open for interpretation. ;)

Ooops!
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I bought ESPlanner Plus this morning...
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Old 06-28-2008, 09:04 AM   #37
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Midpack, are you going to purchase the ESPlanner software?
Sounds like "fodder" for another pole ?

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Old 06-28-2008, 09:08 AM   #38
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No, it wasn't intended as such but I suppose everything is open for interpretation.
Sorry, I have discussed purchasing and using ESPlanner Plus on this forum and since you're a frequent visitor I (incorrectly) assumed you knew and so I was anticipating a reply of "so the book worked as an ad in your case." Guess I overthought that one, wouldn't be the first time I've outsmarted myself...

I was already leaning toward buying ESPP and indeed did buy it when I finished the book. I thought the book was very good, but not my favorite (Four Pillars is so far). I also think ESP/ESPP are well worth $199 considering the size of almost any portfolio here, but ESP is certainly not perfect either. I rely on my own spreadsheets primarily, but I find ESPP can handle some things I can't and model alternatives more quickly/comprehensively. My 2¢ (and no more)...and again sorry I read too much into your post.
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Old 06-28-2008, 10:27 AM   #39
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I've gone back and forth on buying ESPlanner. When I heard they were putting out a book, I decided to wait on the assumption that it will go into a lot of detail on how consumption smoothing works. That will let me know if I think extending their theories to my personal data is worthwhile. My congential cheapness is having me get the book through the library (not in yet) because I'm sure I won't want to keep it as a personal reference.
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Old 06-28-2008, 10:34 AM   #40
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I've gone back and forth on buying ESPlanner. When I heard they were putting out a book, I decided to wait on the assumption that it will go into a lot of detail on how consumption smoothing works. That will let me know if I think extending their theories to my personal data is worthwhile. My congential cheapness is having me get the book through the library (not in yet) because I'm sure I won't want to keep it as a personal reference.
FWIW...
Consumption Smoothing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
ESPlanner: Making it Simple
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