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Book recommendation for later-in-life financial turnaround?
Old 07-31-2020, 08:13 PM   #1
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Book recommendation for later-in-life financial turnaround?

My 51-year-old sister has asked for my help getting her finances in order and preparing for retirement. She is hoping to retire well before full retirement age of 67. Based on my preliminary review of her finances, she will need to pare back her spending significantly and save a lot of money—but her current philosophy can be summed up “I work hard for my money and I want to enjoy it while I’m young.”

Rather than being the messenger, I’d like to find a book I can give her that is short and to the point and geared to those who have waited until later in life to get serious about retirement. I have a lot of personal finance books but none seems to hit the exact situation squarely...

Millionaire Next Door
Your Money or Your Life
Richest Man in Babylon
The Way to Wealth

What do you recommend?
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:14 AM   #2
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How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide, by Jane Bryant Quinn is very accessible and common sense.
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:19 AM   #3
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If she's not interested in personal finance, then she may not pick up a book about it. Since she asked for your help, how about going through some online calculators with her. There are a ton of "do I have enough to retire" calculators out there, including FIRECalc here.
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:47 AM   #4
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I suggest you help her post her particulars on bogleheads.com.

And, of course, go through the firecalc exercise.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
If she's not interested in personal finance, then she may not pick up a book about it. Since she asked for your help, how about going through some online calculators with her. There are a ton of "do I have enough to retire" calculators out there, including FIRECalc here.

Well, she’s interested now. I’ve sent her various articles and reports over the years encouraging her to pay attention to her long-term financial goals but never got any response. She wasn’t ready to hear it. But there’s been a shift now that she’s in her 50s. I think the spreadsheet I’ve built for her paints a clear picture of the problem in simple terms, but she needs to come to terms with what it will take to accomplish the goal. I will probably just tell her straight up, but I thought having reinforcements would be helpful.

Jonathan Clements has some sensible articles on his blog Humble Dollar... Perhaps I’ll just send her a few of those.
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:19 AM   #6
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If she's not interested in personal finance, then she may not pick up a book about it. Since she asked for your help, how about going through some online calculators with her. There are a ton of "do I have enough to retire" calculators out there, including FIRECalc here.
I think the calculators are a good idea, especially since you can show her the effect of putting an extra $X/month into investments for the next 16 years at Y% returns...7% is probably a decent number for someone who doesn't have decades and whose lifestyle would be hurt badly by a big dip, or in other words who won't have too high a tolerance for much volatility or risk.
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:34 AM   #7
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I think a book is a good idea to start her off (if she won't read one book, then she won't do anything herself and will depend on the OP more than they seem comfortable with - totally reasonable.)

I'd tell her, here, after you've read this, bring me some specific questions, and then get into calculators and other detailed resources.
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Old 08-01-2020, 12:12 PM   #8
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Well, she’s interested now. I’ve sent her various articles and reports over the years encouraging her to pay attention to her long-term financial goals but never got any response. She wasn’t ready to hear it. But there’s been a shift now that she’s in her 50s. I think the spreadsheet I’ve built for her paints a clear picture of the problem in simple terms, but she needs to come to terms with what it will take to accomplish the goal. I will probably just tell her straight up, but I thought having reinforcements would be helpful.

Jonathan Clements has some sensible articles on his blog Humble Dollar... Perhaps I’ll just send her a few of those.
Not to be a downer, but if she was truly motivated she'd be making her own spreadsheet and researching on her own. I've tried to "help" numerous people over the years and it is just .
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:22 PM   #9
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I think a book is a good idea to start her off (if she won't read one book, then she won't do anything herself and will depend on the OP more than they seem comfortable with - totally reasonable.)

I'd tell her, here, after you've read this, bring me some specific questions, and then get into calculators and other detailed resources.

I agree. And that is exactly the aim. I want her to “own” her retirement planning because that’s the only way it will work and I think there is value in having her hear from disinterested experts about what will be required to turn things around. That way I’m not the heavy, which could negatively affect our relationship. I’m here to help her navigate the “how” after she determines the “what.”.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:27 PM   #10
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Not to be a downer, but if she was truly motivated she'd be making her own spreadsheet and researching on her own. I've tried to "help" numerous people over the years and it is just .

Sadly, you may be right. But she did ask for my help, which is encouraging. She has a few high-cost managed mutual funds at BBVA and asked me to help her redirect those to fund her retirement, which is how this conversation got started. And she has confided in me about her debt load, which is substantial. At this point, she doesn’t know what she doesn’t know but I think once she understands, she will embrace the challenge. Fingers crossed!
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:54 AM   #11
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Look into Ralph Warners "Get a life You dont need a million to retire well"

It might be a bit outdated but has great examples and value. And it is encouraging.

I would not outrule YMYL. The exercise to check how much you have to show for your hard work up to now might help your sister. It challenges the mindset of deserving to spend it all today.

Good luck!
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:48 AM   #12
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Another vote for the calculators. It shows it all and is to the point with an efficient explanation of the analysis of results.
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:43 AM   #13
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Ask her to open account here, and post her specifics without noting the connection to you.

Bogleheads, ok, as well.

“Non family” advice.
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Old 08-02-2020, 02:19 PM   #14
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—but her current philosophy can be summed up “I work hard for my money and I want to enjoy it while I’m young.”
In my experience until that philosophy changes there is no hope and you're just in for an exercise in frustration. Point her to some of the mentioned books but if she won't make the effort to buy and read one, she isn't serious.
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:55 PM   #15
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Not to be a downer, but if she was truly motivated she'd be making her own spreadsheet and researching on her own. I've tried to "help" numerous people over the years and it is just .
Uh oh...I think you may be right.
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