Jim Otar's book - a good Christmas gift?

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letsgobobby
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Jim Otar's book - a good Christmas gift?

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:26 pm

I'm thinking of buy "Unveiling the Retirement Myth" for my dad for the holidays. Is it the right book?

My dad is 75, still works full time as a physician but thinking of cutting back or retiring. He is very well-educated financially and very astute (in addition to his MD, he has an MBA, a PhD in organic chemistry, and a Master's in mathematics), but he is extremely conservative with his money. I don't know the details of his financial situation but I imagine he has plenty of money. Yet he has anxiety about 'running out' and in particular about inflation.

I haven't read the book but I'm hoping based on the reports of others that it would help my dad realistically assess his current assets, his ability to draw income from them over 20-35 years (my mom is only 66), and help him make good decisions with his asset allocation so that he can sleep well at night and (hopefully) retire while he is still healthy enough to enjoy it.

Will this book meet my expectations?

By the way, he'll only read the print version, so I need to shell out $50 rather than $5.

livesoft
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Post by livesoft » Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:38 pm

It's a good book. If he won't read it, maybe he will give it back to you, so that you can read it. :)

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The Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning

Post by Taylor Larimore » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:00 pm

Hi Bobby:

I cannot think of a better book for your dad than our own Bogleheads' Guide to Retirement Planning.

This book represents the combined knowledge of more than twenty Boglehead authorities in their respective chapters. The book is directed at investers approaching or in retirement.

Our Guide is a labor of love with all royalties going to charity. You can read excerpts here:

Investment Gems
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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Post by CTBob » Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:16 pm

If your dad really is "very well-educated financially" but "he has anxiety about 'running out' and in particular about inflation" I think Jim Otar's book would be excellent. It focuses on the one area in which you perceive he has concerns without a lot of generic issues which which he's probably already familiar.

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Post by dbr » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:00 pm

I think Otar's book is unique in addressing head on what is involved in actually funding a retirement from investments.

However, it is a long book; it is complex; it is laden with numbers. In short, I suspect many would be students of investing may not be able to manage everything that is there.

In fairness, Otar himself points out that the chapters are constructed so that one can gain the gist of each chapter by reading beginnings and endings of chapters. As I recall some of the most important stuff about sustainability of retirements does not start until after Chapter 40 or so!

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Post by zzcooper123 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:14 pm

For a more comprehensive view of retirement and financial planning: Larry Swedroe's book may be more to his liking.
Otar's book is very dry.

letsgobobby
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Post by letsgobobby » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:07 pm

my dad has a Master's in mathematics from Harvard. Numbers don't bother him. :D


He has not read Swedroe, Bogleheads, Bogle, but I have read all of them (I think) and he and I have discussed all of these books and their contents at length, and he is pretty familiar with everything in them. He is not lacking in facts as much as he is a very anxious man. He believes you can never have enough, because anything could happen - which is true. However, I'm hoping a detailed, dense, numbers-oriented treatise would help him see his current position with more perspective.*

He's really past the point of planning and accumulating. He needs help with the distribution phase.

*I have a selfish motivation, as well. I want him to retire and spend more time all of us.

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Post by livesoft » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:18 pm

If a 75-year old physician with a degree from Harvard can't retire, then there is no hope for the rest of us.

letsgobobby
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Post by letsgobobby » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:22 pm

livesoft wrote:If a 75-year old physician with a degree from Harvard can't retire, then there is no hope for the rest of us.
you don't know the half of it!

PhD Stanford
MA Harvard
MBA Michigan
double boarded Emergency Medicine and Anesthesia

there definitely is no hope for any of us.

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Post by bob90245 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:28 pm

letsgobobby wrote:He has not read Swedroe, Bogleheads, Bogle, but I have read all of them (I think) and he and I have discussed all of these books and their contents at length, and he is pretty familiar with everything in them. He is not lacking in facts as much as he is a very anxious man. He believes you can never have enough, because anything could happen - which is true. However, I'm hoping a detailed, dense, numbers-oriented treatise would help him see his current position with more perspective.*

He's really past the point of planning and accumulating. He needs help with the distribution phase.
I have also read the same books (but not Otar, $50 !?!, funny if you have to get to chapter 40 for the topic at hand). Swedroe, Bogleheads, Bogle don't have other info that I present in articles on my website.

I suggest the first four articles here:
(you can skip the calculator section for now).

http://bobsfinancialwebsite.com/withdrawlinks.html
Ignore the market noise. Keep to your rebalancing schedule whether that is semi-annual, annual or trigger bands.

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Post by TrustNoOne » Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:38 pm

letsgobobby wrote:
livesoft wrote:If a 75-year old physician with a degree from Harvard can't retire, then there is no hope for the rest of us.
you don't know the half of it!

PhD Stanford
MA Harvard
MBA Michigan
double boarded Emergency Medicine and Anesthesia

there definitely is no hope for any of us.
There is hope - maybe he spent too many years in school!! Or maybe he just loves being a Doctor and wants to find an excuse to keep doing it.

BTW - Otar's book is well worth at least the green copy price ($6.95 or so.) But it won't convince him that its safe to retirem.

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Post by livesoft » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:07 pm

And Bob's articles are well worth reading as well! Don't wait until you're 75 years old to read them though.

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Post by dbr » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:39 pm

letsgobobby wrote: He is not lacking in facts as much as he is a very anxious man. He believes you can never have enough, because anything could happen - which is true. However, I'm hoping a detailed, dense, numbers-oriented treatise would help him see his current position with more perspective.*
This is not a problem in either mathematics or finance. It might be more a case of physician heal thyself.

If there is any trend in Boglehead retirement literature it is toward conservatism and great caution in investing. Judging from much of what is posted here the effect is to aggravate anxiety, and, frankly, to scare the bejeezus out of most of us.

But seriously, I think Otar would be the source that deals most directly with when there should and when there should not be comfort in the situation. Hopefully for a mathematician this would not turn into an obsession with some fine point in one of Otar's examples.

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Post by VictoriaF » Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:47 pm

Give your father a gift of an admission ticket to BH-10. At the reunion, introduce him to Bill Bernstein. He will then retire from the Emergency care and Anesthesia and write his own books. ;)

Victoria
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Post by bob90245 » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:05 pm

VictoriaF wrote:Give your father a gift of an admission ticket to BH-10. At the reunion, introduce him to Bill Bernstein. He will then retire from the Emergency care and Anesthesia and write his own books. ;)

Victoria
I was thinking of this in a more serious manner. Bill Bernstein leans toward the most conservative views on withdrawal strategies. I'm not sure, but I think Bernstein also has a financial planning practice. So this may be a good fit for the opening poster's father.
Ignore the market noise. Keep to your rebalancing schedule whether that is semi-annual, annual or trigger bands.

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Post by letsgobobby » Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:47 pm

Bob - I will read and also refer my dad to your links. Your website is excellent.

BH-10 - is it always in Pennsylvania, and about what time of year is it planned for? That might be a good birthday gift. I would like to attend, too. That would be fun. He still might need a book, however.

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Post by paulob » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:14 pm

I have read the book and think it would make a great gift (but read on). However, it is limited in scope to retirement planning.

However, there a high probability that estate planning would benefit your dad and you as well. You might consider a discussion "feeler" to see if he would be receptive to a meeting with a financial planner and/or a life coach (as your gift).

I know of physicians that unretired because they just wanted to return to their practice. Just a guess, but your dad might be able to see the finances are solid, but needs a transition plan for what the next x years hold in challenges, knowledge seeking, etc.
Paul

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VictoriaF
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Post by VictoriaF » Mon Nov 15, 2010 7:23 pm

letsgobobby wrote:Bob - I will read and also refer my dad to your links. Your website is excellent.

BH-10 - is it always in Pennsylvania, and about what time of year is it planned for? That might be a good birthday gift. I would like to attend, too. That would be fun. He still might need a book, however.
The current plan is to alternate BH reunion locations between Philadelphia and D.C. This year, the meeting was in Philadelphia in mid-October. In 2011, it will likely take place at about the same time in D.C.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

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Post by letsgobobby » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:57 pm

in Valley Forge we get to see Vanguard. What's in DC?

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Post by VictoriaF » Mon Nov 15, 2010 9:42 pm

letsgobobby wrote:in Valley Forge we get to see Vanguard. What's in DC?
Jack, Bill, Mel, Laura, Taylor, Rick and lots of other people.

There will be sessions with Jack, Jack and Bill, and the BH panel.

Also don't underestimate the value of private discussions -- during the reception, at your table, going out for drinks -- when you would have a chance to ask many questions you ever wanted to ask. You may gain some insights into your personal situation that you would not dare to ask openly. You may get into discussions that would save you real money. (A couple years ago, I saved $1,200 in taxes thanks to something Grabiner mentioned to me in a discussion.)

Victoria
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Post by letsgobobby » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:57 pm

VictoriaF wrote:
letsgobobby wrote:in Valley Forge we get to see Vanguard. What's in DC?
Jack, Bill, Mel, Laura, Taylor, Rick and lots of other people.

There will be sessions with Jack, Jack and Bill, and the BH panel.

Also don't underestimate the value of private discussions -- during the reception, at your table, going out for drinks -- when you would have a chance to ask many questions you ever wanted to ask. You may gain some insights into your personal situation that you would not dare to ask openly. You may get into discussions that would save you real money. (A couple years ago, I saved $1,200 in taxes thanks to something Grabiner mentioned to me in a discussion.)

Victoria
oh, I didn't mean to diminish the value of the experience in any way. I was just wondering why DC?

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Post by Mel Lindauer » Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:33 am

letsgobobby wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
letsgobobby wrote:in Valley Forge we get to see Vanguard. What's in DC?
Jack, Bill, Mel, Laura, Taylor, Rick and lots of other people.

There will be sessions with Jack, Jack and Bill, and the BH panel.

Also don't underestimate the value of private discussions -- during the reception, at your table, going out for drinks -- when you would have a chance to ask many questions you ever wanted to ask. You may gain some insights into your personal situation that you would not dare to ask openly. You may get into discussions that would save you real money. (A couple years ago, I saved $1,200 in taxes thanks to something Grabiner mentioned to me in a discussion.)

Victoria
oh, I didn't mean to diminish the value of the experience in any way. I was just wondering why DC?
Because Jack said that's where he'd like BH 10 to be, and what Jack wants, Jack gets.
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi

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Post by letsgobobby » Tue Nov 16, 2010 2:13 am

one cannot argue with the persuasiveness of your logic. DC it shall be... and I hope to be there.

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Post by bearwolf » Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:19 am

letsgobobby wrote:
livesoft wrote:If a 75-year old physician with a degree from Harvard can't retire, then there is no hope for the rest of us.
you don't know the half of it!

PhD Stanford
MA Harvard
MBA Michigan
double boarded Emergency Medicine and Anesthesia

there definitely is no hope for any of us.
On the other hand, my non college educated father worked till he was 60 and retired with a modest pension and social security. Nothing extravagant but retired nonetheless. I suppose it all depends on what lifestyle you expect to live in retirement.

BearWolf

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Post by dognose » Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:10 am

Given your father's background, the Otar book would make an outstanding gift.
It's the best and most comprehensive book on retirement planning that I've read. Your father would appreciate the book's highly detailed (but easily readable) mathematical analysis (Otar, as you may know, is a former engineer). This is a no-nonsense book for people who appreciate serious number-crunching. It's not a touchy-feely book on how to achieve happiness and "life balance" in retirement. It's a book that explains, in great detail, whether your retirement dollars will last for the rest of your life (and what to do if the numbers don't add up).

Another great book for your father would be "The Four Pillars of Investing," by former physician William Bernstein. Again, your father would respect Bernstein's mathematical analysis of financial/retirement issues. Bernstein does balance some relatively "heavy math" with a lot of historical analysis of financial markets. I'm sure the math would be easy for your father to follow . . . but the historical context provides a nice balance in looking at retirement planning.

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Post by walkinwood » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:04 am

I think it is a terrible idea for a Christmas gift.

It is a great book that I found worth every hour that I spent reading it, and you should gift it to your father - but for Christmas? Give him something fun instead.

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Post by VictoriaF » Wed Nov 17, 2010 10:21 am

walkinwood wrote:I think it is a terrible idea for a Christmas gift.

It is a great book that I found worth every hour that I spent reading it, and you should gift it to your father - but for Christmas? Give him something fun instead.
People vary in what they consider fun. For me Otar's book would be fun. However, I am weary of giving or receiving books as gifts, because
(1) the recipient may already have it
(2) there is an implied suggestion that the recipient should reorder his priority queue of books to read.

For me (2) is a greater issue, because I have several life-times worth of reading, and I don't want anybody else to decide for me which books should go first.

That's why I suggested an admission to BH-10. Experiences are usually more valuable than things.

Victoria
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Re: Jim Otar's book - a good Christmas gift?

Post by anjou » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:54 pm

letsgobobby wrote:I'm thinking of buy "Unveiling the Retirement Myth" for my dad for the holidays. Is it the right book?

My dad is 75, still works full time as a physician but thinking of cutting back or retiring. He is very well-educated financially and very astute (in addition to his MD, he has an MBA, a PhD in organic chemistry, and a Master's in mathematics), but he is extremely conservative with his money. I don't know the details of his financial situation but I imagine he has plenty of money. Yet he has anxiety about 'running out' and in particular about inflation.

I haven't read the book but I'm hoping based on the reports of others that it would help my dad realistically assess his current assets, his ability to draw income from them over 20-35 years (my mom is only 66), and help him make good decisions with his asset allocation so that he can sleep well at night and (hopefully) retire while he is still healthy enough to enjoy it.
I doubt your dad needs to stop working if he enjoys what he is doing. He has so much to offer the society and can continue doing it as long he is able and it is fun for him.

Re the book, I just read Jim Otar's book yesterday and I can say the book has some really good points. It introduces new concepts like sequence of returns, time value of fluctuations. It provides good rules of thumb lilke trigger points for evaluating a distribution portfolio, role of different income classes. These should certainly help your dad evaluate his portfolio. The book has some far out stuff too to increase alpha that are not for the conservative investor (like your dad).

The pdf version of the book is available for free at http://www.retirementoptimizer.com/. You can take a look at it and decide for yourself. But Jim deserves to be compensated for putting together this tome.

Anjou.

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Post by letsgobobby » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:04 pm

As an update, I did buy the book for my dad and he is reading it and seems to be enjoying it and learning from it. He says some of it is complex and he's not sure he agrees with all of it, but definitely causing him to think and grow. I am reading the PDF version from time to time but with all the formulas and charts I will probably borrow dad's copy when he's done.

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