I don’t review many books, but I felt impelled to report on personal finance expert Jane Bryant Quinn’s latest, “How to Make Your Money Last,” because as I read it, I found myself saying “I wish I had known this back then,” and “Yes, I should have done it that way. I wonder what my mistake cost me?”
The book covers every phase of retirement finance. While directed primarily at those who just retired, many of its suggestions apply to those who haven’t yet retired but need to start thinking about what will happen when they do. And some of the materials in the book (such as those having to do with periodic rebalancing of investment portfolios) apply to those who are well into retirement.
The great strength of the book is the author’s mastery of the program details needed to guide readers through each section. For example, she explains all the different kinds of life insurance, the circumstances in which they make sense for the consumer, and how to manage them. I found this section tedious because I have no life insurance and don’t need any. For someone who does need life insurance, however, this section could be an eye-popping money-saver.
The author’s point of view is always the consumer faced with a problem who must select from a menu of actions. She defines the problem, lays out the possible actions, and recommends the action that is most appropriate for consumers with different needs or in different circumstances. This does not make for easy reading, and not many will read it cover to cover. The book lends itself to intermittent perusals, where the retiree focuses on the hot-button issue that engages her attention at that point, then picks it up again later when a new issue emerges.
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