Updated on 03.29.07

Yes, You Can Get A Financial Life: The 40s (And Beyond)

Trent Hamm

Yes, You Can Get A Financial Life!I’ve been a fan of Ben Stein’s financial writings for years, but this is the first book of his that I’ve picked up. Could it possibly be as good as his columns? Is it worth reading at all?

The final portion of the book discusses the march toward retirement and all that it entails: children leaving the nest, a need to carefully manage your retirement portfolio, and so on. For many people, the period between age 40 and retirement is the most financially lucrative of their lives, but it is also the period most strapped with expenses. Let’s take a look at the things people in this age range should be doing, according to this book.

Manage your retirement portfolio carefully. As you get within fifteen years of retirement or so, you should slowly start migrating your portfolio out of high risk stock investments and into bonds – after all, you don’t want to be on the edge of retirement and be holding the next Enron. The book doesn’t offer any direct rules of thumb for everyone, but provides a nice walkthrough of the logical process.

Bump up your savings when the nest is empty. When your children leave, now is the time to really kick retirement savings into high gear. Toss as much as you can into retirement, particularly if you live in a home that is fully paid for.

Set your long term plans now when you’re relatively young and healthy. This means long term care insurance and estate planning – do what you can so that you’re not a financial burden on your children. Do this early and keep tabs on it to make sure that it continues to represent your desires.

So should you buy the book or not? I’ll give my buy or don’t buy recommendation tomorrow in the final installment of this review.

Yes, You Can Get A Financial Life is the twenty-first of fifty-two books in The Simple Dollar’s series 52 Personal Finance Books in 52 Weeks.

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  1. Matias RG says:

    Hi!, your blog is great.
    This Post is interest, but it appears to be a little naif. In the world today, nobody has children at a young age, so it´s difficult to them (the kids), to leave the nest when I get 40. e.g., I have my first kid at 30, I want to have more – one or two – and I expect them to leave when I get more o less fifty. Please, understand, I´m talking about this: My kids to be completely financialy free from me. Do you understand?
    Sorry for my English, I´m from Argentina.

  2. Jim Lippard says:

    The folks at Financial Independence-Retire Early (FIRE) tend to go against the conventional wisdom about shifting funds into bonds–they tend to endorse keeping 80% or more in equities (preferably whole-market index funds), and have worked out quite a science of calculating the likelihood of success of early retirement.

    The FIRE method might be worth a summary post in the future; I’ve found their message board full of useful and interesting information.

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