During the last 10 years of my public service career, I found work was taking over my life. It was taking its toll on my body. By the time the weekend rolled around, I didn’t feel like doing anything other than the laundry. And I usually found myself at my desk working through the weekend anyway. Boomer, this is no way to live. And then I found this book.
by Bob Clyatt
This book offers an 8-step template for working less and living more. These are the steps.
- FIGURE OUT WHY YOU WANT TO WORK LESS – Scale back if:
- work is taking over your life and affecting your health;
- you now care little about increased earnings and advancement; and
- you start thinking about things outside of work that you want to do before you die.
- LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS — This means:
- develop a practical spending plan;
- track your expenses; and
- spend less than you earn, less than you could, and less than your peers.
- PUT YOUR INVESTING ON AUTOPILOT – Take steps to:
- develop an investment portfolio that includes stocks, bonds, real estate, and cash;
- use a “buy-and-hold” investment strategy;
- assess the ideal percentage of stocks, bonds, cash, and real estate you want in your portfolio (called asset allocation, which will supercharge your investment returns–described by yours truly here, here, and here); and
- each year, make sure these percentages conform to your investment goals by “rebalancing” your portfolio, e.g., selling off some of your stocks if over the course of a year they now comprise too big a percentage of your portfolio.
- TAKE 4% FOREVER – This is done by:
- taking 4% of your entire portfolio as the amount you plan to live on in the first year of your retirement; and
- adjusting this amount by the rate of inflation every year thereafter.
- STOP WORRYING ABOUT TAXES – Learn and understand the:
- tax benefits available for early retirees;
- strategies for lowering your taxes; and
- strategic withdrawals of your retirement funds to minimize your taxes.
- DO ANYTHING YOU WANT, BUT DO SOMETHING – Discover and evaluate:
- work and volunteer opportunities;
- travel; and
- worthwhile hobbies.
- DON’T BLOW IT – Deal with the challenges of retirement like:
- boredom, financial worries, and loss of work identity; as well as
- relationship challenges occurring as a result of your new life.
- MAKE YOUR LIFE MATTER – Make it a priority to:
- maintain a healthy body, mind, and attitude;
- have fun; and
- devote time to meaningful activities.
Boomer, although this book had some decent advice, I’m not sure it really helped me figure out how to work less and live more. I also found this book to be pretty dry.
The book is strongest when it discusses the non-financial aspects of retirement. (Numbers 1 and 2.)
It’s weakest in its discussion of investing, which presents an investment strategy far more complicated than the average person needs—in my opinion. (Your mileage may vary.)
Other investing books do a better – and simpler – job of teaching you sound investing and money management principles. How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide, (Jane Bryant Quinn), The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, (John Bogle), or The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need, (Andrew Tobias), all come readily to mind.
This book is in its second edition, which means other readers have liked it. Decide for yourself, Boomer. You can read other online reviews here.