Save Your Retirement: What to Do If You Haven’t Saved Enough or If Your Investments Were Devastated by the Market Meltdown (Book Review)

The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), an independent non-partisan research organization, in their annual Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS) has been asking workers how confident they are in having enough money for a comfortable retirement since 1993.

And in today’s economy, it should be no surprise that EBRI reported The 2009 Retirement Confidence Survey: Economy Drives Confidence to Record Lows; Many Looking to Work Longer. The Executive Summary stated

Workers who say they are very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement this year hit the lowest level in 2009 (13 percent) since the Retirement Confidence Survey started asking the question in 1993, continuing a two-year decline. Retirees also posted a new low in confidence about having a financially secure retirement, with only 20 percent now saying they are very confident (down from 41 percent in 2007).

The 2009 RCS reports that workers who have lost confidence in their ability to secure a comfortable are responding as follows:

  • 81% have reduced their expenses
  • 43% are changing the way they invest
  • 38% are working more hours or a second job
  • 25% are saving more money , and
  • 25% are seeking advice from a financial professional

Sounds reasonable, yes? But here’s the rub. The RCS concludes that faulty assumptions and a lack of planning still hinder the ability of many Americans to realistically assess the preparations they need to take to ensure a financially secure retirement.

And that’s the problem that Frank Armstrong, III and Paul B. Brown address in their new book, Save Your Retirement: What To Do If You Haven’t Saved Enough or If Your Investments Were Devastated by the Market Meltdown.

So what’s so special about this book amidst the glut of books about retirement planning? Simply this. It reflects the real life experience of the authors in contrast to the media-created “investment experts” for many of whom the current recession is their first.

Frank Armstrong has more than 35 years of experience in the securities and financial services industry and is the founder and principal of Investor Solutions, Inc., a fee-only registered investment advisor, based in Miami. Paul Brown is a longtime contributor to the New York Times and co-author of the best selling retirement plan guide Grow Rich Slowly. He is a financial expert for ThirdAge.com, the popular website devoted to the concerns of people over age 40.

There’s nothing magic in their book. It’s just basic, old-school financial management in which Armstrong and Brown respond directly to what I call the “new financial realities” by showing battered investors

  • Where to move their savings
  • How to recalculate what they’ll really need to retire
  • How to assess when they can now afford to retire
  • How they should change their approaches to investing
  • How to use the federal tax system to save more
  • What to expect from Social Security now

So if you’re one of those people worried about how and when you can afford to retire, then this book can be an excellent guide. Here’s a link to Amazon if you want to purchase the book, and you can also subscribe to Frank’s companion blog, Sink or Swim.

You can also check out other book reviews I’ve done: Josh Itzoe’s timely Fixing The 401(k); Fran Hawthorne’s controversial Pension Dumping: The Reasons, The Wreckage, The Stakes for Wall Street; and Christian Jarrett’s and Joannah Ginsburg’s This Book Has Issues – Adventures in Popular Psychology.


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