Yes, You Can Still Retire Comfortably, by Ben Stein and Phil DeMuth

Book review by Mike McCann, CFP, AIF

Racing toward retirement? You don’t have to out run the bear.

There’s an old joke about two hikers who encounter a man-eating Grizzly bear deep in the forest. The bear catches sight of the men from some distance and begins to charge. The first man kicks of his hiking boots and quickly dons a pair of running shoes. Stunned, the second hiker blurts, “Do you really think you can outrun the bear in those shoes?”  “I don’t need to outrun the bear,” the first replies calmly. “I just need to outrun you.”

Best-selling authors Ben Stein and Phil DeMuth reference this joke in their book, Yes, You Can Still Retire Comfortably. Their point – you don’t have to outrun the bear to retire successfully; you just have to outrun your peers.

The book opens with “The 21 Basic Rules of Retirement,” starting with self-discipline and closing with the advice that, “No matter what, you don’t want to be old, weak, ill, and poor.”  Included in their list is often-overlooked advice, including the idea that planning for your retirement is more important than providing a lavish life for your kids.

Using a baseball analogy, they also address the most common mistake I run across with those who seek out my advice.

“Don’t swing for the fences,” the authors write. “You’ll get in good retirement shape with singles and walks – in other words, don’t try for something brilliant. Just stay even with the market and you’ll do great.”

One of the most useful features of the book is a series of easy-to-follow tables that can guide you in answering how much money you will need, how much you should be saving, and whether you are on track.

If you’ve ever asked yourself the question, “Am I on track with my retirement planning?” this book is worth your time. It provides a practical, common sense approach to retirement planning, while maintaining a fast-paced read.