The Retirement Smile

Your Retirement Smile ISBN: 9781599329567, Advantage, copyright and written by Dr. Mark McClellan and Tim Streid.

The book opens with several notations of praise for an Orthodontist and an Accountant, the authors, and proceeds to an Introduction, Eight chapters, Acknowledgements, About Macro Wealth, and About Management. The Introduction, “Nobody Likes a Pay Cut”, discusses the generally held belief that everyone tacitly accepts the fact that retirement means a pay cut that hopefully is no more than fifty per cent. The authors declare that such a reduction should not be as inevitable as most believe. The first chapter, “The Fight for your Money”, follows with the fact that there are two approaches, accumulation and acceleration, and that the rules are dependent upon the government, financial institutions and corporations. Thus, taxes, fees, commissions, bad advice and scams all play a part with that of corporations coming largely from built-in obsolescence. The next chapter, “The Big Money Picture” discusses the three phases of wealth – accumulation, distribution and preservation and initiates the need to actually have several sources of income before as well as after retirement. The rest of this chapter, along with those ensuing, build upon this idea and explain how too often individuals find it most difficult to leave the long heavily- touted conventional paths of saving for retirement. In turn, they provide a blueprint for living life to its fullest while working toward retiring and yet being able to reach and continue this same level of little to no loss of income through this period. They also stress the importance of having a personal ‘coach’ in this journey. That it is no less a requirement for your financial security than is such a presence required for attainment of maximum performance in any endeavor. The book closes with final remarks, “About Wealth Management” which provides, in some length, the two authors’ credits with respect to providing the proposed service. A list of pertinent references and another summary of the material already presented and summarized conclude the book.

Discussion: According to the authors’ declaration, this book has been directed at members of the Dental Profession, and most examples set forth are from scenarios by members of this group. Also, most notations of praise are from the same source. Thus fundamentally, all examples and recommendations employ sizeable sums of money. Similarly, much activity recommended also speaks of large quantities of money. The reader further encounters a seemingly excessive amount of repetition and/or an unnecessary belaboring of points already made. No doubt this is the result of well-meaning efforts to explain their feeling of ‘need’ to save the reader from following the time worn path that so generally is accepted and instead to move into the forward thinking plan they are suggesting.

Summary: Presentation of a new approach to retirement that provides excellent suggestions, in at least for this reader, a ‘hard sell’ package that would be much more palatable with judicious editing.

3* 5* ideas; -2 for reasons explained.

The Changemaker

The Changemaker ISBN 9781946633736 Forbes Media copyright and written by Deke Copenhaver.

Sub-titled “The art of building better leaders” opens with several statements of praise for the book and its author followed by publication details; a forward; acknowledgements; about the author; timeline; introduction; nine chapters; “a parting word”, Passing the Baton to the Next Changemakers”; and more about deke”. The author admonishes that a Changemaker is “somebody who’s not afraid to do something different in the service of a good cause” and describes 7 attributes of such individuals; asks “What kind of Leader are you? Stresses the importance of creativity; Courage to Weather the Storm; importance of Coming Together; need to listen so you can learn from others; the requirement of transparency in all activities; dire need to remain calm, composed and lead on during times of trouble; and perhaps the most essential requirement, to follow your moral compass. Each chapter expands upon its subject matter and provides a helpful list of activities apropos to the subject in hand.

Discussion: This is a well-written book by an intelligent non-politician who had the temerity to run, and serve, for 3 terms (2005-2014) as Mayor of Augusta, Georgia. He was eminently successful by travelling a path quite different from the usual track espoused by career politicians. The individual chapters tell how it was accomplished and provides the reader with step by step directions how to become such a leader. Although containing some redundancy, an unfortunate feature of written material presented by anyone accustomed to speaking engagements, this is a well-written blueprint for any person desirous of attaining a high level of expertise in leadership.

5* Worthwhile read for any aspiring leader.

Master Your Financial Success

Master Your Financial Success ISBN: 9781628656800 Published and copyright by Authors Place Press written by 14 Authors Place Financial planners.

The book opens with a disclaimer and an introduction that explains that the authors of this book wanted “to give back by educating others how to address several meaningful areas that impact everyone’s financial planning lives. We are hopeful you will learn something new and be inspired to action at the same time, as even the best intentions that are never implemented can prove worthless, if not tragic.” Eleven chapters follow that cover different aspects of financial planning. One –“Retirement is a New Dawn” explains and offers suggestions for you to “Define your Future” and assess the many opportunities, both good and bad, awaiting you because of the many changes that have occurred. “It almost certainly will not be your parents’ retirement.” Two discusses Financial Stewardship and how important is “Proper financial stewardship (because it) exponentially increases value; conversely improper financial stewardship dramatically dilutes value.” Three discusses “Financial Planning for Today’s Unique Family” which may consist of a single parent, same sex parents and more. Four, is a somewhat more specialized chapter in that it deals with “Advanced Planning for Senior Executives” Five, discusses “Generation Wealth Planning and admonishes “You have prepared your wealth for your family .  .  .  but have you prepared your family for your wealth?” Six, “Creative Strategies to Preserve Family Wealth” and Seven, “Considerations for a Business Owner” like chapter Four, again are a little more specialized. Eight – “Investing Demystified” provides basics of the activity. Nine – “Corporate Retirement Plans” is heavy on 401(K) retirement plans, Ten– “Using Life Insurance in Financial Plans” provides interesting discussion on the subject. Eleven – discusses “Charitable Planning Strategies.

Discussion: The authors collectively have presented interesting and most credible suggestions in each area of their expertise. Readers no doubt will discover many useful, and quite possibly unthought-of points to consider in any of the areas defined. From this reader’s perspective, this is a quite valuable contribution to individuals who have managed to attain a somewhat greater position and/or collection of wealth but unfortunately it is not exactly geared to those lower on the ladder of business or monetary attainment.

3* 5* for those at higher levels of accomplishment; limited otherwise.

Monkey Money Mind

Monkey Money Mind ISBN: 9781946633712 Forbes Books Copyright and written by Chris Zadeh and Angeliyue Schouten.

Subtitled “How to Stop Monkeying Around with Your Money” this book provides brief notes about the authors followed by an Introduction commenting on “Making Sense of How We Use our Cents” followed by nine chapters of suggestions, an Epilogue, The Silverback (gorilla), 179 pertinent bibliographic notes and finally an extensive Bibliography listed alphabetically. The authors explain that the Money Monkey Mind is “a hybrid of two concepts; it’s the psychological influences on our financial decisions blended with the Buddhist concept of the monkey mind, “the presence within us that remains restless and unsettled, criticizing our decisions, creating doubt, and stifling our creativity…. affect even the most brilliant financial giants.” The rational mind may focus on the future but the Monkey Money Mind focuses only on the present seeing only the next tree branch with the next piece of fruit – instant gratification. The concept is based upon the fact that “only a few shreds of DNA separate humans from apes. In fact, we share more than 96 percent of our genetic composition – a percentage ten times smaller than the genetic difference between rats and mice.” In other words, even the most knowledgeable individuals suffer occasionally from the urge for instant gratification, or taking the less demanding route our more rational side dictates. Each chapter examines a different phase of this troubling activity and provides helpful suggestions toward making the correct decision. Simple choices are examined with test proven results that readers may find surprising; e.g. is winning of a physical prize such as a car, expensive piece of jewelry, or other more gratifying than winning money? And why? The results often are offered from studies of unusual sources such as the NFL. Other factors are discussed using equally interesting subjects of brand loyalty, Inattention blindness, gambler’s fallacy, the trouble with easy payments, getting over irrational (and expensive) fear of loss, expert addiction, the importance of making your own decision and more.

Discussion: The authors, both of whom have experienced lean money times from childhood, have produced an interesting discussion and provided most viable suggestions on how to deal with this monster of a subject. Further, they have done so in a simple, readily understood manner, reciting study results of pertinent examples from unusual test groups. The summary suggestions pertinent to each subject discussed also neatly provide ‘take away’ thoughts. This book is well worth a reader’s time.

5* Nicely presented discussion and suggestions of a most important subject.

Empowered

EMPOWERED published by Lasting Press, is a book copyright with ISBN #’s for Mobi, Epub, Paperback and Hardcover and was written by Dominica Lumanazar.

Sub-titled “The Business Owner’s Guide to Leadership and Success” this book presents a more inclusive than usual Disclaimer, the usual dedication, Preface, and Introduction followed by 3 Parts. Part I, entitled “Leading For Success”, consists of 5 chapters – on fundamentals of leadership, spotlighting your business, company history, your mindset with respect to how thoughts/emotions affect work and the necessity for discovering a work/life balance. Part II, Business Value has 4 chapters discussing relationships, company branding, marketing and retention of customers. Part III, Business Clarity, contains 3 chapters centered on the “Habits of Successful Leaders”, “Course Correction” and “Stay the Course”. A conclusion, Acknowledgments, a few References, About the Author and Notes containing more reference material terminate the presentation.

Discussion: A large portion of the book fundamentally is similar to most books of this type – positive thinking. However, here it is provided in a much broader sense and with unusual, interesting and pertinent introductory material that describes an author who has learned the necessities required to succeed in business quite literally ‘the hard way’. As an amusing aside, thoughts of this opening material somehow pop up later during the author’s discussion of “Branding” and the importance of ‘what you are providing’. The material itself discusses the emotional side of business and how it should be controlled and directed; the need to recharge your batteries; the need to recognize when to turn the business over to another CEO; how to avoid isolation and to ‘connect’; importance of ‘branding’; the importance of the 5 second rule – which parenthetically is based upon the latest research results that today’s average human attention span has dropped to 8.1 seconds, which I’ve heard is about that of a goldfish; and above all, the need for constant and extensive research – about the needs or desires for your product(s), the individuals who will be interested; how to interest additional; course correction if needed and more. The author further admonishes that you should work ON your business not IN it and above all ‘stay the course’. Most importantly perhaps is that she presents numerous lists of suggestions on how to proceed to accomplish each of her main points. The book’s Conclusion fits well with introductory remarks bringing closure to the story and the unusual acknowledgements are quite in character with the overall approach. References and notes presented are appropriate as is a short interesting piece about the author’s personal accomplishments.

5* Author’s unusual, conversationally set forth advice ‘learned the hard way’.

Health Wealth For You 11 Steps to save you money

Health-Wealth for You ISBN: 9781642250817, Advantage Media Group, copyright and written by Josh Luke.

This volume, sub-titled “11 Steps to save Big & Live Healthy”, opens with a pertinent Preface, and is followed by three Parts. Part I, “Healthcare in America: Where Capitalism went Wrong” that contains 4 chapters – The affordability crisis, A culture of greed; A system broken beyond repair; and Millennial Culture meets Healthcare: Keeping Patients Healthy and at Home. Part II, “Ownership of Healthcare Decisions and Spending’ contains 2 short chapters, #5 explaining that “Americans Must Become EHC’s – Engaged Healthcare Consumers”; #6 “Creating a Health-Wealth Family Culture”. Part III; “11 Steps to Save Big and Live Healthy”, sets forth and describes in detail individual strategies to accomplish these goals. These include such actions as: “Enroll in an alternative Insurance Model”; “Engage in Integrative and Functional Medicine Approaches”; “Full Genome Sequencing and DNA Testing”; “Participate in Local Tourism” and more. A Conclusion follows along with a “3P Plan to Personal Health-Wealth: Personal Health-Wealth Plan”; a short reiteration of the “11 Steps to Save Big and Live Healthy”; a “Health-Wealth Personal Loss Assessment Sample” and a “Wealth Certified Partners” – a list of 24 references the author suggests to be worthwhile reading.

Discussion: The first part of the book is simply a shortened version of much of his book “Ex-Acute” and repeated in “Health-Wealth for You: 9 Steps to Financial Recovery”. This latter purportedly was directed more specifically to members of the business sector. However, at least to this reviewer, the direction appeared to be directed at least equally to the consumer. Regardless, from my perspective, if you have read this second book and understood the implications, there is little new for you in this author’s third book. I had highly recommended the volume with a necessary caveat included. IF however, you did NOT understand the material I strongly recommend that you read and absorb the suggestions set forth here in Part III because, with his stated desire to present this volume specifically for the consumer, he has provided quite extensive discussion of each individual suggestion that should answer most questions the average reader could have. As a pertinent aside, I might suggest for readers in the US, as I did for my review of the author’s last book (similarly noted by other readers) that one should not be ‘sidetracked’ by references made by the author that conjure up political overtones. Instead concentrate on the really helpful suggestions offered by the main theme. The author has prescribed a most viable and helpful way to face the burgeoning health costs everyone experiences.

3* 5* for those as described; at least -2* for reasons presented.