Recently we went through the transition to retirement. We were faced with many choices, and made a few discoveries. In the process, I found a few excellent references which are listed at the bottom of this page.
I've created these pages for the benefit of those approaching the retirement transition, and for our children, who will be there sooner than they think.
If you can't or don't like to bother with details and complexity, perhaps you need a financial planner. I can't do that, but I am finally willing to concede that some people may need competent professional advice. See the page on fee alternatives.
I have a need to understand the issues and make my own decisions. I'm willing to talk with advisers, but too often the conversation degrades to a sales pitch for annuities, long term care insurance, actively managed accounts, and over-funded life insurance contracts. Uncle Sam has already provided most of us with two annuities, Social Security, and the RMD (Required Minimum Distributions) from IRAs.
If you are one of us with the need to understand and make our own decisions, then read the books, teach yourself, and do the work. If you need to, seek help on specific issues from competent and knowledgeable CPAs, tax attorneys, and estate attorneys, but learn all you can first, including the right questions to ask. Most financial planners are not knowledgeable on the more complex issues.
Most public libraries contain the reference books listed below:
Mike Piper, Social Security Made Simple - in 100 pages or less 2012 *****
Mike Piper, Can I Retire - in 100 pages or less 2011
Larimore et al, The Boglehead's Guide to Investing 2014 *****
Larimore et al, The Boglehead's Guide to Retirement Planning 2009
Steven Vernon, Money for Life - Turn your IRA and 401k into a lifetime paycheck *****
Richard Ferri, All About Index Funds - The easy way to get started 2006
Ed Slott, The Retirement Savings Time Bomb - Roth IRAs 2003
Ric Edelman, The Lies About Money - includes extensive asset allocation guides 2007
Ric Edelman, The Truth About Retirement Plans and IRAs 2014
Michael Lewis, Flash Boys - Brokerage dark pools and front running today 2014
Annette Thau, The Bond Book - Everything bond investors need to know 2011
Josh Peters, The Ultimate Dividend Playbook - Income, insight, and independence 2008
Ken Fisher, Debunkery - How to avoid financial scamsters 2011
Jonathan Clements, Money Guide 2015
To solve complicated and complex problems:
George Polya, How to Solve It - A new aspect of mathematical method 1945
David Niven, It's Not About the Shark - How to solve unsolvable problems 2014