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The Number : A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life

de Lee Eisenberg

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4051263,824 (2.92)2
The anxiety-riddled discussion about financial planning for a secure and fulfilling future has been given a new starting point in this book. The Number represents the amount of money and resources people will need to enjoy the active life they desire, especially post-career. From Wall Street to Main Street USA, The Number means different things to different people. It is constantly fluctuating in people's minds and bank accounts. To some, it symbolizes freedom, validation, success; to others, an impoverished existence creeping up on them in their old age. Believing that the Number is as much about self-worth as it is net worth, Eisenberg translates the Number into commonsense advice. This book is not an investment guide, but rather a look behind our most common financial and emotional conflicts and how we can begin to get a grip on them.--From publisher description.… (mais)
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I have abandoned this book. The author is well intentioned, but he is also disconnected from the reality of day-to-day life for the majority of Americans. One of the foundations of writing is to ask the question "Who is my audience?" This was not a question that the author asked himself in any way at all. He essentially decided to write a book about retirement saving and investing based purely on his own experience and his friendships with people in the minority of earnings and positions. Nowhere is this more obvious than when he must resort to making up "regular people" as examples to use for illustrative purposes. His friendships which he discusses are all with people in very high corporate positions with concerns such as how they will maintain their "lifestyle" as opposed to concerns about how they will pay for their small 2BR ranch house before they die and also be able to eat healthy and no go broke from America's failing health care system. Yes, wealthy people have these concerns as well, but when someone's "number" is $15 million to live a life that they feel isn't horrible, well, it's difficult to believe that the author knowns a single real person in the country that has lost their job and sold their house and moved into an apartment with a family of four just to survive.

In addition to his bizarre disconnect from normal people, he also is unable to stick to a metaphor or any other writing convention for more than half a page. The metaphors are mixed throughout. These mixed metaphors lead to enormous confusion throughout the book. A particular topic may be started with one metaphor and then mid chapter the metaphor is switched but the topic is still the same, then the point he is trying to make is severely weakened by his lack of follow through from where he started. Every chapter in the book could have been cut 3/4 in length and stated in a short, simple paragraph with clarity and succinct precision. Instead, he picks a topic and rehashes it repeatedly using metaphor after metaphor. Real-world examples are few and far between (see my mention of his need to make up example cases), and when they do show up, again, they are so far out of line with real world struggling Americans that they seem outlandish and essentially themselves like fantasy cases.

That is only the FIRST half of the book, sadly. I had to abandon it half way through. Good intentions alone do not lead to a clear picture of what he is attempting to address and help people resolve. Good writing is essential in keeping the reader's interest. In the case of making suggestions for how regular people should plan and save for their upcoming retirements, a book should engender confidence that that the writer knows what he is talking about. This book fails to do that because of its inability to state its message in a coherent, meaningful way.

My wife suggested reading A Random Walk Down Wall Street instead as a well written, educational statement about investing serving the average person in a reasonable way, and she was absolutely correct. A Random Walk Down Wall Street is practically the polar opposite of The Number. Well written and thoughtfully constructed, it educates and entertains all at once. Reading it is a joy because the author sticks on topic and rarely uses metaphors, instead opting for clear explanations in the most simple language he can and defining his terms along the way and building on them. ( )
  smallerdemon | Jul 5, 2021 |
Do not read this book if you are younger than 45 and paranoid. I freaked out completely after reading this book ... I totally need to save more for my retirement. ( )
  DBrigandi | Jul 3, 2017 |
Do not read this book if you are younger than 45 and paranoid. I freaked out completely after reading this book ... I totally need to save more for my retirement. ( )
  DBrigandi | Jul 3, 2017 |
This is a book that most should read because it will force you to think about your looming future. The Number refers to the number each of us believes we'll need to have upon the day of our retirement. It differs completely for each of us. Have modest needs? it could be small. Lead a great, costly life now and wish to maintain it? It could be much, much higher. The book address how the number changes with life events like more toys, the arrival of children, the return of college children, etc. it will also point out items most do not really dwell on. We're living much longer, which means we'll need more money, health care is much better and much more costly. So, be prepared, if you hate thinking of your financial future, to be very uncomfortable, but don't say you weren't warned. ( )
  RalphLagana | Jan 23, 2016 |
This is an excellent book for retirement planning. It is very simple.How much money you need ? Figure out how long you expect to live after retirement,then plan to withdraw. Well now that I am writing my evaluation in 2010 after the meltdown I am thinking differently about this book. It assumes that you put away so much money and then can count on a regular percentage on your investment to live on. Doesn't work that way anymore it seems.
  carterchristian1 | Dec 10, 2008 |
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The anxiety-riddled discussion about financial planning for a secure and fulfilling future has been given a new starting point in this book. The Number represents the amount of money and resources people will need to enjoy the active life they desire, especially post-career. From Wall Street to Main Street USA, The Number means different things to different people. It is constantly fluctuating in people's minds and bank accounts. To some, it symbolizes freedom, validation, success; to others, an impoverished existence creeping up on them in their old age. Believing that the Number is as much about self-worth as it is net worth, Eisenberg translates the Number into commonsense advice. This book is not an investment guide, but rather a look behind our most common financial and emotional conflicts and how we can begin to get a grip on them.--From publisher description.

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332.024Social sciences Economics Finance Miscellany And Personal Finance Personal Finance

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