Job Optional*: *The science of retiring with confidence; the art of living with purpose.

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Job Optional is a thoughtful and down to earth guide to retirement planning that offers unbiased, commonsense advice based upon the author’s experience as a retirement planning professional. It offers both a primer to the financial world as well as a step-by-step guide to planning your own retirement. It is written in terms that a newcomer to investing can understand while providing all the pertinent information necessary to make informed financial decisions. It acts as a primer that takes a complicated topic and makes it accessible, while not diluting the information.

Interestingly, for a book about money, the first recommended step in financial planning has nothing to do with the stock market or annuities, but the need for an individual to have a life purpose. One’s goal should be to identify this purpose and to create a plan set out to organize your assets in such a way to most efficiently accomplish that end. Once this has been decided, the next step is into the world of finance.

This begins with an analysis of today’s investment risks. Once the risks are understood, specific strategies to overcome them are determined. A plan is created that ends with a final, written product. To do this, requires a solid understanding of the financial world and reading Job Optional makes this possible.

Five chapters deal specifically with financial concepts, strategies, and terms, ordered as an organized outline to the logical steps in retirement planning. These are: purpose-based asset allocation, liquidity planning, income planning, growth planning, and estate planning.

The book is a wealth of information as it describes the many elements and strategies of financial planning. Look here to learn about such things as the 4-percent withdrawal rule; strategies for interest-only, real-income, and guaranteed lifetime income; advice on watching your expenses; information on maximizing your legacy that includes basic IRA strategies; a list of basic documents such as powers of attorney and living wills; what to consider when choosing ― or breaking up with ― a financial advisor. The information is in-depth, detailed, and complete.

In places, and this is a strong point as this makes abstract financial concepts real and understandable and adds interest and color. The book takes a friendly, conversational, tone as the investment information is intertwined with stories taken from the author’s life, his parents’ lives, and his clients. Retirement brings with it its own set of life changes, challenges, and situations. The sharing of these stories makes financial planning real. It also underscores the book’s message that success isn’t money, but purposeful living, and that good financial planning will allow you to achieve this goal and be a success on your own terms.