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The Retirement Challenge: Will You Sink or Swim?

Book Description

“Imagine that you board an airliner and are told that you will be piloting the plane. Such is the plight of tens of millions of Americans, on whom have been foisted a jumble of 401(k), 403(b), and 457 defined contribution plans, and are as well qualified to manage their retirement portfolios as they are to pilot a jet from Los Angeles to Boston. Since things aren’t changing any time soon, you may very well need flying lessons, and pronto. Frank Armstrong’s The Retirement Challenge: Will You Sink or Swim? is just the ground school you need.”

–William Bernstein, author of A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World and The Four Pillars of Investing: Lessons for Building a Winning Portfolio

“Armstrong and Doss have written a simple and understandable guide through the maze that is our financial world. If your goal is to outperform the vast majority of investors on the road to retirement, The Retirement Challenge: Will You Sink or Swim? paves the way.”

–TAYLOR LARIMORE, coauthor of The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing

“This is a great handbook for those planning for retirement. Armstrong and Doss not only tell you the right way to build a plan, they also show you how to avoid purchasing products from the wolves of Wall Street that lead investors to be sheared like sheep.”

–LARRY SWEDROE, author of The Only Guide to Alternative Investments You’ll Ever Needand Wise Investing Made Simple

“In today’s investment markets, this is an invaluable book. If you care about the quality of the rest of your life, you owe it to yourself and your family to read The Retirement Challenge: Will You Sink or Swim?

–HAROLD EVENSKY, CFP®, AIF®, President, Evensky & Katz

In 48 quick, practical lessons, Armstrong shows how to assess what you have and what you’ll need to build a simple, reliable retirement plan. Better yet, the book’s easy online calculators do all the math for you. Investing for retirement has never been so sensible and simple! Includes free access to comprehensive Web-based tools and resources at

  • More than 75 easy-to-use online calculators and budget spreadsheets to help you get on track and stay on track

  • Sample asset allocation plans you can adjust for any stage of your career and any portfolio

  • Up-to-the-minute updates on pension law, regulation, enforcement, and estate planning

  • Free Sink or Swim Newsletter, and much more

  • Table of Contents

    1. Title Page
    2. Copyright Page
    3. Contents
    4. Acknowledgments
    5. About the Authors
    6. Introduction
    7. Part I: Overview of the Retirement Problem
      1. Lesson 1: You Are On Your Own
      2. Lesson 2: The Changing Face of Retirement
      3. Lesson 3: The Retirement Problem
    8. Part II: Meet Your Retirement Plans
      1. Lesson 4: Defined Benefit Plans
      2. Lesson 5: Defined Contribution Plans—An Overview
      3. Lesson 6: The Basic Defined Contribution Plan
      4. Lesson 7: Profit-Sharing Plans
      5. Lesson 8: Employee-Funded Plans
      6. Lesson 9: Generic Problems with Pension Plans
      7. Lesson 10: The 401(k) Plan
      8. Lesson 11: The 403(b) Plan—Not-For-Profit Enterprises
      9. Lesson 12: The Roth 401(k), 403(b) Option
      10. Lesson 13: Section 457 Plans for Municipal and State Employees
      11. Lesson 14: Making the Most of Your 401(k), 403(b), or 457 Plan
      12. Lesson 15: IRAs
      13. Lesson 16: Retirement Planning for the Self-Employed
      14. Lesson 17: How Does Your Plan Stack Up?
      15. Lesson 18: What Can Go Wrong
      16. Lesson 19: Should You Contribute to It?
      17. Lesson 20: Alternatives to Qualified Plans
      18. Lesson 21: Help from the Courts
    9. Part III: Where Are You in Your Career?
      1. Lesson 22: Early and Mid-Career
      2. Lesson 23: Changing Jobs: Smart Moves for Your Pension Plan
      3. Lesson 24: At Age 50, the Catch-Up Provisions
      4. Lesson 25: Approaching Retirement Transition Planning
      5. Lesson 26: Early Retirement Tactics: How to Avoid the Tax Traps
      6. Lesson 27: 70 is the New 65: Delayed Retirement Advantages
      7. Lesson 28: At Retirement
    10. Part IV: How Much Will You Need?
      1. Lesson 29: Sustainable Withdrawal Rates
      2. Lesson 30: Forecasting Your Needs
    11. Part V: Investing to Meet Your Goals
      1. Lesson 31: The Anti-Cramer Guide to Investment Success
      2. Lesson 32: Start Early
      3. Lesson 33: Cleaning Up Credit Card Debt
      4. Lesson 34: Costs Matter
      5. Lesson 35: Taxes Matter
      6. Lesson 36: Control Risk
      7. Lesson 37: Concentrated Stock
      8. Lesson 38: The Perils of Company Stock
      9. Lesson 39: Taking the Right Amount of Risk
      10. Lesson 40: It’s the Portfolio, Stupid!
      11. Lesson 41: Traditional Active Managers Are a Waste of Money
      12. Lesson 42: Investment Vehicles
      13. Lesson 43: Building Your Buckets
      14. Lesson 44: Periodic Maintenance
      15. Lesson 45: Investing During Retirement
      16. Lesson 46: Selecting an Advisor
      17. Lesson 47: Reaching Your Goals
      18. Lesson 48: Public Policy Issues
    12. Glossary
    13. Financial Times Press
    14. Index