The Number

The Number

A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of your Life

Book - 2006
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Do you know your Number?What happens if you don't make it to your Number?Do you have a plan?The often-avoided, anxiety-riddled discussion about financial planning for a secure and fulfilling future has been given a new starting point inThe Numberby Lee Eisenberg. The buzz of professionals and financial industry insiders everywhere, the Number represents the amount of money and resources people will need to enjoy the active life they desire, especially post-career. Backed by imaginative reporting and insights, Eisenberg urges people to assume control and responsibility for their standard of living, and take greater aim on their long-term aspirations.In 1999, Eisenberg was in the midst of downshifting from having served as the Editor-in-Chief of Esquire and other high profile positions. He was "half-in, half-out of the workplace" with an enviable consulting position at Time, Inc., and a family comfortably settled in the suburbs. That's when he received an unexpected offer from the Wisconsin-based Lands' End which, in the end, he couldn't resist. It meant uprooting his family and moving to the rural heartland, and taking on the challenges of an entirely new way of life. Before the move, he admits, "I was worried about the Number." Once in Wisconsin, Eisenberg confesses that the "Number was leading us around by our noses."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, the Number symbolizes freedom, validation of career success, the ticket to luxurious indulgences and spiritual exploration; to others, it represents the bewildering and nonsensical nightmare of an impoverished existence creeping up on them in their old age, a seemingly hopeless inevitability that they would rather simply ignore than confront. People are highly private and closed-mouthed when it comes to discussing their Numbers, or lack thereof, for fear they might either reveal too much or display ineptitude.InThe Number,Eisenberg describes this secret anxiety as the "Last Taboo," a conundrum snared in confusing financial lingo. He sorts through the fancy jargon and translates the Number into commonsense advice that resonates just as easily with the aging gods and goddesses of corporate boardrooms as it does with ordinary people who are beginning to realize that retirement is now just a couple of decades away. Believing that the Number is as much about self-worth as it is net worth, Eisenberg strives to help readers better understand and more efficiently manage all aspects of their life, money, and pursuit of happiness.* According to Eisenberg,"Number chasers"fall into four personality types:--"Procrastinators" enter their forties and fifties ensconced in a cloud of avoidance and denial about the years ahead of them, or simply do not understand investing in their futures.--"Pluckers" often lazily or arrogantly pull ephemeral, albeit specific, Numbers from thin air with little attention to developing a realistic and coherent plan to achieve their goals.--"Plotters" crunch every practical aspect of their financial history, hoping to cement their Number in black and white, even at the expense of not having fun and leisure.--"Probers" visualize their Numbers not as an end but as the means to pursuing dreams and passions, and completing inner and outer journeys to self-fulfillment.* The current"Debt Warp"is the "silent Number killer that afflicts young and old" that has been brought on by our "whip-it-out credit-card culture."* The"Lost Years"describes a person's 20s, 30s, and 40s wherein sensible financial foundation-building bows to oblivious and careless spending, and the tug-of-war dichotomy between the "old Rest of Your Life" and the "new Rest of Your Life."* A surprise"Lifestyle Relapse"attack around retireme
Publisher: New York : Free Press, c2006.
ISBN: 9780743270311
Characteristics: xviii, 268 p. ; 24 cm.

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RockCastle Aug 15, 2009

Do I save enough? Hm!

Feb 15, 2007

I don't agree that the book is a complete waste of time. This book tries to make people realize that a key to how much you need to save for retirement has a lot to do with what you want to DO in retirement. Therefore, some thought should be put into finding an answer to that question. What the book doesn't do, despite what you may think when you start reading the book, is to help calculate the amount of money you'd need to save before you can retire. (Actually, there is a two-page worksheet toward the end, but that's it.) I think the book is a bit intimidating because the retirement number he quotes people as saying is really, really high (five million dollars, ten million dollars, etc.). I do think the author runs with a pretty well-healed crowd and that makes it hard to identify with some of what he is saying. Also, it's kind of academic, when you are talking about five vs. ten million dollars. It's not so academic for people with retirement accounts at $25,000 at age 50. This is a topic that most people need to think more about. At least this book gets you started thinking about some issues. However, be forewarned: it's not a book about economics and it won't help you figure out your

Jun 15, 2006

Complete waste of time. It's a cheeky rant covering everything from SUV driving, $4 latte drinking bobos to joe six pack living paycheck to paycheck. There are no financial rules of thumb or tips on where to find them. There are also no great quotes from the likes of Ben Franklin, Samuel Clemens, or even 'The Donald'. It's just a rant from another north-easterner who is set for life, and is rubbing it in to the rest of us.
***Try "The random walk guide to investing : ten rules for financial success" by Burton G. Malkiel
It's a very accessible and to the point short version of his thick version..


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