Tag Archives: Money

Get What’s Yours Rise to the Top Demonstrates Our Insecurity

GetWhat'sYoursCoverWhat does it say about Americans when a book about Social Security zooms to the top of the best-seller lists?

I say we are just insecure.  Or uninformed.  Or panicky.  Or lots of things.

As a elixir, book readers are buying Get What’s Yours:  The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security (Simon & Schuster, 2015) by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Philip Moeller, and Paul Solman.

Here is where the book stands on Amazon.com as I write this today:

The book is # 3 on the Wall Street Journal hardcover business best-seller list and # 4 on the non-fiction list.  I cannot find updates for the Bloomberg Business Week.  The book’s website claims that it is a New York Times best-seller, but I cannot verify that this morning as I write.  But, since the book has only been out since February 17, 2015, its rise to the top is meteoric.  It certainly did not hurt sales when Jane Pauley said this is “an indispensable and surprisingly entertaining guide for anyone who is retiring or thinking of retiring with all of the Social Security benefits they’ve earned.” With a flurry of endorsements from financial experts, many readers must have flocked to the physical and on-line outlets to see what it says.  Or, it likely did not hurt when the summary on Amazon.com proclaimed, “Many personal finance books briefly address Social Security, but none offers the thorough, authoritative, yet conversational analysis found here. You’ve paid all your working life for these benefits. Now, get what’s yours.
And, who wouldn’t be interested in a book with a summary from such as this:  “It tells you precisely which months you should collect retiree, spousal, survivor, divorcee, parent, and child benefits to achieve the highest lifetime benefits.  Maximize My Social Security incorporates all Social Security provisions and options for singles and married couples.
Who are these authors?  The book’s website provides these details:

Laurence Kotlikoff

Laurence J. Kotlikoff is William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor and a professor of economics at Boston University.  He is also president of Economic Security Planning, Inc., a company specializing in financial planning software.  His company websites are ESPlanner.com and MaximizeMySocialSecurity.com.  He is author or co-author of sixteen books, including Spend ‘Til the End and The Coming Generational Storm (both with Scott Burns).  His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Bloomberg, Forbes, The Economist, Huffington Post, and other major publications.  He has served as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, governments around the world, and major U.S. corporations including Merrill Lynch, Fidelity Investments, and AON.  In addition, he has provided expert testimony on numerous occasions to committees of Congress.  He lives in Boston.

Philip Moeller writes about retirement for Money magazine, the PBS website Making Sen$e, and other media outlets.  He is also a research fellow at the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College, and the founder of Insure.com, a site for insurance information that has provided original insurance content to the Web’s leading business portals, including Microsoft, Yahoo, America Online, and MarketWatch.  Formerly a contributing editor at U. S. News & World Report, he has spent forty years as an award-winning financial journalist, Internet entrepreneur, and corporate communications executive for a Fortune 500 financial services firm.  He lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Paul Soloman

Paul Solman is the longtime business and economics correspondent for The PBS NewsHour.  His many awards for work in business journalism include Emmys, Peabodys, and a Loeb award.  He is also a Brady-Johnson Distinguished Practitioner at Yale University, where he teaches in the Grand Strategy course, as well as teaching at New Haven’s Gateway Community College. He has been a member of the Harvard Business School faculty and a visiting professor at his alma mater, Brandeis.  Solman has written for numerous publications, from Forbes to Mother Jones, co-authored (with Thomas Friedman) Life and Death on the Corporate Battlefield, and wrote the introduction to Morrie: In His Own Words, created entirely from interviews with his former Brandeis sociology professor, Morrie Schwartz (of “Tuesdays with Morrie” fame).  He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.

We won’t have this book at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas, as we don’t include individual-based finance books in our monthly coverage.

But that doesn’t mean that plenty of our attendees will find this important to read.  While they won’t identify themselves, I am sure we get some people who are insecure, uninformed, and panicky about their retirement years.  Maybe they. and many others will find this book a great relief to that anxiety.

Forbes’ Book on Money Takes Aim – But Will Anyone Listen?

If there is anyone to write credibly about money, it is Steve Forbes.  He has had plenty.  As you remember, he twice entered, then exited early from presidential party nomination campaigns, bankrolling his efforts with his family fortune.Steve Forbes picture

In his newest book, co-authored with Elizabeth Ames, Forbes argues for a reliable gold standard in order to bring stability to the unreliable and uncertain value of the U.S. dollar.  There is no more important currency in the world.  The responsibility for the problem and the solution is squarely on the back of the Federal Reserve Board.

The book is entitled Money:  How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy – And What We Can Do About It (New York:  McGraw-Hill, 2014).Money Book Cover

Elizabeth Ames pictureYou know about Forbes.  But, who is Elizabeth Ames?  Elizabeth Ames is a communications executive, speaker and author. She has written two previous books with Steve Forbes, How Capitalism Will Save Us and Freedom Manifesto.  She is not a huge fan of President Obama’s policies.  Click here for an article she published in The Daily Caller.

The question becomes whether this book will propel Forbes again into the American spotlight.  Will he, for example, be a guest on Sunday morning television news talk shows to discuss this book?  Will elected officials introduce and debate these principles in blogs and sound bytes?  Will congressional committees make any recommendations such as we see here?  Will anyone in the Federal Reserve Board have any response?  If not, this book will have no influence.  It is just another hard cover book that will be on the bargain table at $7.99 next year.  Only time will tell.

If you would like to read the review of this book, published in the Wall Street Journal on July 24, 2014, by George Melloan, a WSJ deputy editor and author of The Great Money Binge:  Spending our Way to Socialism, click here.

Coming For September At The First Friday Book Synopsis – ESPN Fun & Knowing Your Value, Mika Brzezinski

For our First Friday Book Synopsis in September, we have selected two terrific books.  The first will be the well-discussed book on ESPN.  (Karl really wants to present this book – he is as big a sports fan as anyone I know).  There are few businesses that can match the rise, and staying power, of ESPN.

I will present a synopsis of a book that deals with a key question – a person’s vale.  Especially the value of a woman in the workplace.  Mika Brzezinski is the co-host of Morning Joe, and this book includes her story of her struggle to be paid what she is worth in that job.  It is worth a careful look.

If you are in the DFW area, come join us on September 2.  You’ll be able to register soon from the home page of this web site.

Synopsis by Karl Krayer
Those Guys Have All the Fun:  Inside the World of ESPN
by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales.








Synopsis by Randy Mayeux
Knowing Your Value:  Women, Money,  and Getting What You’re Worth
by Mika Brzezinski.