Customer Reviews
Unveiling The Retirement Myth

12 Reviews
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Average Customer Review

Required Reading for Serious Retirement Planning, September 18, 2012

This is the most comprehensive and thought-provoking book on retirement planning that I've read so far. As an engineer, I really appreciate how Otar refuses to accept the conventional half-truths promoted by the financial services industry and instead examines all the numbers again, from the ground up. I especially appreciate his elevation of the time value of fluctuations, and the exhaustive analysis of many different retirement income strategies in one volume. This may not be as polished a presentation as some of the more popular books, but it's probably more essential. Even with backcasting based on market history being challenged in some circles, Otar's book is simply required reading for anybody who wants to build expertise in retirement planning.


A Great book you will reference many times over the years...., May 29, 2012

While at first glance I must admit to being a little intimated by this book with all its math formula's! But in all honestly, it's really an easy read, the math equations aside. The author wrote the book in such a way you can skip right over all the math parts and read the conclusion at the end of each chapter to comprehend the subject.

I have spent the last few years reading all about asset allocation, and how to build a diversified portfolio holding the entire market. This is the first book I have read on how to draw down on your nest egg, and all the *real* options available to you. No sales gimmicks, no magic formulas, just the FACTS!

I will be referencing this for years to come, not just for my own retirement, but for helping friends and others understand their game plan for `UNVEILING THE RETIREMENT MYTH'


Truly an unveiling, September 28, 2011

This book is an extraordinarily thorough examination of just about every approach to retirement planning and management that I have ever heard of. Jim Otar explains and debunks every one of these conventional wisdom approaches. He concludes with a very clear and straight forward explanation of how to proceed with fixing the problem. It's a long read, but he begins with an explanation of how those who are disinclined to read a thorough mathematical analysis can adopt a short-cut way to get what they need without having to read every word. Very well done and worth every minute I spent in reading it!


Retirement Planning Myths, July 15, 2011

Mr Otar's book is quite technical and will not appeal to " Financial Professionals" who are hooked on providing Retirement Planning using the tools that are popular today.

He discusses the essential mathmatical formulas that apply to the planning process and explains how to use the results of those formulas to develop a realistic retirement plan for a client.

This book is for professionals who really want to know how a good plan is prepared and are willing to give up on the idea that you can plug assumptions into the bulk of the software programs that are available today and get any reasonably accurate prediction of the plans success in providing the client with an inflation adjusted income that he or she cannot outlive.

It is highly unlikely that most professionals are going to manually prepare a plan using the formulas presented in the book; however, there is a very inexpensive piece of software that Mr. Otar sells which gives much more realistic results than any other software that I have ever seen.



World Class Thinking And Delivery On Retirement Planning, May 24, 2011

I have read literally dozens of investment and retirement planning books. This is a world class method of looking at retirement planning. Excellent!



Best book for retirement planning I have read in 10 years, January 7, 2011

Unveiling the Retirement Myth by Jim Otar is the best book I have ever read on retirement planning. I am 61 and have read over 30 books on the subject. He analyzes better and in more detail in this lengthy 500+ page book. You will understand the issues better than your friends, and be able to be more confident about what you do. He points out many misconceptions that the financial industry supports and what to do about them. Also check out his website at


Outstanding retirement book, July 14, 2010

This is the best retirement book I've ever read - - and I've read lots of them. What makes this book so good? In short, because it's backed up by solid, credible data (Otar used to be an engineer, and his love for quantitative results is impressive and informatative. This is not a "touchy-feely" book on retirement . . . this is a book grounded in detailed, but highly understandable, financial data. If you're wondering exactly how much money you need to retire comfortably over several decades, this is the book for you. It's not a cheap book, but after reading it, I felt that I had just attended several in-depth sessions with an experienced financial advisor. In that light, the book is worth every penny.


Worth the cost, April 19, 2010

This book is not cheap, but it is worth the cost. It helped me with plans for paying for my retirement.

Before buying it, I started to read a copy from my local library. I realized I would want this book for a lot longer than I could have it through my library. I am not sorry I bought it.



Excellent Post-Retirement Planning Guide, March 29, 2010

This guide describes itself as "Advanced Retirement Planning." It's written for financial advisors, but is clear enough for a financially literate layman to understand.

This valuable contribution to the financial planning literature addresses the rarely discussed question of how to consume your retirement funds once they have been accumulated.

His objective is to tell financial planning professionals (and by inference, retirees) how to invest to avoid running out of money given a range of likely future scenarios. He uses the past 100 years market history as the source of his possible scenarios. He makes what he calls "aftcasts": forecasts using past history as the scenarios. It's a clever and plausible device that lets one plan how to invest and distribute one's retirement funds for scenarios ranging from retiring at the start of the Great Depression to retiring at the start of the Dot-Com boom.

He takes about 150 pages to debunk the "myth" of retirement planning. The "myth" is that planning to withdraw retirement funds is just like planning to accumulate retirement funds. It's not.

Chapters 39-44 get to the meat of how to plan your distributions. It's a slog to get to these chapters, but the understanding generated by reading chapters 1-38 helps make the recommendations in chapters 39-44 understandable.

This is an excellent reference tool for anyone desiring to manage their own financial planning in retirement.


Must Own for a Successful Retirement Program, October 19, 2009

I met Jim C. Otar at the Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland,OH on 10/13/2009 during his Retirement Presentation. His presentation, charts and facts were without question, the most concise and accurate of any that I have ever seen. I have been an Adjunct Professor of Finance and a Registered Representative for over 26 years and Jim "blows you away" with details that MOST of Financial Planners and retirees ignore or misunderstand. The two largest assets that most people own are their house and their retirement account. Most people spend thousands of dollars insuring their house over the years with little to none on their retirement account. Before ANYONE starts to take DISTRIBUTIONS from their retirement account, please take the time to READ THIS BOOK. This book should be required reading for ALL RETIREES before they even begin to plan for they yearly distributions. Even RETIREES who are taking retirement distributions can amend their retirement account so as not to RUN OUT OF MONEY! One of my favorite statements is "I'd always rather be LUCKY than SMART"! Unfortunately, BAD LUCK can truly destroy your retirement plans and BAD LUCK can occur more often than most people realize. Not only does this book reinforce these facts, it also shows you the "light at the end of the tunnel" to avoid DISASTER. Possibly the best money you ever spent. TOO MUCH FINANCIAL EDUCATION NEVER HURT ANYONE but certainly the opposite is true. Last Tuesday Jim documented what I have been Teaching/Preaching for the last 26 years! This was my LUCKY DAY!


Unveiling the Retirement Myth, October 6, 2009

This book is written by an engineer and it shows... He starts the book with an engineering example of how strong to build a tower to allow for unexpected wind storms. This required tower strength analogy is then applied to building and managing a portfolio designed to sustain ones retirement. Jim Otar debunks many of the planning tools currently employed by financial advisors. The often seen straight line graphs showing average returns and standard deviations, as well as sophisticated Monte Carlo simulators get short shrift here. He suggests that averages, and standard deviations may look great on a glossy paper, but averages aren't a lot of use after one has turned off the earnings spigot, and settled into your draw down phase. He emphasizes how critical it is to safely manage your resources at this point as a nasty bout of bad luck here, in the last few years of accumulation, or in the first few of drawdown can put your retirement life boat on the rocks.

How well prepared you are for retirement, and how this preparedness would have served you in the past is measured by rolling "aft casts." Aft casts are studies of what one would have experienced had they retired any year after 1900. The results of these aft casts are quantified by a colored zone system. If you are solidly green zone it means you should be financially safe for the duration of your retirement. If however, you are in either of the other two zones you have some tough decisions to make, and you had better address these decisions early on because a bout of bad luck here will wreck your retirement plans for good.

Mr. Otar provides very detailed instructions for off loading risk if you aren't solidly green. Personally I have never seen such a clearly defined SOP (standard operating procedure) applied to this segment of financial planning. Post accumulation financial management is an area which in my mind has been poorly served to this point, and this book is a trail blazer in this area. Much has been written about how to accumulate wealth, however other than this book there is virtually nothing out there about managing ones draw down (retirement) phase.

Mr. Otar also addresses ways to enhance ones return using active management measures. He does warn that favourable results here are far from guaranteed, however he does provide a very engineer like approach to this topic.

This book is a must read for anyone approaching retirement. It details how important luck is in the success of ones retirement, The message here is bad luck proofing and benchmarking your portfolio will serve you much better than relying on complex algorithms produced by financial quants. I'm sure we will continue to be bombarded with the same average return data, and much more complex Monte Carlo simulations, however after reading this book I'm sure you will view these flashy tools in a significantly different light.


Finally a Book for Those in Distribution Phase, October 5, 2009

This book is controversial, refreshing, educational and useful. It is a very valuable resource for both the retiring (retired) baby boomers and those aspiring to retire early.

What I like the most about Otar's book is his critical thinking and his refusal to accept long-held conventional wisdom as the absolute truth. Instead of using a conventional forecasting model to project future returns for 30 years or so, Otar uses "aftcast" that generates a range of outcomes based on the actual market history since 1900. Furthermore, he incorporates withdrawals into his aftcast in assessing a person's retirement zone. While most books address the accumulation phase, Otar's book specifically addresses the impact of periodic withdrawals on one's ability to have lifetime income without running dry.

Otar is brutally honest to tell the truth about "luck" being the most important factor in retirement planning as the Wall Street and your advisors want to tell you otherwise. He runs aftcast based on the luck factor and asset allocation and the resulting probability of asset depletion by the age of 90.

Otar makes convincing arguments about the withdrawal rate being the most important contributor of portfolio longevity in a distribution phase. That view is very unconventional because asset allocation and asset selection are commonly stated as the main factor.

Otar also includes a few chapters of simple technical analyses for those who would like to improve their investment returns over and above the market returns. He does give you plenty of warning about the possibility of being disappointed at the result. Again, his plain language is very helpful and his models are worthy of adopting.

Probably the most surprising part about the book is his advice to "export" the longevity risk to the insurance companies for those who are not in the "green zone." Again, he provides us with ideas about being honest with ourselves and be willing to seek help when it is appropriate to do so.

If you are thinking about retirement, or have retired but unsure about outliving your assets, this book is going to open your eyes, get you to do some honest self evaluation, and help you plan for long and sustainable retirement.