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Book Review: How Much is Enough?

Book Review: How Much is Enough? Balancing Today’s Needs with Tomorrow’s Retirement Goals

Author: Diane McCurdy

There are many financial books – they cover niches ranging from saving for your child’s education to stock trading to finding the secret to becoming rich. What McCurdy does, that I have not seen elsewhere, is help devise a plan for retirement, no matter what stage of life you are at. This book is divided into two sections: What is Enough? and Getting Enough.

Part I: What is Enough?

In this section McCurdy focuses on how to determine the amount of money necessary for retirement. First, McCurdy suggests that taking a quiz to find out your money attitude. She discusses how dealing with money is deeply emotional, and how it can affect relationships. There are four different attitudes she describes: The Spender, you only live once; The Builder, make it so; The Giver, ’tis better to give than to receive; and The Saver, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Throughout the book she refers back to the four money attitudes and provides specific advice for each type. She also recognizes that many people are going to be a combination of more than one type.

During this section there are moments where she sounds like a therapist. She takes a holistic approach to financial planning. She stresses the need to consider what you really want – beyond money – she asks readers to consider what they want from life. And then suggests contemplating how money fits into that picture.

In this section she introduces the concept of enough. This is where she is ultimately guiding you on a quest to find the enough number – the amount of money needed to retire and live how you choose. She provides easy-to-read tables that help figure out how much money you will have when investing now. She also provides tables and spreadsheets on her website. This website also has a useful retirement calculator that helps estimate the enough number.

In addition to reading this book and using the website, McCurdy strongly recommends using a financial planner to help organize finances, build an investment portfolio and plan for the future. She discusses, at length, the importance of the relationship between the client and the planner. She also provides a checklist of questions and topics to be discussed during a first meeting with a financial planner.

Part 2: Getting Enough

By the end of section one, you should have a rough estimate of what the enough number is. In section two she discusses how to get there. She covers the basics of many investing methods. She discusses risk and how the risk-factor should play into financial planning. She briefly mentions a broad range of investment methods and retirement plans.

In this section she also provides chapters specifically for entrepreneurs and estate planning.

This book is for someone just starting out (with the planning). If you already have a financial planner, or have already completed a considerable amount of work organizing finances and researching investment options – this is probably a review. For those just starting to organize their finances, this would be a valuable tool. She provides options for every age range, for every stage of life. She provides hope, no matter the state of your current situation, and helps map out a realistic path to financial dreams.

Kristin Donahue writes about finance and business, looking for interesting topics to cover.

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