Category Archives: book review

Book review of The Essential Retirement Guide

This is a financial planning book focused on middle-income or upper-income workers. Low-income people, defined here as at the bottom of 30 percent or so of the workforce, definitely need retirement target income exceeding 70 percent of their final pay. They’ve already been well taken care of with pensions from government programs. 

The keynote of The Essential Retirement Guide:

  1. Financial plans must be taken before we are getting older.

When coming to the financial abilities, people in their 80s were generally more confident than those in their 60s, even though the older ones scored barely half compared to the highest. While older test subjects scored quite poorly by any absolute or relative measure, their confidence in their financial abilities was actually higher than that of their younger counterparts. Preemptive measures need to be taken. We should handle this while we are still young enough to use whatever insights we have at our disposal.

2. Your financial strategy should be simple. 

Keeping your financial strategy simple may not be an optimal choice, but it is better than varying the mix for the wrong reasons. There is no correlation between high fees and high returns.

3.Exposing yourself unduly to downside risks is irrational if the only upside is to produce a windfall gain that you do not really need.

4.Long-term care insurance is not an effective choice

Insurance is most effective when 

  • The potential losses from which you are seeking protection are easily understood and quantifiable. 
  • The cost of the insurance seems reasonable relative to the coverage.
  • Any losses over a given threshold would be fully reimbursed by the insurance

However, Long-term care insurance  doesn’t meet the criteria. 

5. Don’t overspend

In a consumerist society, our reach tends to beyond our grasp. If you make $80,000 a year, pretend as if it were just $70,000 and save the rest. 

In summary, the author, Frederick Vettese, specializes in actuary and has spent his whole career in retirement consulting and workplace pension plans. He provides a lot of insights about retirement planning using his actuarial expertise. In addition, he uses a lot of contextual scenarios in explaining concepts such as wealth target and workplace pension plans. It’s a highly recommended book.

Deep Living(book review of Digital Minimalism)

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

Will spend more time on social media make us live a meaningful life?
If not, we should better off considering to use it seriously.

The best-selling author of “Deep Work” proposes a philosophy of digital minimalism. Simplicity gives us the ability to think clearly in a focused way and select activities we value most in a noisy world. This kind of living style is not a whole new concept which has existed for a long time.

There’re three core principles behind the idea of digital minimalism.

  1. More could be less.
  2. Effectiveness is imperative.
  3. To live deliberately.

In the 19th century, Henry Thoreau made an experiment of making a living by cultivating the farms. The research showed he could live what he wished with fewer desires even the earnings were below the average. However, Henry Thoreau observed that his neighbor farmers gained little profit that could not help them escape their poor condition.

The same situation occurs today. While we think we could acquire more values from using lovely mobile application, we waste more time and attention compared to the amount we receive. Could we select tools intentionally and optimize our digital life, you will reach more meaning life. This book contains much practical advice everyone could implement.

3 tips your business could implement to become more competitive

We could review our organization’s performance by using analytical data. If we see the performance report, but don’t take any further action. Nothing will change.

Competing on Analytics: Updated, with a New Introduction: The New Science of Winning

The book author of “Competing On Analytics”, Tom Davenport, suggests readers apply data carefully and gain an advantage through it.

  1. Outperform your competitors:Even in industries where analytical data is prevalent, some cooperations are better at using data and making a smarter decision than others.
  2. Be special: Adjust your marketing position and business models that are hard to be replaced by your competitors. For example, Apple inc., the maker of iPhone, changed its target metrics from the unit sales to installed base of devices. Apple is redefining their marketing position from a hardware company to a service company.
  3. Renewable: In a fast-paced world, no cooperation could remain top. Nokia, once the mobile phone giant, lost its appeal while it overlooked Google and Apple. So every decision-maker in an organization should keep reinventing and renew their business goal for their company.