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Tue, 27 Aug 2013 - 1:15 PM CST

The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement

John H. Graves (Safe Harbor Publishing, 250 pp., paperback)

Do you believe you will ever be able to afford to retire? In The 7% Solution: You Can Afford a Comfortable Retirement, John Graves says it is truly possible if:

  • You are a good saver.
  • You are debt averse.
  • You have flexible spending habits.
  • You give back to your community. 

The 7% Solution takes an interesting approach in teaching people how to become income investors. If you consider yourself a do-it-yourself investor, you may enjoy this book. Graves aimed his book at people who are at or preparing for retirement.

Graves also states emphatically that each individual must be responsible for his or her own financial future. He emphasizes his belief that ordinary investors can become skilled in using the same financial strategies, tactics, and products professionals use to create and manage a consistent income stream. The author is also a strong critic of allowing high fees and unnecessary commission charges to eat away at the return of an investment portfolio.

Each of Graves’ 14 chapters explains, with practical examples, the ways income investing works. The chapters describe, in detail, how to select dividend-producing stocks and bonds, mutual funds, ETF’s, annuities, and more. The tactics he presents, however, are probably not growth oriented enough for the investor who has more than 10 years before getting serious about planning for retirement.

Perhaps the best way to read this book is to start with chapters 1–3 for the mindset, then jump ahead to chapters 11–13 for the plan. Anyone who likes the book at this point can study the remaining chapters for specific insights on how to use the various financial products Graves suggests.

This book is not a quick and easy read but the writing style is friendly and conversational. The reader who is not easily intimidated will almost certainly find something to think about and put into practice right away.

Reviewed by Kregg Hood, Ed.D., senior vice president Loan and Capital Solutions, AG Financial, Springfield, Missouri.

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