Book Review: Pensionize Your Nest Egg
Traditional defined-benefit pensions in which an employer promises and guarantees an employee’s retirement income are becoming scarcer these days. As very few Canadians outside of the public sector being covered by DB plans, the vast majority of us now bear the risk of saving enough for retirement and investing those savings wisely. Unfortunately, the challenge doesn’t end there. Canadians in, or nearing retirement then face risks that their hard-earned nest egg will not last their lifetime.
In Pensionize Your Nest Egg, authors Moshe Milvesky and Alexandra Macqueen demonstrate that retirees face three main risks: (1) Longevity risk — the length of time in retirement, (2) Sequence of Returns Risk — the risk of a negative sequence of returns in the years immediately preceding and following retirement and (3) Inflation Risk — the relentless loss of purchasing power of nominal dollars. But how does one protect against these risks? The authors have coined (and trademarked) a term for the solution: pensionize, which simply refers to converting some fraction of a nest egg into a guaranteed income that lasts a lifetime.
The book is divided into three parts. The first deals with the three aforementioned risks that retirees face. The meat of the book is contained in the second part. It shows why retirees should allocate their retirement accounts across three product silos: annuities, traditional stocks and bonds and guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) products (such as Manulife’s IncomePlus). This section also important concepts that retirees need to ponder such as their Retirement Sustainability Quotient and Financial Legacy Value and the trade-offs between them. The last part of the book provides a seven step roadmap for pensionizing a nest egg.
The book is extremely well-written and despite some warnings in the Preface, easy to understand. The discussions are rigorous as you would expect of a book that was co-authored by an academic. Retired Canadians and soon-to-be retirees owe it to themselves to read this book. Pensionize Your Nest Egg is published by John Wiley for a cover price of $26.95. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that a review copy was furnished by Ms. Macqueen and that I know Ms. Macqueen through the Canadian Money Forum where she posts as MoneyGal. You can find more information on the QWeMA Group website.
Here are some other reactions to the book: Larry MacDonald enjoyed the book and thought it was more accessible and focused than materials presented in other books. Jon Chevreau said the book offers a cure for pension envy in his column in the Financial Post.