Swedroe: ‘The Ultimate Retirement & Estate Plan’

Swedroe: ‘The Ultimate Retirement & Estate Plan’

New book on retirement saving by Jim Lange is very timely; here’s why.

Reviewed by: Larry Swedroe
Edited by: Larry Swedroe

Jim Lange is the author of “Retire Secure,” a book I would highly recommend. While the book doesn’t address investment strategies (asset allocation) or the question of a safe withdrawal rate, it does cover a wide variety of important financial issues.

Lange, a CPA and an attorney, shows investors how the right decisions increase the size of your portfolio when you retire, as well as maximize the length of time your portfolio will last. Among the many topics covered in this well-organized and crystal-clear book are:

  • The best way to save for retirement and the best vehicles to use
  • How to decide between a traditional IRA versus a Roth IRA or other retirement accounts
  • Withdrawal strategies, including how to most efficiently take funds when you have taxable, tax-advantaged and tax-free accounts
  • Annuitization
  • Estate planning and wealth transfer
  • The use of life insurance
  • Disclaiming inheritances
  • Naming beneficiaries
  • Using trusts to protect beneficiaries;
  • Doing well by doing good and effective ways to organize charitable giving, including the qualified charitable distribution
  • How to get an interest-free “loan” from the IRS

‘Stretch IRAs’

Lange has now provided another valuable resource with his short and easy-to-read “The Ultimate Retirement and Estate Plan for Your Million-Dollar IRA.” His new book is especially timely because of the significant potential for changes in the rules allowing for what “stretch-IRAs,” where the designated beneficiaries (which can be grandchildren) are permitted to stretch withdrawals over their lifetimes.

Recently proposed legislation would force beneficiaries to take distributions within five years. Lange provides you with the insights needed to help you decide on the best strategy for your particular situation, whether or not the proposed legislation passes.
‘Don’t Pay Taxes Now, Pay Them Later’

Lange’s newly released book first examines the benefits of the “don’t pay taxes now, pay them later (except for the Roth)” strategy, and reviews the laws governing IRAs at death and the potential changes to them. He then moves on to describing proactive methods you could use to protect what you will leave to your spouse and your children, specifically through what he calls “Lange’s Cascading Beneficiary Plan” for wills, trusts and beneficiaries of IRAs and retirement plans.

He also considers the use of charitable remainder trusts and life insurance, as well as the value of gifts (including providing experiences such as family vacations). And the final chapter discusses options to combine the various strategies.

If you’re planning for or are in retirement, Lange’s “Retire Secure” is a must-read, and his new book is also well worth your time.

Larry Swedroe is the director of research for The BAM Alliance, a community of more than 140 independent registered investment advisors throughout the country.


Larry Swedroe is a principal and the director of research for Buckingham Strategic Wealth, an independent member of the BAM Alliance. Previously, he was vice chairman of Prudential Home Mortgage.