Retire on time

Book Review: '20 Retirement Decisions You Need to Make Right Now'

It might have been years since you’ve played the game 20 Questions, but when you’re facing retirement you might expect your financial life to morph into a version of the game with dozens, even hundreds, of questions that must be dealt with. But I’ve worked through the decision to retire with both my parents in the past few years and you’d be surprised at how few questions really require resolution.

It’s a shorter-than-expected list of questions you’ll have — but they’re all very, very important. On top of that, many are confusing because of the dizzying array of options available, the conflicting advice that comes from different sources, and the difficulty of deciding who to trust for advice.

Enter Ray E. LeVitre, a certified financial planner and the author of "20 Retirement Decisions You Need to Make Right Now." LeVitre’s list of decisions that must be faced, immediately, by those on the brink of retirement looks like a transcript from a very grown-up game of 20 Questions, ranging from No. 1: "Do I have enough money to retire now?" to No. 25: "What strategies should I use to ensure that my estate passes to my heirs and not to Uncle Sam?" (And, yes, that means you get five bonus questions!)

LeVitre’s approach is panic-reducing, in that it is systematic and unbiased. He sets forth a clear sequence of issues would-be retirees need to deal with and a clear set of actions steps for resolving them at a time when even the savviest individual might be experiencing a head-spinning blend of chaos, fear, excitement and uncertainty, especially in today’s market of depleted portfolios.