I talked about The Number by Lee Eisenberg on a number of different occasions, including an in-deplth look at the book in a five-part review. Here’s a fresh look at the “memoir,” written by Paul Farrell from MarketWatch:
Eisenberg’s book is an extremely entertaining read. I loved it… But in the end, the book is… a myth… That myth says somewhere out there is “The Number,” a magical mix of stocks and bonds and annuities and insurance and cash and gold and real estate and pensions that will make you feel safer, sleep sounder, feel more secure about your future.
The columnist believes that America can survive only if its people are Numberless. There is no Number out there. Some people get the Number, and here they are (from the article):
* Wall Street’s insiders split $21.5 billion in bonuses last year, while the stock market lost an average of almost 3% of your money annually the past five years.
* The compensation of Corporate America’s top executives continues to soar, while worker pensions and health-care insurance are cut and inflation eats away incomes.
* And in Washington, your elected representative and civil servants enjoy guaranteed pensions and health insurance and cater to shifty lobbyists like Jack Abramoff.
There is a lot of merit to some of Farrell’s points. By the time the regular saver’s portfolios reach $1,000,000 at retirement 40 years from now, a million bucks won’t go too far. Nevertheless, I think Farrell takes it too far.
Updated February 6, 2012 and originally published January 24, 2006. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @flexo on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.