Bernstein: Do you know who he is?

William Bernstein. If you have not heard of him, you have been hibernating (at least from a learned investor point of view). He was a physician in his past life and is a “financial theorist” and a smart money manager. His ‘efficient frontier’ website and research in portfolio theory makes him a savvy market reader. His books include: The Intelligent Asset Allocator, The Investor's Manifesto, The Birth of Plenty and The Four Pillars of Investing. Read the first chapter of ‘A hypothesis of wealth’"Read here" . 
I happen to think the guy is brilliant. His handle on economic history and theory is amazing. Read his recent column in Business Week on retirement where he gives pretty common sense advice to those of us in our sixties. He states, “ If you are a 60 year old withdrawing 2% of your retirement savings annually, you will be as safe as you can be; at 3% you are probably safe; at 4% you are taking real risks; at 5% you have a good chance of an Alpo diet.” Think about that. The figure generally thrown around is with drawing 4% of your savings annually which will last you a life time. He advises adding 1% to 1.5% to the number if you are in your 70’s. That is pretty conservative and worth considering. How do you do that? Either working later in your 60’s than you planned or having a big savings stash where 3% really adds up to an annual sum you can truly live on. 
He also recommends delaying taking Social Security till you are 70 and looks at SS as an annuity. Most people will not follow that line of logic because if you die before age 82, you have left money on the table and most of us do not want the government to have a dime of our money.