Excerpts: Prologue | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 14 | Appendix

Excerpted from


A Field Guide to The Number

Number chasers fall into four basic personality types. They come together in the field guide below. Take a moment and see where you fit:

Number Type Characteristics M.O. Planning profile
Procrastinator You are in-denial about the need for any kind of post-career plan; or you are otherwise lazy, confused, scared, or so woefully impoverished it doesn't matter if you have a plan or not. You hope for the best, dread the worst. You totally ignore warnings and entreaties from family, friends, employers, the media, and marketers of financial services. You have no time for age-old fables like "The Hare and the Tortoise." You have no plan. No real sense of a Number. No nothing. Hiding under the comforter often seems like the best solution.
Plucker You pick what seems like a good Number out of thin air. "Hmm, that sounds about right for an adequate nest egg." You base your plans on a series of best guesses and wild-assed stabs. You have sort of a vague plan and an arbitrary Number. The plan, however, may turn out to be filled with helium or bricks.
Plotter You possess well-developed left-brain capacity. You harvest, then crunch, a ton of available data to arrive at a rational, if incomplete, second-half Number. You dutifully study life expectancy charts; projected rates of return; inflation forecasts; projected health care costs, etc., etc. You have plan and a Number that is cogent and conscientious. But one key question is conspicuously absent: what the hell am I living for?
Prober You relentlessly pursue quests, journeys, and explorations into your inner being. Your goal: to figure out who you are, what you really want, and how much does fulfillment actually cost? You hungrily consume some or all of the following: meditation, psychoanalysis, self-help books, spa vacations, massive doses of Oprah and Dr. Phil. You have a plan and a Number centered on what would really make a difference in your second-half life. Chances are, this plan calls for simplification and downsizing. Your one big fear: what if it turns out I really LIKE wretched excess?


designed and maintained by missmaryk.com