Book Review: The 7% Solution by John H. Graves

How To Develop A Strategic Plan for Income in Your Later Years

I’d never heard of John H. Graves before reading this book, but I will be highly recommending this book to my clients from now on as a Life Coach. One of the seven key areas of life that all people need advice in is how to handle personal finances. As a matter of fact, I was doing a conference overseas and had to counsel an accountant for a major corporation who knew how to keep the books for a multi-million dollar company but her own personal debt was mounting out of control. I truly wish I could have handed her this book two years ago – it has everything you need to develop more confidence and have less stress in the financial arena of your life.

The proper handling and investing of money is a huge issue that makes or breaks many marriages, the quality of life, and high stress factors, which can lead to dangerous addictions, and various diseases of all shapes and forms. Enter in this book.

At the outset Graves’ assures the reader that no matter what the economy looks life, and no matter how bleak the future looks among various prognosticators, it is up to us to take control of our finances. The reality is that no one will care for your financial needs, and know what you will need in your latter years more than you do.

The big idea of this book to show you a myriad of ways – with a plethora of helpful examples, illustrations, and various strategies – to develop an investment portfolio in your retirement years that will net you a 7% distribution of income. In reading this book you will learn:

(1) How to determine the amount of income needed during retirement.

(2) How to identify different sources of income in retirement (the pros and cons of each)

(3) How to evaluate, select, monitor, and manage a variety of investments, from the most simple, to the more complex.

In layman’s terms Graves shows you how to get a clear picture of what you will need in your retirement years by explaining clearly, concisely, cogently, and coherently the following:

Helping you to develop a worksheet that will lay out the reality of your current financial situation and where that will take you. This will help you practical realize whether or not you are heading in the right direction towards the “7% solution” in your retirement years. You will be able to discern and determine where the strengths and weaknesses in your portfolio lie and what adjustments can be made to get the desired results.

(1) How to gather your expense and income data for retirement.

(2) Responsibilities of a financial advisor (what they actually do); versus your own responsibilities.

(3) How to pick stocks for the long term – with a focus on the importance of getting value.

(4) How bonds work – how to determine bonds with good value.

(5) An overview of low maintenance investments.

(6) An examination of annuities and how they fit into an income-producing retirement portfolio.

(7) Looking beyond cookie-cutter portfolios – how limited partnertships and business development companies can fit into your portfolio.

(8) How REIT’s, real estate, proceeds from sale of a business, and structured settlements can add sources of income to your portfolio.

(9) Proven strategies for designing your 7% portfolio.

(10) How to manage your portfolio during the accumulation and distribution stages.

(11) How to reduce your tax burden.

(12) Getting the most from your retirement years. How to develop a trust, and various ways you can give back to your church, synagogue, or community.

This is truly a great book for understanding strategic portfolio depth, sources of income, decreasing debt, and alleviating the stress of retirement, by being responsible, strategic, and intentionally proactive in developing a plan that works for you and providing for your family in your latter years. No matter what age you are, income level you have achieved, or your goals for the future are – the 7% solution will work for you.

About the Author: John Graves, ChFC, CLU has spent 26 years advising people how to become
better stewards of their resources. As an indepedent financial advisor, he focuses on designing and maintaing clients’ portfolios consistent with their needs, rather than some market paradigm. John is a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant through The American College in Bryn, Mawr Pennsylvania.
He has traveled extensively, with more than 80 countries’ stamps in his passport. His avocation is adventure. He has sailed to Hawaii several times as well as across the Atlantic and throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. He has trekked the Andes, the Sahara, the Taklamakan, the Serengeti, and the Namib.
In his previous career, John was a chef. He does enjoy a fine meal with a nice Bordeaux or Montalcino.
John agrees with Benjamin Graham that the search for value is far more interesting than a brief joy ride in the markets. His passion is sharing knowledge with others so that they, too, might embrace all that life has to offer.

My Money or God’s Money?

*Treasure Principle Keys From Randy Alcorn

 Jesus, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

Key Principle: “You can’t take it with you—but you can send it on ahead.”

Key #1: God owns EVERYTHING. I’m His Money Manager.

“We are the managers of the assets God has entrusted—not given—to us.”

Key #2: My HEART always goes where I put God’s money.

“Watch what happens when you reallocate your money from temporal things to eternal things.”

Key #3: Heaven, NOT Earth, is my home.

“We are citizens of a ‘better country—a heavenly one.’”

Key #4: I should live not for the DOT but for the LINE.

“From the dot—our present life on earth—extends a line that goes on forever, which is eternity in heaven.”

Key #5: GIVING is the only antidote to MATERIALISM.

“Giving is a joyful surrender to a greater person and a greater agenda. It dethrones me and exalts Him.

Key #6: God prospers me NOT to raise my standard of LIVING, but to raise my standard of GIVING.

“God gives us more money than we need so we can give-generously.”

*Adapted from Randy Alcorn’s Book “The Treasure Principle”

Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries, a nonprofit ministry devoted to promoting an eternal viewpoint and drawing attention to people in special need of advocacy and help. Randy was a pastor for fourteen years before starting this ministry and is a popular church and conference speaker. He and his wife live in Gresham, Oregon and are the proud parents of two daughters, Karina and Angela, and the grandparents of four grandsons.

A popular fiction author, Randy has held readers spellbound with fast-paced, gripping fiction infused with eternal themes. His books Edge of Eternity, Deadline, and Dominion, and Deception all point readers to the truth that the choices we make have eternal consequences.Lord Foulgrin’s Letters and The Ishbane Conspiracy tackle the subject of spiritual warfare and are meant to help equip Christians to recognize and resist the attacks of the enemy. Safely Home asks the question “Are you ready to die for your faith?”

Randy is also passionate about life and has written Pro-life Answers to Pro-Choice Arguments, a book that has been widely used to train students and adults to articulate the pro-life position in a secular culture. He often speaks on pro-life related themes and has included them in his novels.

Randy’s other books include The Law of RewardsThe Treasure PrincipleThe Grace and Truth ParadoxThe Purity PrincipleHeaven, and Wait Until Then.

Randy’s life emphasis is on 1) communicating the strategic importance of using our earthly time, money, possessions, and opportunities to invest in need-meeting ministries that will count for eternity; and 2) analyzing, teaching, and applying the moral, social, and relational implications of Christian truth in the current age. Visit Randy’s blog at

%d bloggers like this: