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Is Bob Carlson’s Retirement Watch a Scam? Find Out Now

April 2, 2022 by Phil

Many are inquiring if Bob Carlson's Retirement Watch is a scam. Since you asked for it, we will discuss the advisory here.

The newsletter focuses on retirement and estate planning. Mainly, retirees and people over 50 years old are the target market.

Among the topics Carlson covers are social security, estate, and annuities. Aside from these, the editor will also help you strategize your investments. Its goal is for you to have plenty of money by retirement.

The advisory also gives insights on Medicare, healthcare, and long-term care. It even touches on housing for seniors and IRAs.

Moreover, Carlson offers advice on how to handle your taxes in your retirement. There are also practical tips on spending your money given your circumstances as seniors and retirees.

As you can see, this is an advisory that has great potential to help a specific vulnerable sector. If true to its mission, it will be a valuable ally for retirees.

However, we also know how some in the investment research industry have not been kind to seniors. There are numerous complaints and reports on these.

Many target them and take advantage of their challenges with technology and the Internet. Naturally, they would be skeptical about this service as well. 

This is why we will take the time to share more information about Retirement Watch. After reading, we encourage you to share our review with your friends and family so they can learn from it, too.


  • Name: Retirement Watch
  • Investment Director: Bob Carlson
  • Publisher: Eagle Financial Publications
  • Website: www.eaglefinancialpublications.com and www.retirementwatch.com
  • Service: Monthly newsletter
  • Cost: Platinum - $87 (from $249), Diamond Elite - $149, Gold - $49.95

Everyone wants a secure retirement. For this reason, Bob Carlson offers this advisory to help retirees or those nearing retirement.

According to him, his newsletter contains everything you need to know about the topic. He will help you plan, save, and spend wisely. In addition, he will make sure your money is protected.

Aside from his research, he also offers a wide array of special reports and books. The editor has designed all of them to address all of your concerns.

However, the features you receive will depend on the package you will pay for. 

According to Eagle Financial, Bob Carlson is a reliable retirement guru. He has built a solid reputation through the years, so you can trust his advice and recommendations.

What is Eagle Financial?

Eagle Financial Publications' main selling point is its five editors. According to the firm, these are among "America's leading investing minds."

These so-called financial heavyweights are Dr. Mark Skousen, Bob Carlson, Bryan Perry, Jim Woods, and Jon Johnson. Combined, they have over 135 years of experience in the stock market.

The company claims that they have already helped millions of investors through the years. In fact, they add that their investment advice led regular people to achieve financial success and independence.

Furthermore, Eagle Financial says that they are able to teach valuable techniques to both short-term traders and long-term investors.

As a result, they earn more consistent income through the years. In addition, they learn how to preserve and grow their cash. With the firm's help, people achieve various financial and retirement goals.

The investment gurus' unrivaled experience will ensure that you can get the largest gains the world's markets have to offer. Proof of their competence is the trust of their more than 170,000 subscribers. 

As per the company, this many support them because they receive the reliable financial advice they expect. Moreover, Eagle Financial's testimonials prove that their suggestions make sense to regular investors.


The range of its services varies depending on customers' needs. It has fast-paced weekly trading services as well as monthly research advisories.

Skousen is the editor of five services under the firm. These are Forecasts & Strategies, Five Star Trader, Home Run Trader, Fast Money Alert, and TNT Trader.

Meanwhile, Perry offers Dividend Investing Weekly, Cash Machine, Premium Income, Quick Income Trader, Breakout Profits Alert, and Hi-Tech Trader. 

Read our Cash Machine review if you want to know more about his income-investing-only monthly research advisory.

If you want to subscribe to Woods' services, the company offers a few.

These are Intelligence Report, Eagle Eye Opener, Successful Investing, Bullseye Stock Trader, High Velocity Options, Fast Money Alert, and The Deep Woods e-Letter.

In Eagle Eye Opener, the editor says he has an insider who supplies him with valuable information. Read our review of this daily advisory to know more about this mystery investor.

Johnson, meanwhile, leads five services under Eagle Financial. He is the editor of Investment House Daily, Weekend Wrap Up, Technical Traders Alert, Stock of the Week, and Success Trading Group.

We will be talking about Carlson and his services in the next sections.

What is Retirement Watch?

To sell his newsletter, Carlson starts with a startling claim. According to him, the government wants to take away your hard-earned money.

Essentially, he says Congress is targeting 401k, IRA, and Roth IRA accounts. It is doing this by drastically taxing withdrawals from retirement savings.

Additionally, he claims that Congress has changed the laws that protect these sorts of retirement savings. Under the new law, the old rules will no longer apply.

What does this mean? He says there will be a massive additional tax when we take from our 401K, IRA, and Roth IRA accounts.

Moreover, he claims that the government appears to have been planning this for some time. It has pushed people to save for retirement in these funds by making them very enticing.

The government wants a piece of the trillions of dollars in these accounts.

If you think his claims have no basis, he cites a few articles as proof:

The Wall Street Journal article, Congress Is Coming for Your IRA, says this:

The Secure Act would upend 20 years of retirement planning and stick it to the middle class.

Carlson also cites a piece from Salon: Congress targets middle-class retirement savings.

If you thought it was a safe bet to put your money into retirement plans over the span of your career for estate planning, think again.

This is the preface for his advisory, book, and special reports. To ensure you get helpful advice to protect your money, you must subscribe.

What do you think about this tactic? Do you believe him and his pitch? 

We have gathered feedback from Stock Gumshoe and regular investors. Make sure you read about comments in our Track Record and Reviews section.

But basically, the service claims to provide simple, reliable solutions for your retirement.

It's useful for planning, saving, and spending your nest egg properly. Moreover, it aims to help you live a richer and more fulfilling retirement than you ever imagined possible.

Carlson says he gives the kind of assistance you can rely on to reclaim control of your future.

When you subscribe, you will commit fewer errors, especially regarding rules. There's no need to second-guess what's best anymore. You can now make informed decisions.

Every month, a new issue arrives, packed with professional advice and straightforward solutions to ensure you never run out of money in your retirement.

Who is Bob Carlson?

Carlson's training was initially on accountancy and law. While finishing college at Clemson University, he passed the CPA exam. After that, he attended the University of Virginia School of Law.

However, he has always loved writing and even received good feedback. In fact, he soon found out that he was more interested in research and writing compared to law.

After a series of writing jobs, he finally launched a monthly advisory in 1991. This was the birth of the Retirement Watch. It contained all insights and information he could find regarding retirement.

Due to his background, he had a perspective that others did not. As a result, he says that people continued to listen to him and his financial advice.

According to him, subscribers also appreciated his independence and honesty. Since he was unbiased, he could say what he needed to say without fear of anything.

As an editor, he tried to protect his reputation through the years. He has done this by coming up with the best possible content that addresses retirees' concerns.

Aside from Retirement Watch, he also offers Retirement Watch Spotlight, a monthly video series. In addition, he also has a free e-letter called Retirement Watch Weekly. 

To tie everything up, he also came up with Lifetime Retirement Protection Program. It is an exclusive service that "gives members the tools and knowledge to maximize their retirement finances."

To accomplish this, the service offers all available resources he has in this package.

Aside from this, he is also involved with other things. He has held positions in Fairfax County and Virginia in various capacities.

Interestingly, Carlson is also an instrument-rated private pilot. 

What You Get

Depending on the plan you choose, you could get an array of freebies from Carlson. This is on top of the main newsletter, of course.

Upon subscribing, you will be receiving an issue of Retirement Watch. Additionally, the company will grant you access to the hotlines, website, and live members-only conference calls.

Not only that, you will continuously get portfolio updates. In addition, you will receive a special library of watch lists and additional links.

The freebies, meanwhile, include his book, The New American Retirement Plan. You may also get his five-volume set called The Ultimate Retirement Library.

This set includes titles like Cashing In on Congress’ $350,000 Retirement Shocker and The New Rules of Retirement.

Carlson also adds in Gimme Shelter: Hidden Real Estate Tax Bombs to Avoid, Your 20-Minute Estate Plan: Building a Lasting Legacy, and The Truth About Annuities.

Aside from these, you may also receive his new reports:

  • How to Insure Your Way to a Rock-Solid Retirement
  • How to Inflation-Proof Your Nest Egg with ETFs
  • IRA Investment Guide: A Roadmap for Avoiding the Tax Traps and Penalties
  • Keep Your Nest Egg Safe from the IRS Money Grab

As you can see, Eagle Financial seems generous with additional reports and free features. We admit that the titles are enticing. The editor and his copywriter appears to know what keywords to use.

A typical retiree and investor would be familiar with these terms. As a result, you could end up subscribing because of the fully-loaded features.

However, you should not be swayed by these. You should judge the service by the quality of its central service.

In addition, these usually change depending on the time you actually subscribe. So focus on the newsletter itself, whether you can trust the editor and his recommendations in helping you craft your retirement plans.

Read our next section to know how people rate Retirement Watch.

Track Record and Reviews

To prove his expertise, Carlson presents his Retirement Watch Portfolio performance.

The ones with the highest cumulative returns are "Sector" (292.90%) and "Balanced" (264.04%). "True Diversification" has 117.45%. Meanwhile, "Invest with the Winners Trading Strategy: ETFs" has 71.72%.

His "Retirement Paycheck" has a return of 49.47%, and "Income Growth" has 45.46%.

The section on the website devoted to this is rather short. So we do not really have other information to verify its accuracy.

It's not that we have good reason to doubt the editor and publisher. But you know how we are thorough about such claims. Anybody could just cherry-pick some stocks and leave out others. 

Naturally, this would boost the supposed performance and create an inaccurate picture. For us, it would have been better if there was more space. After all, track record is critical for subscribers. 

We wonder why they did not do that. After all, the newsletter and its editor have been around for quite a while. For sure, they have many examples of this. 

Instead, what they have are supposed testimonials like the ones below:

“The best, most useful financial advice newsletter that I get.” Richard R., Marlton, NJ
“As a Wharton graduate, money manager, Chief Financial Officer, and Chartered Financial Analyst...  I trust Bob Carlson completely and follow his investment, tax, and planning advice personally.” Sandy K., CFA, CFO

These are also nice. But again, these are just words. The truth is, any copywriter could just type this under any pseudonym. But why are there no clear proofs of success?

Could it be that they now solely bank on the brands of Carlson and Retirement Watch? Do they think they do not need to present proof of performance anymore?

We hope not. We believe subscribers deserve to know more details, including evidence. For us, this is a sign of respect for its subscribers and readers.


Carlson's shocking headline for his pitch goes like this:

Congress Comes for your Retirement Money
A devastating new law has just been enacted, with serious consequences for anyone holding an IRA, pension, or 401(k). 

What can you say about that? Comment your thoughts below.

For Travis Johnson of Stock Gumshoe, it's just "speculative fearmongering." Based on his research, it's not as controversial as Carlson's claim.

However, he does concede that due to the deficit, taxes could go higher in the future. But for him, there are "no specific tax increases on retirement withdrawals that I know about."

A commenter added more to Johnson's observation:

Another reviewer, "Paul," said this:

If you watched the video, you would wonder how Bob Carlson can stand/sit there with a straight face and outright LIE to you.

Those are some harsh words right there. It seems like the guy disagrees with how Carlson presents his information. Even with the accusatory language, we are glad such conversations exist.

We believe an open exchange like this will only benefit subscribers. On the one hand, such comments serve as a warning if the editor is indeed misrepresenting facts.

On the other hand, others are free to give supportive statements for Carlson as well. That's the beauty of such a setup. People can look out for each other through their thoughts, experiences, and analyses.

However, we have not seen a corroboration for Carlson's statements as of this writing.

The commenter also added this to support his statement:

Indeed, SECURE has been signed into law in December of 2020; this piece in Wikipedia says nothing about raiding our retirement money in whatever form with new taxes.

According to him, most provisions would, in reality, benefit retirees. It seems like he is offended by Carlson because of his own research.

For subscribers, the newsletter was a 3.5 out 5. Around 100 people reviewed the Retirement Watch on Stock Gumshoe

In fairness, the service received good comments from subscribers.

The comment from "markhu" emphasizes consistency. He appreciates the safe recommendations. For him, these are perfectly suitable for retirees. 

He also takes note of Carlson's insights on tax laws. As we noted earlier, this makes sense since the editor is also a lawyer.

Meanwhile, commenter "wily old owl" says this about the advisory:

I have never invested in his investment portfolios (mutual funds) but have subscribed to the letter for 5 yrs just for the sensible, savvy advice.

The review reiterates Carlson's trait as an even-handed editor. Once again, this is a trait people in its target market is looking for. So the approach is wise and appropriate.

In fact, another comment even said that Retirement Watch is also apt for people in the middle of their careers. 

The sound advice and insights from Bob Carlson help you plan ahead to meet your goals.

Subscribers also like that his insights exude "cautious optimism." His views teach people not just about investing but also about retiring properly.

So far, there were only two negative comments about the advisory. One was about the barrage of upselling.

Meanwhile, the other commenter said they did not get substantial insights. Moreover, the cancellation process took a while, which was a huge hassle.

Save for the fearmongering, long cancellation process, and upselling, the advisory seems well-received. However, it's still up to you since different people have different experiences.

At least now, you have a more balanced view of the newsletter. This way, you are more likely to make an informed decision.

Cost and Refund Policy


There are three options for you when you subscribe. If you want all the freebies, you may opt for the Platinum for $87. Eagle Financial claims that its original price was $249 and is valued at $897.75.

Meanwhile, the Diamond Elite plan will give you everything, plus a new report: The New Rules of Estate Planning. The annual fee for this is $149.

If you want the cheapest, you may subscribe for only $49.95. The Gold subscription entitles you to receive a copy of his book, The New American Retirement Plan, and monthly newsletters.

Refund Policy

If you are not satisfied with the service, you may call the company. They will issue a refund, and you may keep everything you have already received. However, you can only do so within 30 days.

Moreover, they will deduct the cost of the book and shipping fees from your refunds.

Pros v Cons


  • This is Carlson's area of specialization since the 1990s
  • Service is focused on a specific demographic and their needs
  • Positive comments on its writing and insights from Stock Gumshoe


  • Uses fearmongering
  • Not too much material on track record

Conclusion - Is the Service Any Good?

The advisory claims to cover everything related to retirement. Do you have concerns about your social security? You may find answers here. Are you planning to map out your estate? Read tips in the newsletter.

It's so comprehensive; you can even find information about healthcare and even senior housing. 

The truth is, this is a critical niche. A lot of people dream of being happy and secure when they retire. So they try their best to save and invest for their future.

However, many advisory companies take advantage of them. Instead of helping them, they exploit the challenges they face with technology. As a result, they end up subscribing to shady services.

Unfortunately, research firms give them a hard time unsubscribing. That is why we often see them complaining online.

Since Carlson has long been in this area, could he be the solution to such a problem? Will his service be accommodating to its target market?

Though thin on proof of success, the reviews have been encouraging. Subscribers appreciate the sober advice they receive from Carlson.

There might indeed be a basis for Eagle Financial's claims on him. The publisher says that the editor is among the country's most trusted financial gurus.

However, we would note that the CPA lawyer received negative feedback for his scare tactics. This may be effective in getting subscribers. 

But it's incongruent with the notion that we must be objective regarding investments. There's nothing sober about being afraid. Even Carlson advocates for objectivity.

So, is Bob Carlson's Retirement Watch a scam? It is not. But doe sit employ fearmongering, a device often used by scammers? Yes. Should you subscribe to it? Only you can answer this based on our discussion.


A writer and researcher, Phil enjoys exploring topics about finance, investments, and consumer behavior. His two young kids serve as inspiration for his advocacy on education and the youth.

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