A Cautionary Tale about Retirement and Some Useful Resources for Your Best Future

A Cautionary Tale about Retirement and Some Useful Resources for Your Best Future

Richard was a businessman who usually started work before daylight. Eventually, he was able to buy the things he really wanted including a nice home with a swimming pool and a big boat. Then in his sixties, he had a quadruple bypass. Realizing life was short, he sold his business, retired, and got remarried.

At first, Richard and his new bride did a little traveling. But soon he was spending much of his time in an easy chair watching TV. His health deteriorated. He also started running out of money, so he set up a reverse mortgage on his home. When he died at 76, his assets were nearly exhausted – he had even sold his burial plot. That’s what retirement looked like for my dad.

What Can We Learn from This Cautionary Tale?

While retirement looks a lot different for people today, there are still a couple of lessons we can learn from my dad’s experience. First, the good news is that most of us can now expect to live at least 20 or more years after we retire. And women typically live the longest.

The not so good news is that those extra years come with a hefty price. Recent reports suggest 76-80% of boomers wish they had saved more for retirement. Women in particular often end up the least financially prepared.  Unless you’re one of the few people who still have a pension, you’d better have a strong financial plan for retirement, or plan to continue working a lot longer, or both.

If you need help preparing for the financial aspects of retirement, you may want to talk with a financial advisor. To find a qualified advisor, you can use Broker Check, a free tool to learn about the experience and background of different financial advisors and brokers. Financial professionals typically have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC designation, or a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Each of these designations has rigorous standards including educational background, experience, and extensive study and exams. The CFA has been referred to as the “gold standard” for the profession.

I asked Ben James, CFA, CFP, ChFC, who has worked in the field of financial management since 1997 and is the president and founder of Elevate Wealth Advisors, what advice he would give to people looking for a qualified financial professional. Ben said that credentials and experience are important. He also said that when interviewing a financial professional, ask what processes and procedures they have in place for managing your finances.

Retirement Lifestyle Planning Is Also Important

Knowing what kind of lifestyle you want in retirement is also important. Most people don’t plan to live their lives in an easy chair, but that can certainly happen if you haven’t developed a healthy lifestyle and don’t have a clear sense of purpose. The good news for women is that they are more likely to do advance lifestyle planning.

What do you want your encore years to look like? Even if you are years away from retirement, trust me, it’s not too early to start preparing. To help you get started, I’ve provided some resources that I hope you’ll start reviewing sooner than later:

Resources for Lifestyle Planning

Retirement Planning Guide by Paula Marie Usrey

This free, 15-page guide will help you consider many of the nonfinancial aspects of retirement. You’ll also find dozens of additional resources listed below the downloadable guide. HR professionals and employers are also free to use this guide as a tool to help their employees transition into retirement.

How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free  by Ernie J. Zelinski

Zelinski’s book is one of my favorite nonfinancial planning books because of the scope, detail, and practical suggestions he provides. I’ve even purchased extra copies of this book for friends.

Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer by Dan Buettner

Buettner researched communities all over the world that had the greatest longevity anywhere. He discovered that these communities had certain lifestyle practices in common. If you want to make sure you are incorporating the best lifestyle practices for longevity, this book is one you’ll want to read.

Passive Income Will Change Your Life by Sam Kerns

This book will not be available until March 21. I just read a preview copy. Kerns’ style is direct and easy to follow. At the same time, he provides sufficient detail so you know how different passive income opportunities can work. Some of the passive income ideas he details include real estate investments, renting what you already own, blogging, publishing books, creating online courses, and more. Note: If self-publishing piques your interest, you will also want to read one of Kern’s earlier books, How to Publish a Book on Amazon.

If you have other favorite retirement planning books that you’d like to recommend, please let me know. Also, I’d love to hear what you think about any of the resources I’ve suggested. Keep in touch. Together, we can learn how to plan for our best years yet to be.

One more resource that has been suggested is from a reserve mortgage lender, South River Mortgage.  As some of us may have concerns about outliving our money, a reverse mortgage may be something appropriate to consider for some. My father did choose to get a reverse mortgage on his home; it did provide enough extra income for him to live comfortably during his last few years.

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