I have to confess that a new book called 10 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Retirement by Rein Selles, Jim Yih and Patricia French did not leave me gasping. But I did find the book to be very impressive because it contains the kind of straight talk that you usually don’t hear — certainly not from financial institutions that loves to project retirement as a time to laze around the cottage or walk carefree on a beach or indulge in a favourite sport, something quite different from the reality. One of the authors, Jim Yih, quite apty, calls this retirement pornography.
Canadians who are starting to plan for their retirement or already planning it will find this book to be invaluable. Topics discussed include what to expect in retirement both from a lifestyle and financial point of view, debt reduction, investments, insurance, taxes, generating income in retirement and estate planning.
The book has an interesting structure. One author kicks off the discussion on a topic and the others chime in later in a roundtable format. As each author works in a different field — Rein Selles is a Retirement Planner, Jim Yih is a Financial Expert and Patricia French is a Family Finance Expert — they each bring an unique perspective to the subject under discussion.
Here’s a sampling of some of the straight talk I found in the book:
On the topic of how much to save for retirement — “Live frugally, save what you can, retire when you can afford to, and manage to a budget thereafter.” [Quote from Malcolm Hamiltom] So the key is to stay flexible. Be the tree that bends with the wind and you may live to retire at a ripe and rich old age.
On the topic how spending changes in retirement — “Despite all the stories regarding the cost of healthcare in retirement, seniors in 2005 spent an average of $1,733 per person, an amount $487 less per person than that spent by Albertans under 65″.
On borrowing to invest: “[However], I think leverage as we call it, is over-promoted and oversold. It is time to change the way we think about debt. Instead of going into more debt — even if it is good debt — we should start focusing on paying down our other debts first”.
The book is available for $30 (taxes and shipping included) through Jim Yih’s website. A review copy was furnished by Jim Yih. I should also mention I know Jim through our blogs and on Twitter.