Financial planning is an annoying but necessary activity that forces us all to face what we’d rather not think about—our mortality. Preparing for old age and for loved ones who survive us can be a downer. And it’s all so risky.
If financial planning feels to you like reading Chinese in Braille upside down on a Ferris Wheel while experiencing a migraine headache, you can find relief in Retirement Quest: Make Better Decisions by certified financial planner John Hauserman. His information-packed translation come right side up, on level ground, headache free, in plain English. While the ins and outs of planning for the future can be complex, this book should be accessible to most readers.
It’s all based on RAID: RECOGNIZE national media hype, AVOID common investor mistakes, IDENTIFY financial scams, and DISTINGUISH between sales pitches and actual investment advice. Answers to questions asked on the book jacket are at the heart of this 121-page volume: Where are you getting your financial advice? How do you know your interests are being safeguarded? How do you know your advisors are competent? How can you know they’re putting your interests first? With Hauserman’s advice, you can make better decisions by getting the unbiased advice you need so you can avoid costly mistakes.
Married couples should read Retirement Quest together, and the sooner the better; take notes and write down questions for your financial advisor. It isn’t too early to plan for the future and you’ll want to stay informed. In fact, as Hauserman says, you need to take charge of your own financial future rather than expecting the government to bail you out.
Probably most unusual for a financial planning book, Retirement Quest explains government systems and philosophies that don’t work historically and don’t protect citizens’ financial freedom or future. Social Security, our government mandated financial planning law, can no longer guarantee what it started out in 1935 to promise Americans—security when they retired. Life expectancy then was mid-60s for men and a few years longer for women. Even in the 1970’s, before global events changed things, a new car cost about $3,000 and gas was about 30¢ per gallon.
Because people live much longer now, we have to plan more creatively so we can live 30 or 40 years off retirement savings and investment programs—all this at a time when buying power is continually eroding. As the preface states: “Retirement Quest does not simply rehash the familiar old investment axioms found in so many of today’s volumes. Instead, it offers a holistic approach that explores the ways in which the financial services industry, politics, and modern media all too often combine to hamper rather than encourage our personal saving efforts. By improving our understanding of the overall process, we can avoid falling prey to the hazards and take steps to potentially provide for our own financial future and that of our children.”
In other words, you don’t have to learn Chinese at all, or get headaches. Hauserman also offers a free interactive planning map at his website. For the visual learners among us, maps help. For the aural learners, financial advisors can explain.