The Redefining of Retirement
As a reader that falls within this book’s target demographic, I believe this book was written for me; someone who is a lay person, a person whose circumstances in life, while not tragic or dire, still falls short of where I “should” be at at my age, due to unfortunate events in life beyond my control. I do not say that out of self-pity or as a rationalization, but as a statement of fact. I readily admit that there is more I could have done, but, like many others, I have been caught up in the business of life, and youth seemed to stretch far in front of me. Now that I am older, I feel overwhelmed by the enormous and complex world of financial planning and the many options and instruments in the market. I am at a loss regarding who to trust to help guide my way to where I need to be. It is stressful to have the nebulous uncertainty of one’s retirement years nagging at the back of your mind.
When thinking of retirement, I often feel guilty and somehow lacking in character that I did not accomplish more by this time. When reading this book, however, I felt the author treated me, the reader, with respect and understanding. While the advice was forthright, it did not come off as a lecture. The book is detailed with sufficient supporting data for its arguments, the language clear, and the organization well-structured. The author’s tone was one of a genuine and sincere desire to inform and educate, lacking the salesmanship that I encounter when speaking with many financial advisors. This book provides numerous examples of the concepts, lists resources to consult, and considerations to contemplate with how one thinks about and approaches preparing for retirement.
The conventional conception of retirement as an accumulation of wealth used to provide leisure in one’s post-employment period in life is an over-simplistic notion that does not take into account the instability and complexities of today’s global economy and lack of dependable safeguards against industry failings and lack of integrity. Retirement is more than the attainment of a particular age or level of assets, but a period of life we must consider in the context of both financial and non-financial quality of life considerations that endure beyond this gateway age. I come away from this book more aware of our economic environment with a better understanding of the distinctions between some of the choices available to me in preparing for retirement. While my present financial position has not changed simply in reading this book, the lens through which I viewed retirement–distant, nebulous, and uncertain–has now become more focused. My perspective of my own mortality and the pitfalls of which I must beware has sharpened, and I am motivated to become more proactive. As I believe this is the author’s goal in writing this book, I’ll say job well done.
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