If you’re planning to retire, first you need a plan

by user

There’s a ton of retirement books out there, many of them are aimed at investment professionals like myself or younger readers looking to get their money lives in order.

Fine books, I’m sure, but what about the huge numbers of Americans on the cusp of leaving work and who perhaps feel like the ground is shifting beneath their feet?

Some 10,000 people a day retire in the United States, a trend that will hold up for years to come. Collectively, we have $35 trillion in retirement savings, yet six out of 10 Americans believe Social Security will be their main source of income.

There’s a lot going on—politics, inflation, war, a pandemic. Housing hasn’t behaved normally in years, and the stock market seems to ping-pong between joy and anguish with increasing frequency.

That’s why I was heartened to read Retirement Reboot: Common Sense Strategies for Getting Back on Track by Mark Miller, a New York Times contributor who also writes about retirement for Reuters and Morningstar.

Mark nails the demographic here. If you’re anywhere past 50 and wondering what to do about retirement, this is your no-nonsense, break-it-down guidebook for getting from here to there.

It starts off with advice which as a financial adviser I wholeheartedly endorse: Have a plan. Without jargon and without pretense, Miller explains how a written financial plan provides crucial context for every decision that follows.

From there, he jumps right into the nuts-and-bolts topics that so many folks nearing retirement desperately need to understand better. When to retire, when to take (and why you should delay) Social Security, how Medicare works, catching up on savings, and properly tapping into home equity.

Then, because good planning is complete planning, Miller goes deeper into fundamental retirement life choices, such as learning new ways to work, aging in place, long-term care, managing taxes, even finding purpose in your new retirement adventure.

Miller also counsels retirees and soon-to-be retirees to consider seeking trustworthy financial advice. As he points out, the transition from a lifetime of earning to spending is a hard one, fraught with complexity.

He explains the various types of financial advisers, their pros and cons, how to interview and hire one, and the importance of understanding the role of a fiduciary in your investment process.

Any complete retirement planning bookshelf needs a copy of Retirement Reboot. If you’re just beginning your journey, it’s a great place to start.

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