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In You Can Do It!, Jonathan Pond, the man who's been called "America's financial planner," shows how anyone can have a financially safe, happy, and comfortable retirement in this comprehensive and easy-to-use guide. Packed with practical wisdom on topics ranging from Social Security to health insurance, how to save to managing your expenses, and much more, You Can Do It! features Jonathan's famous and distinctively ebullient voice. So whether you're worried about getting a late start, skyrocketing health care expenses, or the difficulty of paying for a college education, You Can Do It! will show you--in straightforward, easy-to-implement ways—how you too can make sure your retirement is fun and financially secure.
"Are Americans Saving 'Optimally' for Retirement?" (Journal of Political Economy, August 2006) by Scholz, Seshadri, and Khitatrakun. The authors conducted a rigorous analysis of the financial status of working-age Americans and concluded that over 80 percent of the house-holds surveyed met or exceeded their wealth targets, and most of those who were below missed by a relatively small amount. The data for these conclusions came from 1992 and 1993, before the big increases in the stock market later in the 1990s and the boom in real estate prices, so the financial outlook for boomers may be even better.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda. If only I had started earlier. How often have you lamented not having begun to save early enough or making such incredibly naive investment decisions? Is there anyone, at any age, who hasn't felt the same, other than the occasional socially marginal savings zealot who thrives on self-deprivation (and ends up on the cover of one of the consumer financial magazines to make you feel even worse)? You need to get over dwelling on your past financial omissions before you can rationally plan for the future. You've moved on from other past indiscretions. So why is it that we can't get over past pecuniary shortcomings?Because, while we can completely get over most of what we've regretted in the past, we have to live the rest of our lives thinking that we'd be in better shape if we had developed sounder financial habits earlier. Such misgivings are present whether you're forty-two, fifty-two, or sixty. Either you can be despondent or you can take at least some solace from the realization that most--virtually all--baby boomers have the same misgivings. Thanks to the yeoman's efforts of the media and financial ser-vices industry, you are reminded of your lamentable state daily. Learn to tune them out.
The retirement planning two-step. Presumably, you purchased or were given this guide to get some ideas about achieving a better retirement. If so, you can do yourself a lot of good by reading these pages with a positive attitude. If you're suffering from the "woulda, coulda, shoulda" syndrome, imagine that today you're are at a fork in the road. You can continue on the same route as you have in the past:
1. I regret my past financial dereliction, so
2. I'm afraid to face my financial future.
Or, you could view your future as an opportunity, rather than a problem:
1. There's nothing I can do about the past, but
2. I'm ready to improve my financial future.
If you'll promise to take the positive fork in the road, I'll make the following promises as you read these pages:
A. You won't be chided for your past financial mistakes, but you will be shown how to avoid making those same mistakes in the future.
B. I won't depress you with stories of people who got rich quick using cockamamy get-rich-quick schemes, like llama farming, but I will show you how to achieve a great retirement, even a rich retirement.
C. You won't find a Holy Grail leading to financial nirvana, but you will be given sensible guidance on all of the important financial decisions you need to make between now and the time you retire.
D. You won't be given a bunch of dubious "can't lose" investment ideas, but you will at last find out how to invest very successfully under all economic and market conditions.
Whether you are two years or twenty-two years from retirement, you'll find ways to retire on your own terms. As you read the pages that follow, my goal is to have you say, time and again, "I can do that," because you can.
Belaboring the Obvious:
The Keys to Achieving a Great Retirement
Before launching into the nitty-gritty, a brief review of the keys to achieving a great retirement is in order. Here they are:
1. Living beneath your means.
2. Investing your savings wisely.
3. Eliminating debt.
4. Preventing financial disruptions.
5. Staying active and maintaining your health.
They're pretty obvious, aren't they? But they're still difficult to implement and maintain.
It's all or nothing. One major impediment is the national mentality, perfected by the baby boomer generation, toward "all or nothing," which even affects our financial planning. "I'm ten years from retirement, but have twenty-five years left on my mortgage. I could pay it off in ten years by adding an extra $600 to my mortgage payment." The result is predictable. The $600 extra payment proves impossible to maintain, so it's back to making the regular payments a couple of months later. By that time, the well-intended home owner feels even more disheartened about his financial future. More realistic: He would have a better chance of success by gradually working up to the high extra-payment level, even if it took a couple of years to get there.
That old devil human nature. Human nature also impedes making improvements in our financial lives. It's a lot easier to spend money, and to justify our expenditures as essential, than it is to forgo some spending to save for a retirement that seems a long way off--or may be too imminent, in which case, why bother? Human nature also causes us to avoid contemplating risks to our own and our family's financial futures--unpleasant events such as job loss, disability, and death.
Success tip. Resist the temptation to avoid confronting the future and, when changes need to be made, make them gradually rather than in one fell swoop.
This book is filled with guidance and checklists that will help you make some positive changes in your financial future as well as plan for a fulfilling retirement. But before delving in, here's an introduction to the problems--and opportunities--in grappling with the five aforementioned essential keys to achieving a great retirement.
Excerpted from You Can Do It! by Jonathan Pond Copyright © 2006 by Jonathan Pond. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted November 29, 2009
I'm not much for writing reviews, other than to say that this book inspried me to not only give this book a thumbs-up, but I felt the material covered was compelling and usable enough that I decided to buy 10 copies (one for each of my employees) as a Christmas gift. If they can take at least one thing away from this book as something that they would take action on, then it was a great gift.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 15, 2007
I ran into Jonathan Pond on a flight from Los Angeles to Boston, and Jonathan lent me copy of his new book, You Can Do It!, to pass the time on the long flight. Jonathan had been in Los Angeles to speak about financial and retirement planning to a crowd of almost 20,000 people on the previous day, and I was curious to find out if Jonathan is as fun and interesting in print as he is in person. The answer is: He is! I am a tax attorney and I help people with estate planning, wealth transfer, and retirement planning as part of my job. That said, I was surprised and impressed at how much interesting and useful information I learned from You Can Do It! This is a remarkably readable book that also manages to ¿talk up¿ rather than ¿talk down¿ to the audience. Whatever your level of expertise, this book contains information that you will find invaluable in planning for your retirement (and Beyond).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 28, 2006
Jonathan D. Pond proves that he can extract himself from the chats on PBS and translate his wise, witty, supportive and helpful advice in book form in this excellent book YOU CAN DO IT! This is one of the most readable, reassuring books on planning for the future for the Baby Boomer Generation that is available. For starters, Pond dismisses the fallacy that the Boomers are in deep trouble because of their lifestyles and lack of planning for the future (read, too much emphasis on living for the present and not putting away an adequate nest egg). This is how he grabs our attention, by demonstrating in data and facts that Boomers are not ill-prepared but instead have the ability to plan wisely at this time to reassure a life of relaxed leisure at the time of retirement ¿ whenever that may occur. To quote from his words regarding the keys to achieving a Great Retirement he lists: 1. Living beneath your means 2. Investing your savings wisely 3. Eliminating debt 4. Preventing financial disruptions 5. Staying active and maintaining your health From this point on Pond outlines with practical check lists the means for achieving these goals. His advice on what to do about the mortgage, how to plan for financial security within the realm of everyone¿s particular station, how to pay attention to health, estate planning, how to make decisions about scaling down the living space to free up monies for living, etc is so supportive that he manages to reassure Boomers of every age range instead of the usual fright tactics. This is an upbeat, humorous, warm conversation with enough information to cope with the prejudged beast of Retirement. For those who remember how secure and cozy Louis Ruykeyser used to make us feel on his television show, reading this book is like having Pond and Ruykeyser to tea. This book instantly becomes an invaluable tome for every person facing thoughts of retirement. Highly recommended. Grady HarpWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.