There are some things that none of us really want to think about. We find it hard to believe, for instance, that we will really die one day. Death is something that happens to other people, not to us. Most of us seem to have the same problem focusing on our eventual retirement from the workplace and what it takes to prepare ourselves for life after work. We just assume that everything will take care of itself, that we will somehow accumulate the resources we need to live out the rest of our lives in the same style we lived while working a full-time job.
In fact, according to Bill Billimoria, some 23% of workers who reach the age of 65 will have no choice but to continue working beyond that milestone, and another 73% of them will be partially dependent on family, friends, charity and the government to help them finance their retirement years. That means that only 4% of American workers reach the age of 65 with the means to consider themselves financially secure and independent.
Billimoria, a longtime financial advisor, hopes to reach some of those currently doomed to join the 96% before it is too late and they find themselves 65-years-old and unprepared for their future. On Golden Pond... Or Up the Creek? outlines a plan that will go a long way in ensuring that its readers end up part of the elite 4% who are ready for retirement rather than part of the population that never quite gets there.
The book serves both as a primer for those who are starting from scratch and as a check list for those who are a little farther along in the process. Billimoria begins by explaining the eight barriers to a successful retirement: lack of a plan, ignorance, too much debt, bad investments, not enough insurance, failing to take into account inflation and taxes, and procrastination. Devoting whole chapters to some of them, he describes each of the barriers and why they have to be avoided if successful retirement is to be reached. Billimoria closes the book with chapters on tax-efficient estate planning and why he believes that most investors should take advantage of the services offered by a professional financial adviser.
As Billimoria points out several times, On Golden Pond... Or Up the Creek? is not a book long on details. What he offers instead is a broadly outlined plan that can be used by the reader to create an investment and savings plan that will carry him successfully to the goal of being able to retire around age 65. The book includes all of the basic worksheets necessary to produce income statements, projections of annual expenses, net worth statements, estimated expenses at retirement, retirement objectives, and estimated retirement income to be produced by savings. This will not be the only book that future retirees need to study, but they will not go wrong if it is the first.