No, this post isn't about avoiding these pitfalls. It is a brief review of a clever new book, The 7 Deadly Retirement Sins, by financial planner, Ryan Zacharczyk. He covers the biggest mistakes folks tend to make while planning for a satisfying retirement, but in a unique way. He has created a fictional character who interviews 35 retirees and uncovers the seven common mistakes that these folks made.
Samantha, known throughout the book as Sam, is as freelance writer who has an aunt facing the loss of her house due to poor money management. Desperate to help her, Sam sinks all of her financial resources into a cross country trip to visit and interview nearly three dozen retired people who tell her about the mistakes they have made. Sam's desire is to find some answers that will help her Aunt Cindy while turning the information she finds into a series of articles. The book traces her journey of discovery that leads her to an important decision: there are really only seven key financial mistakes that we make over and over again.
In an unexpected twist at the end, Sam's articles are so well received she is able to turn them into a book and establish a fund that gives money back to the interviewees who made it all possible.
The 7 Deadly Retirement Sins is an easy read but contains a strong restatement of what we all need to know for our financial health. Of course, our financial health has a direct influence on our physical, emotional, and relationship health as well.
I enjoyed Ryan's writing style and his creation of a character who is memorable and believable, except in one aspect: she completes her transcontinental, three month journey, by train! In America, trying to travel around the country on any type of schedule and under any reasonable budget cannot be done with Amtrak. But, I like train travel so I suspended my rational mind and let her complete her journey.
What are the 7 deadly sins? I could suggest you buy and read the book, but in the interest of time saving let me give you a sneak peak. Here are the common sins Sam "discovers:"
1. Retiring too early & living above your means
2. Allocated your assets improperly
3. Collecting Social Security at the wrong time
4. Working with the wrong (or no) advisor
5. Paying too much in fees and expenses
6. Trying to time the market
7. Lack of insurance to protect against a major health event
The author is a financial advisor so #4 is no great surprise. But, I was pleased that he kept any strong "sell" for what he does and its importance well in check. He lets the stories of each retiree make his point.
The book is available on-line between $12 and $16 in paperback and $8 for an electronic version. For more information visit Amazon or 7sinsbook.com
I enjoyed this book and can recommend it as a helpful reminder of steps we all should consider as we plan for our satisfying retirement. As the author states at the end of the story, "Retirement is not about money. Retirement is about freedom, exploration, and your ability to enrich your life, as well as the lives of those around you."
Note: I received no compensation for this review beyond a free copy of the book.