So there I was a few weeks ago, just playing around on my laptop a few weeks ago in my living room and minding my own business, when I see a tweet from MoneySense magazine. All I had to do is be one of the first two to reply to the tweet, and I’d have my very own copy of MoneySense’s Real Estate Guide. I was quick on the draw, and totally won, signifying the first time I’d ever won anything.
Then a few days later, much to my surprise, MoneySense emailed me, with some crazy good news. They had screwed up and sent the above pictured retirement guide instead of the real estate guide. Not to worry they told me, the real estate guide would also be sent. Two free books? What a great screw up!
So today I’m passing along my good fortune to you kids. I’ve spent some time reading the Guide To Retiring Wealthy, and it’s a pretty solid read. With a little luck, you could win the very copy I read with potato chip stained fingers. But before I give it away, let me tell you a little about what the book is about.
The book is divided into chapters that cover a decade in financial planning, your 20s, 30s, etc. Each chapter also includes a look into the life of a fictional couple John and Mary, and what they’re worrying about at a certain stage in their lives. No word on whether Mary is hot or not though.Finally, at the end, there’s a self test, so you can see whether you’re on track. Like every other test in my life, I’m probably going to fail this one too.
The book starts off with some tips for 20 somethings, focusing on getting the other parts of your financial life in order- like student loan and credit card debt taken care of. It also dispenses advice on how to start saving, touches on RRSPs and TFSAs, and gives tips on how to buy a car and also tackles the debate of whether a person in their 20s should buy or rent a house. John and Mary also show up, get married, and by the time they turn 30, Mary is pregnant! Let’s hope John is the Dad…
Naturally, someone in their 30s usually has more money related stress in their lives. They’ve just bought a house and maybe have become new parents. Staying afloat while paying a mortgage and raising kids can be tough, adding retirement savings to the mix almost seems impossible. The chapter also touches on insurance needs and whether a new parent can afford to stay at home with the kids or go back to work. There’s also the only RESP article in the whole world not written by Mike at MoneySmartsBlog. Seriously, if you’re looking for RESP advice, Mike is the man. I’m going to harass him on almost a daily basis with RESP questions once I convince some
sucker lucky woman to have my babies.
One thing I don’t like about the book is the acceptance of having a car payment. All sorts of experts share their opinions in the topics covered, and they all imply that a car payment is a given. There is no rule you have to buy a new or next to new car. A car bought for $5,000 or $10,000 will not spontaneously combust, I promise.
John and Mary are back, and they’re not doing especially well. They bought a house using a 35 year amortization. They owed money on their credit cards and a car loan. They have a positive net worth, but almost all of it is just equity in their house. I smell a midlife crisis coming up soon…
My favorite chapter in the book so far talks about just how much you’re looking at to retire, along with some basic investment strategies to get there. It also touches on pensions, whether or not buying a rental property should be part of the plan, how to recover financially from a divorce, and tips on how to take a year’s sabbatical. John and Mary are chugging along nicely, no word on whether he’s cheated on her with that hot divorcee who works in accounting.
Even if someone hasn’t saved a significant amount by the time they turn 50, the guide explains they’re hardly screwed. Once the mortgage is paid off, savings can really be supercharged. The chapter also covers adult children moving back in, as well as retirement withdrawal rates, and avoiding debt going into retirement. John and Mary- ah, screw it. They’re boring.
Your 60s and 70s
Oh yeah! You’re finally retired. The final chapters in the book talk about estate planning, adjusting asset allocation of your investments once you retire, and tips on how to get a job that both boosts income and is fun. Easily the best part for me was the section of retiring abroad in places like Mexico or Costa Rica. I’m not sure why more retirees don’t look at this option.
A Chance To Win The Book
Overall, the guide was a pretty solid read. It’s packed full of great tips for people of any age who are interested in getting their retirement savings on track. Now I bet you want a chance to win the book, huh? Well, you’re in luck. I’m giving you all sorts of ways to win! Just do one (or all if you’re so inclined) of the following to get a chance to get the book.
1. Leave a comment (1 entry)
2. Mention this giveaway on the Twitter (1 entry) Make sure you @ me when you do, or I’ll have no way of figuring out if you did. If you become a new Twitter follower or you already follow me, I’ll give you a bonus entry.
3. Link to this contest on your blog (3 entries)
So there you have it. You could easily get 6 entries to this contest, easily the greatest to happen to anyone. And since I fully expect to get about 9 total entries, you’ve gotta like your chances! I’ll draw for the winner on Friday June 3rd, and announce the winner in the link dump the next day. Oh, and you’ve gotta live in Canada or the U.S. to win. I’m not shipping this thing all the way to Timbuktu.