I am a Certified Financial Planner™ who specializes in helping average people save and plan for their retirements. I have recently been named as an ambassador on behalf of the CFP® Board which includes helping to spread the word regarding the importance of creating and implementing a long term financial plan.
Tell us about your most recent book.
My book, RetirementQuest: Make Better Decisions, was written to help readers embrace the challenges embodied in our changing cultural reality. Caught in a shift from idling along as passive benefit recipients of such stalwart entitlements as corporate pensions and Social Security; we now find ourselves having to rely almost entirely on our own investment acumen to survive increasingly lengthy retirements.
Unfortunately for many, we live in an investment world dominated by sound bites and sales pitches which have all too often led to tragic consequences for those who lack investment savvy. In fact, the financial services industry all too often victimizes clients by preying on their primordial vulnerabilities!
RetirementQuest: Make Better Decisions, exposes shortcomings in the way we, as a society, plan for our long term wellbeing and seeks to provide an easy to understand framework from which more effective outcomes may be realized.
What inspired you to write this book?
I have made some critical observations over my twenty year career and have sadly come to the conclusion that most investors are ill-prepared to make the transition from living off of a paycheck, and instead must rely on their own investment skills to produce a livable income. Horrifically, I have observed that far too many so-called professionals are prone to the same mistakes at best, and at worst intentionally prey upon the investing public. Seventy million baby boomers are on the precipice of falling from their peak earning years down into the depths of something potentially much grimmer. The national, as well as personal consequences are potentially enormous with the cost of failure unthinkable. Simply put, we must right our sinking cultural (financial) ship because we can kick the can no further. I wrote this book to provide a guide for responsible savers and investors to hopefully build a better framework from which to embrace this challenge.
How did you choose the title?
I chose the title because it combines the task at hand, our individual retirement quests, with the immediate need to make better decisions than many investors have made in the past. A brief look backward highlights a landscape which is littered with the wreckage of dot com implosions, real estate collapses, pension failures, scams, fraud, sales pitches, and sound bite decision making.
What obstacles did you encounter?
The primary obstacle I encountered was the need to blend a seemingly endless stream of necessary, appropriate, and required legal disclosures without losing the ability of the average reader to understand the basic concepts. The intent of this book was to present complicated material in a manner that laymen can follow.
Did you learn anything from writing this book?
Since I wrote this book based upon my experiences and observations I would not say that writing this book was a learning experience as much as a confirmation of some things I suspected. I confirmed for instance that I am in fact a copy editor’s worst nightmare and that Dick, Brittany, Staci and others are patient wonders of humanity. I also did learn that writing a book is actually the easy part!
What would you tell other authors?
Start off right from the beginning and seek out the help of professionals. They will save you money and time in the long run. Also, do that “how to” reading, even if you would really rather do almost anything else than; like how to get published and how to submit a manuscript. For those who are investment professionals, I would also recommend that they start out with their legal/compliance department because it is often easier to incorporate legalese from the beginning than have to go back and make changes. Such changes may well affect how the book is laid out and may cause the need for an entire re-format!