It’s about taking control of your future so that when you finally get there you’re not surprised at what it looks like. And it’s about making sure you know the truth and deal from a place of fact, not fear.
~ Gail Vaz-Oxlade
Planning for retirement can be confusing – so much so that many of us avoid it altogether. If you’re Canadian, you might be further confused by the fact that much of the information out there is directed at Americans. While the basic principles of retirement saving know no borders, there are significant differences in the types of retirement saving vehicles out there and their corresponding tax laws.
It goes without saying that avoidance is not a good retirement strategy. No worries. Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s latest book called Never Too Late: Take Control of Your Retirement and Your Futurecan help you set a course for retirement that works for you.
Win a Signed Copy of Never Too Late
Thanks to InsureCan, I can offer a signed copy of Never Too Late to one lucky reader. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and I’ll enter you in a draw for the book. I’ll announce the winner on Friday, November 4th, 2011. Good luck to all!
10 Questions Never Too Late Can Help You Answer
Gail’s no-nonsense style is familiar to many Canadians and her voice comes through loud and clear in this book. One thing she makes clear from the beginning and repeats throughout the book is that “only you can take the steps to get from where you are now to where you want to be.” She provides lots of practical information in an easy to read, clear cut format. Here are just a few of those nagging retirement questions Gail addresses:
1. How much money do I need to save for retirement?
2. How can I save enough for retirement?
3. Should I save for retirement or my child’s education?
4. Should I pay down my debt/mortgage before I save for retirement?
5. How should I invest my retirement savings?
6. What are the tax implications of RRSPs vs. TFSAs vs. unregistered investment vehicles?
7. Am I too young or too old to start saving for retirement? (Hint: No!)
8. Should I borrow money to invest? (Hint: No!)
9. What happens when I retire?
10. What happens to my retirement savings when I die?
If you know Gail, you know that she’s not prone to equivocation. She has strong views about some of these issues, but she’s also careful to lay out a variety of options when it’s warranted. One thing she’s particularly peeved about is the proliferation of bad information coming from some advisors, some sectors of the media and the financial industry in general. Her antidote for all of this is simple common sense and she delivers that in spades.
5 Things I Liked about This Book
1. Emphasis on Balance
Gail stresses throughout the book that saving for retirement is a balancing act. Contributing enough to all of our financial priorities without living a spartan existence is the key, but it can be easier said than done. “Having enough money is a wholly personal thing; there’s no magic number. You have to decide if what you have is enough.”
2. Find What’s Right for You
Not every investment vehicle fits for every saver. Your idea of enough and the best way to get there will be different than mine depending on a whole host of factors. Some of us have company pension plans to factor in and some of us don’t. Our income level will affect how much we can save, our choice of investments and the resulting tax implications. It can also affect how much we will receive from the government once we retire.
3. Easy to Read and Understand
Gail’s tone is very conversational and she brings an element of simplicity to even the more complicated aspects of retirement planning.
4. Clear Examples, Charts and Forms
Never Too Late doesn’t just tell us how to save for retirement, it shows us. There are forms to help you calculate your net worth and plan a budget, as well as helpful charts on investments and sample returns. Gail also breaks down a lot of the information according to age: a 50-year-old will have a different approach to retirement than a 20-year-old.
5. Emphasis on Saving, Action, and Specifics
It’s easy to get caught up in the acronym whirlpool at the heart of the retirement savings industry. Sometimes I get so preoccupied with trying to choose the best investment that I forget to prioritize the savings themselves. No savings, no investments. Gail offers lots of specific suggestions on how to cut spending and increase savings.
You can know heaps of information about retirement planning and investing, but it won’t do you any good if you don’t put it into action. Gail points out that “your life is yours to make of it what you will. And it’s never too late to get started making it what you want it to be.”
If you’ve read the book, would you share your thoughts? If not, do you think this book might be of some help to you?