Retirement FailThe 9 Reasons People Flunk Post-Work Life and How to Ace Your Own
There are nine key reasons people fail at retirement—and they’re not what you think. Are you working to avoid these major retirement fails? Every day, people just like you, people who have worked hard and saved carefully for retirement, make decisions that will eventually crack their nest egg. Just because you added to your 401(k) or IRA plan every year, invested wisely, and amassed significant savings, you are not necessarily home free. Ready or not, your decisions all along the retirement path can positively or negatively affect your financial future. In Retirement Fail, top financial advisor Greg Sullivan shares the insights he has gained over his thirty-five-year career in wealth management to help you identify potential pitfalls and learn how to safeguard your hard-earned retirement assets. Because, contrary to what most people think, it is not poor portfolio performance that usually busts your retirement accounts. Rather, it’s the emotional decisions you make that can cause major problems. Whether it’s buying a vacation home that is beyond your reach, subsidizing your adult kids to a degree that is ill advised, or passing on the umbrella insurance your advisor recommended, the choices you make have an enormous effect on whether you’ll be able to enjoy the comfortable retirement you’ve dreamed about. Retirement Fail: Lays out the nine common hazards that trip up otherwise well-prepared retirees, encouraging you to think through your decisions and set a course aligned with your values and your ultimate goals Goes beyond traditional financial advice, using personal stories to illustrate how others have become mired in—or solved—these financial dilemmas Creates a valuable framework you can use to chart your path or begin conversations with your advisor, so that you can act to protect your financial independence The numerical side of financial planning is one thing—the far more difficult task is looking at the way the decisions we make impact our own future and those around us. Whether you are working with a financial advisor or are going it alone, Retirement Fail shows you the points you need to pay attention to and helps you figure out what your priorities are—and what tradeoffs you may have to make in order to achieve them.
Foreword Acknowledgments ix Introduction xiii Chapter 1 A (Too) Free Flow of Cash 1 Chapter 2 The Nest That Won’t Empty 20 Chapter 3 Graying Divorce 36 Chapter 4 That Home Away from Home 55 Chapter 5 The Lure of the Entrepreneur 69 Chapter 6 Swindler’s Mark 85 Chapter 7 Health Matters 99 Chapter 8 Life’s Unpredictabilities 114 Chapter 9 Underliving Your Wealth 136 Finding the Right Financial Advisor 144 Checklist: Finding the Right Advisor 149 About the Author 151 Resources 152 Notes 153 Index 159
GREG SULLIVAN, CPA, CFP®, is president and CEO of Sullivan Bruyette Speros & Blayney, a wealth advisory firm providing financial advice to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth clients. He is a founding member of both the Alpha Group and Blind Squirrels, national consortia of wealth managers and business owners. Barron's has recognized Greg as one of the nation's Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors and Washingtonian magazine named him as one of the Best Financial Advisers in Washington, DC. For more, visit RetirementFail.com
No matter how faithfully you have planned for your retirement or how much you've invested in your 401(k) or IRA account, the decisions you make along the retirement path will either enhance or negatively impact your financial future. In Retirement Fail, top investment advisor Greg Sullivan shares his years of experience to shed light on the potential financial pitfalls you may encounter and shows you how to protect your precious assets in retirement. Sullivan takes the contrarian view that it isn't poor portfolio performance that breaks the retirement bank. The real reason retirees get into financial trouble is the emotional decisions they tend to make with their assets. Buying that vacation home that's just beyond reach, helping adult children finance graduate degrees, or taking a pass on the umbrella insurance an advisor strongly recommends—such decisions can all have an enormous effect on whether you'll be able to one day enjoy a comfortable retirement. The book is filled with real-life stories that explore the difficult financial situations people have found themselves in and how they managed to come out on the other side. These stories, some positive and others negative, highlight workable solutions and offer warnings for avoiding losses. Step by step, the author reveals the warning signs you must heed and includes suggestions for thinking through your priorities—and the tradeoffs you may have to make to reach your goals. Making the right choices can be the difference between a comfortable retirement and one that is filled with stress and worry.
PRAISE FOR RETIREMENT FAIL "Greg Sullivan reveals why the choices we make are sometimes more important than the income we make. In a very conversational way, Greg reveals how people in retirement create unnecessary stress in their golden years by buying things, building things, or pursuing immediate gratification without regard to the impact on their long-term life style and their pursuit of happiness. With this book, Greg brings wonderful perspective from his years of experience in working with those transitioning to the last third of their lives. He also does a masterful job of provoking other financial professionals to dig into the human side and not just rely on the numbers to give meaningful guidance to their clients." —Mark Tibergien, Chief Executive Officer, Pershing Advisor Solutions, a BNY Mellon Company "As a trained accountant, Greg Sullivan knows the numbers behind retirement success. What sets him apart, however, are the stories he's accumulated over his distinguished career of how even the best of us can fail at retirement. This rare right-brain/left-brain view provides valuable guidance that can help all of us better navigate the road to a successful retirement and a more meaningful life. Leave it to a CPA to write the best story-based guide to retirement that you'll ever read!" —Don Phillips, Managing Director, Morningstar "With a thoughtful effort to focus on the most practical points, Sullivan lays out for the readers of Retirement Fail a step-by-step guide to mastering a successful and financially stable retirement. Drawing on decades of experience and wisdom in helping people avoid or recover from their money mistakes, he illuminates a litany of must-do rules and real-life lessons to ensure retirement funds last. It is a worthy read for any investor—Bravo!" —Sterling Shea, Associate Publisher, Head of Advisory Programs, Barron's "The average person spends more than 50 years of his or her life working, and many of those years saving for and preparing for retirement. Greg Sullivan's Retirement Fail: The 9 Reasons People Flunk Post-Work Life and How to Ace Your Own serves as a guide to avoiding behavioral and lifestyle mistakes that can trip us up, and frankly, are easy to make. This book opens our eyes to how much of our retirement success is truly within our own control." —Bernie Clark, Executive Vice President, Advisor Services, Charles Schwab & Co. "If you're approaching or are in retirement, this is a book you need to read. Think of Retirement Fail as tough love. Reading all of the possible reasons your retirement may fail might seem to be an unpleasant experience but Greg Sullivan's very readable real-world vignettes on issues from 'imprudent spending' to 'graying divorce' will provide you with the awareness and knowledge you need to ensure you don't fail." —Harold Evensky, CFP®
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