You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.
Today is a very special day – it marks the launch of my latest book, Retirement Made Simple.
I have written over 20 books, but this is one of the most significant ones: it completes a trio that will guide you throughout your life. And the CS Lewis quotation above really tells you what my books are about: moving from where you now are to a better place.
Back of the book:
My first book, Making Money Made Simple, was launched 33 years ago and went on to become one of the biggest selling books in Australia’s history. The whole thrust of that book was that anyone could have more than they thought possible if they made the best use of what they had now – starting today. The readers’ emails that continue to come in are testimony to the power of that book.
Then there was The Beginner’s Guide to Wealth (co-authored with my son James), which gives younger people a strong foundation to create a life of happiness and success, as well as the confidence to go after what they want.
So, The Beginner’s Guide to Wealth helps younger people…
…Making Money Made Simple shows people in the prime of life how to become financially successful…
…and now Retirement Made Simple helps the huge number of people who are retired now or wish to retire in the next 15 years.
The new book is perfectly timed for where we are at the moment. The world is ravaged by COVID-19, and as yet the timing of a vaccine is unknown. Globally, we face a strange combination of rising stock markets and falling interest rates, and more division in politics (especially in the US) than ever before.
Never have retirees and potential retirees faced so much uncertainty. Governments the world over have taken on trillions of dollars of debt, which must put pressure on welfare in the future. In Australia, the politicians are still tinkering with our superannuation system, and an enquiry into retirement incomes has been with Treasury for two months but has still not been released. A major issue for government right now is that so many retirees are depriving themselves of a good retirement by spending at a much lower rate than they need to.
It is now government policy to talk about three pillars of retirement:
- the family home
- superannuation, and
- the age pension.
In the new book I have addressed ALL these issues, and I continue to be amazed at how many different topics are relevant to people in their retirement years: investment, psychology, risk, getting financial advice, scams, maximising Centrelink entitlements, superannuation, moving house, and estate planning – not to mention the uncertainty of how long you will live and the state of your health.
It’s not easy. Even with all my experience – investing in shares for 60 years; co-owner of a large financial advisory business for 30 years; now on the board of a listed company managing funds of over $600 million; member of ASIC’s liaison committee; chasing and reporting on scams and risky investments for 20 years; and writing finance columns for major newspapers for over 30 years – I still find it challenging. That’s right: between the economy constantly changing, laws being revised frequently, new products evolving, fraudsters continually thinking up new tricks, and surprises such as the GFC and COVID-19, even an old hand like myself finds it a challenge.
In Retirement Made Simple I share with you some of the many experiences I have had as a financial adviser and an investor, as well as the input I get from all the emails that arrive in response to my newspaper columns. Hopefully, this material will help you avoid many of the major hazards which lie in wait for the uninformed. We all need to help each other.
I have taken a holistic approach, covering retirement from the psychological angle as well as the financial one. The contents include ways to be healthy in your mind and body, as well as in your pocket. I’ve been fortunate to have so much time and energy to devote to learning about these things, and I’d like to share what I’ve found with you.
Here’s a sneak peek…
What to expect
It’s almost certain that low interest rates will be with us for at least the next five years. Just last week, the Reserve Bank governor was hinting that rates would be dropped even further at their board meeting next month. This makes it critically important for anyone who is accumulating funds for retirement, or who is retired, to make good investment choices, and why I decided to make investing the first section in the book.
Investing for your future contains eight chapters designed to help readers understand how the maths of money works, the role of cash in a portfolio, the bond market, hybrids, investing in local and international shares, real estate and alternative investments. Having read this section, you will have a much better idea of the options available, which will help you make better financial choices.
The second section, When people and money meet, consists of five chapters discussing the way investor psychology interacts with investment choices. First, we define some of the risks that lie in wait for investors, and point out there is no such thing as a risk-free investment. Then we look at risk assessment, explain some key cognitive biases, suggest strategies, and finish the section with examples of scams that have destroyed ordinary people’s hard-earned savings.
Next we move to Designing your own retirement. That section’s six chapters show you how to prepare a retirement budget, calculate how much money you need to retire, and figure out how long your money should last after you retire. Then we discuss how to find a good financial adviser, and what you could expect a financial adviser to do for you. Keep in mind that good advice does cost up-front – but it should pay for itself many times over in the longer term.
The fourth section, Taxation for Retirees, explains how to use the various offsets available so as to pay little or no income tax. We then explore the details of capital gains tax, how it can be minimised and how capital gains tax can affect your estate when you die. There are also examples of investments from which income may be tax free, as well tax-paid investments.
It is easier to keep up than catch up.
LEO D BARDSLEY
No book on retirement would be complete without a discussion of superannuation. Putting the super in superannuation includes six chapters to demystify this topic for you. We discuss the various types of contributions, the best way to build your super, when your funds can be accessed, and show you strategies to make your superannuation work harder not just before retirement but also after it. It’s essential information for those who want to be independent in retirement rather than relying on government handouts that may well be reduced in the future.
A good retirement needs a reliable income and Funding Your Retirement’s four chapters explain retirement income in great depth. Australia has a somewhat unusual post-retirement system. In many other countries, retirees have an income for life. Investment decisions are taken from them, but they generally feel far more financially secure. In Australia, most of us retire with a lump sum and have to decide how to best use that lump sum.
There is currently no perfect retirement income tool: if you choose an annuity, you opt for certainty but lose flexibility; if you go for an account-based pension, you get flexibility, and the ability to withdraw funds as needed, but you are then at the mercy of the volatility of the stock market. Because of these drawbacks, over the last five years the government has been encouraging development of comprehensive income products for retirement (CIPRS). These are still a work in progress, but a big step forward occurred when the government announced favourable new age pension means test rules for “lifetime income streams” purchased on or after 1 July 2019.
Of course, the age pension will play a part in many people’s retirement income, and we discuss in detail strategies to maximise your pension. We finish this section with equity release products – often called reverse mortgages – which can work well in the right circumstances.
I called the next section You can’t take it with you, because it’s all about estate planning, which is often ignored, left to the last minute, or not kept up to date, even though costs of this neglect can be enormous. So this is a crash course in estate planning: outlining wills, enduring powers of attorney, advance care directives, binding financial agreements, and again featuring case studies where bad estate planning strategies lead to most unsatisfactory outcomes. This is becoming particularly important as people live longer – it is becoming increasingly common for people to lose a partner when they are in their mid-70s, and re-partner with a person in a similar situation. This is where estate planning really becomes crucial.
Hopefully, by the end of that section you are feeling far more confident and prepared financially, so in Living it up we move to the two most important items in your retirement – your health and your happiness. This contains invaluable information gleaned from my research over 30 years about ways to live longer, stay healthier, and enjoy life more. Surely that’s what retirement should be about!
I also must give a big thank you to ten friends who read the manuscript and offered helpful suggestions. They cover a wide range of occupations and experience: the CEO of a large superannuation company, a fund manager, some self-funded retirees, and a friend with $400,000 in financial assets who is currently working out the best way forward using a combination of superannuation and the age pension. They were unanimous in their praise for the book – Patricia said, “I wish we would have had this years ago when we retired,” and Barry asked for “two copies right now for my kids, who are 50 and 52.” I was especially pleased that people with such a wealth of experience all told me they had learnt something new. Remember, we are all at risk from what we don’t know.
What’s a book worth?
It’s a fact of life that we can either learn from our own experiences, which can be costly and stressful, or from the experience of other people. And reading books is one of the best ways to do that, since you get people’s experience presented clearly and succinctly. As Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “Where you will be in five years depends on the people you meet and the books you read.
Think about this email I received last week:
I first bought your book ‘Making Money made Simple’ in the 1980s and I found it very, very helpful. It gave me ideas and it gave me focus. I am now 68 and retired, and still following your book’s principles.
I recently bought the latest edition, together with ‘Superannuation made Simple’. I thought they were so marvellous and informative that I have bought three sets as Christmas presents for my three sons, Tim, Brendan and Andrew. They are in their 30s and 40s now and are doing their best to build assets for the future. Thank you, Noel, for your excellent financial ideas, your level-headedness, and the wit of your writing. It has all helped the family a great deal.
My wish for you all is that Retirement Made Simple is not just a stepping stone to a wonderful retirement, but also a trusted companion for the rest of your life.
Order a copy of the brand-new book Retirement Made Simple and take the worry out of what should be the most fulfilling stage of your life.
The first 500 books will be signed, giving an extra benefit for the early-bird.
How do I buy the book?
The books are being printed now, but then have to shipped to the warehouse of Simon and Schuster and from there distributed to the bookstores who have bought them. When you add in possible delays due to Covid ,there is a real possibility that the new book will not be in the bookstores until the end of November.
The good news is that I will have a special allocation sent direct to me from the printers. Retirement Made Simple should be in the hands of our dispatch people by November 2 – orders received in the next few days should be in your hands by the end of the first week in November.
Because subscribers to this newsletter are part of the Noel Whittaker family I’m giving you all the opportunity to get prepublication copies at a discounted price. There is just one qualification: you need to get in early.
The retail price is $29.99 but the discounted price for early-bird buyers will be $27.99 plus postage.
Or take advantage of a two-for-less deal where you can buy any two of my books for just $47.99 with FREE postage.
The reduced prices will expire on November 8.
I think Retirement Made Simple will be an even bigger seller than Making Money Made Simple and I’m keen to get books in circulation as soon as possible to spread the word.
For more information about bulk ordering, pre-orders, or anything else, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org