21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
This is a very readable and critically informative book for the pre-retired. It talks about how to plan for retirement and how to think about money during the pre-retirement years (although many of its points continue to be valid during the retirement years as well). What is so valuable about this book is that it is not just a list of "save this" "invest in that", etc. Instead, it talks about how to think about how you use money and what the effects of various financial decisions are on your future finances. It combines behavioral economics with hard data; for example, there is a nice chart on pg. 24 that shows how setting aside $10,000 per year from age 31-40 ($100,000 total) will provide a much larger retirement nest egg than setting aside $10,000 per year from age 41-65 ($250,000 total), all due to the magic of interest compounding over the years. And then it uses that chart to talk about the psychological tendency to procrastinate when it comes to retirement planning and why people need to get beyond this tendency to put off dealing with eventual retirement.
This is a post-meltdown book, and the effects on retirement and retirement planning are well covered. For example, it talks about the spending boom and consequent lack of savings. It uses the real-estate bust to explain why a house should be considered a place to live rather than an investment. How to think about the rise and fall of investment prices. Why retirement will not be the same as it was for earlier generations.
From the title of this book and its minimal blurb, I thought it addressed how to live and prosper during your retirement years, especially for those who have recently found themselves unexpectedly "retired", and need to rethink their budgeting and spending with not as many funds and benefits as were anticipated. So I was disappointed that it addresses a different audience, but it is full of great points and observations.
There are times the book should provide more information. For example, the chapter about taxes points out the great effects of state taxes and why it might make sense to more to a lower-tax state. But, it could really use a chart giving the tax rates in various states, as well as a discussion of the special retirement deals for US citizens which are available in many other countries.
The one thing I really dislike about this book is the gimmicky use of made-up financial planning terminology and psychological attitudes, such as Hell-thcare, Numbertose, and Retirementology. But the author does use these terms to make some very important points, and perhaps by giving them these kinds of names it will help readers notice and pay attention to them better.
So, this book is better for people who are still earning, rather than those who are already retired. I got this book intending to recommend it to my brother-in-law who just recently experienced involuntary early retirement, but for what this book talks about, it is mostly too late for him. Instead, I am going to recommend it to my daughter, who is just beginning her adult financial life and is a great planner who can greatly benefit from the advice here about how to think about money and how to make decisions about spending and saving.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
The focus of Gregory Salsbury's "Retirementology: Rethinking the American Dream in a New Economy" is the psychology of finance also known as behavior economics. Salsbury explains why most of us don't always behave rationally when it comes to money. He not only discusses our self-destructive financial behavior and hidden retirement mistakes but also offers ways to improve financial decisions.
His helpful advice includes:
Retirement should be a process that begins as soon as we engage in earning and investing.
Choosing a lifestyle that eliminates credit card dependence and debt.
Having critical financial health care planning.
Avoiding making big purchases immediately instead of saving to buy them later.
Avoiding the destructive behavior of procrastination, overconfidence, overspending without awareness, discounting the impact of taxes, chasing trends or using the equity in your home as an ATM or retirement plan.
I found Salsbury's new language of retirement with it's many one-of-a-kind terms, descriptions, definitions and scenarios confusing and too academic.
However, the 2008 economy crash makes Salsbury's book a good behavioral finance spending and savings guide for all people not just retirees.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2010
This book illustrates what I've been telling fellow employees for years - don't rely on anticipated money in the future for it may not be there. Pensions are not guaranteed and it seems Social Security is moving the age for retirement up beyond what many consider a reasonable age for retirement.
Dr. Salsbury gives great examples on how money spent on luxury items today can blossom into nice financial payouts in the future if the money is used for investing more than buying gizmos that often will be passé in the near future.
Another great point is what I've been stressing for years to others - a house is a place to live, not an investment. In fact, it's a money pit until you finally do sell it but many see it as a bank that may pay out in the future. Think about it, if you sell your house you still have to buy another which means the money you thought you'd have won't all be there.
This is a very good book for those in their 30s and I see the only fault to be the title which indicates the book is a retirement primer more than a history lesson. It should be mandatory reading for those starting out in life so they can learn the lessons their parents may not have.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2011
This book has very good information, until you get to the sections on taxes and healthcare, where the author goes on a tirade about what Obama is going to do to the country. He rants about things that never happened and totally turned me off. I think this book should be about information you need for retirement, not a political agenda.
Having said that I did find most of the information enlightening and easy to read and understand.
My problem now is how much of what I thought was good information before the rant, is really tainted???
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Several years ago, as a financial professional, I had the opportunity to view a video based on Salsbury's first book, But What If I Live? It was a grim, depressing view with statistics that proved that we were heading for a precipice of problems, that people did not have enough money to retire, were delusional about what they needed and what they would have and had the attitude that 'something' would happen that would make it all possible. It seemed every prospective retiree was going to be a lottery winner, with no back up plan in case it didn't happen. After I saw the video, I read the book. It was better. It didn't paint a rosier scene, but it made its points one by one and built an inarguable case that there was a catastrophe in the making. That was several years ago, when average portfolio returns going back ten years were still positive.
Now, in the new economy (newer anyhow), Salsbury comes back with Retirementology, a behavioral science approach to the problems after the corrections, after the difficulties (assuming they're over, not necessarily a good assumption) and before the worst of the problems comes home to roost. I think my favorite story that he relates is one of his first, that a man who had 3 years to go until he could get social security couldn't afford to wait. So he robbed a bank, handed the cash back to a guard and waited to be arrested. Sentenced to three years in prison, he got out in time to collect social security. The crux of it was that the prosecutor pointed out that 'Its not the financial plan I would have chosen, but at least it was a plan.' Great story...and it sets up the book nicely.
Retirementology is still heavy on the statistics. The author does not skimp on doing his homework to backup his points and he makes the case that things are worse now than ever. He points out that the effect that comes from eating gold dust on sushi isn't that its cool, but that it costs and its wasteful. Where does it cost? Well, in 1992, it was $83,500 but that wasn't the point. That kind of waste meands debt...excess, compounding debt with no plan for repayment, just for paying as we go. We will pass that debt onto successive generations and hope someone, sometime will actually either pay it off or write it off.
The book is worth reading. Entertaining if sobering, the book points out that everyone needs a financial plan, whatever the level of their net worth. It denotes that budgeting, saving, skipping the gold dust on the sushi isn't necessarily a program for success but its no longer a formula for certain disaster.
I recommend this book wholeheartedly and believe the video that gets made from it should be required viewing in every school curriculum.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
At 58, my husband and I are nearly ready to retire. We've spent a lifetime saving and investing, only to have it disappear at the hands of the stock market and government. I'd hoped this book would be a "how to" survive the current economy as you near retirement, but find it geared more toward people just starting out their retirement planning and savings, rather than those who were recently startled to watch their retirement funds disappear. I'd hoped this would give me some investment steps to take for short term recovery, but it is, instead, very good and helpful tips to plan and build for your FUTURE retirement - far into the future. It helps you make decisions on home investment (or simply home buying without thinking of it as an investment) and diversifying your investments. It shows you the importance of participating in employment savings plans, and all the basics one needs to know to at some point retirement without depending on the govt to assist.
Not written for those close to retirement, but hopefully it will help the next generation survive today's economy and tomorrow's tax burdens better than those of us in pre-retirement are going to be able to do.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2011
Book Review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
This is a terrific book for many reasons. First, Salsbury does a great job covering his topic. Both the breadth and depth of the information is impressive, and any one approaching or in retirement -- especially those who are pre-retirement -- will find a great deal of material here from which to learn. The subject of the book is behavior economics -- your conduct when it comes to matters regarding money.
The second reason this is a terrific book is the way Salsbury makes his points. It is consistently outstanding. He uses examples where he places his readers in the position of having to make practical decisions on subjects closely related to their everyday experiences. He then extrapolates those decisions to the broader context of retirement and makes poignant points about their importance and relevance. Let me give you an example from page 12 of his book:
"Dr. Kahneman often uses this seemingly simple math problem in his lectures. A bat and a ball together cost $1.10. The bat costs a dollar more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?
"Your intuitive side may quickly tell you that the ball costs 10 cents. Tempting answer, but wrong. In fact, if the ball costs 10 cents, that would mean the bat costs one dollar more than that or $1.10, so the two together would be $1.20. After you put a little more thought into the problem, you realize the ball must have cost five cents. The point is, it is important to distinguish between decisions that should be made by intuition and those that require careful thought and calculation" (pp. 12-13).
He uses these kinds of simple, practical, relevant examples throughout the book that make the text both engaging and interesting.
The third reason that makes this a terrific book is the author's writing style. The book is extremely readable. Not onl that, Salsbury has a delightful and contagious sense of humor. True, he doesn't use it a lot, but as you read, delightful anecdotes or comments come at you in unexpected places and in unexpected ways. Also, he is continually coining new words that are inventive and humorous. They are all included in the glossary at the end of the book which he labels, "Reterminology: The New Language of Retirement" (pp. 205-210). This book is fun to read.
There is a fourth reason, too. He ends chapters with sections designed to help readers improve their Retirementology IQ. These are different in each chapter; however, all of them are practical, advice-oriented, with specific suggestions to help readers who want to change their behavior and become better managers of their lives.
This may mark me as an academic (or, perhaps, as one accustomed to the old --more academic -- style of writing books), but I enjoy having chapters that end with "Endnotes"--a fifth reason I liked this book. I like to know where authors are getting their information or whom they are using to support their ideas.
Salsbury includes many, many footnotes -- and they reek of credibility. He has definitely done his homework, so, despite his own credentials, which I found at the website, Financial Times (FT) Press, his knowledge is thorough and impressive.
At the FT Press website, I found the following information about his background: "Salsbury received a master's degree in communications from the University of Illinois, and a second master's degree in communication technologies from the Annenberg School of Communications. He received his doctorate in organizational communication from the University of Southern California and is published in the areas of sales, marketing, employee motivation, behavioral finance, and retirement. From his work and experience as a long-standing executive in the financial services industry, Salsbury was uniquely positioned to craft a visionary view of retirement's future. His landmark book, But What If I Live? The American Retirement Crisis, was a wake-up call for a generation of undersaved, overspent, and unprepared Baby Boomers."
When I began reading this book, I could not put it down. The information is relevant and timely, the approach is engaging, the examples and statistics are solid (numerous statistics are used to make his points), and the amount that I gained from the information is breathtaking, to say the least. For pre-retirees, put this on your "must read" list.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Reading about retirement planning sounds about as exciting as watching cheese melt, but Gregory Salsbury has actually put together an entertaining as well as extremely informative guidebook called "Retirementology: Rethinking The American Dream in a New Economy." As a self-employed person for most of my working life, I am not looking at mandatory retirement anytime soon, but since this book addresses the financial crises of the past couple of years and how they relate to retirement, I wanted to see what that author had to say. Like many others, I was diligently investing for my retirement over a period of many years and the losses have been devastating. While the author mentions this several times, there were no real suggestions for recovering from that kind of financial blow. Also, I had never heard of behavioral finance, and found the anecdotes and illustrated points fascinating. While I might not have gotten exactly what I was looking for from the book, I found it practical, realistic, and very approachable. I enjoyed the original vocabulary terms such as the title, "hellthcare," "retirewent," "equimortis," and "kinphobia." I strongly recommend "Retirementology" for anyone - even if retirement isn't decades away. There is a lot of good, solid advice and information here, and that can be very difficult to come by! I suspect it will be many years (if ever) before anyone will again see a comfortable retirement as a sure thing without many years of preparation. This guidebook can be a big help.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is not your average retirement book--and indeed it doesn't go into much depth about all of the various technical things you can do to prepare for retirement. Instead it is a book about behavioral finance as it applies to retirement--how your attitudes, biases, and emotions impact your financial decisions and behavior. The author actually makes this fun and interesting to those of us (like me) who find finances in general a very dry and boring topic--he coins new and funny words (for example, "finerita"= "paralysis by analysis brought on by trying to comprehend contradicting and confusing financial information") and tells amusing anecdotes about people who act irrationally as they follow their feelings when investing. In the process the author helps to equip you to handle your own retirement planning armed with the right attitudes and perspectives. He helps you to avoid destructive investment decisions. And he warns you about mistakes people make so that you won't have to make them yourself.
You can have all of the financial knowledge in the world, but if you make your investment decisions based upon your emotions (and not even realize it), you'll end up making bad decisions. This book will help to arm you so that this doesn't happen.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Retirementology is a book about retirement and the changing investment landscape following the financial crisis of the past few years. The book addresses the many concerns of individuals who have endured the recent economic downtown and are unsure where to turn next. This book spends a good deal of time talking about specific problems with home ownership, equity loans, mortgages, 401k plans, etc., with the author explaining some of the common myths regarding these investments and stressing how important it is to not fall into these common traps.
When Retirementology isn't talking directly about investment losses, the book is talking about the often fascinating subject known as behavioral finance. Irrational buying habits, going to excess, keeping pace with the material gains of friends, overuse of credit cards, purchasing a larger than necessary home, and other behavioral patterns are a small sample of what this book covers and most anyone who reads will be able to point out at least one person who runs his/her financial life in this manner. Behavioral finance is a fascinating subject- it combines finance with psychology and shows how this blending can often end with disastrous results. I can think of several individuals right now who have fallen victim to these spending traps and are now paying the price.
Retirementology is written about a serious subject and the author wants to help everyone achieve a stronger and more secure retirement. This is good, but many readers will still feel a sense of negative desperation as they read. The book continuously points out the many financial shortfalls in consumer accounts- from retirement savings to medical savings to bank savings- and this constant reminder of how poorly everyone is doing is a little depressing at the least and frightening at the worst. The author provides many anecdotes to back his points and many statistical measures to let consumers see the ugliness of the situation first hand. I don't necessarily agree with all of these negative assessments, and I tend to think they are a little exaggerated, but I can also see where the author is coming from. Still, it would be nice to hear something positive about the future. Salisbury remains optimistic that happy days are just around the corner, but his pessimistic commentary will give many readers a feeling of hopelessness.
Retirement savings is important and Retirementology is a good book overall with some humor, some anecdotes, and some facts about the current financial crisis and the toll it has taken on retirement plans, home ownership, and more. The discussion of behavior finance and how it leads to poor decision making is the best part of this book and is reason alone to consider reading it. Combine that with the sensible, practical approach the book takes and you have a personal finance book that is certainly worth a look.