You are previewing Retirement Countdown: Take Action Now to Get the Life You Want.
O'Reilly logo
Retirement Countdown: Take Action Now to Get the Life You Want

Book Description

“How important is it to pay attention to this book? How important is it to live without fear? How important is it to be able to help your children and grandchildren? How important is it to be able to enjoy yourself after you retire instead of living in terror? How important is it to live on the golf course instead of in a single room of a retirement hotel? Or, to put it another way, this book is important, and rarely has a book so important been so much fun to read.”
—Ben Stein, Economist, Lawyer, Writer, TV Personality and Honorary Chair of the National Retirement Planning Coalition.

“Retirement Countdown offers a wonderful perspective on retirement issues. Not only does the book create awareness, it helps solve the problems faced by so many people who don’t know how to plan. By introducing Goal Oriented Retirement Planning, David Shapiro has created a breakthrough process for matching assets with goals and achieving success. This is must-read book!”
—Tom West, Retired Chairman and CEO, American General Retirement Services

“This book offers a comprehensive approach to retirement planning delivered in an enjoyable and easy-to-read format. I’m going to recommend it to all my clients in the pre-retirement stage. Shapiro makes the journey fun!”
—Pat Hanley-Peterson, Ph.D., Vice President, Director of Professional Services, Certified Executive Coach, Lee Hecht Harrison

“David Shapiro has for years been a source of information on financial instruments and trends for industry professionals. Now he uses that expertise to make information accessible to the general public. With this accessible book, David Shapiro makes the process of retirement planning less daunting for everyone, regardless of individual levels of expertise.”
—Juanita Brown, Senior Vice President, Associated Securities

“Don’t just read this book; use it. The author builds a powerful case for accepting personal responsibility for taking action now. Time is money. Invest yours now; you will love the rate of return. With Shapiro as your guide, help replaces hope.”
—Tim Freeman, President, Efficient Marketing, LLC

Protect your retirement, one step at a time—starting today!

  • Don’t outlive your assets! Know what you’ll need, how to get it, and how to keep it

  • Personal coaching from one of the world’s leading retirement planning experts

  • Overcome the #1 danger to your retirement: procrastination. Only Jerry Seinfeld can make money doing nothing!

  • Understand retirement investment risks—and manage them

  • Author provides interactive retirement planning tools at

  • Concerned about retirement income? You’d better be. Don’t panic. Act! Retirement Countdown will help you every step of the way.

    In this action-oriented book, you’ll discover where you stand, make a solid plan, and learn how to stick with it. You’ll assess all your options, discovering practical strategies for controlling risk as you build savings. You’ll learn how to tweak your plan to reflect changing times. And, once you’ve retired, you’ll learn the best ways to protect and stretch your savings.

    Whatever your assets, whatever your investment knowledge, this book will coach you every step of the way on the road to the comfortable retirement you deserve.

    Table of Contents

    1. Copyright
    2. Prentice Hall Financial Times
    3. Financial Times Prentice Hall Books
    4. Foreword
    5. Introduction
      1. I Am So Grateful
    6. How to Use This Book
      1. Book Navigation Tools
      1. 1. Tick Tock Goes the Retirement Clock
        1. The Retirement Countdown Plan
          1. Step One: Commit to the Process
          2. Step Two: Collect Information
          3. Step Three: Develop a Plan (Strategic)
          4. Step Four: Implement the Plan (Tactical)
          5. Step Five: Monitor and Update the Plan
        2. Facing the Facts
        3. Let's Physically Climb the Mountain
        4. A Lesson from a Great Corporate Leader
        5. Procrastination
          1. Complex Issues
          2. Issues Not Immediately Important
          3. Issues That Deal with Health or Mortality
          4. Issues That Two Parties Don't Immediately Agree On
          5. Perfection and Procrastination
        6. What If I Don't Reach My Goal? Facing Compromise
        7. Meet the Glovers
        8. You're Not Alone
        9. Summary
        10. Power Checklist
      2. 2. Saving for Retirement
        1. The Current State of Retirement Savings—We're Just Not Saving Enough!
        2. Relative Versus Absolute Comparison
        3. Which Generation Group Do You Fall Into?
          1. Generation Y (Born 1982 to Present Day)
          2. Generation X (Born 1961–1981)
          3. Baby Boom Generation (Born 1946–1964)
          4. Silent Generation (Born Before 1946)
        4. Gap Analysis
        5. Don't Get Discouraged
        6. Summary
        7. Power Checklist
      3. 3. Establishing an Income You Can't Outlive
        1. Setting Your Objectives
        2. Utilization of Assets
        3. Types of Income
          1. Social Security
            1. History
            2. Cost
            3. Benefits
            4. Social Security and Divorce
            5. Ways to Maximize Your Social Security Benefits
            6. The Future of the System
          2. Pensions and Qualified Plans
          3. Income from Investments
          4. Work in Retirement
        4. Creating Retirement Income
        5. Strategies for Managing Income
        6. Systematic Withdrawals
        7. Insured Income
        8. Minimum Distributions from Qualified Plans
        9. Common Mistakes Made
        10. Income Allocation
        11. Life Expectancy and Your Retirement
        12. Risks to Consider During Your Retirement
        13. Summary
        14. Power Checklist
      4. 4. No Plan Is an Island
        1. Qualified Plans
        2. Defined Benefit Pension Plans
        3. Cash Balance Defined Benefit Plans
        4. Defined Contribution Plans
          1. 401(k) Plans
          2. 403(b) Plans
          3. 457 Plans
          4. Federal Pension Plans
        5. Profit Sharing or Stock Bonus Plans
        6. Employee Stock Ownership Plans
        7. Simplified Employee Pension-IRAs
        8. Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees
        9. Keogh Plans
        10. Individual Retirement Account Plans
        11. Traditional IRAs
        12. Roth IRAs
          1. To Roth or Not to Roth
          2. Converting to a Roth IRA
        13. Divorce and Plan Assets
        14. How Much Should You Put into Qualified Plans?
        15. How Should You Invest Your Qualified Plan Money?
        16. Summary
        17. Power Checklist
      5. 5. Goal-Oriented Retirement Planning: Energy for Your Retirement
        1. Create a Culture for Success
        2. Know When to Give Yourself a Break: The Philosophy of Success
        3. Take a Current Snapshot
        4. Taking Small Steps Through GORP
        5. Establishing Your Goals
        6. 529 Plans
        7. Next Steps
        8. Adding Goals and Prioritizing
        9. Matching Assets to Goals
        10. Managing the Shortfall
        11. Modifying and Achieving Your Goals
        12. Planning Your Retirement Goals
        13. Budgeting for Your Objectives
        14. Retirement as a Goal
          1. Expenses That Tend to Increase During Retirement
            1. Medical
            2. Recreation, Travel, and Entertainment
            3. Home Improvements
            4. Hobbies
          2. Expenses That Tend to Decrease During Retirement
          3. The Bottom Line on Postretirement Cost
        15. Life Expectancy and Your Retirement
        16. Do You Want to Have Leftovers?
          1. Charitable Giving and Charitable Trusts
          2. Gifting
        17. Creating Your Income Replacement Goal
        18. Summary
        19. Power Checklist
      1. 6. Understanding and Managing Risk
        1. Many Ways to Manage Risk
        2. Types of Risk
        3. Systematic Investment Risk
          1. Market Risk
          2. Credit and Business Risk
          3. Foreign Investment Risk
          4. Currency Risk (Foreign Exchange Risk)
          5. Interest Rate Risk
          6. Inflation Risk
          7. Diversification Risk
        4. Understanding the Beta
        5. Managing Investment Risk
        6. The Third Dimension of Investing: Changing Lenses
        7. Monte Carlo Simulation
        8. Health / Mortality Risk
        9. The Role of Insurance
          1. Life Insurance
          2. Disability Insurance
          3. Income Replacement Insurance
          4. Health Insurance
          5. Long-Term Care Insurance
          6. Medicaid, Medicare, Medicare+Choice, and MediGap Insurance
        10. Risk of Doing Nothing
        11. Summary
        12. Power Checklist
      2. 7. Equity Investments: Taking Stock in Your Retirement
        1. The Securities and Exchange Commission
        2. Why Invest in the Stock Market?
        3. Ways to Invest in the Stock Market
        4. How to Choose Your Equity Investments
          1. Large-Cap, Mid-Cap, Small-Cap, and Micro-Cap Stocks
          2. Value, Growth, or Both
          3. Dividends
          4. Style Boxes
        5. Considerations for Buying Individual Stocks
          1. Management Team
          2. Financial Information
          3. Other Data
        6. Buying on Margin
        7. Investing Abroad
        8. American Depository Receipt
        9. Utilities
        10. Risk Reward
        11. Individual Stocks and Goal-Oriented Financial Planning
        12. Summary
        13. Power Checklist
      3. 8. Fixed Income Investments: Building a Bond
        1. Why People Buy Bonds
        2. Bonds, Bonds, My Kingdom for a Bond
        3. Corporate Bonds
        4. High Yield Bonds
        5. Government Bonds
        6. Municipal Bonds
        7. Zero Coupon Bonds
        8. Convertible Bonds
        9. Inflation Indexed Bonds
        10. Bond Funds
        11. How Bonds Are Rated
        12. Bonds and Loss of Principal
        13. Laddering Bonds
        14. Risk Reward
        15. Summary
        16. Power Checklist
      4. 9. Insurance and Annuities
        1. Determining the Need for Insurance
        2. Risk Choices
        3. Insuring Preretirement Needs
        4. Annuities
          1. Fixed Annuities
          2. Variable Annuities
          3. Investment Options
          4. Death Benefit Options
          5. Income Guarantees and Withdrawal Features
          6. Subaccount Transfers Within the Annuity
          7. Cost of Annuities
          8. Comparison of Annuity and Mutual Funds Costs
        5. Insured Income
        6. Health and Insured Income
        7. 1035 Tax-Free Exchanges
        8. The Press and Annuities
        9. Life Insurance
          1. Term Insurance
          2. Whole Life Insurance
          3. Indeterminate Premium Life Insurance
          4. Life Insurance and the Glovers
        10. Other Forms of Insurance
          1. Health Insurance
          2. Disability Insurance
        11. The Safety of the Insurance Industry
        12. Summary
        13. Power Checklist
      5. 10. Real Estate and Other Investments
        1. Real Estate and Related Investments
        2. Real Estate to Avoid
        3. Real Estate Investment Trusts
        4. Federal Agency Mortgage-Backed Securities
          1. Ginnie Mae Securities
          2. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Securities
        5. Collaterized Mortgage Obligations
        6. Gold and Other Precious Resources
        7. Collectibles
        8. Lessons from eBay
        9. Liquidity and Market Value
        10. Summary
        11. Power Checklist
      6. 11. Mutual Funds
        1. History of Mutual Funds
        2. Closed-Ended Funds
        3. Unit Investment Trusts
        4. Open-Ended Funds
        5. Equity Funds
        6. Hybrid Funds
        7. Taxable Bond Funds
        8. Tax-Free Bond Funds
        9. Money Market Funds
        10. Style Boxes
        11. Equity Indices
        12. Socially Responsible Investment Funds
        13. Turmoil in the Industry
        14. Mutual Fund Expenses
          1. Mutual Fund Share Classes and Charges
          2. 12(b)(1) Fees
          3. Mutual Fund Expense Fees
          4. Mutual Fund Management Expense
        15. Mutual Funds and Goal-Oriented Financial Planning
        16. Summary
        17. Power Checklist
      7. 12. Managing Your Investments
        1. Chasing Returns
        2. Investing Is Not a Two-Dimensional Process
        3. Identifying the Right Mix of Securities in Your Portfolio
        4. Asset Allocation
        5. Dollar Cost Averaging
        6. Portfolio Rebalancing
        7. Standard Deviation
        8. Passive Management Versus Active Management
        9. Repositioning Assets
        10. Dogs of the Dow: Top 10 Dividend-Paying Stocks
        11. Efficient Frontier and Portfolio Diversification
        12. Lifestyle Investing
        13. Investing and Relationships
          1. Divorce and Its Impact on Your Retirement
          2. Relationships and Investing
        14. Estate Planning and Retirement
          1. Probate
          2. Estate Issues
        15. Summary
        16. Power Checklist
      1. 13. Finding the Right Path for You
        1. Even the Best Athletes Have Coaches
        2. Paths to Choose
          1. Doing It Yourself
            1. Set Your Goals Clearly
            2. Gather Data, Including Your Goals
            3. Analyze and Evaluate Your Financial Status
            4. Develop Your Own List of Recommendations
            5. Implement Your Recommendations
            6. Monitor and Modify Your Plan
          2. Getting Help from a Professional
            1. Finding the Right Planner for You
            2. Designations and Their Significance
            3. The Interview Process—This Is Your Retirement
            4. How the Professional Is Compensated
            5. Checking on Your Advisor Through Industry Watchdogs
        3. The Distribution of Products Today and Tomorrow
        4. Summary
        5. Power Checklist
      2. 14. Summiting the Mountain and Beating the Clock
        1. Where Do We Go from Here?
        2. Your Choices
        3. Spending Versus Investing
        4. Procrastination: Your Time Is Your Money
        5. The Importance of Communication and Trust
        6. Perseverance
        7. The Endurance
        8. It Ain't Over Until the Fat Lady Sings
        9. Retirement Countdown, the Web Site
        10. The Next Step Is Yours
        11. Power Checklist
      3. 15. Developing an Action Plan
        1. Current Status for the Glovers
        2. Insurance Review
        3. Tax Documents
        4. Goal Setting and Costs
          1. Emergency Fund
          2. Long-Term Care Insurance Fund
          3. Ninety-Day Elimination Period Fund
          4. Extending Life Expectancy Fund
          5. Income Insurance Fund
        5. Tough Decisions
        6. Retirement on Your Terms
    10. Appendices
      1. A. The “Uniform Lifetime Table”
        1. Single Life Expectancy Table for Inherited IRAs
        2. Life Expectancy
      2. B. Social Security Income
      3. C. Compound Interest Table