Reviews

We review books that deal with everything from financial independence topics to politics, and anything in between. We may sometimes stray into films and music if there is a “Findependence” angle.

Retired Money: Equities in Retirement — you may need more than you think

Contrary to what some may feel, equities in retirement is not an oxymoron. If you’re retired or almost so, you may be thinking it’s time to lighten up on your equity exposure.

The problem with rules of thumb is that some of them get quite dated and nowhere is this more relevant than in the maxim that a retiree’s fixed income exposure should equal their age. (So, the guideline goes, 60 year olds would be 40% in stocks and 90 year olds only 10% in them).

My latest MoneySense Retired Money column looks at this in some depth, via reviews of two books that tackle both the looming North American retirement crisis and this topic of how much equity retiree portfolios should hold. You can find the full article by clicking at the highlighted text: How to Boost Your Returns in Retirement.

As the piece notes, the single biggest fear retirees face is the prospect of outliving your money. Unfortunately, retiring in this second decade of the 21st century poses challenges for just about any healthy person who lacks an inflation-indexed employer-sponsored Defined Benefit (DB) pension plan. We’re living longer and interest rates are still mired near historic lows after nine long years.

The two books surveyed are Falling Short, by Charles Ellis, and Chris Cook’s Slash Your Retirement Risk. I might add that regular Hub contributor Adrian Mastracci twigged me to the Ellis book when he compared and contrasted it to my own co-authored book, Victory Lap Retirement. See Adrian’s review here: Two notable books to guide your “Retirement” journey. Continue Reading…

Getting unstuck: How to live the life you want with the money you have

By Sheila Walkington, Money Coaches Canada

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Money does not buy happiness. You’ve heard that before. Many studies of happiness have shown that relationships, a positive attitude, working towards goals and helping others, are at the core. Even exercise and pet ownership are considered contributing factors. How much money is in your bank account doesn’t even make the list.

On the other hand, constant struggle and worry about money can certainly rob you of happiness. Luckily, whether or not you struggle with money has less to do with how much you have and much more to do with your mindset. That’s why being a Money Coach brings me so much happiness. I have the opportunity to help people stop struggling and gain mastery over their money.

I also have the opportunity to dispel the misconception that money mastery is synonymous with giving up all the fun stuff you enjoy, and thinking only of a distant retirement or being prepared for a “rainy day.” As a Money Coach, I don’t set your priorities; I help you determine what matters most to you. The approach Money Coaches Canada, co-founder Karin Mizgala and I developed in our book Unstuck, is focused on the concepts: Dream, Plan, Live.

We believe that to live the life you want, you need a clear vision of what that life will look like. Once you have a dream, you develop an action plan with steps you can take immediately. In that way, your dream isn’t some far off wish; it becomes an active part of your daily life and you are able to recognize—and celebrate—the progress and victories along the way.

Here are some ideas to get you started living according to your goals.

Use your dreams to set your priorities

What do you really want in your life? More travel? Early retirement? More time with your children? To start a business? Of course, there is no right or wrong answer. It’s your life. Never assume that the life you want is out of your reach. A clear vision of what you want is an amazing source of motivation to make things happen. Because once you have uncovered what you really value, you can take actions that support your dreams becoming reality.

Continue Reading…

Stocktrades.ca’s author interview on Findependence and Victory Lap Retirement

By Dylan Callahan, Stocktrades.ca

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

We’re constantly reaching out to financial authorities we feel would benefit our audience the most. From Mark Seed, to Xiaolei Liu, to Rob Carrick, we are always looking to compile information and pick the brains of experts in the industry. This is why we were ecstatic to hear that Jon Chevreau was willing to do a little interview with us about his most recent book. (Highlighted link is to original post at Stocktrades.ca)

A little bit about Jon before we start

snippetpicture-150x150Jon has long had our attention here at Stocktrades from his writing at Moneysense and the Financial Post. He is the owner of FinancialIndependenceHub, the author of Findependence Day and the co-author of Victory Lap Retirement, which is what this interview will be about. He was a columnist for the National Post from 1993 to 2012 and was Editor-in-Chief for Moneysense Magazine from 2012 to 2014. If we had to choose some financial authorities on the internet today that we’d follow, Jon would be near the top of the list.

We hope you enjoy this interview, and if you’re interested in purchasing Jon’s book, head on over Victorylapretirement.com to see what it’s all about or purchase it from Amazon here.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?

Jon: Co-author Mike Drak approached me with the idea of a book about Retirement/Victory Laps after he encountered my website, the Financial Independence Hub, and my financial novel, Findependence Day. We thought we could marry the two concepts since Findependence gets you to the point you can launch a proper Victory Lap.

COULD YOU BRIEFLY DESCRIBE THESE FOLLOWING TERMS IN YOUR OWN OPINION, OR AS THEY RELATE TO THE BOOK?

What is Findependence?

JonathanChevreauJon: Findependence is simply a contraction of the phrase Financial Independence. And so Findependence Day is the day you achieve financial independence, which we define as the moment when all sources of passive income (pensions, investments, royalties etc.) exceed your monthly expenses nut (rent/mortgage, food, clothing, utilities etc.)

Explain a Victory Lap Retirement?

Jon: Victory Lap Retirement can be described variously as semi-retirement, self-employment, an encore career or launching a creative career (writer, artist, musician) that lets you monetize what was previously a hobby. Normally, the Victory Lap is made possible by first achieving Financial Independence. It differs from traditional full-stop retirement in that you may still be working, albeit not for a single employer.

Rather you have multiple streams of income, some of which may be passive (pensions, investments) and some of which may be active (part-time work, contracts, an online business). This allows you to pursue the inner creative dreams you may have harbored when you were young, and which you may have put aside during the decades you worked in a traditional “Job” and raised a family. In your Victory Lap, you work because you want to, not because you have to (financially speaking).

Lastly what is an Encore Career?

Jon: An Encore Career or Legacy Career is a late-life reinvention of your career, as described by the website encore.org and the book Encore by Marc Freedman. Its subtitle says it all: Finding Work that Matters in the Second Half of Life.

snippetpicture-150x150IN YOUR OPINION, HOW IS A VICTORY LAP RETIREMENT MORE BENEFICIAL THAN THE TRADITIONAL RETIREMENT?

Jon: We think it’s crazy to go from the 100% work mode of traditional salaried employment to 100% non-stop leisure, which is the traditional “full-stop” retirement that often occurs at age 65. By the way, I turn 65 next April and don’t expect to slow down much if at all. I’m in the fourth year of my own Victory Lap and am as productive as ever, and probably in much better physical and mental health.

Continue Reading…

Blockchain Revolution, Global Prosperity and Prosperium

What does the Blockchain Revolution have to do with global prosperity and what’s this new cybercurrency called Prosperium?

Let’s start with the bestselling book Blockchain Revolution, by technology guru Don Tapscott and his son Alex, a former investment banker. I recently re-read the book in preparation for a series of blogs I am doing for a cybercurrency start-up called Prosperium (http://www.prosperium.io/). Prosperium promotes and more importantly intends to generate actual community prosperity. This blog you’re now reading is the debut of that series.

My connection with the firm is through a serial entrepreneur and Canadian internet commerce pioneer named Tony Humble, who was the co-founder of Basis 100 (BAS: TSX). I have previously done business with Tony via The Wealthy Boomer magazine and website (which ran from 1999 to 2005) and later my financial novel Findependence Day, which spawned the Financial Independence Hub (where you’re reading this blog.)

We’ll look at Prosperium and its business model specifically in the follow-up blog to this, including interviews with Prosperium’s founder, Doug Coyle (shown in photo near the end of this blog). But let’s focus first on Blockchain Revolution, since the book is as its title implies a revolutionary blueprint for all things fin-tech, including cybercurrencies like the original Bitcoin and everything spawned in its wake, including Canadian-inspired firms like Ethereum and now Prosperium.

I attended the original launch of the Tapscotts’ book at the Rotman School on May 5, 2016 and you can find my review at the Financial Post and a subsequent one on the Hub. The FP review ran the day after the launch, and the headline is as good a place to kick off this second look at the book: Bitcoin and Blockchain could be the start of a bigger revolution than the Internet itself.

Don Tapscott (L) and Alex Tapscott (R). Youtube.com

Rather than repeat my points in this limited space I refer readers first to that review and then to my first Hub review of the book, which ran on June 1st, 2016. At the end you can find a link to a half-hour YouTube video produced by ThatChannel.com in which Norman Evans (the Hub’s creative director) and I interviewed both Tapscotts and some others who attended the Rotman launch.

Blockchain promises a quantum leap in global prosperity

Continue Reading…

Two notable books to guide your ‘Retirement’ journey

“Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.” — James Russell Lowell, poet and author

This week I highlight one of my best recommendations for Retirement. Invest in self-education with some quality reading. The critical factor is how to select just a couple of books.

Investors have a thirst for knowledge about their precious retirement journey. They seek detailed information to assist in navigating the capital accumulation process to achieve retirement. Then comes the desire of making that capital outlast the spending phase.

Walk into any well-stocked bookstore and the retirement section will seem like a maze. There are plenty of titles competing to become permanent occupants of your precious bookshelf space.

My two book selections provide insight and understanding into the design and management of the retirement nest egg. The authors are well known. The books complement one another.

The emphasis is understanding long-term principles, policies and best practices that steer the family’s retirement goals from dreams to realities. Getting fully acquainted with these two books helps craft better decisions about retirement. Something for everyone’s retirement toolbox.

Photo: Kia Meiklejohn

Falling Short: The Coming Retirement Crisis and What To Do About It, by Charles D. Ellis, Alicia H. Munnel, and Andrew D. Eschtruth

This century has clearly shown that we are living longer, health costs are rising and employer pensions are diminishing. That is the big picture applicable to retirees in the USA. However, similar arguments also exist for the Canadian retirement landscape.

The good news is that what is seemingly a dire retirement situation can be easily rectified by implementing a few coordinated steps. This book makes you appreciate the scope of that big picture. Working a little longer, saving a bit more, judicious use of government benefits and being smart about portfolio draws are some of the key answers that deliver.

The message for every retiree is that a successful retirement is about being empowered to look after the personal situation. At age 60, it is not unusual for retirement to last into the 90’s for at least one spouse.

Yes, long term retirement that spans decades is expensive. Sensible and methodical decision making is sound advice for all ages. It renders the scope of the big picture into realistic solutions.