A Guide to Developing and Managing Your Retirement Plan

Over a year ago, I published my first book, RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT. The subtitle of the book, A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit, informs readers of the book’s intent. I lay out a practical, proven method for achieving fiscal fitness and preparing for a financially secure retirement.

Like a lot of people, a separation and subsequent divorce left me in a difficult position financially. At the time, the early 2000s, I was thirty-four years old, active duty in the United States Army for 17 years – half of my life – and living like many Americans, paycheck to paycheck. It was not promising as my monthly expenses slightly exceeded my monthly income. I was broke.

My situation motivated me to consume all the personal finance information I could through newspapers, magazines, blogs, financial websites, etc. As I gained knowledge and started seeing the results, I began sharing my insights with family, friends and coworkers.

That desire to share valuable information was the catalyst for the book. Writing the book served as a way to give family, friends and coworkers a means of verifying the things we may have discussed, capturing some of the finer points which I may have missed during the course of our conversations. Often I would have a detailed conversation with someone and later realize I missed something or could have articulated something better.

Additionally, the book allowed me to reflect on my own journey to become fiscally fit and achieve financial freedom; and it serves as a practical guide for those looking for a way to establish a financial foundation and prepare for retirement.

Soon after publishing the book, I started this blog as something of an augmentation to the book; a way to continue to communicate with readers and offer my take on personal finance with a focus on retirement planning.

Over the course of the last year, I have re-read the book a few times – found a few typos and grammatical errors – listened to feedback from friends and family, cleaned up the formatting and in general, considered the ways in which it could be better; hence, an updated and revised version, a Second Edition.

The updated version features a new cover, the addition of new content (e.g. adopting a more frugal lifestyle), updated information on how Americans are preparing for retirement, new images for the chapter titles, new graphics and most importantly, an updated RWR Simple Retirement Workbook – containing the Spending Planner and Retirement Planner worksheets – available for download, free of charge.

A special thanks to Brian, an original RetirementSavvy reader (and the first subscriber I believe) for writing the Foreword. I thank him for lending his considerable talents to this effort.

Like the First Edition, this book serves as a personal reflection on my journey as well as a guide for those that might find themselves in a situation similar to mine in 2001 and are looking to right their financial ship and prepare for retirement. If you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, this book is for you. It provides guidelines for how to determine how much money you will need – or desire – in retirement, actions associated with retirement planning, behaviors you should adopt to become fiscally fit, provides tools to assist you, and highlights various philosophies. Additionally, it provides some guidelines for funding your chosen retirement accounts.

This book is not an attempt to sell any product or service, nor does it suggest that there is an easy path to acquiring wealth and preparing for a comfortable retirement. There is no magic bullet. While you will find recommendations for fund types, you will not find any recommendations for specific stocks or mutual funds, as you will have to perform detailed research on your own to determine which underlying investments will make up your retirement accounts. Just like achieving and maintaining physical health requires a detailed plan, committed effort, and focus, so does achieving and maintaining fiscal health.

RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit [Second Edition] is available now, in Kindle and Paperback formats, at Amazon.com

Robert Taylor Smith
 

Robert's motto is to start "with the end in mind." He married the love of his life in December 2016. Together with his wife Tanya, they're putting the building blocks in place for their eventual retirement. He's taken over the mantle at retirementsavvy.net and hopes to share his experiences with our readers.

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