Feb 09

You Need a Better Retirement Plan Than This

If the best you can do is to get 0.99% on your CDs, GICs, RRSPs, TFSAs, t-bills, 401(k)s, IRAs, IPPs, mutual funds… you are going to either need millions of dollars saved in order to retire or a better plan than this.

In a recent poll, 34% of respondents said their retirement “plan” is to win the lottery. Some plan.

If you are looking for something better, get a copy of Retire Rich, Retire Early, How to Retire at Any Age, For Real for less than $3.

Book description

Developed nations are divided into three classes today—people, mostly government workers, with defined benefit pension plans which take all the risk out of their retirement, the top 1% who in 2012 had a 19.3% share of US national income (up from just 7.7% in 1973) and everyone else. This mini book is written for the latter—the 80% of the working population who have to fend for themselves.

Financial advisers seem to be saying pretty much the same thing these days such as, “buy our mutual funds, use us to invest on your behalf in the stock market or stock market indices, buy our life insurance or term life products, cut your spending, save your money, let us invest your money for you in your 401(k) or IRA (RRSPs, TFSAs and IPPs in Canada), buy precious metals like gold through us…”

This book by Bruce M Firestone, PhD, lays out an alternative retirement strategy based on owning your own home plus three income properties. As the title says, it works at any age—whether you are 25, 35, 55 or even 75 although it works better at 35 or 55 than at 75. Today, the fastest growing demographic is 100 up so if you think that you may run out of retirement funds before you run out of runway, well, you could be right. What’s interesting is the fact that people in the 25 to 30 age bracket are also getting with the program ending up with significant independent income at age 45 or 50.

How much money do you have to have to retire? Firestone looks at the case of Ms Maya Yates, a 36 year old single mother with a decent job who has set a goal of retiring at age 62 with an income similar to what she is currently earning—$84,000 annually.

She recently read a self help book that suggested she save 10% of her salary which she is having a tough time doing—she is responsible for three young children and gets no spousal support. She doubts this strategy will work for her anyway and she’s probably right. Ms Yates knows that GE Capital Retail Bank’s optimizer is currently offering 1.3% p.a. on their 3-year CDs (Certificates of Deposit) while Ally Bank offers 1.2%. This means that for Maya to create a retirement income of $84,000 annually for herself via CDs, she will need to save more than $6.7 million over the next 26 years. That works out to saving an impossible 3 times her annual salary, not 10%.

Working with Ms Yates, Firestone’s strategy involved selling her large suburban home, buying a less expensive but more urban one and using the balance of equity freed up that way to purchase three additional residential rental properties over the next five years.

Firestone takes the reader through the steps she takes to develop her mini real estate empire so she will be able to take care of herself and her family. He provides downloadable spreadsheets that show readers how to evaluate opportunities in real estate including how to properly calculate cap rates, internal rates of return and (cash-on-cash) returns on equity as well as wealth and inflationary effects. Dr Firestone talks about why you need to put a solid team together to help you get where you want to go and gives readers a few pointers on what to look for when investing in residential real estate as well as how to conduct due diligence during the conditional period preceding purchase of property.

He concludes by refuting the widespread argument that investment in housing was the root cause of the financial meltdown of 2008/09. Advice from senior bankers and politicians (most of them, perhaps all of them, homeowners themselves) suggesting that young people today not become homeowners runs counter to more than 60 years of national policy in most developed nations. These policies were designed to turn millennials and earlier generations into citizens with a stake in their societies and to protect them from financial calamities brought on by job loss, illness and divorce as well as economic and political upheavals.

Firestone puts it this way, “Blaming high home ownership rates for the housing bubble and financial meltdown of 2008/09 is untrue and counter productive; it smacks of panic, craters resale and new home markets and destroys the dreams of the next generation hoping for a better tomorrow.

@ Prof Bruce

Spread The Word

About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.