Book Review: Retirement Made Simple by Noel Whittaker | The Canberra Times

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Half a million Australians will retire over the next five years as baby boomers move through their 60s and 70s. As this group becomes the fastest growing population group in the country – and perhaps also because our pandemic experience has led many people to rethink and reset life goals – the search for information on retirement planning, pensions, downsizing, healthy aging, and traveling with the gray Nomads announced a frenzy. No surprises there. No wonder Noel Whittaker, renowned financial expert, columnist and commentator, and author of around 20 books on money matters, broke through the clutter of information to provide a straightforward and intelligent guide: Retirement Made Simple. The 430-page book covers all topics related to old-age provision in eight chapters: from weighing up investment options, through old-age provision, taxes, old-age provision and pension entitlement to wills and permanent powers of attorney. With clear explanations, case study examples, handy calculators, and key messages highlighted, the book is easy to read from start to finish or you can immerse yourself from topic to topic. On the back there is a handy index and a list of recommendations for further reading. One of the most valuable chapters remains, where Whittaker not only expresses his decades of financial planning, but also his life experience. Whittaker, now 80 himself, discusses societal attitudes towards aging and his thoughts on what makes a happy and fulfilling life, including the importance of putting money into context. People can have way more than they think possible, says Whittaker. You just have to make the most of what you have … “as of today”. And another gem, remember that a lot of the best things in life – like taking a walk or listening to good music – really don’t cost much. When it comes to considering retirement, Whittaker recommends planning it like any other major life transition – e.g. For example, leaving school, getting married, buying your first house, or having children. This is where the first chapters of Retirement Made Simple come into their own. One of the first concepts in the book is a favorite subject for Whittaker: compound interest. In this case, it shows the impact of compound growth on retirement contributions and why it is important to keep depositing into a fund for as long as possible and not to make early withdrawals. Another interesting chapter will help you figure out the risks you could – and should be – take to get the best return on any retirement investment. Bottom line: there is no such thing as a reward without some risk, and an investment in stocks or real estate (or both) should be viewed over the long term … be patient. When it comes to designing your retirement plan by basing yourself on your retirement pension and balancing it against the pension available, Whittaker recommends hiring a financial advisor (and there’s a section on finding a good financial advisor too). While this is best for people on the verge of retirement, for those in their forties and fifties looking towards the horizon of their working lives, the book on its own is an excellent starting point, both for the bigger picture and for the detail. At the very least, you will know what questions to ask the financial advisor in due course.

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December 17, 2020 – 9:30 a.m.

Noel Whittaker shares his financial wisdom and life experience in his latest book, Retirement Made Simple.

Noel Whittaker shares his financial wisdom and life experience in his latest book, Retirement Made Simple.

Half a million Australians will retire over the next five years as baby boomers move through their 60s and 70s.

As this group becomes the fastest growing population group in the country – and perhaps also because our pandemic experience has led many people to rethink and reset life goals – the search for information on retirement planning, pensions, downsizing, healthy aging, and traveling with the gray Nomads announced a frenzy.

No wonder Noel Whittaker, renowned financial expert, columnist and commentator, and author of around 20 books on money matters, broke through the clutter of information to provide a straightforward and intelligent guide: Retirement Made Simple.

The 430-page book covers all topics related to old-age provision in eight chapters: from weighing up investment options, through old-age provision, taxes, old-age provision and pension entitlement to wills and permanent powers of attorney.

With clear explanations, case study examples, handy calculators, and key messages highlighted, the book is easy to read from start to finish or you can immerse yourself from topic to topic. On the back there is a handy index and a list of recommendations for further reading.

One of the most valuable chapters remains, where Whittaker not only expresses his decades of financial planning, but also his life experience. Whittaker, now 80 himself, discusses societal attitudes towards aging and his thoughts on what makes a happy and fulfilling life, including the importance of putting money into context.

People can have way more than they think possible, says Whittaker. You just have to make the most of what you have … “as of today”. And another gem, remember that a lot of the best things in life – like taking a walk or listening to good music – really don’t cost much.

When it comes to considering retirement, Whittaker recommends planning it like any other major life transition – e.g. For example, leaving school, getting married, buying your first house, or having children.

This is where the first chapters of Retirement Made Simple come into their own.

One of the first concepts in the book is a favorite subject for Whittaker: compound interest. In this case, it shows the impact of compound growth on retirement contributions and why it is important to keep depositing into a fund for as long as possible and not to make early withdrawals.

Another interesting chapter will help you figure out the risks you could – and should be – take to get the best return on any retirement investment. Bottom line: there is no reward without some risk, and an investment in stocks or real estate (or both) should be viewed long-term … be patient.

When it comes to designing your retirement plan by basing yourself on your retirement pension and balancing it against the pension available, Whittaker recommends hiring a financial advisor (and there’s a section on finding a good financial advisor too).

While this is best for people on the verge of retirement, for those in their forties and fifties looking towards the horizon of their working lives, the book on its own is an excellent starting point, both for the bigger picture and for the detail. At the very least, you will know what questions to ask the financial advisor in due course.

  • Noel Whittaker writes a weekly personal finance column to ACM, the publisher of this website.

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