An Unconventional Guide to Early Retirement

downloadI’m constantly getting referred different books from clients and even staff at times that comes across my desk that makes me go, “OK, here comes another one.” You know, after a while it’s easy to feel like you’ve seen it all, especially as you get used to the razzle and dazzle that comes along with crafting a catchy title.

The really funny part is that, when I give them a chance, I often come out with at least a couple helpful nuggets of information that made it worthwhile. One such book to come across my desk recently was Why Swim With The Sharks: An Unconventional Guide to Early Retirement by Diana Dembicki and Henry Salomaa.

What’s Your Number?

I will say right off the bat that I don’t agree with everything they say in the book. That’s not uncommon for most of the books I read as I have my opinions but I think there is one thing that makes this book a good read: it talks about finding your number.

When you go online and calculate how much money you need to retire, it’s always this great big huge number. It’s hard not to look at it and figure that you’ll probably never retire but the truth is that you can get there relatively easily with the right plan.

Busting Retirement Myths

Whether you agree or disagree with the myths on retirement mentioned in the book, they are still good to talk about and that’s what is really good about this book. The content allows you to come up with a lot of questions that you can be asking your advisors.

The authors talk about the cost of living, what happens when you go from working to retirement and it also it runs you through that process to determine what will actually be a cost. It talks about old age security, CPP and what those numbers really mean.

How Much Will You Spend?

What I like about this book is it makes people think about what they are actually going to spend and runs you through a comprehensive plan. Most people don’t stop to look at what they are spending right now and that’s the first step before you can determine what you’ll spend during retirement.

If you’re a mental bookkeeper, you have to realize that won’t work and that’s another great topic they hit on in the book. We need to keep track of things and if we do it well, it allows us to retire earlier or at least retire with more knowledge and that’s really what they are talking about.

Shifting Your Attitude

Another great topic in the book was around shifting your attitude. In retirement, it’s not about what you make, it’s what you spend that’s what this book is talking about.

I’ve got clients that have retired with a few hundred thousands dollars in their bank accounts and I’ve got clients with multi-millions in their bank account that think they can’t retire. What’s the difference? It’s all about a mind shift.

This book allows you to think differently and challenge you to think differently. As mentioned, I don’t agree with several things they said but it’s a good discussion point and it’s really good to make your decision with additional knowledge and opinions.

When Should You Get Educated on Retirement?

Many people wonder when is the right time to start thinking about getting educated on retirement? In my opinion, the answer is 5-10 years before you’re ready to actually retire. If you wait 2-3 years before retirement, that’s too late.

I would recommend this book as a nice, light read that makes you think about things a little bit differently and helps you take the next step forward. A lot of the numbers are wrong (in my opinion) but the philosophy is sound. If there’s one thing to walk away from it with, it’s not waiting 2-3 years before retirement to start thinking about retirement.

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