Book Intro

The following is the Introduction to Safe 4 Retirement : The 4 Keys to A Safe Retirement

In 2009, my Dad died after a battle with prostate cancer.

Six months later, my Mom and our family enjoyed a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the back deck of my house.  The next day, I had to take my Mom to the hospital where she died two days later due to a toxic condition and colon cancer (which she had left untreated and had told none of her family or friends about).

My parents had been married for over 50 years and retired for nearly a decade.

In my sorrow, a few weeks later, I ventured cross country to spend a weekend with my friend, Sam Kirk in Los Angeles.  His recommended treatment of tequila, cigars, and watching planes fly over his Santa Monica home all night allowed me to open up and discuss my grief with one of my closest friends.

We discussed how people would often say that it was not uncommon for a spouse to die so soon after the loss of the other spouse.  If this was true, I wondered why it was so.

Sam, who has been involved with family and social issues for decades in Los Angeles, felt that much of it has to do with the fact that many people are “thrust” into retirement and often aren’t prepared for all of the aspects of it that are new and different for them.   For some retirees, they’re unable to change their lives to a new schedule and often fall into a comfort zone with their spouses, while missing the social aspects that they enjoyed when working.

Sam said that he had seen many retirees neglect their health and become grumpy and irritable simply because they were unable to deal with all of the “free time” they now had. He said that he had recently been working with seniors on creating a channel for volunteering opportunities for them because many of them didn’t know what to do with their free time. He felt that this becomes an even more critical issue when a retiree loses their spouse or a close friend.

“There’s plenty of books about being financially prepared for retirement, but there aren’t books that consider all of the aspects that are needed to consider when someone retires.  How to take care of their health?  What to do with their free time?  How to stay connected to friends and create more friends?  How to stay positive when your family and friends are moving away and/or dying?  Ultimately, they need to understand how to create a  safe retirement.”

Sam, who works with many young mothers as well, continued, “They have a ‘What to Expect When You’re Expecting’ book for new mothers, but there needs to be a similar book that explains all of the things needed to prepare for, and enjoy a safe retirement.”

This book grew out of that conversation.

I have never written a book before (I hope it doesn’t show TOO much).  Writing this book was not in my plans three years ago.  In fact, many people have told me that writing a book is painful and will take too much time away from my business.

I run a market research business that requires me to travel frequently and speak with thousands of individuals each year, either in focus groups, face to face or over the phone through one on one interviews.  Because of my experiences in the financial industry (I was a Financial Consultant with a large Wall Street firm prior to starting my market research business), I have the opportunity to speak to financial advisors, retirees and pre-retirees about the challenges and concerns of retirement in the current environment.

This book incorporates what I gleamed from speaking to these many individuals as well as from the current research in the field of retirement and from personal insights I’ve gained from my own experience in considering retirement as the next step in my life.

It’s not an exhaustive study and I’ve come to learn that things change so frequently in this area, that I’ve had to constantly edit and update information prior to publication.

Because of this, I’ve created a website that is a companion to this book – www.Safe4Retirement.com, where the latest information on these topics will be updated and available for free.  I’ve also included many footnotes in each section, which provide links to valuable web content and helpful information on the topics covered in a section.

It’s been a big undertaking to do this book and website (no first time author is ever prepared for the large amount of work, I’d been correctly warned).  However, I have no choice.  This is not something that has been done because of profit motives or recognition, but rather it’s something that I’ve been compelled to do since my Mom’s death.

Writing it has helped me to make some sense of my parents’ deaths and I know that they would want me to do this.  I can hear my Mom saying. “If it can help at least one person to view their retirement differently and allow them to spend more years on this wonderful planet with their loving family than they would’ve if they hadn’t done something that this book recommends, then you did the right thing.”