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Friday, March 16, 2012

Book Review: Retirementology

“Retirementology: Rethinking the American Dream in a New Economy” by Gregory Salsbury, Ph.D.
Review by Richard F. O'Boyle, Jr., LUTCF, MBA

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of books that try to tell you the “what, when and how much” of retirement planning, but few can tell us the “why.” “Retirementology: Rethinking the American Dream in a New Economy” by Gregory Salsbury, Ph.D. introduces the reader to the up-and-coming field of “investor psychology” which helps to explain why we treat money the way we do.

We all make mistakes – and this book tries to help the reader to understand why we: don’t sell losing investments and cut our losses; spend differently with a credit card than we do with cash; feel richer when the housing market appreciates; and many more common misperceptions about money that work to sabotage our financial security. It’s easy to highlight common money mistakes because there are so many of them. But it’s hard to solve these deeply ingrained problems.

What makes Dr. Salsbury’s book so admirable is his methodical and detailed action steps designed to reorient the reader away from these psychological traps with practical suggestions.

Many of my clients want me to “run the numbers” and tell them how much to save and where to put it. I often run into resistance when I recommend they make changes that go against their long-held beliefs about money – sometimes strategies used by their Depression-era parents. Money is always an emotional topic because we work so hard for it and most people feel they don’t have enough, giving a deep sense of insecurity. When an advisor challenges the client to make changes outside their comfort zone, it breeds fear and suspicion.

“Retirementology” provides the reader with a useful and occasionally entertaining foray into the field of retirement planning. I can appreciate the attempts to convince the reader to understand himself better and to take the necessary actions that can avoid future pitfalls. I wish more pre-retirees in the general public would add this book to the stack of repetitive “how much” planning books and understand the “why” better.

(c) 2012 Prism Innovations, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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