Below is an excerpt of Chapter 1 of the book The Last Chance Millionaire: It’s Not Too Late to Become Wealthy (Business Plus) by Douglas R. Andrew (ISBN:0446580538 9780446580533; 368 pages 6 x 9 Warner Books). Reprinted with permission from the publisher.
“If we take a late retirement and an early death, we’ll just squeak by.”
IS THAT SCENARIO A LITTLE TOO close to home to get a laugh out of you? If so, you’ve got plenty of company. Whether everyone will have enough money to retire is a question that looms large today for 78 million Americans—the Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964. If you’re among the oldest Boomers, those born right after World War II, you will have to face this issue sooner rather than later. After all, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 330 of us are turning 60 every hour.
I say “us,” because I am one of you. I was born in 1952, and like you I am part of the largest population explosion in history. So we’re in this arena together. As a financial strategist and retirement specialist, I know it’s one thing to talk about the game, but another thing to play it.
It’s likely we’ve all carried a common dream throughout our lives—achieving financial independence. Creating wealth. Maybe even obtaining that elusive status: “millionaire.”
Well, here we are, with retirement just up ahead. Have you arrived?
Magazine articles and television news sometimes suggest that Boomers all have bundles of money, as well as a nice big home, and retirement IRA and 401(k) accounts that are growing steadily in value.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
To begin with, even the oldest Boomers may not expect to quit working on their 65th birthday. Whether it’s out of financial necessity or lifestyle preference, many do not anticipate retiring in the traditional sense.
It has been well documented that unlike our parents’ generation, we are less interested in “playing golf every day.” We are more active, more likely to work beyond the traditional retirement age of 65, and, unfortunately, less financially prepared than our parents were for the “golden years.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average age of retirees is 68. The life expectancy for a normal, healthy male age 65 is another twenty years, to age 85. If a person stops earning income at age 68, there is now a seventeen-year gap to cover with retirement resources, rather than the five-, ten-, or twelve-year gap that existed just one to two generations ago. Based on the better health and mortality (life expectancy) of the upcoming Baby Boomer retirement force, “retirement” in the traditional sense should now be at age 73! For many Boomers, retirement planning needs to provide adequate resources to last thirty years or longer. This book will help prepare you so you don’t outlive your money.
Beyond whatever size nest eggs we may have nurtured, Social Security is often something Boomers expect to incorporate into their retirement. But there are conflicting statistics and studies about how much money we will be able to collect in Social Security, as more and more of us begin dipping regularly into that wellspring of dollars established by the federal government some seventy years ago.
In fact, the national Social Security Trust Funds could be headed for serious trouble. The 2006 Trustee’s Report projects that the Social Security Trust Funds will totally run out of steam by the year 2040 unless there is serious reform.
I maintain that Social Security benefits should be viewed as a supplement to your retirement, not as your primary source of income. It should become a bonus for, not the basis of, your planning.
What Makes You Anxious About Retirement?
Are you concerned about the possibility that, like the pair in the cartoon, it’s too late to plan for a comfortable retirement? Do you believe you have not saved enough—or anything substantial at all— and must start from scratch? Do you fear that not only will you never become a millionaire, but that you may end up a Broke Boomer?
Many of your fellow Boomers have the same concerns.
- DO you think it’s too late in life to catch up with wealthier friends, customers, or business associates in your circle who seem to have it all—a great house, a second getaway home, a plan for making their money last?
- ARE you worried that even if you do have enough, you might outlive your money and wind up dependent on charity or your children when you are old?
- DO you believe you are powerless to reverse the course of your personal financial history?
At age fifty-four, when I sit down and project myself into the future ten or fifteen years, I ask myself, “What has to have happened in my life leading up to age sixty-five or seventy, both personally and financially, for me to be happy with my progress toward my golden years?”
When I visualize how I want to live during retirement, I know that realistically I need to focus now on eliminating the barriers that would prevent me from realizing my vision. I also need to determine which strategies, resources, and opportunities I can use right now in order to achieve my goals. Lastly, I need to harness and direct my best abilities and strengths to optimize all of my assets.
A wonderful friend and entrepreneurial coach, Dan Sullivan, taught me to have a conversation with my clients framed around their greatest dangers, opportunities, and strengths. I use this framework with my clients to understand where they are and where they want to go. Inasmuch as most of my clients are Boomers and retirees, allow me to outline what they have shared. When I have these enlightening conversations, it’s apparent that people are confused. They feel isolated. They feel powerless.
How about you? Do you share any of the following concerns? Do you want to learn how to employ some of the strategies listed? Do you have any of the abilities outlined below?
Greatest Barriers to Overcome:
- Not having enough money accumulated for retirement
- Outliving your income after retirement
- Losing your ability to earn and save
The Last Chance Millionaire
- Consuming instead of conserving retirement resources
- Losing your health and mobility
- Dying too soon and leaving others without adequate resources
- Having resources dwindle due to taxes and inflation
- Using up resources to pay for long-term health care
- Having to work to make ends meet
- Not having enough resources to care for your parents physically and financially as they age
Greatest Strategies to Employ:
- Tapping into one of your greatest assets—your home equity
- Realizing that it’s not too late to become wealthy— there’s still time
- Turbocharging your retirement savings
- Employing the three marvels of wealth accumulation
- Taking full ownership of your retirement
- Overcoming or avoiding Baby Boomer Blunders
- Initiating a strategic rollout of your IRAs and 401(k)s
- Repositioning assets for greater liquidity, safety, and rate of return
- Becoming your own banker
- Redefining yourself at retirement
Greatest Abilities to Utilize
- Possessing a good work ethic
- Having one to two incomes with more discretionary dollars to set aside
- Having home equity available to use for safe leverage
- Still having enough time left to accomplish retirement goals
- Dispelling myths from parents who grew up in the Great Depression era
- Having the capacity to live longer and more healthfully
- Having the ability to work longer and contribute value far beyond age sixty-five
If you feel you have some of the same barriers that are blocking the path to your financial security, this book is meant for you:
- It can help you overcome and alleviate the greatest barriers you are facing.
- It can provide you with refreshing and proven strategies.
- It can reveal and harness your best abilities that need to be utilized to succeed in reaching your goals.
How The Last Chance Millionaire Will Help
I know many of you are feeling the “darkness of night” as you look toward your retirement years. You have probably already realized that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always gotten. Rather than letting you stay in that rut, I want to bump you out of it to reveal the “brightness of day”— your brilliant future—full of peace, abundance, and prosperity.
This book will give you new direction. It will instill greater confidence for your future. Through the creative strategies, you will be endowed with new capabilities. You will feel empowered to prepare adequately for a comfortable retirement. You can achieve financial independence, and you can do it now!
The most important thing I want to give you is an insight-based experience. When you have insights that are yours, you are able to make a change for the better. You will experience epiphanies— those moments when you go, “Ah hah! I get it!”
There’s still time to become a “last chance millionaire,” or what I also call a Blazing Bloomer! You can still get your act together, even though it’s late in the game. But it is going to take work on your part. I don’t have a get-rich-quick scheme. I have a system, but it requires that you optimize your assets and discipline your spending—that you conserve rather than consume.
I ask that you abide by three ground rules as you read this book:
- First, I would like you to keep an open mind about my system, even if some of the strategies I suggest sound counterintuitive.
- Second, be willing to suspend your disbelief until I present my full arguments in favor of certain ideas that might be different from the conventional retirement financial planning wisdom you have heard up until now.
- Third, I want you to avoid justifying why you have not taken certain financial steps. By the time I connect all the dots, you will understand how you can make major improvements in your financial future.
Discard Outdated Information and Clear the Path to New Ideas
First, I will introduce you to common misconceptions about money and the blunders many Baby Boomers have made with their money. You’ve always been told that the way to get ahead is to buy a home, get a cheap mortgage, and pay it off as quickly as you can. You have also been told to sink as much money as possible into an IRA or 401(k) plan, and to make sure they produce a high rate of return. For years you’ve been bombarded with this constant stream of conventional wisdom.
But I am about to prove to you that old, conventional wisdom in this case is wrong. Just because for thousands of years most of humanity thought the world was flat, it didn’t make it that way. In my previous book, Missed Fortune 101, I wrote that, “All the dogs barking up the wrong tree doesn’t make it the right one.” I will establish my case that socking away money into IRAs and 401(k)s and making extra payments on your mortgage are both counterproductive.
I will show you a different and totally revolutionary approach. I believe it is possible to cure your mistakes, to avoid making new blunders. There is a better way to gain financial independence.
Yes, my strategies go against the current of traditional financial planning. In fact, most of the tactics I will offer you are contrary to popular belief. Yet all my advice is based on fact, tax law, and the practical application of thousands of very wealthy people.
But I’m giving you fair warning. These strategies are not for financial jellyfish. These strategies are for forward-thinking, disciplined people who are ready to examine their own roadblocks to wealth.They are for people willing to buck the trend of misguided, typical financial wisdom and instead make the most of proven, yet less familiar, methods to create a personal plan for true wealth.
My suggestions are for the majority of hardworking families with husbands and wives who have reached a degree of financial stability by working most of their adult lives. However, if you are among the few who are already financially independent, I will show you how to experience a meaningful transformation as you are enlightened by opportunities you didn’t know existed. I will show you how to develop a proper PLAN—an acronym for Perpetual Life of Asset Nurturance™. When we learn to nurture all of our assets properly, we create a new life for them that will live on into perpetuity.
In short, I will give you direction, confidence, and capability to achieve your dreams.
My “Elevator Speech”
Once again, I must warn you: Do not expect me to show you how to get rich quickly. Be prepared to study, listen, learn, and do basic homework. This book is not entitled Super-Quick Wealth Enhancement and Asset Optimization for Dummies. Also, please don’t get the idea that this book is just for those people who are already wealthy. I want to empower families at every income level and in every tax bracket.
To give you the ultra-brief version of my system, let’s pretend we are in an elevator in an office building. You’ve heard about this book and you ask: “What exactly do you do, Doug?” Here’s my “elevator speech” reply:
You know how most people save for retirement by socking away money in IRAs and 401(k)s, and also try to pay off their house by sending extra principal payments to their mortgage company? Why get a tax break when you put money in a qualified retirement plan, expecting that you’ll be in a lower tax bracket when you retire, only to get clobbered by taxes on the back end? To me, that’s like driving on the highway with one foot on the gas pedal and the other on the brake. You may get to your destination eventually, but it’s a pretty jerky ride.
How about your home? We all know market values fluctuate. What I do is assure people that if their houses go down in value, they will not lose their equity—not one penny.
What’s more, if you are sending extra principal payments to the mortgage company, you’re killing your partner, Uncle Sam, by depriving yourself of one of the best tax deductions we have as Americans: home mortgage interest.
As you approach retirement, you painfully come to the realization that you’ve increased your tax liability by postponing it to a time when you no longer have significant deductions. I can show you how to dramatically enhance your net worth and your net spendable retirement income, and never outlive your money, by not doing what most people do.
We’ve reached your floor. The elevator door is about to open. Do I have your attention yet?
What are the Main Issues I Address?
I will show you how to grow wealthy steadily, utilizing three marvels: compound interest, tax-favored accumulation, and safe, positive leverage. Now, you may be sitting there thinking, “Oh, I already understand those three concepts!” Don’t put this book down!
Every month, I have a new group of financial services professionals (often comprising more than 100) come through my intensive three-day asset optimization, equity management, and wealth empowerment training. Many are sophisticated, veteran financial planners, CPAs, and tax attorneys, and the vast majority are surprised when they discover that they didn’t know what they didn’t know—especially about compound interest, tax-favored accumulation, and safe leverage. Over 80 percent of them flunk a simple, but tricky, three-question math quiz. After the training, they usually admit they have been advising their clients the wrong way.
Please don’t get me wrong. These are well-intentioned advisors pointing their clients toward conventional saving and investment strategies that are good. What I want to do is show you that what I teach them is the better or best way to optimize assets and accumulate wealth. A friend once taught me a ditty: “Good, better, best; never let it rest! Never let it rest, till good gets better and better gets best!”
Whatever you’ve done up until this point, don’t worry. It was probably good. But you can begin now to reposition assets—to turbocharge your wealth accumulation. As I often say, It’s not what you begin with that counts; it’s what you end up with.
Your greatest asset, the one most people already have, is sitting under your own roof. That asset is your home equity. I will show you how to manage it to alleviate unnecessary income tax on your IRAs and 401(k)s. I will teach you how to become your own banker, take ownership of your future, achieve financial independence, and retire in dignity.
I will show you strategies to turn on the afterburners during re- tirement to dramatically enhance your financial situation, with maximum results at minimal risk. I will teach you a new way to look at tax-favored investments that can offer you predictable asset accumulation and tax-free spendable income.
This is a book for you—a mature person—but there is no reason you can’t also hand it to your thirty-year-old children, or newlywed son or daughter, and say, “We’ve made some mistakes, but here is a way you can avoid them. Learn how to maximize your assets in a tax-favored environment for the next thirty years, and you’ll be further ahead.”
You, Too, Can Be a Thriver
Lee Brower, president of Empowered Wealth, LC, of which I am a national advisory board member and founding architect, originated the model of Strivers, Arrivers, Thrivers, Survivors, and Divers, depicting a bell curve of financial phases people may go through as they mature. Here is my interpretation of these five categories of people:
Strivers are the masses of people who may want to manage their money better, but who don’t understand the dynamics of money. They are often financial jellyfish. They live in the here-and-now. All they want to figure out is how to make money and spend it. These are people who, when they need cash, go to a check-cashing store and pay 3 percent to collect some of their own money. They are consumers who spend their savings rather than conserving it for the future.
Arrivers are the former Strivers who, with knowledge and discipline, graduate to the next levels of true wealth transformation. They understand that there are three marvels of wealth accumulation: compound interest, tax-favored growth, and safe leverage using other people’s money.
Thrivers are further up the ladder. They are Arrivers who know how to repeat the marvels of wealth accumulation over and over again—with their house, their second home, with other real estate, with all of their assets (Human, Intellectual, Financial, and Civic).
Survivors, on the other hand, are those Thrivers who become more fixated about the return of their money instead of the return on their money. They stop taking the steps that grew their wealth, and it begins to taper off. They say, “I’ve just got to hang on.” These are the people who think Social Security is enough to see them through their retirement comfortably.
Soon Survivors can become Divers, who, with their retirement money taxed on the back end and their asset accumulation models abandoned, run the risk of outliving their money.
How do the Thrivers of the world do it? Stay with me and you will find out how to free up cash and apply it toward achieving financial independence—learning how to put lazy, idle dollars (money you might not even know you have) to work.
I will show you proven methods of building your assets to achieve greater net spendable retirement income and to increase the value of your estate, all in a tax-favored environment. I will also help you figure out which other assets, such as CDs, stocks, bonds, and annuities, you ought to reposition in order to get more zing out of your money.
A Personal, Insight-Based, Life-Changing Experience
My wife, Sharee, and I have six wonderful children—four daughters and two sons. Our family loves to work hard, and we love to play hard.
We plan and carry out a family vacation with a specific purpose every six months involving our entire family, including my children’s spouses. I’ll share more about the power of this concept in Chapter 14. For now, I want to share some insights we gained on a family vacation several years ago.
One summer when school was out, we were able to pick up an inexpensive scuba-diving package in the western Caribbean. After our children were certified to scuba dive, we enjoyed a wonderfully relaxing week on Cozumel Island in Mexico. Each day we would venture out to a different scuba dive site and take in two dives of forty to sixty minutes in duration. The famous Palancar Reef located off Cozumel is touted as the third best scuba diving site in the world (behind the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Sea). It is a protected underwater park. The visibility is often 100 to 150 feet and the water temperature in the summertime often stays between 78 and 82 degrees up to depths of eighty feet. We would arrive back at the resort hotel in time for lunch and enjoy the rest of the day lying in hammocks, reading books, and talking about what we observed and learned that day.
Wherever we dived along the expansive reef, the plant and animal life was beautiful. We observed hundreds of varieties of fish, including jacks, triggerfish, angel fish, snappers, sting rays, barracuda, and giant groupers. Occasionally, if we searched hard in small underwater caves and small canyon walls, we would discover crabs, lobsters, octopi, and large eels. The colors of the fish, coral, and plant life were brilliant.
Toward the end of the week, we opted for a special night diving excursion. The night dive took place just a few hundred yards from the resort pier. We didn’t have to travel far to experience what has remained one of our family’s favorite dives.
It was a calm, clear night. The moon was shimmering over the gentle tide as we entered the dark water. Two barracudas curiously accompanied us as we descended slowly to a depth of about sixty feet and knelt on the white sandy ocean floor. Looking up toward the surface of the ocean, we could clearly see the moon and stars from our underwater vantage point. We quickly gained an appreciation of the immensity of the earth and space above as well as below the surface of the sea.
Our dive master signaled for us to turn off our flashlights for a few minutes. In awe we observed a scene of hundreds of tiny fish that were illuminated by their own energy source and by the reflection of the moon’s light. They looked like tiny, colored neon Christmas lights flickering around us—we were mesmerized by this peaceful scene. Then our dive master directed our attention to the ocean floor that lay ahead of us and signaled for us to turn our flashlights on.
We had been preoccupied with looking behind us—at where we had been. Across the ocean floor, as far as our lights could penetrate, the sea seemed to have come alive. We observed more crabs, lobsters, octopi, and eels creeping, crawling, and slithering in one pass of our flashlights than we had discovered in five days of daytime diving. The ocean floor seemed almost animated, reminding me of the “Under the Sea” musical scene in The Little Mermaid. More colors emanated from these creatures than we had ever before seen. It was the same ocean—in fact the same spot—we had dived earlier in the week, but now it was transformed, shimmering with life. It dawned on me that the abundant life had been hidden until the timing was right and a different light brought things out of obscurity.
So it is with the financial strategies contained in this book. An entire ocean of opportunity is there waiting for you. A life of peace and abundance can be yours—as you look forward, rather than behind you. You are about to see new opportunities, new paths, that may have been obscured until the timing was right and someone could shed light on concepts that have been hiding—maybe right under your own roof!
So How Do I Get on the Smart Track to Millionaire Status?
Only about 5 percent of all American households have a financial net worth in excess of $1 million. But you, too, can become a millionaire or multimillionaire within just a few years by employing the strategies contained in this book. However, unless you overcome the barriers, employ these strategies, and harness your best abilities, your potential wealth will not come to fruition. This might be your last chance to become a millionaire, safely, and just in time to establish a nest egg that will last as long as you do.
The strategies in this book are designed to help you make up for lost time. It’s not too late to become wealthy. But I need to restate once again, it will not happen overnight. If you want to accumulate a million dollars or more in retirement assets as soon as possible, you’ll need to pay close attention to ways that you can get a great head start, methods that will have you sprinting past some of your peers.
If this is your last chance to become a millionaire, you’ll want to do it right and ensure that you will achieve the financial independence that you desire. Are you interested in having more money? How about a lot more money? Then I implore you to read the entire book.
(As a token of appreciation for investing in the purchase of this book, I also invite you to listen to a special audio CD I have recorded for readers of The Last Chance Millionaire entitled “Secrets of Wealthy People.” Please go to www.MissedFortune.com/Secrets to hear this enlightening information.)
The Benefits of Financial Independence Await You
I’ve been a financial strategist for more than thirty years, helping people optimize their assets, manage their equity, and empower their wealth. Thousands of people have implemented these strategies and are now on the right path. I have interviewed many of them throughout the world. Here are some of the most mentioned benefits people enjoy (and you can also enjoy) as a result of employing the strategies I disclose in this work:
- You will be able to overcome the greatest dangers and conquer your greatest fears about having enough retirement resources—whether it’s money for prescriptions and medical care, or money for golf, cruises, and visiting your grandchildren.
- Have you ever been told you have no hope because you don’t have enough money? You will feel greater hope as you embark on a new beginning toward a secure future, able to fight against inflation and taxes gobbling up your hard-earned savings.
- You will be able to prove to yourself and to others that you can become financially independent and savvy. You will be totally accountable and responsible for your own future—fully independent from others—free from any reliance on the government to help provide for your retirement.
- You will be endowed with true wealth—a feeling of peace and abundance—that will allow you to give back to society, especially any family and friends that may need help. You may want to set up your own charitable family foundation or outreach program to help bless the lives of others in need. Your passion and purpose will be able to live on as you freely give to your favorite charities.
- You will enjoy richer and more meaningful relationships with your loved ones. With the proper perspective and priorities in your life, you will find the relationships that matter most will be enhanced when your financial house is in order. Marriage relationships become stronger and more intimate than ever when partners are on the same page, working together to achieve financial independence as a team for a long and fulfilling retirement.
I hope I’ve convinced you to continue reading. Consider The Last Chance Millionaire: It’s Not Too Late to Become Wealthy (Business Plus) as your nick-of-time road map to a retirement future free of financial traps and full of promise. This is your time. You can do this. And you can begin right now!
- No matter what your age, it is not too late to examine the current status of your retirement plan—even if you feel behind the curve—to take steps to catch up.
- Be willing to suspend judgment about unconventional financial concepts and try to remain open to brand-new revolutionary strategies.
- Learn the best strategies for optimizing your assets to enhance your retirement income.
- Recognize this key element: Your greatest resource is most likely the equity trapped in your house that can be tapped to fuel retirement savings.
- Build your wealth by joining the Thrivers who get the message, act, and who repeat their successes.
Copyright © 2007 by Douglas R. Andrew
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