The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+ by Suze Orman [Book Summary – Review]


Retirement may come as something scary. The gold-plated company pensions of the previous year are an endangered class nowadays, forcing an increasing number of people to look after themselves. However, unless you’re a business prodigy, making investments and handling what you set aside over the years may be rather engulfing for you. 

Fortunately, you can take information from a specialist to find your way through dark waters. Among the leading personal finance specialists, Suze Orman has worked for almost fifty years to assist her customers and readers to reach economic security. 

This summary tells you her tactics for shaping your retirement in the US. Anticipate much earnest advice on such troubling topics as economically dependent adult kids apart from several useful information with regard to making investments, spending, and setting aside money.

The most awesome thing is you’ll begin wherever you are at the moment – not where you believe you deserve to be. Thus, don’t fret or feel frightened, and set off to preparing yourself for the final retirement! 


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Chapter 1 – Making plans for retirement is much intricate compared to the past. 


After beginning her career as a financial advisor about 40 years ago, retirement was rather simple. For many years of work, people gained a pension – a secured income they get every month after retirement. People weren’t anticipated to handle their retirement funds and investments. What every American who retired was supposed to do was get their money and then sit and relax. However, this has changed nowadays.

Nowadays, you can solely get pensions if you’re working for the state. Unless you work for the state, it’s possible for you to fund your retirement through one or two methods. 

To begin with, the 401(k) is one of those methods. The 401(k) is an employer-funded retirement savings method enabling you to set aside and invest a portion of your wage. There is no taxation on the money put into your 401(k), however, there will be taxation when you withdraw money. The other method is the Roth Individual Retirement Account, also known as Roth IRA. In this method, the money put into account will be taxed; however, there will be no taxation while withdrawing money. 

After determining which saving plant fits you best, you’ll have to consider the amount of money you can take out from your account after retirement. It is very crucial to understand this. If you start withdrawing much money shortly after your retirement, and it’s likely for you to become penniless should you be still alive until your 90s – which has started to be prevalent.

The other thing is interest rates. Before, you could get by through the money made through investments. Today, however, rates are quite ungenerous; thus, despite one of the lowest inflation, profits are seldom sufficiently huge to help people after their retirement. 



You should also take into account stock market volatility – excluding the risk of one other recession as happened in 2008 – and you can straightforward understand the reason behind the engulfing feelings of retirement candidates. Should you plan to retire in 10 or 20 years, or should you simply decide on a retirement that can go on for two or three decades, it means the water gets much murkier, which is not the good news. 

However, there is something positive, too. If you’re resolved to do this, you can get through this. When you manage to come by now, we can surely assert that you possess the determination to face this critical problem from the onset. What is necessary for you at this point is the knowledge to grow your self-esteem, and this is the thing you’re going to find in the next chapters!


Chapter 2 – People who retired and have economically reliant kids have to set basic rules to ensure their economic safety.  


As in every logical economic decision, retiring requires utilizing your brain, not your heart. It’s not a simple rule to follow. When your retirement comes, it’s probable for you to have children and have grandchildren, which indicates being accustomed to placing the interests of your children and grandchildren before your interests and helping your close family maintain a good life. However, when you desire a retirement after which you’re going to be in comfort, you have to begin taking care of yourself.

Just as pensions have changed, so have relationships between families and their children transformed much in the last years. Our elderly parents, like those of Orman’s, were eager to move away from their parents’ houses. Nowadays, however, it is prevalent for those who are 20 or 30 years old to continue their lives at their parents. It doesn’t need to sound like a negative thing – sparing time to clear student debt or having a secure place in an insane housing market may be a clever thing.

Letting your kids begin to be economically reliant, on the other hand, isn’t something clever. In order to avert this situation, it is necessary to set some ground rules. Setting ground rules doesn’t mean “tough love” – it means backing your kids. When you pay the money for your kids’ housing, their grocery bills, or their vacations, you turn into an impediment for them since they can’t pull the strings of their lives.

Furthermore, it’s likely for you to undermine yourself while doing this. When you pay the money for your kids that can be used for your retirement today, you’ll start depending on your children’s assistance in your later life. After following this route, you guarantee that both you and your kids will economically reliant at crucial times in your respective lives. 



Then, what’s the way of setting these ground rules? Well, these three are vital. 

For starters, should your children share the same house with you, your grown-up kids have to give you money as rent – with no excuses. The next is to provide them with economic assistance under certain conditions. Helping your kid rent a place in a shared apartment while they accumulate money for a deposit on a house can be a good idea. Paying the expense of a place that belongs to them due to their preference of living – even if your kids are unable to afford it – is wholly another topic. 

Lastly, avoid co-signing for the money your kid take as a loan. It may come as unnecessary since you put your faith in your children, however, retirement means steering clear of risks. Perhaps you’re sure that your kid is firmly resolved to make his loan payments in time, however, what if your children are made redundant? Well, from this moment, you’ll be in a position where you pay the loan for a novel car instead of making savings for your retirement. 


Chapter 3 – It is possible to set aside a huge amount of money through clever choices about what kind of vehicle you own.


Should you continue to work, it gives you important leverage to expand your retirement package, which renders setting aside money a highly important matter. However, many people who will retire in the future have a hard time finding the money they believe that’ll be necessary for the prospect. Should you feel the same, there is no need to fret since the answer to this problem is straightforward. The only thing that is necessary is to reduce spendings. 

Cutting the amount of money you give out by, for example, $500 or $1,000 every month may make you feel as if you’re being punished, however, consider it in this manner: each dollar set aside today is a dollar that won’t be necessary to create during your retirement. In other words, cutting your expenses now decreases your retirement expenses – the extra money that’ll be handy for you to live your dusk years.

Then where should you reduce your expenses to generate those surplus dollars? We’ll examine an expense impossible to cut back on completely, however, possible to greatly cut back on: your car. 

Unless you pay the price of a car directly, a loan will be necessary. However, should you get a loan anyway, why not buy the car you desire, right? No! This is a general rule: don’t take a loan unless you’re able to clear the debt in three years. Unless this option is open, you don’t enough money to buy a car – see, very easy. 

Clearing off a loan in three years indicates more money wasted every month than a loan that can be paid in a longer-term, surely. In the long term, though, your expenses aren’t as much. The quicker you pay off the loan on this asset losing value, the less money will be spent on overall interest.  



It is possible to decrease your costs as well – and increase the amount of money set aside for your retirement – by choosing to purchase a car that’s a bit older. But this doesn’t involve purchasing any rusted wreckage from a crooked secondhand auto dealership. You should search for certified secondhand, or CPO, deals. The certification shows the used cars have undergone examination and you can receive a prolonged warranty. Generally, a CPO car is likely to worth four-tenth less than the price of a fresh car of the same model. 

Lastly, your goal should be to use your vehicle for a decade at a minimum instead of buying a new one a few years later. Keep in mind, your objective is to clear off your debt in the shortest time. This increases the years where you don’t cope with debts and help you set aside money for your retirement.


Chapter 4 – Cutting back on housing expenses lets you assist your retirement savings. 


People used to associate being old with declining capabilities and increasing reliance. The retirees are not like that nowadays, and the best thing that shows this is the dream of getting older in the same place – staying at your home until you pass away. When they have the opportunity, would there be anyone unwilling to dwell in the house possessing their most joyful memories!

It is not a surprise, then, a lot of people who retire are resolute to continue living in the same place. However, there’s one problem: though this dream is very appealing, it may benefit you more should you move into a smaller house. 

You have no other option as in retirement savings, relocation is difficult. By the way, it’s crucial to bear in mind recollections and customs accompany you. The fundamental thing is people – not houses or other places. Certainly, you’ll yearn for the old house, in the beginning, however, you should see it as a chance to generate novel customs and recollections. 

Cutting back on your housing expenses is an economically clever move as well. Less mortgage, for instance, indicates it is possible to funnel more money into your retirement package, clear off loans sooner than you’d expected, or postpone getting Social Security by the time you celebrate your 70th or something birthday. 

Then, we’ll summarize this suggestion. Relocation to a novel and more affordable house or apartment isn’t about the things you leave behind presently. It involves the things that’ll benefit you in the future and for many decades: to feel tranquil and serene means there isn’t anything to get concerned about money. 

It is possible to render this novel suggestion even more engaging by adding some figures to it. Suppose you want to continue working for a decade when you ponder and decide to reduce costs. Suppose the relocation decreases your housing expenses up to one-fourth. Then, should you pay $2,000 every month at the moment, it’ll be possible to set aside $500 monthly. How would you use it? 



So, at the end of a year, you’d have $6,000, which is a perfect amount of money for emergency situations – or sufficient to pay off trivial debts completely. Should you have no debt at all, you can use the money to fly to the other corner of the country to see your children. It would be possible to save $500 in a Roth IRA. Were you to do that for a decade with an annualized 5 percent return, it would mean more than $75,000 that is tax-exempt for retirement!

The greatest thing is that cutting back on through this practice helps you protect your self-reliant status. Perhaps you no longer dwell at your parents’ home, yet, you’ll maintain your life in a home that is owned by yourself. 


Chapter 5 – Patience can be very valuable in turbulent markets even after your retirement, however, this requires an emergency fund to pay this tactic. 


Though when you leave your job matters a lot for you, everything goes for your investment portfolio the same. Retirement doesn’t indicate your stocks are retiring as well – your stocks have another two to three decades of work before them! However, here’s the catch. With aging, you typically begin to be more prone to not venturing, which makes it more engaging to discontinue and sell your stocks after they fall sharply. However, you should not let it entice you to sell your stocks. 

Until your retirement, you’ll have probably been used to bear markets – markets where the value of stocks falls by at a minimum one-fifth of its value. This situation has come about seven times from the 1970s onward. However, notwithstanding these sharp drops, $10,000 invested in an S&P 500 index fund at the beginning of the 1980s was valued at $30,000 at the end of 2019. In contrast, had this $10,000 been kept in a bank for all this duration, the mere gain would be an extra $4,000. 

It is simply to point out that endurance in bear markets can be useful. This won’t change when your retirement day is closer, however, there are several extra things you’ll have to think about. 

When you face a bear market at the beginning of your retirement, there is a negative chance of your portfolio being unable to endure as long as you want it to. The reason for this is that withdrawing from a portfolio that has been depreciated because of a bear market causes you to lose a larger bite out of the pie than the pie it would typically get; it may cause you to have inadequate money for the future. 



Selling your stocks won’t remedy this issue – bear in mind, when you’re selling stocks after a sharp drop, it means stocks are sold off too late. Apart from this, leaving the stock market renders it more difficult to return when the market recovers. Attempting to “time the market” in this way involves being correct twice: the first time is when you sell stocks and the next time when you buy stocks, which is very difficult to achieve. 

So, it’s not possible to get by through your portfolio at the time of a bear market and there is no way of closing out your stocks, too– then how can you deal with this situation? The solution is that don’t sell your stocks and allow your portfolio to get valuable again, which usually lasts two years. This explains what is necessary to carry out prior to retirement: generate an emergency fund so that you can live off it for at least two years to help you get through bear markets. 


Chapter 6 – In order not to lose all your money, think that you’re going to see your 95th birthday and consider inflation as you make plans for retirement. 


At what are you going to pass away? Well, should you be both physically and mentally fit at the beginning of your 60s, you should act like that you’re going to die when you’re in your 90s. Do you think this is an insane idea? Then examine the possibilities. A 65-year-old woman is as wholesome as a normal person has a four-tenths chance of celebrating her 90th birthday. When there are a husband and wife, each of which is 65 years old and as wholesome as a normal person, however, has a six-tenth chance for one of them to be still living in one’s 90s. 

To put it differently, unless there’s a medical situation with the potential to shorten your lifetime, you had better think about the future at the time of making plans for retirement. 

Studies demonstrate that people have a hard time connecting with our future, our aged versions. People are concerned about today and seldom contemplate the bills they’ll pay within 20 or 30 years, which is an error that may lead to dramatic results in life.  

To illustrate, let’s look at Orman’s mother. Orman’s father passed away when her mother was 66 years old and left behind some savings for her. The amount of money was not that big, however, it didn’t fret her. Since Orman’s mother’s family and grandparents had passed away when they were 60 or so, she thought she wouldn’t live so long. However, she was mistaken and passed away at the age of 97. When she was in her 80s, she had become penniless and would have found herself in grave difficulty had it not been for Suze Orman’s assistance. 



After projecting three decades into the future after retirement, you have to consider a second factor, too – inflation, the rise in prices, and the decline of buying power in time. You’re right, inflation is rather low at the moment, however, low inflation rates can build up with time. Were inflation to operate at 2 percent annually for the next twenty years, for instance, you’d continue to be in need of $1,650 to pay off $1,000 of costs nowadays. 

Then, what’s the way of keeping abreast of inflation? Easy: stocks. Over many years, stocks have generated returns more than the rate of inflation on average – money reserved in banks and credit unions couldn’t show the same performance. So, stocks probably need to be a component of your retirement projections. In the following chapter, you’re going to see the way you can offset the venture of stock market investments with the safety of a secured income. 


Chapter 7 – An income annuity gives a secured income that counterbalances the requirements of investing in the stock market. 


Longevity statistics recommend your retirement projections should span several decades, which suggests that inflation has to be considered. As you’ve seen previously, this is said for stock possession, which yields a greater opportunity of producing above-the-inflation gains. Bear markets, on the other hand, may lead to drastic drops in your stocks’ prices, thus, it becomes impossible to generate constant income from this sort of investment. So much dilemma, right? 

However, how would it result were there to be a method of joining the most beneficial of both worlds – stability and the controlled risk of stock market investments? It is possible! 

What the odds say is that the most important thing for you in retirement is security. You want certainty, which shows that you can pay your vital living expenses. In other words, what you need is a secured income that you can always benefit from, even when the stock market – and your investment portfolio – is exposed to drastic drops. 

Then how can we get this sort of security? One thing we can do is an income annuity. This is a private payment one generates for oneself. In return for a lump sum, usually easy to pay prior to your retirement, an insurance company makes an arrangement with you, wherein you receive a not-subject-to-adjustment payment monthly after your annuity begins. 



The amount you receive hinges on the amount you deposited in advance and on how long you intend to claim your annuity. To illustrate, starting from late 2019, a 70-year-old woman desirous of a secured income of $1,000 every month for the remainder of her life span could anticipate making a payment of approximately $200,000 for an income annuity. A 70-year-old man who has a wife at the age of 67 who wanted to secure $1,000 monthly until the surviving husband or wife passes away, on the other hand, could expect to pay approximately $220,000. 

Perhaps you’ll find the thought of giving such huge amounts to an insurance provider rather frightening, however, you might feel happy afterward – it’s all about the value you give to having a tranquil and serene life in retirement. Keep in mind, there is no need for manual management for income annuities, which indicates you don’t have to concern about bear markets and offsetting portfolios.

After making the payment, you’ll get a secured income that you’ll get every month in your account locked-in. Even if the planet gets more insane, you’ll continue to receive the same sum each month. This is a shield that provides a lot of people in retirement with the faith to let a bulk of what they set aside to stay in the stock market and make those hugely-significant inflation-beating gains. 


Chapter 8 – It is possible to shield yourself and the people that you care about by getting two crucial documents – a will and a living revocable trust. 


So, after having clearly learned about projecting retirement, now we can address a trickier topic – sickness, and death. The two subjects aren’t easy, natural, and we can simply defer them to do someday. However, unless you take action at this moment, you’ll cause the people you care about to go through many sorrows and an economic jumble to deal with. In order to preclude such an outcome, you have to have your documents prepared. 

To begin with, we’ll talk about your will. Your will is the paper on which you explain whom your treasures pass on to upon your death. This very vital document declares Mary is going to inherit the gold bracelet and Rob Grandparent’s antique watch. However, the will isn’t the thing you should apply to while sharing big assets such as savings and lands or houses. 

Should you leave behind just your will, your family will have to send it to a probate court where they’ll wait for a judge’s verification prior to the acquisition of these assets by your inheritors. The probate process is intricate and hard to get through unless one hires an expert attorney, rendering it both time-eating and highly costly. 

For this reason, it is a good idea to have a living revocable trust. This lawful document generates a trust that is “funded” by you through the passing-on of the title of ownership of your assets to the trust. Usually, the assets you’d need to possess through your trust constitute real estate, bank, and investment accounts. Upon your death, if trust exists, no one will have to get a court’s approval to fulfill your demands and share your assets. A living revocable trust’s one of the primary pros is this. 



One other benefit of trust that a will cannot offer: facilitate everything for you and your spouse and kids when you are not dead yet. After the formation of a trust, the next thing to do is to appoint trustees – they will have the right to control the assets in the trust. These trustees will consist of you and your spouse, a so-called heir trustee. This is the person with the authority to take action and lead the trust in your interests if dementia, Alzheimer’s, or some other degenerative condition like these hinder you from managing your own economic activities, for example. The trust guarantees the utilization of your money to care for you even though you become disabled or unable to make decisions on your own. 

Here it is – a plan that you can implement so as to create a safe and healthy retirement and guarantee that the people you care about won’t need to deal with bureaucratic troubles upon your death. 


The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+: Winning Strategies to Make Your Money Last a Lifetime by Suze Orman Book Review


Making plans for your retirement is a lot intricate compared to the time when company pensions existed. The sign of this is that you’ll need to take action should you desire to relish your final years in the peace of mind. Set aside money today by owning a used car and relocating to a smaller home, and it’ll be a great start. After retirement, you should continue remaining invested in the stock market to create inflation-beating gains and paying off living costs from a secured income, such as an annuity. Once you’ve managed your finances, the next thing is to guarantee your inheritors don’t have to deal with burdens of bureaucracy by means of two crucial documents – a will and a trust. 


Think about saving online. 

Banks with their physical presence outside are perfect if you talk about simple access to cash and ATMs, however, those banks don’t typically possess the best interest rates when it comes to savings accounts. Should you crave for a more favorable deal, you should think about moving your savings to an online bank or credit union. They are able to give higher gains since they don’t own offices or company buildings. So they don’t need to pay for such expenses as rents. Then the question is how much the discrepancy between them is? Well, since late 2019, conventional banks were giving approximately 0.25 percent on savings accounts whereas their online counterparts paid gains of approximately 2 percent!



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