Choose your own adventure: Real life edition

Choose your own adventure: Real life edition

Note: It’s launch day for The Ideal Retirement Design Guide!  Only 250 are available in this initial run, so check it out in the Store if you’re interested or want more information.

Last month R.A. Montgomery died. You might remember him better as one of the creators of the hugely popular Choose Your Own Adventure children’s book series. For those not familiar with the series, you don’t read the books straight through. Instead, you read the first scene or episode and at the end of that episode you are presented with a choice. Depending on which choice you make, you turn ahead to a particular page where you discover the consequences of your choice, learn how the story progresses as a result and are then presented with another choice. This continues, giving each book multiple potential story lines and often 10-20 potential endings.

I think part of the reason that the books have sold more than 250 million copies is due to the fact that a) we like adventure and excitement, and b) we like to have some control in choosing our own destiny. Both of those tend to be true regardless of age. They are true when we’re 7 and they usually still hold true when we’re 70.

Imagine your retirement as a real-life Choose Your Own Adventure series. You will be bombarded with decisions—both leading up to and during retirement—that will determine your course. Some of those decisions will pertain to things like finances, but retirement is more than just a math problem. Often your decisions will deal with things like health, relationships, leisure, family, pursuits and where you decide to live. Those choices (along with your finances) will directly impact how happy and fulfilled you are during that phase of life.

To make the best decisions for you that will result in your ideal retirement, it’s probably a good idea to not just flip a coin every time you need to choose between A and B. It’s better to have a good understanding of yourself and what you want your life to look like. In other words, it’s good to have a plan. If you want some help with that, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I launched a new guide today called The Ideal Retirement Design Guide. You can read more about it here or check it out in our Store over here. There’s never any pressure to buy anything here at Intentional Retirement, but if you think it will be helpful to you it’s available.

Thanks for following along.  Touch base if I can ever help.


Photo by Mike Baird.  Used under Creative Commons License.
A 12 week action plan for retirement

A 12 week action plan for retirement

As promised, I wanted to give you more details about the upcoming availability of The Ideal Retirement Design Guide. I created the guide because after 20 years of researching, writing about and helping people plan for retirement, I kept seeing a recurring problem. What was the problem?

The problem?

Most people don’t have a plan for retirement. They don’t know what they want to do, how much it will cost or whether or not they are on track to save enough to pay for it. Not surprisingly, that creates a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty. And rightly so. If you are among the 88% of people who don’t have a written plan, your retirement will probably fall far short of what it could be.

The solution?

How do you solve that problem? You need a plan, of course, but retirement has a lot of moving parts and it gets complicated quickly. I tried to simplify the process by listing out each major area that you need to cover and then creating a module for each that discusses the issues involved and gives you worksheets, checklists and strategies to help you plan. The Ideal Retirement Design Guide is a 12 module, comprehensive program that will help you create a detailed plan for the retirement you’ve always dreamed about by focusing on one key area each week for 12 weeks.

What is included?

The guide has 12 modules that each cover a key area of your retirement. The first module is a 72-page lifestyle design guide that will help you think through and define the Who, What, Where, When and Why of your ideal retirement. The remaining modules cover areas like calculating how much you’ll need, creating a sustainable withdrawal strategy, maximizing Social Security benefits, long-term care, health care, estate planning, minimizing taxes and much more. To help you learn from real world examples, there are also 6 Q&A Case Studies with current retirees. In addition to all that there are 4 hours of audio interviews (and corresponding transcripts) with experts in areas like income planning, estate planning, long-term care, health care and retiree taxes. Finally, there will be several bonus resources like a free eBook that I wrote especially for the guide called 50 Essentials for Retirement Success.

When will it be ready?

The current plan is to make it live in our store at 8 a.m. Central time on Wednesday, December 10.

What will it cost?

If you hired someone to do this planning for you, it would cost thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, that’s probably why many of you don’t already have a plan. I wanted the price to be accessible to most people, but I spent so much time, effort and expense creating it that I can’t afford to give it away either. I settled on one simple price of $159, shipping included. If you buy more than one (Christmas is right around the corner) the price drops to $139 each. That’s less than what it would cost to spend an hour with any one of the experts interviewed (not to mention everything else that comes with the kit) and it’s a small price to pay to get your retirement plans on track. Having said all that, don’t feel any pressure to buy it. Most of what I write at Intentional Retirement is free and available to all. Yes, I have to cover the expenses of the site, so I also offer a few useful products designed to help you solve some of the most challenging problems you’ll face in retirement, but please don’t buy them unless a) you can afford it and b) you think it will be helpful for your situation.

Why order now?

A few reasons. First, I wasn’t sure what the demand would be, so I only created 250 of the kits. When they’re gone, the store page will stop taking orders. This isn’t a trick to create scarcity. The kits are expensive to produce and I wanted to make sure there was demand before ramping up production. I have no idea if they will sell fast or not, but there are a few thousand people on the waiting list, so if you want one I’d encourage you to order sooner rather than later.

Second, once the initial run sells out, the kit will be unavailable for a period of time while we process orders and interview customers to see what they liked and what we could improve. When I make it available again, I expect to raise the price. So order now if you want the lower price and if you want to put “Plan for retirement” on your New Year’s Resolution list.

Third, it’s Christmas! Give yourself or someone you care about the gift of an awesome retirement. Sure, they might get you an ugly sweater or 5 piece wrench set, but you can give them (or yourself) the confidence and peace of mind that comes with having a great plan for what should be one of the most rewarding periods of life. And remember, I’ll knock $20 off per kit if you order multiple copies.

One quick disclaimer: We’ll make every effort to get it to you before Christmas, but we’re a small operation and UPS and the Postal Service are shipping a few billion other packages this time of year, so don’t cross me off your Christmas Card list if unavoidable delays keep it from arriving by the 25th. Just in case, I’m having my designer create a gift card that you will be able to print from the site.  The card will explain what the guide is and why you’re an awesome person for buying it for the people on your gift list. That way, if your order doesn’t arrive before you leave for Christmas at grandma’s house, you can print out the gift card to show the recipient what you got them and let them know that it will arrive shortly.

How can I order?

As I mentioned earlier, it will be available next Wednesday at 8 am Central. Just go to our Store page, click on The Ideal Retirement Design Guide product page and then click “Buy Now” to order. For your ordering peace of mind, our store is administered by 1ShoppingCart, one of the biggest names in ecommerce. When you click on the “Buy Now” button, you’ll be redirected to a secure product page where you can complete your order.

That’s all for now. Thanks for following along. We’ve got new readers/subscribers this week from quite a few different states, but also from as far away as Japan, so hello (or Kon’nichiwa as the case may be) to those of you who are new around here. Touch base if you have any questions or if there’s ever anything I can do for you.


Photo by Nick Kelly