July 20, 2009
The New Three-Legged Stool:
How should you invest your money? Should you contribute to your company’s 401k, put the money in a Roth IRA, or just buy mutual funds? Can you expect to receive any money from Social Security when you retire? How much of your retirement money will the IRS take in taxes? These are the important questions Rick Rodgers expertly answers in The New Three-Legged Stool with clear explanations, followed by practical, concise instructions to make the most with the money you have. This tax-efficient approach to retirement planning is one that readers will refer to again and again.
The New Three-Legged Stool refers to the three types of investments you should have, and balance properly to support your retirement. These three investments are Tax-Deferred Savings, After-Tax Savings, and Tax-Free Savings. Rodgers takes the reader through an explanation of why each of these types of savings is important, how to invest in it, and how to withdraw the money to achieve the maximum benefit at the time of retirement. Tax-Deferred Savings include company 401(k) plans and IRAs (including SEP and SIMPLE plans). After-Tax Savings include mutual funds, bank and brokerage accounts, and investment real estate—anything that isn’t technically a retirement account. Tax-Free Savings are Roth IRA’s and Roth 401(k)s that have no immediate tax benefits. Rodgers devotes considerable time to explaining the benefits and disadvantages of these investments, and why a healthy balance must be achieved among all three.
One of The New Three-Legged Stool’sgreatest strengths is the examples it offers in the form of various retirees’ stories. The book opens with “The Un-Funniest Story Ever Told” about a successful businessman with an estate worth over $4.4 million. Because the man never consulted a retirement planner or made an effort to do estate planning, when he passed away, his children ended up paying 85.8% of their father’s retirement account in taxes! Many more examples of retirees’ experiences are illustrated in the book, often comparing two people’s strategies to see which ends up being more beneficial.
Besides telling readers how to manage their money according to the current IRS tax laws, Rodgers provides an explanation of how the IRS functions, why it tries to get as much money as possible, based on the U.S. Government’s failure to handle its money properly, and the origins of Social Security, as well as the approaching crisis that by 2017 more money will be withdrawn than is annually contributed to Social Security.
Rodgers closes with advice on finding a good retirement advisor and how to do estate planning, including writing a will or setting up a trust to protect your hard-earned money so you will have enough for the remainder of your life and money left over for your heirs. Several useful charts accompany the discussions, illustrating how much money a person will need to live on, depending on current income, age of retirement, expected longevity, and when a person chooses or is required to draw income from various retirement accounts, including Social Security.
Rick Rodgers has produced a much-needed, well-organized, friendly to read, and refreshingly short book (202 pages) that will give readers much to think about and plan for, and which they will return to time and time again. I hope Rodgers will update the book as time goes by so it is current and future readers can equally benefit from it as tax laws change.
Rick Rodgers is well qualified to provide advice on tax-efficient retirement planning. He is an industry veteran of twenty-five years, has published numerous articles on investing in such publications as Wealth Manager, been a guest on TV and radio shows, and been quoted in Investment News and Smart Money magazine. In 1996, he founded Rodgers & Associates “to help families create and conserve their wealth in preparation for worry-free and dignified retirements.” For more information about Rick Rodgers and The New Three-Legged Stool, or to contact him for personal investment assistance, visit www.TheNewThreeLeggedStool.com .
— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D., author of the award-winning Narrow Lives
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