December 17, 2018

Money Management for Retirement

Book Review by Graham Sewell | Pension and Financial Wellness Committee

George McConechy packs so much useful information into this slim paperback that it is a must-read for everyone; but it is especially useful — perhaps even critical — for anyone approaching retirement or who has already retired. What is unique about If Money Could Talk is that it focuses on how money fits into life with an emphasis on how money is a commodity that, with careful management, works for you. His writing style makes the book easy to read, and numerous anecdotes not only help to illustrate the writer’s points but also often bring a smile.

There are nineteen short chapters each ending with a very brief summary called ‘Straight Talk.’ Chapter content ranges from excellent advice for preparation for retirement, realistic budgeting, the ramifications of divorce, caring for dependent children or adults, ‘snowbird pitfalls,’ inside information on the funeral industry, wills and estate planning (which is different in each province), time shares, pensions available in Canada, tax planning, and more.

The central theme of the book is that individuals and families should use caution with money and employ the services of specialized professionals who have been thoroughly vetted. The author constantly points out that one tick or signature in the wrong place can have devastating and long-lasting ramifications in such matters as setting up pension options or the dispersal of an estate.

The prose is hard-hitting and to the point, such as “We’re all going to die one day. It’s not negotiable.” However, the author’s premise is that we can, with common sense, good communication and appropriate professional help, have a relatively stress-free retirement and even “organize and manage our departure.”

Of interest to many readers will be the author’s advice about staying away from reverse mortgages, or buying an on-sale item with a credit card but negating the bargain price by paying high credit card interest, or his warning that because people are now living longer, the last phase of retirement can be the most costly.

Because the author lives and works in Edmonton, the book is written with a definite Canadian focus. It is available from online booksellers.