Why the U.S. is So Bad at Retirement
Golden Reserve Founder Greg Aler pulls back the curtain on how the trillion-dollar financial services industry is failing retirees in his new book Fire Your Financial Advisor. Read on for an adaptation from the book’s introduction.
It’s easy to forget that Retirement as we know it today is a fairly recent concept. In fact, just over 80 years ago, nearly half of men over age 65 continued to work until the day they died. Thank goodness we now have a better plan. Or do we?
Retirement is a small blip in the broader context of human history, the idea of wealth accumulation even more so. It wasn’t until the spectacular economic growth between the 1970s – 1990s that the middle class had an opportunity to build their savings and partake in the dream of leaving the workforce by choice. And build they did. The problem is no one really had a plan.
So, it began: the avalanche of slapdash advice, opportunistic marketing, and alphabet soup acronyms. You could put your money in a 401k. You could put it in an IRA. You could put it in a different mutual fund every day! It was as wild and wacky as a Dr. Seuss book, complete with a new cast of characters to drive the nonsense: financial advisors.
The average Joe needed someone to tell them what to do with their money and make it easy to understand. Financial advisors filled that gap, and in the process, their pockets too. Thus, the financial services industry flourished. But did retirees flourish, too?
We all know the answer. You’d think with more years of experience, the financial services industry would have continued to refine how we plan for Retirement. Instead, challenges like tax liability, market risk, investment fees, and the skyrocketing cost of long-term care went ignored. Picking investments is far more lucrative.
So here we are, in the year 2023, and the best wisdom the industry has to offer retirees is a Seuss-like refrain:
A 401k. An IRA. A different mutual fund every day!
This is why the US is so bad at Retirement. It’s a story so outlandish, someone needed to write a book about it. So, I did. Fire Your Financial Advisor examines how we ended up with such a flawed system and what the industry needs to do to help retirees safeguard their Retirement dream.
Spoiler alert: they probably won’t like the recommendations. But you will.