Scott Wardell, an Eden Prairie-based wealth adviser and certified financial planner, explores how the Great Recession has changed retirement strategies in his book, “Retiring in Turbulent Times.”
The book profiles nine people — from a suburbanite whose real estate investments were slammed in the financial meltdown to a schoolteacher and her husband whose frugal financial management has enabled them to pursue international travel and other retirement goals.
The book examines how those profiled avoided or recovered from financial train wrecks to retire comfortably, said Wardell, who wrote the book with journalist Brian Lambert.
The personal stories focus on rethinking retirement strategies in the wake of the recession and amid what Wardell terms accelerating market, economic and political uncertainty.
Such turbulence undermines people’s confidence in retirement planning, Wardell said. But not having a plan is one of the biggest mistakes people make.
Wardell has a master’s degree in retirement planning from the Colorado-based College for Financial Planning and more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry.
He and his wife, Barb, own and operate Montgomery Orchard near Montgomery.
Q: Why did you write this book?
A: I wanted to show how people can retire with a little bit of adaptation and creativity, and that it isn’t all about how much they had saved for retirement. Also all the books I had read on retirement were way too technical. I thought it would be great to have interesting stories to read to help people understand their retirement dilemmas.
Q: Why did you choose to profile real people for your book?
A: People learn better by seeing themselves in the story than they might learn more effectively than reading theories and formulas. Also, a big part of the book is to provide people with some hope. Many so-called financial gurus like to espouse theories and ideas that make people believe that they can’t retire unless they have $2.5 million put aside and saved. I find most of that categorical advice to be worthless. So, my stories are about real-life situations of people who retired happily and most on less than what you’d think.
Q: What were some of the leading factors that influence whether people retire happily?
A: No. 1 is making sure that their paycheck is somewhat replaced so that they have regular steady income. No. 2 is figuring out what they are going to do when they retire and helping them think through some of the sense of purpose, structure in their day and relationships that they will likely lose when they retire.