Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Giving Quicken a whirl...and a Book Tour!

Last month I chronicled some of the tools I use to keep track of my personal finances. I related that each of the ones I use has some shortcomings. In the comments to that post, Quicken was mentioned as a possible solution. I had also been looking for some sort of simple business software to keep track of income and expenses from another website that I maintain. Get some low-level experience at running a business, if you will. So I bought Quicken 2005 Premier Home & Business . I have never seen a product so severely ravaged by reviewers on Amazon.com. I decided to get it with an open mind and see if it could help me out.

I only had time to quickly set up the software and enter a few things. My first impressions was that this was going to take some time to get used to. Predictably, the things that would not sync up nicely with Money (my Credit Union, my TIAA-Cref retirement account) worked great with Quicken. My credit cards (CapitalOne) and my Money Market account (VirtualBank) did not have online features. I need to figure out the business side of things, though I was able to create an invoice, and even add my logo to it. I will continue to try it out. (While keeping my Money program updated and see where I decide to stay.

Book Tour

On another note, there is a new book on the market entitled Free Gulliver: Six Swift Lessons In Life Planning. Next month on April 18th, the author of the book, Tripp Friedler will be a guest on this web site. He will post an introductory comment, and then check in periodically during the next few days to respond to comments posted in response to his. It should be a great opportunity to share some knowledge and get some good information and advice.

Here's part of the introduction to the book, and I will have some more from it as we get closer to Mr Friedler's appearance.

Never Retire

by Tripp Friedler

According to older dictionaries, the definition of retire is "to put out of service, to withdraw." Anyone who has been lucky enough to retire his debt knows this and hopes it never returns. But when your old car gets retired, it doesn't move to the beach. It ends up in the salvage yard. Given the definition, most people would not like to be retired.

How is it that retirement came to be seen as such a good thing? Everyone you talk to wants to retire by the time they reach 60. This book takes a different view of retirement by starting with a very simple premise:

No one wants to retire from work they love.

Beverly Sills, who enjoyed a long and respected career as a star soprano, retired from singing to become chair of the Lincoln Center. In her early seventies she retired from that position, only to reappear six months later as chair of the Metropolitan Opera. "So I smelled the roses and developed an allergy," she told The New York Times.

Ms Sills, like most of us, did not want to be put out of service. Many people in their eighties lead productive, active lives, whether they're working or not. My grandfather died at 95 and worked until he was 92. He didn't do it for the money; he did it for the love of work.

The average age of retirement has plummeted from 70 in 1930 to 62 today. In the same time, the average American's lifespan has increased from 48 to 72. If we start working at 22, expect to retire at 60 and live to age 82, then our retirement comprises almost 27 percent of our entire lives. The implications of these statistics are serious, both personally and financially -- as well as for the national budget deficit.

We no longer worry about living long enough to enjoy our retirement. Now we worry about living so long that we run out of money. We have put a lot of pressure on ourselves to have a large nest egg ready for retirement. Out of fear, too many of stay in jobs we hate in order to save a little more. It bears repeating:

Staying in a job you hate is crazy.

Stay tuned for more to come...


Jonathan said...

Well, I'm glad to see someone took Mr. O'Keefe up on his offer. I don't know much it would add to have 10 different blogs offer the same stuff. I look forward to seeing what he has to say, but all I can say is, I'm definitely retiring! ;)

I need to find my MS Money disc so I can try using it as well... so daunting isn't it?


Kate Bean said...

I'm looking forward to Mr. F's comments on your blog. Sadly, I think many people will never retire. Not because they don't want to, but because they can't. Living paycheck to paycheck is a way of life for many people (Like my Mother-in-law).

Where I work now, there's a revolving door. Many people (after they are able to receive their retirement pension) come back as contractors and get the contractor's salary and their retirement pensions and benefits. It's a great deal - especially if you enjoyed doing it.