BOOK REVIEWS

Feathered Quill Review

Reviewed by: Barbara Bamberger Scott

A highly regarded expert in the field of money management, Mark Anthony Grimaldi, shares his insider knowledge of markets, investments, and retirement in this practical guide.

Grimaldi begins by debunking the notion that a 401K is the ultimate retirement blessing; in fact, he asserts here, it was “designed for Uncle Sam’s ‘financial’ gain.” He asks readers to open and clear their minds and follow his advice on investing for retirement. Examining the hidden costs of standard 401K plans, he clearly demonstrates that taxation regulations embedded in the system comprise one of the largest factors preventing a secure, comfortable retirement.

Grimaldi’s book is dramatic, with all the relevant data leading to an “act three” climax in which he simply and boldly states his three-part Action Plan: 1) Stop contributing to 401K plans, and instead, utilize an after tax account, explained in his narrative; 2) Get out of debt – most of us owe for cars, houses, vacations and credit card buying, and paying these down – to zero – is one of the best “investments” we can make; 3) Save by using the formula, “your age divided by three.” The author offers an easily understandable model for this third requirement: divide your age by 3, and take that percentage as a rate of savings on your total income. For someone aged 25 earning $50,000 per year, the savings amount using this formula comes to what seems a reasonable amount, $347.00 per month. He also offers basic rules that delineate the means to take advantage of tax deduction regulations, which can play a critical role in what one’s heirs will inherit.

In this well-organized how-to, Grimaldi – chief economist for the NO-LOAD Sector Rotation Fund (NAVFX) – combines both down-to-earth examples – such as the contrast in investing strategies between a “Mrs. Smart” and a “Mr. Uninformed” – with rigidly accurate fiscal data that may require a bit of study among some of his less financially adept readers. But the basic logic is there for all to see. In laying out his guidelines, he considers the needs of three generations of Americans: Boomers, Millennials and Gen X. Each group has different perspectives and different long-term prospects for investment and each has lived through different financial eras in America.

Quill says: Grimaldi’s colorful, fact-dense manual can be a handy carry-along for financial planning encounters. Reading his wise words would benefit all forward-looking Americans, assuring them that they have a right to anticipate a smooth transition from the stress of working life to the rewards of retirement years.

Mark Anthony Grimaldi’s informative book offers a guide to prepare for a comfortable retirement by using IRS rules in your favor. He explains how to pay the least amount of taxes while saving the maximum amount of money. He even discusses how to leave your money to your heirs, paying the least amount of taxes and allowing the most benefit from the inheritance. “RetireSMART!: How to Plan for a Tax-Free Retirement” is well thought out and clearly stated.

Mr. Grimaldi says that his guide is mostly aimed at millennials; however, he says that anyone can benefit from the plan. Obviously, people who have been in the work force longer and are closer to retirement will see less benefit because they will have less time to implement the plan. It appears to me that anyone can benefit from the knowledge put forth and may even be inspired to be more creative in saving and investing. (It is also necessary to say that some people will find this way of saving and investing to be somewhat risky.)

There are chapters devoted to discussion of how to calculate how much needs to be saved in order to retire comfortably; paying off debt; the need to understand taxation; getting the government out of your retirement plan; why it’s advisable to get out of any 401(k) a person is currently contributing to; target-date retirement funds; choosing a financial adviser; and getting ready to retire when the time comes. These complicated subjects are laid out so that anyone can understand them.

Getting out of debt before retirement is discussed at length. I was impressed with Mr. Grimaldi’s instruction:

How to Fix Your High Credit Card Balance.
1. Stop using your credit cards.
2. Pay off the cards with the highest interest rates first.
3. Stop saving money and put all that money toward debt.
4. Have a garage sale and put all that money toward debt.

How Not to Fix Your High Credit Card Balance.
1. Do not pull money from your retirement account;
2. Do not take out a consolidation loan. If you do, you will only run up the cards again before the loan is paid off.

Excellent, clear advice that will benefit anyone implementing such a plan.

The author’s ideas on investing, getting out of debt, planning for retirement and even benefitting the next generation through tax-free inheritance are worth reading. It is difficult for many people to be disciplined with money, especially if they can’t see what it means later in life. Mr. Grimaldi has laid out a plan worth considering and offers lessons in handling money that will help anyone but will be of the most benefit to young people.

I wish I had read “RetireSMART!: How to Plan for a Tax-Free Retirement” a long time ago!

Practical retirement planning for the working class American

RetireSmart – the author demonstrated a keen understanding of the common workingman and woman then provided a road map to financial security for them to follow.

In my experience, most retirement strategic guides focus on the haves. In essence, “Retirement strategies and lower tax burdens are for the wealthy elite. If you’re the average American, stop dreaming and get back to work.” Refreshingly, this was not the case for RetireSmart.

The author invites debt-burdened Americans, the majority of Americans, to the table. At the table he reassures them that retiring comfortably is possible for them just as well as the rich. Next, he outlines a program that systematically and painlessly leads that person out of debt and into the world of being able to invest in their future.

Grimaldi demystifies and simplifies complicated investment vehicles. As promised by the title, he shows how to navigate that world for the purpose of retiring with the highest possible retirement income and lowest tax burden. This information is helpful to both the haves and have-nots.

If you’re a person who requires data to make informed decisions, the author describes multiple studies, statistical analysis, the evolution of tax code, government sponsored retirement plans, the many acronyms for laws and investment modalities, along with the short and long-term tax implications.

Personally, “RetireSmart, no taxes, no tolls, no fees, no traffic – Enjoy!” was enough terminology for me. I was hooked and wanted to read a step-by-step plan for achieving those goals. The book was written in such a way that the key points, the take-home messages were readily apparent – my needs were met. I plan to use RetireSmart investment strategies, as well as teach the information to my children.

RetireSMART!

Whahooo…finally!!! A book I can read when I don’t have time and a book I can easily understand–retirement uncomplicated and logical. Thanks!

Guidelines for a Safer, Less Daunting Retirement

Being ten years into retirement, Mark Grimaldi’s new book hits home as a “couda–woulda–shoulda” experience. In perspective, I did follow some of his suggestions, but more by chance than by astute planning. There was a kind of unconscious karma that might have reflected his introductory “G-P-S” strategy, but it was not motivated by a grounded realization about the peril of taxation. Retire Smart provides just that.

The author’s target audience are millennials and younger, and he provides them with wise strategies to incorporate into their immediate and long-range financial existence. He posits that new each generation has the possibility of living longer, which brings with it the need to anticipate a far different approach to long range financial planning. Most in my generation merely coasted into retirement without a stratagem. Just the opening chapters hammer home the idea that neglecting focus on the “golden years” borders on shear recklessness.

The author’s powerful premise that fewer and fewer of today’s middle class workers have the protection of pensions, and their unrelenting spending (including habitual refinancing of mortgages) place them in far greater economic peril in relation to their future. Prudence dictates a far greater clarity of purpose with regard to retirement.

That groundwork established, Grimaldi then arrives at his thesis: the grim assertion that the 401(k) plans, in their many forms, present a not-so-hidden, but easily ignored dilemma. They provide a convenient remedy for retirement neglect, and have been embraced by many employers, but they do not protect individuals from the pitfalls of post-employment taxation.

Retire Smart is a guideline for a safer, less daunting retirement.

A Comprehensive Guide to Better Retirement Planning

Mark A. Grimaldi’s book “RetireSMART!” was an insightful step by step guide which effectively laid out a plan to reduce/eliminate whatever tax liability you are faced with. I found it to be an interesting easy read with timely “Real Life” advice. Good for all ages at all stages of life.

A must have book for Retirement Planning

This is a must have book for anyone starting a career, a must have Graduation gift! Mr. Grimaldi explains how to make it to retirement without losing your shirt in the process. His examples are clear ( I’m not a numbers person!). His examples are easy to follow and his advice sound.
It’s never too late to correct the course of retirement, this book will show you how.

Great Buy

Retire smart a must buy very well written easy read excellent information.

Great Guide

Excellent book!! The author takes a complex topic and simplifies it in such a way that the average reader/investor can easily follow and understand. His writing style is an easy yet direct approach to the topic geared for anyone regardless of status or wealth. This is an important topic that affects every working man and woman. This book is a serious guide and should be on everyone’s Christmas list!!!

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- MARK BROWNN

Into the Wild

When In Wild, You Better Follow Rules Of Nature

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RetireSMART!

How to Plan for a Tax-Free Retirement