the sound that Garp made when tossed into the air. Not. It was the sound that Garp’s father made because he couldn’t talk. Or AARP is the funny sounding title for the American Association of Retired Persons organization. It might also be known to you as that group that starts sending you mail around your fiftieth birthday and doesn’t let up until you die. Yes, they are relentless but in a good way. I know when you first get the mailer it can be a shock. Retired, old, me – Nooooo! But then you get over it when you see almost immediately how being a member of such a large organization brings you benefits. Hotel costs go down, lower auto insurance, health insurance, free financial advice, and after you start claiming Social Security benefits, medicare/AARP works to keep those medical and drug costs down. They wield a fair amount of political clout, too.
I am thinking about this this morning because yesterday while strolling through my local Border’s Book Store I came across another benefit from AARP. The little kiosk stood right there next to the main information desk. It was one of those kind that you can turn so that you can stand in one place and see all the items on it. This one had a variety of AARP pamphlets on it that covered the specific information a person might need to understand about topics as diverse as Health Insurance, Home Improvement, Consumer Protection, Social Security, Baby sitting as grandparents, and Money Matters.
As you might guess, it was this last one that caught my eye. But before I go ahead with a review let me plugin this caveat. The advice is for financial planning first, seniors second, and anyone who needs the information no matter what their age last.
Money Matters Your Guide to Financial Security, the AARP version:
- Start with a plan: It can be a plan for the week, the month, or forever, just so it’s a plan.
- Set goals: What do you want and when do you want it, and how much do you think it will cost in time and money and in life energy to get it
- Evaluate your cash flow: What is coming in now, what will be coming in later, and how much of it do you spend
- Calculate your net worth: Add up the assets (things that you own that make you money) and subtract the liabilities (things that you have that cost you money) and remember debts are not assets until the cash flow from them is positive
- Make assumptions about the future: What will happen in the economy, in politics, in your employment or retirement, with your health, and with those within your immediate family
- And as a last step, adopt a financial strategy: Decide what is most important, decide how to use your information to get that done
The rest of the pamphlet is filled with reference material and contact info to help you realize your plan and, as I said above, whether you’re ten or ten times ten this collection of materials should be a great starting place to get you thinking about your money matters.