Retire Inspired – Chris Hogan

Retire Inspired Chris Hogan

QUICK HIT: In Retire Inspired, Dave Ramsey personality Chris Hogan provides the motivation and the education to begin proper retirement planning. In a clear, easy to understand format, Hogan first progresses through getting out of debt, then discusses investing, then leaving a legacy. If you’re a Dave Ramsey fan, you’ll want this on your shelf.

People suck when it comes to retirement. They don’t want to think about it. Oh, they dream about it, of course, but they don’t really think about it. It’ll just happen and then they’ll be able to do whatever they want. It’s that attitude that has over 60% of Americans with less than $25k saved for retirement…and that’s not enough to Retire Inspired.

I’ve been told I’m strange. My coworkers think I’m crazy for being in my 20s and already planning for retirement (and, actually, I’m not planning on ever fully retiring). I’ve tried to get them to come around, but the now power of money seems to always beat out the future.

That’s due to a couple things: first, today’s problems are the most pressing; second, today’s pleasures are the most entertaining. Retirement is seen as a thing to be done later, with no real plan for when later is. 30s. 40s. In that range. But in Retire Inspired, Chris Hogan preaches the message that retirement is not an age: it’s a financial number.

In other words, simply this: do you have enough saved that you can live off passive retirement income? Hogan begins by redefining retirement, and I’m really glad he does. I love this phrase: Retirement is not the rest of the story; it can be the best of your story. Me, personally, I don’t plan on retiring. I’m a writer, a pastor, and I’ve got a calling that’s not going to quit.

So why do I need to plan for retirement? Because I want to retire the necessity of work. Because I want to get rid of the need to get paid for my calling. Because I’d love to be able to give my salary back to the church I serve. Retirement takes on different forms for different people, and finding your retirement goals, whatever they might be, is a huge step in being able to Retire Inspired.

Chris doesn’t dive right into retirement after his introduction. Instead, he spends a couple chapters on budgeting and debt. Since he’s on the Dave Ramsey payroll and this is a book published by Ramsey Press, these chapters are heavily Dave-inspired. Which is fine, because, let’s admit: it works. I think these are needed chapters because so many people are juggling both trying to pay off debt and sock away money for retirement, or don’t see the problem of debt, and removing one’s negative net worth is kind of an important part to building a positive net worth.

The actual advice on retirement proper begins about a hundred pages in with a chapter on investing. Hogan lays out the basics, including of the basics of what not to do. This chapter isn’t retirement specific, but serves to just get your feet wet in the investing world.

The Investing Menu was the most helpful chapter for me in terms of laying out new information. Hogan lays out a beginner’s level guide to all sorts of investing, and also how he feels about it. I appreciated this, because it doesn’t just say “here’s what you should do” but also says “here’s what you shouldn’t do” or “if you choose this option, here’s the risks and benefits.”

Retire Inspired doesn’t require you to be a 100% Dave Ramsey fanboy to get anything out of it. (No lie, though, it does help.) Hogan lays out the options and, basically, gives you talking points to go through with your financial adviser.

The closing chapters focus mostly on attitude. The nuts-and-bolts of investing only work if you’re actually using the tools you have. Truth is, retiring inspired, is more a matter of DO SOMETHING than doing everything perfectly. Hogan has a way of pumping you up, letting you see the end goal, and convincing you delayed gratification always ends in better things.

Overall Retire Inspired is a winner. It’ll be on my shelf for at least an annual thumb-through as a part of my every-January “Am I on Financial Track?” conversation I have with myself. (Smart of them to release the book in January, huh?) I do wish there had been more technical investing advice, but I understand this book was first, more about motivation, and second, more timeless—as its advice isn’t going to change much even if tax laws do. I also wish it would have been less Dave Ramsey-esque (You can get a lot of the same info in The Total Money Makeover). But I’ll let it slide, because how else should you write a retirement book than talk about what works? Whether you make $10,000 or $1,000,000, you need to read this book!