Planning for retirement is complex and challenging. My guest today, Rodney Brooks, shares his insights on retirement and we discuss his new book Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap: Racism & Discrimination Put Us Here, But This is How We Save Future Generations on the challenges African Americans face in retirement planning.
- How he first become interested in writing about personal finance and retirement
- After writing about retirement, how his life in “retirement” is going
- What likely surprises people should be prepared for in retirement
- The benefits of working longer
- What regrets people have shared with him about their retirements
- His new book Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap: Racism & Discrimination Put Us Here, But This is How We Save Future Generations
- The size and scope of the wealth gap and the health gap
- The unique challenges African Americans face in planning for retirement – and Black women in particular
- His views on the most important things people need to do to plan for a successful retirement
- How people can learn more
Rodney Brooks joins us from Maryland.
Rodney Brooks is a veteran journalist, writer and author specializing in retirement planning and other personal finance issues. He’s written for many national publications, including USA TODAY and The Washington Post, His columns currently run in U.S. News & World Report and AARP’s Senior Planet. Brooks is a contributor for National Geographic, Next Avenue, and many others. He has also written about professional athletes and their finances for the Undefeated, an ESPN website.
He is author of the book Fixing the Racial Wealth Gap:what has put us here, but how we can save future generations.
He is co-author of Retirement Planning Essentials: A Guide to Living Well Without Running out of Money. He is also the author of Is One Million Dollars Enough: A Guide to Planning for and Living Through a Successful Retirement..
Prior to retiring in 2015 after 30 years, Brooks was Deputy Managing Editor for Personal Finance and retirement columnist for USA TODAY, where he coordinated all personal finance on all platforms for USA TODAY.
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On Retirement Today
“I don’t really consider myself retired because retirement has changed and retired people people do many things in retirement. They don’t sit home or watch westerns on TV like our daddies did. People keep busy and that’s hard for a lot of people. My son-in-law asked: So, when are you really gonna retire? I said I don’t really anticipate it because what would I do.”
“People aren’t really prepared for figuring out what to do, if they don’t have things planned out yet. I had a friend, a good friend, who called me up and said Rodney, there’s nothing to do! Well, think about that before you retire. I always tell people make sure you have a plan for how you’re going to spend your time. If you’re not going to work, have a plan to do something. Volunteer. You’ll get real tired if you play golf every day or do all those home projects you thought you would get to [one day]. You’ll run through those, but get bored really quickly.”
On the Health Gap
“African Americans suffer disproportionately from 8 of the top 13 leading causes of death in the United States, for a bunch of reasons. Black Americans have higher rates of heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, and you have to add murder in there. But, many people don’t realize that Alzheimer’s is is twice as likely to happen to a Black woman than a white American. I did a story on Blacks and Alzheimer’s and I was shocked at the numbers. I really didn’t really know that there was a racial component there. But then you have a lack of access to medical care, when you especially when you’re talking about the lower income who sometimes forego doctors or dentists. And there are severe that can be severe consequences if you don’t take care of your dental health that a lot of people don’t realize. And that’s one of the reasons that COVID had such a huge impact early on in the Black community because of its health disparities.”
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