Why do you think The Quest is a better way to prepare for retirement?
There are two reasons: First, for most people, this method is more realistic than a traditional retirement, where you retire full time and rely exclusively on financial resources. And second, it’s a better way to communicate about a difficult subject. For everyone concerned, it’s simple to learn, realistic to achieve and cost-effective.
Why do you say the approach in The Quest is more realistic than traditional retirement?
Traditional retirement isn’t likely to happen for most baby boomers. Here’s why: The average 401(k) balance for people in their fifties and sixties is roughly $100,000. This amount of money can generate a retirement income that will last for the rest of your life and increase for inflation of just about $5,000 per year. Add in Social Security, and the total probably still won’t provide enough income for most people. And many people can’t count on a lifetime pension, due to the decline of traditional pension plans. So most Americans will need to think differently about retirement. Instead of waiting for retirement to fulfill their lives, they should plan ahead to live a long time, be healthy and prosper in every sense of the word. That goal is within reach for most Americans.
What kind of life do you advocate for our retirement years?
Determine the right balance between income from working and income from financial resources. Find work that you enjoy doing. Continue to learn and give back to your community. Think about what you really need and what really makes you happy, and buy just enough for that. Take care of your health, so you can continue to be productive. Seek a happy and fulfilling life, which involves much more than simply enjoying a traditional retirement.
Why do you think The Quest is a better way to communicate about retirement?
For most people, planning for retirement can be complicated and frustrating. And while learning from books and using software are good ways to prepare for retirement, many are just too confusing for most people; they get intimidated and frustrated and just give up. To help people plan for their retirement years, we use a technology that most people already know how to use: a DVD player. We advocate effective strategies that are simple enough to express in a 90-minute DVD. By following these strategies, most people will get in the ballpark of the retirement they want. That puts them in the position to make adjustments as they experience life’s uncertainties, either by reducing living expenses or continuing to work.
How does the DVD present the strategies and information?
We interview 12 experts in the fields of life planning, health, finances and behavior change. We also interview 13 people from all walks of life, who are following the advice of the experts and who are committed to living life to the fullest. Viewers are more likely to be influenced if they see people like themselves who are setting good examples. The DVD is interesting and entertaining to watch--you won’t get bored, and you’ll understand and remember the key points.
Why is it important to pay attention to how people learn about retirement issues?
Many of the challenges that exist with respect to retirement are behavioral--the lack of savings, the growing obesity problem, related health issues, and so on. We all know what to do: Invest for the future, eat better, exercise more and manage our stress. We just don’t seem to get around to making good life choices. But we can make a lot of progress by focusing on how people learn and make decisions. We need to respect that in today’s world, advertising has a significant influence on Americans’ daily decisions about all aspects of life. This is one important reason why The Quest DVD goes beyond providing good information; it’s intended to influence viewers to make healthy life choices. But The Quest package is more than just a 90-minute DVD--it has these additional components:
- Following the 90-minute DVD is 60 minutes of Making It Happen bonus material, which contains additional footage of the experts and provides more details about the health, happiness and financial aspects of retirement.
- A 30-page Action Guide is included which elaborates on the strategies discussed in the DVD. The Action Guide contains tutorials on a few key subjects, provides checklists for your happiness, health and financial resources, and points you to additional resources.
- Our website, www.thequestdvd.com, offers an enhanced viewer/discussion guide, additional tutorials and other articles of interest.
The Quest package is a flexible, portable system of teaching and learning. It respects that everyone learns differently. The entire package enables viewers to learn at their own pace, and get just the right amount of information.
What is the Life Portfolio?
When planning for your retirement years, you already know that you need to build a financial portfolio. But that isn’t sufficient for a long, prosperous rest-of-life. Instead, you should think more broadly and include strategies that will also improve your happiness and health. The Life Portfolio provides the structure you need to organize your action steps in each of these areas. There’s enough scientific research and financial knowledge that’s available to plan for success in each of these areas. The Life Portfolio is inspired by John Nelson’s Retirement Well-Being Model, as described in What Color is Your Parachute – For Retirement?
What is the Life Portfolio for Happiness?
Most of the advertising you see about retirement focuses on enjoying your later years as if it were a permanent vacation. While we certainly encourage everybody to enjoy life, we suggest there’s more to life fulfillment than a permanent vacation. Enjoying your retirement years can also include learning and personal growth. Also, think about connecting--with friends and family, with your community, with a higher power. Giving is also important--giving your time, friendship, money and energy to your families and friends, to your communities, to the greater good of society. Enjoying, connecting, and giving are the main components of the Life Portfolio for Happiness.
Why spend time planning for happiness in your later years? Don’t most people need to worry more about money and health?
Well, let’s start with the obvious. If you aren’t happy in your retirement years, why did you save and plan for retirement? But there’s more. A substantial amount of research suggests that people who are happy and fulfilled are healthier, live longer and spend less money on medical bills. Loneliness and isolation can often be a bigger risk to your health than cigarettes.
What is the Life Portfolio for Health?
The medical and scientific research suggests that if you do a good job with nutrition, exercise and stress management, you can add five to seven years to your life and reduce the odds of contracting expensive medical conditions by about 50 percent. That’s a great bet—wouldn’t you take those odds? On the other hand, if you do a poor job in these areas, you can subtract five to seven years from your expected lifespan. There’s actually a ten- to thirteen-year spread between getting it right and getting it wrong, so it’s well worth your time and energy to get it right. If every American did a good job on nutrition, exercise and stress management, the research suggests we could cut our nation’s medical bills in half. In the current era of skyrocketing medical bills and increasingly poor health of our citizens, each and every one of us can no longer afford to ignore these findings.
What is the Life Portfolio for Finances?
When it comes to retirement, we advocate that you focus on these three areas:
- Managing income and expenses
- Building and using financial resources
- Protecting against risks that can wipe out your financial resources and damage your ability to generate income
Do a good job in these areas, and you’ll get in the ballpark of where you want to be financially during your retirement years. But to do this, you’ll need to become a “student” of personal finance and retirement. Learn about appropriate products and services. Understand the best strategies in each of the above areas. Take your time--you don’t need to learn all at once. The Quest package goes into much more detail in each of these areas.
What’s the hardest part about implementing the strategies in The Quest?
For most people, the hardest part is learning to make significant changes in their lifestyle. This can include changing saving and spending habits, improving their diets, incorporating regular exercise, and learning to manage stress. Here are three insights that can help:
- First, enlist a supportive network of family, friends and professional advisors. People are more likely to succeed if they’re surrounded by knowledgeable people who care about them. We all do much better in groups than in isolation.
- Establish a good picture in your mind of success. What do you want to do? Who do you want to do it with? Create a vision for a bright future; that vision will pull you in the right direction and will help you get through difficult times.
- Take it one day at a time. Each day, you can choose to eat better, exercise more, spend less and save more. Keep doing these things for 30, 60 and then 90 days, and you’ll have created healthy habits. Don’t try to do everything at once--you’ll only frustrate yourself.
Why did you produce The Quest?
I spent more than 30 years as a consulting actuary, helping individuals and organizations prepare for retirement. With my next phase in life, I want to help people with planning for a long, prosperous rest-of-life.
For Long Life, Health and Prosperity
Produced by Steve Vernon/Rest-of-Life Communications
$25.00 US / price higher in other countries
Release date: November 1, 2007
Steve Vernon, President