My Personal Retirement Rehab Story

 
 
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The Raw, Unfiltered Truth About Retirement Planning

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I’ve got some bad news for you — traditional retirement planning is going the way of the dinosaur.

Whether we’re talking about employer-matched 401(k) plans, Social Security benefits, or corporate pensions, traditional retirement planning vehicles are being reduced or eliminated across the board. And, frankly, investing your savings in the market isn’t a guaranteed win either.

So, if you’re someone who isn’t comfortable with your current retirement plans and you’re ready to take back control of your financial future, we’re here to help.

Let me be the first to introduce you to The Red Pill Retirement Podcast. In our first episode, we talked all about how the retirement landscape is shifting and what you can to do prepare.

I also shared a little bit about my personal Retirement Rehab story and how I came to be the founder of Retirement Rehab and The Red Pill Retirement Podcast.

Here are the highlights:

My Personal Journey

I was betrayed by the “tried and true” model that is passed down from generation to generation: go to a good school, get a good job, work there for forty years, max out your 401k, and coast into retirement.

And I’m not alone. Lots of people are behind the 8-ball when it comes to retirement planning, whether it’s because of a market downturn, being laid off, suffering from an illness, or going through a nasty divorce.

In this episode, I share my personal story of how I came to run Retirement Rehab and started building tools and educational resources to help other people in my situation take control of their financial future in an unstable market.

The Perils of the Traditional Retirement Planning

If you’re relying exclusively on things like regular raises/bonuses, 401(k) plans, or brokerage accounts, you’re putting your future at risk.

Any time you rely heavily on a single source of income, you put yourself in serious jeopardy if that revenue is ever taken away. Additionally, traditional retirement vehicles give you little control over the inputs and almost no control over the outcomes.

Diversifying your revenue streams by learning how to build a business that can operate in parallel to your current job is the responsible choice for yourself and your family.

The Benefits of Alternative Retirement Planning

At Retirement Rehab, we help you be proactive and intentional about the retirement lifestyle you want and how you can reliably finance that lifestyle for 20-30 years or more.

Leveraging digital business models like coaching, consulting, or eCommerce not only generates additional revenue streams, it also helps you achieve location independence, uncaps your earning potential, and allows you to continue working longer than you would be able to at a traditional employer.

In short, it gives you the freedom and peace of mind to eventually leave your job knowing that you’ll be able to continue to provide for your family because you’ve taken steps to keep earning money over the long term.

References and Resources

Transcription of This Episode

Welcome to the Red Pill Retirement podcast where we give you the raw unfiltered truth about retirement planning in the modern age. Pensions and 401k’s are quickly becoming a thing of the past. So, we’re here to share resources and recommendations that will help you create the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re ready to take control of your financial future, we’re here to help. Let’s get started.

Hey everybody. Welcome to the show. My name is James Sauers, and I’m your host, and I am joined by Ian Bond, the cohost. Ian, say Hello to the folks listening in.

James, how are you?

I’m doing well.

Thanks for having me. It’s a delight to be with you.

Great. Great. The feeling is mutual. Today we’re going to talk about some of the changes that are on the horizon and frankly already happening in the retirement planning space, and maybe some of the conventional vehicles aren’t what they used to be just like a lot of things in life. And, there’s some opportunities for folks that maybe didn’t plan as well as they had liked to, or find themselves in a financial pinch for whatever reason, to use some different methods to solve that problem and make sure that they can provide for themselves, and their families through retirement. We’re all living longer, so extending that runway to make sure that retirement is a sustainable next chapter in life for them.

So, you’re the expert on this Ian. I’ll let you weigh in on what you’re doing right now with My Retirement Rehab, and your lifestyle, and where you’re at today, and then we’ll take a step back and talk about how you got there. So, just tell us a little bit about you.

Sure. Sure James, and just to piggyback on that, I actually heard a technologist the other day say that there’s been more change in the last 10 years than there were in the last 10 decades to put things in perspective from a technology standpoint. But, at myretirementrehab.me, we have a thriving community of folks who are behind the eight ball in terms of saving for retirement. Either something happened or it didn’t work out as planned.

In my own situation, I essentially bought into go to school, get a good job, max out your 401K, and everything will be okay. And, when the financial crisis hit, my earnings never really returned to even half of what I was making before the financial crisis.

So, in our community at myretirementrehab.me, I have developed resources for people that know that they’re going to live a long time, and that have to deal with all of the different things that someone that’s facing retirement as they’re getting older would want to think about.

I developed a four and a half hour course called The No Nest Egg Retirement plan. So, if you were close to no nest egg, or your nest egg is not big enough, this is for you. It’s a community of like-minded people that are helping solve each other’s problems, and sharing the journey along the way.

I can remember when I first came to the realization that I was never going to see the income that I saw before the financial crisis. I looked around, and trying to find a resource, there was none. The reason I created my retirement rehab, then the No Nest Egg Retirement plan was essentially to answer … solve that, answer that question. So, that’s the reason I’m here.

Right? You’re actually still working, and you’re running this in conjunction with a full time executive level position, if I’m not mistaken. So, tell us a little bit about how you’re balancing that, and what life looks like there.

Sure. So, one of the options that we have a module on, which is a career counseling module, is for people to try to maintain their current level of earnings for as long as they can. Now, sometimes you’re found you’re in a situation where you can see that the pink slip is coming. Other times you can proactively make a move that will lengthen your career runway.

One of the strategies that we talk about is moving internationally. So, I chose to take a job outside the United States. I left the United States in September of 2014. So, I’m coming up on my four year anniversary. My family joined me the following summer. I could tell you, it’s entirely different working for it in an international setting where you’re viewed as an American expert, and that advice and career background that you bring, and the pedigree that you bring is incredibly well appreciated.

I love my job. I love what I’m doing. I like my boss very much, and I love our CEO very much. So, it’s been just a godsend to me to be able to have this opportunity. It also allows me to lengthen my career runway so that I can put a little bit more away before I do decide to take retirement.

Absolutely. Yeah. I think it’s extremely interesting that you are doing both things at the same time, and also that you are living abroad because that is, first of all, it’s always good to have multiple revenue streams. It doesn’t really matter what situation you’re in, in life. That diversification is just, it’s a safety net. If any of those were to go away, you still have the other ones to fall back on. So, I think the model in general that you’re teaching and sharing with the community here is very advantageous. I’m interested to hear more, and I’m sure that the listeners are too. So, I think maybe the next thing to do would be to take it back. So, I’m not quite sure how long you’ve been running My Retirement Rehab. How long has that been?

This is our third year.

Okay. So, just shortly after you made the move to Dubai, right? So, take us back to, I guess, maybe four years ago or three years ago. What was the precipitating event that led to the idea of My Retirement Rehab, and how did your life change, I guess, and what was the catalyst there to get you on the first step to this journey?

Well, the realization that there were no resources for people that didn’t have a nest egg and no one to talk to, really appalled me. The retirement, the traditional retirement planning space is a place where you go in, and pay a hefty fee and you get a beautifully documented folder of spreadsheets, and all kinds of projections. But, none of it means anything if the inputs can’t be counted on, and can’t be something that’s certain.

As you move through your 40s and into your 50s, I can only tell you that the likelihood that your income will stay the same is going to dramatically go down, and the reality of today’s employment landscape, or career landscape is that things are changing very quickly. So, having only a career or professional source of income is really a horrible situation to find yourself in.

So, when I realized this, and I actually write it my own ship financially, I chronicled this. This is what became, call it two and a half years ago, what became the core part of My Retirement Rehab, The No Nest Egg Retirement plan, which really starts I think of it as being a two fold exercise.

One part is really to determine where you are, but more importantly, where do you want to be? I think we all get locked into the, “Oh, woe is me. This is where I am.” Step back, and do the millennial thing and think about how you’d like to live your life. The second part is implementing strategies to get there. That’s really the exciting part. So, that’s the core of the history of it.

It’s evolving every day. Now in my own case, you mentioned developing other sources of income. When my wife joined me, we started to invest in websites, and earn income online. My wife could not find a job overseas. She had worked for an investment bank in the United States. We decided that really it wouldn’t make sense for her to find a job because ultimately we’ll leave here, why wouldn’t we invest in something that we could take with us?

So, we have invested in websites and built quite a nice income from investing in websites and operating them. Now my wife has upwards of eight or 10 people working for her at any given time, and runs a thriving business from the desk that you see behind me, which on myretirementrehab.me is affectionately known as my wife’s $2 million IKEA desk, and it is from IKEA. Last year, our revenues were over $2 million from that desk, or from her laptop, which she often used when she goes to my kids at various events, whether it’s outside the hockey rink, or the ice skating rink, or by the foot football pitch, or wherever it is. So, that’s how I got here.

Right. So, I think what I’m hearing is you started off by documenting your own journey. You realized that this is going to be a challenge that you were going to face, and you wanted to come up with a plan. And, during that process you started documenting the steps you were taking, what you were thinking, your rationale. Then that’s been effectively productized into a course, and a community, and some educational informative articles, and thought pieces.

So, that’s what I’m hearing. I think what’s most interesting about that, and that some key points that I’m pulling out of it is you’re teaching folks how to do business online, which not only gives them the flexibility to do it from wherever they want, which is what we all want in retirement. I mean, we picture ourselves on a beach running a business, and that’s not necessarily the most realistic application day-to-day, but it is something you could do once in a while.

But, more importantly, if you want to relocate across the country to be closer to grandkids or your kids, you could do that, and you don’t have to stop making money in that process. And, if you want to take the kids to the zoo for the day, like your business still runs in the background if you set it up the right way.

So, that kind of location flexibility is one thing, but it’s also something that you can dial up or down, and it extends your runway for how long you can work, especially if you’re in a role right now that requires manual labor or something like that. Like something where when you move into retirement, I mean we all age, right? And, if you’re in a backbreaking, laborious job, it’s going to benefit you to continue to make money into the later stages of life by doing business online, stuff that you can do from a laptop from a $2 million IKEA desk. Does that sound like what you’re getting at here?

Yeah. So, one of my very good friends in one of the e-commerce communities that I’m involved in online is I think he’s in his last 20 months of being a General Motors plant supervisor. He has these crazy hours at the plant where they work at, and he’s building, he’s doing exactly what you have described. He’s building an income so that when he leaves, and he’s one of the fortunate few that will have a pension. The rest of us are out of luck. He’s going to have a pension, and he’s going to have this business which he works at nights and weekends on, and he can go and travel anywhere he wants to with the business, and certainly with the pension, and ultimately when he reaches the age to collect social security.

But, you’re right. I mean, the business that we’re running, which is well into the six figures on a monthly basis in revenue is one that we’ve run from vacation. My wife recently went back to the states to help my older daughter get an apartment for a summer internship. Her team didn’t know where she was. She was online running the business, and the business went like clockwork.

Being eight hours ahead of the east coast of the United States, our business has to run without our intervention. So, all of the standard operating procedures we’ve put in place basically require the business to run on its own. So, all of that has been something that we’ve worked on from the beginning. Now, if you want to do coaching or consulting, which I think are very natural things for people to start with, or if you want to do something like writing, which is something that … writing or teaching English or things like that, otherwise, there are lots of different ways to get into this game. In fact, we have a book on Amazon called Fund Your Retirement. It’s an introduction to online income.

So, that talks about all the various business models and different ways that you could get involved in earning that online income. But, this industry, my industry is broken. The reality is that the retirement planning industry, all of these assumptions are outdated today. It goes back to our introduction. More has happened in the last decade, than the prior 10 decades. We’re all going to live too long chains, unfortunately, okay? It means it’s going to be horrible. So, you’re going to have to figure out, everyone’s going to have to figure out how they’re going to fund the retirement. I much rather start while I am, I’d start thinking about that now and be proactive.

You said something early on in the conversation about you can lower your expenses, and only lower it so much. That’s really true. Okay? One of the ways that we’re going to lower our expenses is we’re going to retire abroad where it’s much, much cheaper to live, and where you can live, wonderfully. Other people may choose to relocate from an urban area in the United States to someplace suburban. I know a number of people that are going to do that.

Of course, we’re all going to go back and visit our grandchildren, and we ultimately may end up moving back to be near our grandchildren, it’s something. Never say never. But, the reality is, it is cheaper to live abroad and you can take advantage of that. If you have an online income, it really doesn’t matter.

Right. Yeah. I think what I’d like to touch on there is you talked about your particular situation. I’ve heard you tell a couple stories already about folks that are facing a similar situation, and are using your knowledge and resources to get over that challenge.

So, what were some of those early indicators that this issue extended beyond yourself, and that it was something worth solving with a platform, and a brand targeted specifically at helping folks in that situation. Now, I know there are probably some market indicators, but was it really just folks coming to you and saying like, “Hey, I’m facing the same problem that you are, and how did you get through this, and can you teach me?” Then you just scaled that up so that you could have a larger platform to share that message with.

So, if I go back to the very early days, and I don’t really want to relive this ever again, it was horrible. When the notion hit me that I’d never get back to the earnings level that I needed to fund my retirement, to pay for my kids’ college education, and I couldn’t fly anymore miles. I was flying 130000 miles a year. I couldn’t work harder. My business was growing. I just wasn’t going to get paid anymore. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was on a total funk.

The first thing I had to do is get healthy and decide that I’m not a victim, I’m going to be a victor, and figure out how to solve this. I guess I’m fortunate that being in management, I could see how technology was disrupting all forms of traditional work.

So, what I decided to do is try to figure out how I can make that technology work for me. I started by just outsourcing some simple tasks to India to try to figure out how does this all work, all this stuff all work. The real breakthrough for me was when I relocated in September of 2014, got this great job overseas, and my wife and kids stayed behind, and suddenly working from 7:45 in the morning till 4:30 in the afternoon. I had a ton of extra time. A ton for me because I used to be on planes literally every week.

So, I was able to immerse myself in all things online. So, I looked at all different types of online opportunities. My Retirement Rehab was born out of the presumption that there were more people like me. But, when you’re in this situation, you’ve got nobody to talk to. You can’t go to a colleague at work and say look, “This isn’t going to work out for me. I’m not going to be able to retire. I’m going broke.” You can’t share that with anyone.

If you go through a divorce, you’ve got plenty of people you could talk to. Okay? If you’ve got a personal financial situation, and you don’t have any money, there aren’t any financial professionals that want to talk to you, and there certainly isn’t anybody that’s going to give you the emotional support that you need.

So, for me, the first real big thing was coming to grips with the fact that it wasn’t going to work for me, and I had to tell my wife, and I had to tell my kids, and life was going to change. I grappled with that for a really long period of time. Then when I told them, it was like, why did I worry so much? They were, “Okay, that’s great. What do we have to do?”

So, it worked out wonderfully well for me, but if I can help anyone through this process not suffer the way I did, and I think there are a lot of people out there, I want to do that. By the way, I don’t think that most people are football fields away from where they need to be when you look at potentially what they have saved as well as potentially what social security can mean, and what their future lifestyle could be depending on where they live. So, even one, two, $3000 a month is a lot of money. It can be a big uptake in your lifestyle depending on where you choose to live. But, how do you do that, and how do you do that online?

That’s not something that’s native to most people that are baby boomers. I’m 61 and I can tell you even with people that are a set of friends over here that are in their 40s, they don’t think like this. They don’t think about it. They have their, everybody’s committed to the career, and to the job until the job ends, and then everybody scrambles.

So, when you’re 61, that’s not a huge amount of time. Look, the alternative is taking your career skills at age 60 or 55, and looking at a shrinking pool of opportunities, and hoping that you fit in. Now, I’ve been on Wall Street since 1980. I’m past the point where I want to put a suit and tie on, and go to a big building every day, and go through performance evaluations, and performance reviews. I’m pretty much close to being done with that. And, being in control of my own destiny is really exciting for me. That’s not something that even three and a half years ago I could set.

Yeah. And, there are some points I want to reiterate there because I think you had a lot of really great nuggets. The first one is this kind of, I just call it an alternative retirement planning maybe, like a new world retirement planning. Is it just for the folks that are behind? It can, if you are behind on your retirement savings, and you’re not confident in your future, it can help you catch up, right?

But, it’s also for the folks that maybe have planned responsibly, and just want to keep working through retirement. They don’t want to sit back on their heels, or they want to increase their standard of living in retirement. They have a certain nest egg, but they’d like to live a little better, and travel a little more, and have nicer things or whatever, or maybe they want to provide for their kids and grandkids. I mean, not to get morbid, but everybody wants to be able to continue to provide for their family even after they’re gone. And, so-

Yeah. So, that’s really an excellent point because I think most of us want to stay engaged. What we’re doing in the e-commerce space is incredibly exciting. I’ve met so many interesting people, and I attend conferences. The more I learn, the more I like it. I think it’s something that I can do for a very, very long period of time, and certainly not be bored. I’ll be challenged every day, every day.

So, I think you’re absolutely right. It’s different than what you’ve done for the last 40 years, and it’s wonderful. I mean, it’s really, really fun to do. Organized correctly, you can have all the free time that you’d ever want.

Right? The other point I wanted to hammer home that you said, and I’m going to rephrase it to something that I’ve used throughout my life is that hope is not a strategy. Hope is a prayer, right? So, if you think that putting your money in the market, like we all saw how that can shake out. I’m not a doomsday enthusiast here, but it can happen, and you can lose half of that overnight.

So, if you’re going to put your money into a traditional vehicle and just hope for the best, that is not the most definitive way to make sure that you can take care of yourself and your family through retirement. So, I think that what you’re teaching folks, and the other point you made is that this might not be intuitive to people who are nearing retirement age because they aren’t digital natives, they’re not millennials who grew up with technology, and all of these different online business options available to them.

So, what you’re doing is you’re taking some of the stuff that other brands are targeting for millennials who get it right away, and you’re packaging it in a way that it makes sense for folks who may be open to the idea, but might not have that ingrained knowledge already in their brain, and who may have had decades of exposure to this is the way you do it. You go to college, you get a job, you stay at that job for 40 years, you get promotions along the way, hopefully you have a 401K worth matching, and then at the end you just cross your fingers and hope that you’ve got enough to live off of for the rest of your life. And, that’s not always the case. So, again, I just think this hope is not a strategy message that you seem to be conveying, is [crosstalk 00:23:59].

Yeah. So, let me give you the, I think the ultimate story. So, last summer, my family and I went to Portugal. I attended a retirement conference held by one of the two big folks in the retirement space. I quickly became friendly with a couple that she was in her mid 70s, and he might be 80. We had dinner with them one night. I remember her reaching out to my wife, and touching her on the arm and saying, “Sweetie, you’re going to outlive your husband. Let me tell you, I have plenty of money, but I don’t have enough cash flow. Okay? I don’t have enough cash flow. Think about cashflow. Okay?”

So, that’s the reality. We need cash flow to live. She didn’t want to dip into the principal, okay? That’s a very slippery slope to go down. She was very interested in the stuff that we were doing in e-commerce because she saw it as generating cashflow, cashflow way above what you can earn in normal investments.

By the way, if you go back to your earlier point, and you read any of Robert Kiyosaki’s work; paper assets, while wonderful, should not be your only strategy for sure. So, I’m a big believer in what Kiyosaki teaches. I’ve read all of his books multiple times. Start with Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and the Cashflow Quadrant, and you will quickly become convicted that if you do have some financial assets, and you’re lucky to hold those, you should definitely develop alternative streams of income, probably in private businesses where you run them with the standard operating procedures, and all kinds of policies, and run them very professionally. That’s a wonderful hedge to have relative to your paper assets.

Right. So, I think we should tie this all together because I think this has been a great introduction to you, and your background, and My Retirement Rehab. I think really what we’re trying to hammer home today is that you don’t necessarily have to settle for that established life path that everybody recommends for you.

If you’re in a situation where you might be in some dire straits financially, or you just have greater aspirations for your life after retirement than most people, and you want to build revenue streams, and a business that can support that, then that is a realistic outcome. And, if there’s a learning curve that you’re afraid of, or you’re intimidated by calling yourself an entrepreneur, or a business owner, then My Retirement Rehab is really the place to get not just the outcome, but the roadmap to get you every step of the way there.

Ian, of course, you’re the person, you’re the guide along that journey. You’ve used your personal story, and some stories that you’ve shared with us today to go ahead and map that out. So, I think your story is super intriguing, and I think that the folks at home are going to love it. So, I think what we might want to do here is just wrap this up with like anything else you want to say about the brand, and then maybe close out with where folks can go to learn more about you, and to learn more about My Retirement Rehab.

Yeah. James, let me just add one thing. I thought about launching a course, and selling people a course at whatever the market would bear. There’s an equivalent course that’s on the market right now that’s about, it’s I think it’s $1297. I think that the right model for this problem is a community, a membership community.

So, that’s why I’ve embedded my course inside a membership community because it isn’t just always me. It’s other people that are either at the same level, or one might be leading another, or it be one learning from another. This is what communities are great at. It may be the case that I am not the best person to give the best advice because it’s a couple of years removed from me, whereas someone else may have just gone through the exact same situation.

Now, I’ve got more anecdotes than we have time for today in terms of things like making housing choices and things like that. So, I would tell you that the fact that your part of a community, which you can join and which you can exit at any time without any commitment where you can have access to all of the resources right from the beginning, that’s what I wanted. That’s what I would have wanted. Okay, and that’s why I did it.

So, you can reach me at ianbond@myretirementrehab.me, I usually respond pretty quickly. I’m eight hours ahead of the east coast at this time. So, I may respond while you were asleep, or you may reach out to me while I’m asleep, but I usually do it very quickly, but thank you for your time.

Yeah. Thank you. We’ll link up all those resources we covered today in the show notes, and some of the topics we discussed about alternative retirement vehicles, on running a business that you can operate from anywhere, living abroad, and using a geo arbitrage to extend your financial runway. All those things are going to be future episodes. So, if you enjoyed this, and you enjoyed learning about Ian and My Retirement Rehab, then definitely subscribe, and tune in for future episodes.

Ian, thank you so much for your time. We’ll talk to you again soon. Okay?

Thanks James. Appreciate it.

So, there you have it. Episode one is in the books and we had a very enlightening, and engaging conversation with Mr. Ian Bond. We learned about his personal and professional background, and how he came to realize that the traditional model for retirement planning isn’t going to be sustainable in the future.

We talked about some of the changes that are already happening and some that are on the horizon that are going to impact the way that we, and generations after us plan for their financial future. We talked about Ian’s website, myretirementrehab.me, and the community that he’s building over there for people that either aren’t confident in their financial situation, and they’re staring down retirement, or folks who just want to increase their quality of life, and be able to afford a more lavish or more rewarding retirement than they might have originally planned.

So, we talked about what Ian’s working on at myretirementrehab.me, and we also talked about some ways that you can get your start exploring some of these alternative methods like starting an online business, or standing up an e-commerce store, and just take that first step. Just start making progress. Test the waters, dip your toe in, and see if it’s going to be the right fit for you.

If you’re ready to grow, and move further down that path, and start taking control of your future, then myretirementrehab.me is definitely the place to go for that. And, as always, we link up all the resources that we talked about in today’s episode in the show notes. If you want to find more information about this particular podcasts, you can go to redpillretirement.com.

So, until then, we hope you check out the resources from this show, and we’ll see you on the next one.

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