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Start planning for retirement NOW

Retirement. That is a word that doesn’t cross enough people’s minds until it is
staring them in the face. However, in today’s economy, it is never too soon to begin
investing and planning, according to Dr. John Rhetts.
This summer, Rhetts is teaching a foursession
course called Your Money & Your
Brain: Avoid Investment Pitfalls to help
give people skills to begin planning early.
The course will look at the psychology
of investing and how human brains often
“skew” investment decisions, Rhetts
explained. There is no fee for full-time
COCC students. For all others, the fee is
only $79 for the full class.
“In today’s world, we individually need
to manage money in a reliable and effective
way,” Rhetts said. “But the human
brain is hardwired to fool, confuse and
defeat us.”
This course will approach investment
decisions from a completely different direction
than most traditional investing
courses, according to Paul Stennet, COCC
program manager.
“What appeals to me about this class
is that it gets at the core of our thinking,”
Stennet said. “It helps us discover what is
going on inside our minds when it comes
to investing money. This is the class you
take before you take the how to invest
class. You will get a lot more out of it after
you encounter your own thinking.”
Retirement is a fairly new idea in western
culture. Not until 1900, after the average
life-span increased dramatically, did
countries began exploring the idea of retirement,
Rhetts explained. By the 1970s,
more than two-thirds of all retirement income
came from what are called “defined
benefit” investments, where large organizations
collect money, invest it and the retired person receives a guaranteed benefit.
Under that system, individuals were not responsible for managing their retirement
assets to receive the retirement income. This is no longer the case.
In the U.S. today, less than one-third of retirement income is guaranteed to the
recipient, according to Rhetts. This creates an even more urgent need for people to
know how to effectively save, invest and withdraw any retirement assets they have,
Rhetts explained.
“Good rules of investing can help you, but not if you undermine yourself by not
understanding and actively counteracting some of the deeply ingrained psychological
vulnerabilities we humans demonstrate when we make money decisions,” Rhetts
Not just to plan for retirement
One of Rhetts’ motivations for teaching
this course is to educate people about
investment decisions earlier in their lives.
“It really is atypical and even unusual
for folks in their 20s and 30s to be interested
in what their financial affairs may be
in their 60s and 70s,” Rhetts said. “Millennials
lack nothing in intelligence – ‘retirement’
is just too far away. ‘Future self’
is at best a very vague concept for almost
everyone: right up until it is staring you
in the face.”
It is never too early to begin planning
for the future and retirement, according to
“In today’s world, if you are going to
keep your retirement from being an exercise
in poverty, you need all the time you
can get to invest as much as you can, for
as long as you can,” Rhetts said. “Truly,
no one is going to do it for you.”
Rhetts pointed out that most humans
have a “strong tendency to skew our
judgements by anticipating rewards and
fearing losses and by being overconfident
in our own and others’ predictions.”
Often, individuals feel there’s less risk
if they have an “expert” advisor managing
their investments; however, according to
Rhetts the same considerations apply:
“You need to understand not only how
investing works, but also recognize how
and when you and any advisor may be
getting off track,” Rhetts said.
The course will demonstrate areas of
psychological vulnerability and help explain straightforward investing principles. To
register for this course or for more information, go to [web registration page when
info available]


Molly Svendsen | The Broadside



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