Everybody and his dog seem to have checked in with their so-called golden rules for a successful retirement. In fact, some have five key rules; some have 15. If you added all of them up, you would probably find yourself with 65 different rules, a bit much.However, Ron Roberts, founder and president of Roberts Retirement Group based in Jackson, Calif., has come up with an even dozen, 12 if you will, that are most enticing.

The bottom line, he says, is that any successful retirement plan must be reduced to a prudent, routine management of your personal finances. Makes sense to me. Actually, he likes to use the words “common sense.”  Take a look at these 12 rules. It may just give you room for thought.

1. If the financial advisor is talking in complex terms, then maybe something’s not quite right.2. Confidence in yourself. In other words, remember we’re talking about your money so you are entitled to ask questions. Roberts feels that the more you learn, the more confidence you will have.

3. Don’t be intimidated. He doesn’t believe in following any advisor with blind faith.

4. Comprehend what it’s all about. Do you understand what your investments are and the current real rate of them?

5. What happens if you wind up incapacitated? What happens to your investments, home, estate? You need to sort everything out beforehand.

6. Get it done now! Roberts doesn’t believe in procrastinating. “Some people avoid financial matters because from arm’s length, things like taxes, nursing homes, and investments sound like dry and complicated issues.” Don’t put addressing them off.

7. Confused? Don’t be. Hiding doesn’t help. You should seek out guidance.

8. Second opinion. Yep, consider going to a doctor for a major illness. Don’t you usually get a second opinion on the diagnosis? No difference here when it comes to your estate. Roberts feels that second opinions from qualified people are absolutely necessary for any balanced decision.

9. No hurry in investing. He doesn’t believe in rushing into investments until you have a clear understanding of the risks and the advantages.

10. Know whom you are dealing with. Do a little checking up on the people who are handling your money. He says that your own state’s insurance regulatory agency, the Better Business Bureau, the SEC, the local Bar Association, etc., can tell you quickly whether the person who is advising you has received complaints.

11. How’s the relationship? Does your advisor return calls promptly? Does that advisor take the time to know you and your situation?

12. Review, review, review. Make sure that your advisor is up-to-date on any changes in the economy, tax laws, etc that will affect you.

Yep, it does sound like a lot of this is just common sense. But consider the fact that if it were so common, everyone would know it. And, we know that simply isn’t true. Roberts has put his finger on the primary areas.

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