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John Graves, ChFC, CLU has spent 26 years advising people how to become better stewards of their resources. As an independent financial advisor, he focuses on designing and maintaining clients’ portfolios consistent with their needs, rather than some market paradigm. John is a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant through The American College in Bryn Mawr Pennsylvania.
He has traveled extensively, with more than 80 countries’ stamps in his passports. His avocation is adventure. He has sailed to Hawaii several times, as well as across the Atlantic and throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. He has trekked the Andes, the Sahara, the Taklamakan, the Serengeti, and the Namib.
MO: Can you talk about the concept of the 7% Solution and what inspired you to write a book about it? What do you hope that the average reader walks away with?
John: I wanted to give back to my community of Baby Boomers. Here is how I do what I do; you can do it too.
You will save thousands, receive more income and take responsibility for your own financial future. You can do this. Ignore the talking heads and make your own financial decisions.
MO: How do you think that the perception of retirement has changed over the last 20 years?
John: Today most of us have to be responsible for our own retirement. Only government and union workers still have pension plans that provide a guaranteed income. We have to save from our own paychecks and make do with the net take home. As business owners, we can make significant contributions from our profits to ouw retirement and that of our employees and have the government pay as much as 50% of these contributions for us. The best game in town!
MO: Why do you think that Baby Boomers are better prepared than they may think?
John: The Employee Benefits Retirement Institute’s annual retirement survey has said, for 23 years, that the majority of those polled feel they are doing a fair to very good job of preparing for retirement. Of those in retirement, 70%+ feel very satisfied, year after year. We learned the lessons well from our parents. We may not have taught our children how to save, be frugal, avoid debt and tithe, but we learned these lessons well.
MO: What some ways that our readers can achieve a financially secure retirement?
John: 1. Pay yourself first. As a business owner, you have the opportunity to design a retirement plan that fits you and your employees goals. Use the Tax Code to your advantage.
2. Reduce debt or avoid it altogether, particularly as retirement approaches.
3. Live within your means: spend a little less than you earn. Save for that vacation or new car or truck.
4. Tithe: giving back to the community – however you define community – is both a sharing of your success and a reward to yourself, from the charity, for your assistance.
MO: Can you explain what “Fracing” is to our readers unfamiliar with the term and what’s inspired you to write a book about this practice? Does your creative process differ with each different subject that you tackle?
John: Fracing is the hydraulic fracturing of the deep rock to release oil and gas. It actually is the word for three separate technologies that have come together simultaneously: fracing, horizontal drilling and advanced seismic technologies. These allow a new generation of energy production here in America. Natural gas has replaced coal as the primary source for electricity today. Its cost is so low that coal use is plummeting. As a result, the EIA has announced that the US has reduced its GGEs (green house gas emissions) by 500M tons. This is better than expected under the Kyoto Treaty.
I was introduced to the process because so many of the stocks I use that pay excellent dividends are from the oil and gas industry, so I began to ‘dig’ deeper and found a fascinating new subject.
The creative process is quite mysterious. I have no idea where it is leading, so I simply sit at the computer and start typing. Often it goes nowhere interesting; then, it takes off and I am writing 2,000 words daily and cannot stop…
MO: What’s next for John Graves?
John: A radio tour to promote The 7% Solution during the fall.
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