Your Property Network: Book Review December 2013
For December’s YPN book review, we are going back to basics. In fact, you could even say that we are going back a bit further than the basics. The focus of John Doherty’s book is the pension crisis, although a substantial part of it covers the whys and hows of investing in property.
“Most books”, he states in the introduction, “are written with the assumption that you are already convinced of the benefits of property investment.” John makes no such assumptions and proceeds to paint a picture of the stark financial reality of retirement and old age today. We are an aging population here in the UK and frankly, it ain’t going to get any easier. The next couple of generations could face some hefty financial burdens to support us lot in our dotage if we have not made adequate provision.
Many experienced investors reading this magazine will be aware of this, and it may well be one of the reasons that you decided to invest in property in the first place (along with the added bonus of retiring even earlier once you have reached your magic financial freedom figure, of course). But – and I urge you to pause for a moment and think about this – how many people do you know who have not got the message? I’m talking about the people who either have no clue about what will happen financially when they finally stop working, or those who know that they have no provision and are burying their heads in the sand, or the ones who think that somebody else will sort it out. I certainly know a few who meet those descriptions.
John encourages the reader to find out exactly what their position is, and also explains how to do that, step by step. Undertaking that task will take a little time investment, but it will be well worth it if we end up better off in the long run.
The Property Angle
There is enough in the book to encourage people to get started in property. What is particularly helpful is that he takes the approach of working with others to achieve the property-as-a-pension objective. This is not a book to find out how to strike a great deal, or how to source property. Chapter Seven: The buy-to-let service industry goes into detail about the different people, companies and organisations that anyone new to investing needs to know about, and what they all do. This alone is worth reading for people who are unfamiliar with the field of property investing, and might save a few months of wondering who best to talk to.
John also guides us through preparing ourselves for the investment journey in Chapter Six: Where do I begin? Again, rather than focussing on the how-to’s, he encourages us to research exactly where we are, where we need to get to, what our strengths are and to develop the right frame of mind for moving forward. There is some information about working out the figures with a few useful formulas, together with thoughts and suggestions about what to do after starting with regard to taxation, exit strategies and so on.
Overall, this is a book to help the reader formulate a plan.
Who Is It For?
The people who will get the most out of this are those who are uncertain of their state or employer pension situation, have not yet started in property, want to plan for their future or have bought one or two properties without really giving much thought to how they might fit into a long term plan.
One of the great things about this book is that it has been written with professionalism. It is organised, well-structured, carefully researched and also a very easy read. As I may have mentioned once or twice before, that is not always easy for a writer to achieve.
When it comes to books, or any means of learning for that matter, different things appeal to different people. However, if you pick up just one tip that makes a positive difference to you as a person, to the way you do things, or to your bottom line, then it is worth it. I tend to be optimistic whenever I pick up a new book and look for the positive, and there are very few that have not taught me something. For me, this book served as a reminder to myself and The Other Half to review our pension situation again and start to think about consolidating and planning for the next fifteen years rather than the next fifteen months (or days …).
If you have been researching and researching and thinking and procrastinating for months (years?) on end, do yourself a favour: buy the book and use it as your starting point. If you have stacks of experience, pop it into someone else’s stocking this Christmas.
There is more about this book and about John on his web site Defuse Your Pension TimeBomb.