Chapter 2. Stress Versus Success: A Tale of Two Investors

Content makes poor men rich. Discontent makes rich men poor.

Benjamin Franklin

There's a big difference between people who get retirement right and those who get it wrong. This difference is a combination (in rough order of importance) of attitude, habits, mental clarity, discipline, diligence, determination, and a lifetime of cumulative choices. Oh, and good luck doesn't hurt — but don't rely on it.

Most of us make choices all the time that will help determine whether our retirement years are golden or gloomy. Whether you're planning your retirement in the future, you're on the verge of retiring or you're already retired, you will stack the odds in your favor if you learn what separates successful retirees from those who are doomed to struggle.

You might learn these things from reading lists of smart moves and dumb moves. But you're more likely to remember a picture of success contrasted with a picture of struggle. In this chapter I introduce you to two of my longtime clients, whom I'll call George and Roger.

George seems to have done everything right. Roger has done so many things wrong that I hate to think what his life must be like. I've changed their names and a few biographical details to protect these people's identities. Otherwise, the following stories are true and accurate.

George: Doing It Right

If you could meet George Caldwell, a former Army officer and surgeon, I'm almost certain you would like him. The same goes ...

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