If you’re a book lover like me, then reading is something you consistently take great joy in. I often don’t go anywhere without a book in tow since you can never predict when the opportunity to read may arise. I’ve spent many a Sunday consuming novels from start to finish only stopping to blink, refill my water bottle, and pour more lady gray tea while stirring in a dollop of local Vermont honey. That’s why, when it comes to retirement advice, one great way to prepare yourself is to read about it. I found two lists of “must-read” retirement books that had helpful and interesting reads based on what you might be looking for. The first list of books comes from Barnes and Noble and the second list from Financial Analyst Insider. I won’t mention each book from the lists; instead, I filtered them out, looked up the ratings for each book I selected, and did a little research on the authors, but I encourage you to check out both full lists (Barnes and Noble; Financial Analyst Insider).
Control Your Retirement Destiny, by Dana Anspach
4.9/5 stars on Amazon; 4.39/5 stars on Goodreads
Control Your Retirement Destiny is on Financial Analyst Insider’s list. They describe it as being written for those who will be retiring in a few years, or great if you’re in your 50s and need to know what steps you should be taking to secure your retirement. This is a great read whether you’re new to financial planning or comfortable with it. Anspach covers all the variables of retirement like Social Security, health insurance, taxes, health care, investments, and annuities. Financial Analyst Insider also states that Anspach gives you “actionable advice”.
Dana Anspach has been a financial planner since 1995 and she founded Sensible Money, LLC where she is the current CEO.
The Retirement Maze, by Robert Pascale
4/5 stars on Amazon; 3.3/5 on Goodreads
The Retirement Maze is the first suggested book in Barnes and Noble’s list of retirement reads. Pascale wrote this novel after he was inspired by his own retirement experience. He retired young and ended up being bored and unhappy. He utilized his research experience from running his own market research firm to interview people about what made them happy or unhappy in retirement.
Part of this novel’s synopsis on Barnes and Noble describes it as, “[an investigation into] the struggles faced by retirees in building a new life outside of the workforce. It provides an honest assessment of retirement, based on the not-always-acknowledged fact that it is a difficult transition with pitfalls and obstacles to be overcome.”
Robert Pascale is a research psychologist who founded Marketing Analysts (MAi), which he retired from full-time in 2005 to focus on researching social and psychological research. He has published two other books in addition to The Retirement Maze (Next Avenue).
The 5 Years Before You Retire, by Emily Guy Birken
4.2/5 stars on Amazon; 3.7/5 stars on Goodreads
The 5 Years Before You Retire was listed on both Financial Analyst Insider and Barnes and Noble’s lists. This book is a guide to planning your retirement in the five years before it is upon you. While it isn’t recommended to wait this long, we’re all human and it can be easy to put off thinking about retirement extensively and just passively move money into retirement accounts. Birken’s novel is great if you’re less experienced with managing retirement finances and gives you encouragement in making those final pushes to fund your retirement.
Emily Guy Birken is works with women who wish to have a better relationship with money; she is an author, money coach, blogger, retirement expert, and former school teacher (Emily Guy Birken).
Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security, by Laurence J. Kotlikoff
4.1/5 stars (almost 2000 ratings) on Amazon; 3.8/5 on Goodreads
Get What’s Yours is the first novel in Financial Analyst Insider’s list. This book dives into the complicated world that is Social Security. It was revised in 2016, so there are some things that are outdated, but it is great at breaking down all the rules. Not everything will apply to your situation, but Kotlikoff’s writing gives you knowledge to empower yourself with. While not exactly directed at beginners, Kotlikoff’s aim is to distill a complex topic into a more manageable read.
Laurence Kotlikoff served as a Senior Economist with the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 1981-82, consulted for governments around the world, for major international corporations, and for The World Bank (Kotlikoff). Currently, he is a Professor of Economics at Boston University, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fellow of the Econometric Society, has written 19 books and hundreds of articles, among many other accomplishments (Kotlikoff).
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, by Ernie J. Zelinski
4.3/5 stars on Amazon; 3.8/5 on Goodreads
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, was also list on both Financial Analyst Insider and Barnes and Noble’s lists. If the amusing cover of a horse riding a bike while a man sits on the back leisurely reading doesn’t draw you in, then perhaps the premise will. Zelinski strives to guide you through how to enjoy your retirement beyond money. The goal of this book is to take you through concrete exercises to help you determine what kind of retirement you want and can have, all while encouraging you to be excited about both. Zelinski looks at the overall picture including activities you do, friends you have, and physical and mental health. Financial Analyst Insider recommends this for those who are 40 years old and older.
Home Sweet Anywhere, by Lynne Martin
3.9/5 stars on Amazon; 3.4/5 on Goodreads
Home Sweet Anywhere is on Barnes and Noble’s list, and one I thought was particularly interesting because it is a about a couple who pursued their dream of a retirement centered on travel. For those of you with wanderlust, this read might help you envision how you can incorporate travel as a regular part of your retirement. Martin and her husband sold their home and almost everything they own in their mid-60s and embarked on travel and adventure. In Martin’s novel, they share how they managed this and how they traveled on a budget, among other pearls of wisdom.
Lynne Martin runs her popular blog, homefreeadventures.com, that chronicles her and her husband’s nomadic life. Martin founded Maynor and Associates, a public relations firm in Hollywood, that specializes in publicity for actors, television and movies (Amazon). Her husband, Tim, is also a novelist. Lynne and Tim appeared on CBS This Morning to talk about Home Sweet Anywhere.
I hope you find at least one of these books interesting and worthwhile. Maybe you will soon be joining me on a Sunday after running to your local bookstore to dive into your next book! Of course, these books are no substitute for consulting an experienced estate planning attorney in conjunction with a financial advisor, but they can certainly arm your arsenal of retirement knowledge. The more you know, the better you can prepare and plan.