Rule your retirement: smart strategies for the easy life
It’s never too early—or too late—to start planning for retirement, and the inspiring books below can show you how. These practical reads will help you manage your money and make a successful shift to the next stage of the game if your career is coming to a close. Get ready to face the future with confidence.
Both the high-level exec and the bottom-rung recruit will benefit from Dr. Teresa Ghilarducci’s How to Retire with Enough Money and How to Know What Enough Is. Ghilarducci, a retirement-security expert who teaches at the New School for Social Research, starts by laying out the cold, hard facts about Americans and retirement: Most of us have less than $30,000 squirrelled away for our post-working lives, while a third of us have no savings at all. About half of the middle class will hit poverty level upon retirement. “This isn’t just a personal problem,” Ghilarducci says, “it’s a national problem.”
Moving beyond the bleak statistics, Ghilarducci shows readers how to improve their long-term prospects. A critical first step is determining the amount of money you’ll require come retirement time—about 70 or 80 percent of your current income. For readers who need to get on sound financial ground before they can start strategizing for retirement, Ghilarducci supplies “a road map to change.” She addresses the here-and-now problems (credit card debt, car loans) that often prevent us from thinking about the future and reveals smart ways to trim everyday expenses. A yes-you-can spirit prevails throughout this brief, handy guide. Ghilarducci’s concise, cut-to-the-chase advice makes planning for the future seem (dare we say it?) easy.
MOTIVATION FROM A MASTER
Financial advisor Chris Hogan is a sought-after speaker on matters related to retirement and life planning, and the energy he brings to these topics in person is palpable on the pages of Retire Inspired. Both a pep talk aimed at those who feel unprepared for retirement and a practical guide to money management, Hogan’s book addresses the concerns we all harbor in a tone that’s refreshingly positive. Throughout, Hogan shares family and sports anecdotes (he was once an all-American football player), as well as stories about his clients. The result is a spirited, engaging read filled with smart suggestions on how to get serious about saving.
Hogan takes a decade-by-decade approach to retirement strategy. Beginning with readers who are in their 20s and working up to those in their 60s and beyond, he lays out detailed plans for each age group, with tips on how to get out from under the burden of debt, how to set and live by a budget, and how to find the daily momentum that’s required for long-term saving. Best of all, he encourages readers to stop thinking of retirement as a terrible finality and start viewing it as an adventure. “Retirement is not just the rest of the story,” he says, “it can be the best of your story.” Inspiring, indeed.
MINDSET IS EVERYTHING
Whether you’re toying with the idea of retirement or have already taken the big step, you’ll want to pick up a copy of Happy Retirement: The Psychology of Reinvention, a thorough, accessible volume that’s packed with tips on how to prepare for and savor the years that lie ahead. Created with input from Dr. Kenneth S. Shultz, an expert on the psychology of retirement, the book considers the practicalities of leaving the workforce, providing information on issues like financial planning and healthcare, but it also goes in-depth on the mental and emotional repercussions that come with the conclusion of a career.
Constructed on a foundation of solid research, the book offers guidelines on preparing for life away from the office (start by asking yourself “The Big Four” questions: What will I do? How will I afford it? Where will I live? Who will I share it with?) and provides advice on making a smooth transition. The volume is chock-full of ways to stay happy and purposeful (how about mentoring an up-and-comer at your old company?). Featuring bold colors and nifty graphics, this engaging book covers all the bases, from choosing the right retirement date to saying goodbye to colleagues. It’s a must-have manual for anyone contemplating a departure from the working world.
This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.