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Best Books on Preparing for Retirement (Non-Financial)
Old 12-18-2018, 02:57 PM   #1
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Best Books on Preparing for Retirement (Non-Financial)

Any favorite books that helped you prepare for or handle retirement -- from a non-financial perspective? So in other words, books talking about the challenges and opportunities of retirement, the anxieties, possible paths, psychological or interpersonal issues, issues of purpose, engagement, etc. Just wondering if I've missed a good read somewhere.

I've been preparing for years. Apparently I'm abnormal, since I read earlier that only about 1 in 10 people spend any time preparing for their retirement (beyond "do I have enough"), and of those 1 in 10, most spend the majority of their time thinking about the finances and little else.

Here are a few books that have helped me think things through:

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, Ernie Zelinsky (he's got another book on retirement, but it's pretty much a duplicate of this one)

My Time, by Abigail Trafford (not about retirement per se but about making the best of your second half)

Ready to Retire? by Lyndsay Green (not a great book, but still helpful in dismantling some of the fears and myths around retirement)

Work Less, Live More, by Bob Clyatt (mostly a financial book, but with some good chapters on the advantages of dialing back)

The Retirement Maze, by Rob Pascale and Louis Primavera. (This is actually one of the most pessimistic books on retirement I've ever read; it's a catalog of all the problems and struggles people have, and it paints a dark picture. But I am glad I read it, because I want the balance, rather than just the overly sunny, optimistic view of Zelinski for example; I want to know what can go wrong and how not to do retirement.)

Any that you would add?

p.s. There have been other books I've read that have also prepared me, such as the books on voluntary simplicity I read 25 years ago, or spiritual books that contrast the second half of life with the first, or books that shaped my individualism or self-direction (e.g., Emerson, 30 years ago), but I could spend all day listing those sorts of influences ... I'm thinking more narrowly here, of just retirement.

Of course, reading this forum has helped a lot, too.
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:15 PM   #2
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I gave my niece and her SO a copy of Millionaire Teacher. She is in college pursuing a career in education, so it was sort of hand in glove situation. While I'm not in 100% agreement with the author's advice, the differences are at the margins. His evangelism of LBYM and intelligent (self) investing was what I want them to come away with.
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:32 PM   #3
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There is a list of books in the FAQ section of this forum that is quite good.

A book that resonated with me when I was thinking about retirement was “Get A Life, Why you don’t need a million dollars to retire well” by Ralph Warner. Probably fifteen years since I read it, but I recall that its basic message was to give thought and planning to the non-financial aspect of retirement. He looked at people who had successfully (happily) retired.
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Old 12-18-2018, 05:49 PM   #4
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I don't relate to most books on retirement, they're describing someone else's life.

I benefitted from a guided, pen-to-paper process to clarify my values, goals, sense of purpose, priorities. I happened to come across the handouts from a course and followed those, but this is something similar: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sour...U31SpBABTr9ipi
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Old 12-18-2018, 11:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
Any favorite books that helped you prepare for or handle retirement -- from a non-financial perspective?
I'm still planning for retirement, and have been reading quite a few books lately. I'd say most are kind of repetitive, long winded, and just plain boring to read. I can't even remember the names of most of them.

The one book I did enjoy recently was "Smells Like Retirement".

https://www.amazon.com/Smells-Like-R...m_kin_swatch_0

I'm currently reading "The Joy of Retirement". There are parts that are a bit on the boring side, but in general I'm enjoying it.

https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Retiremen...K9C/ref=sr_1_2
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Old 12-19-2018, 02:05 AM   #6
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There is a book called “Repacking Your Bags” that is about big life decisions in general, not just retirement. I also liked “My Next Phase.”
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Old 12-19-2018, 06:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
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A book that resonated with me when I was thinking about retirement was “Get A Life, Why you don’t need a million dollars to retire well” by Ralph Warner. Probably fifteen years since I read it, but I recall that its basic message was to give thought and planning to the non-financial aspect of retirement. He looked at people who had successfully (happily) retired.
I remember reading that from the library, several years ago. I loved the part where he talked about how the successful retirees he interviewed often described themselves as "oddballs" who never quite fit in. As an oddball, I found that encouraging.

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I don't relate to most books on retirement, they're describing someone else's life.

I benefitted from a guided, pen-to-paper process to clarify my values, goals, sense of purpose, priorities.
I don't relate to a lot of the retirement stories I hear, either, so I know what you mean. I still sometimes get encouragement or insight from them, though. Lessons in what not to do, or at least a sense of "there but for the grace of God go I."

Along with the reading, I do plenty of reflecting, and I keep a series of documents related to my goals and vision for retirement. That has been a big help.
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Old 12-19-2018, 06:23 AM   #8
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The one book I did enjoy recently was "Smells Like Retirement".

I'm currently reading "The Joy of Retirement". There are parts that are a bit on the boring side, but in general I'm enjoying it.
I ordered both. Thanks for the suggestions. (Funny title. What does retirement smell like?)

I agree that a lot of retirement books are boring. There is a lot of repetition of ideas. I don't mind that so much, though. I skim through the boring parts, and if the author doesn't eventually engage me, I'll just toss the book in the trash and move on. But if I can get just one good idea from a book, then it's been worthwhile.

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There is a book called “Repacking Your Bags” that is about big life decisions in general, not just retirement. I also liked “My Next Phase.”
Ordered both. Thanks.

Looks like I've got some reading to do. Thanks, folks.
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Old 12-19-2018, 08:41 AM   #9
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I am reading this now, after 3 years in retirement, and can see how helpful it would have been when I first retired or even before.

The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement
Jan Cullinane

I'm reading it now for the relocation options section. It is pretty concise but has a boatload of resource links and good first-person examples. Check your library first. I got it as an e-book.
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Old 12-19-2018, 10:24 AM   #10
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(Funny title. What does retirement smell like?)
When I was young (under ten years old), the only retired people I knew were my great Uncle Otto and his wife Aunt Charlotte. I remember that Aunt Charlotte smelled like a powdery perfume. I associated being old and retired with the smell of her perfume.

Uncle Otto hated children. Not specific children, just all children. He had no kids because, as he once told me, he didn't like them.

At my younger brother's wedding there were no children allowed at the reception. I was helping Uncle Otto, who liked me now that I was older and had no kids, to the bathroom as he had difficulty walking. I remarked that there sure were a lot of kids here for a place that prohibited them. Uncle Otto said "I always heard that it takes a good man to have kids. I think it takes a good man not to."

Uncle Otto and Aunt Charlotte gave us (My siblings and me) some money as a gift before they died and we bought the land that our house is built on with it. Without their kind and thoughtful gift we would not have the house that I love. I probably would not have the my country life-style and happiness without his gift and his influence on me personally.

Here's to being a good man!

Mike D., who loves dogs.
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Old 12-19-2018, 07:57 PM   #11
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Nice story, Mike. I like Uncle Otto.

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I am reading this now, after 3 years in retirement, and can see how helpful it would have been when I first retired or even before.

The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement
Jan Cullinane

I'm reading it now for the relocation options section. It is pretty concise but has a boatload of resource links and good first-person examples. Check your library first. I got it as an e-book.
I think I have the wrong genes for that book. I did skim a little of it, though, while trying to figure out if the utility might balance out the embarrassment of being caught reading it. I did not appreciate the author pointing out that one reason women may be single in retirement is that men drop dead earlier.

I also did not find it helpful when she pointed out that "as we age, we aren't losing our minds as soon as men are." Hey, don't rub it in.
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Old 12-20-2018, 08:20 AM   #12
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Nice story, Mike. I like Uncle Otto.



I think I have the wrong genes for that book. I did skim a little of it, though, while trying to figure out if the utility might balance out the embarrassment of being caught reading it.
Laughing. Sorry about that. It was more for people reading this thread down the road. I get so much information from this forum, that on the rare occasion I have something to offer that might help someone else, I try to give it.
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Old 12-20-2018, 12:05 PM   #13
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Laughing. Sorry about that. It was more for people reading this thread down the road. I get so much information from this forum, that on the rare occasion I have something to offer that might help someone else, I try to give it.
That's a good motive. I was just kidding around; I appreciate your contribution. In the past, I've read books that were written for women, because there weren't ones written for men.

Sounds like the book has a good discussion of relocation and some good references. I'll check it out. I can just skip over the parts that are meant for women. Or maybe I can get a little insight into the challenges single women face in retirement.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:16 AM   #14
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I heard an interview with this author on the Ric Edelman podcast. It sounds excellent. I will buy it and report back at some point in the near future.

https://www.amazon.com/What-Retirees...ustomerReviews
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:28 AM   #15
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I can heartily recommend "A Couple's Guide to Happy Retirement and Aging" by Sara Yogev. (https://www.amazon.com/Couples-Guide.../dp/1945547715) I am surprised to see that this resource has never previously appeared on this forum (at least according to Google).

The reason I found the book useful was that it gave me a way, which I had not explicitly had before, to think about the needs of a man and a woman in a relationship in retirement. Namely, we need time together, and we need time apart. And this dichotomous need becomes heightened after retirement.

In addition to the couples/relationship aspect of the book, it also spends a fair amount of time on how the individuals can find meaning and fulfillment in their retired years. As is well-known on this forum, we often get a lot of those things from our j*bs during our w*rk years. It would help to have a picture of what we will retire *to,* rather than what we are retiring *from.*
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Old 07-27-2020, 08:59 AM   #16
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I heard an interview with this author on the Ric Edelman podcast. It sounds excellent. I will buy it and report back at some point in the near future.

https://www.amazon.com/What-Retirees...ustomerReviews


I heard Ken Dychtwald present one time and he was compelling.
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:11 AM   #17
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Really like the Clyatt and Zelinsky books, although was already retired.
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Old 07-31-2020, 05:08 PM   #18
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I liked Fritz Gilbert's recent book "Keys to A Successful Retirement". It does have some financial parts but its focus was on non-financial transition issues.
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