The following books are some that I have found particularly helpful in my own transition to retirement. These are not books about planning financially for retirement, but about the experience of retirement.
Lee Eisenberg, The Number: A Completely Different Way to Think About the Rest of Your Life (Free Press, 2006)
- This was one of the first books I read when I started to think concretely about retirement. I picked it up on impulse in a bookstore and was drawn to it (as I suspect many readers were) by the title, which suggested that it could help me figure out “the number” I would need to save in order to retire. As the subtitle promises, however, this book is not really about financial planning and figuring out “the number.” Eisenberg argues instead that the first priority in retirement planning should be figuring out how you want to live in retirement; figuring out how much you need to live on will follow from that.
- This is my favorite book about the transition to retirement. Weiss, a sociologist, did in-depth interviews with 89 men and women from the Boston metropolitan area about their transitions to retirement. Most were interviewed once before they retired and at least twice after retirement. Weiss’s findings look at how retirees spend their time and the (sometimes unexpected) joys and problems of retirement. One important theme is the problem of social isolation often experienced by those whose social life was primarily work-based.
- This is one man’s very personal account, in the form of a diary, of his transition into retirement. The almost-daily diary entries span a 7-month period beginning 3 months before Klaus’s retirement from his faculty position as a Professor of English at University of Iowa. They track his doubts and delights as he moves into retirement and his journey of discovery of what it means to him to be a retired person.
- In this book, Lloyd argues that the transition to retirement involves figuring out what you want more of in your life, what you want less of in your life, and how to make that happen. Answering these questions depends, in turn, on getting in touch with who you are at this point in your life. At the heart of this book are workbook exercises that Lloyd has developed to help readers answer these questions. Very helpful for both recent retirees and those who are contemplating retirement.
- The authors of this book combine social science research, theory, and their own experiences to consider the non-financial aspects of retirement, particularly the effects of retirement on psychological well-being. The book considers aspects of retirement that influence well-being, identifies barriers to a happy retirement, and provides practical advice about how to avoid or address problems in adjustment to retirement. The chapter on early retirement should be required reading for those considering early retirement, but there is something of value here for anyone planning for, transitioning into, or adjusting to retirement.