Retirement Planning Books


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Retirement Planning Books

For your next read, may we suggest a book that will improve your future health, wealth, and happiness? Most Americans know the importance of retirement planning, but it’s easy to become bogged down by all the jargon and conflicting advice in the financial planning world. To help cut through all of the noise, here are four retirement planning books that will appeal to future retirees of all ages and walks of life.

10 Retirement Planning Books We Recommend

For the Nearly-Retired: The 5 Years Before You Retire, Updated Edition

By Emily Guy Birken

From finding a financial planner to navigating Social Security and Medicare, The 5 Years Before You Retire is for anyone a little bit anxious and unsure about the next phase of life. We especially liked its chapter on mortgages in retirement. For example, when is a reverse mortgage a good idea? Should you pay off your home early? And what about renting? Answering these questions and more before you retire can help set you up for a more stable financial future.

Plus, this book includes five checklists you can markup as you plan for life insurance, healthcare, and other retirement income expenses.

For the Researcher: Retirement Planning Guidebook

By Wade Pfau

Part of the Navigating The Retirement Researcher Guide Series, the Retirement Planning Guidebook discusses “important decisions for retirement success.” At 500 pages, this is one of the most comprehensive books about retirement on the market today. Learn about potential risks of retirement and how to manage them, as well as study an action plan Dr. Pfau created to quantify goals and assess retirement readiness.  

If you’re someone who likes to bookmark pages and highlight formulas until the binding breaks, this is a guidebook you’ll want to keep readily available on your bookshelf.

For the Conscientious Planner: The Complete Book of Wills, Estates & Trusts (4th Edition)

By Alexander A. Bove Jr. Esq. and Melissa Langa Esq.

It’s only fitting to include a title about estate planning, a lesser-recognized retirement evil some retirement books skip over. In the fourth edition of The Complete Book of Wills, Estates & Trusts: Advice That Can Save You Thousands of Dollars in Legal Fees and Taxes, Alexander A. Bove, Jr. leverages his 30 years of expertise in estate law to break down complex legal matters all retirees must consider. If you’re still unclear about certain legal jargon, there is a glossary of terms in the back of the book you can use in your communications with attorneys.

Most of all, we like that this book brings humor and levity to tough topics. Learn how to navigate the probate process step-by-step or flip through the index to find tax laws specific to your state.

For the Reluctant Workaholic: Independence Day: What I Learned About Retirement from Some Who’ve Done It and Some Who Never Will

By Steve Lopez 

Struggling with his decision to retire, Lopez writes a hilariously self-deprecating, brutally honest account of those who take a more non-traditional approach to retirement—employment. 

If you’re pondering a similar approach, this journey book will help you evaluate your identity as you age, your financial limitations, and what you want to do with your life when it seems everyone around you is growing older. Lopez allows readers to look inward while learning about his own journey as he asks: are there health benefits to working during retirement? And how should you handle a retirement fund that took a beating during the pandemic? 

For Women: Your Next Chapter: A Woman’s Guide To A Successful Retirement

By Alexandra Armstrong CFP® and Mary R. Donahue Ph.D.

Written for women by women, the authors of Your Next Chapter: A Woman’s Guide To A Successful Retirement present detailed scenarios of four hypothetical women in various situations in different geographic locations as they approach retirement. Among the topics examined are how to adjust emotionally and socially in the first year of retirement and how to adjust your finances for the long term.

Each profile follows a woman with varying occupations, socioeconomic statuses, personal lives, relationships, and interests—all of which affect how they’ll plan for retirement. While this book takes a different approach to retirement planning, our female editor found it very easy to identify with some or all of the aspects represented by the “characters.”

For the Stressed and Unsure: The Comfort Book

By Matt Haig

In this memoir “to his future self,” Haig shares comforting life lessons learned during the most uncomfortable moments. While The Comfort Book is not a book about retirement (it’s not even written by someone nearing retirement age), this book is “for anyone in search of hope, looking for a path to a more meaningful life, or in need of a little encouragement.” Retirement comes with a lot of emotions and big transitions. This book might just be the read you need.

As one reviewer put it: “He doesn’t have all the answers, nor does he pretend to at any point. He just offers a different perspective on how to look at life, wisdom he has gained through his battles with severe depression and anxiety disorders.”

For the Utilitarian: The Simple Path to Wealth

By JL Collins

The Simple Path to Wealth dispels the myth that only complicated and intricate retirement plans are successful. Rejecting flashy and trendy investment strategies in favor of time-tested principles, Collins reminds readers that the most important part of a retirement plan is to avoid “analysis paralysis” and simply get started moving toward a goal.

We like that this book is a quick and easy read. In less than 290 pages, Collins provides the confidence necessary to conceive and implement a solid retirement plan, without overthinking it.

For the Overachiever: Early Retirement Extreme

By Jacob Lund Fisker

The author of Early Retirement Extreme attained financial independence at just 30 years old, primarily by cutting his expenses to the bone and saving a high percentage of his income. Fisker contends that anyone can do the same if they adhere to a similar level of discipline. His book calls for adopting a simpler lifestyle and rejecting the rampant consumerism that has become a hallmark of the American culture and economy. 

While Fisker’s radical approach isn’t practical for most retirement seekers (his annual expenditures regularly come in under $10,000), his story is a testament to what can be achieved through an extreme level of dedication and focus.

For the Traditionalist: Total Money Makeover

By Dave Ramsey

One of the biggest names in personal finance, Dave Ramsey has built an empire around his simple, no-nonsense approach to managing money and saving for retirement. Renowned as a retirement planning must-have, The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition introduces the seven steps to financial freedom, providing readers with a detailed road map to living a healthy financial life. New in this edition are expanded “Dave Rants” that tackle marriage conflict, college debt, and more. 

“The same financial advice your grandmother gives, but we keep our teeth in” is one of Ramsey’s favorite catchphrases, and some of his advice can truly be considered old-fashioned. (His rants against the FICO credit score system and the use of credit cards is just one example). This title serves as a great starting point for anyone who wants to get his or her finances in order.

For the Nonconformist: The 4-Hour Workweek

By Tim Ferriss

Tim Ferriss is a jack-of-all-trades and master of many. His first book is more of a life-hacking manifesto than a retirement guide, taking the traditionally accepted view of career and retirement and turning it on its head. Ferriss “summarily rejects a deferred life plan that would require decades of hard work in return for a few sunset years of rest and relaxation.” Instead, he provides tips and tricks to craft a dynamic life that will yield the time, money and flexibility to achieve goals and dreams in the here and now.

This book has proven to be a siren call for millennials, providing a new blueprint for a generation seeking to do things a bit differently from their parents and grandparents

More Reading Recommendations

If you need more retirement inspiration, search for other books on Once you’ve found your next read, check out our recommendations for the best states to retire.

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