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Book Review: How to Retire Happy

How to Retire Happy

“The 12 most important decisions you must make before you retire”

Author Stan Hinden, who is the former syndicated Washington Post “Retirement Journal” columnist, has just released his Fourth Edition of this book.  The book is Hinden’s commentary and advice, as well as a sort of journal, as he and his wife Sara entered into and have been living in retirement over the past 17 years.  Hinden retired in 1996 at the age of 69, at which time he began writing the “Retirement Journal” column.  He was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Commentary in 1998 for his work.

This book is an excellent read for folks who are planning toward retirement or have recently retired.  Hinden has organized the process into 12 decisions, some of which include: “Am I Ready to Retire?”, “What Should I Do with the Money in My Company Savings Plan?”, and “Where Do I Want to Live When I Retire?”. Mr. Hinden then walks through each of the 12 decisions with his own personal insights and choices, as well as with expert recommendations and commentary on the subjects.

The book is a fairly quick read at 250 pages, and the writing style is simple and conversational.  The decision-points that Mr. Hinden discusses are thought-provoking, and he has been diligent to provide sources for additional review at the end of each Decision/Chapter.  Topics covered include income taxes, pensions, retirement accounts, Social Security, Medicare, long-term care insurance, and many other categories pertinent to retirees.

The author’s wife, Sara, became afflicted by Alzheimer’s Disease in 2007, which has resulted her needing to be placed in a residential nursing facility as the disease has progressed.  This was a particularly difficult section for me as I very much empathized with Mr. Hinden as he was faced with the difficult decisions associated with his wife’s condition.  In a similar fashion, the author discusses the issues that he faced with his own health after learning that he needed a four-way heart bypass shortly after his retirement.  These insights that are brought forth are very helpful though, as we all must consider that such decisions may likely be a big part of our own lives.

I will recommend this book to any and all folks who are looking for insights as they approach retirement.  It will definitely give you additional insight as you take on this next step in your life – what Hinden mentions is likely the “final quarter” of your life.  He points out though, that this final quarter needn’t “sound grim.  In any football game, the last quarter is often the most exciting.  The same can be true of retirement.  It is one more chance to add points on the scoreboard of your life.”

The above book review is part of a series of reviews that I am doing in an arrangement with McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing, where MH sends me books with the only requirement being that I read the book and write a review – like it or not.  If you find the information in this review useful, let me (and McGraw-Hill) know!

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