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10 Books To Help You Create a Great Semi-Retirement

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Looking for a last-minute gift idea for that hard to buy older person on your list? Why not buy them a great book? Most people over 50 already have all the sweaters, cologne and socks they need, but a gift of inspiration and information is always welcome. So if you know someone who is getting ready to retire, here are my recommendations of 10 books sure to please:

Financial Planning Books: If you’re hoping to pursue work during retirement because you want to, not because you have to, these books will help get your financial house in order.

The 5 Years Before You Retire by Emily Birken. This is an ideal book for people who like to-do lists and step-by-step planning guides. The author walks you through the many financial, medical, and personal decisions of retirement, from taking advantage of the employer match your company offers for your 401k program to enrolling in Medicare to discussing housing options with your family.

The AARP® Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad: This book was published several years ago, but it is still very relevant. Written by wealth manager, Julie Jason (disclaimer: Julie and I share the same book agent, but I would recommend this book regardless) it provides an excellent overview of the many financial issues connected to retirement, as well as an entire tool kit of self-assessments, tables, checklists, and essential questions. Julie is a gifted writer who breaks down difficult concepts into an easy-to-understand read.

How to Retire the Cheapskate Way by Jeff Yeager: Unlike most financial planning books, this book focuses on ways to cut back on your expenses so you can live a more frugal (but still very enjoyable) retirement. It’s an extremely entertaining read and offers a number of helpful ideas and suggestions. I really enjoyed it (you can read my full review here).

Second-Act Career Books: My four favorite career books for people interested in blending work and retirement.

The Encore Career Handbook by Marci Alboher: This book is a must-read for anyone looking to transition into the non-profit or social entrepreneurship space. A hugely helpful guidebook that is chock-full of resources, thought provoking questions and practical suggestions.

Life Reimagined by Richard Leider and Alan Webber: A fun and quick read, this book offers a nice balance of inspirational reinvention stories and how-to tips, along with Leider’s advice on the best ways to identify your unique gifts, explore new directions and create a meaningful second (or third) act.

Great Jobs For Everyone 50+: Finding Work That Keeps You Happy and Healthy…and Pays the Bills by Kerry Hannon. Kerry is a seasoned financial journalist (as well as my colleague over at and one of the country’s leading experts on retirement and careers. This book covers a wide range of jobs, from simple hourly type jobs – to seasonal and snowbird gigs – to professional options. The second-half of the book contains helpful advice on the job search including tips on how to format your resume, pay for your career shift and find a non-profit job.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my own book (with my sincere thanks to everyone who has already purchased, recommended and reviewed the book)! Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit From Your Passions During Semi-Retirement 

Other Interesting Retirement Books:

The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle: 10 Must-Have Conversations for Creating an Amazing New Life Together by Dorian Mintzer and Roberta Taylor: Let’s be honest: No matter how much you love your significant other, retirement creates a challenging new dynamic at home. With chapter titles like, Let’s Talk about Money: Finances without Fighting and Changing Roles and Identities: I Don’t Do Windows this book lays out ten key conversations couples should tackle before retirement.

Unretirement: How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Think About Work, Community and the Good Life by Chris Farrell. This is a wonderful antidote to all the media stories about how the boomers are going to bankrupt Social Security and Medicare as they fade into an impoverished old age. Hopeful, uplifting and encouraging, Farrell provides a compelling case that there are limitless opportunities for creating a vibrant second-half of life.

Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw the World by Lynne and Tim Martin: The Martins sold their house and other belongings so they could hit the road and live in different places all over the world. Clearly this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, but it’s a captivating read that might open your eyes up to options that you hadn’t previously considered.

Happy reading, enjoy the holidays and here’s to your second act success!

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