Books on Retirement Finance

There is no shortage of books on retirement finance, but then not all books are created equal.  Some are self-serving and others are misleadingly simplistic — while a precious few offer significant insights.  We have read and reviewed a wide swath of books on the topic, and identify below thirty books that we believe may merit your attention.  Links to each of the books are provided at the Resources ⇒ Retirement Books page of our website.

Introductory [5]

Financial Terms Dictionary (2017; 165p) offers definitions, explanations and usage examples for each of 70 terms commonly used in discussions involving retirement finance.  Financial Planning Literacy (2021; 308p) aims to compensate for the lack of attention to financial literacy in a typical school curriculum.  Redefining Financial Literacy (2021; 288p) identifies latent macroeconomic forces that can impact retirement plans.  Are You a Stock or a Bond? (2008; 208p) suggests that the returns and risks of your human capital (work) should be combined with those of your financial capital to determine the portfolio that best fits you.  Replace Retirement (2019; 298p) connects recent advances in technology, health care and demographics to the need for reimagining your timeline for retirement.

Contextual [4]

King William’s Tontine (2015; 250p) is set in the 17th century, as the king of England raises war funds from private investors who agree to be repaid over time, with proceeds divided among the diminishing pool of survivors —  the forerunner of today’s longevity annuity.  The Day the King Defaulted (2017; 215p) revisits another king of England from the 17th century who responded to costly plaques and wars by stopping all royal payments, creating a financial crisis with remarkable similarities to what many of us experienced in 2008, but absent our bank bailouts.  Longevity Insurance for a Biological Age (2019; 132p) focuses on actual remaining life span as the fundamental planning challenge in retirement, and explains how advances in science and technology now provide tools to substitute a more reliable measure of true biological age for our familiar but overly simplistic chronological age.  Longevity Risk and Retirement Income Planning (2016; 155p) develops portfolio models to better match our true biological age.

Planning [4]

Financial Planning Diagnostics (2021; 164p) provides an overview of financial planning tools for any stage of the life-cycle, with a focus on asking yourself the right questions.  Control Your Retirement Destiny (2016; 400p) focuses on retirement planning while still working but anticipating a transition to retirement in the near future.  Safety-First Retirement Planning (2019; 366p) emphasizes the need to first build a floor of dependable funding for retirement needs before reaching for any ceiling of retirement wants.  Strategic Financial Planning over the Lifecycle (2012; 357p) advocates transference of some consumption to later periods of lower income to smooth your standard of living throughout the life-cycle.

Methodology [4]

Advanced Retirement Income Planning (2020; 95p) explores probabilistic patterns that underlie market events and impact portfolio outcomes.  Retirement Portfolios (2010; 275p) introduces the household balance sheet as the basis for determining whether you’re sufficiently funded to sustain a stable retirement throughout an uncertain future time interval, and the companion Retirement Portfolios Workbook (2010; 185p) offers additional insights while providing an array of worked examples.  Retirement Income Recipes in R (2020; 157p) implements key methods and tools for retirement finance in a freely-available statistical computing and visualization environment (for more information and access to the software, see the Resources ⇒ Computing Resources page of our website).

Income Products [5]

Index Funds and ETFs (2017; 154p) relies on finance concepts such as market efficiency and risk diversification to determine it may be prudent for the equity component of a retirement portfolio to be comprised of index funds, exchange-traded funds, and related baskets of securities rather than a small number of specific stocks.   IRAs, 401(k)s & Other Retirement Plans (2019; 402p) focuses on withdrawal strategies and their tax implications, as the marketplace has transitioned from defined benefit retirement plans to defined contribution plans.  Life Annuities (2013; 156p) recognizes and explains the value of longevity annuities to protect against running out of money before you run out of time.  Social Security & Medicare Benefits Guide (2021; 118p) summarizes in plain language the rules, choices and benefits available from two American retirement support programs, annuity income through Social Security and health coverage through Medicare, while Social Security Sense (2016; 110p) provides numerous examples of these decisions and their consequences.

Lifestyle Products [4]

Where to Retire (2019; 368p) discusses the myriad of reasons one might choose to relocate in retirement, offering suggestions throughout the United States — although for whatever reason not beyond.  For those who choose to stay put, Reverse Mortgages (2018; 154p) explains that a reverse mortgage is simply another among many viable strategies for providing financial support during retirement and not necessarily the evil product to be avoided, as it sometimes has been portrayed.  Long-Term Care (2020; 340p) discusses needs later in the retirement phase, including at-home care, senior residences, and hospice care, as well as long-term care insurance and how seniors are susceptible to elder fraud.  Retirement Communities 101 (2017; 102p) offers a guide to the selection process for those who decide this is their best living arrangement. 

Advisory [4]

Shifting Gears (2020; 274p) provides perspective on retirement realities rather than mere daydreams, based on interviews that capture experiences of fifty retired “baby-boomers”.  How Much Can I Spend in Retirement? (2017; 362p) explores retirement spending rates to seek a reasonable balance between enjoying the early phase and securing the unknowable  later phase.  Lifetime Financial Advice (2008; 108p) popularized the life-cycle perspective on retirement, emphasizing how human capital combines with financial capital to create opportunity, and insurance combined with strategy allow one to capitalize on that opportunity to realize a comfortable retirement.  Pensionize Your Nest Egg (2015; 256p) recommends a product allocation approach to retirement, proclaiming that those with the right mix of insurance and investment products often are better positioned for retirement than those with merely the most money.

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