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Christmas Gift Ideas: 12 Books for Retirees (and Those About to Retire)

My previous post, 12 Christmas Gift Ideas for Retirees, listed a variety of items for your favorite older friend or relative. Here I'll focus on books that can help with the security and enjoyment of your retirement years. FYI, I've read all these books -- and they've all had a significant influence on my thinking about retirement and life in general. It's also been my great fortune to have met or talked with many of the authors.

The list includes books that were published this year, as well as some classics.

  1. What Color is Your Parachute - For Retirement, co-written by John Nelson and Don Bolles, author of the original Parachute book. The completely revised, second edition of this book came out in 2010, and it covers finances, health, and lifestyle. It includes a treasure trove of useful exercises to get you thinking about what will truly work for you in retirement, as well as many useful checklists.
  2. The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: Practical Strategies for Money, Work, and Living, by Mark Miller. Published in 2010, this book reflects the realities of the new economy and its effect on retirement. There's plenty of good advice for people who need to work in their retirement years, which may be a lot of us.
  3. How to Retire Happy, by Stan Hinden. Want excellent insights on retirement planning from a professional who's actually experienced retirement himself? You'll get just that with the third edition of this book, published in late 2009. Hinden was a Washington Post financial reporter for 20 years, and after he retired, he wrote the Post's "Retirement Journal" column for which he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. His book combines good financial planning information along with his story about his own retirement.
  4. The Mature Mind: The Positive Power of the Aging Brain, by Dr. Gene Cohen. Anybody who's worried about the prospect of Alzheimer's or dementia in their later years should read this book. It's very informative and a real eye-opener.
  5. Aging Well, by Dr. George Vaillant. This book summarizes research from the landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development, and describes the characteristics of people who've lived successful, long lives. You'll be sure to pick up valuable tips!
  6. The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life, by Lynne Twist. The subtitle says it all, since most people will have less money when they retire than they did when they were working. How much money do you really need to be happy? This book is a good place to start answering that question for yourself.
  7. Healthy at 100: The Scientifically Proven Secrets of the World's Healthiest and Longest-Lived Peoples, by John Robbins. This book provides a compelling mix of practical advice, real-life stories, and the science of aging. If you can increase your life span and your health span, as the book claims, you might spend a lot less money on medical bills -- but you might also need more money to last you longer. This is one challenge I encourage you to accept!
  8. Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain, by Pete Egoscue with Roger Gittines. Chronic pain is a huge, expensive problem in our later years. I've met many people who swear by this book, including my sister and me. If it helps a loved one in pain, they'll be eternally grateful -- and it could save them a lot of money on medical bills.
  9. Project Renewment: The First Retirement Model for Career Women, by Bernice Bratter and Helen Dennis. This one's great for women who suddenly find themselves back inside their homes after devoting their lives to careers outside of the house.
  10. The Tao of Health, Sex, and Longevity: A Practical Guide to the Ancient Way, by Daniel Reid. Written by a Westerner for the Western mind, this book explores -- in light of modern science -- the comprehensive system of health care used by the Chinese for more than 5,000 years.
  11. The Art of Happiness, and The Art of Happiness at Work, both by the Dalai Lama and Dr. Howard Cutler. OK, I haven't met the Dalai Lama -- yet! These books provide practical advice for retirees, particularly if you need to work in your later years to make ends meet. Most studies -- and my own experiences -- have shown that what people really want in their later years is to be happy, and these books give you great insights for that goal.
  12. The Wealth of Your Life: A Step-by-Step Guide for Creating Your Ethical Will, by Susan Turnbull. If passing along your accumulated wisdom to your loved ones is important to you, this book's for you. Don't be mislead by the word "will"; the book has nothing to do with money and property. It's about sharing your life experience and your values.
I'm sure you have many, more ideas about books you know people would enjoy. Please help our readers by sharing your favorite books that might assist others.

Make someone happy this Christmas!

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