Mastering Your Golden Years: 15 Best Books for Retirement Planning

June 26, 20238 min read
Mastering Your Golden Years: 15 Best Books for Retirement Planning
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Key Takeaways:

  • Retirement planning entails establishing retirement objectives and what is needed to achieve them.
  • Regardless of where they are in their retirement planning – it is never too early nor too late — people can generally benefit from reading what experts have to say on the subject.
  • Many people planning for their post-working years want to know what key investment, tax, and savings information one should plan around.

Regardless of where they are in their retirement planning – it is never too early nor too late to start — people can generally benefit from reading what experts have to say on the subject. In fact, there is a veritable cornucopia of books about the very important issue of retirement planning, from investing and budgeting to lifestyle choices and knowing when to stop working, to everything in between.

After all, retirement planning considers not just income and assets, but future expenses, liabilities, and life expectancy also.

To save time, here is a curated list of books with diverse and varied perspectives from well-regarded field experts. It is a trove of tried-and-true tips and practices. 

Top Books on Retirement Planning

The following are the top recommended publications. Do note that some of the editions are on the older side but were still chosen because of the contents’ rich value.

  1. The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey. Presented here are all the essentials of financial planning. Including investing, saving, and erasing debt, all aimed at helping individuals become financially stable – before retirement. The book also contains motivational real-life stories and ample opportunities for self-assessments.
  2. The Simple Path to Wealth: Your Road Map to Financial Independence and a Rich Free Life by J.L. Collins. This straightforward guide covers the basics of retirement planning, from the importance of low-cost index funds to developing a tailored investment plan.  It grew from a series of letters written to his daughter about various things, including money and investing.
  3. Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. The approach here calls for a mindset change regarding how to prepare for retirement and finance management, with an emphasis on gaining financial independence. A best-selling classic, this book includes topics such as investing in index funds, tracking finances online, and revenue stream management.
  4. The New Rules of Retirement: Strategies for a Secure Future by Robert C. Carlson. This complete guide to modern retirement planning provides practical strategies to help individuals secure their financial future and addresses key questions. It discusses how much people really need for retirement and how to invest one’s nest egg before and during retirement.
  5. The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning by Taylor Larimore, Mel Lindauer, Richard Ferri, and Laura Dogu. This is a step-by-step guide that offers a practical approach to retirement planning, all inspired by the investment philosophy of Vanguard founder John Bogle. Readers will learn how to craft their own investment strategy using time-proven methods as well as how to choose a sound financial lifestyle.
  6. The 5 Years Before You Retire: Retirement Planning When You Need It the Most by Emily Guy Birken. This publication zeroes in on the critical five-year period before retirement and discusses essential planning questions. It also provides actionable advice for a seamless transition into retirement. The all-inclusive guide covers topics such as recent changes in Social Security, taxes, insurance, and more. It explains in detail how to optimize one’s last workforce years and prepare for the future.
  7. How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide by Jane Bryant Quinn. This book is chock full of essential advice for how to stretch retirement savings so that they last. The book covers topics such as investing, Social Security, and budgeting to make sure retirement is comfortable. After all, a chief worry among new and soon-to-be retirees is that they will run out of money during their Golden Years. The book also reimagines the meaning of “income investing.
  8. The Retirement Savings Time Bomb … and How to Diffuse It: A Five-Step Action Plan for Protecting Your IRAs, 401(k)s, and Other Retirement Plans from Near Annihilation by the Taxman by Ed Slott. With this book, individuals get help navigating the complicated world of taxes and retirement planning and get up-to-date, actionable ways to protect savings from Uncle Sam. Aimed at every person who is planning to retire, be it five years from now or in decades, the book by the longtime tax advisor demonstrates in simple lay person’s terms how to wield control over one’s retirement savings plan. 
  9. Retire Inspired: It’s Not an Age, It’s a Financial Number by Chris Hogan. This is a motivational book that underscores the importance of retirement planning and provides practical advice to help individuals reach their retirement goals. “Retire Inspired” will help readers assess and change their existing money situation, establish reasonable retirement expectations, make smart investing decisions, and craft a personal dream team of experts to ensure success.
  10. Can I Retire Yet?: How to Make the Biggest Financial Decision of the Rest of Your Life by Darrow Kirkpatrick. With this book, readers will be able to determine whether they are truly ready for retirement, and if so, how to make a successful transition. The publication provides the tools needed to live a secure and independent retirement, including how to establish and manage investment holdings for growth and income during retirement.
  11. Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way by Tanja Hester. Hester shares her journey to an early retirement and provides a roadmap for gaining financial independence without sacrificing life quality.  The book discusses getting off the traditional path and getting on one that does not necessitate toiling full time until the age of 65. Hester claims there are ways to rise each day and do the things the reader loves most.
  12. The Bucket Plan: Protecting and Growing Your Assets for a Worry-Free Retirement by Jason L. Smith. The creative planning approach here involves organizing retirement savings into designated “buckets” for a variety of purposes, all while making sure one’s finances are stable, and that peace of mind is attained.  
  13. The Smartest Retirement Book You’ll Ever Read: Achieve Your Retirement Dreams in Any Economy by Daniel R. Solin. This book offers sage, evidence-based approaches to achieve retirement objectives, no matter the economic climate. It also helps people steer clear of savings-robbing scams, provides ways to ensure that retirement money lasts, and helps people avoid common mistakes in retirement planning.
  14. How Much Money Do I Need to Retire: Uncommon Financial Planning Wisdom for a Stress-Free Retirement. Todd Tresidder’s book offers a comprehensive guide to retirement planning. It covers three models to estimate your retirement needs, unlike the single approach often given by financial planners. The book also tackles how to not outlive your savings and how to live a fulfilling life post-retirement. It provides actionable steps for the last 5-7 years before retiring, helping you retire wealthy and confident.
  15. Retirementology: Rethinking the American Dream in a New Economy by Gregory Salsbury. This publication delves into the evolving landscape of retirement planning, motivating readers to rethink established, and often destructive ways to manage finances and offering creative ways to gain financial security.  It also looks at the social biases that are deleterious to individual’s current and future lifestyles.

Key Retirement Planning Questions

There are some common questions that people have regarding retirement, including surrounding how much money they will be able to save. A better question, though, might be, how much money will be needed?  Some experts suggest that, for those who plan to claim Social Security benefits at age 67, investments should comprise 45% of their retirement income, with Social Security making up the balance. Another school of thought is that one needs enough to enable them to live on 80% of their income at retirement.

Another common question has to do with how long retirement will last. According to Money Guide, a married 65-year-old woman has about a 50% chance of reaching their 90th birthday. Because one’s Golden Years could last longer than one may anticipate, proper planning is essential.

In addition, many people planning for their post-working years want to know what key investment, tax, and savings information one should plan around. This is where it is essential to speak with an investment planner to apply what you have learned from reading to one’s personal situation.

Then there is the common question about what one should do with their home upon retirement. Perhaps now that the children are gone, a smaller abode is in order. A retirement plan should include a clear-eyed look at one’s current home and what they should do with it.

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How to Learn About Retirement Planning

Yes, a wealth of financial information can be found in books. However, one should not stop there, when educating themselves. There are resources such as online courses and webinars, even financial advisor finder tools.

The website for the Social Security Administration can provide an estimation of what people who have worked most of their lives can expect to receive. NerdWallet’s financial assistance often includes retirement, and includes a wide range of retirement information and tools.

Note that whether it is an individual retirement account or an alternative investment and passive income, a big part of retirement planning education has to do with investing, including how diverse one’s portfolio is.  Diversification can help lessen the overall risk and volatility of investment holdings. Using retirement calculators is also another way to understand where you currently are financially.  

Alternative investments can be a good way to help accomplish this. Traditional portfolio asset allocation envisages a 60% public stock and 40% fixed income allocation. However, a more balanced 60/20/20 or 50/30/20 split, incorporating alternative assets, may make a portfolio less sensitive to public market short-term swings. 

Real estate, private equity, venture capital, digital assets, precious metals and collectibles are among the asset classes deemed “alternative investments.” Broadly speaking, such investments tend to be less connected to public equity, and thus offer potential for diversification. Of course, like traditional investments, it is important to remember that alternatives also entail a degree of risk. 

In some cases, this risk can be greater than that of traditional investments.

This is why these asset classes were traditionally accessible only to an exclusive base of wealthy individuals and institutional investors buying in at very high minimums — often between $500,000 and $1 million.  These people were considered to be more capable of weathering losses of that magnitude, should the investments underperform.

However, Yieldstreet has opened a number of carefully curated alternative investment strategies to all investors. While the risk is still there, the company offers help in capitalizing on areas such as real estate, legal finance, art finance and structured notes — as well as a wide range of other unique alternative investments. 

Learn more about the ways Yieldstreet can help diversify and grow portfolios.


This article seeks to underscore the importance of planning for one’s retirement. Effective planning requires education, which can empower individuals to makes informed retirement decisions, including about investments. The above books should help. 

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