Books About Retirement and Aging
There is a lot to retirement — making your money last as well as being happy, healthy and fulfilled. Here are a wide variety of books in 6 different categories about retirement and aging.
This is not just about personal finance and investing. Find contemporary fiction titles and many books on finding meaning in life and living long and healthfully.
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The Psychology Behind Money Habits
The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness: Doing well doesn’t actually have much to do with what you know. People who are good with money have better habits, which are hard to teach, even to really, really smart people. Listen to Housel’s most recent interview about the book on the NewRetirement Podcast. (Or, tune into his first appearance on the show where he talked about millennials and a $30 trillion wealth transfer that may transform our future.
Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealthy and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein: Every day we make choices—about what to buy or eat, about financial investments or our children’s health and education, even about the causes we champion or the planet itself. Unfortunately, we often choose poorly. Nudge is about how we make these choices and how we can make better ones.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg: This instant classic explores how we can change our lives by changing our habits.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey: Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, has been a top seller for the simple reason that it ignores trends and pop psychology for proven principles of fairness, integrity, honesty, and human dignity.
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell: In this stunning new book, Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of “outliers” — the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?
Mindset: The New Psycology of Success: After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities.
Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman: Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives―and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill: Think and Grow Rich has been called the “Granddaddy of All Motivational Literature.” It was the first book to boldly ask, “What makes a winner?”
Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How it Defines Our Lives by Sendhil Mullainathan: In this provocative book based on cutting-edge research, Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir show that scarcity creates a distinct psychology for everyone struggling to manage with less than they need.
Books About Healthy Aging
I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being a Woman, Nora Ephron: From the writer of some of our most beloved romantic comedies and numerous books comes an uproarious tale about life as a woman of a certain age.
The End of Old Age: Living a Longer, More Purposeful Life, Marc E. Agronin: As one of America’s leading geriatric psychiatrists, Dr. Marc Agronin sees both the sickest and the healthiest of seniors. He observes what works to make their lives better and more purposeful and what doesn’t.
Better with Age: The Psychology of Successful Aging, Alan D. Castel: Better with Age addresses the many myths and paradoxes about the aging process. Although most people think of their later years in terms of decline, they can be one of the best times in life. This book presents the latest scientific research about the psychology of aging, coupled with insights from those who have succeeded in doing it well.
Happiness Is a Choice You Make: Lessons from a Year Among the Oldest Old, John Leland: Happiness Is a Choice You Make is an enduring collection of lessons that emphasizes, above all, the extraordinary influence we wield over the quality of our lives.
Healthy Aging: A Lifelong Guide to Your Well Being, Andrew Weil: Two of the world’s leading experts explain the vital link between health and wealth that could add years to your life and dollars to your retirement savings.
Age Proof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip by Jean Chatzky and Michael Roizen: Two of the world’s leading experts explain the vital link between health and wealth that could add years to your life and dollars to your retirement savings.
Women Rowing North: Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as We Age, Mary Pipher: Drawing on her own experience as daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, caregiver, clinical psychologist, and cultural anthropologist, Pipher explores ways women can cultivate resilient responses to the challenges they face.
Borrowed Time: The Science of How and Why We Age, Sue Armstrong: Borrowed Time investigates such mind-boggling experiments as transfusing young blood into old rodents, and research into transplanting the first human head, among many others. It will explore where science is taking us and what issues are being raised from a psychological, philosophical and ethical perspective, through interviews with, and profiles of, key scientists in the field and the people who represent interesting and important aspects of aging.
The Blue Zones Kitchen: 100 Recipes to Live to 100, Dan Buettner: Building on decades of research, longevity expert Dan Buettner has gathered 100 recipes inspired by the Blue Zones, home to the healthiest and happiest communities in the world.
Lifespan: Why We Age — and Why We Don’t Have To, David A. Sinclair: Through a page-turning narrative, Dr. Sinclair invites you into the process of scientific discovery and reveals the emerging technologies and simple lifestyle changes—such as intermittent fasting, cold exposure, exercising with the right intensity, and eating less meat—that have been shown to help us live younger and healthier for longer.
The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel: This book will make you reassess how you live your life on a day-to-day basis. It is the first book to explain how we age at a cellular level and how we can make simple changes to keep our chromosomes and cells healthy, allowing us to stay disease-free longer and live more vital and meaningful lives.
Better Than Before: What I Learned About Making and Breaking Habits–to Sleep More, Quit Sugar, Procrastinate Less, and Generally Build a Happier Life by Gretchen Rubin: The author of the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, tackles the critical question: How do we change?
Ageism and Second Careers
This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, Ashton Applewhite: It’s time to create a world of age equality by making discrimination on the basis of age as unacceptable as any other kind of bias. Whether you’re older or hoping to get there, this book will shake you by the shoulders, cheer you up, make you mad, and change the way you see the rest of your life. Age pride!
Bolder: Making the Most of Our Longer Lives, Carl Honoré: Carl Honoré has travelled the globe speaking to influential figures who are bucking preconceived notions of age, whether at work or in their personal lives. He looks at the cultural, medical, and technological developments that are opening new possibilities for us all. Bolder is a radical re-think of our approach to everything from education, healthcare and work, to design, relationships and politics. An essential and inspiring read for everyone interested in our collective future.
You Are a Badass, How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero: Twenty seven quick chapters with funny stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word, helping you to create a life you totally love.
Retirement Reinvention: Make Your Next Act Your Best Act by Robin Ryan: Retirement has changed, and America’s most trusted career counselor is here to guide you through your own Retirement Reinvention.
Over the Hill But Not the Cliff: 5 Strategies for 50+ Job Seekers by Lori B. Rassas: Over the Hill But Not the Cliff is a straightforward and practical guide that job seekers 50+ can use to not only survive in the modern workplace, but thrive.
Purposeful Retirement: How to Bring Happiness and Meaning to Your Retirement by Hyrum W. Smith: Leaving the professional world doesn’t mean losing your purpose: A guide to aging well and moving on to a fulfilling second act.
What Retirees Want: A Holistic View of Life’s Third Age: Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D. is a psychologist and educator. Some of the fascinating topics in his book are, how likely it is you’ll outlive your retirement savings, the tech that will lengthen our lives, and how third-agers can capitalize on the upsides of aging.
Finding Meaning and Purpose in Retirement
The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50, Jonathan Rauch: Research suggests that happiness slumps in midlife. Full of insight and data, The Happiness Curve features many ways to endure the slump and avoid its perils and traps.
10% Happier Revised Edition: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris: The science supporting the health benefits of meditation continues to grow as does the number of Americans who count themselves as practitioners but, it took reading 10% HAPPIER to make me actually want to give it a try.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl: If you read lists about the books successful people most often credited with being inspirational, it is a good bet that this will be a top contender.
The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama: This book is the cornerstone of positive psychology.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson: Maybe try the millenial self help guide from a superstar blogger who shows how to stop trying to be positive all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach: Maybe go a bit retro with this 1970s classic.
A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle: The spiritual teacher and author describes ancient truths and applies them to life in the 21st century; encouraging readers to live in the present moment. First published in 2005, the book sold five million copies in North America by 2009.
Gratitude by Oliver Sacks: The book chronicles the famous author’s thoughts, wishes, regrets, and, above all, feelings of love, happiness, and gratitude even as he faced the cancer that ended his life last year at 82.
The Five Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day by Intelligent Change: Using the science of positive psychology to improve happiness, The Five Minute Journal focuses your attention on the good in your life. Improve your mental well-being and feel better every day.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: Although set as a novel following the journey of a shepherd traveling to discover the meaning of a recurring dream, the New York Times called this book “more self-help than literature.” The journey teaches the reader about listening to our hearts, recognizing opportunity, and following our dreams. Originally published in Portuguese in 1988, it has been translated into more than 67 languages and is an international bestseller.
The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life by Chris Guillebeau: American entrepreneur Chris Guillebeau set out to visit every country on planet Earth by the time he turned 35. Everywhere he went, he found people pursuing extraordinary goals. These conversations compelled Guillebeau to study the link between questing and long-term happiness.
You Learn by Living by Eleanor Roosevelt: The former First Lady penned this simple guide to living a fuller life at the age of seventy-six. The book offers her own philosophy on living with compassion, confidence, maturity, and civic stewardship. The book may be more than 50 years old, but her advice is as applicable today as it was in 1960.
The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll: Organize your thoughts and focus on what is meaningful to you.
Contemporary Fiction About Retirement and Aging
There is lots of literature that explores what this phase of life is really all about, the struggles and the triumphs. Some books are escapist, others funny and many are quite inspiring.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: One Amazon reviewer calls this book a perfect example of “boomer lit” — stories about aging boomers struggling with this phase of life. However, this book is so good that I know one 16-year-old fan of thrillers and dystopia who includes this among his favorite all-time reads.
Olive Kitteridge: This Pulitzer Prize-winning book is really more of a collection of 13 short stories. Follow Olive Kitteridge, a retired school teacher, as she grapples with changes in her world, the people around her, and comes to a better understanding of her own life.
A Man Called Ove: I actually found this book a bit depressing. Most everyone I know thought it was funny and inspiring. Watch Ove triumph over sadness and find a new meaning in retirement.
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand: A charming look at another chance at love and companionship later in life.
The Sense of an Ending: Complex and intense, this novel explores what happens when a man who thinks he as achieved it all, including a secure retirement, is confronted with a mysterious legacy and is forced to revise his view of himself.
Gilead: This story follows three generations from the Civil War to the 20th century. It is a moving story of fathers and sons.
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared: Turns out the nursing home is not actually the last stop for 100-year-old Allan Karlsson. After a lifetime of adventures and being a real part of history, he is just not ready to give up the ghost.
Water for Elephants: A Novel: This book is romantic and dramatic and reminds us that rich memories can be relived and inspire new adventures.
Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant: This hilarious memoir by the New Yorker cartoonist is a graphic novel chronicling how the author navigated her parent’s old age. If you have experienced foibles with your aging parents, this laugh out loud book is for you.
Pieces of Happiness: A novel of five lifelong friends who, in their sixties, decide to live together on a cocoa farm in Fiji, where they not only start a chocolate business but strengthen their friendships and rediscover themselves. One review calls this “chick lit for the sixty-something crowd.”
You Are Only Old Once! A Book for Obsolete Children: Written to celebrate Seuss’s 82nd birthday, this book makes an amazing retirement gift.
Less: Arthur Less will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Saharan sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and encounter, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to face. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty.
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner: Tracing the lives, loves, and aspirations of two couples who move between Vermont and Wisconsin, it is a work of quiet majesty, deep compassion, and powerful insight into the alchemy of friendship and marriage.
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler: Abby and Red and their four grown children have accumulated not only tender moments, laughter, and celebrations, but also jealousies, disappointments, and carefully guarded secrets.
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk: A Novel: It’s the last night of 1984 and Lillian, 85 years old but just as sharp and savvy as ever, is on her way to a party. It’s chilly enough out for her mink coat and Manhattan is grittier now―her son keeps warning her about a subway vigilante on the prowl―but the quick-tongued poetess has never been one to scare easily.
Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen: Brilliantly written, powerfully observed, Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a deeply moving and often very funny story of unexpected love, and a stunningly crafted journey into the life of a woman, her heart, her mind, her days, as she discovers that life is a story with many levels, a story that is longer and more exciting than she ever imagined.
Books About Investing, Retirement and Personal Finance
There are no shortage of retirement how to books. Here are a few of the favorites:
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich: This book has been the guide to thousands who want to retire early, very early.
Get What’s Yours – Revised & Updated: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security: This is considered to be the definitive book on getting the most out of Social Security.
A Random Walk down Wall Street: The Time-tested Strategy for Successful Investing: This is considered the one book you really need to read if you want to manage your own investments.
The Automatic Millionaire, Expanded and Updated: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich: Straight forward achievable advice for personal finance and retirement readiness.
The Bogleheads Guide to Investing: The fundamentals of sophisticated and smart retirement investing, kept simple.
How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide: Author Jane Bryant Quinn shows you how to make sure you don’t run out of money in retirement.
The Intelligent Investor: This is a classic that focuses on a strategy of loss minimization over profit maximization.
The Dhandho Investor: The low risk value method to high returns.
Big Mistakes: The Best Investors and Their Worst Investments: Learn from the big mistakes of the world’s best investors.
Retire Before Mom and Dad: The Simple Numbers Behind A Lifetime of Financial Freedom: Forbes contributor and DougRoller founder Rob Berger, has written an extremely accessible and enjoyable book on the investing principles that will lay the foundation of your financial independence. Listen to Berger’s great interview on the NewRetirement podcast!
The Millionaiare Next Door, Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko: The bestselling The Millionaire Next Door identifies seven common traits that show up again and again among those who have accumulated wealth. Most of the truly wealthy in this country don’t live in Beverly Hills or on Park Avenue-they live next door.
How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie J. Zelinski: Offers inspirational advice on how to enjoy life to its fullest. The key to achieving an active and satisfying retirement involves a great deal more than having adequate financial resources; it also encompasses all other aspects of life — interesting leisure activities, creative pursuits, physical well-being, mental well-being, and solid social support.
Start Your F.I.R.E. (Financial Independence Retire Early): A Modern Guide to Early Retirement: Authors Dylin and Allison Tom relate their journey to financial independence and give you several FIRE strategies for saving and budgeting. They even include sample spreadsheets (they call it “kindling”) to get you going!
Income on Demand: Master Your Retirement Portfolio, Ignore the Market, and Leave the IRS Weeping: Jonathan D. Bird, CFP’s book takes a bold stance on investing for retirement. Forget about creating a “retirement paycheck.” Instead, think about growing your stock portfolio from a young age.
Don’t Go Broke in Retirement: A Simple Plan to Build Lifetime Retirement Income: Steve Vernon, who worked for 35 years as a actuary consultant, gives you a simple blueprint for creating your own “pension” in retirement.