Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Review: Living a Satisfying Retirement

Living a Satisfying Retirement
Bob Lowry

Perhaps I have found a new direction for my blog: Book Reviews.  This is the second sequential book review I have written.  I had the chance to get a copy of   Bob Lowry's (a fellow blogger) new book, Living a Satisfying Retirement.  Bob's blog, Satisfying Retirement, has given him a chance to write about retirement and produce a book from material supplied by his followers.  

Bob Lowry’s successfully asked strangers questions that most of us would have great difficulty or considerable reluctance asking our friends or acquaintances.   Lowry received enough information from the response to garner a number of gems about retirement to share with his readers.  I had a chance to participate in the survey in the summer of 2012 but declined.  Perhaps for the purpose of this review it good that I didn’t because it would have slanted or influenced my review.  During the reading of his book I did mentally consider the questions and compared my answers to his respondents.

For “Living a Satisfying Retirement” Lowry created a dozen questions that he asked the already retired followers of his blog to answer.  In addition to this group, he asked ten questions of his blog followers who were approaching retirement.  He received answers from about fifty people and from their answers he presents first person reflections about retirement life.

Some of the questions merely gather background, such as: How long have you been retired?  Others are more personal and delve into financial issues, one example is:  What percent of your pre-retirement income are you living on?  Others deal with relationships, time, expectations and surprises.

Most of the respondents to his survey seem to have been mostly successful about reaching their financial goals, or have very definite goals set and are on target to reach them.  So in this respect I think his sample of retired persons is not typical or that of your average retired person.  Certainly, my goals have been missed, mostly due to career changes, deliberate and unforeseen.  But still the answers provide interesting insights into retired life in manageable chunks.  Bob then summarizes the answers from many respondents into a somewhat general overall statement about the question.  He is a good listener and synthesizes multiple answers into a cohesive conclusion.

One of my favorite answers to a question is from Doug N.  He states, “Instead of dwelling on old memories I’ve enjoyed creating new ones with my family.”  Doug is very upbeat and positive.  All of us can use that advice.  Retirement is time that a person can create new activities and memories.  The past is gone.  We don’t necessarily need to start our entire life over but we can change the direction of our lives and try new things.  And switch them without regret, if needed.

Bill D answered another question about plans with, “I have also learned that each person’s retirement is a unique experience.  There is no set way to achieve a satisfying retirement.”  This comment cuts to one of the truths revealed in this book.  Everyone is different and retirement is not the same for everyone.  There is no single secret revealed in this book.  This book is not a retirement guide book, nor is it is a ten steps program or a list of things to do.  Living a Satisfying Retirement is a peephole into the lives of a variety of retired people, each with a unique perspective.

Living a Satisfying Retirement is short presentations of the personal accounts from real people about their retirement or planned retirement.  They answer questions your friends can’t or won’t articulate or you are too afraid to ask.

Perhaps in that respect there are secrets revealed.  Those personal comments are a gateway to understanding what retirement will be for you. 

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  1. Money helps and that's the bottom line. Then again, it's amazing how much hard lesson in frugality can get one through a lot.

  2. While I have fallen short of the "ideal" financial nest egg I am fortunate that at 69 I still work full time. Yes, money isn't everything but it sure beats whatever is in second place.

  3. Thanks, Warren, for your time in reading and reviewing my latest book. Since my background is in market research, I will be the first to admit that the sample for this book was self-selecting. Those interviewed contacted me and asked to be part of the book. My blog readers are solidly middle class, many with at least a college level education, and generally navigating the retirement journey well. This means those folks in the book are likely to be handling things well.

    Even so, I astonished by the tremendous variety of activities and interests represented by the answers. The ability to see how others have handled relationship, financial, and boredom issues can be helpful to anyone. The desire to volunteer to give back is heartwarming. As you note," Those personal comments are a gateway to understanding what retirement will be for you." That was my goal. I'm pleased that you agree it has been met.

  4. I loved this review because it revealed that we are all so different by the time we reach retirement age. My own interviews and observations of seniors show me: there are no cookie cutter people in our age group! The longer we live, the more unique we become. I love that about aging!! We do not become "more alike", but we become more and more different because of our experiences. Experience does matter in shaping who we are. Yet we are stereotyped! Mistake, mistake!!!

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