This is a book which explores how to approach retirement – not particularly from a financial aspect, though there is a chapter on money, but rather how to achieve a fulfilling day-to-day existence on leaving one’s working life behind.
The author herself suffered a sudden retirement from another field and has retrained as a retirement coach. She clearly has plenty of experience of dealing with the issues that come up when people retire and then find themselves rather lost without the structure of work. The book talks in detail about the potentially difficult transition from full-time work to retirement, and the stages a pensioner may go through from the initial honeymoon period to possibly a long-term dissatisfaction with retirement.
The key to success seems to be building up interests outside work before retirement and giving some real thought to plans and expectations before taking the plunge. This is a theme throughout the book. It may sound quite obvious, but I can certainly see for myself the extent to which work is a route to relationships and identity as well as financial support. The book sets questions for the reader which really do get you thinking about how retirement would change your life, other than just escaping the morning commute, such as who will you be once you retire?
From a financial planning perspective, I talk to clients every day about the cost of retirement, their requirements and the change from earned to unearned income. Very few have given this much thought in advance, and I suspect that even fewer have considered such matters as the impact on the relationships with their spouse and children, for example, which Ms Houghton highlights. I know of several clients who have continued working despite easily being in a position to fund all of their retirement goals, and from reading this book I now have more of a perspective on why this might be.
I would recommend this book as an excellent starting point to thinking about how to enjoy a good life after work and what that might look like.