Two recent books discuss these questions. Apparently, the key to a successful retirement is to write a book about it. In a book called Unretirement, author Chris Farrell explains that it means you retire a little later. If you retire from the work you’re doing now, find something else you can do that you will enjoy. Easy to say, I suppose. If you find that kind of work, delay using your retirement savings and delay starting Social Security benefits. In the second book, You Can Retire Sooner Than You Think: The 5 Money Secrets of the Happiest Retirees, author Wes Moss suggests that the base line amount needed for a happy retirement is $500,000. I didn’t read the book, so I don’t know how he reached this conclusion, but surely the amount you need depends on where you live and, most importantly, your health and that of your spouse, if you’re married. It’s not difficult to determine what you need: what are your current expenses and which of them disappear when you retire? What sources of income do you have, such as Social Security and pensions? What gap must you fill from retirement savings and how much do you need to fill that gap? When you know what you need, think about what else you want and whether you scan afford it. It makes sense to work longer and save more. It makes sense to delay Social Security. And, above all, it makes sense to do whatever you can to maintain your health as you approach retirement.
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