16 Best Retirement Books to Read

By: | Updated: December 19, 2022

You found our list of the best retirement books.

Retirement books are books that help employees prepare to leave the workforce. Examples include Investing for Young Adults, What Will I Do All Day?, and Retirement Planning Guidebook. These books aim to educate workers and retirees about planning for the future.

These books would make great retirement gifts for coworkers. In addition, you could give these gifts at a virtual retirement party!

This list includes:

  • early retirement books
  • funny retirement books
  • books on retirement planning
  • retirement self-help books

Let’s dive in!

List of retirement books

Retirement books cover topics from investing to retiring young to saving last minute. For thoughtful retirement advice, here is our list of books about retirement.

1. How To Retire With Enough Money: And How to Know What Enough Is by Teresa Ghilarducci

One of the most common questions employees face is how much money to save before retirement. How To Retire With Enough Money addresses that question in a short, simple layout. Ghilarducci provides an economist’s view on the amount of money Americans need to live comfortably in retirement. She discusses how much to save, how to invest, and what to pay off. This short, no-nonsense book will give you quick insight into the realities of saving.
Notable Quote: “To retire at a standard of living similar to the one he or she has during their working lives, the average person with no other retirement plan besides Social Security will need eight times his or her annual salary in retirement accounts.”

Read How To Retire With Enough Money.

2. Investing for Young Adults: How to Earn, Save, Invest, Grow Your Money and Retire Early! by Kris Pearson

Investing for Young Adults is one of the early retirement books offering simple financial advice for younger audiences.
This book simplifies finances by defining key terms and breaking information into chunks. Readers will learn about IRAs versus 401(k)s, investment methods, and stock market tips. One key element this book covers is how to start saving and investing with little to no money. To secure financial freedom, Pearson emphasizes investing as early as possible. Even if you are no longer a young adult, Pearson’s tips can help you retire early.
Notable Quote: “Don’t wait any longer! Get started today! It is important to build wealth early in life to have a stable financial situation later on in life.”

Read Investing for Young Adults.

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3. 1001 Fun Things To Do in Retirement by Mike Bellah

1001 Fun Things To Do in Retirement tackles activities to try once you leave your career.
After spending so much of their adult life working, retirees suddenly have excess free time. Bellah’s guide lists a large variety of general and specific post-retirement ideas. For example, he suggests writing a novel and visiting the world’s highest cog train. 1001 Fun Things To Do in Retirement is ideal for any retiree looking for post-work inspiration.
Notable Quote: “My book is a primer on playfulness, a prompt if you like. Here are things you might want to consider doing in retirement. More importantly, they are ideas that I hope will stir your own thoughts and actions.”
Read 1001 Fun Things To Do in Retirement.

4. Keys to a Successful Retirement: Staying Happy, Active, and Productive in Your Retired Years by Fritz Gilbert

Keys to a Successful Retirement is one of the best retirement self-help books. Gilbert’s conversational tone and helpful pull quotes address the process of retiring and being retired. Gilbert started writing his thoughts on retired life on his blog, and he condensed those experiences into this book.
Comparing planning retirement to baking a cake, Gilbert stresses the importance of devising a “recipe” for retirement. He also covers post-retirement topics, such as how to stay in shape, what to do with your free time, and how to deal with mental health issues. The core of his advice centers around finding purpose after work. Gilbert knows that for some, leaving work can cause feelings of loss. His guide takes you through finding meaning and joy in life beyond your career. Readers will also find a list of useful financial, insurance, and retirement resources.
Notable Quote: “The smoothest transitions are experienced by those who have invested the most amount of time in planning for their life of retirement.”

Read Keys to a Successful Retirement.

5. The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

The Total Money Makeover uses casual language to address serious financial topics. Ramsey discusses eliminating debt, avoiding money myths, and saving for retirement. This New York Times bestseller shows you a financial “diet” that will shape your accounts. Ramsey encourages financial literacy by prioritizing behavior over numbers. The Total Money Makeover also shares stories from readers who have successfully managed their finances.
Ramsey has authored several other books on financial literacy, including Baby Steps Millionaire, Financial Peace, and The Money Answer Book.
Notable Quote: “This proven plan is having a national impact because I have realized that to change your money thing, you have to change. You have to change your life. When you change your life, you will get out of debt, give, and invest at an unbelievable rate.”

Read The Total Money Makeover.

6. Retirement Planning Guidebook: Navigating the Important Decisions for Retirement Success (The Retirement Researcher Guide Series) by Wade D. Pfau

Retirement Planning Guidebook is one of the most detailed books on retirement planning. Pfau is an expert in retirement, and this book is the result of many years of study. This work informs readers on every aspect of retirement, from investments to insurance. Pfau recognizes that different retirees will have different retirement income styles. He offers suggestions to help readers find their style and create a retirement plan that fits their needs. Pfau defines many key terms and breaks down complicated topics into digestible pieces. As just one part of the Retirement Researcher Guide Series, the Retirement Planning Guidebook aims to clarify the world of retirement.
Notable Quote: “I focus on creating efficiencies for your retirement to stretch your resources as far as possible. A retirement income plan should be based on planning to live, not planning to die.”

Read Retirement Planning Guidebook.

7. What Will I Do All Day?: Wisdom to Get You Over Retirement and On With Living! by Patrice Jenkins

What Will I Do All Day? addresses its title question at the core. As a counselor, Jenkins recognized a pattern of workers staying in their careers long after they were able to retire. After interviewing many of these workers, she realized that their concerns boiled down to needing a purpose. Employees postponing retirement feared losing their sense of meaning and direction. Jenkins’s guide acknowledges these fears around retiring and how to address them. In addition, she includes outside views on retiring and strategies to help plan for life after your career.
Notable Quote: “This book is about retirement’s deeper issues: the issues a simple financial strategy or get-away vacation won’t solve. What is rarely discussed is how you feel about retirement.”

Read What Will I Do All Day?

8. How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide by Jane Bryant Quinn

How to Make Your Money Last advises on the best ways to stretch your money during retirement. Once workers have saved up enough money to retire, knowing how to spend it becomes just as essential. This book covers getting the most out of your assets, how much to withdraw, and how much to invest. Quinn confronts important questions head-on. She discusses how much you will need to retire, what kind of standard of living you can afford, and whether you will be able to afford to quit working.
Notable Quote: “We need to find a new way of being–a fresh identity, different passions and pastimes, and a deeper involvement with family, community, and friends. We’re not on the shelf (yet!). We have lots to contribute and the time to find our place. What gives us this freedom of mind and action is having an income that we’re sure will last for life.”

Read How to Make Your Money Last.

9. Early Retirement Extreme: A Philosophical and Practical Guide to Financial Independence by Jacob Lund Fisker

As the name suggests, Early Retirement Extreme outlines extreme frugality for financial independence.
Fisker intermixes his journey to early retirement with philosophical thoughts about modern-day workers. Fisker began his path to retirement at 30 and reached his goal at 33. His ideas focus on questioning consumerism and eliminating unnecessary expenses. Fisker creates his own financial philosophy and confronts traditional financial expectations. This book is great for those looking to get on the fast track to retirement.
Notable Quote: “Rather than increasing the amount of work to acquire more stuff, reducing this superficial need reduces the amount of necessary work. It’s possible to reduce the amount of work all the way down to zero: financial independence.”

Read Early Retirement Extreme.

10. You’re Only Old Once!: A Book for Obsolete Children by Dr. Seuss

You may be surprised to find a Dr. Seuss book on a list of retirement books, but You’re Only Old Once is one of the best funny retirement books.
This book pokes fun at aging and the healthcare system using a classic Seuss rhyme scheme. Readers follow the protagonist through a journey of aging. The main character undergoes a host of medical tests while dreaming of island life. Doctors refer him from one medical professional to the next, bouncing him along the chain of command. Suess wrote the tale while experiencing such medical issues.
Notable Quote: “And you’ll find yourself wishing that you were out there in Fotta-fa-Zee and not here in this chair in the Golden Years Clinic on Century Square for Spleen Readjustment and Muffler Repair.”

Read You’re Only Old Once!

11. The 5 Years Before You Retire, Updated Edition: Retirement Planning When You Need It the Most by Emily Guy Birken

The 5 Years Before You Retire is aimed at workers getting close to retirement age who may not have started planning early. Birken talks through all steps of retiring, from financial planning to Social Security to healthcare. In addition, this book includes a planning syllabus, a retirement checklist, and tables to help you calculate how much to save. Through these resources, Birken provides pre-retirees the tools to set themselves up for success.
Notable Quote: “Where retirement might have once signaled the beginning of old age, it is now the next exciting chapter in your life.”

Read The 5 Years Before You Retire.

12. Every Day Is Saturday: Sleeping Late, Playing With the Grandchildren, Surviving the Quarantine, and Other Joys of Retirement by Jerry Zezima

Every Day Is Saturday follows humor columnist Jerry Zezima during the start of his retirement. This comedic book takes you through Zezima’s day-to-day life. He tells stories about his grandchildren, marriage, and home improvement projects. Heavy topics take on a lighthearted tone through Zezima’s self-deprecating humor. Be sure to pick up a copy of this book if you want a hilarious slice-of-life read.
Notable Quote: “I was the class clown. My professional goal was to be silly and irresponsible and actually get paid for it.”

Read Every Day Is Saturday.

13. The Black Girl’s Guide to Financial Freedom: Build Wealth, Retire Early, and Live the Life of Your Dreams by Paris Woods

The Black Girl’s Guide to Financial Freedom shares techniques for building wealth in any career path. Growing up, Woods saw her hardworking mother struggle to make ends meet. As a result, woods dedicated herself to creating security for her future. She started by listening to financial gurus’ advice, namely, “Take on debt.” After doing so, Woods realized that eliminating debt was the key to freedom, and she changed her financial mindset. The Black Girl’s Guide to Financial Freedom teaches techniques for becoming financially independent.
Notable Quote: “Achieving financial freedom is about so much more than the numbers in your bank account. It’s about building a lifestyle for yourself that you don’t regularly want to escape.”

Read The Black Girl’s Guide to Financial Freedom.

14. Retirement by Design: A Guided Workbook for Creating a Happy and Purposeful Future by Ida Abbott

Retirement by Design makes retirement planning interactive with this comprehensive workbook. Abbot combines practical advice with thoughtful writing exercises to help readers plan for the future. Abbot applies business principles to the practice of preparing for retirement. She uses the five elements of design thinking to encourage sound planning. Abbot guides readers toward their ideal future by laying out clear steps and goalposts.
Notable Quote: “Paying close attention to your answers and reactions, and setting priorities and action items as you go, will point you toward options and possibilities that you didn’t realize you had, or that you might never have thought about.”

Read Retirement by Design.

15. Playing with FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early): How Far Would You Go for Financial Freedom? by Scott Rieckens

As the name suggests, the FIRE movement encourages workers to practice frugality and retire early. Playing with FIRE shares Rieckens’s story as his family works to reduce expenses and minimalize belongings. However, the book’s focus is not on detailed advice about how to achieve financial freedom. Rather, it follows Rieckens’s personal experiences through the FIRE journey. This read accompanies Rieckens’s Netflix documentary of the same name.
Notable Quote: “In fact, despite the term ‘retire early’ in the movement’s name, I’ve found the people in the FIRE community often reject the word retire and its implications; financial independence is about having the freedom and flexibility to pursue your true calling, whether or not it makes any money.”

Read Playing with FIRE.

16. The Retirement Maze: What You Should Know Before and After You Retire by Rob Pascale, Louis H. Primavera, and Rip Roach

Inspired by Pascale’s own retirement, The Retirement Maze takes a data-driven look at retired life. Pascale retired from his role as a research psychologist at age 51. At first, he enjoyed his constant free time. After a few months, though, his initial excitement faded. Pascale realized he had based his entire identity on his career and was having trouble finding purpose. Wondering if other retirees felt the same, Pascale returned to his research roots and started conducting surveys. After interviewing over 1,500 retirees and 400 workers, Pascale, Primavera, and Roach wrote this book. The Retirement Maze confronts expectations, addresses realities, and offers solutions to retiree issues.
Notable Quote: “Through an in-depth look into each of the elements that make up the life of a retiree–activities, personal relationships, self-perceptions, and so on–we were able to see how some retired successfully and some less so or not at all.”

Read The Retirement Maze.


Retirement is both an exciting and daunting adventure. Retiring has many complicated steps, like planning, saving, and investing. Retirees will have more free time than ever, but they will also need to find ways to stay occupied. With so much information out there, reading books on retirement will help retirees make thoughtful decisions. These books can help you plan for a secure and fulfilled future.

For more book suggestions, check out our lists of habit books, business books, and time management books.

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FAQ: Retirement books

Here are answers to common questions about retirement books.

What are some good books on retirement?

The best books on retirement cover a range of topics. Some examples are How To Retire With Enough Money, The Retirement Maze, and 1001 Fun Things To Do in Retirement.

What books can help prepare for retirement?

Preparing for retirement can take many forms. Workers will want to ensure they have enough money saved up, and they also need to know how to spend it once they retire. Another aspect of retirement is how to spend all your new free time. Some great books to help you prepare for retirement are Retirement by Design, The Total Money Makeover, and Keys to a Successful Retirement.

What are good books for someone retiring?

Good books for someone retiring can have practical advice or humorous anecdotes. Some examples include You’re Only Old Once, How to Make Your Money Last, and Every Day Is Saturday.

Author avatar


People & Culture Director at teambuilding.com.
Grace is the Director of People & Culture at teambuilding.com. She studied Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University, Information Science at East China Normal University and earned an MBA at Washington State University.


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