Keys to a Successful Retirement

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Fritz Gilbert retired in 2018 in his mid-fifties. Several years prior to his retirement, he began writing the blog The Retirement Manifesto to document his transition into this new phase of life. Most retirement planning resources focus on the financial aspects of the decision. Fritz wanted to round out the conversation by emphasizing the “softer side” of retirement planning.

Keys to a Successful Retirement book cover

I’ve read Fritz’s writing on his blog and have had the pleasure to interact with him several times. I’ve always found him to be genuine and thoughtful. (Listen to the two of us along with Early Retirement Now’s Karsten Jeske on the NewRetirement podcast discussing our transition to early retirement.) 

Fritz recently wrote a book, Keys to a Successful Retirement: Staying Happy, Active and Productive in your Retired Years. I offered to review an advance copy.

Read on to help decide if this book would be a good resource to assist you in your retirement planning. You’ll also have an opportunity to win one of three copies we’re giving away.

Target Audience

Fritz wrote this book for people preparing for or struggling with the transition from career to retirement. In the first paragraph of the book, he writes “you’ve paid attention to the financial side of things, saved as much as possible, and ‘paid yourself first’ for decades. You’re ready to go.”

He notes that those who have followed a typical career path will experience freedom in retirement that you likely haven’t experienced since you were a child. I can’t agree more with his description of this “new level of freedom that is both exhilarating and intimidating.”

Prior to my early retirement, I thought I had prepared for this transition well. I eschewed what I felt were unrealistic views of retirement as a pollyanna that are shared by some FIRE bloggers.

I sought out insights from other early retirees like Darrow on this blog and Todd Tresidder at Financial Mentor. Both were ahead of me in their financial journeys. Their financial paths were similar to what I was pursuing, and I appreciated their candor from the other side.

Still, I’ve written before that my transition was much harder than I ever anticipated. In fact, I wrote that post describing my difficult transition about one year after my early retirement.

Fritz writes in the book, “At about the one-year mark. . . there’s a point in your retirement when you realize that this is your new reality. This is now your life.” Later in the book, he returned to this time and described it as follows, “It was never unpleasant, but it wasn’t really what I expected either.”

It is a time for some introspection, and maybe some reckoning. I fully agree with his assertion that we need resources to help us think about this in advance and then refer back to when that time comes.

What I Loved About the Book

Fritz perfectly captured many of the challenges I either didn’t anticipate or underestimated. I wish I would have given them more consideration as he recommends.


One example is thinking about how your relationships will be impacted. He wrote, “Strong relationships are one of the factors that bring joy to life, and your relationships are bound to be rocked more severely than at any other point in your life.”

In both his case and mine, we retired but our spouses’ work status didn’t change. My wife continued in her part-time job. His wife had chosen to be a stay-at-home mom and caregiver. Though their roles didn’t drastically change, their spouse’s retirements thrust a major change onto them and drastically changed relationship dynamics.

When you retire you lose your work relationships and a piece of your identity. Expecting your spouse to fill those voids is unfair. Both partners need to consider and plan for these changes together in advance, not just the one retiring.

Hidden Challenges

In chapter 4 Fritz discusses hidden challenges. One was that your risk of depression increases by 40% after retiring. He identifies boredom and loss of identity and purpose as contributing factors. I don’t think I’ve ever become clinically depressed and I’ve certainly never felt bored. But I often identify with the feeling of struggling with day to day purpose and significance since leaving my career.

Fritz also points out that you have less than a fifty percent chance of having the final say on when you retire. Health issues, the need to become a caregiver to a partner or parent with health issues, or downsizing force many people into retirement before they’re ready. Those retirees often have to learn to deal with the grief of losing their career and all that comes with that.

Finding Passion and Purpose

In the final chapter, Fritz discusses strategies to address these and other challenges. He writes, “finding a passion or purpose is the most important thing you can do for a successful retirement.” He then provides ideas for how to do that.

Some particularly powerful ideas were shifting your focus from success to significance and avoiding deathbed regrets. Also discussed was the fact that 25% of people “unretire” and return to work. The majority of them do it for non-financial reasons. I particularly liked the idea of a “Victory Lap Retirement” where you consider working in retirement like a victory lap, “run more slowly and for a different purpose than the race itself.”

What I Didn’t Love About the Book

I get that Fritz felt there was already a glut of retirement planning materials on the market focusing on money. He tried to write a different book that focused on the non-financial aspects of retirement. But is it really possible to effectively discuss retirement planning without getting into financial details?

Fritz wrote on page five, “The most important step in the (retirement planning) process is determining what type of life you want to live in your retirement years. As you’ll see, this drives the financial aspects of retirement and has a direct impact on when you’ll be able to retire.”  

I agree that you should start with what you want your retirement lifestyle to look like. Then reverse engineer your finances rather than starting with money and allowing finances to dictate your lifestyle. But regardless of where you start, these two components of planning are impossible to separate. 

He also wrote “As your retirement evolves, money becomes something you think about less and less.” This may be true IF you planned well. But I’m willing to bet that a lot of people who didn’t plan well are having sleepless nights right now because they’re thinking a whole lot about money.

The bottom line is, you can’t have a realistic conversation about planning your retirement without having a detailed understanding of your finances. Fritz reluctantly acknowledges this in Chapter 2: What to Do When the Paycheck Stops. But he covered complex and vitally important financial issues superficially.

For example, on page 23 Fritz wrote “Be realistic as you modify your ‘preretirement’ spending to reflect your ‘postretirement’ spending. Two areas where I’d warn you to be pay special attention are:

  • health care
  • taxes”

Unfortunately, he gives readers precious little information on how to do so.

Health Care

Fritz wrote “To be safe, I assumed a cost of $2,500/month, which I inflated at 5 percent per year.”  He didn’t explain how he came up with that number. He revisited the topic of health care in retirement later in the book as a retirement planning challenge in Chapter 4. At this point in the book, he dedicated a total of 4 paragraphs to this topic. 

This included two sentences addressing the massively important topic of Affordable Care Act Subsidies and a brief paragraph discussing the alternative of Health Care Sharing Ministries in early retirement. There was no mention as to how to estimate health care costs in your Medicare years.

Retirement health care costs can drastically change the amount one needs to retire. So it has a dramatic impact on when you can retire and the quality of your retirement lifestyle. Fritz  assumes the reader understands this complex topic by providing only superficial coverage of it.


Fritz identifies taxes as another area that deserve special attention. Again he doesn’t give them that attention in the book. They are covered briefly early in Chapter 2. There are a few paragraphs discussing Roth IRA conversions later in that chapter, and a few more paragraphs speculating about future tax rates and entitlement spending in Chapter 4.

In my experience, most people have a rudimentary understanding of the tax code. Even having given tax planning a lot of thought, I’ve found that implementing tax strategies is complex. 

Your taxable income in a given tax year can greatly impact ACA subsidies or Medicare premiums, depending on whether you are an early or traditional retiree. Taxable income in a given year also impacts taxation of investment income

Your strategy for saving in and withdrawing from taxable, tax-deferred and Roth accounts gives you a good deal of control over your taxable income and thus your tax burden in any given year. Understanding the interaction between these complex variables and then layering in state taxes and the impact of Social Security income is not intuitive even for those who have spent a lot of time educating themselves on this topic. 

We recommend using  software like Pralana’s Gold Retirement Calculator that shows the interaction between these variables. Assuming most readers have a firm grasp on this important issue is a stretch.

My Recommendation

No book is perfect. I’ve laid out  the issues I have with Keys to a Successful Retirement. Despite the book’s drawbacks, there is a lot to like about this book.

If you naturally are attracted to ideas like relationship dynamics, the psychology of major life transitions, and finding meaning and purpose in life after retirement you’ll like this book. Just realize it was not written to be a comprehensive retirement planning book. It gives superficial treatment to financial topics that dramatically impact the quality of your retirement.

Many readers of this blog are DIY investors and planners. You’ve already put a lot of time and effort into the financial aspects of retirement planning. When we write about these “softer” aspects of planning on this blog, a segment of readers push back against us.

In my opinion, the more strongly you resist thinking about these issues, the more you likely need to pay attention to them. They won’t go away if you ignore them. This book is a great place to start.

Win a Free Copy!

Fritz Gilbert’s Keys to a Successful Retirement: Staying Happy, Active and Productive in Your Retired Years is scheduled for release on Tuesday, May 5th. If it sounds like a book you’d like to read, or maybe if I’ve convinced you it is a book you need to read, you can pre-order the book now through the link above.

Fritz and his publisher also have given me three copies to give away to readers of the blog. If you’d like one, leave a comment below telling me so by midnight EST on Wednesday April 22nd. I’ll randomly select three winners and announce them here.

If you don’t comment regularly, your comment may not display immediately because I have to manually approve it. Please don’t leave more than one comment. Thanks and good luck!

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[Chris Mamula used principles of traditional retirement planning, combined with creative lifestyle design, to retire from a career as a physical therapist at age 41. After poor experiences with the financial industry early in his professional life, he educated himself on investing and tax planning. After achieving financial independence, Chris began writing about wealth building, DIY investing, financial planning, early retirement, and lifestyle design at Can I Retire Yet? He is also the primary author of the book Choose FI: Your Blueprint to Financial Independence. Chris also does financial planning with individuals and couples at Abundo Wealth, a low-cost, advice-only financial planning firm with the mission of making quality financial advice available to populations for whom it was previously inaccessible. Chris has been featured on MarketWatch, Morningstar, U.S. News & World Report, and Business Insider. He has spoken at events including the Bogleheads and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants annual conferences. Blog inquiries can be sent to Financial planning inquiries can be sent to]

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    1. Definitely more research needs to be done in the area of transition retirement planning. I think that the COVID-19 will make planning a transition to a retirement lifestyle very difficult especially if the employed senior has just been laid off because of the current pandemic. I find that when a financial advisor is attempting to explain the non-financial aspects of retirement it’s a challenge because they are usually stuck and they have a huge financial planning bias. Maybe I’m wrong. I still need to be convinced that there is a better way to explain the transition from a traditional job to a productive retirement lifestyle where both financial and non-financial aspects are being considered.

      1. Joe,

        Thanks for the thoughtful comment. You make a great point that I didn’t even consider when writing the review though I did touch on this topic. (I may have some brain fog from being thrust into the role of being the primary home school teacher for our 7 y/o.) I would assume there will be a substantial number of our readers who were well on the path to retiring on their terms and who will now have that decision taken away from them. Reading about dealing with the grief of that situation was an interesting aspect of the book, but not one that I thought would resonate with many of our readers. There may now be a whole lot more people in that camp unfortunately.


    2. Hello Mr. Mamula,

      I am a 51 year old retiree who retired 5 years ago (at 46) from the VERY stressful highline car business in Los Angeles. Everyday I went to work was an extreme challenge psychologically from dealing with demanding and entitled wealthy customers to the scummy and slimy car salesman trying to steal my customers at every turn and sabotage me (assumably since I was selling more cars than they were). I was very successful selling cars due to one simple mantra – treat others the way that you would like to be treated which I thought was not rocket science however it worked very well for me as it made me stand out from the typical “car salesman” sleaziness. I finally saved enough money and invested wisely in some real estate that allowed me to finally QUIT working for someone else and just be my own boss working for myself managing my real estate holdings. However managing my RE stuff takes up MAYBE an hour a day and the rest of the day I am completely bored and feel that I have no more purpose or meaning in my life. So this book “Keys to a Successful Retirement: Staying Happy, Active and Productive in Your Retired Years” sounds like it could really help me get out of my funk and start to maybe enjoy my retirement instead of sleeping until 12:00 everyday. I really hope that the stars line up for me and allow me to WIN a free copy of this potentially life changing book! Thank you !!!

    3. Interesting book. I’d like a copy. Retired in the fall and am loving it in general . Do miss my relationships at work.

    4. Chris,

      I think this would be a very interesting read as I have spent more time focused on the financial piece, rather than the topics covered in this article. I have not overlooked these topics, just not given a lot of thought to them at this time. I would like a copy!

    5. I enjoyed your review. I having been planning for retirement for years But now realize I have overlooked at certain component to retirement.
      “Just what am I gonna do when I pull the plug?”


  1. I’m gonna put in for a copy as well because I think that I can backfill the weaknesses Chris points out from other sources. It seems the meat of the book lies elsewhere in terms of Fritz’s concerns, and I wouldn’t mind reading a less intensively financial take on retirement.

  2. That review sounds fair. Since I’m in that camp of having a decent handle on the financial side, I would love a book like this from someone who is already retired. Hoping I win one of the 3 copies.

    1. Thanks Pete. I get a ton of requests to review books. It takes a lot of time to read, take notes and put into review format so I won’t invest the time if not a good book. But still think it’s important to give a balanced review so readers can judge if it will be something they’ll get value from. Good luck!

      1. Sounds like the book I need. Planning on autumn retirement! Thanks so much! Hopefully I’m winning the book lottery.

    2. Thank you for reviewing and calling attention to Fritz Gilbert’s book. It is sort of refreshing to have a retirement book that is not heavily focused on finance. Financial aspects of retirement have been covered by many other authors of books, blogs and journal articles so I am looking forward to reading this book with it’s focus on soft skills. Let me know if I am fortunate enogh to be selected for a free copy!

    1. Sounds like a good read. I just turned 60 and have been mostly retired for 5 years. Still looking for more meaning in my life and I would guess it’s impossible to have too much!

  3. Thanks for the review – very helpful and I’m very interested in being in play for a free copy. Thanks again!

  4. Hi Chris. I’m always interested on other perspectives. Please include me in the drawing.
    I just retired in December and am weathering the COVID storm.

    1. Not what any of us were planning for! Hope you’re hanging in there and doing well.

      1. I’m 56 and 1 year into retirement. Did a lot of research into the sequence of return risk and it appears that was quite relevant given the current Covid-19 crash. Fortunately I have been sleeping well since I re-allocated assets at retirement to reduce downside risk. My current challenges sound like they are more in line with what is discussed in the book. Would like to enter the drawing for a copy, thanks.

  5. I appreciate the ‘softer’ side of retirement considerations. I’d like to put in for a free copy! Thanks!

  6. Thanks for the excellent and candid review. I take the opposite approach on this is that there are so many books that deal with the financial side I’m fine with not bulking the book up with more financial advise. Let’s call this diversification of reading resources! I would love to get hold of a copy.

  7. Husband retired 5 years ago…we moved to Hawaii last year and I continued to commute once a month to California for work. Now suddenly I am unemployed by the circumstances of covid19. We r prepared financially but I don’t know I am ready for this emotionally. That being said I think this book would be very useful for me. Thanks in advance.

  8. Thanks for the review. The book sounds interesting and i would hope to win a copy.

  9. Great review! I would love to win a copy! I am newly retired as of January 2020 and am slowly finding my way with this new lifestyle. Thanks!????

  10. Hi Pete, I will probably read the book regardless of whether it’s free or not. But would appreciate a free copy.

    I have been thinking about retiring at the first of the year, but the Pandemic has me thinking I should postpone for a while.

    My son just started his Physical Therapy career a month before the pandemic started. Seeing patients has obviously dropped significantly. I need to get him connected to you. Since you were able to retire early on physical therapy earnings. He would likely be interested in your blog.

    1. Hey Stan,

      The uncertainty this situation has created is likely giving a lot of people second thoughts. Scary times!

      I would love to connect with your son. You can have him shoot me an e-mail. I’ve also done some outreach to PTs. He may find these interviews interesting.


  11. 65 with 4 kids at home, 15,16,18 And 19 ,,autism, JRA, severe ADHD and Reactive attachment disorder…those are their issues,,,I need help, this book would help ME, even think about a Retirement ….Nothing but the best

  12. I earmarked June 30, 2020 as my early retirement day last year. My company hasn’t hired replacement yet cause they think COVID would scare me into staying. WRONG! I am a tried and true F. I. R. E. disciple. The only thing I lack is understanding how I am going to adjust, along with my wife still working part time. That’s why I’d like to be entered in the drawing for this book.

  13. Thanks for the comprehensive and balanced review of my book, Chris. I like your approach of pointing out things you like and things you don’t in your reviews, it ends up providing a fair and objective summary. As you mention, I do focus more on the non-financial aspects of retirement given the large volume of content focused on the financial issues you’ve raised in this review. I intentionally touched on them enough to make people aware of their importance, but my intent was not to provide a comprehensive financial guideline. Fair point, and proof of your objectivity.

    BTW, no need to enter me in the giveaway. Wink.

    1. And, Fritz has a *ton* of stuff on his blog about financial preparedness….if someone needed to head there….

    2. Chris, enjoy your work. On this one, I agree with Fritz and at least one other reader who say there’s lots of stuff out there on the financial aspects, so let’s focus on the softer side. I’d also suggest that those most qualified to write about one may not have the best perspective on the other. Interested in reading the book.

      1. Thanks Micheal. And no need to pick sides. See Fritz’s comment above. 🙂

        As noted in a response to another comment above, if I didn’t think the book was good, I wouldn’t have invested the time to read it and write an objective review. Life is too short.

        I’ve done the same with Todd Tresidder, David Stein and Rob Berger off the top of my head, all of whom I also know, like and respect. If I write honest reviews, I’m going to help connect our readers with the books that will help them. If I just throw false praise upon a book with no critique, that doesn’t server our readers and in the long run doesn’t serve the authors who work so hard on their books b/c my future reviews will be seen as meaningless advertisements that people won’t trust rather than honest reviews.


  14. Please include me in the drawing. These “soft issues” of retirement, I’ve discovered the hard way after retiring, are huge. I’ve got a pretty good handle on the “hard” (financial) issues, so I’d love to read something dedicated to the other part.

  15. The psychology of retiring (or of just getting older) is something we don’t talk about much and I think this books seems to cover that end. I was the first to retire of about 8 coworkers who were all born in 1963. Most are them are still working and waiting for me to report back about how my 5-year retirement is going. Hopefully, I can win a copy of the book and see how it works against my own experiences and supply them a copy if it does.

  16. Nice well-balanced review. The psychology of entering into the retirement chapter of life needs more attention. I am interested in reading the new book.

  17. Just retired 5 months ago and a bit surprised that it’s an awkward transition! Looking forward to reading a bit more depth on the softer side, please enter me in the drawing for Fritz’s book.

  18. Mark,
    After 30 years in the Corporate world, have spent the last 5 consulting. The change from 50+ hrs/wk to about 20 has been quite rewarding, yet at the same challenging with all the ‘extra’ hours. I have heard that we should retire to something vs from something. So I am very interested in Fritz’s thoughts on that journey.
    Pls put me into the drawing. Thx.


  19. I’ll put my name in the hat for a copy. Having a referecne that rounds out retirment topic is great. As you noted many readers at your site are already heavy into the number side of things

  20. Having retired last summer, I can attest to the unmoored feeling that accompanies departure from the never ending set of projects/deadlines/meetings/decisions. Covid has definitely thrown a monkey wrench in my new “normal”, although, being able to make cloth masks and 3D print “ear guards” for our local hospitals/senior centers has definitely given me a renewed sense of purpose. I’d be glad to receive a copy of Fritz’ book to balance out my other reading. Thanks

  21. I would love to win a copy … Very timely for me as I’m early retired in January, starting my journey through the psychological transitions now.

  22. I’m impressed by the balanced review you wrote. I am interested in the psychological side of retirement, so I believe this book will be informative for me.

  23. I’ve enjoyed reading Fritz’s blog from time to time. I would love to win a copy of the book!

  24. I’d really like to win a copy. As I’m planning to retire within a few months, this would be perfect timing to get some more insight and perspective. Thanks

  25. Although I interested on the financial side as I prepare for retirement but looks I need to start thinking of non-financial side as well. This may be the book to get started with. Please add my name so hopefully I can get a free copy please

  26. Hi Chris, thanks for this timely review. I would love to be entered for the drawing, too. Thank you so much!

  27. Following all the way, as I am 20 months into retirement and have done a little consulting to downshift. Healthcare costs have been biggest expense but Medicare is only a month away- hooray!! Thanks for the comments – and would like a free copy:-)


  28. I’d be interested in wining a free book. I’m two years into early retirement and I would agree the softer side does deserve some attention. That being said, no one can really write a book that will tell you how it will feel because we are all different and had different relationships with our jobs, our identity and our family life. Thanks for sharing your review of the book both from what you liked and didn’t like about the book.

  29. Would be very interested in this book as I am navigating some of these issues right now.

  30. I would like a copy of the book. I agree with most of what was written. I have my own rules for retirement. I follow the rules that Jacob used when he met Esau. He divided his possessions and family into three groups. That is how I keep my retirement funds. One third in the market, one third in a bond like situation and one third in a cash (CD etc.).

  31. I’d love to have a copy to read together with my husband! Thanks for the opportunity and I really enjoy the blog. Cheers!

  32. Thanks for the review. I’d be interested in a copy of the book.
    We’re almost ready to retire, but I think like our jobs enough that we don’t sense the urgency. On the other hand, I suspect some of the inertia is indeed found in the subjects of this book.
    Thanks again.

  33. Thanks Chris for taking the time to critically review this book. Too often, we are given one-sided reviews. I appreciate the balance that you provide. Please include me in your drawing! Thanks!

  34. I was self employed for 32 years as a real estate appraiser (after 7 years in the Army and 5 in real estate sales), working out of a home office. The day I shut down, I turned off the light switch and shut the office door. After reading extensively about all aspects of retirement for probably 5 years prior, I have to say that I never even felt a twinge of missing my work. Took up pickle ball with my wife, bought a little RV to do some traveling, and met a bunch of nice people doing both. No regrets.

    1. Thanks for sharing a different perspective Mike. My interactions as well as my own experience have shown me that entrepreneurs tend to have a bit easier time (though obviously there are exceptions to all rules) b/c you are used to designing your own day rather than having structure forced on you for decades. Also, sounds like you and your wife are on the same page with things which is another key factor.

      Congrats on a happy retirement, but as the other comments show many people struggle with these issues.


  35. Hello, I think it was a great review and sounds like an interesting book. I would like to be considered in the drawing for the book.

  36. I can vouch for the fact that psychological issues need to be taken into account as we plan retirement. My husband retired at 62 after a heart attack (he just didn’t want to deal with the stress of his work as a real estate closing attorney anymore although he recovered fully and was still very healthy). The loss of structure and daily social interactions was difficult and he hadn’t spent time developing hobbies and many interests outside work during his 40-year career. It really put him in a depression for a while. I’m still working, but it’s been a real lesson to me that I better keep working until I have a better sense of how I’ll spend my days when I retire.

    1. I had planned to retire this year on my terms but fit to personal challenges and covid I am now retired. I’m taking college courses but am lost for what elder I can do especially now. I am good this book will give me some direction

  37. Sounds like an interesting read. Would love to win a copy.

    I was planning on retiring this summer, but with the Covid 19 situation and the market uncertainty, I will now most likely put plans on hold until at least next year.
    Maybe I will pick up some insights from this book to make me feel comfortable enough to retire by next summer.

    Thanks for the review.

  38. Good review. It sounds like some of the nuts and bolts are best filled in from other sources. I’m interested in his take in staying relevant. I’m in my 5th year of early retirement and while I love it, I’m always looking for ideas, as I know I’ll need to do some things differently over the next 30 years.

  39. Would love a copy of the book, thanks for all the insight and expertise you provide.

  40. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the post and I look forward to reading the book.

    Just an anecdotal observation regarding loss after retirement. This “sense of loss” I’ve noticed occurs from individuals that had established long term careers. For the individuals that experienced multiple career changes due to layoffs, care of family members, military duty, etc the sense of loss was minimal to insignificant since they didn’t have careers, but jobs. If anything, I know a few folks that were relieved when their FIRE parameters were met and didn’t have to have a job any longer.

    The above, career-less, individuals also had to deal with healthcare due to the lack of a stable career and this instability was in a sense a forcing function in having them to deal with obtaining healthcare and the corresponding financial requirements for the same.

    Again, just anecdotal observations.

    I look forward to the next post.

    Semper FI,


    1. Luis,

      I’ve observed a lot of the same. Just scrolling through these comments and shared a similar observation that entrepreneurs also tend to have smoother transitions, b/c they’re better at creating their own structure. Certainly no one size fits all. Thanks for the thoughtful comment.


  41. I retired at 54 and it has now been 10 years and like others there are many unanswered questions (non financial – that part was easy by comparison). I am jealous of those that have figured retirement out, so always looking to learn. I would enjoy reading the book.

  42. While I am pondering retirement. The financials seem to be taken care of or at least I know my standard of living will not change. I am struggling with what do I do next? I am told I cannot sit and watch the corn grow. I am told i will get bored in 2-3 months. I say let me decide!!
    So a look at eh softer side might be in order? Would like a free copy or else I will order one. Cheaper than a visit to a shrink!!

  43. Throw my hat in the ring for a chance at one of your three copies.

    I’ll add that I don’t think it’s a problem that he doesn’t spend much time on financial aspects. The subtitle promises a look at one facet of retirement, not a comprehensive review. Not every book needs to be comprehensive – I like a specialized look when that’s what’s needed.

  44. My husband and I are both thinking of an early retirement and it’s the softer side of the equation that has me most concerned. I’d like to throw my name in the hat for a chance at a free copy of this book. Thanks.

    1. I’m six months in and still working on figuring “it” out. Would love a free copy.

  45. Chris – Please include me in the drawing for the book. I am considering retiring in December and with a young daughter as a sophomore in College, I am wrestling with what the impact of Covid-19 is going to be on her career. Will she be able to successfully launch or will she have to depend on us for financial support. We are debating if we should work for an additional year to see what will happen to the economy.

  46. Chris,

    Great review. Good point on using the Pralana Gold calculator (which I have) to cover the financial side of the equation. I would appreciate further blogs about how to best utilize that tool as Darrow had originally mentioned in an earlier post.

    Thanks again.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion David. We chose that tool b/c we believe in it, but we don’t want to focus strictly on it and many readers also don’t want to read about it every week where it feels like a big advertisement. Do you have specific questions or issues you would like us to write about? Any ideas would help us serve you and other readers better are welcome?

  47. Hi Chris, this was a fair and balanced review of the book. I would definitely like a copy to supplement the financial books and blogs I read. The book write-up on Amazon also gives a good glimpse into the book.

  48. I’m a regular reader of Fritz’s blog. I’m surprised this review says he didn’t thoroughly cover the financial aspects of retirement as his blogs show he is well versed on this topic. I love his application of the “bucket strategy”. I’m game for a free copy of his book if I win.

    1. Hello Chris. I have recently retired under my own terms, down sized, and mostly have the financials sorted. I must admit I am struggling a little with the next phase of my life. I have put some plans together, but they seem to slip out of my grasp.

      The book might be a way forward for me. Please enter me in the draw for the book.

      PS Love your regular insights. Thank you, Carl

  49. Already retired (with a part time job that I love) but there is always room for improvement. It seems as if this book may cover some new territory. Please enter my name in your drawing.

  50. I am on the cusp of retirement. Thanks to the corona virus, I am working from home part time these days. This experience has afforded me the unplanned opportunity to see, in a way, what retirement will feel like and so this book sounds like it was written for me. So please add my name to the book lottery. Thanks.

  51. Thanks for the thorough review. Please include me in the giveaway.

    I agree that healthcare is an early retirement issue that doesn’t get enough air time. I retired late last year at 43 (the wife having retired two years before). As a cancer survivor, I have had to crunch a lot of numbers as it pertains to health insurance. Health Sharing Ministries is not for me due to my pre-existing condition so I have run the numbers on all of the ACA plans in our area. Of course the bigger challenge is that the coverage is not very broad and my specialist is not covered in any of the ACA plans. I built a retirement budget where I assume hitting the out of pocket max for me being on an ACA plan (with no subsidies), plus I added in additional out of pocket costs to see my specialist (mostly for lab tests). I am still researching options, but by putting in the out of pocket max, I at least know what the maximum cap is on my cost.

  52. Would love to get a copy. While I’m not fully retired, I’ve been moonlighting doing stuff somewhat removed from my 25+ years in IT. Figuring out the new “normal” and deciding how much I want to do, is definitely a key first step.

  53. I’d like a copy! My retirement will probably “happen” to me within the next couple of months as the COVID 19 pandemic has forced my employer to re-structure and I’ve been looking for that last kick in the you-know-what to push me over the edge. Been staying on part time for “one more year” for 5 years now precisely for the issues that you point out in Fritz’s book. Thanks for the great review!

  54. I elected to “retire” five years ago when balancing between my corporate job / weekly travel and the ” part-time” care giver role for two separate elderly members of my family. When their needs started to physically & mentally burn me at both end…It was a simple choice of how was I to take care of them when I could not take care of myself. Now both have passed and I would not have changed anything. Full time life with them the last five years was an incredible gift and a blessing that I could not have know at age 54. Now focused on the next chapter, Have a part-time job at local library for people engagement and to keep the wheels in the head greased. Simple life, simple expenses…but you cannot go to the gym for 5 hours everyday. In short, you get out of it what you put into it.
    Am glad I have my health and gonna pack as much stuff in because some day I wont be able to.

    I will read it but no need to put me on the freebee list.

    1. Wapiti,

      I relate to the complex feelings you share. The things that truly matter aren’t necessarily fun or easy. And we can recognize our good fortune and have gratitude, but still struggle with ideas about significance and purpose.

      Thanks for taking the time to share.


  55. Thanks for the review Chris! I feel like I’m so far away from retiring it’s always refreshing to read about those that have made it happen. It’s truly inspiring. Keep up the important work!

  56. I’ve bought, read, enjoyed , and used your book on FI, and have found your careful review of the upcoming Keys to a Successful Retirement encouraging. I’d be grateful we’re I chosen to receive a copy. Thank you for your work.

  57. Hello,

    Good review of the book. I had my own non-financial issues when I retired (from the Marine Corps). I didn’t put the time into planning the non-financial aspects and floundered for awhile as a result of it. Nearly 7 years later now, I’m pretty content – with the substitute teaching and volunteering that I do.

    I highly recommend people put as much time and energy into the non-financial aspects of retirement as they do the financial part. Having a purpose is critical to your well-being. Even though I’m happy now, I’d still be interested in reading the book, so throw my hat in the ring for a potential free copy. (We’ve got 3 kids that I can eventually impress these ideas on as they get older).

  58. Thank you for the review Chris. I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now and finally did it! I retired at 58.
    The biggest hit of course is health insurance. Paying $750 a month (Single HMO / Cobra). Next year (Of course, depending on the outcome of the elections) I am planning to switch to the ACA if at all possible. Same insurance through BCBS much more affordable.

    Hopefully a lot of people will open their eyes and see the precarious situation they are in by unexpectedly losing their jobs during a health crisis and no longer having coverage (And demand some sort of improvement to the current healthcare situation). I was lucky to have planned for the expense, but I greatly feel for those families that lost their income and have absolutely no means to pay for health insurance. Terrifying!

    I have terrible luck, but hey, through my name in the hat for Mr. Gilbert’s book. Sounds like something I could use as I launch this new stage of life.

  59. Sounds like a very interesting take on approaching retirement and issues that may not seem obvious but I completely agree with you Chris that finances play an integral part in how much you will look forward and enjoy your retired life.

  60. Thanks for the review. I agree that a book called ‘The keys to…’ should include more on the financial side of things.
    Having said that, it is true that the vast majority of other books cover exactly these topics, so kudos to the author for covering the other side of the equation.

  61. Would love to be entered into the drawing for the book. This is my favorite sentence “the idea of a “Victory Lap Retirement” where you consider working in retirement like a victory lap, “run more slowly and for a different purpose than the race itself.”

    I have never heard that term before but this absolutely nails it!

  62. Hi Chris, I’ve been following Darrow and you for the past several years, as well as Fritz for the past year at his site. Your blogs and your reader comments have absolutely helped me prepare for my recent retirement. No ‘better’ time to stress test my plan than during a economic recession/global pandemic 😉 . So far, I’ve been able to sleep soundly at night. I would love to be entered for the drawing, too. Thank you!


    1. Sandy,

      Congrats on retiring and more importantly sleeping soundly at night! The second part isn’t easy these days.


  63. I’d like to enter in this giveaway. If I win, I would love to have my wife read it so she can prepare herself for retirement!

  64. I retired about 2 years ago at age 56 and have some struggles with purpose in retirement. I would love to win a copy of the book.

  65. looks like a good book on an under appreciated aspect of retirement. Please put me in the lottery for the book. Thanks

  66. I greatly appreciate the book review. I am on the cusp of early retirement. All of the financial planning aspects seem to be covered. All of the financial planning tools that I have utilized say that I am well prepared to retired – even in times like this crazy COVID-19 world. The one area that I haven’t got a firm handle on is what will I do to fill the gap of not working. I have multiple leisure activities planned but I’m not certain that they will fill the void. This book appear to be a good source for understanding and/or anticipating many of the psychological aspects of retirement. That is why I will purchase a copy if I’m not chosen to be one of the lucky three.

    Please put me in the drawing for a copy.

  67. I have been following Fritz for the exact reason he doesn’t focus on the financial side of retirement. There are plenty of books, blogs and other information out there on the financial side but very few like Fritz who talk more on the social aspect. I would love a copy of Fritzs book.

  68. Would love this type of overview for retirement that looks over all aspects not just finances!

  69. Please consider me for a copy. I would very much like to read more on this aspect of retirement. Thank you.

  70. Wow, this has to be the most comments I have seen. Thanks for making us aware of the book “Keys to a Successful Retirement”. Excellent review; I can’t wait for the May 5th release date. I can retire today but due to Covid19 I won’t. I’m probably going to stay in the work force for 2-4 more years. I also feel like I have the money side of retirement taken care of but will really need help with the mental side of retirement. I’ve taken 9 weeks off each year for the past 4 years and at times go crazy with nothing to do. I do love to hike but do it so much that even that seems like a hassle with the prep and drive to and from the trails.

  71. I would like a free copy of Fritz Gilbert’s Keys to a Successful Retirement: Staying Happy, Active and Productive in Your Retired Years

  72. Hm, this was published days ago, but it just came across my email. Weird. Probably too late, but I’ll always enter for free stuff.

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