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Jan presenting for AARP in Dublin, Ohio (Sept. 2013)



From "Book Page Reviews"

Money makeovers for the new year

As the new year begins, many readers are looking for advice on getting their finances or careers in order. Whether you need a kickstart for saving and organizing your money, a guide to planning your retirement, a blueprint for considering a second career or a handy encyclopedia of money-saving tips and tricks, these books will help you get your footing when it comes to your finances.

Though you may be reluctant to be seen reading it in public, Jan Cullinane’s The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement is a guidebook in the best possible sense. Carefully organized and exceedingly thorough, Cullinane’s guide covers everything from financial basics—including taxes, retirement funds and costs of living—to where to live now that the kids have left the nest and what to do with your sudden influx of free time. Featuring first-hand accounts from women who have gone through a myriad of life changes, including being widowed or divorced, or changing careers or locations, Cullinane moves through the considerations many retiring women face with logic and heart. Lest you think this is only for the older (and, as the title suggests, single) women in your life, the book opens with information on how women are statistically likely to outlive men, or suffer financially from a divorce. It’s full of good advice for all, although the carefully researched and detailed specifics Cullinane includes at the end of each chapter might be best for those single women close to, or in, their retirement years.

Restart Retirement: "Surprising New Retirement Statistics" by Jan Cullinane

Here are several fascinating findings from the 2012 EBRI (Employee Benefit Research Institute) survey.

This is the 22nd year that the EBRI has published its “Retirement Confidence Survey.” The results demonstrate that what we THINK will happen in retirement and what WILL happen are not always the same.

I call this “Expectation vs. Reality.”

For example:

  • 70% of respondents planned to work in retirement, but only 27% are actually working in retirement.
  • 8% of respondents planned to retire before they are 60, but 40% actually did retire before 60.
  • 16% planned to retire between the ages of 60 – 64, but 25% actually retired between 60 – 64.

Other interesting findings:

  • 60% of workers have saved $25,000 or less (not counting their home and any defined benefit plan) for retirement.
  • 56% of workers haven’t calculated what they will need to save so they can live comfortably in retirement.

Where are you in these statistics? Did you plan to keep working, but couldn’t? Do you know how much you’ve saved for retirement? Were you able to find a job in retirement?

All the Single Ladies by Jan Cullinane in Ideal Living's 2013 Winter Magazine

Looking to relocate?  One good resource is the free IdealLiving Resort and Retirement Expos (  My article is on page 42 of their Winter 2013 magazine, Ideal Living: 

From New Book: The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement

New Book: The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement

The number of single women age 45 and older in the United States is 25 million — and growing every year. For them, retirement planning offers unique challenges. On average, women have fewer savings and live longer than men. They have different health needs and are more likely to care for family members. This means they need a unique set of guidelines for approaching all facets of retirement, including finances, working after leaving a primary career, relocation, health, travel, giving back, and caregiving.

A new book, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement, is the only book that approaches retirement for single women in a holistic manner. Retirement expert Jan Cullinane addresses the challenges and opportunities single women have when it comes to planning for a successful and rewarding retirement. She combines personal anecdotes and professional advice to offer a comprehensive guide to the retirement-related issues single women encounter.

The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement offers a wide breadth of advice, encouragement, and specific suggestions to help women plan for a happy, fulfilling retirement. It provides the reader with checklists, references, quizzes, and advice from experts and women just like the reader, Cullinane presents a retirement guide that is all-encompassing yet practical and easy to read. It covers topics from fitness to finances to “the five D’s”—divorce, death, dating, dependency, and deepening connection

The book will help this large and growing demographic answer questions such as:

  • What makes single women special?
  • When is the right time to retire from a primary career?
  • How should you best use the 168 hours a week after you retire?
  • How can you maintain a healthy lifestyle after retirement?
  • What are some financial strategies to achieve a successful retirement?
  • Should you pursue a second career? And if so, where are the hot jobs?
  • What are the best places to retire and how do you choose where to relocate?

The 307-page paperback book was published in October and retails for $18.95.

Change How You Think About Exercise: Change Your Life

In the secret recesses of my mind, I believe I’m immortal.  I don’t think I’ll ever succumb to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, obesity, or any of the lifestyle diseases that bedevil so many of us.  And, I like to eat junk food.  Not all the time, but much more than I should (I just devoured two large chocolate covered marshmallow cookies as I sat down to write this). 

Yet, as a mature woman, my “numbers”:  blood pressure, glucose, “bad” LDL, triglycerides, creatinine levels, and the other results from my physical and blood work are something “people would kill for,” to quote my doctor. 

I think I’ve stumbled onto the reason why I am healthy.  Yes, I know I’m blessed with good genes, and that genetics play a big role in our health.  But, there’s another reason:  I love to exercise because of what it does for me NOW, not what I think it can do for me in the FUTURE

We can all recite a laundry list of the benefits of exercise:  it strengthens bones and muscles (and of course our heart is a muscle); makes our blood vessels more pliable through the release of nitric oxide; decreases levels of harmful LDL; improves our range of motion, lung capacity, and flexibility; elevates mood and energy level; decreases our chances of getting high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, colon cancer, gallstones, and diabetes; enables better connections between nerve cells (synapses) in our brain; lowers body fat levels, including visceral fat, which is linked to disease; effectively treats moderate to mild depression; enhances the immune system; improves sleep; increases lean body mass, which increases calorie burn; relieves symptoms of menopause; and improves our appearance and feelings of self-worth. 

But, for many of us, the compelling evidence about the importance of exercise isn’t enough to change our behavior.  A third of Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll, don’t exercise at all.  Another 18% exercise just once or twice a week.  Why?  One of the big reasons is because exercise is often touted as a benefit for the future, not for what it can do for us now. We often don’t do things that have benefits years down the road (look at the dismal statistics on saving for retirement, for example).  In fact, psychologists have a term for this: future discounting.  We tend to discount the value of a future reward (losing weight, living longer and healthier), and emphasize short-term rewards.  

So, if you can think about the benefits of what exercise does for you NOW, you’re on the road to success.  Notice how exercise enhances your day-to-day quality of life, makes you feel more energetic, productive and happier, less stressed-out, and provides social interactions with others (if you have a walking buddy - human or not, take dance lessons, do a water aerobics class, or play a sport, for example).  Once you’ve switched from thinking about exercise as something that benefits you down the road to realizing and experiencing it’s something with an immediate pay-off, you’ll be hooked, and you’ll see exercise as something you need and want to do every day, rather than as a prescription to prevent future maladies. 

Well, time to hop on my bike and ride over to the tennis courts to play a few sets with friends.   

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