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



Book Reviews

AARP's The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement Reviews

The New Retirement Reviews 


A lot of people say, "You can't judge a book by its cover." With "The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement" it is a case of, "Great book, great cover!"

I am regularly reading retirement books to see what other writers and experts are saying about how to have a happy and productive retirement. Before encountering this book, I read an article about how the greatest fear for women approaching 50 or in their 50s is their fear of winding up living in poverty in their retirement years. Adding to this, Teresa Ghilarducci, a professor of economics at the New School for Social Research, in a "New York Times" article (July 21, 2012) stated:

"Seventy-five percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts. The specter of downward mobility in retirement is a looming reality for both middle- and higher-income workers. Almost half of middle-class workers, 49 percent, will be poor or near poor in retirement, living on a food budget of about $5 a day."

Still more, a July 2012 study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office shows that women of retirement age are twice as likely as men to live in poverty. Another reason that makes "The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement" so timely is another 2012 study by MetLife and the Society of Actuaries concluded that "Singles are the least prepared for retirement."

"The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement" is no doubt the best and most comprehensive retirement guide to help single women prepare for retirement. Some of the information will be obvious to some but there is a lot of not-so obvious information that can help enhance the retirement of not only single women, but everyone who intends to retire.

"The Single Woman's Guide to Retirement" covers the essential elements for a happy and successful retirement such as:

* Can you retire?

* Are you ready for retirement?

* How to handle all the free time that retirement brings

* Travel and how it can enhance your retirement

* Where to travel and important travel tips

* Working part time in retirement

* Work-at-home possiblities

* Should you move in retirement?

* Where to retire

* Dating

* Divorce

* Sources of money in retirement

* How to reduce your expenses in retirement

* How to keep healthy and fit in mind, body, and spirit

The exercises and worksheets in this well-researched book will be extremely helpful for the retirement plans of single women.

Retirement is a new and separate life stage and should not be taken lightly. It entails both the financial and non-financial. This book comprehensively addresses not only the importance of finances, but also other major aspects of retirement including social relationships, big life decisions, and just plain having fun.

In short, Jan Cullinane in this practical and user-friendly guide clearly identifies all the important factors that contribute to a happy, healthy and prosperous retirement. I highly recommend this book.


"Best-selling author and retirement expert, Jan Cullinane, delivers a clear, concise and detailed guide essential for single women approaching pre-retirement or retirement. AARP's guide is a golden treasure to Baby Boomers and will not only teach, but will benefit in several ways to make the trip easy in protecting yourself. As 25 million single women reach the age of over 45, living in the U.S., including myself, this important guide will make the Golden Years less confusing and more successful. The author provides easy-to-read tips and helpful advice that is immensely useful. Jan Cullinane walks you through the many challenges of retirement which include: how to manage your finances; how to deal with divorce; how to stay healthy; and much more. In addition, she covers issues that matter in this age group, helps make retirement much easier, and provides real-life stories from other women to convey new ideas about how to make it satisfying. The author's writing style makes this fun-filled guide enjoyable. I found it gratifying to learn of refreshing plans to protect myself in the future. In today's weak economy, statistics are against us, and planning early is the key to success. The author addresses crucial financial decisions we must all face in this remarkable blueprint for retirement. Additional topics are discussed concerning children, dating, and how to budget, but also live comfortable. We no longer have to take the retirement journey alone. Instead of a nightmare, this trip can be one of happiness as the the author becomes a teacher and companion to direct your way. Highly Recommended to all Baby Boomers and anyone approaching retirement. This practical guide with many useful tips will indeed decrease retirement anxiety, and make you feel more confident. Brilliant, motivating, and comprehensive!"


 Bernice Bratter and Helen Dennis

“The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement is a motivator for single mature women to make decisions so their second half of life will be the best part of life. From dating to divorce, from money to boomerang children, no subject is too small or too big to tackle. It’s a great read.”

Bernice Bratter and Helen Dennis coauthors of the bestseller Project Renewment: The First Retirement Model for Career Women

Anne L. Holmes, "Boomer in Chief," National Association of Baby Boomer Women

“Cullinane has done it again. Her previous book is truly an Ultimate Guide to Retirement, but much of the content focuses on retirees as couples. With The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement, she recognizes that statistics are against us. Women live longer than men, which means that even if you’re ‘happily coupled’ now, there’s an 80 to 90% chance that at some point, you’ll find yourself making important decisions—financial and otherwise—as a single woman. Thankfully, you’ll have this book to lean on. It addresses ALL aspects of single retirement and offers single women a blueprint for a satisfying and successful second half of life. This is a must-read book!”

John Brady, Founder of

“Jan Cullinane has written the essential tool for single women approaching retirement. Her practical guide covers every angle—from when to retire, what to do, and how to find single-friendly places to tips about managing money. The wealth of practical details and useful tips turns retirement anxiety into confident anticipation.”

Bella DePaulo, PhD, author of Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After

“Finally, a guide for that growing and important demographic! It is clear, comprehensive, fun to read, and immensely useful.”

Stan Hinden, author of How to Retire Happy:The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire 

“For too long, women in America have made the retirement journey alone. No longer. Jan Cullinane is there, companion, teacher, and guide, showing women how to find happiness in retirement.”

Jean Chatzky, bestselling author and financial expert

“In matter-of-fact language, Jan Cullinane gets at the heart of what you need to do to plan for and protect your future. I can’t say it strongly enough: If you’re a single woman, you need this book.”

Midwest Book Review

The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide To The Rest Of Your Life is a comprehensive guide to planning all aspects of one's ideal retirement. Packed with virtual tours of the best cities in which to live (both in America and abroad), ways to spend one's free time, financial planning, mortgages and investments, adult-only communities, tips for buying and selling one's home, physical and psychological wellness, second career suggestions, and once more, The New Retirement offers plain-terms solid advice in response to perplexing questions and gripping dilemmas, whether financial, emotional, or family-related. Highly recommended for anyone nearing the end of their term in their chosen career.

Chicago Tribune

The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life," by Jan Cullinane and Cathy Fitzgerald (Rodale, $19.95). If you're about 50, you may not be financially ready to retire, but you've probably given some thought to where you'd like to end up and how you'd like to spend your time. This book will help you consider all the essentials that go into a happy retirement, such as a successful transition to retirement (form a support system and hone your resiliency to adverse circumstances you'll encounter along the way). One of the biggest challenges in retirement is filling the time each week, either mindlessly or mindfully, the authors say. Among their recommendations are to set long-term goals, take traditional degree courses or adult-education programs, volunteer and travel -- which needn't be only on expensive cruise lines or at swank hotels. One of the book's best features helps you decide where to live, and the authors offer report cards on various destinations, citing an area's overall rating, climate, cost of living, health care, transportation and activities. A list of 20 key questions is worth spending time on; among them: Should you have a mortgage? Should you purchase long-term care insurance? Should you take Social Security benefits early? What are life-insurance guidelines? Now the only challenge is saving enough money to be able to retire.

Fox and Friends

This is a terrific book!  (Steve Doocy, in a “Fox and Friends” Interview)

Mary Jacobs, Library Director, David A. Howe Public Library, NY

The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life by Jan Cullinane and Cathy Fitzgerald is a comprehensive guide written in an upbeat and positive tone. The book gives realistic and practical ways to make your retirement a success. Some of the topics covered include: opportunities to travel, best places to live, websites, health, checklists and worksheets. This is one of the best books on retirement.

This is a book about what people should be reading when they are thinking about the future and how to stretch their money to be able to do the things they want to do. There are many options and ideas given about how to handle moves, health issues, taxes and personal finance for the years of the future when you really don't want to think about them at all. Retirement sort of sneaks up on the majority of people, and this book will open the eyes of even the most denial prone person to the realities and possibilities of what the future can hold. Ms. Cullinane and Ms. Fitzgerald did their homework and cited places to live, cost factors, housing options, even down to and including climate breakdowns for the discriminate mover.

The New Retirement will let the reader and soon to be retiree have ideas, hopes and the ability to plan for a future that they can enjoy. I know that some of the things that are brought up were even new to me, and I am nearing that retirement age. Overall, I would recommend this book to any of the newest boomers and others who are starting to think about how to live the rest of their lives fully and completely. Good thought and lots of research went into this reference book. My hands off to the duo for writing this book. Nice Resources and CheckList and WorkSheets sections that are very helpful to the potential retiree.

The Library Journal

Retirement consultants Cullinane and Fitzgerald neatly lay out key issues to consider when planning for this major transition. While financial issues like taxes get some ink, the text focuses on such lifestyle issues as reprogramming your time. The strength of the guide lies in its helpful ratings of the best places to retire in the United States and abroad. The ratings cover cost of living, climate, healthcare, cultural and outdoor activities, continuing education opportunities, and shopping while highlighting specific retirement communities in the area. For those seeking to escape the ordinary, the authors explore niche retirement lifestyles ranging from active-adult communities and college towns to gay and lesbian communities, pet-friendly places, and RVs. Helpful questionnaires and checklists get readers started on their own planning. With 78 million baby boomers verging on retirement age, this is essential for public library business collections.

Booklist Reviews

When can I afford to retire? Where do I want to live? Should I rent or buy? How do I want to spend my time? Baby boomers will find this chockablock with information and examples to help them answer these and other important questions on the road to the next stage of life…With easily reproducible checklists and worksheets and numerous Web sites and phone numbers to make follow-up easy, this handy resource brims with plain good sense about making some hugely important decisions.

Retirement's Instruction Manual • The Washington Post

The humorist Mason Cooley once said, "In retirement, only money and symptoms are consequential."

Well, that may have been true at some point. But not now. People who have just retired and those who are close to retirement have so much to deal with these days that it's practically a full-time job just figuring out how to retire.

If you're a new retiree or among the soon-to-be retired, here are just a few issues you may need to consider:

* Whether you need or can afford long-term care insurance.

* How to take distributions from your retirement plan so that the money will last.

* Whether to take a lump-sum distribution from your company's pension plan (if there is one) or monthly payments for life.

* How to reallocate your investment portfolio.

* Figuring out if in the long run it makes sense to take a smaller Social Security benefit at 62 or wait until you are eligible for your full benefit.

If those questions seemed daunting, then I've found a book that may make your retirement planning a littler easier.

The Color of Money Book Club selection for March is "The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life" by Jan Cullinane and Cathy Fitzgerald (Rodale, $19.95).

Cullinane and Fitzgerald, who hold retirement-planning seminars around the country, cover an impressive number of issues in this 486-page guide. Among the things they discuss:

* Great places to retire. (Here's a hint: They aren't all in Florida, although that state would be my No. 1 choice.)

* Career opportunities after retirement.

* Tips on how to use your free time.

* Estate planning.

* Taxation of Social Security benefits.

"This isn't your father's (or mother's) retirement," Cullinane and Fitzgerald write. "The conventional definition of retirement itself needs to be retired. Retirement is now recognized as a process, involving perhaps several forays into and out of alternative projects, pastimes, and jobs."

This book is really an instruction manual for retirement. The first section of the guide focuses on lifestyle issues (what makes retirement successful, travel information, how to use your time). The middle and largest part of the book addresses where you might want to live in retirement. I especially like that the authors included some unique places, such as Ivy Acres, a nonprofit, continuing-care retirement community in North Carolina that organizers say is the first African-American-sponsored community of its kind in the United States. And for you baseball fans, they list spring-training towns.

The final section gets to the money issues (taxes, insurance, health care costs, etc.) One rule of thumb you've probably heard is that you'll need about 60 percent to 80 percent of your pre-retirement income to live comfortably after you stop working. But as Cullinane and Fitzgerald point out, that rule of thumb won't work if you have parents to take care of, you don't have adequate health care insurance, or you are planning your retirement to be a 20-year-long vacation.

"The real answer to 'How much do you need?' is that you can't rely on anyone's rule of thumb -- you need to make your own judgments after considering your own retirement plans," they write.

I like the fact that Cullinane and Fitzgerald begin the book not with a long and depressing discussion of how much money you may need to retire, but with tips on how to ease the transition to retirement.

The authors point out that, according to one survey, of the 42 life events that are the most stressful (the death of a spouse being No. 1), retirement came in 10th.

The list of places to retire, in the United States and overseas, is one of the best features of the book. Each location gets a grade on climate, cost of living, access to quality health care, transportation and whether there is a reasonable number of activities for seniors. At the end of each city discussion is a summary of the location's strengths and weaknesses.

The book also includes checklists, worksheets and a lot of references and resources (even at 486 pages Cullinane and Fitzgerald couldn't cover everything).

Since you know your retirement won't be like your father's or mother's, plan to succeed by doing a little reading on what it takes to retire in peace.



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