You’ve handed in your keys.

It was a bittersweet moment, that pass-along. Cleaning out your workspace was no big deal, a last trip to the lunchroom felt like any other day. But those keys … that part really got to you.

Retirement Reinvention by Robin Ryan will help when your next thought is, “Well, now what?”

Even for the happy retiree, that’s a hard question to answer, and it’s doubly hard if you were forced to leave your job. “What next” needs planning — financially, personally, and socially — and you need to be sure that you don’t “fail at retirement.”

To begin, push aside the myths you’ve heard, and figure out what your new life looks like. Who will you be when you’re retired? What will make you happy?

What will you do with the next 20-30 years? How will you stay relevant and engaged while avoiding the stress of your old career?

If you are part of a couple, keep in mind that you will be together a lot more. If you are single, you may miss the social connections of work. It’s best to recognize issues now and learn to adjust to new ways of being.

Downsizing may be in your plans for the near future, but Ryan recommends you put that on temporary hold. Moving is expensive, hard, and a big adjustment; leaving a beloved home and a beloved job at the same time could be very difficult.

Make your hobbies pay off — and if you need ideas, start on page 49. Consider working part-time for a temp agency that will take advantage of your interests and latent skills, or look for a “helper” position that allows flexibility.

Open a small business, become a tour guide around town, get a pet, or find a volunteer position with animals; in fact, volunteer anywhere you feel there’s a need.

Finally, before you do anything at all, “test-drive first.” Try on new tasks. Rent before buying. You’ll have a happier retirement when you step carefully.

Two or three decades of not hitting an alarm clock: It’s a wonderful thought — for a while, and then it might be scary. Oddly enough, it seems like leaving the work world can be a full-time job in itself, but Retirement Reinvention will make it all right.

With most books on retirement, money issues are front and center, but author Robin Ryan focuses on happiness within financial concerns: You’ll absolutely find money advice here, but it’s mixed with reminders that your future could be wide open.

If it gives you a burden-off-your-shoulders feeling, all the better. Ryan is quick to seize that as she throws thought-starters at readers who need to rein in panic and find the silver lining in their golden years.

Readers without a plan will get the most out of Retirement Reinvention, but there’s really something for everyone here. It’s easy to understand, quick to read, and entertaining, and even 40-somethings will find useful info here.

To get the most of your post-work future, a book like this one may be key.


The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 14,000 books.

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