Best Selling Retirement Planning Books

While putting together this list of the 7 Best Selling Retirement Planning Books — I first looked for accurate and up-to-date information and advice — from people with experience. I sought simple to read retirement planning books with easy to follow action plans that cover topics to help in every area of your retirement.

The fact is that retiring is a different way of life, and the best way to approach it is with planning and knowing what to expect.

These are some of the best selling retirement planning books available.  They are different in many respects, but each emphasizes how vital it is to make a plan whether you’re already retired, or years from the day. 

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free

how to retire happy wild and free book cover

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, by Ernie J. Zelinski is an international bestseller, and will take you far beyond the normal financial planning book. 

Book Summary

Ernie speaks to money issues that naturally come with retiring, but is not the focus of this book. The book encompasses all the aspects of life we deal with in retirement:

  • Discovering new and meaningful life pursuits
  • Best ways to stretch your retirement money
  • Working through the mixed feelings of retirement

There are 9 chapters in this book and purported to be the best overall book on retirement. It takes an indepth look at what it takes to make and keep you happy during your retirement years.

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free is a great place to read about planning for, and living out your retirement.

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor


Retirement by Ron Acker book cover

Retirement by Ron Acker is packed with helpful information. He takes you deep into every financial issue you could face in retirement. 

Book Summary

Retirement is a popular retirement financial planning book with 256 pages many short chapters and bullet points. Geared toward providing advice regardless of how far off retirement is for you, you’ll find beneficial information to help you plan.

Sometimes the closer you get to retirement age, the more anxiety you have about if you’ve made the right planning decisions. If facing the financial side of retirement is overwhelming you, this is a great book to read. 

Ron Acker takes what can be a complex conversation about your retirement and breaks it down into bite size pieces. He helps you with a retirement plan that’s simple to visualize and put into action. 

Retirement: Retirement Planning and Income Planning for Successful Retirement Living and Sustainable Retirement Income

AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life

In AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life, Burt Astor really delivers in this comprehensive, easy-to-read guide to make the best of the rest of your life. AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life book cover

The AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life won’t let you down. Most adults are already familiar with the name AARP, and senior adults everywhere know of AARP retirement planning. This book by Bart Astor is an extensive guide to help you with finances, medical care, social security and much more. 

He writes about activities for the retired and completing your bucket list along with worksheets to help get financial planning goals, legal affairs, and health insurance in order. 

But the fact is that this book will help your toward living the most successful and rewarding years of your life, retiring or not.

AARP Roadmap for the Rest of Your Life: Smart Choices About Money, Health, Work, Lifestyle … and Pursuing Your Dreams

Retirement Planner explaining retirement planning books

The 5 Years Before You Retire

5 Years Before You Retire book coverThe The 5 Years Before You Retire by the finance writer Emily Guy Birken. Emily authors the “Live Like a Mensch” column for The Dollar Stretcher along with being the author of other books such as Choose Your Retirement and Making Social Security Work for You.

Book Summary

I agree with Emily when she asserts that most Americans don’t realize they haven’t saved enough for retirement until they reach their sixties. 

The Five Years Before You Retire is for learning just what you must do for the next 5 years to be certain you save enough and create a plan for your future. 

The book helps lead you financial, medical, and family decisions along with speaking to 401(K) programs and Medicare options. This book truly guides you through strategies to get the most out of the last few years you’re working to prepare for retirement.

The 5 Years Before You Retire: Retirement Planning When You Need It the Most

How to Retire Happy, Fourth Edition

In it’s fourth edition, How to Retire Happy just keeps on giving. Stan Hinden, a retired financial writer from the Washington Post has never stopped guiding us into retirement. 

Book Summary

There are 251 pages in this book pack with some of the most important information you’ll need both before retirement and during your retirement. And all from someone who has experienced retirement for himself, which brings great insight into the realities of the retired life. 

Take a look at the first 8 chapter titles of 12:

  1. Am I Ready To Retire?
  2. Can I Afford to Retire?
  3. When Should I Apply for Social Security?
  4. How Should I Take My Pension Payments?
  5. What Should I do with the Money in My Company Savings Plan?
  6. When Do I Have to Take Money out of My IRAs?
  7. How Should I Invest During Retirement?
  8. What Should I Do About Health Insurance?

As soon as you read How to Retire Happy you’ll want to order more for your friends and family. It’s a simple to read book about complex choices we all face at retirement age. 

Definitely one of the best books for retirement financial planning on the market.

How to Retire Happy, Fourth Edition: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire

The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning For and Living in Retirement

The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning For and Living in Retirement book coverWith over 40 years experience in financial planning, Hans Scheil brings us The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning For and Living in Retirement.

Book Summary

Hans assures us that this is no do it yourself manual for retirement planning. What the book does to outline the major problems we face as retirees and then explains strategies to overcome them.

The book covers a wide range of choices involving Social Security, Medicare, long term care, managing IRAs, living off your savings and social security. and much more.

Hans thoroughly understands finances, financial planning, and retirement planning and writes in a clear and concise voice. You will find this book to be complete, informative, and easy to comprehend guide for every financial aspect of retirement. 

Filled with good information and unbelievably accurate, this is a real keeper. 

The Complete Cardinal Guide to Planning For and Living in Retirement

How to Make Your Money Last

Jane Bryant Quinn is the author of this must have retirement planning book, How to Make Your Money Last. Forbes calls her the dean of personal finance says this book will keep you smiling as you’re set on a safe financial course. 

Book Summary

A treasure of financial secrets, tips, and advice with real how to’s for anyone about to retire, or has already retired, you’ll find your answers in this book. Everything in the book probably won’t apply to any one person, but what does is helpful and written in a clear and easy way to bring out the most important points. 

Ms Quinn goes into the concept of money “buckets” for different expenses such as immediate, short term, “income portfolio”, and more. This is a well written resource with a ton of great, right to the point,  and usable information, for us all. 

This book will quickly put your mind at ease when comes to financial planning for your retirement.

How to Make Your Money Last: The Indispensable Retirement Guide


Even though you can retire and draw Social Security benefits at 62 that may not be the wisest decision? Most of us are still in good health at 62 and expecting to live quite a few more years. What I’m saying is this: there may be a lot of good reasons to plan on retiring later rather than sooner. 

Watching co-workers and friends retire while you keep grinding on may be a pain, however you could be the big winner.  I don’t know about you, but many of us put off retirement planning until the last few years, or even months. An extra 8 years of planning and generating retirement income could make your golden years a lot more colorful?

Without careful planning your retirement can become a maze of complications that includes financial and medical problems. You may also be faced with the surprising fact that you need just as much income or more than when your were gainfully employed.

There’s financial planning, what to do about healthcare and the ever rising cost, will you travel and where, where will you live out your retirement years, are you going to be ready for the shift emotionally, and on and on.

Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.” Face it: you’ve worked too long and too hard to fail at retirement. Any one of these best selling retirement planning books could make your retirement years the best of your life.


16 thoughts on “Best Selling Retirement Planning Books”

    • Thanks, and thank you for such a great book to help us each get the most from our own retirement.

      The Complete Cardinal Guide is such a great aide for unraveling complicated issues to make the best long term decisions that I reccommend it to everyone, whether they’re planning for retirement or already retired.

  1. Hello Mike!

    I’m interested in financial independence and early retirement! I haven’t seen the books you’ve mentioned here, but they look very good especially the one “How to make your money last”. I think most people are concerned about: 1) how much do you need, and 2) how long will it last. Very cool recommendations! I’ll have to take a look at them!

    • Hi Tiffany

      You know, the thing about these books is that you don’t need to be close to retirement to make good use of them. And the truth is that the earlier a person starts planning for retirement, the earlier they can make it happen. And even if a person isn’t interested in retiring early, there’s plenty of information in these books to make anyones life better and more prosperous.

      Thanks for reading and commenting

  2. Great book reviews to help with retirement questions and fears. As a retired financial/estate planner and Trust Officer, I know the importance of planning ahead for retirement. This should start with your very first salary as a young person starting out in life. Once you “pay yourself first” and watch your retirement investments grow over time, you can look forward to your senior years.

    • Hi Karen

      The sad part about retirement is that far more people fail to plan for retirement, than those who do. So many people are so involved with making day to day ends meet, that they simply don’t think they could put anything back to retire on.

      I had that problem along with the fact that I really couldn’t see that far into the future when I was younger. Today I know the pitfals of not planning ahead for retirement. I know that anyone and everyone could benefit from these retirement planning books and I advise young and old to please start planning for your financial needs after you retire today.


  3. Although I am several years away from retirement, I am always on the lookout for books about the subject. It’s never too early to plan, or to learn more about retirement. I am interested in the How to Retire Happy, Fourth Edition. It sounds like Stan Hinden answers a lot of the questions that pop into my head. At 251 pages, it doesn’t sound like it is too overwhelming either. I have read some of these types of books, that literally put me to sleep. Thanks for these suggestions. I will peruse your site and check out some of your other posts.

    • Hi

      I know it’s a wise decision to start planning for your retirement years ahead of time. I never planned to retire so I used that as an excuse to neglect making financial arrangements for when I did. I know many people today who are years away, and aren’t making any plans for their future. 

      I am sure that reading these retirement planning books will help you think of your own retirement as something inevitable rather than some hazy day in the future that you don’t have time to worry with. The fact is I wish I had got started online with affiliate marketing before I retired.

      Thanks for dropping by

  4. Do you have any recommendations for a long-term retirement planning book? I am not interested in early retirement but I want to know what key milestones I should be meeting at 30, 40, 50 and on so I know I am on track or behind schedule. Especially since my generation is very unlikely to get social security, we are very interested in making the right moves along the way.

    • Hi Tony

      I would have to disagree with you about Social Security, because I believe that unless the financial system completely fails there must be a way to take care of senior citizens. I understand Social Security benefits are used as a political coin to be tossed and retossed between parties, but unless the country starts euthanizing old people somebody will need to take care of them. And there’s only two choices get old, or die.

      But let me be clear, I do not believe Social Security should really be the answer for taking care of oneself at all. So to answer your question, even though you said you weren’t interested in early retirement, I think How To Retire Early is one of the best pure financial books for financial planning. 

      So what if you aren’t planning to retire early, this book will teach you how to increase your wealth for what ever reason you like.

  5. Hi Mike,
    You’ve compiled a very broad and comprehensive list of retirement planning guides that are helpful for folks at all stages in the retirement process. I retired early about 3 years ago, so I’m a bit beyond the stage of planning in advance. However, it’s still important to carefully monitor your finances to make them last. There are a couple of interesting choices on your list that I haven’t read yet and will have to get a copy of. Thanks for the tips!

    • Hi Linda

      Thanks for stopping by. From my own experience I would say that # everybody should planning for retirement as soon as they start to work. I know when we are young most of us rarely give a thought to retiring, or think it’s too far off to worry about now? But I believe planning early puts one in the position to think about finances on a long term basis rather than just living hand to mouth.

      And the thing about those books, is they are great resources no matter what stage of life you happen to be in. I think they are important because they go along with what I said earlier: They will get young people to thinking about finances and retirement, and for people already retired, there’s plenty of good info in them that doesn’t have to do with money.


  6. HI Mike. I think you have brought some excellent retirement books to the table. I know several people who hesitate on retiring and several people who could enjoy the retirement planning books you suggested: Especially “Retirement” by Ron Acker. The people I know who are anxious about retiring usually are saying they can not afford retirement and health insurance. Next time I talk to them I will send them your way. I think these books on planning for retirement could really help them out.

    • Thanks Melissa
      I know that reading these books to help plan your retirement can make the process seamless, enjoyable, and the best years ever after retirement. To tell you the truth, I wish more people would plan for retirement years far in advance. Planning can give anyone an opportunity to have an income producing online business at home that produces income enough that they would never need worry about health insurance.

  7. Hello!

    Well, I have to say that I was quite impressed with the wealth of information you have shared here about retirement. I cannot see anyone who would not benefit from reading this post.

    Thank you for sharing the several books to give us the facts about what steps need to be taken in order to ensure for a happy and a financially-worry-free life after retirement.

    The younger generation should plan ahead and, by doing so, they will not be in a financial trap when it comes times for them to retire.

    I will take a look at “How to Retire Happy.” This sounds like a very good read that will put us on the right road in planning for retirement. The titles outlined in this book seem to cover just about everything we need to know.

    Thanks for such a great article all can benefit from!


  8. Hello Mike,

    Great article! As a retiree myself, I have become quite familiar with AARP and what they have to offer. The book entitled, “AARP Roadmap for The Rest Of Your Life,” is one that caught my eye and one that seems to bring great insight.

    I only wish that I planned for my retirement when I must much younger and came across this article much earlier in life. These books that you have mentioned and the information that is contained within them, will prove to be valuable for many individuals.

    One of my biggest fears is the rising cost of healthcare and whether it is something that will become a major burden should my health begin to fail. The insights and sources you have presented are ones that will help to alleviate these concerns.

    Thanks again for this informative article, Mike.


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