"The 5 Years Before You Retire" by Emily Guy Birken

Amy Goan |


I recently finished the book "The 5 Years Before You Retire" by Emily Guy Birken. For anyone who finds themselves 5-10 years away from retirement, I'd have to recommend this book.

It started out a bit slow, where the first few chapters spent a lot of time talking about budgeting and filling out worksheets. Although it might be very useful for some people, I thought it asked the reader to do more work than most would be willing to do. I almost put it down for good, but glad I didn't.

I perked up while reading Chapter 4 when she discussed finding the right financial planner. I felt she did a good job of describing the difference between a salesperson and fiduciary. The bottom line? Find out how your "planner" gets paid and you'll get a good sense of whether they'll do right by you.

The chapters which I felt everyone would benefit from reading, not just those close to retirement, were about how Social Security, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) work, and how they can affect your retirement planning. I thought she did an exceptional job of explaining these very complex government programs.

The final chapters address the issues of retirement that have little to do with numbers, such as where you want to live and demands from family. I was glad to see these issues brought up since I feel it forces the reader to think about things they might not otherwise.

All in all, I think this is a worthwhile book to read if you think (hope?) that retirement is within reach.