Financial Planning

The Best Retirement Planning Books to Read This Year

By  Mike Zaccardi

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There’s nothing like a crisp morning, a hot cup of coffee, and a great read. Visualizing what your life in retirement will look like is another relaxing activity—perhaps during a stressful workday!

Combining the two activities can go a long way toward planning for your retirement. There are many publications, podcasts, and videos out there these days to help us figure out our retirement journey. And there are so many topics, aren’t there?

Investments, taxes, Social Security & Medicare, estate planning, and insurance are just some areas on the minds of retirement savers and the financial advisors serving as guides to help their clients enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Here are several popular retirement planning books to help you make smarter financial choices when preparing for your golden years, including books written by financial professionals in the Wealthtender community.

The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning (Larimore)

“The Bogleheads” are investors who adhere to the simple yet profound wisdom of John C. Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group. Some of the key tenets of retirement planning, per the Bogleheads, are to keep investment costs low, simplify your financial life, know which account types to maximize first, and insure against the inevitable setbacks along your journey. This book is a great read for beginners looking for a no-nonsense take on how to get started preparing for your life after work.

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing (Bogle)

You can learn about retirement straight from the horse’s mouth, too. Bogle wrote several editions of this classic read before his passing in 2019. Dubbed an investing “Bible” by some, Jack’s words offer everyday folks the keys to getting the most out of investment dollars. The “buy and hold” approach is a time-tested method for building long-term wealth, according to the author.


Guy Davis CFA

Navigating the Street: A Better Approach to Investing (Davis)

Guy Davis, GCI Investors

“I wrote and published a book on this topic, Navigating the Street: A Better Approach to Investing, and 100% believe every private investor should read it. I’ve been an institutional investor for many, many years, and have seen firsthand so many misleading practices, products, and marketing to individuals.

The investment industry does a terrible job of being open with investors, being fair with them, and providing real solutions. I wrote the book to show investors behind the curtain, and help them understand what’s really happening, and help them understand the products they’re being sold constantly.

People just can’t sift through what’s right and what’s helpful for them when they think about managing their assets. This shouldn’t be the case.”

GCI Investors: Website | Wealthtender Profile

The New Retirement Savings Time Bomb (Slott)

Diving deeper into the nuances of retirement planning, we can look to one of the world’s foremost experts, Ed Slott, on a complex topic for retail investors and professional advisors alike: tax planning. Understanding the tax code can be a tricky proposition. It seems lawmakers are constantly changing things around. Slott is regarded as among the most knowledgeable financial professionals on the topic of IRAs. This book can help you take control of your financial portfolio, avoid unnecessary taxes, and mitigate risks. You might know Ed from his many appearances on public television and financial networks. He is a frequent contributor to many popular investment publications, as well.

More Than Money (Castelli, Due, Schulte)

The book “More Than Money” emphasizes that money is not the sole key to a fulfilling life. Instead, it shows us how we can use money as a tool to achieve our goals, support our vision, and enhance our enjoyment, as well as prepare for life’s tough challenges.

The authors of this book are true professionals and experts in their financial fields and provide some invaluable insights into financial planning. They have also gone beyond sharing financial advice by donating all the book’s net proceeds to two non-profit organizations dedicated to helping people gain access to financial planning resources.

Learn More: A Book Review of ‘More Than Money’: Real Life Financial Planning Stories and a Guide to Prosperity

Retirement Planning Guidebook (Pfau)

Wade Pfau is one of the preeminent retirement researchers. As a Professor of Retirement Income, holding a Ph.D. and the CFA Charter, Pfau’s insights into complex areas such as annuities, investments, and insurance are sought by even the savviest financial advisors. In this book, Pfau explains in plain English how people can understand their personal retirement income style. The author then dives into how to strategize Social Security benefits. The alphabet soup that is Medicare is outlined, along with how best to approach finding health coverage in retirement.

Happy Money: The New Science of Smarter Spending (Dunn)

Retirement planning isn’t all about the numbers. An often-overlooked aspect of preparing for the drawdown phase is knowing what kinds of spending habits make you happy. It’s a sad situation when someone saves and saves throughout their working years, but then never figures out what expenditures bring joy. After all, retirement is said to be “funded contentment,” says Brian Portnoy, author of The Geometry of Wealth. Elizabeth Dunn and Dr. Michael Norton, who penned Happy Money, go through the science of spending to optimize pleasure. (View on Amazon)


18 to 80: A Simple and Practical Guide to Money and Retirement for All Ages (Lyons)

Darryl Lyons, Pax Financial Group

“I wrote the book 18 to 80 in an effort to fill in the gap that exists in the retirement book space.

In this book, a person can simply open a chapter, find their age, and identify what financial area needs to be addressed in their lives. Because many retirees have kids and parents, they often jump to their kid’s age for financial advice and their parents’ age for financial thoughts.” (View on Amazon)

Darryl Lyons: Website | Wealthtender Profile

The Psychology of Money (Housel)

Among the most prolific and captivating financial writers of our time is unquestionably Morgan Housel. In this 2020 work, he powerfully uses stories to demonstrate tried and true methods of earning, saving, and investing money. You might be surprised at how easy it is to build a solid portfolio through the decades. As the title suggests, human psychology plays a pivotal role in how we behave financially. Equipped with the knowledge Housel provides, you can better understand what true wealth means to you.

Can I Retire? (Piper)

Rounding out our list is a classic by Mike Piper. Without using technical jargon, readers will understand how to use annuities to minimize what might be the biggest fear of retirees: outliving their money. This book also helps retirement savers know how much they will need to fund their future needs. A key question is also addressed: Should you save in a Roth or Traditional IRA? Finally, asset allocation strategies and tax tips can aid even the most seasoned investor. Piper’s CPA background comes through, and your eyes will not be glazed over!

These titles are just a few of so many resources advisors and individual investors can use to learn about both the basics of retirement saving and advanced financial planning strategies. In a world with growing complexity when it comes to investing and planning, it is imperative to stay abreast of the latest rules and trends. At the same time, however, there are classic reads that stand the test of time.


We asked financial professionals in the Wealthtender community to share their favorite books about retirement planning. Here’s what they said.

Stephanie McCullough Dedicated to women on their own who want a true partner in $$ decision-making.

“One of the most practical retirement books I know is written by Emily Guy Birken. All her stuff is great, but The Five Years Before You Retire is especially on-point. Emily guides readers through all the key decisions they need to be thinking about at this crucial financial phase of life, with the important context and educational material to help make informed choices. It’s comprehensive and approachable!”

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Stephanie McCullough | Sofia Financial

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