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Get a Life: You Don't Need a Million to Retire Well Paperback – January 1, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-1413300840 ISBN-10: 1413300847 Edition: Fifth Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Get a Life: You Don't Need a Million to Retire Well
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: NOLO; Fifth Edition edition (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1413300847
  • ISBN-13: 978-1413300840
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Warner, attorney and founder of Nolo, the do-it-yourself legal publisher, has written a unique retirement guide which, despite its title, focuses on non-financial issues as well as the traditional retirement concerns. The book also includes conversations with notable people who have led productive "retirement" lives, including environmental activist and writer Ernest Callenbach and mathematician Arthur Levenson. By focusing on important concerns such as broadening circles of friends, relying on one's extended family, turning to hobbies and nonwork activities, the book will help readers gain a healthier perspective on retirement. The sections on friendship and love are particularly compelling. The chapters on specific financial planning are not as complete as readers might want; for example, there's only one brief chapter that explains how investments work. Warner can also be something of a contrarian in his financial advice. He maintains that experts who say people need roughly 80% of their pre-retirement income are wrong. In addition, Warner says (arguably) that the Social Security system is not actually in precarious shape and will be around for many years to come. Still this is one of the freshest and most practical approaches to retirement planning in a long time.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Money for retirement doesn't matter? Well, not exactly. Warner puts a different spin on how to prepare for retirement by recognizing that a sensible savings plan is important, but the real keys to successful retirement are good health, spiritual life, relationships with family and friends, and having interesting things to do. His mission in this book is to identify the habits and life-style choices that set zestful people apart from those who spend their last years bored, lonely, and depressed. He reveals that there is often a direct connection between mid-life obsession with work and saving and an unhappy retirement. He has developed a thoughtful catalog of retirement activities and options that are worth reviewing; and he makes recommendations on the financial aspects of retirement by offering advice to "the savvy peasant," someone he identifies as being too busy to spend time on Wall Street "gobbledygook" but having more than enough financial smarts to invest money wisely and get rich slowly but surely. Mary Whaley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Ralph "Jake" Warner, is the Chairman of the Board at Nolo. Widely recognized as a pioneer of the do-it-yourself law movement, Warner founded Nolo with Ed Sherman in 1971. He began publishing do-it-yourself law books written by him and his colleagues after numerous publishers rejected them. When personal computers came along, he added software to many Nolo books. When the Internet arrived, he pioneered online marketing of books.

In addition to running the company for much of the past three decades, Warner was an active editor and author. He wrote many books, including Retire Happy: What You Can Do Now to Guarantee a Great Retirement and Save Your Small Business: 10 Crucial Strategies to Survive Hard Times or Close Down & Move On. Today, he serves as chief executive officer as well as chairman of Nolo's board of directors. During a three-year break earlier this decade, Warner embarked on a new business venture: TallTales Audio, an audio book production company devoted to children's storytelling, online and on CD.

Warner holds a law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley and an undergraduate degree from Princeton.

Customer Reviews

Really puts life/retirment in prospective.
So Cal
I highly recommend this book to anyone, regardless of age, who wants practical and sage advice on building a fulfilling life in retirement.
J. Merrill
I enjoyed this book so much, that my boss, brother & sister all wanted copies, so I gave them each their own to read!
Patricia R. Dumond

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

177 of 180 people found the following review helpful By P. Lozar on February 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
As someone who will probably retire within the next dozen years, I was beginning to wonder whether the doom-sayers were right: I don't have a million bucks in savings or a fat stock portfolio, so was I being foolhardy in assuming that I'd have enough to live on comfortably in my old age? This book was tremendously reassuring. Some of the author's main points are: (1) The difference between a happy, fulfilling retirement and "waiting for the undertaker" is not money but quality of life -- family, friends, good health, and meaningful activities that give you a reason to get up in the morning. (2) It's possible to estimate fairly accurately how much money you'll need to live on after you retire, and in most cases it's nowhere near the "70% of your present income" that the doom-sayers insist that you need to maintain your present lifestyle. (3) The loudest doom-sayers are the ones who are trying to sell you retirement plans! The author tells readers how to access a free set of "retirement calculators" on the Nolo Press web site to assist them in financial planning, and that alone is worth the price of the book. But what really "made" the book for me was his many interviews with happily retired people from all sorts of backgrounds and economic levels -- just reading about them was a real upper. There are plenty of books on how to provide for your retirement financially, but this is the only one I know of that adequately addresses the REST of your life. Read it!!
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112 of 116 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for anyone who thinks about retirement, from those just starting out in their 20's and 30's to those nearing retirement. The book is a refreshing, contrarian view to the conventional wisdom of "save tons of money for retirement", "you'll need 70-100% of your current income in retirement", etc., etc., etc. The traditional retirement literature is focused almost exclusively on money, with which Warner takes exception.
Warner's focus is on the whole person - he makes a very compelling argument that money is a FACTOR in a good retirement, but that it is also important to cultivate health, outside interests, friendships and family. He believes these latter factors have a FAR greater influence on a successful retirement than money. He bases this viewpoint on research among those enjoying active, successful retirements.
Warner is not a Pollyanna, saying not to even think about retirement savings (as some critics seem to suggest). The book contains some common sense ideas on savings and admits that having SOME money may help. Warner's point, however, is that money alone isn't going to make you have a successful retirement if you neglected your family, friends, outside interests, spirituality and health in order to get the money.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who ever thinks about retirement. You may not agree with the proposition, but the book will really help expand your view of the elements of a good retirement and may help you plan a more enjoyable life.
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60 of 63 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first retirement planning book I've ever read that realistically addresses how much money you really need to save for the lifestyle you want. I now realize that I don't need to save millions, that my current saving plan is perfectly adequate for the lifestyle I want. I can relax, enjoy my life and family, and work on retaining my health.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Mike on December 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
My wife and I are preparing for retirement in our mid-fifties -- twelve years from now. (Yes, we like to start planning early.) The title and summary on Amazon intrigued me so I purchased this one along with some other books that specialize in the non-financial aspects of retirement. This book was the best we found. Well written and enjoyable, I strongly recommend this for any who is looking for non-financial retirement advice. (The financial aspects of the book are adequate but far from unique -- strictly a good overview -- and I wasn't looking for financial advice).
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Bill Sonsin on June 30, 1999
Format: Paperback
As a Certified Financial Planner, I recommend this book to many of my clients who are seriously planning their retirements. Warner has done a great job putting things in the proper perspective with a book that is an "easy read". While adequate money is important to a satisfactory retirement (and helping clients build a satisfactory net worth is how I make my living), I do find, as has Warner, that there are more important things such as health, friends, and a purpose (i.e., reasons to get up in the morning) when it comes to planning out one's retirement. I frequently ask clients what they plan to do when they retire. When they say "go fishing" or "play golf", I then ask them what they plan to do the second week/month/year. And I keep asking the question until they realize that its a serious one. Warner takes it further with discussion and clear examples. In short, a must read for anyone approaching retirement.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By J. Merrill on November 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
I read this book along with several others two years ago as my husband and I contemplated early retirement. It was by far the best book I read. Most other books were the author's personal musings about what makes for a good retirement. In contrast, Warner's book backs up his views with both solid research and compelling testimonies from actual retirees. He doesn't downplay the importance of financial well-being in retirement, just puts it in context as ONE element of successful retirement. As someone who's now been retired (at age 52) for a year, I can attest to the usefulness of this book. It helped me honestly analyze my own life situation and has been a catalyst for some of the choices and decisions I am making as I create a life without (much) work. Warner's admonishment that you have to start integrating good practices in your life BEFORE retirement is particularly important; for example, if you don't foster close and healthy relationships with your family and friends when you are younger, they aren't going to magically happen once you're retired. Likewise for good health and spiritual habits. I highly recommend this book to anyone, regardless of age, who wants practical and sage advice on building a fulfilling life in retirement.
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