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Looking Forward: An Optimist's Guide to Retirement Paperback – November 16, 2004
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It is no surprise that the "graying of America" has generated a multitude of retirement guides. But as her subtitle suggests, Freudenheim's is more optimistic than most, with a cheery, encouraging text and a sprinkling of cartoon art that lightens the subject without minimizing its importance. Coverage of financial issues isn't one of the strong points here (even the author suggests using other resources and counselors), but Freudenheim includes several topics ignored in other books: a look at spirituality, for example, a term that encompasses much more than a commitment to organized religion. She also offers an excellent chapter on voluntarism. Readers may be tempted to fill in the occasional write-in exercises, but that is far outweighed by the author's practical counsel and her excellent selection of further resources, which many will want to consult before they embark on their possibility-filled journey into the "Retirement Zone." Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
ELLEN FREUDENHEIM is the author of five books, including three guides to Brooklyn, a wedding planner for the executive bride, and a dictionary of healthcare terms. Her career in public relations has spanned 25 years, and she has appeared on television and radio programs on ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, and BBC.
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As one who has recently retired, I read this book from beginning to end and found information that I have already begun to use. Freudenheim provides little windows into the lives of some people who have retired and are happy with their decision to do so. Some of those profiled continued doing more of what they enjoy, some made changes so drastic it boggles the mind. Might I suggest that this book is not just for those thinking of retirement? It will be useful to those who wonder with a fair amount of trepidation what they would do if they did retire.
This book has the right title, Looking Forward: An Optimist's Guide to Retirement. The key words here are "Looking Forward".
Work & Family @ BellaOnline.com
If you want to continue to work, you might consider changing careers as my husband did. After retiring from AT&T (he was downsized or "rightsized" as they called it in the corporate world in the 1980s), he he took his "buyout" money and attended graduate school where he obtained a degree in Employee Relations Counseling which he did professionally for 10 years before he was forced out of the market by the competition (he filed an EEO complaint because he suspected age, race and/or sex discrimination were issues and was proved correct). After the government disbanded the office he worked in (contracted out), he then took up work as a Patent Examiner so as to complete his government retirement - not as you might expect in his field of Electrical Engineering which he learned on the job with AT&T - but the field of personal computers which he taught himself by building several of them for me and the grand kids. Today, retired with two pensions, he plays tennis four days a week and complains about being bored. However, when he heard me speak of Freudenheim's book he said, "I want to read that when you' re through with it."
According to Freudenheim, my husband and I are merely examples of what the statistics have been showing. She combines many life histories along with statistics from reputable sources to explore the truth of the retirement zone from overall and individual perspectives. The truth is, large numbers of people are in the retirement zone (and not just because of the baby boom as we so often hear, but also owing to increased immigration beginning 40 years ago as well as increased life expectancy among the older population). Many potential retirees continue to work (women more so than men, as the immediate cohorts of women stayed home with the kids back in the "old" days, and they have not yet put in enough years for retirement benefits). And, depending on your profession, the pressure to quit working is enormous after you reach a certain age, because those younger workers breathing down your neck have spent their lives in much larger cohorts of the baby boom (just wait until those kids born in 1957-1961 hit retirement ages!!). However, other types of employment may be available to you. Sometimes you just need to look around. Freudenheim suggests there are choices to be made.
Should you leave work altogether - which my 75-year old husband finally did, Freudenheim has tons of suggestions (I hope he really does read her book!!). She provides the reader with all sorts of alternatives for occupying your time fruitfully - paid and unpaid, or if you really don't want to work she has other suggestions. Her book is a comprehensive resource with hundreds of sources - books, websites, and ideas gleaned from others who have tackled the Retirement Zone.
Will I retire soon? Who knows. Right now, I am just living one day at a time. It's comforting to know, however, that I do have alternatives, and that I am not alone.