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What Color Is Your Parachute? for Retirement, Second Edition: Planning a Prosperous, Healthy, and Happy Future Paperback – July 13, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"It's one of the most thoughtful, engaging retirement planning books available because it lays out a specific, valuable planning model called the Retirement Well-Being Model." --Mark Miller, RetirementRevised.com

"Useful insights and exercises to help you make the best choices for this new stage in life regarding work, leisure, health, and where you'll live." --Steve Vernon, CBSmoneywatch.com

"Can help Americans sort through the retirement lifestyle they want and need, instead of the one that Madison Avenue wants to sell them." --Robert Powell, MarketWatch.com

"A useful, practical roadmap for anyone thinking about retirement, no matter how distant."
USA Today

"Filled with exercises and resources on such matters as making lasting friendships, evaluating medical treatment plans, and finding the ideal place to settle down."
Employee Benefit News

"Retirement researcher and writer John Nelson argues that there are at least five other key components of a successful retirement, in addition to the financial one."
Investment Advisor

Parachute for Retirement isn’t just a book—it’s a step-by-step guide to planning your retirement life.”  
—Wall Street Journal
“A nice compliment to the more typical IRA-intensive school of retirement planning.” 
—Washington Post

From the Inside Flap

You may be wondering what's new in this revised edition of What Color Is Your Parachute? For Retirement.

First, you'll notice that it captures the continuing evolution of retirement as a life stage. Society is irrevocably remaking the old retirement into a new retirement--even though no one knows yet, for sure, what that will mean. This book helps you prepare for that momentous shift.

Second, you'll notice that this edition provides you with additional planning tools and techniques. Even with all the uncertainty, you'll still have more freedom in retirement, than in any other stage of life. This book helps you design, and take concrete steps toward, the life of your dreams.

The emergence of the new retirement has been hastened by economic turmoil. Rather than being an anomaly, the Great Recession is representative of a long-term shift. It wasn't simply a deviation, and then a return to normal. Instead, it reset the expectations for what normal is. (The new normal?)

How does all this affect you, and your plans for retirement well-being?

Financially, we've seen our retirement accounts and home values take the roller-coaster ride of a lifetime. Traditional pensions, which offer a guaranteed monthly benefit, have increasingly shown signs of inadequate employer funding. A similar problem on a larger scale is being faced by Social Security. The ballooning federal debt complicates long-term fixes for the Social Security and Medicare funding problems. At all levels, governments will be forced to re-think the assistance they provide to a rapidly growing number of older citizens. Uncertainty has prompted many to keep working as long as possible. Have we now come to view continued employment as an expected part of retirement?

Geographically, we've begun to think more deeply about where we really want to live. Rather than speculating on future home values, we're viewing our home and community as environments that support the life we want to live.

Medically, we know retirement is a life stage that brings increased interaction with the medical delivery system. But the system itself will be undergoing significant changes in the coming years--just when we'll personally need more care. One effect of economic stress is to drain our biological vitality, so it's even more important for each of us to build that up, directly.

Psychologically, the concept of retirement happiness as carefree decades of leisure is now out of date, and out of step. It's being replaced by our desire for a deeper sense of fulfillment, and engagement in life. From now on, we're more likely to recognize that our happiness is connected to our sense of community, than our level of consumption.

You can use this book to gain insight and make plans for all these areas of your life, because it's a unique kind of retirement book. It's not a finance book (although it is about prosperity). It's not a medical book (although it is about health). And it's not a psychology book (although it is about happiness).

Instead, you might think of this as an introductory course into all the aspects of designing your retirement life. Or if you've already studied retirement, you might think of this as your capstone course, pulling all of your studies together. Either way, you'll find this book to be both a philosophical, and a practical, resource.

Finally, here's a bit of heart-felt advice for you. The best way to read this book is to actually do the exercises, fill in the blanks, and write all over the pages. We provide you with a process for designing your retirement life. But you, Dear Reader, must provide the content. That's how you make it into your book, instead of our book. After all, it's your retirement, isn't it?

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Product Details

  • Series: What Color Is Your Parachute? for Retirement
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; 2 edition (July 13, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158008205X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580082051
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I liked the first book, but I really liked this one. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. Whether you read one or twenty books on retirement, this one should be at the top of your list!

Just like the first edition, this book is going to generate new thoughts and actions about retirement planning and how to prepare for this phase of life. Whether already in retirement, not there yet, or just starting a first job, I'm betting you will find this book well worth the read. It makes you aware that retirement is an entirely separate life stage that requires some careful thought and planning.

I found the new information and worksheets included in this second edition to be even more helpful for planning for my retirement future than those in the first book. They clearly identified the steps that I need to take to be happy, healthy and financially prepared.

I've worked in the retirement field for over 20 years and this is a message that both young and old need to hear and by taking the approach suggested in the book, it can be a great help in deciding how much someone should be setting aside for their future. How can you establish a saving and investment plan if you don't have a clue about what you want your retirement lifestyle to be like?

I'm one of those people who are "kind of" retired, but still working and I'm not alone. Studies show that between 60% and 80% of retirees and pre-retirees (and often even more) plan to continue some type of "work" - whether for pay or volunteering - well into their retirement years.

The reasons for continuing to work are generally because the retiree is bored, needs a social network and/or wants to add some purpose to their life.
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Format: Paperback
If you are looking for an exceptional introduction, overview and synthesis of key issues you will face in retirement (e.g, financial security, relationships, life expectancy, health, happiness) buy this book. If you want to go beyond filling your bookcase with interesting books, try the exercises, complete the self-assessments and check out a few of the suggested web sites.

I am a 62+ year old male educator preparing for retirement. I loved the first edition. The revisions justify the investment in the revised edition, even if you own the first edition.

For example, one of the new chapters summarizes the most recent research on happiness in retirement - pleasure, engagement and meaning. The chapter is 26 pages plus suggested readings and sources. As an alternative, you could purchase the references and find time to read 2500+ pages of academic research.

I own and have read six of the eight primary references for this chapter. In my opinion, the author has done a remarkable job of distilling and synthesizing key ideas and presenting them in a useful, practical and relevant way. The choice is yours - 26 pages or 2500 pages. You will find a similar experience in each of the other chapters. Enjoy the book - I did.
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Format: Paperback
LIVING YOUR DREAMS -- planning for Prosperity, Health, Happiness & THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE -- (this review is of the 2007 edition and was first posted November 22, 2007)

By Constant Reader "lovetoread" (Madison, WI USA)

This review is from: What Color Is Your Parachute? for Retirement: Planning Now for the Life You Want (Paperback)

I remember very well the revolution that the the original WHAT COLOR IS YOUR PARACHUTE? caused in my thinking. Here was a career planning book that said I could design a satisfying work life based on what I like and who I am! It changed my thinking.

This new book is designed to support the same kind of revolution in our thinking about retirement. The back of the book says "START LIVING YOUR DREAMS."

This is not about just "not working." This book has lots of practical information about money and health and relationships--but the main thing is the basis of all the PARACHUTE books--- that you can discover your heart's desire and design your life to live it. This book can help a person identify their heart's desire and would be terrific for anyone thinking about what they want for their future retirement.

I know John Nelson. John is dedicated to an approach to retirement that supports true fulfillment for the whole person, based on that person's own dreams and heart's desire. I would occasionally see him at meetings while he was writing this book. He was so inspirational when he talked about the book, and changes in how we view retirement, and how we can re-imagine and recreate our lives for happiness and satisfaction in retirement, and how retirement can be a wonderful time of fulfillment, that I just couldn't wait to read it.
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Format: Paperback
This second revised and updated edition captures the change in retirement from the end of work to a new stage of life. It helps readers to prepare for the transition whatever form that takes for each individual. This book is about your retirement and the exercises you will find in its pages will help you clarify what you want. This book is updated with the considerations of the recent economic meltdown in mind and how that could have changed many readers plans about retirement with the stock market plunge and the real estate bubble popping. It is a new world and this is a new book for 2010.
I have read several books on retirement, and this one is by far the best. It contains all the tools you will need to build a retirement that is best for you. It has lived up to its namesake, "What color is your parachute?" and I believe will be a classic itself. It begins by explaining you must build your retirement by balancing the big three of happiness, prosperity, and health. They overlap each other and depend on the others for fulfillment. Can you be happy if you are broke or sick in retirement? It explains the three boxes of life: education, work, and then retirement which takes you through the three dynamics of development, productivity, and then leisure. However you may want to make plans to have education or productivity in your retirement also and not just leisure. It briefly covers the financial aspects of retirement in examining what you will need from social security, your IRA/401K, and possible pension income, but it is brief, and covers the necessary information.
The book then takes you through exercises on the six fields of knowledge for well being that enables you to build a specific retirement plan that caters to you.
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