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Retirement's Instruction Manual

I like the fact that Cullinane and Fitzgerald begin the book not with a long and depressing discussion of how much money you may need to retire, but with tips on how to ease the transition to retirement.

The authors point out that, according to one survey, of the 42 life events that are the most stressful (the death of a spouse being No. 1), retirement came in 10th.

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The list of places to retire, in the United States and overseas, is one of the best features of the book. Each location gets a grade on climate, cost of living, access to quality health care, transportation and whether there is a reasonable number of activities for seniors. At the end of each city discussion is a summary of the location's strengths and weaknesses.

The book also includes checklists, worksheets and a lot of references and resources (even at 486 pages Cullinane and Fitzgerald couldn't cover everything).

Since you know your retirement won't be like your father's or mother's, plan to succeed by doing a little reading on what it takes to retire in peace.

If you are interested in discussing "The New Retirement," join me online at www.washingtonpost.com at noon March 31. Cullinane will be my guest.

To become a member of the Color of Money Book Club, simply read the recommended book and come chat online with the author and me. In addition, every month I randomly select readers to receive copies of the selected book donated by the publishers. For a chance to win a copy of "The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life," send an e-mail to colorofmoney@washpost.com. You must include your name, address and daytime and evening phone numbers so we can send you a book if you win.

Michelle Singletary discusses personal finance Tuesdays on NPR's "Day to Day" program and online at www.npr.org. Readers can write to her at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or send e-mail to singletarym@washpost.com. Comments and questions are welcome, but because of the volume of mail, personal responses are not always possible. Please also note that comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer's name, unless a specific request to do otherwise is indicated.


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