55 and Counting: A Guide for Pre-Retirement

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by Gerald W. and L. Marlene Kaufman

176 pages

There is more to planning for retirement than your financial nest egg. When preparing for the transition to retirement many focus their attention on fund balances in individual retirement accounts and 401ks. With the question of “Will I have enough saved to retire?” looming large in the foreground, many forget to ask additional important questions about how they will navigate the transitions that are ahead of them.

Authors Gerald and Marlene Kaufman are not financial advisors. The Kaufmans have each been family therapists in a joint family practice. With the specialty areas of family issues, aging, and end-of-life conversations this resource on preparing for retirement is decidedly different than other resources you may have encountered about the topic.

55 and Counting: A Guide for Pre-Retirement takes a holistic look at the many aspects of preparation for retirement. The Kaufmans look intentionally at the many varied parts of life that are affected by retirement and encourage the reader to think carefully about personal identity and purpose as major considerations in approaching the transition. Questions of changing identity, where to find community, and navigating personal friendships and family relationships are all common questions as one moves into a new stage of life. The Kaufmans gently encourage readers to approach those questions with care and intentionality.

Each chapter in 55 and Counting focuses on a different area of consideration and includes personal stories and examples as well as “questions for reflecting” and suggestions for next steps. The approach that the authors take provides an opportunity for any reader to see themselves in the text. Whether the reader is single, married, or widowed, the examples and stories curated by the authors in each chapter serve to provide a deeper connection to the content while remaining sensitive to the unique pathways that each person may
journey.

One of the most unique aspects of this resource on retirement is that it is written for an audience that has not reached that threshold. The Kaufmans encourage each reader to start thinking about and preparing for the transition to retirement well ahead of the actual transition out of the traditional workforce. If you are in your mid 50s (or younger) and beginning to consider what your retirement years may look like, 55 and Counting is worth the read.

Aptly stated in the book: “Time is a precious gift.” As you consider what you will do with the time you have been given, consider the framework of reflection offered in 55 and Counting. By taking the time today to carefully consider your personal identity, life purpose, personal goals and financial readiness, you create for yourself a foundation on which to build a more fruitful and fulfilling retirement.

Reviewed by Mitch Stutzman, a Stewardship Consultant for Everence. He formerly served as a development officer for Hesston College. Mitch is a member of the Ecumenical
Stewardship Center Resource Editorial Team.

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