Book Review: Rags to Retirement

Rags to Retirement by Gail Liberman and Alan Lavine was a different type of retirement book.  Mainly for the fact it is a series of twelve profiles on various people who retired on much less than people would think is possible and still consider themselves happy in retirement.

I like this book because it shows both sides of several different lifestyles that people live in retirement.  It shows what works for their lifestyle and what are some issues they have to worry about. Some examples include: a couple that travel and live in an RV for retirement, one guy who lives on a boat, a couple living in South America and many other interesting situations.

The book was written in 2003, so obviously some of the numbers are outdated, but it does provide some interesting notes of people who had just been through a bear market and all retired on less than a million dollars.  It also discusses what costs these people have to be careful of, such as health care (it is a US based book).

The other thing I liked about the book was the honesty about these people’s lives.  For example, this one couple had major health problems and a were forced to put some expenses on a credit card.  The don’t regret their situation, but merely do the best they can with it.   Actually the one thing that stuck me the most about the stories of these peoples lives was none of them regret their retirement, even when some of them have had some fairly awful things happen to them (ie: a stroke to one fellow who forced him into retirement).

The other theme that came out of each story was the support of others around them when things got bad.  This I feel is a key point to take away from this book.  You are not alone and shouldn’t be in all things.  Even in your retirement, it is ok to get help from other people.

So if your looking for a book that is more about experience and different lifestyle options I would recommend this book.  Yet if you are looking for some numbers I would pass this one by as it is outdated and doesn’t provide all that much detail.