Book Review: What Colour is Your Parachute for Retirement

Ok, in all fairness I will say this in advance.  I’ve never read What Colour is Your Parachute? so I can’t make any comparisons to it or say how similar or not this book is the original.  Yet I can say is, What Colour is Your Parachute for Retirement, should be mandatory reading for anyone planning their retirement.  Yes the book is that good.

Now first off the book isn’t so much on the money side of retirement.  It does touch on that, but from a US point of view.  So that section isn’t too useful to any Canadian.  Yet everything else in the book is really about lifestyle planning or how exactly do you want to live in retirement?  And that is the essential part that you should read in this book since most people don’t put any where near enough time in planning their lifestyle.

In this book it says retirement is really based on three things: your prosperity, your happiness and your health to having a good retirement.  From there it breaks things down further to examine each part of your life that will contribute to having those three things in the following seven categories:

  1. Relationships – Basically while working you usually automatically find friends where you work, but once you stop you have to in make an effort to find new ones.
  2. Psychological Strengths – Forget balancing yourself at this age, play to your strengths.  What are you good at and that you like to do?
  3. Biological Practices – A little work on your diet and exercise program can go a long way to living a better retirement.
  4. Medical Uses – Again a bit more US based in discussing insurance, but does bring up a valid point.  Do you like traditional medical care or do you also want to use some alternative treatments? Do you have a condition that requires you to live near specific services?
  5. Financial Pillars – The money side of the equation (notice it’s only one small part of the plan).
  6. Geophysical – What do you do and where do you want to do it?  Do you want to plan two phases to your retirement: an active phase in a fun location and then passive phase later on closer to family?
  7. Ways to Live – The broad brush strokes of your life that you want.  Are you a artistic type, hermit, entrepreneur, social butterfly… you get the idea.

So by addressing all of these issues now and planning for them you can really create your ideal retirement.  What is really useful in the book is that it has lots of questions and exercises for you to work on to help you determine what parts make up your ideal retirement.  It forces you to consider what do you want from your retirement and what do you need?

I even found the exercises useful to flush out my planning a bit more.  Yes I might change my mind a bit as I get older, but at least I’m thinking about how exactly I want to live now since how much money you need really does flow from that.  It’s not the other way around, so yes start saving for your retirement, but also start thinking: what have I always wanted to do?  Don’t just daydream, you also have to plan out things a bit.  Afterall when you are filling up decades of time it’s good to have a plan.

So how about you, what do you want to do in retirement?  I’ve determined I have a mountain of reading to work on and I want to keep writing and perhaps do more in the publishing side.  I also want to travel a bit, but mostly I’m a home body type of person.

5 thoughts on “Book Review: What Colour is Your Parachute for Retirement”

  1. This is so interesting for me to go back and reflect on. I read that book before I retired a well and loved it. For me it was so fun to fantasize about my ideal retirement and explore what I wanted it to look like.

    The funny thing is, it turns out my retirement looks nothing like I thought it would when I did all that planning! I was different person then, and I didn’t really know who I would be as Retired Syd until I retired! Turns out I’m much more hermit like than I thought I was, and of course, I’m not nearly as fit as I imagined I would be with all this extra time.

    Anyway I really enjoyed reading it and would totally recommend it even with my own personal experience to the contrary.

  2. My father is about to retire within a couple of months. Although, I think he may be a bit afraid to do so because of the lifestyle related issues. Would this book be good for him or this more of a book for people planning for retirement that is many years in the future?

  3. This is really intersting! I’ll refer this on my blog and to my parents too.

    I really like the way they adress the question, to ensure a global approach to this live event. Because retirement isn’t only about money, even if money is an important part of it. If you have lots of money and lots of unhappiness… don’t think you’ll have a nice retirement time (and this time might be long!).

    Really good. I’ll try to find this book for myself 🙂 thanks for the review!

  4. I’ve been reading several posts in this blog. Very good blog, by the way. I found it interesting what Syd said about retirement not being what you planned. It is really hard to see just what it will look like, because after all, I’ve been working since I was 14 or so. I know that not going to work changes your thinking somewhat but of course I won’t know how until I actually retire.

    I feel somewhat assured as I read these posts that I’m on the right course.I’m 52 and getting ready to “retire.” I’m looking at probably 1, maybe 2 years from now. I like the ideas expressed above about the placing the emphasis on something other than money. Yes, I have spent a lot of time day dreaming about what I want to do when I leave my job.

    Having said that, I need to earn about $1000 a month to stay out of my retirement savings. I plan to do this by pursuing my dream of having a small landscape maintenance firm, writing and maybe even photography. Does anyone else have any experiences to share about working after retirement?

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