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Book Review and Giveaway – The Five Years Before You Retire

This post may contain affiliate links.

The following review is of The Five Years Before You Retire by my blogging buddy, Emily Guy Birken.  She is a freelance writer and blogger specializing in personal finance. She is a regular contributor to Wise Bread, Money Ning, and PT Money, and writes the Live Like a Mensch column for The Dollar Stretcher.  You can visit Emily at


I am asked to review dozens of books a year, but I generally can only get around to those by friends.  So when Emily sent her first ever book my way, I just had to read it!  I was not expecting how full and informative that The Five Years Before You Retire would be.  It’s packed and very useful for that little period before you call it quits!

Seriously, just check out the Content Page for this 200+ page book:

Contents for The Five Years Before You Retire

Part One: The Nitty-Gritty of Retirement Finances
Chapter 1: How Far Away Are You?
Chapter 2: Saving and Budgeting for the Next Five Years
Chapter 3: Income in Retirement
Chapter 4: Find the Right Financial Planner
Part Two: The Government Giveth (and Taketh Away)
Chapter 5: What to Expect from Social Security
Chapter 6: Taxes and Your Retirement Income
Chapter 7: What to Expect from Medicare
Chapter 8: Planning for Health-Care Expenses in Retirement
Part Three: Home, Family, and Other Considerations
Chapter 9: Housing in Retirement
Chapter 10: The Family Fortunes
Chapter 11: Creating a Budget on a Retirement Income
Chapter 12: Common Retirement Pitfalls
Chapter 13: If You Don’t Have Enough Saved
Appendix: Retirement Syllabus


The Five Years Before You Retire was written so you could either read all 238 pages straight through, OR you can skip to the chapters that you have questions about.  Each one is fully fleshed out.  You can really use this book to make your plans and ensure that you are staying on track.

For example, if you are within 5 years of retirement but don’t have enough saved, there is a Chapter 13 just for you.  And it actually walks you through all of your options in an easy to understand way.  That one chapter is 15 pages long, explains your options fully, and then gives you a plan.  It even includes a 5 year count down of when things should be done to help you reach your retirement goals.

From the beginning to end, I felt like Emily is taking the reader by the hand and leading them to their retirement dreams.  I seriously want to just hand this book to my in-laws since they are 1-2 years out and may appreciate it.


Okay, enough talk.  You can buy The Five Years Before You Retire by clicking on that affiliate link to Amazon OR you may be able to win a copy right here!

All you need to do to do for a chance to win is leave your answer below by February 10, 2014 to this question:

“What are you doing right now that is preparing you for retirement?”

Just leave your answer below!  One answer/comment/entry per person!

The official stuff:

1) Contest ends February 10, 2014 at 11:59pm CST. 
3) The winner will be selected randomly and notified by email.

4) The prize will be held for 2 calendar days. If it isn’t claimed, a new winner will be randomly picked and contacted.
5) I reserve the right to reject comments that I consider spam or invalid entries.
6) An invalid or incorrect email address automatically disqualifies you from the drawing…it’s hard to contact a fake email…
7) Local laws, rules, and regulations apply.

FYI:  I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year.  I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home.  If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!).  Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!
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16 thoughts on “Book Review and Giveaway – The Five Years Before You Retire

  1. The best thing I’m doing right now is packing away payroll into my 401k, including the catch up contribution, and my wife is doing the same — so roughly $45,000 per year goes away into savings — and we learn to live on $45,000 less than we otherwise would. Maybe that second part is the best thing of all.

  2. Only my husband’s 401k. Honestly it is not enough and I have no idea what else to do? Also trying to save for my son’s college education.
    We have had medical challenges that prevented me from working and saving for the future. Thanks

  3. We are maxing out 401k, and paying down our home, which should retire the mortgage in under 7 years. Plan is to retire in 10, would love it to be less! We have also made a decision on where we want to live and narrowing the home choices. Recently decided to set a goal to save an extra $10k a year to fully focus on getting to “the number” we know we’d like to be at. So we have a plan, and we are working the plan! And we hope the plan works!

  4. I’ve been preparing for retirement for several years – and am now within 2-3 years from being at a place where I can retire comfortably(in my mid 40’s). This has been done by maximizing my earning ability, coupled with living well below our means and maximizing retirement plans.

  5. Starting a new business where I spend more time at home, saving me more money, and building me multiple streams of ongoing income.

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