The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances after Fifty by Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz is a useful reference book to add to your collection. If you are customer of Charles Schwab you can obtain a copy for free at your local office. It is also sold in bookstores and on line. This isn’t a typical “how to” personal finance book. Although it generally covers planning for retirement, living in retirement, and preparing and dealing with death, it really isn’t the kind of book that is meant to be read cover to cover. Rather than chapters, the book answers fifty questions divided into six parts. Part I When Retirement is at Least Ten Years Out
Part II Closer: Transitioning into Retirement
Part III Life in Retirement
Part IV Maximizing Social Security and Medicare
Part V Estate Planning
Part VI The People in My Life
Although the book is obviously aimed at people over fifty, I would recommend it to anyone over forty who wants to dig a little deeper into questions concerning finances in the second half of life.
This book assumes that you already have a basic knowledge of personal finance and an increasing net worth. Although the author reminds the reader of the basics from time to time it is really an intermediate sort of text book that answers specific questions you may face.
For example, one of the question titles is, “I’m thinking of downsizing once I retire. Will I get hit with a tax bill when I sell my house?” After covering the basics and pitfalls associated with the question, the author ends each “question” with a list titled, “Next Steps” that refers the reader to other associated “questions” such as how to invest the capital generated by your house sale or the effect of mortgage debt on retirement planning.
The author also covers “questions” that one does not generally see in books of this sort. For example, “My partner and I aren’t married. What do we need to know about managing our finances as a team, especially when it comes to planning for retirement?” The author introduces the reader to a binding Domestic Partnership Agreement that will provide legal protection to individuals in a relationship that is not covered by the laws concerning marriage, benefits that are available to everyone and not available to unmarried people (such as Social Security spousal and survivor benefits). Safeguards such as a HIPAA compliant advanced health care directive are particularly important in such relationships, as a partner could be denied access to important medical information at critical moments.
As you consider various questions confronted in the second half of life, look up the appropriate question. You will be given a good solid answer with references to the appropriate source material and that list of other associated questions.