Review – How to Retire Happy

How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire
by Stan Hinden

Stan Hinden, a retired financial writer and popular retirement columnist for the Washington Post, offers the inside scoop on retirement in his book, How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. He bases his advice largely on his own ups and downs after leaving the workforce. He breaks his advice down into 12 major decisions most retirees will face. At the end of each section, he includes a list of all the useful websites mentioned, as well as other suggested readings.

Hinden provides explanations of the financial tools you need for a prosperous retirement – 401(k)s, IRAs, Medicare, stock market investments – in easily comprehensible language. How to Retire Happy illustrates that anyone, no matter what their experience, can make good investment decisions, and keep their nest egg generating income throughout retirement.

Besides finances, Hinden has advice for a wide spectrum of retirement challenges: marital relationships, health challenges, estate planning – his 12 decisions form a comprehensive guide for life during retirement.

Hinden grounds his advice in his personal retirement story. He pulls no punches when it comes to the difficulties he and his wife faced when it came to investment difficulties and declining health.How to Retire Happy includes the author’s story of his wife’s debilitation due to Alzheimer’s, revealing the steep emotional and financial cost of her care. Hinden also details his experience losing $70,000 because of a classic investment mistake – trying to outguess the market. (The novice investor will benefit from learning that even a seasoned financial writer can make big mistakes.) These are just two of many personal experiences that Hinden shares to demonstrate the importance of maintaining a healthy financial portfolio throughout retirement.

My Take

Hinden’s advice is easy to follow, even when he uses financial jargon that may be unfamiliar to some. As someone new to the world of investment and financial portfolios, I found his advice engaging and easy to understand. No matter how much you’ve already planned, or how far along you already are in retirement, Hinden’s work is bound to breathe fresh air into your ideas about how to arrange your life and your finances, post-fulltime employment.


This book inspires and encourages retirees who haven’t yet decided how to manage their investments and savings. Savvy investors will want to look elsewhere for more in-depth advice.


Readers will appreciate the rich, personal detail Hinden uses to structure his writing. How to Retire Happy contains useful insights for anyone nearing retirement, and is a great place to start for anyone wondering how best to manage their finances during retirement.