Author: Stan Hinden

Publisher: McGraw Hill Professional – 233 pages

Book Review by: Paiso Jamakar

One of the first tasks I set out to do when I review a book is to find out the qualifications and backgrounds of authors. In the case of How to Retire Happy, Stan Hinden is very well qualified to write about retirement, and shows you how to be secure and happy in that part of your life.

He has spent 45 years in journalism, of which 23 were with the Washington Post as a reporter, writer, editor and columnist. He retired from the Post in 1996. He wrote about stocks and mutual funds in that newspaper’s business section. His column Retirement Journal won an award from the American University School of Communication. It also won him recognition from the Investment Company Institute, being cited for “excellence in personal finance reporting.”

Stan Hinden was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1998. Currently he resides in the Washington DC area and writes the Retirement Perspectives column for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). For more information on him and his book, go to

Ever-changing tax laws on retirement income, health insurance coverage affected by legislation and the insurance companies themselves and modifications in Social Security benefits require constant keeping-up by retirees – tasks not that easy to handle by lay people that require the information and insight of people like Stan Hinden.

Now he has compiled a lot of facts and details in this book to help retired people lead a secure and happy life. If you’re reaching that stage in your life you can get answers to your  questions such as: Am I ready and can I afford to retire?…when should I apply for Social Security benefits and how should I take my pension payments? …what should I do with the money in my company savings plan?

This is the book (2010 is its latest edition) for you when you’re not sure when and how to take money out of your Individual Retirement Accounts or IRAs, how to invest your money in retirement, what should you do about health insurance and how should you prepare for serious illness.

A very important matter is your estate. This book answers your question on how should you arrange it and pass it on to your inheritors with the least amount of tax liability.

Once your financial questions are answered and you’ve taken the necessary actions, you may have questions pertaining to activities in retirement, such as: what do I want to do in retirement… and… how do I age successfully?

This highly useful book not only answers very clearly the 12 most important retirement-related questions people have, but also gives you five “Golden Rules” to abide by, to retire happy.

The well-known and highly successful mutual fund advisor John C. Bogle, who has written the Foreword for this book, comments that after the stock market crash of 2007-2009 and the ongoing severe recession that the United continues to be in, Stan Hinden’s “advice on asset allocation and the need for significant holdings in bonds or annuities to produce income is also worth heeding.” In the light of the current exploding government debt and the slumping U.S. economy, I agree with Bogle that such precautionary advice is “almost prescient.”

To underscore how important financial knowledge is to you to plan and execute a successful retirement for yourself, no less than the author himself, who has acquired that vast knowledge, writes in his Preface:

“This is the book I wish I had been able to write before I retired. If I had, my monthly Social Security check would be fatter. My company pension would be better. My retirement savings would be significantly larger. And I’d have a better chance of making my money last during what I hope will be a long retirement.”

To adequately prepare for your retirement or enhance it if you are already retired, this book is an invaluable tool to have. It is one of the best I have read on happy retirement.