Book Review: Planning for the later years by United States Social Security Administration.

Planning for the later years

By: United States Social Security Administration.


Reviewer’s Thoughts:

This is a very old book, and an entertaining one to read when you consider the things that have changed since its writing. Surprisingly, there were also aspects that have remained unchanged. I read this book with commentary from someone who was double my age, giving some of the dated information an even more interesting perspective. For instance, we concluded that this book was most likely written in the late 1960s. This means the book was authored during a time when women were still not afforded equal rights, especially concerning managing their finances. Due to this factor, much of the book refers to the prevailing social norms regarding gender and generational roles at that time. It does suggest women in the workforce, but primarily in roles seen as fillers since children were considered to require less of their attention. It’s essential to keep in mind how far we’ve come in nearly 60 years when reading this book.
The book begins by discussing the historical context, comparing it to the period 100 years prior to its writing. It highlights the increase in our working horsepower to over 10 per hour, while in the 1850s, it was just over 1. The book also suggests that although we worked a similar number of lifetime work hours, when it was written, our working lives were ten years longer. It predicts that by the turn of the century, we would need even fewer working hours per year, possibly living into our 150s, thanks to advances in medical and technological fields.
An interesting fact shared in the book was that couples at the time were living over 11 years after their youngest child left the nest (a significant change from an era where only one parent typically witnessed their youngest child’s marriage). The book also suggested that with children entering the workforce at age 18, grandparents were less necessary in child-rearing compared to the past. The book briefly mentions issues like loss of vision and hearing, not to be big concerns. I believe some of these thoughts of the time have been proven the most changed today.
A significant portion of the book is dedicated to the holistic approach to retirement, with a smaller section focusing on financial aspects. It covers various aspects of retirement living, addressing changes that may occur as one becomes more limited in their activities due to age and disability. These sections encompass health, nutrition, personal temperament, and how one should shape their retirement.
Subsequently, the book discusses aspects such as affording housing, groceries, and leisure time. These sections offer overviews and include interesting facts about items like meat and eggs.
There is also a section on stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and related topics. This section appears to have changed the least over time, explaining what these financial instruments are and why one might be interested in them. Additionally, there is a chapter on the US Civil Services Retirement System, although I personally am not aware of what exact area or program it is referring to. The book briefly references disability payments but does not delve deeply into the Social Security Administration. Many changes to SSA programs occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, well after the book’s publication.
Curiously, after addressing retirement, the book delves into finding work and offers somewhat outdated information on interview tactics and job-seeking advice. This section might seem out of place considering the book’s primary focus on retirement. Furthermore, it does not thoroughly discuss what to look for when seeking a new job that will best set someone up for retirement. This may be because it was intended for jobs after one has officially retired, suggesting that we never truly stop working.
In conclusion, if you are searching for a book with contemporary retirement strategies, this may not be the best choice. However, if you enjoy reading historical texts to gain insight into the past and how we have evolved, this book can be an entertaining read. It emphasizs the importance of considering more than just finances when it comes to retirement planning. Nevertheless, it falls short, in my opinion, in predicting future social norms.


Book Details


Planning for the later years


By: United States Social Security Administration. Reading time 2 hours, 22 minutes.


NLS Audio Book: 2 hours, 22 minutes.

Book Pages: 64 pages (reprinted)


NLS Description:

Retirement planning information covering subjects such as finances, housing, health maintenance, nutrition, and use of leisure time.
• Author on container: United States. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Originally issued by NLS on cassette in 1976.
• Digital talking book.
• Recorded from:, Washington, 1967.

Find on NLS Bard: DB 08863 

Find on Amazon

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