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Bar News - April 19, 2017

Book Review: Helpful Retirement Checklists for Those Important Preparations


Get the Most Out of Retirement: Checklist for Happiness, Health, Purpose and Financial Security
By Sally Balch Hurme
American Bar Association (2017)
294 pages

Elements, dear colleagues, elements; we learned about them the first week of law school. Elements of a gift; intent, delivery, acceptance. Elements of a burglary; breaking and entering the dwelling of another, with the intent to commit a felony. Elements of a contract… well, you get what I mean.

Attorneys thrive on elements, and this book could easily be retitled “Elements of a Successful Retirement.” The author is a longtime lawyer with “almost 25 years with AARP.” Within the pages of this book, readers find a wealth of information about preparing for retirement and more than 20 checklists to help you get there. Author Sally Balch Hurme has also written three other books for AARP with the word “Checklist” in the title somewhere. In other words, Hurme is an expert on elder law and she thinks like you and I do.

As always, I start with the questions; who should read this and why? Quite simply, everyone should read this book, both for personal and professional reasons. Some of us are all too quickly approaching the time when we will need this information. Even those of you who have barely gotten your Bar Cards though will benefit from a read of this book. We are all either going to retire, going to counsel clients who will retire or are retired, or have loved ones who will retire or are retired.

The book starts with advice on how to prepare for the day when the alarm goes off and you don’t have to be anywhere; reflect, reimagine, revel. Then it segues immediately into practicalities such as how to prepare your firm for your departure, yourself for Day 1, and your spouse for the fact that you may be hanging around the house a lot more. A key piece of advice; work out ahead of time the whole “list” thing. When you retire, are you one of those types that need a list of things to be doing every day? Or, are you one who has longed for the rocker on the porch? Setting expectations early will go a long way toward a smooth transition.

Chapters continue with a focus on other practicalities, such as “Get Organized and Clean Out the Clutter,” then “Work with Your Retirement Team.” Do you want to retire abroad? There is a chapter on that. Other chapters address finances, retirement plans and benefits, insurance, and legal issues.

As I review these books, some leap out as important. This is one of those. No matter where you are in your life, you can benefit from the concepts that Hurme puts out and the checklists that she has created. The fact that the book comes to us from the ABA and AARP, two respected organizations, only reinforces its credibility. I’m taking it with me to Florida next week to give to my parents. Then I’m ordering one for myself and my wife.

Eric Cook

Eric Cook is an attorney who lives in Portsmouth and has practiced in New Hampshire since 1998.

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