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OLDER AND WISER: Curl up with a good book

Columnist shares his mustread winter book list
Curl up with a good book

Tis the season to throw another log on the fire and curl up with a few good books.

Here are three titles that make my 'must read' list this holiday season.

Judging from my emails, many of my readers find it a challenge to communicate with health professionals. Talk to Your Doc: The Patient's Guide is billed as the definitive guide for patients looking for the best health outcome. Author Mary F. Hawkins, a health-care columnist and lecturer at the University of Ottawa, helps the reader ask the smart questions and develop the best relationship with health care providers and the health care system.

Talk to Your Doc is from Self Counsel Press, a local outfit with an office in North Vancouver, and the book includes free access to a download kit.

Other titles from this publisher include, Aging Safely in Your Home, Financial Care for Your Aging Parent, Making the Right Move: Housing Options for Seniors and the Caregivers Guide for Canadians. Each of these books is written in plain language expressly for a Canadian audience.

Meet Mr. Doom and Mr. Gloom - a.k.a. my own retirement plan. In The Real Retirement: Why You Could Be Better Off Than You Think, and How to Make That Happen, authors Fred Vettese and Bill Morneau make the case that with a little planning many of us may actually be better off in retirement than we were during our working years. I sure hope so.

If the name Bill Morneau rings a bell it should - he's the newly appointed Minister of Finance in the Trudeau government.

My go-to guy for making the numbers simple in our day-to-day financial life is Moshe Milevsky, a professor at Toronto's York University and an expert on retirement income. Milevsky is out with a new book on annuities this year but since you need money to buy an annuity and I don't have any, Milevsky's book will have to wait until next year.

How would you like to reinvent your retirement?

Maybe take a vacation and never come back? Then do yourself a favour and pick up a copy of The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget: How to Live Well on $25,000 a Year, by Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher.

"Imagine retiring five or 10 years early to a charming villa with a guest house, an ocean view, a weekly home cleaning service, and fresh milk and flowers delivered every morning," says the teaser on the book's cover.

When I read that, this book was in my shopping cart faster than you can say, "Bring me another margarita." I've got my bags packed already.

"Maybe you should read the book first," says the wife.

Maybe she's right. All three of my mustread books are available from the North Vancouver District Public Library.

The Real Retirement can also be found at the West Vancouver Memorial Library.

So there's my reading list. Which book should I tackle first? It's a bit of a dilemma. Well maybe not.

Let's summarize.

I've got a book on health care that reminds me of my own mortality. I've got a book that will likely expose the flaws in my retirement plan and a book that tells me how I can live like a king in a paradise for few dollars a day.

When you look at it that way the choice of which book I pick up first becomes rather obvious.

Tom Carney is the former executive director of the Lionsview Seniors' Planning Society. Ideas for future columns are welcome.

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