23/09/2015 07:33 BST | Updated 22/09/2016 06:12 BST

There's More to Retirement Than Just the Finances!

As a pensioner myself, I follow ''pension talk' quite avidly. And, with all the changes that have happened to the world of pensions lately, there has been a lot of talk about retirement in the press, but I can't help that feel that these articles are missing the point. Whilst the money side of retirement is obviously very important to people, it's not the be all and end all - yet finances seems to be the focus of ALL the attention. As any retirees will know, and perhaps even more so any of you that are in the lead up to your retirement, there is plenty to worry about besides money.

I have never stopped working, because I love what I do; I have a purpose. So many people battle with what they are going to do in retirement. Some lose a structure to their life when they give up work; the backbone that has underpinned so much in their life until that point, and they have no idea how to fill the vacuum that is left when they stop. I think the concern around what people do with their time in retirement is brushed aside in favour of a financial focus.

I've written a lot about how too few retired people get sufficient exercise, or treat their bodies with enough care. Retirement is a time when you need to get or keep yourself in shape, as otherwise you can rapidly become a shadow of your former self. You need to look after your body and mind if you want to enjoy and happy and healthy new chapter of your life.

So I was interested to see a new book just released called The Dream Retirement; how to Secure your Money and Retire Happy, because it is the first book I have seen that aims to address the wider topic of retirement. It clearly guides you on how to maximise your money in retirement, but interestingly it also addresses how you can best spend your time, whilst improving your health and wellbeing in your new life. Charlie Reading, the author is a Chartered Financial Planner, and I think he gives clarity to a complicated financial world, cutting through many of the mistakes people commonly make in the lead up to and in retirement. But what sets this book apart from the rest of the financial world is that as well as addressing the financial side of retirement, he also heavily focuses on how you can truly create the retirement of your dreams.

He does this by focusing on how you will spend your time in retirement. What will your Ideal Retirement Week look like, how will you manage the things you love to do best, and equally those jobs you'd rather not. What will be on your Bucket List, and if you haven't got one, why it is so important you do.

And, music to MY ears, he also focuses on to get yourself into shape at this later stage in life, and explains the importance of different types of exercise, something I have talked about all of my life. And, as we all know mental health is as important as physical health. He looks at ways retirees can keep their mind active. After all, the brain is just another muscle, and if you don't use it, you'll lose it!

And, something that few people address, the book looks at how you need to strengthen your relationships in retirement. This stressful point in life can put relationships under a lot of pressure. Retiring is an emotionally difficult time. I liken it to women giving up work to have children. Very often they lose their sense of identity, and this can be extremely difficult to deal with. Retirement can create this same internal battle, as well as put a strain on even the strongest relationships.

In 'The Dream Retirement', Charlie guides you through the world of retirement in a way that even makes pensions exciting. And, personally for me, that's no mean feat!

I've been very lucky in my semi-retirement. I prepared some many years before the event and, as the time drew nearer I was lucky to have a strong group of close friends and my children and grandchildren. But life and issues have changed dramatically over the last decade - and no doubt will continue to change at a pace. If you can, try to plan and keep your friends around you for advice and counsel.

And if you're concerned in any way, this book could be your friend to help you guide you through the pitfalls.

I was so impressed by the book that I got in touch with the author and he agreed to provide you with the opportunity to download a free preview of the book by visiting

I wish you the retirement of your dreams - and hope you'll keep me updated with your successes - email me at