When I was 10, my family moved from upstate New York to Harrodsburg – the birthplace of Kentucky. It was a small town in the central Bluegrass Region, right in the heart of horse country. James Harrod (a compatriot of Daniel Boone) founded the town back in 1774. It was the first permanent settlement west of the Allegheny Mountains. It was a wonderful place to spend my middle school years, but the summers were brutally hot and incredibly humid. Even then, I was dreaming about writing my first book.
The best part of a hot summer
The first summer I spent in H-burg, as we called it, was so hot that I couldn’t go outside without feeling sick. So, I spent my days in our family room reading dozens of books under the window air conditioner. The very best part of that summer was when the bookmobile came onto our street and parked right outside our house. The bookmobile is exactly what you’re thinking – – a long bus-like vehicle or a super long RV. A librarian both drove the bookmobile and gave you the best recommendations for books. You were allowed to take out 20 books at a time and I always borrowed to the limit.
Reading became a passion for me that summer of 1972. I loved learning new things, getting lost in a story, and discovering new places. The characters were so quirky, their adventures so daring. Somewhere in the heat of that summer, I knew I would like to be a writer.
Dreaming about what my first book could be
As with many things in life, it can take a while to achieve different goals and dreams. School work, then working and raising a family has consumed most of my time over the years. But, I never forgot about that idea of writing my first book. Much to my delight, all the pieces came together when a surprise opportunity fell into my lap. I was at a retirement industry conference, tweeting about the speakers, topics and trends. One of my colleagues mentioned that he had just started to use Twitter.
“Me too,” I said. “And, I write a blog.”
“You write a blog?” he asked.
“Yes, I do. It’s about how Baby Boomers are recreating retirement. It profiles real people, their stories and what they are doing. I’m having lots of fun with it.”
“Do you want to write a book?”
I immediately and without hesitation said: “Yes, I do!” The rest is now history.
A big announcement!
So, it is with great enthusiasm that I announce my first published book: What’s The Deal with Retirement Planning for Women? Now, don’t be disappointed that it’s not a summer beach read or a page-turning thriller. There’s no mystery or mayhem among the characters. But, it is about trips to exotic lands and renewed connections with spouses, partners, friends and families. It is about parties, new beginnings and endless opportunities. It’s about helping women take charge of their retirement and the fun, amazing, meaningful things they can do in retirement. And, it’s about both the financial issues and the personal ones.
It’s not a dry textbook or a compendium of financial jargon. Bur rather, a short, snappy, story-filled book that talks to women in our own language about getting more engaged in planning for retirement. It recognizes how and why women might not be comfortable with the money part of writing their own retirement stories and provides a wide range of resources to get started.
Why this as my first book?
One of my big goals for writing this book was to spark conversation. As you’ll read on the back cover:
Women are completely comfortable talking about many “M-word” topics: their marriages, motherhood and their mothers, merlots and martinis, mammograms and menopause. But, bring up money and the conversations screech to a halt. Ask how prepared a woman is for retirement and she can tell you the exact date when she wants to retire, but not how much money she’ll need for a 30-year retirement.
I invite all the ladies and their wonderful spouses, partners and supporters to take a couple of hours to read my first book. You’ll find ideas about how you can better prepare for and create your own retirement. Then, let me know how your retirement planning conversations are going!
For More Information:
I’ve had great support and encouragement from my dear friend and colleague, Susan Bumstead Chanley, to get the word out. She is my Public Relations expert and has been instrumental in getting coverage in the local press and in trade publications. Others also covered my first book, and I am truly grateful:
Jonathan Dame talked with me and wrote a Q&A article that appeared in both the Newton Tab and Needham Times
Susan even got a byline in Life and Health Advisor, an industry publication for insurance agents