The 5 Years Before You Retire With Emily Guy Birken


[113] – It’s never too early to start planning for retirement, including what to do later down the line as retirement nears. Today, let’s talk about what we should do five years before we retire.

In this episode, Jeremy Keil speaks with Emily Guy Birken about a few of her publications and experience as a freelance personal finance writer. Emily shares a handful of essential takeaways from two of her books, The 5 Years Before You Retire and Stacked: Your Super Serious Money Management Guide, about what to do when preparing for retirement.

Emily discusses:

  • How she became a money writer
  • The 5 takeaways from her book, The 5 Years Before You Retire
  • Focusing on what you want to do with your spending
  • What is was like to co-author a book, Stacked: Your Super Serious Money Management Guide, along with its two key takeaways
  • And more

The 5 Years Before You Retire

The 5 Key Takeaways

Emily Guy Birken shares 5 key takeaways with us from her book, The 5 Years Before You Retire. They are:

  1. Maximize your current investments
  2. Secure healthcare for the future
  3. Capitalize on pre-retirement opportunities
  4. Protect your assets
  5. Strategize for the life you deserve

Today, we focus on two of the most important ones: capitalizing on pre-retirement opportunities, and strategizing for the life you deserve.

Capitalize on Pre-Retirement Opportunities

Before you retire is the best time to think about how your retirement will look. The five years before retirement is when most people realize it’s really happening; retirement is close.

During the pre-retirement period, you can road test some ideas for what you want to do with your time after retirement.

If you’re thinking about more than just money, you’re probably thinking about how you’ll spend your time, where you’ll live, and what you will focus on in retirement.

The typical financial professional provides you with financial advice, but you also need to focus on what you want from your retirement. A great way to focus on both within the last five years before you retire is to give those ideas a test run.

If you plan to retire in Florida, for example, visit the state during different times of the year to see if you like it all year round instead of only during the tourist months. Testing out where you want to live for a short period, like 1 to 3 months, can also give you a better idea of your expenses and allow you to plan more accurately.

Strategize For The Life You Deserve

While focusing on spending is important, what you want to do with that spending might be more critical.

One of the things about how Emily’s father conducted his business as a financial advisor that Emily admires and inspired her book is how he would prioritize getting to know his clients.

Instead of rushing through meetings and trying to get to as many clients as possible, her father would spend more time with his clients to get to know their financial situation and their goals and values for retirement.

Planning for retirement is about your life. If you focus primarily on money, you’ll miss the life aspect of retirement planning. We want to figure out how you can afford the life that you want.

Something Emil recommends in her book, The 5 Years Before You Retire, is to think of what your plan B retirement would look like: what’s the least amount of money you would need on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis to feel satisfied with your life?

And that’s because if you start planning with your focus on money and then something goes wrong with that plan, you’ll feel like you failed.

But if you start with your life goals and what you want from retirement, and you have to adjust your expectations, you can always feel like you succeeded and live a happy retirement.


To learn more about Emily Guy Birken’s publications, check out the resources below!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us or our guest Emily Guy Birken using the contact information provided below!


Connect With Emily Guy Birken:

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About Our Guest:

Emily Guy Birken is a former educator, lifelong money nerd, and a Plutus-Award Winning Personal Finance Writer. She is the author of five books, with The Five Years Before You Retire, Stacked: Your Super Serious Guide to Modern Money Management, and End Financial Stress Now, being her most recent publications.



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