Book Reviews

Practical and Realistic
By Andreja Harde on October 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
This is an easy to understand and easy to follow book written by an obviously uniquely qualified author. The writer presents tangible information in everyday language and addresses the female retirement needs and dreams from holistic standpoint, including practical emotional and financial aspects. He offers realistic, easy to follow, achievable solutions which most of us can benefit from greatly, and in addition touches on various other aspects of retirement living. In general, this book is a useful, simple to navigate, very well written pleasant read.

...but organized so that readers can easily "pick and choose" those chapters that interest them

By marian j sanders on October 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
In clear language, Lee Johnson details all aspects about retirement for women. He considers not only practical issues, such as Social Security benefits and estate planning, but the physical, psychological and social effects of retirement on women, and how to deal with them. Many personal anecdotes enliven his writing. His information is comprehensive, but organized so that readers can easily “pick and choose” those chapters that interest them, and use his book as a reference tool to navigate the complex and difficult questions that are likely to confront them during retirement years.



      1  The Power of Networking   
Your Partner
Managing His Retirement
Divorce and Separation
Marriage Counseling
Dating in Retirement
Social Networking
Platonic Cohabitation
Role Models Biographies

2   How to Design Your Future 
Life Review
Your Bucket List
Designing a Daily Routine
Attitudes on a Finite Existence
Stages of Acceptance
Disengagement and Detachment
Isolation and Loneliness
Preventing Retirement Depression
Brain Health and Cognition
 Sexual Adjustments
Advanced Medical Directives

3  Getting Organized   
Planning for a Female Retirement
Timing your Retirement
The Written Plan
Vital Involvement
Planning for Longevity
Estate Planning

4   Your Body is Your Vehicle  
Your Weight and Body Fat
Cost of Poor Health
Psychology of Eating
Diet & Nutrition
Tobacco Cessation
Alcohol, Coffee, and Tea
Exercise and Quality of Life
Exercise and Longevity
    Walking for Life    
Transcendental Meditation
Our Five Senses
Medicare and Health Insurance

          5   Money Makes the World Go Around 
The Perceived Doom and Gloom
Affordable Retirement
Living on a Budget
Multiple Income Sources
Fixed Income Investments
Investment Portfolio
Our Relationship with Money 
Financial Advice

6  Creative Income  
Employment Identity
Establishing Creative Income
Home Based Business 
Alternative Marketplaces
Training and Education
Employment and Longevity
Creatures of Habit
Credit Cards vs. Cash

7   Give Me Shelter
Renting vs. Owning Property
When to Sell Your Home
Finding the Right Location
Retirement and Care Facilities
Government Assistance Programs

8  Visions of the Future

FREE Consultation for LIFE

When you purchase the book, you will receive free personal support and advice for as long as needed. I answer all questions via email at

Q  What makes your book any different from the rest?​   

 I show you how to design your retirement based on your personality traits and your specific needs to increase your longevity. I focus on creative income  for women based on sustainability and safety. I discuss the various ways your partner may accidentally sabotage your golden years and provide solutions for prevention. I address the special needs of single women in retirement. 

Q  How much do I need to retire?

  First, you establish a retirement budget that determines your income needs and build from there. Affordability is really a matter of establishing creative income combined with downsizing. Many people think they need a big savings, but it's really a matter of income streams. The Creative Income chapter discusses the conventional and unusual ways to create income streams. The Give Me Shelter chapter is about downsizing and economizing. 

Q  What can I do if I'm afraid of outliving my savings?

  The Social Security program continues to pay you regardless of how long you live. There are other similar financial products like annuities discussed in the book. But, the bottom line may be your willingness to work part-time past retirement age. This extra employment has surprising social benefits as well. 

Q  Will Social Security be around when I retire in 6 years?

  I'm surprised that so many people think that Social Security is in trouble when it's really Medicare. This program cannot stop due to the millions who depend on the program for basic needs. The needed adjustments are already being made to ensure its long-term sustainability. For example, if you were born after 1960, your full retirement age is now 67. In other words, do not live in fear that this entitlement program is going away anytime soon.

Q  Social Security benefits, when should I start?

  Well, it really depends on your situation. Starting benefits at 62 years old reduces your full retirement amount by about 25% for life. If your budget requires that you maximize your benefits, then you would work until 70 years old and begin benefits at that time. You can receive a spousal benefit from 62 to 70 and then receive your maximum benefit at 70 years old as well. This way you take advantage of the full range of benefits.

Q  Do I have to live outside the United States to afford retirement?

  I think it can be a big mistake to leave your supportive network behind especially if you're single. If you are a couple with the travel bug, it could be fun and exciting. But, if you're considering this move just for financial reasons, you probably haven't explored all the local options yet.

Q  How to retire early?

 If this is a financial question, it's really a combination of saving and investing, creating income streams, and living on a budget. All of these things are discussed in the book. If this is a personal question, then you need a well developed retirement plan that includes your personal, social, and physical goals and involvements. I discuss how to establish this plan to maximize your health benefits and enjoyment at any age.

Q  What to do in retirement, I'm bored?

  It's common to feel bored in retirement when we haven't planned ahead. I present a step-by-step approach to evaluating your needs and interests and designing a social plan to accommodate them. You'll see how social involvement is absolutely vital and can be healthy on a number of different levels.

Q  I know I lost interest in sex probably due to menopause, but what should I do with my husband who won't slow down?

​  Its these exact situations that must be addressed in retirement. Women loose estrogen while men loose testosterone, but at different rates. Your decrease began ahead of your husband that can cause an imbalance or even feelings of rejection. Solving this problem begins with an open discussion with your partner and may end upon seeing your docto

Author Biography

Lee Johnson (1954-) moved to San Francisco when two years old. He was raised and influenced during the cultural movement of the 1960s and 70s. His interest in mental health developed out of a curiosity to understand the colorful street people of that era. This interest led to receiving a Bachelor Degree in Psychology from San Francisco State University. He graduated from Fresno State University with a Masters of Social Work with a psychiatric focus in 1978. 

He published "A Pilot Study of Personality Type Change" from thesis research in 1980. This led to provate practice as a Lincense Clinical Social Worker. He extended his therapy skills by graduating from the Biofeedback Institute of Los Angeles. This allowed him to treat high blood pressure,  anxiety, headaches, insomnia and related  psycho-physiological disorders. Lee transition to medical social work on cardiac and medical-surgical units required bereavement family counseling. This developed into working for a hospice doing death and dying counseling. He credits the hospice experience for enlightening him to the end of life issues. After his hospice work, he established a workers compensation private practice treating and advocating for injured employees. He became an instructor/counselor for a diet clinic advising on mental heath issues and eating. He established a stress reduction and anxiety management program for the diet center. After relocating to Arizona, he continued his practice of psychotherapy with hospitalized patients.  

Due to broad interests, Lee began to study business investments and became a registered representative or stockbroker. Combining this with an insurance license allowed him to offer annuities for 401k and 403b tax deferred retirement plans. He then applied stock market knowledge to the real estate markets as an investor. But, missing the depth of working with people, he returned to counseling. He continues to do volunteer counseling and enjoys continual research and study in gerontology and retirement areas. In his spare time, Lee is writing existential poetry which you will find locaged in various places on this site. The accumulation of all this diverse experience is evidenced in his current work for women. 


 Your retirement identity is of a successful person who creatively and efficiently manages your money and lifestyle to adapt to the ever changing economic and personal conditions of the time.

Ebook only $2.99 
Amazon paperback on sale

Shapeless Time

Segments of evolving reality
Aging has altered my time
Savor shapeless pieces
Squander nothing behind

History of expiring world
Shock waves rattle your spine
Future of temporal uncertainty
Cyclone sweeping your mind

Distractions rob the senses
Electronics hasten the pace 
Capture timeless memories
Prisoners of embrace

Rites of passage of eras
Sand slipping through rhymes 
Flow of waning motion
Winter of shapeless times

©Lee Johnson


When to start Social Security

  When to start social security for women is based on different factors than men. Your starting age actually depends on a number of different financial and personal factors.  Women need a smarter plan to stretch their incomes and benefits through a longer and more expensive retirement.

We are all aware of the three major starting points to begin Social Security, 62, 66 or 70 years old. We are aware that taking benefits at 62 reduces it about 25% compared to 66. Taking benefits at 70 increases our amount by about 25% compared to 66 years old. 

Here is an example.

62 years = $1125 / mo.     $13,500 / year
66 years = $1500                            $18,000
70 years = $1875                            $22,500

When examining these numbers, it’s clear that the best situation is to collect the most on a permanent basis. But, you would receive it for less years.

Reasons to start at 62: 

The primary reason is that you need the money to live on.

1. You’re unemployed and it’s difficult getting hired.
2. You’re working part-time or your income is below $20,000
3. Your health is poor and you are unable to generate much income.
4. You don’t have longevity in you family history.
5. You are trying to minimize your long term taxation.
6. You’re starting an early spousal benefit before switching at 70

The first three examples are based on your current financial need. If your family longevity is short, taking benefits early makes sense. Since Social Security is subject to taxation, taking a lower benefit results in less taxation when combined with your other income. This makes sense if your other incomes are over $20,000. Your combined income for taxation when receiving Social Security is= 1) your AGI or adjusted gross income + 2)non-taxable interest(now taxable) + 3) half of your benefits. Let’s take a look at this example:

Adjusted Gross Income            $12,000
Tax-exempt interest                  $ 8,000
Half of Soc. Sec. benefits         $ 6,750

This total is $26,750 while your taxes begin at $25,000 if single. So, if you are making $20,000 a year or more, getting more social security will mean more taxation. The days of receiving tax free municipal bond dividends are over.

As a spouse, you are entitled to social security at 62 years old even if you never worked. You just have to be married for 10 years at some point and you can be divorced now. You can collect half of his benefits without any loss to him. You simply have your partner apply for social security and suspend his payments until 70. This allows you to receive you spousal benefits at 62 and start your own benefits at 70 when it’s higher.

Reasons to start at 70:
1. You are able to work full time with a decent income until 70
2. You need to lock in the highest benefit to maintain your lifestyle
3. You don’t have a big savings or multiple income streams
4. You are healthy and have longevity in your family
5. You want to collect the 8% a year by waiting
6. You will receive a greater cost of living increase

Due to the greater longevity and other expenses of women, most should wait until 70 years old to collect benefits. The key reason for most of us to wait is that we haven’t saved enough. Working longer not only increases your income, but also pays more into social security that increases your benefits. Your benefits increase about 8%(past full retirement age) a year by waiting. Many people consider that a good return on your money. The cost of living increase is a percentage, so the larger your benefit, the larger the increase in dollar terms.

In conclusion, I believe most women would receive the greatest benefits by waiting until 70 years old to collect. To get maximum benefit, take half of the spousal benefit at 62 and your full benefit at 70. If you fit into one of the reason to start early, then don’t be bashful about taking advantage. But, try to wait as long as possible.                 L. Johnson.   

Jack LaLanne Diet and Exercise

Francois Henri LaLanne(1914-2011) famous diet and exercise routine paved the way for him to become an American health icon. He opened the first public gym in Oakland, Ca and is best known for his TV show on fitness. But, he started out as a junk food addict as a kid until he was embarrassed by a failure to pass a routine physical exam in school. This upset and motivated him to attend health lectures that re-directed his life.

WORKOUT: LaLanne’s workout routine began with a series of stretches in bed as soon as he woke around 5am. He then went to one of his weight rooms, one had free weights and the other had weight-lifting machines. He worked the lower body one day and the upper body the next and the entire routine was changed every 30 days. After 90 minutes of weight lifting, he went to the pool for swimming and water exercises for another 30 minutes.

DIET: He ate only two meals a day. The first meal was at 11am after the workout and the second around 7pm usually at a cafe with his wife. His breakfast consisted of fruit, oatmeal, broth, and four egg whites.

His restaurant dinners began with a salad of 10 raw vegetables and four hard boiled egg whites. Fish was consumed almost every night and roasted turkey occasionally. He ate no other types of meat and did not snack between meals. His juicer became popular because Jack just couldn’t eat that many raw vegetables. He found juicing made it easier to consumer the large amount of veggies he wanted.

VITAMINS: In addition to a disciplined diet, Jack took 40 to 50 vitamins and minerals on a daily basis. It’s too long of a list to print here, but can be found on his website. However, he never relied on supplements to replace any foods, he just view it as an “insurance policy.”

ALCOHOL: Being a Frenchman himself, he believed in drinking wine because he noticed that the French tend to live longer in their wine culture. He allowed himself this pleasure apart from his discipline and was even know to get drunk at times.

He published his last book when 95 years old, Live Young Forever that influenced me to change my breakfast to oatmeal and raisins–his favorite. He passed away a little more than a year later at 96 years old from pneumonia.

CONCLUSION: There are areas of contention in his routine. It’s true that Jack placed weights ahead of aerobic exercise. In his diet, he derived most protein from egg whites and fish rather than more diverse sources. His heavy vitamin consumption may have not helped much as absorption rates were lower then. And he probably drank a bit too much at times. But, it’s his long term devotion to a healthy diet and challenging exercise that set him apart.            

Allen, R. 4-8-15 Jack LaLanne Workout Retrieved from


Traits of a Long and Happy Relationship

We all want to know the secret of a long and happy relationship. There is an excellent study of adult development that examined people's relationships continuously 

for six to eight decades.  

This Aging Well(1)study focused on three groups. First is sample of 268 socially advantaged Harvard grads born around 1920. The second group is 456 inner city men born around 1930. The third group is 682 middle-class intellectually gifted women born around 1910. The study involved eight initial in-depth psychiatric interviews to establish a baseline. The follow-up study involved interviews with them, their parents and teachers to get more objective information. Most of subjects were then followed continuously until they passed away.  

To bypass all the statistics, the task of generativity was the best predictor of an enduring and happy marriage in old age. Generativity is basically how involved we have been as parents. We generate and raise our children with a varying degree of involvement. The top four traits from the study for a long and happy marriage are generativity, commitment, tolerance and humor.

Generativity is a measure of our caretaker abilities extended into retirement. The skills we use in child rearing certainly include dedicated care-taking, especially when children are young. We make a long-term commitment to our children as a matter of course, and we all know how much tolerance we need when they become adolescents. Humor is a good coping mechanism that helps relieve stress and lighten the intensity of the situation.

Good care-taking starts with an attitude of embracing the importance of relationships in general. Those who had a positive and supportive role model from their parents tend to emulate those behaviors when they become parents. But, those who did not develop basic trust with their primary caretaker tend not to be good caretakers themselves. 

Relationship skills learned in childhood are usually transferred to marriage and other emotional relationships as well.The study mentioned above may suggest that if your partner was not involved with child-rearing, did not bond in childhood, or is not involved in a care-taking role at work, he may not be involved with the care-taking demands of your relationship going forward.

If you do have a partner who wavers on these skills and you want to keep the relationship intact, you might consider managing his retirement plan by adding care-taker development goals. These skills can be learned, of course, as long as there is motivation. It’s important to develop his caretaker skills for times ahead when you may need to depend on him.    L.  Johnson  

Vaillant, G. “Aging Well” New York: Little, Brown & Co. 2002. p.113, 123



Are you tired of hearing the scare tactics claiming you'll never 

be able to retire? Are you insulted with male oriented advice that 

discounts women's individual needs? Are you worried that Social 

Security and Medicare won't be around? Have you noticed that it's 

often the men that sabotage retirement for the women?

This book is full of common sense solutions for women:

Design a customized retirement based on your personality 

How to use existing skills to establish creative income

Downsize and balance your budget without sacrifice

How the woman's social network is your retirement advantage 

How to plan for quality of life and greater longevity

How to manage your partner to save your retirement

When to sell your home for maximum benefit

Improve your health to benefit your body and budget

Learn to avoid the most common mistakes in retirement

If you are ready to take your retirement back, you need this book.

Don't let the doom and gloom writers determine your future. This 

comprehensive guide to women's retirement will help you manage 

your money, relationships, and health to maximize your quality of 

life and longevity as a couple or a single woman.  

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