Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Book review: “Retirement Made Simple.”

Cover of Noel Whittaker's book "Retirement Made Simple."
Disclosure: Please note that I may benefit from purchases made through my affiliate links below, at no cost to you.

A little while ago Noel Whittaker, who is a member of a FB group I’m also in, wrote that he was releasing a new book in October – ‘Retirement Made Simple.‘ Perfect timing for me, of course. I ordered it, telling him that if it made me rethink my retirement plans I was going to be pretty mad!!

I’m a bit of a fan of his work. As some of you may recall, every Christmas for the last 5 years I’ve given a finance book to my sons and nieces. They’ve received TWO of Whittaker’s books – the first being the book that gives a broad education of the Australian financial scene – ‘Making Money Made Simple‘ and the one designed for young adults starting out – ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Wealth.’

This new book was bought just with ME in mind. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I really know how to pamper myself.

I’m not going to give a blow-by-blow account of every chapter, as I’ve seen some in the PF world do in their reviews. I think doing so is a disservice to the author. A review isn’t meant to be a summary; it’s meant to give an idea of the flavour of the book.

I will say that ‘Retirement Made Simple’ is a well laid out and comprehensive view of the things every Australian needs to know (and think about) as they’re either heading towards or are actually into the retirement stage.

It begins with the numbers – what people need to know about superannuation, pensions, investments, insurances… all of the things that underpin the financial bedrock of financial independence and security. After all, there’s no point in retiring if you find yourself eating cat food a few years later just to survive!

Once all that is dealt with, the later chapters move into how to make the most of the freedom of retirement. Health, activities, relationships, philosophies of living – all the things that people sometimes forget to consider before they pull the pin on working. In other words – the answers to “But what will you DO all day?” (Someone at work asked me that question only yesterday. I don’t think they know me very well!)

Mr Bean saying "Now I get it!"

The chapters are also peppered with case studies of the things being explored, which I think is an excellent idea. A few people are numbers people and so they’re happy with charts and graphs, but the rest of us can grasp a concept more readily if it’s presented in a story. Somehow, after reading the story, the chart or graph makes much more sense.

I’m a speed reader, so I read it over a couple of days. I learned a bit here and there and by the end of it I felt that I’d prepared both my financial and emotional worlds pretty well prior to taking the jump. Phew!

I have a friend at work who is a couple of years away from pulling the pin. He and his wife are both English teachers and are even more numeral-averse than I am, if you can believe that such a thing is possible. When I finished reading it I passed the book over to him.

I was almost sure that he’d start reading it and then put it aside. I wasn’t completely sure, otherwise I wouldn’t have bothered giving it to him. But I felt that this book may have just come along at the right time for them to be ready for the information.

Yesterday he reminded me that he had the book, then when I asked if he’d been reading it he told me this:

“Last night I was washing the dishes and Ellen (his wife) was reading it aloud to me. The author has a very good way of making the information accessible to readers who don’t have a lot of financial knowledge. He’s making it easy for us to follow and understand. It’s really very good.”

That’s a ringing endorsement if ever I’ve heard one.

This stuff is important. The better we’re able to prepare for retirement, both financially and emotionally, the better our lives will be.

Making Retirement Simple‘ by Noel Whittaker. Check it out.

Knowledge is power.


  1. Shaun

    Hello Frog Dancer

    This book is hugely timely!
    I only just posted today about my partner and I sort out our financial route to FI, but not yet sure what we will do with our new found ‘freedom’ when we get there.

    I have heard so much about Neal Whitackers books but am yet to pick one up (and read it)

    Is this the best book to read first, or are there others you would recommend?

    Thanks again for the post


    • Frogdancer Jones

      I’d read ‘Making Money Made Simple’ first, for the broad overview and then I’d dive into this one.

  2. Latestarterfire

    Oh good! Thanks for the reminder – keep meaning to order it. I get his newsletters and have read his other books too and like them for the Australian perspective

    • Frogdancer Jones

      It’s definitely worth reading once all of the debt and investing stuff has been taken care of.

  3. Kathy Aylward

    I would love to know about the other books you have given your kids for Christmas. I have a 17 year old and a 14 year old and we have read The Barefoot Investor and The Barefoot Investor for Families and my kids put on one of the best 3 course dinner parties for 7 people with a budge of $50 [back in October 2018 when they were 15 and 12] – we were going to do more of them since they loved doing it. They picked the music, wrote a shopping list, looked up the prices on line to see if they could afford it – sticking to the budget, meal prepped, ironed the white table cloth, got out the good china]. There was cheese and crackers for nibbles, Honey & Ginger Chicken with stir fry veggies and rice which my son was responsible for. My daughter made home made vanilla ice cream and sticky date pudding. We all had the best time and they stuck to the $50 budget. I explained to them that this was a dinner party and that we wouldn’t be spending $50 a night on food on a normal night. It has reminded me to get them to do it again. My son saved up and bought himself his first car [naturally second hand] with his Dominos part time pizza delivery job…so proud of him and he now realizes how long it takes to save money and how many hours you have to work. It’s so good for them to get that when they are young and I try and teach them everything about money, interest rates, shares etc. Back to my original question..what other books have you given them.

    • Frogdancer Jones

      I should have a separate page on the blog for this. I’ll do it once I have a bit more time.
      1. Barefoot Investor.
      2. Richest Man in Babylon.
      3. Making Money Made Simple. (Whittakker)
      4. The Beginner’s Guide to Wealth. (Whittaker)
      5. Choose FI. (Mamula)

      One of my sons asked for more, so I also bought him ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ (he loved it and then ‘Your Money or Your Life’ – he didn’t finish it. 🙂

  4. Sandra Gerhardt

    A lady after my own heart. I’m waiting for my copy to arrive in the mail. Having retired aged under 60 three months ago, I’m hoping it solidifies my thought process.

    • FrogdancerJones

      I think you’ll enjoy reading it.

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