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The AARP Retirement Survival Guide — How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad

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The AARP Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and BadReview by Linda Greenberg, Esq., Palos Verdes, California

Book by Julie Jason

My review is on “The AARP Retirement Survival Guide – How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad.” The author, Julie Jason is a personal money manager who started her career as a securities lawyer 30 years ago. Her goal in writing this book was to create an educational consumer-protection guide for soon-retiring baby boomers. AARP (American Association of Retired People) got involved because their mission is to publish books that enrich the lives of older Americans. This book provides a good overview of financial planning options for retirement such as how much you should save, how much you can afford to take out every month. The book won the Best Finance Book at the International Book Awards and was chosen the top business book by Booklist.

The first thing you notice when you open the book is the large print making the book easy to read. It is very detailed oriented and provides lots of tips and lists of things you need to have handy when working on your retirement. For example, there is a list of exactly what you need to bring with you to the social security office when you are first applying for benefits.  The book offers clear directions on things such as “Where do I begin?” and what to do when your spouse has very different ideas about retirement.

The book offers very helpful self-assessments, checklists, and tools that are designed to help even the absolute beginner under stand some very complex topics. There is a detailed rating system for varying products as well as some really helpful “Don’t be Fooled Rules”.

Ms. Jason provides her expert opinions on various topics. She rates things like how motivated is a product salesman to does your decision let you sleep at night. She has several “Don’t be Fooled” rules that help educate retiring consumers and protects them from unscrupulous or overzealous salespeople. Along this line, she has one entire chapter dedicated to these topics called “ Perfect Storm of Disaster for Retirees – Sales Tactics, Scams and Bad Advice”.

There is also a great deal of information on evaluating retirement income products. I found this information to be helpful and educational but came away with a sense that a financial advisor would be the smartest way to go since so much can go wrong if you don’t know what you are doing.

As for not yet ready to retirement younger readers, there are lots of recommendations that can help put them on a better, more prepared path toward retirement.

The book finishes with a step-by-step retirement readiness test. Overall, the book was a helpful and educational tool. I would recommend this book as a first step toward putting together a comprehensive retirement plan. It highly suggests the use of a financial advisor. However, it does not go into detail on specifics of individual plans. This book would be a very good reference book that would allow to reader to return as needed for comprehensive explanations for different types of financial products or salespeople.

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Robert B. Fleming


Robert Fleming is a Fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been certified as a Specialist in Estate and Trust Law by the State Bar of Arizona‘s Board of Legal Specialization, and he is also a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Robert has a long history of involvement in local, state and national organizations. He is most proud of his instrumental involvement in the Special Needs Alliance, the premier national organization for lawyers dealing with special needs trusts and planning.

Robert has two adult children, two young grandchildren and a wife of over fifty years. He is devoted to all of them. He is also very fond of Rosalind Franklin (his office companion corgi), and his homebound cat Muninn. He just likes people, their pets and their stories.

Elizabeth N.R. Friman


Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman is a principal and licensed fiduciary at Fleming & Curti, PLC. Elizabeth enjoys estate planning and helping families navigate trust and probate administrations. She is passionate about the fiduciary work that she performs as a trustee, personal representative, guardian, and conservator. Elizabeth works with CPAs, financial professionals, case managers, and medical providers to tailor solutions to complex family challenges. Elizabeth is often called upon to serve as a neutral party so that families can avoid protracted legal conflict. Elizabeth relies on the expertise of her team at Fleming & Curti, and as the Firm approaches its third decade, she is proud of the culture of care and consideration that the Firm embodies. Finding workable solutions to sensitive and complex family challenges is something that Elizabeth and the Fleming & Curti team do well.

Amy F. Matheson


Amy Farrell Matheson has worked as an attorney at Fleming & Curti since 2006. A member of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council, she is primarily responsible for estate planning and probate matters.

Amy graduated from Wellesley College with a double major in political science and English. She is an honors graduate of Suffolk University Law School and has been admitted to practice in Arizona, Massachusetts, New York, and the District of Columbia.

Prior to joining Fleming & Curti, Amy worked for American Public Television in Boston, and with the international trade group at White & Case, LLP, in Washington, D.C.

Amy’s husband, Tom, is an astronomer at NOIRLab and the Head of Time Domain Services, whose main project is ANTARES. Sadly, this does not involve actual time travel. Amy’s twin daughters are high school students; Finn, her Irish Red and White Setter, remains a puppy at heart.

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Matthew M. Mansour


Matthew is a law clerk who recently earned his law degree from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. His undergraduate degree is in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Matthew has had a passion for advocacy in the Tucson community since his time as a law student representative in the Workers’ Rights Clinic. He also has worked in both the Pima County Attorney’s Office and the Pima County Public Defender’s Office. He enjoys playing basketball, caring for his cat, and listening to audiobooks narrated by the authors.