I wrote The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security in the aftermath of the Great Recession, aiming to examine retirement issues in the post-crash economy. The Hard Times Guide is no longer in print – my new retirement guide, “Retirement Reboot,” will be available early in 2023.

Some of my favorite stories on the retirement beat are not about retirement at all. Rather, they are about people who have taken sharp turns later in life to new careers, often driven by a desire to find greater purpose and meaning in their work and in their lives.

I admire these people deeply, and have written dozens of stories about them. And over the years I noticed a pattern: many of these transformations began with a traumatic life experience. I came to think of these high-voltage bolts out of the blue as jolts — painful events that stop people in their tracks and then thrust them forward to positive change. That is the subject of Jolt: Stories of Trauma and Transformation (Post Hill Press).

Americans approaching retirement age today have experienced some particularly frightening economic waves. During the Great Recession in 2009 and the COVID-19 pandemic of the early 2020s, older Americans experienced higher rates of job loss than younger ones, and the uncertainty caused by the rising inflation rates has led to exceedingly difficult economic circumstances for millions.

Retirement Reboot: Commonsense Financial Strategies for Getting Back on Track walks readers through the core decisions to make now to improve a person’s retirement outcomes—even if their planned retirement is just a few years away.