A book that could change your life.

guidetoretirementLadies: How’s your retirement planning going? Have you even started? Do you fear you’ll never be able to stop working?

Have I got a book for you.

Mary Hunt’s “The Smart Woman’s Guide to Planning For Retirement” is designed for women of all ages. Yes, I’m looking at the 40- and 50-somethings who don’t really have a clear plan except, “I hope Social Security isn’t gutted by the time I retire.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 55 percent of women have no savings at all and thus depend entirely on Social Security. Since the average monthly check is $1,130, that would be like working for $6.40 an hour, the author notes: “Could you live on that?”

Those who retire with some savings don’t fare much better. The average account has less than $30,000 in it; assuming you live to 85, it works out to just an additional $125 a month.

Want to take charge of your own finances? Enter for a chance to win a copy of this book.

Yes, it can be difficult to set money aside in a down economy, especially if your personal economy has gone way down. But it is possible. Not easy, necessarily, but absolutely essential.

“If you feel fearful, undisciplined or uneducated when it comes to managing your money, you can change all that,” says Hunt, author of many books and the popular Debt-Proof Living website.

Her newest book is designed to help such women develop “a strong resolve to (plan retirement) no matter how difficult it may seem. Doing so might just save you from years of misery and poverty.”

To enter:

If you do any (or all!) of these things, please leave separate, additional comments to get credit for each entry.

The deadline to enter is 7 p.m. PST Tuesday, Feb. 11. If I don’t hear back from the winners by 10 p.m. PST Wednesday, Feb. 12, I’ll pick a new winner.

Note: Due to the high cost of international shipping, a winner who lives outside the United States will be given an Amazon gift card

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  1. Melissa F

    I NEED a book like this and some serious motivation soon! I am in my fabulous 40’s and embarrassingly, I have nothing saved for my future. I do have a large amount of student loans since I just recently went back to school to become a nurse and I just finished up my prerequisites. I should be getting into the nursing program in the fall which means I still have 4 semesters to go along with 4 more semesters of student loans-YIKES! In any case, I just spied this book on amazon and with your recommendation, if I don’t win it, I am buying it for sure! Thanks for sharing it!

    • Elizabeth Waniewski

      I just did this myself. I’m 51, finished the nursing program, and I’m a working nurse. Good luck to you. It’s a very hard program, but you’ll do fine. Once you’re working, you’ll be able to kill the loans, no worries. Beth RN

  2. Melissa F

    I subscribe via email too!

  3. Melissa F

    and facebook.

  4. Cindy Williamson

    Love Mary Hunt…been following for 22 plus years now. 🙂

  5. Cindy Williamson

    I subscribe via Email!

  6. Cindy Williamson

    I follow you on facebook too!

  7. Barbara A

    It sounds like a great read – thanks Donna!

  8. lisa m. jones (@TexanChef43)

    i subscribed on twitter today

  9. i am 44. i have no money. no savings. no job. i need this book.

    • Lisa … you are a young woman! You have 25 years ahead to plan. Don’t squander even one day of it. Six simple strategies you’ll find in my book will guide you. You are fortunate because time is on your side. Good luck!

  10. I’m planning on checking this book out of the library, but to own a copy would be great! Thanks for the giveaway, Donna.

  11. Facebook too.

  12. Pick me…

  13. This sounds wonderful and necessary.

  14. Suzanne in VA

    Long time follower~ long time non winner 🙂

  15. Shellylynn

    This would be a wonderful book to add to my collection! Thank you.

  16. I subscribe by email

  17. I subscribe through email. I’ve renewed this book four times at my library and finally returned it last week. Mary Hunt dispenses hard won wisdom.

    • Wow … Sheri, really? Four times! You’re my hero. I am writing a series in my Debt-Proof Living Newsletter (debtproofliving.com) on the back story and how writing this book rocked my world. Oh, you have no idea. But I mean in a very good way, ultimately. So you have to know that it is near and dear to my heart. And I’m so happy that you’re “getting it,” too.

  18. I follow you on Twitter.

  19. I “like” you on Facebook, too.

  20. Having been a federal employee who didn’t pay in to Social Security, that is not in my retirement plan.

    • Linda … But you paid into the Fed version of SS, right? It’s just called something else, I believe. Oh please tell me that you were not able to opt out of that. Please …

  21. Like on Facebook

  22. Follow on Twitter

  23. Receive your emails

  24. Looks like an important read.

  25. I would love to read this book. I’ve followed Mary Hunt for a couple of years, and she is a sensible woman who really walks the talk.

  26. I would really like to read this book!

  27. Caroline Dill

    Looks like a good book!

  28. Ro in San Diego

    Follow you on Facebook.

  29. Ro in San Diego

    Follow you by email too. This looks like a great book. this looks like a very useful book.

  30. Sounds like something I need to read.. Thanks!

  31. I receive your emails.

  32. I like you on FB

  33. I follow both on Facebook and email. I would like to win a copy of this book.

  34. follow on facebook

  35. follow on email

  36. In my 50s and this book would be a great help!

  37. I subscribe via email

  38. I’m 52 and recently lost my job. I have no savings, my husband has been on disability for 20 years and we rely on every penny that I make. This book would definitely help me out. I don’t want to have to work until I die.

  39. I’m in the same boat as Lisa. I could really use this book.

  40. Elizabeth Waniewski

    I used to read her. I’ll be getting her book, thanks for showcasing her work. Beth

  41. Gin Pingle

    I need this book to get myself in gear.

  42. I would love to read this book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  43. I subscribe via email and bloglovin.

  44. I follow you on FB.

  45. Donna, I am retired and do not need the book, but I have a word of caution here.
    Taxes are eating me up! I make $33,000 a year and taxes are killing me. I think I need a part time job just to pay for them. And it will only get worse when Obama care gets going.
    If you think you can make it, imagine this: you will for the most part have zero deductions. The state and federal taxes will be high, you must pay for medicare and a supplement, housing will be more expensive, utilities are going up, etc.
    I have learned a lot from you about being frugal, Donna. I wish the government would learn also! Would you run for President, please?

    • Hi Betsey … This isn’t Donna but I thought I would jump in with a response. You are so right about taxes—something so many of us forget because somehow we think that SS benefits are tax free (not necessarily!) that Medicare is free (dream on) and that our retirement accounts are a pile of money that will just double and triple on their own into massive amounts that we can spend freely in retirement. Not true, either. Remember those pre tax dollars we saved? The taxes must be paid on the principal as well as any gain. No way to avoid that. And contrary to what many people think (that we’ll be in a lower tax bracket when that time comes), with taxes going up and up and up and new taxes showing up and up and up … I believe it’s better to pay the taxes first (a la a Roth IRA) at the time the money is earned.

      I don’t have all the the answers, that’s for sure. I believe the best approach is to head into retirement debt-free with as few expenses possible and a keen ability to live frugally. Sounds like you’re on your way to achieving that kind of lifestyle!

  46. Like others, I have student loans and — in this economy — am earning very little, and struggling to do that. Maybe the book will have some tips for how to save despite these obstacles! (Like Donna, I pick up all spare change and do save all other “made money” separately, but it is slooooow to add up). Thanks for the giveaway.

  47. I subscribe via email. Also, for anyone not saving anything, I followed Donna’s advice and signed up for Swagbucks. You can get your payout via paypal. Even if that’s the only $ you save, it’ll add up in dollars rather than pennies…

  48. I follow you on Twitter.

  49. Being 61, I could really use this book to see if I am on target for retirement.

    • The good news is if you are, wow, awesome! If not, there’s still good news: You too are a young woman! At least ten years to get on track, right? Yes! You know what they are saying now? 70 is the new 50. And I love that.

      • You have no idea how much your comment did for my frame of mind! Thank you so much for replying.

  50. I have gone back to school to become a nurse … and the way things are going in this economy, I will be working for the rest of my life. I have very little saved for retirement. I need this book to help me plan for that phase of life — not sure I will be able to afford retirement. I need Mary Hunt’s help!

  51. Sigh…..I have been so busy raising a lot of kids for so many years that things like retirement planning have been completely crowded out of my life by other, more urgent needs……things like laundry and cooking (non-stop!). I am sure this is something I need to spend some time on.

  52. Looks like lots of us are in need of this one!

  53. I need this book. Great giveaway.

  54. I subscribe via email.

  55. I love your blog!

  56. enjoythejourney

    I devour financial help books the way some wannabe chefs devour cookbooks…although having taken to heart what my financial help books espouse, I’ve started on the cookbooks, too. Eating at home, we’ve gotten really tired of my same eight meals. (Not true of your posts, however — love ’em.)

  57. Kim Kelley

    I could really use this book. As a 48-year-old whose financial situation has deteriorated drastically due to some serious life changes, I could really use the help. I’ve read Mary Hunt before and she seems to really have it on the ball.

    • Kim … thanks for your vote of confidence. I’m no wonder woman. I blew off 25 years of my life thinking I could spend my brains out and it would all work out somehow in the future. And boy did I have a rude awakening. Now these many years later, I’m here to tell you that you can turn things around. I was about your age when I got really serious about this. And do not think for a minute that I won the lottery or got a big inheritance. Neither would be true. Not a cent on either account… ditto for my husband. Nothing. Nada. And … on Sep 17, 2013 we paid the last dime on our mortgage because we sold our home. Yeah, that’s a good way to do it 🙂 But wait there’s more:

      We took the equity from that sale and bought a new home for ALL CASH. Hear me girls …. We did it. We own a beautiful home all free and clear … every last molecule of earth on which it sits right to the top of the highest point on the roof is our. No loans. No mortgage. We will retire in this home that is on a golf course with a magnificent view of the Rocky Mountains!

      How could we do it? We’re relocating to another state where homes are half the price they are in Calif. Ok. Shut me up already. Just want you to know that you are limitless if you really truly believe you can do this… and you are wiling to do anything to make it happen!

  58. sue steiner

    looking forward to reading this book!

  59. Barb from CNY

    This books sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win!

  60. I’m still in my 30s, so maybe not your target audience here. But I am VERY interested in this book and advice on retirement investing in general. The money stats about women (especially divorced or widows) gives me goosebumps! I definitely don’t want to end up broke!

    • Samantha … My target audience is any woman from age 20 to 80. Oh, if you only knew how important is it for you to start early, if not sooner! Had you started in your 20s, it would be so much easier and the results would be so much better. So start today. Now.

  61. I subscribe via email.

  62. I like you on Facebook.

  63. I follow you on Twitter.

  64. I follow your Facebook page

  65. I subscribe to your email.

  66. I would love to win this book for my daughter in law. Thanks!!

  67. I need to get started I’m in my late 30s. 😉

  68. I just requested this book from the library, so please don’t enter me into the drawing. I just had to share the following…

    After I entered my request, a message popped up. You might be interested in “A Smart Woman’s guide to Plastic Surgery.”

    Ummm, no. Just…. no.

  69. Oh, I would love this book! My husband and I put five kids through college (no student loans – just a lot of hard work and saving, including the kids). I worked for five years after graduating from college, then stayed home for awhile to raise the five kiddos, before starting my second career, at age 45, is that of a special education teacher. I live in a windfall provision state so I will only get 1/3 of my Social Security 🙁 The book looks awesome! I would love to have a copy!

    • Windfall provision state? … I need to do some research on this! Laurie, not all of any woman’s retirement plan can be dependent on Social Security … 100% or in your case, 33.3%. So I hope you will read the book and zero in on these six strategies (not one of them is “Social Security” by the way).

  70. Donna, I have spent more than one sleepless night fretting about this very subject. Divorced, mid-forties, paycheck to paycheck, less than stellar salary, adult kids sometimes need my help, prices up, taxes up, okayokay, I’ll stop! I sure could use this book. Thanks, friend.

    • Donna Freedman

      Grammy: Although you want to help your kids, remember that you need to help yourself first — otherwise, you could wind up living with them when you’re retired and broke, thereby causing more financial stress for both parties. Put your own oxygen mask on first! And if you don’t win the book, see if your local library has it; if not, ask for an “inter-library loan,” or request that they purchase it.

    • Grammy … I echo what Donna says. Please take care of securing your future first. The best gift you will ever give them is the confidence that you will not become their burden.

  71. Would be great reference for teaching!!! Following you on twitter! Love you on Facebook!

  72. Alexandru Rusu

    I want to win this book!

  73. Alexandru Rusu

    Subscribed to email

  74. Alexandru Rusu

    Liked on Facebook!

  75. This is the type of book that I would read and then pass along (in true borrowing fashion) to my female relatives and friends.

  76. I would love the book

  77. Hit a financial spiral a few years ago. Have no savings but what was socked away at my last job in a 401K. Just checked that and it says the money is gone. All I had was $4000. Need to get this book and start planning and DOING better.

  78. sounds like a great book.

  79. One of the biggest downfalls of women is that they keep trying to do it alone and shun men.

    Donna, consider diversifying who you surround yourself with.

    • Donna Freedman

      I don’t agree. Plenty of women are ill-prepared even if they do have men in their lives, and plenty of women have been abandoned by men who may or may not have wrecked their finances in the process.
      And suppose you never do meet Mr. Right, or simply don’t want to get married/partner up? You wind up doing it alone, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

    • Linda … I don’t know what I would do without my husband, but I am realistic enough to know that he could be gone in a heartbeat. Women who find themselves alone are not always that way because they shun men. Life is uncertain. Women statistically out live their men. That’s a fact we all need to address and prepare ourselves to face.

      • Donna Freedman

        Hear, hear! In addition, women tend to earn less than men, work less than men (months or years taken off to raise kids and/or help care for elders) and, if divorced, struggle to cope with finances (and, maybe, with little or no child support).

  80. Jacqui B.

    Pick me! Pick me!

  81. I’ve been reading this book and wanted to give it to my daughter.

  82. Cathy in NJ

    I would love the book. Women need to know how to take care of themselves financially not just for ourselves but also for our children.


    This might seem a ghoulish question, and I haven’t really looked at the book TOC yet to see whether it’s addressed there . . .

    I am in my mid-40s with a spouse in his early 50s. I take good care of my health, and (due to the gene lottery) seem likely to make it into my

  84. Not done and can’t edit. 🙁 Continuing from comment 83 . . .

    I am in my mid-40s with a spouse in his early 50s. I take good care of my health, and — due to the gene lottery — seem likely to make it into my 90s.

    DH has just recently quit smoking, has type II diabetes, peripheral artery disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, overweight, eats junk, doesn’t exercise, etc. (But he’s a lovely guy and treats me well.)

    Anyway, without seeming ghoulish or pessimistic, how do I plan for life after DH? :/ We have good retirement savings, and I don’t want to be too cheap during our remaining time together, but I also don’t want to be eating cat food in my 90s.

    Any suggestions for how to think about this in a life-affirming way?


    • TosaJen … Every woman must have a plan to care for herself in retirement. Statistically, 85% of us are going to be on our own. So your question is not ghoulish. In fact, this is the subject of this book I just wrote! It is a woman’s guide to planning for retirement in which she has a very high likelihood of facing alone. I can’t rewrite it here, but there are six simple strategies you need to start working on today. You are very young, my dear! That’s great that you have good retirement savings. Just don’t touch it, keep saving, get out of debt, own your home outright and don’t write him off so soon. You could have many more wonderful years together.

  85. Mrs Ⓥ Vidal

    Thank you kindly for this opportunity.
    It would be a blessing to receive and read this book, God willing.

  86. Mrs Ⓥ Vidal

    Subscribed via e-mail.

  87. Mrs Ⓥ Vidal

    Signed up for (or ‘liked’) SURVIVING AND THRIVING on Facebook.

  88. Why oh why would women need a special book for retirement? After all, we women are actually better investors than men!

  89. I’d like this book very much!

  90. I’m always looking for ways to up my retirement income. I try to share what I find out with my co-workers too. We are all pretty much in the same boat, having worked many years but for not a lot of pay

  91. I hope to retire in under 5 years. I am sure that I could learn a lot from this book and appreciate very much your letting me know about it.

  92. I think the need for this book is understated. We woman are not good at looking out for ourselves .Subscribe via e-mail

    • Lynn … You’re right. So many of us are nurturers for everyone else but ourselves—kids, spouse, neighbors, friends, children of friends, relatives, and on and on it goes.

      Yep, you nailed it. But once we realize and understand this, we can refocus and recognize how capable we are to care for ourselves. Maybe all we need is permission to do so

      Permission: Granted!

  93. And F.B.

  94. Looks like an interesting read. I am proud of how I am doing in my retirement planning but always looking for more tips.

  95. Looking forward to getting such helpful information !!! 🙂

  96. I’d love this book. Mary Hunt always has really great info. Thank you!

  97. Janel Flynn

    Sounds like a great book.

  98. This books looks like it will be useful to everyone

  99. Subscribed via e-mail

  100. I followed you on Twitter

  101. I followed you on Facebook

  102. follow Surviving and Thriving on Twitter

  103. I subscribed by email

  104. Gina Helton

    We are on baby step #3 of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. Our next step is to save for retirement, so this would be very helpful and informative! Thanks for the giveaway!

  105. Gina Helton

    I subscribed via email.

  106. Gina Helton

    I followed on Twitter.

  107. Gina Helton

    I liked on Facebook.

  108. Diana Sabedra

    I need this book, i will be 40 years old with no retirement fund.

  109. I, too, am following you on Facebook. Sure would love to win this book!

  110. Would really like to read this book and am following on facebook. I follow Mary Hunt as well. Important advice.

  111. ana gomez

    would love to win!

  112. In need of living a debt free life! I owe it to my family!

  113. Mary Lou H.

    Mary Hunt and Debt-Proof Living have made such a difference in my life, not only in my finances, but in my friendships. I’ve made some wonderful friends on the DPL forums. I have a few of Mary’s books and would very much like to add this one to my DPL library.

  114. Mary Lou … Great to see you here. I hope you win. Thanks for make DPL Forums such a fun place to hang out and … lurk. Yep, that’s what I do. Hehe.

    • Mary Lou H.

      Hi, you little lurker, you! 😉 Pop into the forums and say, “Howdy!” once in awhile. We’d all love to hear from you. 🙂

      This is the first I’ve heard about the move. At least, I don’t remember reading anything about it. But, the old memory ain’t what it used to be, so, who knows. I’m so excited for you!

  115. Sandy Hilbert

    Would love to win!

  116. I love this blog! No credit card debt but really no retirement either. I downloaded a sample on my kindle i loved it!!

  117. I need all the help I can get. Quit to care for hubby during terminal illness. Never was able to get another job. As Donna and some other readers know, I was alone for a year after that separated from family and ate and spent most of my small life insurance policy. Not hubbys fault (the small policy I mean). It was a family choice to travel every weekend while we were stationed in Germany. The end result, I have his social security, a tiny pension, post college son who has not been able to find a job except delivering phone books who is returning to school. Oh and lots of friends, family and the need to road trip on occasion no matter the cost.

    I would say I could use the book. Yes??

  118. Oh, and I’ve already liked on face book. I subscribed to your feed. if I ever figure out that twitter thing, I’ll let you know (I know I should be using it for business, BUT.

  119. I definitely need this book. Thank you Donna for the chance to win!

  120. I follow you on Facebook.

  121. Shelly Mitchell

    Would love to win this book!

  122. Love Mary and would love to win. I also agree with Lynn because we get so busy taking care of everyone else that we forget to look after ourselves.

  123. Everything helps, me me !! 🙂

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