June 11, 2023 Book Review

Retiring Well

Retiring Well

John Dunlop, MD

Reviewed by: Gregory S. De Jong

Retiring Well: Strategies for Finding Balance, Setting Priorities, and Glorifying God, by John Dunlop, MD. Crossway, 2022. Paperback, 184 pages, $16.99. Reviewed by OP ruling elder Gregory S. De Jong, a retired financial planner.

Should Christians retire? If yes, what exactly does that mean, and what should a God-glorifying retirement look like? The topic is of more than theoretical interest, since many of us will be given the gift of twenty years or more following our full-time careers, with great discretion over how that time is used.

Retiring Well, written by a recently retired physician, John Dunlop, will challenge most Christians to think carefully and scripturally about what their retirement should look like. Those nearing retirement or newly retired will benefit most obviously, but Dunlop’s principles and strategies may challenge the thinking of longtime retirees as well. Readers under age sixty will find insights to help them understand, and come alongside of, parents or grandparents.

Retirement is commonly perceived as an endpoint, but Retiring Well convincingly reframes a biblically attuned retirement as an exciting new life chapter to be guided by three questions: What are my priorities? How do I keep them in proper balance? How can I live them out in light of the gifts of time, finances, and flexibility that I now have? Cautioning against a lifestyle of leisure and aimlessness, Dunlop makes a vigorous case for an intentional, prioritized life that glorifies God and deploys one’s gifts for kingdom purposes. As he aptly reminds us, the Christian is called to both work and rest throughout our earthly life. While many will reach a point where work is no longer required for financial reasons, this is hardly an excuse for putting one’s God-given talents on the shelf.

Practical advice abounds throughout this book. Dunlop devotes one chapter to retiring at the right time. Another explores how to determine the right place, both in terms of a geographical locale and the various types of residential arrangements available. As expected, the author addresses the importance of family connections during retirement. Less intuitive but equally valuable is his advice regarding broader community. He makes a compelling case for maintaining a diverse social circle: by age, to keep your thinking fresh and provide mentoring opportunities, and by spiritual status, to provide ongoing opportunities for evangelism. His emphasis on the importance of one’s continuing involvement in a local church is especially laudatory.

That the author is a retired gerontologist shapes this book in several ways. Some readers may not relate fully to Dunlop’s own ambitions and financial freedom in retirement. Yet he brings helpful advice on diet, exercise, and maintaining mental acuity, as well as helpful examples drawn from the lives of his retired patients. His frequent Scripture references are not always developed thoroughly, but Retiring Well will challenge and stimulate the thinking of any Christian who wishes to finish the race well.



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