cover image 55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal: Your Guide to a Better Life

55, Underemployed, and Faking Normal: Your Guide to a Better Life

Elizabeth White. Simon & Schuster, $26 (272p) ISBN 978-1-5011-9680-5

This instructive debut from White, a former executive at the World Bank, explains how those in the later stages of their careers can survive unemployment and underemployment. White starts by laying bare her own struggles, which began at age 55 during the Great Recession after she unsuccessfully tried to start her own business and then realized the job market wasn’t as ripe for her talents as she imagined. Calling herself “the poster child for broke baby boomers,” she reveals personally tested strategies for surviving during tight times, including downsizing housing and possessions, accepting lower-paid positions, and considering entrepreneurship. White also considers how “faking normal” moments (ordering a glass of wine rather than water) for a financially struggling person become insidious habits that put finances even more deeply in jeopardy and advises tactics for gracefully considering cost during social settings. White includes many constructive tactics for surviving difficult situations large and small, including asking for help from friends or government programs, or even leaving the country for somewhere with a lower cost of living. Providing practical solutions with a focus on retirement and maximizing savings, White maintains authority with a realistic, empathetic tone throughout. This deeply useful work will resonate with aging readers of all income levels and situations. Agent: Gail Ross, Ross, Yoon. (Jan.)