Preparation for retirement living requires mental and spiritual planning more than most people realize. A long-term plan to achieve retirement goals has to be set if the retiree wants a meaningful and productive retirement. The degree to which the retiree plans beforehand how she is going to spend the bulk of her free time will determine how much fulfillment she experiences in retirement.
Gerontologist Ken Dychtwald, author of Age Power and arguably the foremost expert on aging and retirement in the United States, had this to say about the impact of poor planning: "The good news is that people are experiencing retirements that are long, fulfilling and exciting. The bad news is that many retirees will never experience their full potential during this life phase because of inadequate planning."
I received the following letter from Dick Phillips of Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, after he read The Joy of Not Working. You will notice that Mr. Philips hasn't left having a happy retirement to chance.
- Dear Mr. Zelinski:
My wife Sandy and I were on an Air Canada flight to Vancouver this summer to commence a "Life of Riley" retirement holiday in your lovely country when a fellow female passenger introduced me to your book The Joy of Not Working.
I later obtained a copy at Duthie's Bookstore and read it when I returned home. (Riley did not allow time for reading on holidays.) I am fifty-four years of age and have worked since I was fifteen years old: first, as a fitter and turner apprentice, then as a seagoing-ships engineer before joining the County Police for a thirty-year career. Your book gives much sound advice, some I have been following for years. I have enjoyed developing interests outside work while still working. When I retired last November, I enjoyed the freedom to parcel up my time and develop interests which include hiking, cycling, old car restoration, model engineering, painting and D. I. Y. projects. You are right that a positive attitude to life in retirement is essential.
In your book, you write about a fellow officer named Rich who, like me, retired in an enviable position but found life difficult. I hope he has now read your book, and he is developing that inner self that makes all things possible. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to next year, when I join a team building a large, wooden sailing ship for disabled people, and later finding time to revisit Canada.
Regards to Riley,
Above all, Mr. Philips emphasizes the importance of having to develop many interests outside of work when we are still working. He shows us that retirement can be highly rewarding if we plan ahead. Of course, developing new interests and setting new goals can still enhance our retirement years if we haven't developed many interests in our working years. It may just be more difficult doing it this way. Some psychologists say that it's hard to develop new interests at 65 after being interested in nothing but work and material things for over 40 years.
Strong interests in such things as music, travel, people, languages, music, and books are important. Ideally, these interests should be shaped and developed long before your retirement date so that you know which activities you truly enjoy. Generally speaking, leisure activities that fulfill you during your working years are likely to fulfill you in retirement.
Real success at handling leisure will result in a happy retirement and truly enjoying the advantages of retirement. Indeed, retirement planning secrets aren't all that secret.
Note: The above letter along with many other retirement letters from retired people about how they are enjoying retirement have been included in the 21st Century Edition of Author Ernie Zelinski,'s international bestseller The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked (over 225,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages).
Purchase The Joy of Not Working by Vipbooks Author Ernie Zelinski with these direct links: and