Aug 26, 2008

How Much Money Do You Need to Retire Comfortably?

Falling home prices and declining stock portfolios are forcing many U.S. workers to postpone retirement or return to work, a survey finds.
A survey by AARP recently determined 20 percent of workers age 55 to 64 plan to delay retirement because of current economic conditions. In the same vein, some retirees are now coming out of retirement and searching for jobs during retirement.
Like in the United States, in Canada we receive advice about needing at least 80 percent for pre-retirement income to retire comfortably. This is rubbish!
Americans and Canadians, particularly baby boomers, are a bunch of spoiled individuals who could live on much, much, less and still have a decent standard of retirement living.
Contrary to the advice of those financial advisers who recommended you need 70-80 per cent of your pre-retirement income to retire comfortably, most retired people get by on a lot less. This is true whether one lives in Canada or the United States.
Certainly, if I had a income of $250,000 a year for several years, I should be able to retire comfortably on $50,000 which according to my calculations would be only 20 percent of my pre-retirement income.
Interestingly, research by Statistics Canada found that people whose pre-retirement income was $70,000 or greater tended to retire on about 45 per cent of that – or around $31,500.
Those who earned around the average national wage – between $40,000 and $50,000 – retired on 59 per cent of their pre-retirement income.
Most interestingly, only one in six people with a pre-retirement income of $40,000 or more had a replacement ratio of 75 per cent or more.
Check U.S. statistics and you will see that they are not much different. Few American retirees have retirement incomes of 80 percent or more of their pre-retirement incomes.
The million dollar question is: If so few retirees presently have retirement incomes of 80 percent or more of their pre-retirement incomes, why do these dubious financial advisors keep telling everyone that they need 80 percent or more of their preretirement incomes?
Here is something written by Benjamin Franklin that relates to money management. If more people followed this strategy they would not have a problem with their finances in their retirement.
"When I was a child of seven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children; and, being charmed with the sound of a whistle, that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered and gave all my money for one. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers, and sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth; put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money; and laughed at me so much for my folly, that I cried with vexation; and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure. This however was afterwards of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind; so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don't give too much for the whistle; and I saved my money."BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, letter to Madame Brillon, November10, 1779.
- The Works of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Jared Sparks, vol. 2, p. 181 (1836)

Aug 19, 2008

Stinginess May Help You Retire Early

"When I was young I thought that money was the most important thing in life," joked Oscar Wilde. "Now that I am old I know that it is." Although money can’t buy happiness in your retirement, sooner or later you will likely want a measure of financial freedom that adds to your feeling of overall freedom and the feeling of prosperity that comes with it.

To some people, mastery of money and stinginess go hand in hand. Indeed, stinginess may help you acquire much more money and help you retire early,

NOTE: My book of quotations called The 777 Best Things Ever Said about Money will be released as a Free E-book on my websites in a month or two if I don't sell the rights to an American publisher who is seriously looking at it at this time.

Money Quotes

For the record, I sold this E-book of quotations for a $8,000 advance to a Japanese publisher within 3 hours of my accidentally sending it to Japanese literary agent to whom I had no intention of sending it. Perhaps this good fortune was a result of my prosperity consciousness. What do you think?

I am presently helping my Friend Forrest Bard set up his Inspirational Quotes Webpage on Squidoo.

Aug 14, 2008

Retirement Jobs and Retirement Businesses Are All Around You Waiting to Be Claimed

Almost three out of five new middle-class retirees will outlive their financial assets if they attempt to maintain their pre-retirement standard of living, according to a new study conducted by Ernst & Young LLP on behalf of Americans for Secure Retirement.

If you are a baby boomer quickly approaching retirement, you may be concerned whether you are saving enough for retirement. If you feel that you will be financially embarrassed in retirement, then starting a fun retirement business is the way to go.

To be successful at at retirement business, you must spot and capitalize on the many opportunities that the world has to offer. Paying attention to the world around you — looking at commonplace things and seeing the miraculous — will lead you to opportunities that others don’t see.

Of course, the critics and negative people — which constitute the majority in Canadian and American society — will not spot the opportunities around them. Even if they do, they will not do anything with them.

I received this e-mail from Nicola in Australia (she did not want me to post her last name or e-mail);
    Thanks Ernie for your great book Real Success Without a Real Job.

    After a pretty disastrous few months of rotten health at the beginning of this year, I read your book while recuperating. I loved the story of the bloke who sold splinters of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was an opportunity there for anyone with eyes to see, but only he was prepared.

    After reading and seriously thinking about your book, my eyes were "sharpened up" looking around for opportunities. I didn't strike an instant goldmine, but have found something that really suits me. In a room of about 20 mums at playgroup, only two of us paid attention to a newcomer telling us about her amazing new kitchen appliance.
    And only I grabbed the opportunity, seeing the huge scope of possibilities for this appliance in our state. That was almost three months ago.

    My little business is up and running, and taking off like a rocket. It means I can continue home educating our 4 children, and do the business work in evenings and weekends.I'm not a natural sales woman, but I have a high quality, unique appliance that can help people eat healthier and cheaper. I feel good that I have an "ethical" product.

    How come the other 19 people in the room didn't also see this opportunity?

    Keep up the good work. I hope many others will be emboldened to take the steps they need to make their lives more satisfying.


So why didn't the other 19 people spot the opportunity that Nicola saw? Simply, because they have a thinking problem. Fact is, opportunites for retirement businesses and retirement jobs are all around you.

Also just because there is presently an economic downturn happening does not mean that there is no opportunity. What do Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Disney have in common? They all started during economic downturns, as did more than half of the 30 companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrial Average. An recession is a great time to create your own retirement job or start one of many retirement businesses to help the economy.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to go halfway around the world and spend a ton of money to spot opportunities for retirement jobs and retirement businesses and take advantage of them. Opportunities for creating new sources of income are all around us, including our backyards. Robert G. Allen and Mark Victor Hansen, co-authors of The One Minute Millionaire (Harmony, 2002), claim that they will be able to spot at least fifteen money-making opportunities in your living room alone.
Indeed, opportunities for creating your own great retirement jobs and retirement businesses are all around you. I discuss this at length in Real Success Without a Real Job.

Real Success Without a Real Job on Barnes and Noble

See this:
Review of Real Success Without Real Job from the Spirit of Change Website:

and Retirement Quotes and Sayings on Squidoo

Aug 11, 2008

The Best "Where to Retire" Books

Besides the retirement books about where to retire listed below, there is another retirement book that you may want to consider reading and recommending.

Beth Wateham, a Vice President at Simon and Schuster, just sent me a galley copy of Retirement Without Borders: How to Retire Abroad in Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, and Other Sunny Foreign Places (And the Secret to Making It Happen Without Stress) by Barry Golson. This book with the Scribner imprint is for those retirees who want to consider retiring abroad. The book will be released in December 2008.

Retirement Without Borders is the best book that I have read about retiring abroad and I will be giving a testimonial for the back cover which Beth Wateham (she claims she is a big fan of
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free on wants from me.

Aug 9, 2008

Retirement Living Requires Experiencing The Joy of Not Working

I received this letter about The Joy of Not Working from Wayne M. (he did not give his last name like most letter writers) of Williamsport, PA, in August 2008.

    Dear Ernie:

    I just finished reading the revised edition of
    The Joy of Not Working and it has really helped me to "slow down" and appreciate the simpler things in life.

    The Get-a-Life Tree has also helped me out a lot because I now always have ideas of what to do with all of my spare time. I have been unemployed for awhile. I used to get bored and depressed because that's the way that society wants unemployed people to be, but I now have a renewed purpose — to enjoy life!

    I just wanted to thank you for this wonderful book before I return it to the library. Maybe sometime I will buy
    The Joy of Not Working so I can have it handy all the time.

    Thanks again for being there for all of us.


    Wayne M.

Cover of The Joy of Not Working

The Joy of Not Working is all about learning to live every part of your life - employment, unemployment, retirement, and leisure time alike - to the fullest. You too can join the thousands of converts and learn to thrive at both work and play. Illustrated by eye-opening exercises, thought-provoking diagrams, and lively cartoons and quotations, The Joy of Not Working will guide you to enjoy life like never before.

Purchase The Joy of Not Working on with this direct link:

Purchase The Joy of Not Working on with this direct link:

    See More Letters from Readers at:

Aug 3, 2008

Retirement Planning without the Help of Healthcare

Robert Wilks from Austin, TX sent me an e-mail regarding living without a real job without healthcare on August 1, 2008.

    Hi Ernie:

    I'm reading
    The Joy of Not Working and am getting inspired with ideas of ending my 13-year career in financial services (which I hate) and moving into part-time, meaningful, or creative work.

    However, we in the U.S. have one obstacle which you don't have in Canada. Private health insurance is prohibitively expensive here. Most people have to get it through their employer, and that means being forever tied to a full-time job. Any ideas?


    Robert Wilks
    Austin, TX

This was my answer to Robert which is also can be used for addressing the issue of retirement planning without the help of healthcare:

    Hi Robert:

    First, thanks for your interest in my book
    The Joy of Not Working.

    You, in fact, are not the first person to bring up the issue of how expensive healthcare is in the U.S.

    I agree that it is a big problem.

    Actually, it's becoming a problem in Canada as well. Even though we have public healthcare, a lot of people are being forced into using private facilities if they can afford it. One of my uncles wound up in acute care in a hospital and the hospital has been trying to get him out even though he is too sick to leave and there is no one available to take care of him. These types of cases are going to become more and more common in Canada. A lot of people here don't even have a family doctor anymore. The problem in Canada is the aging population and a shortage of doctors and nurses (some of which have been trained in Canada with our tax dollars and leave Canada to work in the U.S. for much more money.)

    So, the only way around this is to take a big risk and try to make a lot of money so one can afford private healthcare. That is my intention but it is more likely for me to have money set aside for an emergency because I don't get trapped by buying material possessions and services that are simply wants and not needs - and over 50 percent of things that people - even low income individuals - buy are wants and not needs.

    I have attached a special E-book version (in PDF format) of my recent book
    Real Success Without a Real Job made especially for you with excerpts from Chapter 1 and Chapter 3.

    Go to the bottom of Page 85 and you can read what I say about the healthcare issue.

    As I indicate, I have the same problem with disability insurance which a lot of corporate workers get from their employer. I never purchased disability insurance because I couldn't afford it particularly when I was making $15,000 a year. Even though I was totally broke just a few years ago, I now have enough money set aside so that I could live comfortably for at least 10 years even if I didn't take a cent of income during those 10 years.

    Anyway, I really don't have much more of an answer.

    Interestingly, a good friend of mine, who I went to school with for many years, has lived in the U.S. (Delaware) for many years and is visiting back home for two weeks. Interestingly, he was telling me just the other day how he was against public healthcare in the U.S. because it would be abused. (I don't agree with him because there are abuses by both the providers and the users in a private system.)

    You say you are in the financial services industry. How about doing me a favor and sending the other two attached E-books to all your friends and colleagues, including the E-book with over half of
    How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free

    Incidentally, one of the cool things that is happening with
    How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free is that even financial organizations are buying the book (despite the subtitle). Nettworth Financial of Atlanta, Georgia, recently purchased 1,200 copies for its sales reps and clients. Another prominent U.S. financial organization has ordered 1,700 copies with its company name on the cover to test with its baby boomer clients and will be purchasing 10,000 to 50,000 copies for its clients if the test proves positive. This organization has asked me not to disclose their name until they have completed their marketing test.

    Take care.

    So long for now,

    Ernie Zelinski
    Author of the Bestseller
    How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
    (Over 95,000 copies sold and published in 7 foreign languages)
    Featured at The
    Retirement Planning Wisdom Blog
    and the International Bestseller
    The Joy of Not Working
    (Over 225,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages)
    Featured at
    The Joy of Not Working Website

The Joy of Not Working by Ernie Zelinski Image

The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed, and Overworked by Ernie J. Zelinski

The Joy of Not Working is all about learning to live every part of your life - employment, unemployment, retirement, and leisure time alike - to the fullest. You too can join the thousands of converts and learn to thrive at both work and play. Illustrated by eye-opening exercises, thought-provoking diagrams, and lively cartoons and quotations, The Joy of Not Working will guide you to enjoy life like never before.

Purchase The Joy of Not Working on with this direct link:

Aug 1, 2008

The New Retirement - A Gruesome Retirement?

A recent survey shows that baby boomers haven't progressed too far from that Stone Age point of view when it comes to retirement planning. Some 61 percent have less than $150,000 in savings, and an astonishing 28 percent have less than $10,000. Not a great retirement plan, wouldn't you say?

Some baby boomers claim that to compensate for their lack of savings they intent to work until they die. The "work till I die" strategy may be a fool's retirement plan because eventually our bodies or minds or both will render us incapable of full time employment.

What's more, many organizations don't want older, uncreative, stuck-in-the-mud thinking older workers (anyone over 60).

Another survey found that 35 percent of Canadians plan to carry up to $100,000 in debt into retirement. Not a great move given that Canadian retirees are already affected by higher fuel and food prices.

In the United States, things are even worse. According to reports, "Rising gas, food and utility prices are forcing many senior citizens to give up medicine, healthy food, social outings and communication. Some are looking for work.

Retirees on fixed incomes have cut back on making family visits and going to community events. This growing isolation usually leads to less physical and mental activity and threatens a senior's independence, advocates say."

Looks like the new retirement that baby boomers have been talking about is going to be a gruesome retirement for many.

The 237 Best Things Ever Said about Retirement - An Illustrated E-book with Retirement Quotes and Retirement Sayings in 40 Different Categories

Retirement Book

Organized into over 40 categories for easy reference, “The 237 Best Things Ever Said about Retirement” by international best-selling author Ernie Zelinski is the ultimate guide about retirement for the professional speaker, journalist, author, career advisor and retirement life coach. It also makes great reading for any connoisseur of great quotations and just about everyone who is contemplating retirement.

This illlustrated E-book (in PDF format) has it all: Wisdom. Ridicule. Irony. Sarcasm. Paradox. Nonsense. Comedy. Mockery. Social commentary. Valuable insight.

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All told, this E-book contains the 237 best things anybody ever said about retirement.

The Retirement Quotes Cafe