Nov 28, 2008

A Time to Rethink Retirement?

Lately there have been a lot of articles in the media about the need to rethink retirement.
A lot of the articles contain a lot of gibberish about what the governments must do to help people financially.

Fact is, being happy in retirement is part of retirement planning and at least 80 percent of being happy in retirement is based on non-monetary factors.

As for the monetary factors, you have to take 100 percent responsibility for your finances. Even 98 or 99 percent won't suffice.

Whatever you do, don't count on the government or any economists for help. The financial crisis was created by their voodoo economics and pie-in-the-sky ideas.

The downturn has proven that the economy creates and maintains its own rules based on common sense — that apparently hardly any economist or banker understands, however.

Go back to the basics if you want to have a retirement without money worries. The key is to spend less than you earn from your investments. If this doesn't work for you, ensure that you earn more from your investments than you spend.

I semi-retired when I was 32 years old and had a net worth of minus $30,000 (due to my student loans).

Yet I have now been semi-retired for over 28 years and am well-off financially (even after having lost over $50,000 in the stock market) simply because I have taken 100 percent for my finances, expecting absolutely no help from governments or economists.

If you would like a carefree retirement, I would advise that you do the same.

Here are two retirement quotes to help you retire happy, wild, and free:
    The worst days of those who enjoy what they do, are better than the best days of those who don't.
    — E. James Rohn

    Most people fail in life because they major in minor things.
    — Anthony Robbins

Nov 20, 2008

Istanbul, Here I Come, Ready or Not!

Photo of Istanbul:

On Saturday I will be leaving for London and then on Monday to Istanbul where I am scheduled to speak on Thursday November 26th about The Joy of Not Working to 2,500 executives, scholars, and students attending the National Turkish Congress on Quality convention.

They are putting me up in an executive suite at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel (corporate rate is 700 Euro per night) for 3 nights. I won't even tell you how much they spent on the airfare because you wouldn't believe me. This all came about because of The Joy of Not Working being published in Turkish and because this organization's convention theme this year is "Quality of Life." I have calculated the organization is spending a total of anywhere from $20,000 to $25,000 to have me speak in Istanbul - but my fee for my one-hour speech is a modest $3,000.

Following are some subjects related to leisure and work that I willl include in my speech:

  • Hard work is no match for relaxed, creative action.

  • 90 percent of things worth doing aren't worth doing well.

  • Slow down and your days will be longer.
  • The journey toward success should feel better than to arrive.

  • Only fools are in a hurry to get to anywhere worth going.

  • Life's a breeze when we put half as much time into simplifying it as we do into complicating it.

  • Be happy while you are alive because you are a long time dead!

Retirement Image of The Joy of Not Working

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

Nov 18, 2008

Being Happy in Retirement Can Take Time for Some Retirees

Retirement can be an exciting period, but in a less positive vein, it can also be a very difficult time in people's lives before any degree of happiness is achieved. As retirement seminar leader George Fulmore says, for some people, the adjustment to retirement takes time.

This is confirmed by the Later Life Families Study, particularly for men. The study found that males who have been retired six years or more are more likely to say that retirement is easy for them (79 percent) than those in the first five years of retirement (61 percent). Incidentally, almost 75 percent of women in this study said retirement is easy for them, regardless of how many years they had been retired.

The key to a happy retirement lies in the abillity to experience success and accomplishment from satisfying interests, fulfilling relationships, and interesting leisure activities. All of these are covered in The World's Best Retirement Book.

Nov 15, 2008

Chinese Women Want Same Retirement Age as Men

Cover of the Chinese Edition (traditional Characters) of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free (The World's Best Retirement Book)

The following is exerpted from an article about 5 years ago.

    A Chinese policy established decades ago in a bid to protect female workers is now being questioned by increasing numbers of Chinese women who want to keep their jobs longer.

    Men retire five years later than women under the regulation. The retiring age for female staff is 50, and 55 for men. While women cadres leave their posts at 55, it's 60 for men of the same status. The intention of the policy was to protect women's health and lawful rights, said officials with the State Ministry of Personnel.

    Statistics show that the average life expectancy for Chinese women is 71 while 69 for men. In some well-off areas like Shanghai,the figure is nearly 80 for women.

    Sociologists cite the toughness of the current job market as one reason for women retiring early. In some badly-run factories and companies, women staff are required to leave their jobs at 45 and get an even lower pension.

I would imagine that Chinese women are even more irritated by this policy given that China's ecomony is about to tank.

Nov 12, 2008

Be Happy Today If You Desire Happiness During Your Retirement Years

One research study found that those who had mixed feelings about retirement, or found this stage of life difficult, were generally dissatisfied and unhappy with their life before retirement.

Perhaps these people never learned to live in the moment and create happiness while they were in the working phase of their lives.

If they had, they would have experienced greater happiness before retirement as well as during their retirement years.

    "If you can just stay in the present, something good will happen, a little giving up of the pain."
    — Retiree Rosie Martinez, 71, of Paradise Valley, Arizona

Nov 8, 2008

Retirement Living Standards Do Not Have to Keep Improving

A recent OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) study recommends that member countries raise the average age at which people retire from the labor market so that people remain in the workforce longer.

Because the average age at which people retire from the labor market has declined markedly in the majority of OECD countries, the organization claims that the increase in the number of retirees relative to persons active in the labor force will reduce growth in material living standards and put public budgets under mounting pressure.

My question is, why do we have to have our retirement living standards continually keep improving. When will enough be enough? Isn't our standard of living pretty damn good compared to other nations and to what it was 100 or 200 years ago?

I a related vein, this ever-increasing desire for improved living standards and the greed with it has contributed to the economic crisis we have today. Common sense says that this caused by people not wanting to live according to their means.

For the record, I semi-retired when I was 39 and my net worth was actually minus $30,000. The reason that I have been successful in remaining semi-retired for over 20 years is that I don't live beyond my means.

So quite frankly, I don't have any sympathy for baby boomers who at 55 or 60 are broke today and are blaming the government or the economy. Come on, you big babies, grow up. Take responsibility for your lives.

You must force yourself to set retirement goals if you want to have an interesting retirement life. Regardless of how long you have to live, you want to make your life as interesting as possible. In other words, GET A LIFE or life will get the best of you.

Nov 5, 2008

It's Hard Work Trying to Give Away 430 Copies of the World's Best Retirement Book

Retirement Gift Books

Here are three more responses to my attempt to give away 430 copies of The World's Best Retirement Book — my international bestseller How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. (See second last blog post).

Number 1

    Hi, Ernie:

    (Congrats on your success, by the way!)

    Thanks for thinking of me. I can’t think of a perfect idea, but I’ll
    ask a colleague or two, just in case.

    Well, maybe the folks at might be interested?

    (They’re the investment club people.) They hold conferences/conventions
    around the country - -they could possibly give away your books at
    one of those. I’m thinking that might be a good target audience for
    you – people already interested in retirement planning and investing
    in stocks.

    Otherwise, maybe some community adult-education courses, perhaps in
    large markets, where they could distribute a lot of your books quickly,
    to students?

    Best wishes,

    Selena Maranjian, The Motley Fool
    To Educate, Amuse and Enrich:
    Financial advice you can actually understand.

Number 2

    Please know that this response is coming personally from me, Kimberly
    Menken, Office Assistant, and not the Missouri Park & Recreation Association.
    My first thought was I need this book for my parents who both work
    harder than I could ever imagine and are “coming up” to retirement
    in a couple of years. My first thought is to have you contact the
    Non-Teacher School Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri. Their
    address is 3210 W. Truman Blvd, Jefferson City, Mo; phone number 573-634-5290.
    I do not know a whole lot about them, but they were the first one’s
    that came to mind. Also, Retirement Plan Advisors at 573-659-4443.

    Again, this suggestion comes from me as an individual, not the MPRA.
    I hope all goes well from here out, and have a blessed day!

Number 3

    Dear Mr. Zelinski, I'm flattered that you asked for my advice, but I'm at a loss for how to help you. Regards, Kelly Greene

    Kelly Greene
    Staff Reporter
    The Wall Street Journal
    200 Liberty St., 10th Floor
    New York, NY 10281

Incidentally, some people have assumed that How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free is going out of print because I am giving these copies away. In fact, I will be doing a new print run for Ten Speed Press in January.

Also, Allstate Financial in North Brook, IL, just purchased 3,700 copies with the corporate name on the cover to give away to its baby boomer clients. If you take the 430 copies, I can also send you a sample of the Allstate edition later if you take some or all of the 430 copies.

I am amazed how difficult it is to give away 430 pefectly readable copies of the book that comes in the number 1 spot if you type in "retirement" into I have e-mailed several hundred people.

Nov 2, 2008

Still Trying to Donate 430 Copies of The World's Best Retirment Book

Here are some of the responses to my gesture of trying to creatively donate 430 copies of The World's Best Retirement Book — my international bestseller How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. (See previous blog post).

Number 1


    Just want you to know I put the word out about your book availability, and so far, haven't heard anything. I'll let you know if someone is interested in your offer.

    Have a great weekend,
    Anita Bruzzese

Number 2

    A couple ideas ... Have you thought about donating them to public libraries? A little complicated, but your shipping and other expenses may be tax deductible. Or, do you have a major public university nearby? Set up a table next to one of those credit card issuers and give them away to anyone who stops — if a free t-shirt is a big lure, a free book must be, too! Hook 'em early, I say.

    Good luck!

Number 3

    You might consider doing a promotion with — they have strong demographics in this category and are rapidly growing in audience.


One more note:

There are also 265 copies of my book Real Success Without Real Job in the same condition at the Ten Speed Press warehouse.

Although this is not a retirement book, it will appeal to so called "retirees" who would like to keep working but not in a corporate setting. (This book is also still in print but will be reissued in February 2009 with the new title: Career Success Without a Real Job.)