Jul 22, 2012

Dying Early as a Retirement Plan

In the New York Times article at the link below, it says "Dying Early Is Not the Basis of a Retirement Plan."

I say, "Why not? Dying early as a retirement plan has worked for many people!"

This article about retirement is unbelievable and bizarre, however. Bizarre, given that is written by an academic. More on that later.

This part of the article is almost unbelievable, but likely true.

"Seventy-five percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts. The specter of downward mobility in retirement is a looming reality for both middle- and higher-income workers. Almost half of middle-class workers, 49 percent, will be poor or near poor in retirement, living on a food budget of about $5 a day."

Hmm, a food budget of about $5 a day doesn't seem like a great way to retire happy, wild, and free.

Here is the link to the New York Times retirement article Our Ridiculous Approach to Retirement.

My thoughts about the article: This woman says, "My plan calls for a way out that would create guaranteed retirement accounts on top of Social Security. These accounts would be required, professionally managed, come with a guaranteed rate of return and pay out annuities."

In my opinion, this woman is delusional when she says "professionally managed" and "come with a guaranteed rate of return".

What the heck does "professionally managed" mean? Managed by greedy bankers or dubious financial advisors? Sure, most Americans (me too) would have a lot of trust in these people!

Worse yet, would be to have a new retirement plan, just like the U.S. Social Security System, managed by politicians and government workers.

And "come with a guaranteed rate of return". Plain and simple, there is no such thing as a "guaranteed rate of return" when we factor in inflation and so many other uncertain factors prevalent in the world economic order. Even George W. Bush admitted that the U.S. Social Security system cannot provide a guaranteed rate of return simply because there is no trust fund set aside for Social Security. The funds for Social Security were raided by the U.S. Government many years ago to pay for general expenditures. (See these Social Security Quotes.)

Now this woman (an academic, at that) is talking about another government program that would "create guaranteed retirement accounts".

Get real! Now I know why this prominent French writer and philosopher so many years ago stated:

"I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly."
— Michel de Montaigne

Here are some new retirement quotes and retirement sayings to place your retirement planning in proper perspective so you don't have to adopt dying early as your retirement plan:

"Let's spend all our money to buy cool stuff. Later we can sell it all on eBay to pay for our retirement."
— from Glasbergen cartoon

"What a wonderful title: The Joy of Not Working. Ernie Zelinski's basic message, no matter your career stage, is get a well-balanced life and quit relying on your job to define who you are. It's hard to quibble with Zelinski's live-life-to-the-fullest message. Those who have drafted a resignation letter in their heads a thousand times may be motivated to finally quit an unfilling job."
— Michelle Archer, USA TODAY
“Get this book [How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free] if you look forward to a retirement with 'zing!' ”
— Nancy Paradis, St. Petersburg Times, Florida

"I'm regularly asked what my [retirement] plan is, and I deliberately don't have much of a plan. I've had lots of plans in my life and it might be nice to have a period that is less planned."
— Malcolm Hamilton, Canada's Expert on Pensions and Retirement Planning

"People may live as much retired from the world as they like, but sooner or later they find themselves debtor or creditor to some one. More money won’t bring you more happiness — It works the other way around."
— from the book Career Success WITHOUT a Real Job

"Everyone needs a reason to put their shoes on in the morning [when they retire]. If you put on the slippers, you'll end up dragging your feet all day."
— Norma Fagan, Dir. of the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Monroe County

"Whatever the challenge of a new age, in the end what really counts is not the years in our lives but the life in our years. It is not about longevity, but the depth of life. Long ago I learned that age does not wither the mind if people remain positive. No one is too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. It is a mind game. As Churchill suggested, "The empires of the future are the empires of the mind."
— Singapore Retiree Jennie Chau

"Yes, I am thoroughly enjoying retirement! The best part is observing my neighbors drive off to work in the morning knowing that that their day will be filled with jerks, brainless and endless meetings, jerks, vendor lunches where you hold your breath just waiting for the sales pitch until you regurgitate your pasta, more jerks and the eventual company reorganization of the section that was just reorganized last month!
— Bill Kalmar

Here is a little item in the Globe and Mail about how I invest my money: Early Retiree Prefers Peace of Mind Investing His Retirement Money. Note how mean and vicious the comments and replies to comments can become.

Jul 11, 2012

Prosperity Consciousness Is Not about Cheaping Out and Being Frugal

This is a dog story. But it is also a story about money and prosperity.

Two or so weeks ago, my good friend Nickolas was working out in west Edmonton and went to get a bite to eat at a Subway outlet. Close by the Subway, he encountered this dog. He looked at the lost poster beside it and thought, "Kinda looks like the dog in the poster."

He phoned the number and it turned out that it, indeed, was the lost dog. That's the pleasant side of the story.

Now, the not-so-cute side. Note that there is reward offered. It turns out that the people offered Nickolas a $6 reward.

Something about Nickolas. He is a Libertarian and claims to be an atheist. Yet he is a person who operates out of true spiritual values more than the vast majority of religious and spiritual people that I know. Even if the reward had been $100 or $500 or $1,000, Nickolas would have turned it down.

The point here is the people surely were not coming from gratitude and decency and excellence and integrity and high intention by offering a mere $6 reward. People who cheap out like this need to seriously work on their prosperity consciousness.

(Note that I have used Photoshop to obstruct the phone number of the people so no calls them to give them heck about cheaping out on the reward. I will let Karma or God or the Unverse take care of that.)

Now back to the pleasant side of this story.

If you look closely at the lost poster, you will notice that the dog owners wrote "Taken from this location" on it. Two of my friends think that the dog remembered from where it was taken and wandered back there thinking its owners would show up.

My theory is that the dog remembered that it was a Subway sandwich shop from which it was taken and that was a good place to hang around for a good-natured soul such as Nickolas to come by and buy it a Subway sandwich. And a foot-long one at that — no veggie stuff either.

Here are some retirement prosperity quotes and money quotes to help you attain financial freedom and prosperity in your life. You will need this if you want to retire happy and experience the joy of being retired.
    "A dream without a plan kindled by your inspired action is just a wish that the Universe has little interest in supporting. Inspired action leads to transcendent wonder and smiles of good fortune. That is to say, supreme blessings of prosperity from the Universe are the result of supreme impassioned inputs from you." — from Look Ma, Life's Easy
    "Why waste so much time, energy, and money trying to buy the biggest house that your credit rating will allow? Truth be known, a small house can hold as much happiness as a large one. Sometimes it will hold even more." — from The Lazy Person's Guide to Happiness

    "It’s a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be [retire] happy without money." — Albert Camus

    "When it comes to making more money, most people look at the world and see the same opportunities they’ve seen before: typically, a job. Because they don’t awaken their mind and expand their vision, they don’t see other opportunities. Yet opportunities do exist. So how do you change your thinking so you can see them? One way to jolt the brain out of its preconceived category thinking is to bombard it with new experiences." — Joe Vitale

    "It's called a financial misstep when you don't follow an important principle of money that leads to true prosperity. A hundred or more of these missteps in a year or two — and you are in real trouble." — from Life's Secret Handbook

Jul 2, 2012

Retirement: Not Working Provides Untold Wealth, Health, and Happiness

Here is the latest e-mail that I received about my retirement books from a couple in the U.S who took early retirement. They certainly are not short of fun things to do in retirement.

From the thousands of letters and e-mails that I have received from readers of both retirement books, this one has to be one of my favorites. It will definitely go into a book called 1001 Ways to Enjoy Your Retirement: Advice from Readers of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free and The Joy of Not Working.

Dear Ernie:

I am writing to you because my wife said I must. You see, we both read your books (The Joy of Not Working, and How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free). In fact, we put much of your wisdom into practice. We both retired early.

While we walked the dog one morning, Karen said that with all the new things we have done since retiring that you might like to hear about some of them. Here they are, in no particular order.

In the first year or so of our freedom:

• I filed a provisional patent, taking the invention to prototype, and began marketing it.
• She started a part time job.
• I started a blog, and built a website.
• She learned belly dancing.
• We hiked, bird watched, and photographed eagles, owls, and wildlife too numerous to list, even an albino fawn with her mother.
• I fly fished Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
• She joined a book-reading club.
• We travelled with our dog Jedi throughout the southern USA.
• She learned to use power tools.
• I began leather working, and developed two new designs.
• She began gardening, putting in both vegetables and herbs.
• We stay up later, sleep in, and take regular naps.
• I study and play the classical guitar.
• She started word puzzles to keep her mind sharp.
• I started a small business delivering health and wellness classes to the public through hospitals, senior living, and community centers.
• We dropped fifteen pounds (each) of weight attributed to job-related stress eating.
• We spent a winter in the Florida panhandle.
• She does yoga.
• We made new friends in several states.
• I resumed fly tying because of much more time on the water.
• We attended classes and seminars, including the Creative Retirement [Exploration Weekend] Workshop (CREW) at the University of North Carolina in Asheville. By the way, they cite your work at the workshop and recommend your book (How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free) .
• I wrote one novel, and ten short stories, which I will submit for publishing after final editing.
• We attended plays.
• She hosted parties, and re-decorated the house.
I tried and let go of part time work. You see, I am simply too busy.

There are probably many more things but I cannot recall them at present.

Karen and I are thrilled at having time each day for nature walks, bicycle riding, bird watching, and cruising in our classic sports car (we are from Detroit, after all). The time together has strengthened our marriage, too.

We worried about money initially, but now find we do just fine, even spending less than we did while working. In fact, we noticed work requires a significant outlay, even part-time! I believe working consumes more money than most people understand. Not working, on the other hand, provides untold wealth, health, and happiness.

Thank you for writing the books you did. They have helped us along our path. Best wishes for health and happiness,

Jack and Karen C.

I like the mention by Jack about how working in retirement did not work for him. From the letter, you should be inspired to generate your own list of 100 things to do when you retire.

Some retirement quotes and retirement sayings to help you with your list of fun  things to do in retirement:

    "Art is one of the few careers without a mandatory retirement age." — Julia Cameron
    "My retirement plan is to join the folks with the torches and pitchforks rioting and storming the Bastille." - Jim Jim (ordaj), commenter on a Retirement Article

    "You Say You Want to Work Past ‘Retirement’? How's Your Health?" — Joseph F Coughlin

    "Like life, retirement can be full of surprises. Take when you retire, for example." — Talbot Boggs

    "The top retirement planning strategy today is not to retire." — Joseph F Coughlin

    "Result for many Americans When They Punch in Their Data into a Retirement Calculator: "According to your latest data if you retire today, you can live reasonably well until 5 p.m. tomorrow." — Dave Erhard

    "Planning to never retire is not a true retirement plan. It, in fact, is a sign of delusion — and of denial about one's inability to save enough for one's retirement." — Dave Erhard

    "Elevating your wants to your need list is another way to trick yourself into being broke in retirement." — from "Zen I Got Rich" by E.Z.

    "A happy retirement doesn't require oodles of money, nor should it mean fighting the cat for food." — Shelley Fralic, Vancouver Sun

    "The greatest stock market you can invest in is yourself. Finding this truth is better than finding a gold mine." — Byron Katie
Check out this article Dying to Retire: Early Retirement Can Be a Killer in which one of my retirement books is mentioned.