What do you fear about retirement?

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.

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