Retiring Happy, Wild, and
by Ernie Zelinski
My retirement plan has always been quite a bit different from what others think is the ideal
retirement plan. I semi-retired when I was 35 years old and had a net worth of minus $30,000 (due to debts). Many
people will say that this is unreasonable, impossible, and stupid.
My retirement plan is to find a shopping cart
with good snow tires.
— Patty Doy
My Retirement Plan: Get a job that will last
until I am dead.
— Anon, in response to retirement article
I did the right thing, however. One of my messages I give to people in my books is "You may be
reasonable enough to know your limitations but are you unreasonable enough to exceed them." I know for a fact that
I am unreasonable enough to exceed the limitations that most of the people in society place on themselves. That is
why I have been able to work at my leisure four or five hours a day outside corporate life and make a great
It [my retirement plan] will involve living on
a private island, with a genius chef, cigars and fine wines. Beyonce [my wife] will be on the
island too. But I don't think she plan to get as fat as me. I'm gonna be fat. That's what I
enjoy. That's the payback for all the hard work.
— American rapper Jay-Z (talking about his "Marlon Brando retirement plan" for himself and his
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, One of Canada's Leading Experts on Pensions and Retirement
My unreasonableness is also why my retirement plan is so funky compared to that of other people.
Although I can't completely retire at this point, I can live comfortably and continue to be semi-retired, working a
few hours a day on my creative projects. I don't have to keep asking myself, "How much do I need to
My retirement plan is to get great pleasure
from living solely to enrage those who are paying for my Social Security and company
— Unknown wise retiree
As long as I get air conditioning in my
cardboard box, I'll be OK [in my retirement].
— Barbara Whelehan, Bankrate.com Writer
One of the things that I have done for my retirement plan is place in it the things that I want
to do before I die. You should do the same since the retirement activities that you indulge in should play as big
of part of your retirement plan as any financial considerations.
Your retirement plan should also include things that you have always wanted to do
— but have that you have not got around to doing. You
should have an Ultimate Life Adventure List, which is an extension of The Get-a-Life
Tree, both which are explained in the Kindle Edition of How to
Retire Happy, Wild and Free.
My Retirement Plan
"Ultimate Life Adventure
Here is my retirement plan as it stands today that includes my
"Ultimate Life Adventure List:
1. Continue to work on fun, creative projects such as the ones
that I have worked on for the last few years, including writing books, creating e-books, and putting together
funky websites, that can generate tidy profits while at the same time inspiring people to greater heights at
their work and play.
2. Publish my inspirational novel
Look Ma, Life's Easy (How Ordinary People Attain Extraordinary Success and Remarkable
Prosperity) in print edition
(already published in five foreign languages but not in English) and get partnerships with high
profile individuals and corporations to help sell 500,000 copies of this book.
Note: Look Ma,
Life's Easy is also published in ebook format for the Kindle. Purchase
Look Ma, Life's Easy on
3. Have over 1,000,000 copies of my books sold
worldwide (my books have now sold over 950,000 copies so far).
4. Purchase a Blue Porsche Boxster S or a BMW 300 Series 2-dr coupe as my summer
5. Create a residual income of at least $150 a day ($54,750 per year) from ebook sales
alone. This entails publishing my latest creative works such as The Joy of Being Retired: 365 Reasons Why Retirement
Rocks (and Work Sucks!) and Life's
Secret Guide for Having Great Friends (already published in French and
Spanish in paperback but not in English).
6. Sell over 500,000 copies of my international best-selling How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free which
has now sold over 310,000 copies and has been published in 9 languages.
7. Create several partnerships with organizations that are
interested in utilizing my expertise including my many retirement-related websites and books so that I can help
them create AWARENESS, GOODNESS, AND COOLNESS with their target market. In return the corporations will
handsomely reward me so that I can:
a. Live in Hawaii or some other place with a temperate climate for two to three
months each winter.
b. Buy a great new winter car to replace my present car, something classy and cool like a
dark blue Lexus IS 250 AWD similar to the one below.
c. Travel Executive Class to New York, Toronto, London, and Hawaii once a year.
d. Get occasional all-expenses-paid speaking engagements in interesting cities such
as Montreal, San Diego, Honolulu, Paris, and Prague. I was recently flown executive class, provided
with three nights of first-class accommodation at the Ritz-Carlton in Istanbul, and paid $3,000 to
speak for an hour about The
Joy of Not Working to 2,000 executives, scholars, and students
who belong to the National Turkish Congress on Quality.
In fact, I would like to visit Istanbul again and take advantage of the two free
nights in an Executive Suite overlooking the Bosphorous (cost around $1,000 a night) at
Istanbul that the manager offered me after my first trip there.
e. Share a bottle of 1982 Latour wine and a great meal at a fine restaurant such as
Grille 23 in Boston with someone paying for the tab in exchange for a one- to two-hour coaching session
with me on how to create a best-selling book.
8. Establish and fund an annual scholarship at the Business Faculty at the University
of Alberta called The Ernie J. Zelinski Distinguished
Award for Individual Creativity. This distinct award is intended to recognize and support
"oddball geniuses" enrolled in the business faculty. The award should not go necessarily to exceptional
students, but to average students who nevertheless have creative minds and display exceptional creative
behavior. In other words, the winners will be selected primarily based on their creativity, keeping in mind
that creative people are willing to risk, be different, challenge the status quo, ruffle a few feathers, and in
the process truly make a positive difference for the rest of us. Candidates will be nominated by academic staff
and fellow students for their "quirky brilliance" displayed in course work or extracurricular activities. The
creative project may involve written work, research, marketing, charitable work, or service to the community.
The winner in each of the MBA Program and the Undergraduate Program receives a $3,000
9. Finish creating The Single Person's Guide to Living Happy, Prosperous, and
Free and sell over 100,000 copies by marketing it through the marketing structure
that I have in place for my two international bestselling retirement books.
10. Complete my inspirational gift
book Life's Secret Handbook (Reminders for
Adventurous Souls Who Want to Make a Big Difference in This
World), independently publish it, and sell over 100,000
Note: Have you noticed that my retirement plan does not include
the lottery (the retirement plan for dummies)?
My advice to you is to at least semi-retire early in your life even if you don't take full
It is better to retire too early instead of too late. Fact is, if you retire too late, you don't
get another chance to do it right.
Of course, everybody's retirement plan should be to retire rich but die
broke which is part of my retirement plan.
David Letterman's "Top 10 Things to Do for My Retirement
10. Get on city bus. Ride to end of line. Change buses. Repeat
9. Bide my time 'til I'm 90; then marry Anna Nicole Smith
8. Lead the New York Jets to a string of last-place finishes
7. Go around helping Ed McMahon deliver those giant checks
6. Take my old Spiderman suit out of moth balls; do my damnedest to catch the real killers!
5. Stop getting speeding tickets in Connecticut; start getting speeding tickets in Florida
4. Write a scathing expose of that ruthless bastard Paul Shaffer
3. Drive cross-country with Richard Simmons
2. Break into house of the woman who breaks into my house
1. Caddy for the Juice
Why My Home Will Not Be
Big Part of My Retirement
Many Americans came to think of their homes not only as castles but also as their only nest
egg for retirement while real estate prices were shooting up during most of the first decade of this
Not me. I never did look at a house as an asset and something to include in my retirement
plan. It's a consumer item just like a pair of shoes. Thus I don't consider my house a big part of my
retirement plan. I tend to agree with Robert Kiyosaki, author or Rich Dad, Poor Dad, who said that
"a house is not an asset. It's a liability."
Now with the house price bubble having burst (which does not come as a surprise to an
intelligent person), American homeowners are finding that they have accumulated little wealth in the way
of home equity, leaving them almost entirely dependent upon Social Security and Medicare.
In this vein, financial planner Robert Doyle (CPA with Spoor, Doyle & Associates in St.
Petersburg, FL) not so long ago stated, "When you retire, your house is your
home. Don't look at it as an investment. You can convert it if you need to, but if you're retiring because
of the equity in your house, you better get back to work."
As an aside, when it comes to buying a house, always remember that "A Small House Can Hold Just as Much Happiness as a
Large One — Often Even More!"
Excerpt from a Book Review That
My Retirement Plan Big
By Nancy Miller,
Quintessential Careers Book
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, by Ernie J.
Zelinski, $16.95. Paperback. 240 pages, 2004, VIP Books;
Planning for retirement should start at the beginning of your career
rather than at the end. It's never too early to plan for retirement, writes Ernie J. Zelinski.
In his book, How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, Zelinski says
that the key to a happy retirement is preparation.
I would not hesitate to share this book with friends, colleagues, or
Although the ideas in the book are not new, the stories about how people are
living them is unique and refreshing. They bring out the importance of living a full life now
and not waiting until retirement.
Things I re-learned from this book are:
1. Plant a Get-a-Life Tree. Among the lists,
activities, stories, and ideas that Zelinski offers for brainstorming retirement options, he
illustrates how to plant a Get-a-Life Tree. The tree is a form of mind map to help people
think about retirement options.
2. Stay active before and after retirement. Zelinski emphasizes the
importance of a healthy active lifestyle. Being active and healthy doesn't begin at
retirement. The author tells us to find our interests and purpose long before we retire.
3. You don't have to be rich to enjoy retirement. In fact, Zelinski
emphasizes the fact that having a nest egg doesn't guarantee a happy retirement. The book is
rich with stories about the many ways people have found happiness in retirement.
to Other People's Retirement
"My Retirement Plan:
1) Work 70hr weeks for average pay.
2) Live beneath my means and save 15-20 percent of my income.
3) Diversify my holdings between cash, RRSPs and PM's
4) Watch cash get destroyed by inflation, and RRSP get destroyed by fraudulent markets and gold get
destroyed by deflation when interest rates eventually stop getting manipulated by the government.
5) Retire in a cardboard box living on a diet of catfood and dumpster diving."
— Unknown Reader in response to Globe and Mail retirement article
Retire? [My retirement plan is that] I'm going to stay in show business until I'm
the only one left.
— George F. Burns
My wife and I have our retirement figured out ... we
will head to the Reno area ... nice climate.
On one corner my 70-year-old wife will be a hooker and across the street I will be selling hot dogs
until the day I die.
I can't think of anything else to do.
— dryheavesdaily, in response to MarketWatch article Four ways 60-year-olds can save their
My retirement plan is to start thinking about my retirement before my boss does.
— Unknown wise person
Every person, all the events of your life, are there
because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.
— Richard Bach, Illusions
By the age of 65, most of us have accomplished whatever work-related goals we are going to reach. If
you haven't done it by then, chances are you aren't going to do it. Take the retirement, take the
pension, take the Social Security, and sail off into the sunset.
— Sue Lasky
My retirement plan is to never drink coffee at lunch because it will keep me up in
— Unknown wise person
Eating's going to be a whole new ball game. I may even have to buy
a new pair of trousers.
— Lester Piggott (b. 1935), British champion jockey (On his retirement)
You know the Social Security they keep deducting off
your paycheck. Well, my retirement plan is to retire early and have you pay for it for a long, long
— Unknown wise person
I don't really have any career goals at this point. I'm 35 and have no
need or plans to ever work again [in retirement].
— Eric Kanowsky (of Santa Barbara, CA, who took early retirement)
The sports car and sailboat are investments for my
retirement [plan]. I'm using them to attract a woman who will support me in my old age.
— Glasbergen talking to financial consultant in cartoon
If my dreams could all come true paradise/retirement would be — in a little bungalow
— somewhere by the sea.
— Unknown wise person
Everyone who does not work has a scheme that does.
— Munder's Law
Age [along with retirement] appears to be best in four things — old wood best to
burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.
— Francis Bacon
Waiting until your retirement
party is too late to start planning your [retirement] portfolio.
— Richard Wastcoat in the Telegraph
Grow old with me!
The best is yet to be.
— Robert Browning
There's one thing I always wanted to do before I quit . . . . retire!
— Groucho Marx
Heaven, that’s my retirement plan.
— Dwayne (Unknown last name) but Sam Smith's Father-in-Law
Welfare is not a retirement plan.
— from the international bestseller How to
Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
the Latest Edition of How to Retire Happy, Wild,
and Free Today Through These