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My Retirement Plan for 

Retiring Happy, Wild, and Free

by Ernie Zelinski

My Retirement Plan - Winter in Hawaii  

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 living.

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 wife Beyonce)

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 Planning

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 retire?"

My retirement plan is to get great pleasure from living solely to enrage those who are paying for my Social Security and company pension.
— Unknown wise retiree

As long as I get air conditioning in my cardboard box, I'll be OK [in my retirement].
— Barbara Whelehan, 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 and 

"Ultimate Life Adventure List" 

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) and get partnerships with high profile individuals and corporations to help sell 500,000 copies of this book.

Look Ma, Life's Easy

Note: Look Ma, Life's Easy is also published in ebook format for the Kindle. Purchase at  Look Ma, Life's Easy on Amazon 

3. Have over 2,000,000 copies of my books sold worldwide (my books have now sold over 1,000,000 copies so far).

4. Maintain great health through eating nutritious food, daily exercise, adequate sleep, and a positive attitude about life.

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 425,000 copies and has been published in 11 languages.

Retire Happy Book

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. Travel Business Class to Toronto, London, and Honolulu at least once a year.

c. 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 Ritz Carlton, Istanbul that the manager offered me after my first trip there.

1982 Latour as Part of My Retirement Plan

d. 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 scholarship.

9. Finish writing The Book of Swagger — For Men Only! under the pen name Benjamin A. Sloane, get a traditional publisher such as Workman Publishing to publish it, make it a New York Times Bestseller, 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. Get a traditional publisher for my inspirational gift book Life's Secret Handbook (Reminders for Adventurous Souls Who Want to Make a Big Difference in This World), independently promote it, and sell over 50,000 copies.

Note: Have you noticed that my retirement plan does not include winning the lottery (the retirement plan for dummies)?

The Joy of Being Retired

365 Reasons Why Retirement Rocks —and Work Sucks!

by Ernie J. Zelinski

Retirement - The Joy of Being Retired

 Purchase The Joy of Being Retired at:

The Joy of Being Retired on

The Joy of Being Retired on


My advice to you is to at least semi-retire early in your life even if you don't take full retirement.

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.

Retirement Plan Image

 David Letterman's "Top 10 Things to Do for My Retirement Plan"

 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


My Retirement Plan Does Not Include My Home Image

Why My Home Will Not Be a 
Big Part of My Retirement Plan  
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 century. 
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. 
Indeed, a home that is part of your retirement plan is a haunted house. As I said in a recent blog post, Retirement Planning Solely Based on House Equity Is a Fool's Retirement Plan. 
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 Helps 
 My Retirement Plan Big Time  

By Nancy Miller, Quintessential Careers Book Reviews

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, by Ernie J. Zelinski, $16.95. Paperback. 240 pages, 2004, VIP Books;

ISBN: 096941949X

Retirement Book - Excerpts Image

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 clients.

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.



 Retirement Quotes Relating

to Other People's Retirement Plans 

 Retirement Enjoyment Image A


"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 retirement

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 the afternoon.
— 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 time.
— 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

 Retirement Plan Book Image

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OVER 425,000      COPIES SOLD 

A gold watch is the most appropriate gift for retirement, as its recipients have given up so many of their golden hours in a lifetime of service.
— Harry Mahtar

The requirements for successful retirements
are, of course, simple to map out: Begin saving earlier in life, set aside larger
percentages of your pay, invest wisely in low-cost funds, avoid debt, pay off
your mortgage, defer Social Security to boost payouts, and work past traditional
retirement age to make sure you don't run out of money. Stay healthy, too, so your medical expenses don't eat you alive.
We might as well complete this fairy tale by advising you to make sure you find a job with a traditional pension, and
to only work for employers with AAA credit
ratings and great health insurance.
— from US NEWS

Sometimes it's important to work for that
pot of gold. But other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply
consists of choosing which color to slide
down on the rainbow.
— Douglas Pagels  

OVER 420,000      COPIES SOLD  

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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


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 The Joy of Not Working on 

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



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