Thursday, May 29, 2008

Retirement Planning Secrets

Retirement Living Image

Preparation for retirement living requires mental and spiritual planning more than most people realize. A long-term plan to achieve retirement goals has to be set if the retiree wants a meaningful and productive retirement. The degree to which the retiree plans beforehand how she is going to spend the bulk of her free time will determine how much fulfillment she experiences in retirement.

Gerontologist Ken Dychtwald, author of Age Power and arguably the foremost expert on
aging and retirement in the United States, had this to say about the impact of poor planning: "The good news is that people are experiencing retirements that are long, fulfilling and exciting. The bad news is that many retirees will never experience their full potential during this life phase because of inadequate planning."

I received the following letter from Dick Phillips of Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, after he read
The Joy of Not Working. You will notice that Mr. Philips hasn't left having a happy retirement to chance.

    Dear Mr. Zelinski:

    My wife Sandy and I were on an Air Canada flight to Vancouver this summer to commence a "Life of Riley" retirement holiday in your lovely country when a fellow female passenger introduced me to your book
    The Joy of Not Working.

    I later obtained a copy at Duthie's Bookstore and read it when I returned home. (Riley did not allow time for reading on holidays.) I am fifty-four years of age and have worked since I was fifteen years old: first, as a fitter and turner apprentice, then as a seagoing-ships engineer before joining the County Police for a thirty-year career. Your book gives much sound advice, some I have been following for years. I have enjoyed developing interests outside work while still working. When I retired last November, I enjoyed the freedom to parcel up my time and develop interests which include hiking, cycling, old car restoration, model engineering, painting and D. I. Y. projects. You are right that a positive attitude to life in retirement is essential.

    In your book, you write about a fellow officer named Rich who, like me, retired in an enviable position but found life difficult. I hope he has now read your book, and he is developing that inner self that makes all things possible. Meanwhile, I am looking forward to next year, when I join a team building a large, wooden sailing ship for disabled people, and later finding time to revisit Canada.

    Regards to Riley,

    Dick Phillips

Above all, Mr. Philips emphasizes the importance of having to develop many interests outside of work when we are still working. He shows us that retirement can be highly rewarding if we plan ahead. Of course, developing new interests and setting new goals can still enhance our retirement years if we haven't developed many interests in our working years. It may just be more difficult doing it this way. Some psychologists say that it's hard to develop new interests at 65 after being interested in nothing but work and material things for over 40 years.

Strong interests in such things as music, travel, people, languages, music, and books are important. Ideally, these interests should be shaped and developed long before your retirement date so that you know which activities you truly enjoy. Generally speaking, leisure activities that fulfill you during your working years are likely to fulfill you in retirement.

Real success at handling leisure will result in a happy retirement and truly enjoying the advantages of retirement. Indeed, retirement planning secrets aren't all that secret.

Note: The above letter along with many other
retirement letters from retired people about how they are enjoying retirement have been included in the 21st Century Edition of Author Ernie Zelinski,'s international bestseller The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked (over 225,000 copies sold and published in 17 languages).

Ernie Zelinski's Books under the Vipbooks and Ten Speed Press Author imprints have now sold over 500,000 copies worldwide.

Cover Image of The Joy of Not Working

Purchase The Joy of Not Working by Vipbooks Author Ernie Zelinski with these direct links: and

Check out:

and his

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The 100 Best Places to Retire - Criteria

Criteria Used for Choosing The 15 Best Places to Reinvent Your Life

These are the criteria used by AARP Magazine for finding the Best Places to Retire.

  • Availability of jobs, since many in this group will work beyond age 65.
  • Affordable housing-many cities have costs on par with or below the national median price of $161,600.
  • Culture and entertainment (from museums and opera to shopping and sports events).
  • Access to outdoor recreation, from skiing and biking to walking and hiking.
  • Safety-personal and property safety, and a generally secure feeling.
  • Colleges or universities (for continuing education and a multigenerational vibe).
  • Sense of community (often places with a vital and walkable downtown).
  • Proximity to comprehensive, well-regarded health care facilities.
  • Good public high schools, since many boomers still have teens at home.
  • Ease of getting around (public transportation, traffic, access to an airport).
Sources for lists of the 100 best retirement towns

You can also consult one of the many widely available "Top 100 places" or "Best 10 places to retire" lists on the Internet.

Here are links to the top 100 lists:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Letter about How to Retire Happy

I received this email the other day:

    Dear Mr. Zelinski,

    At our financial organization, you are regarded as somewhat of a celebrity. All of our Representativeshave read your book,
    How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free. We now make it a practice to give this book out to ourclients on every financial planning appointment.

    We would love the opportunity to speak with you about a speaking engagement at our fall conferencein Dallas, TX. The dates for this conference are September 17 & 18, 2008.

    We would like to discuss what it would take to getyou to our conference, what type of presentation you would like to do and the logistics involved.
    Our President of Field Operations would like the opportunity to contact you directly to discuss this possibility. Please let me know how we may contact you.
After I e-mailed my contact information, there has been no answer. I wonder why . . . hmm.

Anyway, I did receive confirmation about this gig:

Ernie Zelinski

The money you enjoy spending frivolously to enhance your retirement is money well spent.
— from
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won't Get from Your Financial Advisor by Ernie J. Zelinski

retirement sayings and quotes and Importance of Money Quotes at the The Retirement Quotes Cafe

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Future of Retirement

HSBC Insurance's annual global The Future of Retirement study has found that most people would prefer to leave their perspective on life rather than their money as a legacy to their heirs. (Of course, the best way to leave your perspective on life is to write a book.)

That may be for the best, as the report also revealed that only a small proportion of people around the world, mainly in North America and Europe, are financially prepared for retirement.

France was found to have the highest number of people fearing illness and disability in old age (90 per cent), but that drops to around 50 per cent in China and India.

In terms of funding retirement, the study shows that Europeans and Asians will mostly rely on savings, while North Americans will look to stocks and shares.

Clive Bannister, group managing director at HSBC Insurance, said: "There is a potentially ill-prepared generation of pragmatic pre-retirees whose expectations of retirement are in danger of not being met unless they stop and consider now the ways in which they need to plan for the second half of their lives."

Retirement Gift Book

OVER 90,000 Copies SOLD

Purchase How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free on before you submit your retirement letter with this direct link:

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Sunday, May 11, 2008

How to Retire Happy for Canadians and Australians

According to a new retirement lifestyle survey, the ongoing volatility within financial markets has prompted a massive increased awareness toward retirement savings by Australian baby boomers.
More than three out of four Aussie baby boomers are beefing up their savings strategy as a result of the turmoil, according to a Commonwealth Bank survey.

The majority of changes included making bigger or additional contributions to their retirement savings plan, while about a third said they were investing more in other investments outside retirement plans such as shares or property.

Interestingly, the Retirement Lifestyle survey found almost 40 per cent of those surveyed considered retirement an opportunity to pursue a new career or learn new skills.

"This trend suggests that many people see retirement as a series of transitions where some form of work or community service can continue into the retirement years,'' Commonwealth Financial Planning general manager Tim Gunnin said.

According to TD Waterhouse's first Canadians and Retirement survey of already-retired Canadians, retirement is different from what many Canadians imagined it would be.

Twenty percent of women found retirement quite different from what they imagined, versus 15 percent of the men.

A quarter of Canadian retirees aged 55 to 70 found it hard to adjust to a life no longer defined by their work. Financial constraints meant they could not do all the things they used to do for 22 percent of those surveyed.

Retirement advice was offered by retirees to those contemplating retirement.
  • Workers should develop a full life outside of work instead of waiting to do so at retirement
  • Workers should take care of their physical and mental health
  • Workers should save for retirement as early as possible.
  • People should pay off all debt before retiring.
    Above all, individuals should take time to prepare for and understand what they want from retirement.
According to the TD Waterhouse only 15 percent of indiviudals are “completely living out their retirement dreams.” Lack of planning appears to be one reason for this.

Surprisingly, the best part of retirement is simple pleasures, say the retirees. Spending time with family and engaging in hobbies also are satisfying as is volunteering.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mother's Day Advice for 2008: Thank Your Mother a Lot While She Is Still Alive!

Regardless of their age, the large majority of mothers care for their children in a thousand little ways that their children tend to take for granted. Unfortunately, most of us don't realize how much our mothers mean to us until they are no longer around. We may thank them on Mother's Day with a card and some flowers and that is about all. Of course, there are many people who truly appreciate their mothers and express their gratitude for them.

Given that my mother passed away while I was in the middle of completing the new edition of this book, allow me to share how I never got to express my love and appreciation for her as much as I would have liked. On the first Sunday of February 2007 I was contemplating whether I should go to a musical performance at our local jazz club. I gave consideration to the fact that on the previous Sunday I had not visited my mother, which I had done virtually every Sunday for almost twenty years. Thus, I decided to skip the musical performance.

I picked up some items from a local supermarket deli and headed over to my mother's apartment. This particular Sunday my sister, Elaine, and her husband, Lorne, also showed up and we had an enjoyable dinner together. Later I noticed that my mother was wheezing after she climbed a flight of stairs. She also complained about how her legs had gotten really stiff lately.

Even so, I would later find out that my mother told others that she had a great day, because my sister, my brother-in-law, and I had visited her. What's more, earlier in the day, just as my mother was about to call my brother, Kenny, she received a call from him. The call was special to my mother because my brother lives outside the city and only visted her once or twice a year.

As it turned out, this was the last Sunday dinner that I enjoyed with my mother. You can imagine how fortunate I felt that I had skipped the musical performance. Two days later I called my mother to ask her how she was doing. She complained of severe headaches that wouldn't respond to Tylenol. Later in the evening my sister and her husband drove my mother to the hospital. The doctors decided to keep her for two or three days because of her low oxygen level but they didn't think it was anything serious.

On Wednesday afternoon when I visited my mother at the hospital, I was stunned to find out that the doctors had diagnosed her with acute leukemia. The head doctor indicated that she could live for several months if they gave her blood transfusions and chemo drugs along with morphine. Needless to say, I left the hospital in somewhat of a daze.

That evening I decided that I would visit my mother at least once every day until she passed away. I also decided to get a nice black book in which I would write down all the special things that I wanted to thank her for. I was also going to encourage other people to write in the black book all the things that they liked about my mother.

As fate would have it, the next day my mother took a turn for the worse. The doctor phoned early in the morning and indicated she had only a few days left with her likely losing mental capabilities in a day or two. Soon after I got to the hospital, I decided that I should bring my mother's best friend, Mary Leshchyshyn, to see my mother one last time while she still had her mental capabilities. After I brought Mary to the hospital, she and my mother were able to spend half an hour together while the rest of us went for coffee.

When we got back to my mother's hospital room, I noticed that my mother had gotten worse and was gasping for oxygen. At this point I felt that she might not last more than a day. So I immediately thanked my mother for two or three important things that she had done for me. She responded - as she struggled for oxygen - by thanking me specifically for having come over every Sunday. (At this point I truly realized how much my weekly visits meant to her.) I also told my mother that the reason that I had never married was that I had never met a wonderful woman like her.

Shortly after, my mother's best friend, Mary, stated that my mother looked really tired and that she should go home to let my mother rest. My mother was able to say a few more words to Mary including "Don't get what I got." Mary's last words to my mother were "See you later." I would find out soon after from my sister that my mother whispered, "Oh no, you won't." But Mary didn't hear these words.

Sadly, while I was driving Mary back to her apartment, my mother passed away. My sister, Elaine, and her husband, Lorne; my cousin, Jerry, and his wife, Lil; and the hospital chaplain, Blaine Allan, were there with her and said a prayer while she passed away. Surprisingly, my mother at eighty-five had her mental capabilities and even a great memory right until her last minutes, given that she was giving instructions to my sister about the funeral, including the dress she wanted to be wearing and how she wanted her head tilted just a bit in the coffin instead of straight up.

Later that morning, when my sister arrived, my mother told her, "I'm done." My sister responded, "What are you talking about?" My mother replied, "I lost the stone from my family ring. It's gone so that means that I am gone too." My mother was so sweet and so strong during her last hours. Even the hospital staff talked about the deep affection they had developed for her during her short stay in the hospital.

As hard as my mother's death was on me, there was something remarkably spiritual about it. There were also a few things for which I had to feel grateful. My mother did not have to suffer for a long time like so many people do in their later years. I was thankful that Elaine, Lorne, Jerry, Lil, and Blaine were there with her to say a prayer when she passed away. I also felt relieved that I had brought Mary to the hospital so that she and my mother got to spend half an hour together before my mother left us rather unexpectedly that day.

After I left the hospital that fateful afternoon, I felt blessed that I was able to see my mother her last day and thank her for at least two or three special things that she had done for me. But I was also terribly saddened that I did not get to give her a hundred more reasons why she had meant so much to me. So I wrote a letter to my mother, which follows this photo of her in her twenties:

Mothers Day Image

February 8, 2007

Dear Mom:

I am so saddened that you left us rather suddenly while knowing that in many ways it was the right thing for you to do. I am sorry that I was not there when you passed on but I know that you appreciate that I brought your best friend Mary to see you one last time and I know that Mary appreciated having the chance to see you one last time. Unfortunately, while I was driving Mary back to her home, you left us but Elaine, Lorne, Lil, Jerry, and Blaine were there with you.

I will miss you. I hope that we meet in Heaven. I know that from the way you treated me and the way you treated others - and how much they held you in great esteem and admiration - that you have an outstanding chance of entering Heaven - far greater than me, that's for sure. But I will remember the great things that people loved about you and try to instill as many of your great qualities in myself as I can from now on. Perhaps I will get into Heaven as easily as you.

Because you left rather suddenly, there are so many things that I wanted to thank you for but didn't get a chance. Here are just some of the things I wanted to thank you for:

    • Thank you for having stuck by my side so many times and gotten yourself in trouble with Dad when he thought I should be doing something else with my life.
    • Thank you for lending me the money to publish my first book although, as you said when I was paying you back, you thought you would never see the money again.
    • Thank you for making a prompt decision around eight years ago to sell your house and move into the St Andrew's Retirement Complex - I know that your living in the apartment complex rather than continuing living isolated in the house added several years to your life - and of course joy in other people's lives.
    • Thank you for still making the great cabbage rolls this last Christmas that you made all these years even though you had been quite ill just before the holidays.
    • Thank you for having taken care of your best friend Mary by buying groceries for her when she couldn't make it out on her own due to her low energy level.
    • Thank you for having had the ability to always be so pleasant with everyone that you met.
    • Thank you for your appreciation of other people - I can't recall your ever having said a bad word about anyone.
    I could go on forever about the things that I would like to thank you for, but I just want to wrap it up by saying I am somewhat mystified - but nevertheless proud of you - for being able to live to the age of eighty-five in generally good health and then make a fairly rapid exit from this planet without having to suffer like so many people do. Great work, Mom!

    But I am going to miss you a great deal. Not having the regular Sunday dinners as we have for so many years and not having someone special to phone every day or two are going to be hard on me.

    I promise to think of you as I live the rest of my life. I will give much thought every day about the types of things you would have wanted me to do and how you would have liked me to treat other people. I know that this will make me a much better person and I hope that I will have as many great people mourn my passing from this planet as will come to mourn yours.

    Thank you, Mom

    With all my love


I placed this letter under my mother's arm in the coffin when members of my close family and I visited the funeral home to pay our respects the day before the funeral. The next day, after I read a copy of the letter as the eulogy during the funeral service conducted by Father Don Bodnar, a good friend of mine commented that this is the type of letter we should all write to our mothers while they are still living.

To be sure, you should thank your mother a lot for all that she means to you while she is still alive - not only with letters but also with thoughtful comments every time you see her. Clearly, your mother deserves much more than a card, flowers, or candy once a year on Mother's Day. Why not send her a handwritten letter at least once a month? Start today because you never know when she may lose her life suddenly."

All that I am or ever hope to be," remarked Abraham Lincoln, "I owe to my angel Mother." George Washington declared, "I attribute all my success in life to the moral, intellectual, and physical education which I received from my mother." Jewish people have a proverb about mothers that is even more eloquent: "God could not be everywhere and therefore He made mothers."

Here are a few words from Washington Irving to remind us a little more about how important mothers are to us: "A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts."

I was fortunate that I saw my mother fifteen to twenty minutes before she passed away and was able to at least thank her for a few things. I am also blessed that I get to dedicate this book to her and will have her name live on at least in some small spiritual way due to me - and, of course, due to the great person that she was. You may not get these same opportunities. So again, thank your mother a lot while she is still alive - and not only on Mother's Day. Trust me - you will deeply regret it later if you don't.

NOTE: The above article is adapted from the chapter called Thank Your Mother a Lot While She Is Still Alive! in the book
101 Really Important Things You Already Know, But Keep Forgetting by Ernie Zelinski. The book is dedicated to Ernie's mother Violet Zelinski (Waselyna Gordychuk) who passed away while Ernie was writing the latest edition of the book.

Following is a photo of Ernie's mother Violet Zelinski (on right) with her best friend Mary Leshchyshyn:

Mothers Day Image of Violet Zelinski and Mary Leschyshyn

Mothers Day Gift

Download the Free E-book of 101 Really Important Things You Already Know, But Keep Forgetting with 17 free chapters at Ernie Zelinski's Creative Free E-Books Website.

Purchase 101 Really Important Things You Already Know, But Keep Forgetting at:

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Read on about
Mothers Day: and The True Spirit of Mother's Day

Articles by
Real Success Author Ernie Zelinski

    #1 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Your Mother's Day Cards

    A little girl, asked where her home was, replied, "where mother is."
    - Keith L. Brooks

    #2 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Your Mother's Day Cards

    Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall; A mother's secret hope outlives them all.
    - Oliver Wendell Holmes

    #3 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Your Mother's Day Cards

    Most of all the other beautiful things in life come by twos and threes, by dozens and hundreds. Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, rainbows, brothers and sisters, aunts and cousins, comrades and friends - but only one mother in the whole world.
    - Kate Douglas Wiggin

    #4 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Your Mother's Day Cards

    If I was damned of body and soul,
    I know whose prayers would make me whole,
    Mother o' mine, O mother o'mine.
    - Rudyard Kipling

    #5 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Your Mother's Day Cards

    My mother had a slender, small body, but a large heart - a heart so large that everybody's joys found welcome in it, and hospitable accommodation.
    - Mark Twain

    #6 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Your Mother's Day Cards

    No painter's brush, nor poet's pen
    In justice to her fame
    Has ever reached half high enough
    To write a mother's name.
    - Author Unknown

    #7 Quote about Moms and Mothers for Your Mother's Day Cards

    No one in the world can take the place of your mother. Right or wrong, from her viewpoint you are always right. She may scold you for little things, but never for the big ones.
    - Harry Truman