Sunday, October 26, 2008

Just Finished Reading The Joy of Not Working

Following is the most recent e-mail that I received about The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed, and Overworked that was sent to me by Eric Clarke of British Columbia.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Eric Clarke
    To: vip-books (at)
    Sent: Thursday, October 23, 2008 3:58 PM
    Subject: To ErnieZelinski - Thank you!

    Dear Ernie,

    I have just finished reading the The Joy of Not Working. What a truly
    enjoyable and thought provoking book. As a recent retiree you have
    helped me to remember what is most important in life and generously
    shared your personal experiences, thoughts and some tools to help
    me reconnect with those things.

    I am looking forward [to retirement ]with excitement and anticipation as I begin this
    journey and hope that at the end I find I have grown into a fully
    developed and happy child.

    Thank you.

    Eric Clarke
    Email - chimiera (at)
    Tele: 573-5982

Here are the covers of some of the other Foreign Editions of The Joy of Not Working:

    French Edition

The Joy of Not Working - French Edition

    Spanish Edition

The Joy of Not Working - Spanish Edition

    Japanese Edition

The Joy of Not Working - Japanese Edition

    Czech Edition

The Joy of Not Working - Czech Edition

    Greek Edition

The Joy of Not Working - Czech Edition

    German Edition

The Joy of Not Working - German Edition

    Turkish Edition

The Joy of Not Working - Turkish Edition

    French Edition - Canada

The Joy of Not Working - French Edition - Canada

    Dutch Edition

The Joy of Not Working - Dutch Edition

    Korean Edition

The Joy of Not Working - Korean Edition

    Italian Edition

The Joy of Not Working - Italian Edition

    Chinese Edition - Traditional Characters

The Joy of Not Working - Chinese Edition - Tradtional Characters

    Chinese Edition - Simplified Characters

The Joy of Not Working - Chinese Edition - Simplified Characters

    Portuguese Edition

The Joy of Not Working - Portuguese Edition

    Polish Edition

The Joy of Not Working - Polish Edition

    Indonesian Edition

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Socialism Ain't the Answer to Better Retirement Living

If you are a socialist, a severe recession is the ideal time to promote socialism and to run down capitalism, at the same time helping to snuff out an era of ideological illogic and unconscionable greed.

You may think that socialism is the only answer to make your retirement living a lot easier and financially more secure.

If who really think socialism will have worked better, here are four quotes to consider:

    Socialism is workable only in heaven where it isn't needed, and in hell where they've got it.
    — Cecil Palmer

    The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level.
    — Norman Mailer

    Socialism in nothing but the capitalism of the lower classes.
    — Oswald Spengler

    Under capitalism man exploits man; under socialism the reverse is true.
    — Polish proveb

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Baby Boomers Are Delaying Retirement Plans

The following news item explains the dramatic drop in sales ranking on of my book How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free along with other retirement books such as What Color Is Your Parachute for Retirement.

A new AARP survey confirms that a lot of older Americans have changed their retirement plans due to falling house prices and the stock market crash — they now have no intention to drop out of the workforce.

Apparently baby boomers are delaying retirement plans indefinitely. Indeed, a whopping 70 percent of workers plan to work during their retirement years.

Part-time retirement jobs are the top choice in the survey of 1,500 Americans ages 45 to 74 who are working or looking for work.

Common motives for post-retirement work are for interest or enjoyment (29 percent) or for needed income (22 percent). The percentage of respondents working for pleasure has decreased since the survey was last conduced in 2002, while the proportion working out of financial necessity has increased. Boomers planning to work primarily for enjoyment typically have post-graduate degrees and household incomes of at least $80,000 a year.

Instead of looking for
jobs during retirement, smaller numbers of older workers plan to start their own business or work for themselves (11 percent).

Of course, as I have indicated in
The World's Best Retirement Book when you retire isn't always completely in your control. A large number of workers retire because of layoffs, buyouts, health problems, or to care for relatives.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Some Things Matter More Than Money

If your retirement funds and retirement income have taken a beating in the last two or three months, you are not alone. There are many people who feel like they are part of the group fools and their money.

I have lost around $70,000 in my stock portfolio.

Should I worry? Probably not.

Years ago I wound up totally broke with $30,000 in student loan debts to my name. My creative efforts helped me get out of the financial jam. Today, I still have $200,000 or $300,000 sitting in cash deposits which is more than many people.

Here are "10 things the credit crisis taught me about investing" that come from John Heinzl, financial writer with the Globe and Mail.

  1. All stocks are risky, even the safe ones.

  2. Buy and hold, buy and schmold.

  3. Nobody is immune.

  4. Money isn't the root of all evil, debt is.

  5. A lot of brilliant people [economists and financial analysts alike] are actually quite stupid.

  6. Just because a stock is cheap doesn't mean it won't get cheaper.

  7. Grandpa was right after all telling us to "save every nickel."

  8. We've had it too good for too long.

  9. Cash is king.

  10. Some things matter more than money.
Indeed, some things matter more than money - in fact, a lot do.

Friday, October 3, 2008

An Online Interview about The Joy of Not Working

Below is an online interview I did about The Joy of Not Working for A New Dawn Blog:

Ernie Zelinski enjoying The Joy of Not Working at La Table de Renoir Restaurant in Edmonton

1 - Tell us a little bit about yourself. (i.e. where you were born, where you grew up, etc.)

    I was born in Athabasca, Alberta, Canada and was raised on a farm around Grassland, Alberta until I was 14 and then finished high school in Lac La Biche. I didn't know what career path to choose, but I was very good at mathematics, trigonometry, and physics. So, on the advice of my teachers, I stupidly enrolled in engineering at the University of Alberta in 1966. In my second year of Engineering I missed over 85 percent of my classes and still ended up with the 7th highest grades out of 250 engineers. Even so, it took 7 years for me to complete a 4-year program because I quit twice and stayed out a year. You can read more about this in an article called The Joy of (Not) Engineering.

    After working for Edmonton Power for five and a half years, I was fired for taking two months of unauthorized vacation. My firing was, in fact, the best thing that ever happened to me because I hated being an engineer. (Just as important, I hated corporate life.) As Hal Lancaster once said, "Getting fired is nature's way to telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place." I am proud to say that I have not had a real job for 28 years.

2 - For those who have not read the book, how would you describe the central idea in the The Joy of Not Working??

Retirement Book

    The Joy of Not Working is all about learning to live every part of your life - employment, unemployment, retirement, and leisure time alike - to the fullest. If you have a job, the book is about how to thrive at work by being more leisurely. If you are unemployed, the book will help you be happier than most people who have jobs, simply because happiness is a matter of choice, whether you have a job or not. If you are retired, The Joy of Not Working will help you find just as much purpose - even more - as you had in your career life.

3 - Some people have read the book and are left with the impression that you are encouraging people to be lazy and unproductive. What do you say to that?

    On the contrary. I am encouraging people to have a better balance between work and play, which will make them more productive. Take me, for example. I work only 4 or 5 hours a day and earn an income twice that of most people who work 8 hours a day. This makes me 4 times as productive as the average person.

4 - If one was to follow your advice and start leading a life of leisure, wouldn't it be quite difficult to maintain the same standard of living?

    First, the important question that arises is "Does one really have to live at the same standard of living?" Studies show that Americans were happiest during the 1950s. Today Americans have houses two to three times as large as in the 1950s, eat a lot more (look at all the fat people in the US), and consume two to three times as much. Yet they are not as happy. The point is that standard of living does not contribute to happiness. I have a friend who is 62 and lives on $434 a month. He actually saves some money certain months. The important point is that he is happier than 95 percent of people in society.

    Second, if you become more leisurely, you may just end up making more money, and increasing your standard of living if you want to. That has happened to many people. Tim Ferris (whose book I recommend later) used to work 12 hours a day and earn $40,000 a year. Now he works 4 hours a week and earns $40,000 a month. Similarly, several people I know work hard 8 to 10 hours a day and earn $50,000 to $60,000 a year. I leisurely work only 4 hours a day and have an pretax income of about $125,000 a year. This is about working smart and not hard - but most people are too hard-headed to grasp this concept and actually follow it.

5 - What do you think is the biggest factor that stops people from changing their lifestyle?

    Most people are too programmed by society and society's values. They don't want to risk and be different. As a matter of fact, they are so plugged into mainstream thinking, they don't realize how programmed they are. This even applies to the highest of educated people such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, and university professors.

6 - Now that you are living a life of leisure, how are you spending your time?

    I usually sleep in until 11 AM or noon. My first priority is going for a rigorous run or bike ride. (This normally takes about one and a half hours of my time. After I get out of my house, and arrive at one of my favorite coffee bars, I spend about 4 hours a day working. Another 2 hours is spent talking to people in coffee bars. The evening is left open and I can do a variety of things including visiting people, reading, or meeting someone for a drink in a bar. I normally get to sleep around 3 AM after reading the newspaper and having a snack.

7 - Name a book that you think everyone should read, and why.

    The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. This book is written for ordinary people who want to accomplish extraordinary things with minimal time involved. Some of the most important principles in this book are:

      1. Get unrealistic.
      2. Practice the art of nonfinishing.
      3. Cultivate selective ignorance.
      4. Do NOT multi-task.
      5. Outsource as much of your life as you can.
      6. Being busy is a form of laziness - lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.
      7. Forget about time management.

    Here are four of several favorite quotes from The 4-Hour Workweek

      1. If you are insecure, guess what? The rest of the world is, too. Do not overestimate the competition and underestimate yourself. You are better than you think.
      2. The blind quest for cash is a fool's errand.
      3. Ninety-nine percent of people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for the mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for "realistic" goals, paradoxically making them the most time-consuming and energy consuming.
      4. The fishing is best where the fewest go, and the collective insecurity of the world makes it easy for people to hit home runs while everyone is aiming for base hits.

    8 - Do you have any plans for a follow up to the Joy of Not Working?

    NOTE: I have also written these books:

9 - What advice do you have for someone who will be cutting back on work and investing the money they have now?

    Contrary to popular belief, you can actually cut back on work and earn more money. Again, work smart and not hard.

    When it comes to the secret of handling money, there are two principles: The first one is: Spend less than you earn. If this won't work for you, then the second principle is definitely for you: Earn more than you spend.

    A lot more North Americans could retire early and have a comfortable retirement if they followed my principles. As I tell my friends who claim they have money problems, "You don't have a money problem. You have a serious thinking problem." Unfortunately, most people in North America end up believing that they "need" all the things that they buy. Fact is, most of the things people buy are "wants'. Regardless of who you are, your needs have always been provided. Plain and simple, if they weren't, you would be dead! So stop fooling yourself that you need all those material goods to be happy and you will have no problem saving.

    I semi-retired when I was 35 and had a net worth of minus $30,000. Even though I have worked less than half of my adult life and have never made a penny in house appreciation (simply because I rented for all these years), I can retire comfortably.

    I recommend this well-titled book for which I have adapted a short review from two other reviews:

    You're Broke Because You Want to Be: How to Stop Getting By and Start Getting Ahead, by Larry Winget.

    The author is a no nonsense guy and a master of tough love. This book will tear down every excuse you can think of and show you that it's your choices that are making you broke. Warning: The author is harsh. So if you get upset about that, maybe you should pass on this one, continue to blame your problems on someone else, and end up broke in retirement.

    To be sure, there's no sweet talk in Winget's advice, who summarizes money management to these points: Get off your duff and start doing the hard work necessary to make financial success happen. His advice includes: Give up cable TV. Get a cheaper car. Move to a more-affordable home. Live on what you earn.

    10 - Can you tell us who you will be voting for in November, and why?

      I will not be voting in November because I am Canadian. If I could vote in the American election, I would vote for the Democrats even though I am more of a conservative than a socialist. To me, the Republicans have absolutely no integrity. They talk about fiscal responsibility but are running unheard of deficits after taking power from the Democrats who under Bill Clinton were running surpluses.

      The situation is no different in Canada. Again, to me, the Conservatives have no integrity in regards to fiscal responsibility. The Liberals were much more fiscally responsible when they were in power than the Conservatives are now. So on October 14th, if I vote, instead of voting Liberal, I will actually vote for the New Democrats (a socialist party!) simply because the New Democrat candidate in my riding has a chance of beating out the Conservative candidate.