How to Retire Happy Wild and Free by Ernie J Zelinski

Before you decide not to read this, because you are decades off retirement, please read the first paragraph at least. I spoke to a young chap networking earlier this month who wasn’t going to take advantage of Auto-Enrolment Pensions as he was trying to get on the housing ladder, so why think of pensions! Start small and early and your pension fund will build to give you opportunities in later life. It doesn’t have to impact financially on you now. (now forward this to somebody you know is considering retirement in the next couple of years please?)

I bought How to retire Happy Wild and Free as one of my wife’s Christmas presents to help her consider her options over the next few years. It is not just looking at the financial aspects, it is what you want to do with what could be a third of your life.

I have been in transition for probably 10 years. Now I am only focusing on my own lifestyle business, I have time to do other things and I have to coach myself to say that is OK.

“The best time to start thinking about your retirement is before your boss does” Unknown wise person

Lots of people worry about retirement, will they have enough money, how much will they miss their work environment, what are they going to do with their time? Ideally a phased retirement is a good idea so that you can try out some new pastimes before leaving the security blanket of full time employment. The more your life revolves around work, the more of a shock retirement will be!

“The key to a happy retirement is to have enough money to live on, but not enough to worry about” another unknown person!

The two essentials for a successful retirement are sufficient funds to live on and sufficient things to live for. You may have the funds and a list of interests, hobbies and leisure activities that will keep you busy. Nonetheless, if you want your retirement to be satisfying, these activities might not be enough. You may need a purpose that is really important to you. Being involved in activities with a major purpose will not only keep you mentally and physically active, it will also provide you with emotional and spiritual fulfilment.

I have now had to return the book to my wife. It looks a good read to me if you are a couple of years off retirement. We are presently talking to our IFA and Pension Provider to work out all of the financial elements. We will then sit down and discuss all of the things we want to in our Active Retirement Phase before the Slowing Down phase which hopefully is a long way away.

I have always liked coaching subjects in which I have been deeply involved such as leadership, business, careers and I will now be adding retirement to my list as I go through the process which starts by researching retirement with many different people who will also have many different ideas. I think my latest moto will work well here too:

Reflectwhy have you been working so hard over so many years, what have you missed out on, and how do you want to make the most of life in the next decade whilst you are fit enough?

Plan – yes, we need to talk to our partners to make sure we are on the same page and want similar things. Do we have the financial means to do what we both want to do and what are our priorities?

Act – Many IFAs have said to me that some people think they have to keep on earning when they actually have enough money to do what they want to do with their life. So, when you have worked out what you want to do and you have the funds to do it, go4it, as we are only here once!

So, if you or somebody close to you, is considering retirement, I strongly recommend How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free by Ernie J Zelinski (it is a bit American) and if you want a coach who is experiencing retirement now (and I will continue to coach because I really enjoy it) please get in touch with me by emailing

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