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A Letter from a Reader about both
The Joy of Not Working
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
Steve Yu, an attorney from Hacienda Heights, California, sent me this letter in August 2006:
I would like to thank you for writing such marvelous books. I first came across your book How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, while browsing in the finance section at the local bookstore, Barnes & Noble. For the past year, I have been going to bookstores almost every weekend. Lately, I have noticed more and more that reading books provides tremendous stress relief. It is especially nice to do on a hot summer day, and there is no admission charge.
When I started reading How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, it was an instant hit, as I kept thinking that this book was written especially for me. I agreed with 95% of your ideas and suggestions. After reading the first chapter, I decided to purchase the book because I was compelled to highlight certain sections, so that I could re-read them. After I finished the book, I wanted to read your earlier book, The Joy of Not Working, which was equally enjoyable.
I am a 39-year-old attorney in Los Angeles, and have been practicing law since 1992. Lately, I lost the zeal and motivation at work, and I keep thinking about taking some time off. I do not think that I am ready for full-time retirement, but I definitely feel "over-worked" and burnt out. Earning a higher salary and bonus no longer drives me like it used to. As you so eloquently stated in your book, having more money does not mean automatic happiness. I need to enjoy life's little pleasures and engage in leisure activities to find happiness and fulfillment.
I am considering part-time work as transition into retirement. Your two books have encouraged me to take the next step.
It appears that you are preparing to publish additional books, and I will look out for them.
Very truly yours
Steve H. Yu
Retirement Letter #1
A Woman Who Lives in Paradise
and Is Now
Experiencing Freedom after Reading the Book
Nordin from Honolulu, Hawaii, sent a two-page
letter which is the longest that I have received about this
book. I have shortened the letter somewhat even though every
word was worth reading.
I came across your book How
to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free sometime earlier this
year and bought it out of curiosity. I have read many financial
books on retirement but yours seemed different.
I read your book from cover to cover within 2 days and found myself in totally
enjoying and agreeing to everything you said. At last, I am
understood! I am no longer a freak just because I hate to
work for money and FREEDOM means more than a secure JOB!!
I am 38 and officially retired
from working at a job or business. Actually my last paid JOB
was when I was 24, just right out of college. At age 26 I
started my own business and have owned 3 businesses during
the last 10 years. I became a serial entrepreneur and found
that being a small business owner is sometimes worse than
having a job, although I loved the freedom from a boss and
the office politics nonsense. Making lots of money and being
recognized as a successful entrepreneur were driving factors.
However earlier this year, I
got a nagging feeling that there must be more to life than
working hard for money. That nagging feeling turned into terrible
unease and depression and I hated the business I was working
on. I had worked hard building up this 3rd business
for the past 2 years and I was bored and unhappy, even though
it was profitable and I made good money. Here I am living
in this amazingly beautiful paradise and I could count the
times I went to the beach and actually relaxed. I don't want
to be in a walker and carrying an oxygen tank before I can
go hiking up Diamond Head Crater!
When I finally got the courage
to end the business and give up the money, I felt tremendous
relief. However, there was this void that whispered "so what
do you do now?" That's when I picked up your book at a local
bookstore! As the saying goes, when the student is ready,
the teacher will appear!
Now I love being "retired"! LOOOVE being free with my time with no demands
from pesky emails, telephone calls and demanding clients.
Free to choose do things I have not done before because I
had no time. Simple things like going to the library and reading,
taking seminars on courses that interest me not related to
business and money, taking care of my health by exercising,
spending more time with my family.
The first time
I volunteered to become a parent chaperone for my son's class
trip to the Honolulu zoo, I almost cried with happiness. My son, who is 7, was
so happy and proud to have his mom around. I feel sad I didn't
have the time for my daughter when she was growing up (she
is 12) but I am now making up for lost time. This year for
the first time in my life I joined a non-profit organization,
the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as a volunteer and was promptly
made the Event Chairperson for the annual fundraiser. I enjoyed
it and look forward to more charitable events
Best of all, when my husband (who is 51) saw how happy I was, he decided
to quit his job with a very large and respected insurance
company. He too had been very unhappy and bored with his job
but stayed on because of the money and benefits. So in September
he quit the Financial Services Industry for good and joined
the world of the Semi-Retired. He got a real estate license
and does broking on his own terms and absolutely loves it!
Guess what? The world did not burn down and crash and he is
making more money than he ever did in the Insurance Company
and has lots more free time to spend with the family.
I just wanted to thank you for
your wonderful book and showing the world there is more to
life than working hard for money. Now I find life fascinating,
interesting and so fulfilling. Every day is an adventure and
there is so much more to do, see and experience.
Aloha from Paradise (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Fellow Connoisseur of Life
For Those Who Absolutely, Positively Want to Read
The World's Best Retirement Book
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
Retirement Wisdom You Won't Get
from Your Financial Advisor
A Retired British Man Who Wants to
Know the Best Places to Retire
Mosely from Southport, England,
wrote to me not only to discuss the book, but also for some
Dear Mr. Zelinski:
I was in my local library late
last month and noticed your book, How to Retire Happy,
Wild, and Free on the new bookshelf.
Being 69 years (old), I finished
work in October 2001. I was very excited to see and glance
through your book, so I took it on loan from the library being
the first person to have it. I am due to return it on August
12th but I may ask if I can renew it.
Thank you for writing such an
interesting and informative book. It is so full of wonderful
advice on every page. I must endeavor to put into practice
what you advise. I am a bachelor and need to make some changes
to my present lifestyle.
Southport is a town in northwest
England. It is quite an old Victorian town. It
is flat and on the coast near the old shipping port of Liverpool where the old Atlantic steamers
used to sail to and from Canada and America. It has a lot of retirees, but the weather
is very unpredictable so I should like to spend the winter
months somewhere warmer - and maybe permanently.
I have a question: Re. Chapter
8, Page 187, you mention "AARP The Magazine recently
chose its top fifteen places that Americans should consider
if they want to retire abroad."
Please, could you tell me the
names of the fifteen places?
I trust that you are in good
health, happy, and enjoying your summer.
I note that you don't like to
work in any month that doesn't have an "r" in its name, so
I do hope you are enjoying your free time. I shall be quite
happy to wait until September before you reply.
Thank you once again.
a note that I didn't immediately provide Sam Mosely with the
information about the fifteen best places to retire for Americans because I had lost it. However, several months later
a retired friend of mine, who spends his six months a year
in Thailand, sent me
the information in an e-mail:
You can see them at Best Places to Retire on The Retirement Cafe.
Lifestyle and Retirement Planning Made Easy
With The Joy of Not Working
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Top 10 Reasons to Buy
The Joy of Not Working
1. You are more independent and more creative than most people.
2. You were born a lover of life and not a workaholic.
3. You don't want the cheese; you just want to get out of the trap.
4. You like books that are reader friendly with lots of cartoons, quotations, and exercises.
5. You like books that make you smile and challenge traditional ways of living and thinking.
6. You agree with the words of Bertrand Russell: "To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the best product of civilization."
7. You are receptive to the concept that we can achieve more if we relax, enjoy life more, forget about what the majority in society thinks is important, and focus on the things that really matter.
8. Your parents and co-workers will not approve of your adopting this book as your lifestyle Bible.
9. You know a good deal when you see one - if a book has been published in 17 languages in 21 different countries and has sold over 300,000 copies, it must have great value.
10. You know something important that the hard workers of this world don't know: the secret to a happy and fulfilling life is to work smart and not hard.
Purchase The Joy of Not Working
Retirement Letter #4
Additional Advice for a Happy
from a Couple in Arizona
couple from Sedona, Arizona, wrote to me
to share their ideas on how to have a happy retirement.
Just a note to consider for
your next book on retirement/life ideas . . .
Tell them to try the Peace Corps.
I retired at 59 from Boeing and my wife at 54 as a CPA to
spend 2 1/3 years totally challenged, focused, and feeling
like we were on a constant adventure.
You do not grow old while you
are there and for many months after you return home! And they
never look at life the same bored way again.
has CUSO, of course.
Tom & Ann Tedrick
Retirement Letter #5
Work Ethic Is Okay But There
Wonderful Things to Do in Life!
Sharon (no last name given) sent me this e-mail in March 2005.
don't know if you actually read your fan mail but I want to personally
congratulate you on the wonderful books you write! I
just finished reading 2 of them this past winter and they
helped me to refocus on life. I have always had a very
strong work ethic which enabled me to work in a very stressful
career for the past 25 years but with your help I have now
come to the realization that there are other more wonderful
things to do in life! I am seriously considering retirement
in the next 5 years to pursue more interesting activities.
Retirement Letter #6
Outrageousness in the Book Gave
Reader Encouragement and Support
Jarka from Portalnd, Oregon, sent me the
following e-mail in April 2005.
word of appreciation to you for your inspiration, courage,
and outrageousness! I've been reading How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
and finding a lot of encouragement and support in your
"retired" in December, 2004, at 63 1/2 years old. I'd been
trying to get a job with no success--my heart was not in it.
I decided then to restart my coaching and hypnotherapy
practice, and recently decided to focus on helping people
who are retired, or planning to retire, since I've been going
through so much emotionally upon retirement. As such, I've
started creating a workshop to present to businesses and to
the general public, and have found a wealth of material in
your book. Thank you!
has also helped me to focus my own energies on being more
creative. I used to make toys when I first 'retired' to the
Vermont woods when
I was 32, a time that impacted me in many powerful ways. I
plan to start making toys again and hopefully have a class
to teach other retirees.
Retirement Letter #7
Looking Forward to a Fulfilling
with a Smile on Her Face
Legault from Agassiz, B.C., wrote to me in May 2004 to report on her plans for retirement.
Dear Mr. Zelinski
I signed "How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free" out of the
library for my husband, I read it instead and loved it. Your
overall message of living in the moment, finding gratitude
in everything and keeping a healthy and happy heart is inspiring.
Though I am a few years away from retirement, your research,
insights, and quotes will keep me on the right plan and path.
Thank you for your book. I read
it in one weekend - what better way to live in the now than
reading a good book! I work in a library and I see the difference
in seniors, especially those who enjoy their books. To quote
my mother-in-law, "I would jump off the balcony if I didn't
have books." Thank goodness she has a good library!
forward to my retirement with a smile on my face, my camera
around my neck, and a pen in my hand.
Retirement Letter #8
A 44-Year-Old Who Was Inspired
to Think about Long-Term Goals
The following is excerpted from
a Website by Chris Chaos who lives in Tucson,
Arizona. I happened to find the Website when I typed in How to Retire
Happy, Wild, and Free into the Google search engine. It's amazing what you can find about how your books have affected
other people in this way.
"My long term goals haven't been
reviewed or updated in 5 years. Here are the goals I set in
July 1999 just after I quit paid employment:
1) Rent house, move elsewhere.
(I was in Dallas.)
2) EMT training
3) Golf, tennis or softball league.
4) Read corporate books in Borders. Become an expert on corporations.
5) Get organized
6) Little league coaching
7) Saxophone lessons
8) Day trading
9) Math self study
10) Digital weather station
11) HAM radio license.
I've done half of these tasks.
The other half are out of date. What
made me even think of long term goals was Ernie Zelinski's
new book: How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free. In the
first chapter there's a list of Ian Hammond's long term goals
(just retired.) I thought they were cool enough to list on
my blog, because they got my juices flowing:
1) Study for an astronomy degree.
2) Learn to speak Spanish and German fluently.
3) Write and publish a travelogue, short stories and poetry.
4) Read all the "classics".
5) Volunteer as an overseas science/French/English teacher.
6) Study for an electronics degree.
7) Cycle around the world.
8) Compete in an international chess tournament.
9) Play classical guitar to concert standard.
10) Learn tourist Italian and Portuguese.
11) Paint watercolors.
12) Do ten things I haven't thought of yet.
I'd like to recapture the enthusiasm Ian obviously has and
that I felt 5 years ago. Time to review long-term goals.
The World’s Two Best Retirement Gifts
Over 300,000 Copies Sold Over 325,000 Copies Sold
“Ernie has done it again [with How to Retire, Happy, Wild, and Free]. Easy to read, well laid out. Emphasis on simple living, and preparing for retirement long before you retire.”
— Mary Anne Fields, Life Coach and Trainer of Life Unfolds, Houston, Texas
COPYRIGHT © 2017 by Ernie J. Zelinski