Book Review: How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free
From time-to-time, as we receive career-related and job-hunting books and other resources from publishers, the staff of Quintessential Careers will review them to help you make better decisions about the best books to use in your career and job search.
How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free, by Ernie J. Zelinski, $15.95. Paperback. 240 pages, VIP Books; ISBN: 096941949X
Reviewed by Nancy Miller, M.S.
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. You don’t suddenly become the person you want to be when you retire. Zelinski’s book reinforces the need to find your purpose in life well before you retire. It is just as important to know how you want to spend your time as it is to know how much money you will need. As Zelinski shows in his stories and anecdotes, you can enjoy a happy retirement if you begin preparing early.
This book comprises so much more than financial planning. Many of the books and magazines that discuss retirement focus on building a nest egg, investing, and accumulating wealth. But the best way to find happiness during retirement is to have health, friends, and interests. Zelinski suggests retirement is not a time to rest. Retirement is a time to be active, learn, travel, or start a new career. Whether your finances allow travel, a vacation home, or learning to live on less, many options for retirement are open. The author shares the story of a family who moved to a log cabin in the mountains with no furniture. They were very happy enjoying nature and fresh air. Other retirees are happy living in a city, doing volunteer work, or traveling.
I would not hesitate to share this book with friends, colleagues, or clients. Investigating the many options for retirement is even more important now than when the book was first written. With so many people having to change or rethink their retirement plans, this book is a breath of fresh air. At a time when people need inspiration and hope for their futures, learning “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” may be just what they need.
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. Five 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.
4. Build healthy relationships before you retire. Having healthy relationships outside of work before you retire will be the foundation for retirement bliss.
5. Retirement can be the best part of your life. Reading Zelinski’s book was fun and inspiring. The author reminds us to focus on the things that are really important in life. Retirement, after all, is just the beginning.
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