How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free

April 2, 2012

When you consider retirement, whether it’s a long way off or looming in front of you, the first thing you probably think about is money. Should you start saving? How much should you save so that you can live comfortably when you’re no longer working? Do you need supplemental accounts? What’s the safest way to invest in your future? Young or old, the financial questions of retirement have started to burden us all. And yet, the concept of leaving the working world behind doesn’t revolve solely around money. Author Ernie J. Zelinski, in his audio book How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor, wants to let you know that there’s a whole life to be lived after retirement, whether you have money or not.

Here’s the thing: most adults spend a good portion of their lives engaged in the daily grind of working and raising a family. You are far more likely, during the years between college graduation and reaching retirement age, to merely exist rather than live. This is why some people come to the end of their lives in total bewilderment, wondering where all that time went. Others feel like they have squandered their talent and any chance at happiness by choosing a career that made them money, but that they hated. Of course, you don’t do it for nothing, right? You probably believe, at some level, that it’s worth the drudgery so that you can live in a nice house, buy a bunch of toys that you rarely get to use, and have enough money to continue doing the same (and maybe travel a bit) once you retire.

Although Zelinski’s audio book seems to be aimed at those in retirement, the truth is that listeners of any age could benefit from his advice about finding happiness through a lifestyle that is wild and free. He advocates making this the best time of your life by accepting that money isn’t everything and then finding creative and meaningful pursuits that make you happy. He urges listeners to follow their dreams, no matter how improbable the chances of success, make new friends, and see to their own health on every level (physical, mental, and spiritual) as a way to truly live.

But do we really have to wait for retirement to adopt this mentality? Couldn’t young people take a lesson here, too? It seems like kids today are imbued with a fear that a failure to follow a high-earning career path will end in disaster. And while people are keen to quip that this country was founded on capitalism, the truth is that America was based on the strength of the independent spirit. This is what Zelinski is telling us to recapture. The “you can do/be anything” mentality has somehow been corrupted into a “you must earn” mandate. But money and things won’t really make you happy.

You won’t find any advice here about setting up a Roth IRA, investing in the hottest green technology orĀ 3D printer stocks, or figuring out how to make your money work for you after retirement. Instead, Zelinski offer listeners a life lesson, one that you don’t have to wait for retirement to embrace. If you want to be happy, forget the rat race. Find an occupation that you love and live wild and free, whether you have a ton of money or not. You won’t be sorry.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: