Free E-Book: 101 Reasons to Love a Recession

How to Prosper During an Economic Downturn

First Published: ADawnJournal.com May 27, 2009

International Best Selling author Ernie Zelinski has generously offered his latest E-Book free for A Dawn Journal readers.  Titled 101 reasons to Love a Recession, it talks about how motivated individuals can capitalize on recession. A recession can present opportunities to prosper during an economic downturn and benefits of a recession should not be overlooked. Economic turmoil can bring the best and it’s up to you to turn adversity into advantage.

This E-Book is yours to download right now. I will not ask you to provide your email address or force you to subscribe my RRS Feed to enjoy this book. However, If you would like, you can subscribe my RSS Feed voluntarily right here – RSS.

101_Reasons_to_Love_a_Recession.pdf

NEW RULES OF RETIREMENT – A Dawn Journal Book Review

A Canadian Retirement Planning Book

First Published: ADawnJournal.com Feb 4, 2009

Bay Street veteran investment professionals and Toronto authors Warren Mackenzie and Ken Hawkins have sent me two copies of their recently published book NEW RULES OF RETIREMENT: WHAT YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISOR ISN’T TELLING YOU. One copy is for my free giveaway and one copy is for me to review. I just finished reading this book today, so here’s my review.

Retirement Planning Is Not Just Financial Planning

The majority of traditional financial planners will map your retirement planning based on your bank accounts. They will not look at the human aspect of retirement, and therefore will miss the bigger picture of retirement. This may sound odd, but remember that financial advisors are working for the financial industry and your bank accounts are what are making deep-pocketed profits for these financial institutions and advisors.

Retirement is a process which is made up of both financial and non-financial aspects. Of course, you will need to be in a stable financial situation to enjoy your retirement years, but you also need to look at it from a broader human perspective. You need to understand, plan, and consider your emotions, attitudes, goals and so on. In order to enjoy your retirement fully, you have to be ready to face different situations than what you have expected, consider different paths based on those unexpected situations, and tackle them with financial and psychological preparedness. The right preparation, expectations, and attitudes will help you make it through your retirement journey.

Things Have Changed

Nowadays, retirement is not the same as it used to be in the old days. In the old days, retirement was meant to be sitting idly and doing nothing but relaxing. These days, retirement is not just living a life of leisure and sedentary activities. Rather, retirement is an opportunity to take you to the second phase of your life. This is the other part of life which will be filled with activities you have always wanted to experience but never had a chance to do—pursuing your dreams, living in a new place, living a life full of activities, or embracing new challenges to live a more fulfilling and self-developed life.

Stay Away From Old Retirement Myths

The authors talk about some old retirement myths perpetuated in our society. If you are still planning your retirement based on these myths, it is high time you review your retirement road-map and throw away these myths. Here is the list of myths the authors pointed out in the book:

Retirement Means Not Working – Myth 1
Retirement Is Strictly An Economic Event – Myth 3
You Can Determine The Age At Which You Retire – Myth 4
Retirees Need 80 Percent Of Their Pre-Retirement Income To Maintain Their Standard Of Living – Myth 5
Retirees Need To Live Off Their Investment Incomes Without Touching The Principle – Myth 6
Retirees Should Take Little Financial Risk – Myth 7
Retirees Should Minimize Their RRSP/RRIF Withdrawals – Myth 8
Retirees Do Not Need Advice – Myth 9
The Most Important Objective In Retirement Is To Maintain Your Pre-Retirement Standard Of Living – Myth 10

The authors discussed these myths in the first chapter, explained why they are wrong, and then pointed out what you should do to protect yourself. The authors did a good job here starting the book with these myths; it gives the readers an idea of what to expect once you cross the door and also it makes coming chapters more riveting.

Thirty Eight Rules

The book consists of thirty eight rules. Each rule is one chapter. Authors talk about a wide range of topics covering a variety of subjects, such as how to plan for retirement, how to construct a simple portfolio, what government services are available to help you with your retirement, and so on.

What I Like

I like those chapters most wherein the authors talk about Old Age Security, Defined Benefit Plan, how early retirement affects your benefits, Life Annuity (a type of product), and how to make the most out of your RRSPs, RRIFs, etc. I believe these chapters provide invaluable information for lots of readers who have very little or no knowledge on these products and benefits. The authors explained them in simple ways and these chapters are what make this book distinctive amongst its peers.

What I Don’t Like

Due to the fact that the authors discussed so many topics in one place, you will have a feeling that it’s just kind of skimming the surface and not actually taking you too deep. This is understandable, however, as this 220-page book would have turned into a 2000-page book had the authors taken a deep dive.

My Take

If you are a regular ADJ reader, you know that I go by three very simple and straightforward ratings for my book review: A Must Read, Worth Reading, and Do Not Read. For this book, I will slightly modify my rating, still keeping within the range. This book is mainly targeted to baby boomers, and the publication timing is perfect in light of the current global financial meltdown (the first batch of baby boomers will be 63 in 2009 and will receive Old Age Security in 2011). If you are a baby boomer, or if you are over fifty, my rating is A Must Read.

Your Money or Your Life Book Review

Your Money or Your Life

First Published: ADawnJournal.com Oct 16, 2008

I just finished reading Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) and I decided to do a review of this book for ADJ readers. Before talking about the book, let me give you some information about its author, Joe Dominguez. Vicki Robin is the co-author of YMYL.

Joe Dominguez

The late Joe Dominguez worked as a Wall Street analyst for ten years before retiring at the age of thirty-one. At that time, Joe had a portfolio of $70,000 and he had lived on a yearly income of $6,000 derived from that portfolio. YMYL was published in 1992 and Joe and Vicki donated all monies they received from the bestselling book and their other activities to the New Road Map Foundation—a non-profit organization Joe and Vicki founded to promote the reduction of our consumption. The book’s dedication is very fitting: “We dedicate this book to all of the people who are actively engaged in leaving our planet in better shape than they found it.” Joe Dominguez tragically died of cancer in 1997.

Let me describe the following main issues the authors tried to present in this book.

Life Energy

Life energy simply means the time we have here on earth. It can be broken down into hours or minutes. Let’s say you work 40 hours per week. It means you are trading 40 hours of your precious life energy for money. You are paying for 40 hours of your life with money. How you spend your life energy is up to you. You could spend these 40 hours doing something else, such as spending time with your family or spending time on your own terms—not working for someone else. The book has a nice chart showing the average remaining life expectancy based on your age. For example, if you are 40, you have 329,601 hours (thirty-seven years) of life energy remaining before you die.

It’s Not Making a Living, It’s Making a Dying

By working a traditional nine-to-five, we are killing ourselves. Just look at all those employees at the end of the day, whether they are coming out of an office building or a factory. We are killing our sense, relationships, health, soul, self-confidence in our jobs. We are sacrificing our life energy, our very lives, for our jobs. This is happening so slowly that we hardly ever notice that making a living is taking us closer to death; it’s actually making a dying.

We Make a Dying at Work so We Can Live It Up on the Weekend

We spend our precious life energy on the weekdays to earn money so we can spend it on the weekends. We work to pay our daily expenses, but we end up spending more than we make on things we do not need. So we go back to work to get money to pay interest on money we’ve already overspent. If you look deep into it, in the end you are wasting your life energy to pay for your credit cards or loan interests. Is it worth it to spend two month’s (or more) worth of work or life energy just to pay your interests?

What Is Your Real Hourly Wage

You may be making $25 an hour on paper, but that’s not your real hourly wage. Since we are trading our life energy for money, take a hard look at how much you are really earning. When you factor in all the job-related costs such as commuting, costuming, meals, stress, job-related illness, vacations etc., to your surprise you will find that your hourly wage is a lot less than what you have been making on paper. As a matter of fact, a $25 per hour wage can end up paying you $15 per hour after considering all the related expenses. Is this worth trading your precious life energy for?

We Are a Cancer to Earth

Our consumption-based society is sold on materialism. However, we do not realize that the Earth is the source of everything we use and resources are depleting so quickly that very soon the planet will not be able to accommodate our demands. We are a cancer to the Earth and one day this cancer will spread to a level from which there will be no return.

A New Road Map

Your Money or Your Life teaches you how to be financially independent by following a new road map. Once you a reach that point, you will no longer need to work for someone else. You start living on your own terms and start trading your life energy for yourself. The authors call this “The Crossover Point.” At this point, your expenses can be covered by your investment income and you will be all free from your nine-to-five and making a dying.

Things I Liked and Didn’t Like

The book has lots of tips on frugality and 100 sure tips to save money. Even if you don’t agree with the authors that a nine-to-five is actually making a dying, you can still use these tips to save lots of money.

I find the book a little too long. It could have been made at least 1/3 shorter. YMYL has too many real-life stories to conclude the authors’ perspectives—which I find annoying sometimes. Also, YMYL recommends that you put all your money in one place: in government bonds. I do not agree with this idea, as it will not provide any diversification. I still believe in the old adage, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

My Rating

I am giving Your Money or Your Life a “Must Read.” I recommend it highly, especially if you are tired of being trapped in a regular nine-to-five schedule.

ADJ Interviews International Best Selling Author Ernie Zelinski

A Dawn Journal Interviews International Best Selling Author Ernie Zelinski

First Published: Sep 25, 2008 ADawnJournal.com

While reading The Joy of Not Working, I had the feeling it was I, not Ernie Zelinski who wrote it. I could not have agreed more with everything he said. Since then, I wanted to share my thoughts regarding this book and Ernie Zelinski with my readers.  What better way to do that than  an interview with an international best-selling author. I would like to thank Ernie for taking the time to answer these questions for ADJ readers.

 

1 - Tell us a little bit about yourself

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 in the University of Alberta Engineering Alumni Magazine.

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 Joy of Not Working?

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?

I have already written and published 3 follow-up books related to The Joy of Not Working which are:

- The Lazy Person's Guide to Success: How to Get What You Want Without Killing Yourself for It

Real Success Without a Real Job: The Career Book for People Too Smart to Work in Corporations

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor

For the record, How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free was rejected by 35 publishers even by my own publisher Ten Speed Press that publishes The Joy of Not Working — and had to be self-published.

With an order that I received last week from Allstate Financial for 3,700 copies,  How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free has now sold over 100,000 copies.

I have also sold rights to nine foreign publishers. The cool thing is that I have now realized a tidy pretax profit of $350,000 on this self-published book — much, much more in earnings than I would have received from a major publisher.

For anyone interested, I provide over half — mainly the top half — of How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free as a free E-book download on the Creative Free E-Books Webpage at the Real Success Resource Center and as well as on:

www.retirement-quotes.com .

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.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Read Ernie Zelinski's blog:

Best Retirement Quotes and

Retirement Quotes cafe

The Joy of Not Working

The Joy of Not Working

First Published: Aug 19, 2008 ADawnJournal.com

Imagine that an undergraduate engineering student is doing the following:

  • Taking a year off

  • Quitting school not once, but twice

  • Skipping 85% of his classes

  • Failing first-year English three times

If he is in a class of 250 students, what would you expect him to rank? The last possible rank (the 250th) or maybe the 150th?

This is not an imaginary story. This student is now the world famous author Ernie Zelinski. He did graduate, ranking 7th among those 250 students. Zelinski’s international bestseller The Joy of Not Working has sold over 250,000 copies and has been translated into 17 languages in 21 countries.

I just finished reading this book, and was greatly inspired by it. While reading The Joy of Not Working, I had the feeling it was I, not Ernie who wrote it. I could not have agreed more with everything he said, each paragraph, every sentence, and every word. It was such a feeling … it was just like reading my own thoughts expressed eloquently by someone else. Perhaps this is because I am going through a phase in my life in which I desire to live on my own terms, and that is what Zelinski talks about in this book.

I am happy to announce that Ernie Zelinski has agreed to an interview request.  The interview will be conducted sometime next week, and I would like to offer my readers the opportunity to ask him some questions.  Please email me your submissions over the next few days.  I will pick a few of the best ones and include them in the interview. Also, I will be doing a review of The Joy of Not Working shortly.To submit your questions, you can email me through contact page, or you can leave a comment right underneath my postings.

Twenty- five summers ago, Ernie Zelinski asked for two months off work. His boss declined, but Ernie decided to take two months off anyway. He was fired upon his return. That was his last job and he has not worked since then.

Free E-Book - Download the preface, Chapter 1, and Appendix from The Joy of Not Working.

Buy the full version here