Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Thursday, December 21, 2017


Section 9

The Three Freedoms

Retirement, a time to do what you want to do, when you want to do it, where you want to do it, and, how you want to do it.’
Catherine Pulsifer


Environment is important. Retirees reporting the greatest satisfaction tended to live in places with the following:

     Housing with low maintenance costs.
     Easy accessibility to hospitals, shopping and recreation centres.
     Very secure neighbourhoods with no need for elaborate security precautions.
     A sense of community and connectedness.
     Availability of affordable internet.

A word of warning about emigration; what retirees need least is isolation and exclusion.

Retirement in itself can bring shocks that are difficult to prepare against and has to be eased into gradually. Moving to another country has to be one of the biggest life choices a person can make, and should not be made so soon after retiring.

Along with this, emigrating strips you of some of the supporting factors of the country you’ve previous lived and worked in, the benefits of which may not have made themselves apparent in your former life: the ease in which you communicate, make sense of your immediate environment, partake in the minor rituals of your society (even those that seem to provide no purpose.) and casual conversations. 

These can be things that might not seem so important when you go without them for only a week or two, as you would travelling, but there are special occasions and emergencies that throw a new perspective onto things.

Your country and community play a big role in your identity and sense of purpose. Perhaps some individuals would be more fulfilled away from the country they had become accustomed to, but as a general rule we would say: ‘By all means travel, but reconnect to your community!’



As company structure becomes more fluid, responsibility for retirement planning will gradually be transferred to individuals. This goes hand-in-hand with the autonomy we have gained over our work.  

Calculating Need

Asking ‘How much will I need for retirement?’ is a little like asking ‘How long is a piece of string?’ There is no convenient figure that we can throw out to you. In this section we will take you through some calculations to help land you in your own ball-park figure. You’ll need to consider:

     The age at which you want to retire.
     The standard of life you intend to live at, both the baseline amount needed to continue at that level you are accustomed to, but also a higher, more ideal number that would allow you new luxuries (travel, hobbies).
     Medical expenses.
     The extent of your investments and assets able to generate an income.
     If you have a company pension plan, obtain an estimate of its value from your plan provider.
     The government benefits you are entitled to.

     The amount that would make you feel comfortably protected from the worst case scenario. 

Spanners in the Works

As we have said (perhaps too many times) over this guide; the unexpected will happen. When calculating your absolute baseline, take a second to consider how it would feel if to be confronted with the following occasions:
     You are made to retire earlier than you would have chosen for yourself.
     Your spouse, for whatever reason, is no longer able to work in the capacity he or she once did.
     Your health takes a hit, and your medical costs suddenly inflate.
     Your spouse, or any family member really, hits a significant milestone and you realise that they deserve spoiling; with something far beyond what they’re used to. 
     You son/daughter is starting university/getting married/entering the housing market, but they themselves have a very low income. Subsequently, they plan to enter the housing market, without a leg to stand on.
     A secondary income you had relied upon suddenly collapses: The lodger leaves. The deal falls through.

Spend a second just to ruminate on these. Personalize them as deeply as you can.
How would you feel to break the bad news to those close to you?
How would you feel to be capable of generosity?

Of course - not all of these problems need to be met by cold hard injections of capital - maybe you have a nimble-minded, cost-free solution - lucky you! - but for the most part cash is the most direct answer to these problems.

Good Habits

Perhaps the most important single piece of advice we could give is this:

Start now.
Those that are most successful in saving for retirement are those that start early.
Decide a budget and stick to it
Targets are important: especially in areas that boil down to numbers. Be flexible - if the first number was unfeasible, adjust it. If you falter one month, get back on the horse the next.
Confront debt
Debt is like a cancer - it grows in the shade. Confronting it is a painful, necessary thing.
Create a steady plan
Just as you would with a diet - adjust to a slow and steady pace that you can tolerate to climb your way out of your obligations.
Automate it!
Go to your bank and set up an auto-pay into your retirement fund.
Not just this: set up an auto-pay system that pays money into your retirement fund as close as possible to you receiving it. And once it’s in there, don’t touch it.
This takes away the pressure of remembering and the labour of making the payment, but it also gets you out of the habit of seeing the ‘spikes’ and ‘dips’ of your balance, as the money makes its passage. You’re better off not knowing it was ever there, and readjusting to see whichever number remains as the new norm.
Factor-in inflation!
Assume an inflation rate of 4%.
Assume the worst
The worst feeling in the world is ‘Hmmm, I don’t have as much as I thought….’ Don’t kid yourself by rounding up your income. Round down your income, and round up your costs - the remainder will be more motivational.

Squeezing Pennies

Perhaps you haven’t saved.
Perhaps it wasn’t possible to save given your circumstances.
Perhaps time just slipped from your fingers. 
Or maybe you did everything right, but it didn’t matter this time:
Perhaps life wasn’t fair.

If you’re reading this, chances are you have lived through an economic recession. The sad fact is that even if you do everything right, things can still go wrong. We can’t prepare for all possibilities. We can’t cover all bases and blind-spots - any of us can be hit hard, seemingly at random.

If you are behind others, you have to make greater sacrifices. You will have to think outside of the box - and weigh up some options that may not make you so comfortable - but remember the severity of the alternatives.

In what ways can you use your existing assets to generate an income? Could you rent a room of your house?

Consider Semi-retirement - This needn’t necessarily be in the same capacity and location of your previous work. You could make use of your experience and time to work on a freelance basis. ( and are good starting places or you might place ads in the local newspaper.)

This is the continuation of a serialization of this new ebook on active retirement, by a Ugandan, Petero Wamala, and an American, Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., which ebook is available through for $0.99: 

Stop Dating Mr. Wrong

Even some women over 60 have re-entered the dating game, often after a marriage that ended by death or divorce. They hope to find Mr. Right and avoid Mr. Wrong. This year, in his 20th book, Weed Out the Users…, expert relationship counselor Gregg Michaelsen describes three families of the Wrong clan (Users, Losers, Snoozers), and contrasts them with Mr. Right, a man you can link up with, if you are at your best. 


This con artist will pose as Mr. Right, initially giving you respect, attention, consideration, perhaps even charming your friends and family. Your first few dates on the town are followed by excuses to stay in, at your home or his. He sizes you up with questions that seem attentive but are calculated to find your vulnerabilities. He’ll continue to date others. You’ll be asked for favors, but get little in return. Soon, you’ll find he is not interested in what interests you. His conversation centers on himself.

Eventually, Michaelsen writes, “He doesn’t listen, doesn’t make plans, and can’t remember your birthday…. He is a narcissist.” The world, including your world, is to revolve around him.

What should you do? Give him time to expose himself…by his actions. Slow down the progression of the relationship and try to observe him objectively. Wait a month or longer before you decide he is worth continuing to date.


He sticks around, more parasite than partner. He won’t commit. Perhaps he’s endured sad break-ups or saw his parents’ marriage fall apart, or…. Whatever the reason, he may think he wants a committed relationship, and you may think so, too, but it is not likely to happen.

“Years could go by before you finally realize he is useless,” Michaelsen writes.

I’m familiar with such a relationship. I advised the lady in question to clear her decks, open up her dance card, make room for someone better…she did, and she has found herself a better man. However, she had “invested” about five years with the loser, mostly a waste of time.

Someone wisely said, “You can’t fly like an eagle if surrounded by turkeys.” 

Even one turkey can take up too much time and energy, too much psychological “space.”

Michaelsen suggests an observant four-date sequence to find out what’s true about the man you are dating: 

- meet his friends; 
- have him meet with your friends; 
- let him drink too much, while you stay sober; 
- meet his family. 

Machiavellian?  Acid tests? Yes, but dating is not playing bean-bag. You are weeding, making room in your garden for the right person.

If you marry a loser, you will lose, too. You’ll be kept waiting repeatedly. He’ll be lazy and selfish. He may have an ex-something still in his life. As a lover, he’ll be, well, unexciting, unless stimulated by porn. Soon, you become an afterthought. When you need him, he’ll be Missing in Action. Don’t blame him; you’ll only waste your time, as he expertly plays the Victim.


Don’t despair. Two more types hold promise, the Snoozer, and Mr. Right. Snoozer can be transformed, trained, to become a Mr. Right. Basically good, Snoozer needs care and feeding, judicious use of carrot and stick, and you must present some challenge and mystery.

Michaelsen writes that the snoozers are inconsistent. They reluctantly and sometimes take responsibility in the relationship. Usually, they do not carry lots of emotional baggage from the past, and they can be encouraged to become what you seek, if you identify what needs changing, inspire change, and support the outcome. You are entering into a period of wielding carrot and stick, praise for good behavior, withdrawal for bad. Think of how you’d get a puppy socialized. Effective, if not grand.

However, this seems manipulative. It resembles the adage that women marry men they hope will change, and men marry women they hope will not change.


At the top of Michaelson’s list of positive attributes of Mr. Right: “He takes 100% responsibility…. the opposite of the victim mentality.” He has goals and plans, enthusiasm, respect for others, reliability…and, furthermore, he is “always in the chase mode,” always wooing you, openly or subtly.

He is always chasing you because you have made yourself into a “high-value woman,” one any self-confident man would want.


Like creating that mythical professional baseball field in the movie, The Field of Dreams, if you have made yourself a “high-value” woman, you will attract “high-value” men, and you’ll avoid the Users, Losers, and Snoozers.


Are you or a friend dating? How are you distinguishing User, Loser, and Snoozer from Mr. Right?

Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is a former Harvard science professor. He still publishes, and he helps others write and publish their books via his business website, His life's central theme has been his half-century romance with his wife, Tina Su Cooper, now quadriplegic for thirteen years due to multiple sclerosis, receiving 24/7 nursing care at home, as discussed in his latest book.

First published here:

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Product Details

If you’re somewhere between 15 and 70, you are likely to be dating or know someone who is. This book is for those women who hope to find Mr. Right among a multitude of Mr. Wrongs. And those of us who like to advise them..

Drawing on his experience of two decades of counseling and advising, during which he has written some 20 books, relationship guru Gregg Michaelsen describes three families of the Wrong clan (Users, Losers, Snoozers), and contrasts them with Mr. Right, a man you can link up with, if you are at your best.  

Users are con men, glib, with an eye for your weaknesses, initially all you could ask for, but quickly asking for more than they give, more than you want to supply. Generosity goes down to stinginess. Attention fades to inattention. 

He’ll continue to date others. You'll do him favors, but get little in return. His conversation centers around him and his interests, not yours. In the extreme, he is a narcissist. The world, including you, is to revolve around him.

“Time heals all wounds,” the saying goes. Turned around as, “time wounds all heels,” this applies here. Go slow with the User, and he’ll show his true colors.

The Loser is a parasite, not a partner. He won’t commit. He may think he wants a committed relationship; you may hope so, but it is not likely to happen.

An acquaintance of mine “invested” about five years with a loser, mostly a waste of time. Dropping him opened up space for her to get a better man.

Michaelsen suggests a four-date test sequence: meet his friends; have him meet with your friends; let him drink too much, while you stay sober; meet his family. Observe, judge, act. You are weeding, making room in your garden.

If he does marry you, you’d be better off single. When you need him, he’ll be elsewhere. If you blame him, you’ll only waste your time; he plays the Victim expertly.

Michaelsen writes that two other types hold promise, the Snoozer, and Mr. Right.

Snoozer can be transformed, trained, to become a Mr. Right. Michaelsen writes, however, that Snoozers are inconsistent. To transform one, you must wield carrot and stick, praise for good behavior, withdrawal for bad, like training a puppy. Effective, though not romantic.

Here is Michaelsen’s Mr. Right: “He takes 100% responsibility…. the opposite of the victim mentality.” He has goals and plans, enthusiasm, respect for others, reliability…and, furthermore, he is always wooing you, openly or subtly.

He is always chasing you, because you have made yourself into a “high-value woman,” one any self-confident man would want.

I found this book informative and entertaining. You don’t have to be a woman to get a lot out of it. For a man, it could help you become a Mr. Right.


Here's the link to the book on Weed Out the Users


I write, coach, and edit through my business at

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Self-Made Authority: How to Position Yourself As The "Go To Person" In Your Field and Catapult your Business Beyond the Competition by [Momeni, Oliver]

Most of us would like to be recognized as authorities. I know I would. I help people write and publish their books, but so do lots of others. I hope that this book will give me the tools to have a more successful Internet-based business, once I do the work.

Oliver Momeni has distilled his twenty-plus years of entrepreneurship into this highly readable introduction to Internet marketing, with an emphasis on the value of webinars and the relative ease in preparing and presenting them. His web site features his book, several courses, and about a dozen helpful blogs, with the focus on presenting effective webinars. His book provides a link to a free training program as well.

In a little more than one hundred pages, this useful and encouraging book goes well beyond webinars. Its somewhat grandiose subtitle tells us How to Position Yourself as the Go-To Person in Your Field & Catapult Your Business Beyond the Competition. It starts with the story of his near-death illness a decade ago that cost him his marriage and made him think seriously about both success and “giving back” to others who want to succeed.

He covers the following topics: having something to say that others want to know, mastering the Internet, marketing basics, social media, other tools, webinars, YouTube, Google hangouts, podcasting, Kindle books, expert interviews, and coaching. Ideally, you would use all of these, starting with Facebook and your own web page.

Like any persuasive salesman, he then addresses our likely objections and our “misconceptions,” such as hoping to build an online business overnight, finding that “magic pill,” ignoring Search Engine Optimization (SEO), fearing the building of a website, believing you can’t do your own webinar, refusing to invest in your own success, giving up on developing an email contacts list. Since he will be selling us his webinar training programs as well as his book, he is not a disinterested, objective observer.  On the other hand, he seems sincerely interested in helping others succeed, and his personal story and his willingness to correspond with newbies makes it plausible that he really intends to have his students succeed as he has.

I’ve been on the Internet for decades (remember Compuserve?) and using it for my little business for six years, and I found that this little book offered much information I did not know, especially about: online seminar development and presentation, Google hangouts, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and (new to me) Snapchat). And there’s more, as the commercials say: podcasting, Kindle publishing (I do this), expert interviews, publishing articles, paid advertising, selling, freelancing, and (I don’t do this) even ghostwriting.

Momeni covers each topic well enough to get you started, encouraging you along the way. If I wanted to work this hard, I’d have gotten out of my pajamas. Only kidding. Fine book, a Kindle bargain.


My coaching-editing-writing site:

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Section 8

Staying Connected

As we have put it - One of the dangers that faces you is disconnection; or to put it another way, isolation. There’s a bitter irony to this; you will be at your most vulnerable, most reliant upon others since your infancy, but somehow or other - and we have all witnessed it, maybe even within our own families - connection tends to wane at this time. Bonds are tested to their absolute extreme. The become responsibilities, and can become obligations. Burdens.

You and Those Closest To You

A common misstep with the elderly is to rely heavily upon their closest circle, hoping them to fulfil other angles of social life. Such a relationship sets up an opportunity for disappointment, because there are different forms of conversation we may be eager to have, and not all of them are appropriate for all listeners!
What’s more is the strain this can put on relationships. Becoming emotionally reliant on one person asks a lot of them, and what would be worse than resorting to manipulating one we love?

If you feel lonely, stop and ask yourself: what has your strategy for enticing other been? Are you making an effort to meet them half-way, literally and figuratively? Are you doing your best to listen, as well as talk? Are you allowing people full autonomy, or just moaning people into spending time with you?

Finding Community

There is evidence that the number of groups that a person is a member of is a unique predictor of self-esteem, resilience and mental health. [17]

Maybe it’s nothing as dramatic as loneliness as such, maybe it’s just the feeling that you haven’t expressed yourself verbally in a while. Whatever it is, this feeling can sneak up on you, and by the time it has done you’re in a bad place.

Especially in Western, increasingly secular societies, there is a real lack of community. Many of us never meet our neighbours, let alone actually speak to them. We have disregarded rituals as silly, but when nothing has taken their place we have an uncomfortable silence.

Whether you believe in a higher power or not, church and Bible studies are a great way to socialize.

If there is no existing community for the specific things you are interested in, it is now easier than ever to start your own. Computer literacy is a must.  Reach out to people or create a ‘space’ for them. Interact. See what happens.

You may even decide to share your thoughts through a blog or a vlog.

I suspect we all have someone in our life who in old age appears to be grumpy, and reclusive. I’d like to suggest that perhaps this is what happens to something as simple as shyness; when a person has never learned to say hello.

And this isn’t simple.

But the crucial thing to know is that everyone else feels like that. Truly extroverted people are actually quite rare.

The natural way of finding a community and social partners is to not go out explicitly looking for them. They are something best hunted for obliquely, as in, go and do something you care about, and let the someones introduce themselves or tag along as they please. Then you and the people you interact with are bound to have something talk over. A common starting place. 

Case Study: Paul 

From early on in his life Paul was known to be a gifted speaker. He could get his friends laughing, and then through university he realised that he made a good centre to a dinner table. People just listened. Naturally enough, he landed a job in sales, a position that funded a secure life for himself, his wife and his children. It was his favourite thing to talk about. (Even if people were bored of hearing about it.)

When it became obvious to him that he could no longer stand working for his boss, he decided to withdraw his talents, but he began to see that he only had so much time on Earth, and began to prioritize.

What he regretted most of all was not bearing present for his children as they were growing up. At the time, he reasoned that he had paid for the house, and that that should be his role - but now there were grandchildren, and he suddenly realised that he wanted to make it up to himself, and spend time with them.

In time, though, he felt a nagging. He certainly had talent that was dying to be expressed. His wife at first recommended that Paul get these thoughts in a book, but Paul never liked being sat at a desk - his talent had always been his voice.

It was around this time that podcasting became a thing, although Paul could barely understand the concept at first. He had the idea of just recording a seminar he used to give into his headset - if only for his own curiosity - but he found after posting it on a forum that people were asking him very interesting questions - and that his answers only generated more interest.

Soon people were saying he could just compile his forum posts and blog entries into a book (with the help of an outsourced editor).

The Question:

What obstacles are impeding you from easily capitalizing upon your strengths and interests?
If it’s simply inefficient to learn a whole new alien skill, who could you rely upon for help in this area?


This is the continuation of a serialization of this new ebook on active retirement, by Ugandan Petero Wamala and American Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., which ebook is available through for $0.99: 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

RETIREMENT? NO. REFIREMENT! "Questions and a Case Study"

Routine and Daily Questions

These are a key part of the process - they keep us on track, and make the journey manageable.

We need to build into our routine a time in our day that we ask ourselves the following:

Basic Questions

Did I do my best to...? (Score between 1-10):

1.   Find meaning and purpose?
2.   Build positive relationships (including with family)?
3.   Provide my clients with value?
4.   Be open and to encourage luck and randomness?
5.   Review the key three outcomes for the year, month, week and day? Did I do my best to execute yesterday’s actions to achieve my outcomes?
6.   What are my three outcomes for tomorrow? What am I going to do to achieve them?
7.   Play, have fun and give my clients the opportunity to do so?
8.   Make the very best of whatever happens?

(If you want to start small, start with questions 5 and 6.)

Questions of Routine

Did I do my best to…? (Score between 1-10):

1.   Maintain healthy eating habits and to stay on track to achieve (target weight) by the end of (date)?
2.   Complete my 15 minute hard exercise routine 4 x a week?
3.   Complete my 20 minutes meditation daily 3 x a week?
4.   Complete Lumosity training / Listen to a Bandler CD/MP3?
5.   Complete my stretch workout 3 x a week?
6.   Complete my 5 people-that-I-appreciate exercise (what I see, hear, feel) daily?
7.   Complete my 5 experiences-that-I-appreciate exercise. (what I see, hear, feel) daily?
8.   Remind myself of my priorities for the year, month and week. Decide my key three priorities for the following day?
9.   Ensure high quality sleep?

Note – Please note that I’ve developed these in line with my own particular plans and values. If you’re going to do the exercise it’s worth developing what works for who you are and what you want to do.

Additional Questions

Did I do my best to:

1.   Choose success?
2.   Choose to add value to my clients, family and friends?
3.   Choose health (purpose, exercise, food, meditation, sleep)?
4.   Choose to embrace the full catastrophe of life?
Case Study: William 

William worked as a visual artist and graphic designer, fighting for years as a freelancer, and sometimes enduring company work for projects both boring (corporate calendars) and exciting (designing the layout of local playgrounds.)

Although he was younger than most - mid-fifties - he decided that it wasn’t worth continuing on the treadmill of demand; it seemed like all of his money was going on new technology and all of his free time went into learning new skills. After a bout of repetitive stress injury (RSI) coincided with a death in the family, he decided to take a break, but the graphics industry is legendarily ruthless, and once a person steps out of the flow of demand, it’s very difficult to ever ‘get back on the horse.’

He was feeling defeated one day and visited a playground he had designed, beside which was a large football/cricket pitch that was being maintained – and he remembered a young man that used to visit his grandmother and help to mow the lawn; he would talk to William in a funny way that he appreciated - that man seemed to be so at peace with himself.

It only occurred to William now that the man was a volunteer.

William now mows the lawns for his elderly neighbours, and although he is not as young as the man he had once met, whenever he talks to the neighbour’s grandson, he feels there is some sort of symmetry in his life.

The Question:

Are there any events in the back of your mind that inspire you to do something constructive? What memories could you draw from to give you a sort of symmetry now?


This is the continuation of a serialization of this new ebook on active retirement, by Ugandan Petero Wamala and American Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., which ebook is available through for $0.99: