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: