In Pursuit Of Boomer Happiness

I was at my local Indigo bookstore this past weekend and look at who happened to stop by.

I’m really starting to believe in this karma thing as more and more chance encounters like this are happening to me since writing the book.

Through this chance meeting I had the chance to talk to Heather about Victory Lap Retirement and my concern that we had miscategorized the book by putting it into the personal finance/retirement section.  Heather was kind enough to share her thoughts and now I’m convinced that our book should be in the self improvement section.

Victory Lap Retirement is really not a book about retirement, in fact we make a strong case about the benefits of not retiring in the traditional sense.  It really is a book about lifestyle design with the goal of helping people create their own low stress healthy fulfilling lifestyle, one based on their own unique needs and wants. We know that through proper planning and intentional living, we can substantially improve the quality of our remaining years which is not a bad way to go out when you think about it.

Stress is the main risk in our eyes and prolonged exposure to stress can really mess a person up and in some cases actually kill them. I don’t know if it’s just me but I’m seeing more evidence of this each and every day, examples seems to be everywhere. Is it just me or are you seeing it as well?

We discussed the role of stress in a recent blog post called “The Big Dip”.

We have amended the original chart to now include a line representing a person’s level of happiness while travelling through the big dip. What stands out is that there is a strong negative correlation between stress and a person’s happiness. In simple terms, if your stress level is high chances are your happiness level will be low.  What is also interesting is that stress levels do not reduce as expected as a person ages.

This flies in the face of past research that talked about a happiness “U” curve where a person experienced increasing happiness until around age 30, with happiness dipping into their 30s and 40s and then climbing back up after reaching their fifties.

This theory used to work back when life was more predictable. When you could work for one company for most of your working life (like I did). When some of us had benefit of a defined pension plan. When your kids could get a good job and finally leave home. When you had a reasonable chance to save for a good retirement and when life expectancy rates were lower. But the world has changed and the U-curve theory no longer works and has been replaced by the Big Dip. This is the reason why you see so many books dealing with the subject of happiness at the front of your local bookstore. Think I’m kidding? Go have a look for yourself.

Today even as we age new stressors are around all the time. The top three stressors facing retirees are concerns over their health, the possibility of running out of money in retirement, and a lack of purpose or as we like to refer to it as ‘having a good reason to get out of bed in the morning.”

The good news is that we have found ways to successfully reduce stress levels and even more good news is that happiness will fill the vacuum stress leaves behind. You can’t chase happiness, happiness will find you but you need to make room for it.

So in summary the book is not a personal finance/retirement book at all. It is a self improvement book showing people how they can reduce the stress in their lives with the goal of creating a happy, healthy fulfilling lifestyle for themselves. Jonathan and I serve as the role models. We have made the transition and if we can do it there is no reason why others can’t do it as well.

Now I just need to figure out how to get the book into the self-improvement section at the bookstore.



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4 thoughts on “In Pursuit Of Boomer Happiness

  1. Ernie Zelinski Reply

    I don’t think that placing your book in the “self-improvement” section is a good idea. You can tell Heather R. that I said that.

    I speak from experience. Many readers have also said that my two books “The Joy of Not Working” and “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” are not about retirement but about living life to the fullest. Yet I would never consider placing my books in the self-improvement section. Indeed, “The Joy of Not Working” is listed in “Business/Careers/Psychology” and “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” is listed in “Business/Careers/Retirement”. Fact is, it has paid off big time for me to place my books in these respective categories. I have the results to prove this. My Canadian distributor Nancy Wise of Sandhill Book Marketing, who first started distributing my books in 1989, will agree with me. It will cost you a dinner at The Keg with some Mollydooker Boxer Shiraz for me to discuss this in further detail with you.

    Of course, you don’t have to take my advice. As I said before, I am writing a song called “The World Ain’t Too Smart.” It starts with the line, “The world ain’t too smart; no one ever tells me anything and no one ever listens to me.”

    As an aside, I came across this article titled “Don’t Make These Common Mistakes” on the US Government Executive website.

    I was surprised to read this bit:

    “One of my all-time favorite books to prepare for the mental transition to retirement is ‘How to Retire, Happy, Wild and Free!’ by Ernie Zelinski.”

    After I read the article, I made a comment in which I gave a plug for “Victory Lap Retirement”. This is another one of my marketing techniques that 99 percent of authors are not smart or creative enough to come up with. Promote one of your competitor’s books (along with your own) instead of blatantly promoting only your own. Incidentally, this small mention for my book by the Government Executive website resulted in around an extra 50 sales of the print edition and eBook editions of “How to Retire, Happy, Wild and Free!” Hey, the government isn’t all bad.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      This is another great example of the importance of having great mentors as well as friends and yes Ernie I will take you up on your offer so the steak and wine is on me next time you are in Toronto.
      I’ve learned a lot from you and continue to do so and I thank you for that. You and Seth Godin are two of my favorite authors. You both make me think about new ways of looking at a situation and coming up with a better answer. One thing that you taught me and one that I will never forget is the importance of helping others and just like you helped me I will in turn help someone else. If everyone lived like that this world would be a far better place.
      Thank you very much for helping to promote our book you are a true friend. For the record I continue to talk about your book ‘How To Retire Happy Wild and Free” whenever I do a presentation. My presentation is about my personal story and a big part of that story is how your book basically saved me. I read all the retirement books that I could get my hands on trying to figure things out and your book was the only one that gave me the answers I was looking for. It allowed me to escape a job that was slowly killing me and life is so much better now.
      Can’t wait to hear your thoughts and maybe you can also give us some pointers of how to market the book in the US.
      See you soon Ernie!


  2. VideoPortal Reply

    In Victory Lap, boomerpreneurs know exactly where they want to go, what is important to them, what they want and what will make them happy. They gain strength from knowing that after so many years they are finally in control of their own destiny. Now they’re the ones who make the big decisions.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Thanks for your comments. I know many entrepreneurs transition well into Victory Lap.

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