How to retire happy, wild and free — what I learned from Ernie Zelinski about retirement and leisure time

Wang Yip
7 min readMar 2, 2020

The first thing about this book that I think you should not worry about is that although this book is about retirement advice, it is widely applicable to everyone in all part of their lives. Of course, the advice is more relevant and applicable to those that are about to retire, but I’m also someone that likes to practice long term thinking and anything where I am able to see what the long term implications are and what I need to do now to get those benefits, is a winner in my mind.

Ernie Zelinski is originally from Edmonton and is the best selling author of [The Joy of Not Working]( which I drew out the key takeaways in another post. That being said, I would like to think that I am not close to retirement (at least as per the definition of traditional retirement being working until I’m 55+ and then getting a nice pension and having other assets to keep me financially well-off), and so the takeaways from this book for me apply to my life now (someone in their mid-thirties). Here is what I learned about retiring happy, wild and free (or essentially how to approach retirement or leisure time in the best way possible):

There are significant benefits to retirement or taking more time off

Ernie has a great list of the benefits of retirement, but the same benefits can be had by taking more leisure time (or time off work). For example, you don’t have to deal with traffic. You can take a nap in the afternoon. You can do things when everyone else is at work (such as grocery shopping, going to the gym, having coffee) which can make you much more efficient and less hurried at the same time. All this leads to the next point.

Retirement is the life you want to live, rather than the life you had to live while employed

Some people fear retirement, but for the benefits above, and the fact that you get to live the life you want, retirement can be an incredibly rewarding part of our lives. Of course, Ernie in The Joy of Not Working, advocates…

Wang Yip

Author of Essential Habits. I write about personal development, work and managing your career. Connect with me at