Hello, my name is Paul Kennedy
I do not believe you are here on this About page because you want to hear all about my life story.
Instead, I will just share with you stuff that I think will be helpful to you, things that’ll help you enjoy your retirement, do the things you’ve always wanted to do, and overcome the obstacles you are sure to encounter in your final years.
As a retiree like you, I have dozens of worries.
I am sure that you have these worries too, such as:
… how to keep physically healthy as you get older … how to stay mentally on the ball … how to enjoy yourself on a measly pension …
… how you can put off for as long as possible the loss of independence you’re sure to experience when you need a carer or have to move into a retirement home?
The list of worries retirees can have seems almost endless.
On the other hand, there are tons of things we old folks can do to enjoy a fulfilling and fun-filled retirement:
… sports … cultural activities … social meet-ups … old-fashioned family holidays … boating trips … cruises to faraway places … cultural tourism … eco-tourism … and so on.
Life in retirement is for living.
Indeed the list of good things you can enjoy is also seemingly endless … provided you have the health and financial means to do it all.
It is my firm belief that retirees can enjoy a great quality of life, no matter what their circumstances, financial or otherwise, if they develop the mindset, positive attitude and useful skills they need.
I know … I’m there and doing that.
Now that you have the freedom, loads of free time, you must grab the opportunities that lie in front of you.
“But how?” I can hear you shout.
That’s what we’re going to find out on this website.
By the way, this ‘finding out’ will be a collaborative effort. I can’t do it all on my own.
As a once-upon-a-time management consultant, I know how to undertake research, research that will yield deep insights into whatever we need to know.
But I need your help. So will I receive it?
You must send me the questions about old age, retirement and so on that you need answering. I will research the answers. And I’ll do a good job! I promise!
So who the hell is Paul Kennedy?
I was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1946. I grew up in a large market town in the west of Ireland.
My childhood in 1950s Ireland was very disciplined and happy in the main. I did very well in school.
But things changed when I went to college in 1964. Totally unsupervised for the first time in my life, I embraced a life of intellectual laziness and fun. Eventually I scraped a few pass degrees.
It was my first experience of failure. I felt ashamed that I had not achieved my potential. I became a bit antisocial and I lost my sense of drive and ambition.
But looking back I could see I’d had a ball, learning how to be the star in a social milieu centred on pubs and craic.
But I’m guessing that this is not the kind of stuff you’re looking for.
You’re probably wondering, can Paul truly help ME enjoy my retirement?
Simple answer: I know I can!
Provided, of course, you collaborate with me and let me know what you need to know about retirement … the great things you want to do, and the obstacles you need overcome.
Why am I so sure I can help?
‘Cos I’ve already experienced retirement twice !!
The first time as my mother’s principal carer and now in my own retirement.
A strong instinct for survival and large doses of good luck have stood by me all through a very potted career … 50 years so far and still ticking on.
When my parents decided my college grades were too low to justify supporting my lifestyle of booze and craic at the level to which I had grown accustomed, they pulled the plug.
I had lucked out.
I lucked in again when I discovered the American J1 visa system. It enabled me to spend 3 months each summer running an old-fashioned cardroom in the Catskill Mountains in New York.
Now I could earn enough to support myself back in Ireland for the remaining 9 months of the year.
Eventually, I left college with several degrees in interesting subjects that were totally useless as skillsets for earning a living.
So I decided to become a management accountant.
I had condemned myself to several more years of dreary study of a very boring series of subjects … except for business decision-making.
Once I was qualified I began doing contract work around London, finding jobs through accountancy agencies.
I soon built up a decent enough reputation for analysing the information senior managers needed in order to run their businesses efficiently.
I was making a pretty good income in those days.
In addition, life was no longer boring and, for once, I was making some money from a career I had struggled hard to find.
Nevertheless, I was experiencing a strong dose of success without fulfilment. I had a feeling that what I was doing by trading my time for money … mostly showing the wealthy how to trim their tax bills … was of questionable value.
Then I lucked in once again. I was sent to Kuwait on a fixed term contract for just a few months.
There I found that nearly all businesses in the private sector were still being run manually but were desperate to computerise their operations.
Nobody in the consulting firm where I worked knew anything about computers and how they could be used in business.
I found and bought a short book, written in simple language, that showed how to choose and implement a computerised management information system.
In the kingdom of the blind, I became the one-eyed king.
So I set myself as an expert on the computerisation of business operations and managed to wrangle a long-term contract with my consulting firm.
Business was booming in Kuwait’s oil-rich economy.
There was no shortage of business software on offer in Kuwait.
The problem was that Kuwaiti CEOs failed to recognise that, before buying a system, they had to decide what exactly they wanted their system to do.
And, of course, the sellers of these systems avoided telling them that and had no qualms in selling systems that were totally unsuitable for the buying firm's purposes.
I assembled and trained a team that analysed the business requirements of individual enterprises, helped them buy suitable equipment and software, and then customised and implemented the new systems.
We were very successful.
But, though I was experiencing financial success (at least three times what I could earn in the UK), it wasn’t just about the money.
Helping firms to computerise and improve their information flows gave me a heightened sense of creativity and a great sense of fulfilment.
My confidence soared as I realised that I’d found my metier … helping people has its own rewards.
Then we all lucked out.
Iraq invaded Kuwait and all hell broke loose.
I have described some of the atrocities I witnessed in my book The Lid is Lifted.
When Saddam announced that Westerners were to be hostages to prevent a counter-invasion by the Western powers, I went into hiding as did all Europeans and Americans in Kuwait.
We lived like moles in our own homes.
Nobody wanted to end up being staked out in key military and industrial installations as human shields. We’d be the first to get it when the allies began bombing Iraq’s military-industrial infrastructure.
As the Iraqi military began picking up Westerners in hiding around Kuwait it soon became clear that they were not bothering with Irish, Canadians, New Zealanders and Australians.
When it became clear we “free nationalities” could move around Kuwait and Iraq, I began organising food and other help for the Americans, British, French etc who were in deep hiding and had managed so far to avoid detection.
I got away with it. Despite the risks, I got a real sense of worthwhile purpose in helping those in hiding, working hard for no compensation except for a feeling of intense gratification and fulfilment.
After it was all over, I received a plaque with some fine words on it from American Secretary of State James Baker III and got to shake hands with the US Envoy to London.
After liberation, I went back to Kuwait. Computerisation of the newly awoken private sector continued apace.
Once that market had petered out, I entered into a series of marketing ventures, writing and publishing guidebooks to Kuwait and a monthly consumer magazine.
I have always aspired to be a writer and I enjoyed my new career immensely. I had found a new metier.
But good things don’t last forever I discovered again. I lucked out again when our firm went bankrupt.
Now in my 60s, I scuttled back to Ireland on my uppers and spent a period in miserably low spirits … stressed out, anxious about the future, thoroughly depressed, and racked by feelings of failure and shame.
I could hardly function, I was so down.
A friend showed me how to sign-on for social security. I began receiving unemployment benefit which eventually morphed into a minimal pension.
Now, with a little money coming in, my emotional state began to stabilise and I began searching for a decent source of income.
I began to write again.
I tried blogging but it didn’t work for me.
I wrote several books but couldn’t find an agent. So I self-published them and put them up on Amazon.
They didn’t sell much, mainly because I didn’t know how to market them.
I researched the internet and found loads of sites promising to teach me how to make a few hundred thousand a year doing internet marketing.
Total scams. But I fell for a few.
I had almost given up when I found a site that was low on the BS promises and that offered a free introductory course to digital marketing.
I signed up in April 2020 and learned some basic digital skills and began digital marketing. My spirits are now on the up again.
I haven’t made a fortune but I’m beginning to get a trickle of income from my new skillset … a very welcome addition to my minimal pension.
But the little boost to my pension is not the only benefit of learning digital skills to do marketing on the internet.
In the last few months, I have noticed that my mental abilities have picked up and my wit has sharpened.
The simple act of learning and doing seems to have sharpened my cognitive abilities significantly. A terrific boost when you’ve in your mid-seventies.
In addition, my memory is improving. Another plus.
So too is my mood and outlook on life.
I have now found something that I am excited to work on every day.
I hope my website has a real impact on people’s lives.
But for it to do so, I need your help.
I need to know what subjects relating to retirement that you are interested in.
Please let me know by filling in this online form or sending me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org