How do you go from having a multimillion-dollar income, millions in investments, a waterfront home and three Porsches in a four-car garage to working at an $8.50 per hour job?
Dan spent his entire career in the big-time food and hospitality business. He worked in Michelin-rated and five-star-rated restaurants in the U.S. and in Europe. At three different times during his working life, he also built, ran and sold tropical resort hotels.
He worked like a crazy person, loved every minute of it and spent most of his career at the top of a very demanding but profitable game.
And unlike so many of our generation, he was able to save, invest and hang on to his money. When the dough was rolling in, he didn’t throw it to the wind.
As you might imagine, the result of this work life well spent was that he retired in late 2017 with a ton of money – more than he could spend in three retirements.
His first move after stepping down from the work-a-day world was to get rid of the huge house on the water. His idea – a good one – was to downsize to a more manageable, less costly abode with about half the square footage.
Next, he readjusted his holdings from a growth-focused strategy to a safer income-focused mode centered on bonds and dividend stocks. (Yes, I was a pusher for that one.)
He bought new golfing equipment, joined a great club, got a used high-end SUV with a warranty (a very smart decision), and slipped into the shorts and sandals club here in the retirement belt.
I know this is beginning to sound too good to be true, but I swear it’s right on the money.
This is one smart guy, smart enough to know that he isn’t an expert at everything, and he also knows how to ask the right questions to the right people. He does things the right way… most things.
He’s got the house he wants and the money he needs. His investments are kicking out about 4% a year just in dividends and interest. He’s cruising through his first year of freedom when he realizes something…
He’s lonely, really lonely. His wife still works, and when she’s not around, he’s either reading or walking in circles.
He went from spending 12 to 16 hours a day for 45 years with employees, guests and friends (I’m sure you can imagine how much of a people business the hotel and restaurant industry is) to almost no human interaction most of the day.
It was a dramatic shift – going from sitting in the lobby of his hotels, sipping champagne and eating caviar with his managers and guests to sitting at home reading, waiting for his wife to come home.
He was going bonkers!
But the one thing he does every day, and has done for years (at 5 in the morning, I might add), is go to the gym. He’s kind of a fitness nut, but at 65 he looks great.
So after a few conversations with yours truly, I said, “You’re at the gym every day. You love the place and the people you see there. You speak the language, and a guy with your background has to be worth something to a people-intensive business like that.”
He’s now the front desk attendant at his gym. He greets folks as they arrive and asks, “Would you like a small towel or a large one?”
For his efforts, he is paid $8.50 per hour.
But he’s out of the house. They love him, he loves them, and he gets to talk, joke and be with people four hours a day.
But best of all, he reports, is that when his day is over, it’s really over… There are no reports, no complaints, no employee problems, nada!
And the money? We laugh about his newfound wealth. And because he has this new source of cash, he has to buy the first round.
The only thing he’s done that I don’t agree with is the 5 a.m. workout thing. No thanks. The weights are there at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. too.
But seriously, don’t do everything right planning for retirement and then let loneliness ruin it. There are ways out of it. Do something. You can’t let it consume you.