Dad’s Retirement

Today, I’m going to talk a bit about my dad’s retirement. My dad tried full retirement for about a year and he just couldn’t do it. He is too restless to sit around and watch TV or plant a garden. He had done so many jobs and started so many business in his life that he could not sit still. He drove everyone one around him nuts. So he moved back to Thailand and started a few side businesses to keep busy and make a bit of cash on the side. Here are his various ventures.

  • He has a small shop selling antique Buddha amulets and bronze Buddha statues. It is tough to describe, but an equivalent product here in the US would be autographs, documents, manuscripts and other original historic memorabilia. He opens the shop a few days a week and socializes with his collector friends all day.
  • He sells diamonds and rubies on the side. He got to know a wholesale gemstone dealer and he sells these to his customers and other acquaintances. From what I understand, his prices are better than going to the gold shop.
  • He is collecting rent on two rental condos.
  • He has a piece of land with teak wood growing on it. He stops by once in a while to check on it, but this will take a while to make any money. The trees are about 18 inches in diameter right now and need to get a lot bigger.

All these activities keep him busy and out of trouble. If you know my dad, you’ll know he gets in trouble when he has too much money and nothing to do. It’s much better to keep him busy with various ventures, in fact I have him sorting through the renewals of things like his home insurance now!

Is this really retirement? I think so. These ventures does not take full time and they are an avenue to socialize and have fun. He doesn’t have to answer to anyone and he can take a week off to go to the beach anytime he wants and he does. My retirement will be similar to his retirement. I am planning to work on a couple of very small businesses and they should be enough to pay the bills. As long as I don’t have to answer to any boss man (or woman), that is retirement to me!

What do you think? Is this really retirement? What do you see when you picture retirement?

By the way, the Buddha statue pictured is available for $500 + shipping if anyone is interested. 😉

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

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40 thoughts on “Dad’s Retirement”

  1. Another great topic, Joe. Since I have been retired for 20 years, I’ll add my own experience.
    Like life, retirement is just another stage that gives us opportunities to create our own lifestyle and live our dreams. If we have sufficient funds, we have more freedom to create our vision. As for me, we lost a great deal of funding by an annuity company bankruptcy, stock market collapse, and pension loss in a divorce. Sounds horrible as I write this. But in fact, we have had a great retirement because we have no debt and live beneath our income of $3000 a month. In addition to Social Security, most of our money is in secure I-Bonds paying 5-6% a year (from 2001), and we refill our cash bucket every five years or so. As a result we have done everything we set out to do over those 20 years. That includes travel worldwide, especially bike touring/camping which we love. So that’s living on about 30% of our former working income.

    One step that I had not factored in previously, was that every five years or so, I return to work in some way, on a seasonal basis to refill the cash bucket which we try and keep around $60,000. At age 76, for example, we (wife and I) are going to work for Amazon during Chistmas Season for ten weeks in one of their Fulfillment Centers. Yep! Just plain grunt work which is very physical. But I have found that even this type of physicallly demanding work can be fun, challenging, and an opportunity to learn new skills and interact with people in the same boat, of all ages. So, in summary, we each have our own way in retirement. Like life, change is a constant companion.

    • By the way, I forgot to mention that within those five year periods in retirement, we did some awesome travel. The first five years was bicycling in many parts of the world for three months at a time (Europe, New Zealand, Canada, USA, etc.) Another five years we spent teaching in the Middle East. Now we are RVing around the USA (six years). But my wife says it’s about time to settle down once again. So…we’ll see what comes next. Retirement never needs to be boring!

    • That’s great. I think it’s fine to come out of retirement to refill the cash bucket.
      Everyone does it differently. As long as you get to enjoy life, then it’s good.
      I really hope we could have similar adventures as we get older too.

  2. Wow.. These are all the reasons to move someplace like Thailand. I am worried about most of the Baby Boomers hitting retirement. I found these figures
    Out of 100 people who starts working at the age of 25, by the age 65:
    * 1% are wealthy
    * 4% have adequate capital stowed away for retirement
    * 3% are still working
    * 63% are dependent on Social Security, friends, relatives or charity.
    * 29% are dead.
    This is scary. I am only 54 but I know a lot of people that fit into this category. So I decided to help a bit and created a site for them to see the costs of living in Thailand and Southeast Asia. I hope you check out some of the best places to live or retire.

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  4. Sounds like a nice way to retire. If I had to sit and watch TV during retirement, I’d hate it. (I don’t like watching TV now!) If you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life. Using that quote, you won’t need to retire..since you’re not working 🙂

    I’m happy for your dad and hope you can have a retirement that’s as fulfilling as his!

  5. I think by being a little “older” or shall we say closer to “retirement” I can agree that I would love to retire like your dad. I know that I am a type “A” and need to keep moving and doing. I enjoy a break now and again, but jump right back into the fray once I return. We have saved a nice chunk for retirement but I don’t think I will ever stop working in one way or another. I think you dad has it figured out perfectly for him!

  6. What your dad is doing sounds great- and so admirable! I think that would be my form of retirement too. I don’t think I could just sit still and garden either. Even in retirement, finding a purpose is important- especially for your health… keeps the brain active. 🙂

    That Buddha statue is gorgeous!! Does he sell smaller ones (that are less than $500?)? 🙂 I have a bit of an obsession with Buddha paraphernalia- I got a singing bowl from Tibet and love it.

    • He has smaller Buddha amulets that you put on a necklace for luck. I want a singing bowl too, but it’s so expensive here. I think I’ll wait until I can get one from Tibet. I’ll see if I can get some Buddha amulets the next time I see my dad.

  7. Seems completely awesome. I’d love to be doing that. I think retirement is having the financial freedom to do what you want with your day. The lines between my definition of financial independence and retirement are blurred. I think once you have the ability to do whatever you want without worrying about the money, you’re financially independent. And somewhere along the way, when you cut back on those hours (maybe to 1/2 time or 3/4 time), you’ve retired. Either way, getting to some sort of financial independence is the goal and it just can’t come fast enough.

  8. Sounds like your dad knows how to make some money! He might not be a billionaire, but he won’t ever be broke because of all the side hustles. 🙂 Give your dad a pat on the back for me.

  9. Sounds like a pretty brilliant retirement to me!

    I knew to many retirees that once the retired early, they were bored. It was like anything that they did, didn’t really count.

    I think there is a lot of honor in keeping active in retirement!

  10. We all have our own definition of retirement. And for majority of the people, retirement is doing something that you love and sometimes you may make money on it or not. In your dad’s case, as long as he is enjoying what he’s doing and it’s not full time, I think you can count it as retirement.
    For some people, retirement could mean stopping what we used to do for a very long time and then moving on to something else. I can see professional athletes who retired as a player but later became coach, analyst, business person, etc. They also play pick-up games with friends from time to time, meaning still playing but not getting paid. They are playing for their own enjoyment.

    I agree that sometimes it is tough just to be sitting around and watch TV all day especially if you used to be doing something else. That’s why I’ve seen some retired folks doing volunteer work from time to time aside from having a hobby!

  11. That sounds like retirement to me. Sounds like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when I see you with all your side ventures. 🙂 Nice plug for the Buddha statue. Entrepreneur till the end!

  12. I agree with Crystal, retirement is defined by the retiree. My Mom volunteered to teach arts and crafts at two retirement homes for 20-30 hours a week. She was eventually hired! She stopped that at age 86. On Saturday, she would sell things she made at an outdoor market. She did this until 91 years old. She like your Dad liled being busy. It kept her young. Who knows maybe it extended her life! She passed on three weeks short of her 98th birthday.

    • I heard the average life span of a police officer post retirement is 5 years. That is so short. I really think we all need to keep busy after we quit our day job. I know you are working on a good plan though so keep us updated!

  13. This sounds like quite the life in retirement. I really like the idea of doing some work while in retirement. I have a feeling that i’d be like your dad and annoy everyone around me if I am just sitting around – I do that right now if I’m sitting around.

  14. I like the idea of doing an early retirement with a few little side businesses for pocket money. You’re right the social aspect is key. I remember I used to enjoy working as a waitress on Friday nights because I would look forward to seeing my regular customers. It was very fun in that regard.

    I absolutely don’t think just doing something mindless as a job is retirement for me (like being a walmart greeter or stocking shelves at home depot). It would have to be something social and interesting for it to feel like I’m retired and not “at work.”

    • Social connection is very important. What good is it to have a bunch of money in the bank and no friends? I am also searching for fun activities to do post 9-5 job, it’s going to be tough.

      • I’d really love to see a post on the “fun social activities to do post 9-to-5 job”. Apprehension about having less of a social life is what keeps many people from even desiring early retirement.

        • I think it’s inevitable that social life will diminish if you retire early. Most of your friends/peer will be working.
          I’m very busy with our kid right now, but my social life is pretty quiet. You can always start a blog. 🙂

  15. I would quite definately call that retirement–a perfect one. The relaxation tht comes along with knowing you don’t have to, but the health and ability to do so if you want to. I hope I can be half that lucky.

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  17. This is my definition of retirement as well; managing side businesses that I enjoy doing when I want to. I’m too restless to just sit around and not do anything, even when I’m on vacation, I just can’t lie on the beach, I have to explore the city. I can’t imagine getting up one morning with nothing to do except play golf or lounge around. Nope, not for me. I’ll probably always be involved in some little job or business.

  18. This is definitely are a retirement. He does what he wants that the key. I totally understand your dad. I would not be able to be content with myself if I don’t have something meaningful going on. For some people it might be gardening, for some – running a business. Great post!

  19. It depends on how rich I am. If I were a billionaire, I’d probably spend my time doing exclusively leisure and charitable activities. If I were comfortable but would like the added comfort of some extra money, then I’d probably take on some kind of small business job.


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