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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Overdoing A Good Thing

Overdoing A Good Thing

The type of scorching temperatures that we are experiencing in June this year, remind me of a time years ago.  I was like a teenager (actually in my early 20’s then) I could play in the sun all day, party until 2 am and go to work by 6:30 the next morning.  I’ve never overdid the alcohol, so don’t imagine a guy showing up to work reeking of alcohol, and still stumbling.  My body and mind could handle the punishment that I was subjecting it to.

At the early stages of life most of us feel invincible and rightfully so, youth is a combination of many things, inexperience and vanity are only two of those many things.  By the age of 30 I felt that even retirement age was light years away, and I could take chances with my health, and finances.  What a difference five years and a good new friend can make.
My friend was 35 years older than me, and retired with 3 pensions.

What made me follow his advice was his level of achievement and success.  As a family man and father, he admitted to being a failure (married five times and divorced four).  He confessed that the only thing that kept him out of jail was that his mother would pay the child support money every month in his name.  He convinced me to concentrate my efforts on earning a steady and guaranteed pension (one that was difficult to borrow against). 
My attitude at the time was that there would be plenty of time to save for retirement in later years.  What I didn’t realize back then was that the money you saved in the early years would be good enough to buy a good used car in the future years.  Back in the 70’s who would have guessed that a used car by retirement would cost as much as 25 to 30 thousand and more.  For that matter who would have guessed that a mid-70’s Chevrolet would cost 60 thousand in 2015 (price of 2015 Impala SS).  The solution would be to start a retirement plan and keep adding to it year after year without regard to the slow but sure and compounded progress.

Up until now I had taken risks that delivered immediate gratification by way of monetary compensation.  During the early years of college I had developed a skill (trained radio announcer voice for Spanish Radio Broadcasting, and recording voiceover commercial work).  The work was so specialized that I had to join the AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) Union.  My voiceover commercials were being played in some U.S. Markets (Los Angeles, Florida, Texas, etc.) Mexico, Central America, and South America.  The money was totally out of this world for this small town farm boy, but the benefits and guarantees were not doing anything for my retirement age.

I was fortunate enough and mature enough to understand that I had to give up all those things that I enjoyed doing and take on the challenge of preparing for a time that most of us refuse to see as reality (retirement age).  I know of at least two friends who thought they could survive and thrive doing the things that they loved doing (radio and television work) and today they are looking forward to a retirement on social security.  Don’t get me wrong, many things that we grow to love doing, actually lead to a great retirement life.  The field (career) that I pursued became my very happy and loved choice (architecture and project management).  My second and final choice for a career didn’t have the ego building aspect that broadcasting comes with.  That’s where humility comes in.

This post kind of reminds me of the song The Gambler, by Kenny Rogers:  “You’ve got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”  I am forever grateful to the man up above and a good friend that showed me the way.  This very moment is an example of getting the strategy right: Do what you have to do, so that eventually you can be free, to do what you like to do.  The best is yet to come……

1 comment:

  1. And then having the courage to hang it up and use the years left to enjoy life and family.