Recently, I had the pleasure of reading a brilliantly composed blog by Michael R. Hicks, (@KreelanWarrior), His blog, entitled: Adjusting to Being a Full-time Author, and posted in four parts on his website, http://authormichaelhicks.com/, is about how and why he left his secure full-time government job to become a full-time author. Impressed by his story, I subscribed to his blog and posted a comment, congratulating him on what he had done, and for the courage of his conviction.
Simultaneously I was brutally reminded of the time I made a similar decision. Mine was not to become a full-time author, but to leave a secure career with “Big Oil”, and become an owner and player in “Small Oil.” Most of the fears and concerns expressed by Michael Hicks were similar to my own. Am I really capable of going it alone? Will I be able to support a wife, three boys and a dog? What if I fail? In spite of all of the mental and financial obstacles, I took the plunge. Armed with the fear of failure and the desire to succeed, not necessarily in that order, I managed to stay over the line, all the while running like hell.
Rather than bore the reader with an exhaustive description of what happened next, I’ll simply state that after eighteen years of operating as an owner in “Small Oil”, I sold my company and disappeared into obscurity. Our three boys are now adults and succeeding on their own. Our dog, Sandler, unfortunately passed away ten years ago. My wife, Ann, and I remain in obscurity to this day, spending our summers in Niagara Falls, Canada, and our winters in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
For a more detailed account of how I did what I did, I refer you to my ebook: THE BRIDGE TO CARACAS, (http://thebridgetocaracas.com). It’s the factional story of my life. If you have half as much fun reading it as I did living it, you’ll be enriched.
The purpose in writing this piece is to describe what happened after retirement, and how my wife and I continued to live in obscurity for 23 years, without a pension. Retirement is, quite literally, another plunge, a leap of faith loaded with emotional baggage. For me, most of the fears and trepidations accompanying the first plunge were present in this one: Do we have enough money? Will it last? How do we manage it? Will I be bored in retirement? How long will it take for my ego to rear its ugly head? Am I buying my own con by preparing my own budget? Will I regret selling my company?
Tormented by all of the above concerns, (and numerous others), I took the plunge into retirement, unchartered waters. Happily, before the end of the first year it had become obvious that most of my fears were unwarranted. Best of all, I discovered that retirement is fun, so much so that I began to wonder how I ever got anything done when I worked. I began to look at the clock, desperate for more time, and plead with it to slow down. To this day, I don’t know how I managed to find enough time to write.
With respect to money, it took much longer to purge my mind of concerns. Cleverly, I elected to hire money managers to look after our nest-egg. Bad decision. After more than seven years, these managers, (A.K.A. financial engineers), had succeeded in losing more than 20% of our initial capital, while paying themselves well for their efforts. Enough!” I said, then summarily terminated their services. In addition to transforming myself into an Indie Investor, that move turned out to be one of the best I have ever made.
In the time that has elapsed since that termination, my wife and I have not only lived happily in retirement, we have managed to more that double our initial capital. The happy ending stems from a decision to invest in what I knew best: the oil business, more specifically, crude oil and natural gas production in western Canada. While living on the dividends, we have been delighted to watch the capital grow. My only lament is not to have become an Indie Investor sooner.
My next blog, should anyone be interested, will be to describe the investments I made.