Jon’s story

Time… the only thing I wanted. As I’d gotten older and dared to start giving advice to my kids and junior staff, I found myself often using the phrase “in life you are sometimes overworked and underpaid and at other times you’ll be underworked and over paid”. Of course in reality (apart from not giving people a pay rise) what this really means is that you gotta do 25 years of the first part before the second part starts!I’d worked hard my whole life having started at 18 and although I was never the smartest, nobody had ever questioned my work ethic. I grafted like a dog when I was selling and it taught me that only I was going to put food on the table and pay the bills, nobody was going to come to my rescue, a lesson that has served me well.As I operated at more senior levels and finally started to enjoy the second part of my infamous phrase it began to dawn on me that although I was being generously rewarded and enjoying some of the trimmings of a decent lifestyle, the one and only thing I craved was time. I had 4 fabulous kids, a gorgeous wife, several properties around the world, a few quid in the Bank, but never enough time to do things properly. We were lucky enough to enjoy several holidays a year but as soon as we arrived I’d be counting down the days or hours before we left, I was craving to go somewhere and not leave until I was done but work, school & life in general dictates that all good things must come to an end and you need to depart.We’d grab a long weekend at our place in Bali and Vanessa would scold me for undertaking DIY tasks asking “why don’t you spend some time with the boys and pay some guy $50 to do that?”….of course she was 100% right but the point is I didn’t want to make the choice, I wanted to do both, I wanted the nice lunches, trips to the beach and shopping excursions but I also wanted to clean out my own fish pond and paint my own walls.Having had maids and drivers for years you finally realise they are just part of the self fulfilling equation of keeping you at work for longer. You’re far more valuable to an employer being at work an extra few hours than going home and washing your own car so you get a driver to do it for you. We’d bought a villa in Spain 10 years ago and to this day I’ve never seen it once !Asia had been good to us in so many ways but financially it was perfect. I worked damn hard for 14 years out there and got well paid but we spent wisely and saved a lot. So many expats spend what they earn and have to keep working well beyond their ‘best before date’. We didn’t, we had a blast but we saved as much as possible as I’d always been very clear that I wouldn’t work beyond 50. From age 45 I was counting it down in how many more paydays there were to go ! By the time I was 49 I was done with Corporate life.I announced my retirement…almost nobody apart from those that were really close to me believed me. So many people asked me for the ‘real story’ ! The truth is often so dull eh? but the truth is the truth….I was ready to retire. Here’s the funny thing…virtually everyone I know of my generation/seniority/status etc tell me they are jealous and wish they could afford to retire…they must think I have far more money than I really do !For me, this is like having kids, if you wait until you can properly afford it, you’ll never do it. You have kids ‘cos you want to and then you figure out how to pay for it. For me, retirement is similar. I just don’t want to work anymore. I want the time to do what I want. Sure, I have a few quid but trust me, I ain’t mega rich but now I have that most precious commodity – time.

One thought on “Jon’s story

  1. Gosh Jon, such sense in your words.
    I’m so glad you’ve got your ‘time’ whilst your still young and fit enough to enjoy it … and I know you’ll make the most of it!
    Here’s hoping we coincide in some part of sunny España during my holidays and that I can get some saving tips from you 🙂


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