Having retired early in life at the age of 45, back in the late 80's, has been very advantages to me. It gave me the time to devote many thousands of hours to this project and it should be very beneficial to you, as a reader. This book illustrates what has worked very profitably for me in the past and continues to work profitably to this day. In this book, there are valuable tips and some good sound financial and fundamental information.
As President of three Corporations and three companies, from 1965 to present day, it has kept me quite busy over time. In the 90's, as Owner, Producer, Director, and Host of a popular Radio Travel Show in southwest
I had been asked many times, how I retired so young, and how I achieved my success in life. So one day in 2004, I said to myself why not sit down and write about it, hence this book. I do say at times, I am really in semi-retirement, very busy having fun. This book was written with good intentions, morals, and family values. As you read on, it is for all to enjoy, from ages 9 to 90. Early Retirement: A Road Map to Success is a timeless book.
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Early Retirement: A Roadmap to SuccessA "How-To Book" for Ordinary, Hard Working Folks
By Joe Thomas Potuzak Sr.
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Joe Thomas Potuzak Sr.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWho The Hell Is This Guy Trying To Sell Me This Book?
Good morning. It is Monday, and I am up early as usual; it is 5:00 AM, February 2004. What is so special about today? Well, to start with, it's my sixty-second birthday. I would like to give you some insight into how I think and how I made money to retire early.
You may ask, "Joe, so what is the big deal? Why did you decide to write a book that may take years to complete?" I would answer, "There is no better time in my life to do it." That may sound rather casual, but it really is not. When I started work on this book in 2004, I had been planning to do this book for a long time. As you read on, you will see that I have tried to plan things out all my life. I guess you could call me a real life planner. It is actually immaterial when I started this book. It is a timeless book, and everyone who has worked hard should be looking forward to retiring someday—the sooner the better.
I am an observer of life. I observe people and their values in life at all times. I have been blessed with and possess a keen, clear, and valued look at our great country and the folks in it. I continue to look at the United States of America, as well as the not-so-great, troubled, confused world around us. It is all up in my cranium, and a lot of it is now in this book. You and your family can benefit handsomely from my many years of research; yes, I started young. You will see thoughtfulness in my scholarship in the way I analyze things from real, true-life experiences. Throughout this book, I will try to show you some of the obstacles placed in my way and how I overcame them and moved ahead. Sometimes I even benefited from them. I try in life to always make it to the betterment of me and my family.
I am the only one on this earth who can write this book because I've both been there and done it. I definitely have the "time and grade," as the old army lingo goes. As I said, this book contains many important facts and valuable experiences. The things I did in my life were positive and profitable for me. I will pass them on to you because I know they are tried, tested, and true. They are not some college course theory that may or may not work. I have graduated with pride from the University of Hard Knocks with a degree in backyard technology. I am proud of the fact that over the years I have used clear, logical thinking combined with basic elbow grease and sweat to get where I am in life. I will try to articulate my thesis the best way possible, but bear with me. I will try to stay right on course, steady as she goes.
As we all know, we are all working toward eventually passing on to a better place, heaven, or for some, pitchfork time in hell. Hey, I even wrote my own obituary in advance.
You might say, "You did what?" Now don't get worried, you did not buy a book from some nutcase, although I am rather calculating. Having my obituary already prepared will help my family out in a difficult time. Who knows, for some it might be a good time. I even have an outstanding country-western singer, Lindsay Castle, booked for the somber occasion. You could even say this guy thinks too far in advance, but it's a question of how much time we have on this earth. Sooner or later, we are all going to kick the old bucket
So one morning, I woke up and was plunking away on the book and I was feeling like crapola. If you see the word "crapola" or BS in the book, think about your own interpretation of it. That particular morning, it seems I had a touch of the flu. Why waste a good flu? I figured it was about time to write my obituary and to make my funeral arrangements known to my family.
I put in the instructions that I do not want a bunch of flowers. As you read on, you will see I am not a pansy guy—not at all. Flowers do not match my gun. I jokingly told my survivors that they could just smoke me like a mackerel and have a memorial service. Why rush? They can have a good time while I am cooling off instead of wasting their hard-earned money on flowers that would be dead in a few days anyway. Why make the florist richer? No way am I sending him to the Bahamas when I can't go.
I told my family, instead of flowers, donate your hard-earned after-tax money to the Reagan Ranch and the Young America's Foundation. The following quote is from one of the greatest presidents of the modern age, if not the greatest in history, Ronald Reagan: "There is a flickering spark in all of us. If struck at just the right age, it will light up the rest of our lives." To prove it was right to do my obituary in advance, all I did was to imitate the great General Joe Saladino from Massachusetts. He was a good friend of mine, and he wrote his obituary many years before he died. He truly was a great man.
At times, I will prove my thesis in the best way possible and as politely as possible. I will try to write in layman's terms. As I said, I've been there and done it. I will lay out all the important, pertinent information that helped me retire young and be successful. I believe that this information can and should be beneficial to you and your family. May I add, while I believe that this is a family book, at times I will be kidding around using some old Brooklyn words and slang, such as "yous-guys."
This reminds me of what Joe Pesci said in the movie My Cousin Vinnie to the southern judge with his Brooklyn accent, "da-utes." We were all adolescents at one time. Yous-guys, it's a pretty funny movie.
I Am Not Highfalutin'
I will try not to use too many highfalutin' words to impress any elitists. There may be some rare times you will need the good old dictionary. By the way, it is not a bad idea for the kids to keep one handy. I am not ashamed to admit that I do use some words you may need to look up, like balderdash. Boy is that a goody. There may be other words you might even say that I made up; being totally honest, I did.
Other times, I do use some slang but only kidding around. If I look up a word, I usually will not forget it too easily. A dictionary is a good tool for the youngsters to use in life. It will keep their minds sharp, and they will always sound a lot more intelligent. I will also try not to be a jabberwocky. You might say, "What the hell is that one, Joe?" If you can't find that definition, do not worry; I had problems, too. I had to go to a very good English teacher for that one. That will be the toughest word in the whole book; it means talking gibberish. I will try not to ramble or babble on.
As for some of the youth these days, all you hear from some kids is "like." They use that word maybe ten times in a sentence, or just plain low-class talk, what I call the ghetto garbage slang. This is a family book, and at times, you may not agree with some of my principles, but please read on. Yes, I do suggest you digest the whole book and then make an intelligent decision.
Please keep in mind that it all comes from a lifetime of practical and proven experience. Also remember as you read, this is not some tenured professor's theories in the classroom and/or from a book that he might have dreamed up. My theories are time-tested and always proven profitable. I am the one who has retired young to enjoy life to its fullest, not some professor who just has to show up for classes on time to get paid. He did not retire young.
Some of the college or university professor's financial theories may or may not be proven profitable, or they might just be his own fictitious account of something. The old ways of saving and staying out of debt as much as possible are proven methods to gain financial independence.
As you read on, you might even see I am getting a little nicer in my crusty old age. This book will help the whole family; for the younger readers, if you follow my scholarship, you might be able to retire younger in life. For you seniors, just pass on the important information in this book to members of your own family—the ones who really want to go somewhere in life and be successful, "the get up and go-ers" in the family. This book can possibly help them immensely and secure both their future and their children's future.
I know a gentleman named Bill who owned his own NASCAR team. He set up his grandson in his own business, and they work well together. He called himself an old, successful ditch digger, and believe me, he was. He could probably buy and sell a lot of us.
You may find me repeating myself sometimes in this book; no, it is not Alzheimer's. We seniors have a tendency do that. Just bear with me and keep in mind that repetition is a good learning tool. It can be a training manual in life's experiences. As for you smart seniors, buying this book with the intention of helping your family, your children, and/ or your grandchildren is an intelligent move on your part.
"Old is gold" is one of my quotes for us seniors. Day after day, you hear "times have changed." My big question is, "Is it for the better or for the worse?" Only you can answer that one; you might know best. In some respects, things do stay the same, but only for a while. The question is, "Which is worse, and which is better?" History can and will give us the answers to some of today's complex problems.
Yes, money can be made the same way earners did it years ago, but the real secret is hard work. The young and ambitious, the can do-ers, the real hard workers can be successful even in today's hectic lifestyle. As I said, "You can truly be the best you can be," and smile, like I do on my way to the bank. That may be an old expression, but it works just as good today as it ever did.
"I Should-a, Would-a, Could-a"
This is for the seniors, us old fogies (pardon the phrase), and I can legally say that now. I do have my Old Fogies' card in my wallet. This is just one observation in life that comes from retiring young. It is a shame when you hear some seniors say, "I can't wait until I start collecting my Social Security at sixty-five." That is if they do not die first; now how about that one! They waited all their working life hoping that the almighty government might even give back some of their own hard-earned money, while for some, it's only petty cash.
They have said to me, "I am still out there working. How did you do it?" That's why this book was written. You can now see why this will be a somewhat of a "how-to book." I have heard seniors say, "Boy, I should-a, I could-a, or would-a", but we held off retiring and enjoying life for this reason or that reason."
Please do not misunderstand me or get me wrong. I know there are a multitude of good reasons. One big one is not having enough money, which is a big factor in any retirement decision. I will give you some insight into how I did it. The list of reasons for working into your later senior years can be as long as your arm. Some are legit, and some are just plain excuses.
Again, please do not misinterpret me.
Believe me, I am not talking about medical reasons or family reasons, which are beyond anybody's control. Some people do not want to retire just because work is habitual, and I am not faulting them. No, not at all; they are very ambitious people, and they may not want to back off and retire. This book should give you a heads-up or a little insight on how to retire young if you truly want to. Hopefully, what worked for me can work for you.
I have no large debt. I have no debt other than everyday, normal living expenses like everybody else—the normal, day-to-day stuff— and I control that easily. I have no mortgages, and I own everything outright, and have since 1978. I am proud of the fact that I have never paid for a credit card or any interest on a credit card in my life—never. Now, please do not get me wrong. I do use a credit card for normal, everyday living expenses. I use their money for thirty days, and in essence, I get interest. I assume you know we all pay higher costs for all products because of credit cards, even when we pay cash. It is all built into the system. I always pay all my credit cards off before the due date, resulting in no meaningful debt since 1978.
Hey, as for the bad guys, if the fools can read, I have my credit and ID theft monitored twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I suggest you folks do the same. First of all, having no large debt is a very important factor in having financial independence in life. For the younger generation, if you take any one thing out of this book, please keep in mind that debt will keep you down and hold you down in life. Get debt off your back as soon as you can, and keep it off if you can.
To prove that my no-debt theory is the way to go, you can see that our national debt is multiplying daily. We are tens of trillions of dollars in debt and going higher daily. You also see our government wasting our tax money daily.
This debt we all have is not sustainable by any means. Printing money and wasting it by the hour is not the answer either. As you see, our economy is free-falling into the dumper. Sorry to say, our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will be paying hefty tax bills. If this out-of-control debt is not stopped now, they, too, will be going down the tubes in the future, just like the economy did in 1929. But in the process, they will be paying higher and higher taxes, just to go broke. Why? As for the wasteful, lying spenders in all branches of government—federal, state, and local—"Come fall, fire them all."
Okay, I'm Off My Soap Box, and Off We Go
One other thing for us old fogies: when you do retire, keep moving around or you will rot away and meet the Grim Reaper much sooner than you want to. On that subject, by the time this book is published, I will have enjoyed life to its fullest. If I go tomorrow, I don't care if the Reaper comes a-knocking. I will just keep clean socks and undies on at all times and watch out for big old buses, an old expression. I am an individual who is normally thinking outside of the box. I am a leader, not a follower, not a "walk behind-er." I remember an old western saying, "Always drink upstream from the herd." It's old herd lingo, and that's-a no bull.
Take a movie theater or a plane, for instance. I always check it out when I fly, and I ask for the emergency seats. First, practically speaking, these seats will give me more room for my legs because I am tall; but also I want to be close to the exits in an emergency, and I can then help others out. I diligently read the instruction cards, and if I do not get the emergency seat, I look around. I want to know where the exits are in the event we have to crawl to them in the dark. In a theater or a stadium, this is immensely important, because these are the places where a crowd is going to panic and run off.
Timex and Rolex
I will give you a little meat and potatoes about the book: "Timex versus Rolex." You might say, "What are you talking about watches for? You are not a watchmaker." I will give you just a little insight into my way of thinking. I like Timex watches; I have had a few for years, and they work just great. Now, I could have an expensive Rolex on my wrist as I plunk away on this stupid computer.
They say that a Rolex appreciates, but I took all my Rolex money and invested it in myself and my businesses, then reinvested it again over the years. I then could control the increase in value, and all the money I made was just big profit for me. I came out ahead by a hundred thousand dollars.
Yes, I Am Opinionated
You will also find me to be very opinionated; yes, I did say opinionated and also very sarcastic at times. After all, I did not retire at forty-five because I am stupid. You will find most business executives are opinionated.
As you read on, I will explain how I did it and how you can possibly do it to in a similar way; however, there will be no hand-holding. The answers are spread throughout the book. Some might find it amusing. For some people, it may not be what you want to hear, so take it with a "grain of salt." At times, you may not like some of my theories. You will find me nice and polite, or maybe sarcastic, or even a downright meanie. But again, take some of my thoughts, but not all, with a "grain of salt."
Excerpted from Early Retirement: A Roadmap to Success by Joe Thomas Potuzak Sr. Copyright © 2011 by Joe Thomas Potuzak Sr.. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Contents1. Who The Hell Is This Guy Trying To Sell Me This Book?....................1
2. Doing What You Want to Do....................14
3. My Grandfather's Old Country Work Ethic....................25
4. Growing Up on Long Island Learning Work Ethics the Hard Way....................39
5. Let's Go Make Money....................57
6. I Do Not Trust Salesmen or Junkyard Dogs....................75
7. How We Arrive at Our Destination in Life....................82
8. A Big Decision in My Life....................91
9. Back from Basic....................101
10. Our Destiny in Life....................107
11. Green Snow....................116
12. Good, Bad, and How Ugly....................126
13. Maintaining a High Standard....................130
14. I Do Hope I Did Not Lose Anybody....................142
15. The Cops, the Mob, and Snow Removal....................152
16. Twenty-one Days of Talking to Myself....................168
17. A Warning for You, on the Road or at Home....................178
18. Always Give Them What They Deserve....................181
19. I Still Pick Up Pennies....................192
20. A Win File—Everybody Needs One in Life....................209
21. Value of Good Purchasing....................218
22. The Military Versus A Civilian Job: Good, Bad, or Indifferent....................224
23. Aloha, A Winner....................233
24. My Radio, Movie, but No TV Career....................259
25. Run a Business Run from Home; It Can Pay Off Big Time....................281
26. Epilogue: What Are Real Values?....................288
27. About the Author....................295