Roy and Joy

July 06, 2011 3 min read

“Why would I go to work every day if I wasn’t having fun on the job? Wouldn’t I look for something else to do? I’m even busier now that I’m retired than I ever was when I was working, so I need to make sure what I’m doing is more fun than ever. Why wouldn’t I do that?”

Sometimes Roy’s questions sound like the careful rhetoric of a preacher. At other times, they come across slightly defensive. But there is never any question of Roy’s resolve and unwavering belief in his philosophy toward life. He doesn’t know any other way to live.

“Right out of college, I couldn’t imagine doing a boring corporate job. My friends and I knew there was a lot of money in company jobs; we had a whole career of office work ahead of us. When we heard about the chance to build some miniature golf courses in Southern California, we asked ourselves what could be better than that? We started a company and spent our days outside in the California sun while playing golf – something we’d choose to do for fun anyway.”

“But a good thing can’t last forever, can it? We got tired of that. It started to feel like a real job. I knew that the next thing I wanted to do would be interesting and varied and exciting. So, I got into investments.”

“What could be more fun than working in a new industry every few weeks? Meeting new people? Convincing myself, and them, about our really good ideas? It was the dream job for most of my life. I got involved when the company was young and we were all idealistic. We rode the big waves in the stock market rises through the 1980s and 1990s and made a lot of money in the process. Life was good, wouldn’t you say?”

“But just in case there wasn’t enough excitement in my work life, I started taking in study abroad students to live with my teenage kids. From morning until night, I was involved in constant, new exploration. I was always learning new things. We would cook foods from their countries at home. My kids learned so much and we all had more enriched, happy lives because of it. That’s not what the average investment advisor does when he goes home at night, is it?” 

Roy pauses, and then shifts the conversation back to that preacher rhetoric. However, his tone is anything but defensive now.

“Why should all the fun end with retirement? I’m on three or four Boards now. I invest in Central Asian high tech companies. I’ve travelled with the Uzbekistan Olympic Committee Officials.  I do my best to help the development of villages in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  That is all just plain fun for me.”

“But when the sun goes down and the work day is over for me now, I do get a little retirement. Nothing makes me happier than walking down the street from our apartment in Buenos Aires to have an early evening latte, or sitting on our balcony overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Baja sipping on a margarita, or being surrounded by my family – my wife, my kids, and my “adopted” exchange students, and all of my friends.”

“How can you find more joy in your life than doing all of that?”