Capital Investment Advisors

#14 – Rookie of the Year with Johnny Hiles

Johnny Hiles just completed his rookie year of retirement, and his stats are lookin’ really good. He plays pickleball 4-5 times per week and works out even more. He attends a weekly men’s Bible study and volunteers as a greeter every other week at church. He and his wife just took their first trip to Greece and Turkey, with their sights set on taking a big trip at least every other year.

After a full career, Johnny has no regrets about retiring, and he’s hoping his story will help others decide the right time in their own lives.

As a professional, he went by John. Now, more and more people call him Johnny. In a way, retirement has recreated his identity. John had to get up every day and go to work. Johnny gets to explore the world, enjoy his family, and even tackle that honey-do list.

John had to act like a grown-up. Johnny’s far too happy for that.

After a year in the retirement game, it’s safe to say Johnny is well on his way to a promising career of happiness.

Read The Full Transcript From This Episode

(click below to expand and read the full interview)

  • Johnny Hiles [00:00:01]:
    Basically for my whole working career. And when I’d meet new people that didn’t know me my whole life, I’d go by John. But now most of the people I’m meeting are either people I’ve known my whole life, or they’re new people that my wife is introducing me to, or that we’re meeting together in our building and it’s Johnny. And that’s fine, because you know what? I don’t need to be a professional anymore. I just need to be me.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:00:26]:
    Johnny Hiles just completed his rookie year of retirement and his stats are looking good. He plays pickleball four to five times per week and works out even more. He attends a weekly men’s bible study and volunteers as a greeter every other week at church. He and his wife just took their first big trip to Greece and Turkey, and they have their sights set on doing that at least every other year and possibly even more after a full career. Johnny has no regrets about retiring, and he’s hoping his story will help others decide the right time in their own lives. As a professional, he went by John. Now more and more people are calling him Johnny. In a way, retirement has recreated his identity.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:01:15]:
    John had to get up every day and go to work. Johnny gets to explore the world, enjoy his family, and even tackle that honeydew list. John had to act like a grown up. Johnny’s far too happy for that. After a year in the retirement game, it’s safe to say Johnny is well on his way to a promising career of happiness. Do you ever wonder who you’ll be and what you’ll do after your career is over? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear stories from people who figured it out who are thriving in retirement? I’m Ryan Doolittle. After working with the retirees sooner team for years and researching and writing about how they structure their lifestyles, I know there’s more to be learned, so I’m going straight to the source and taking you with me. My mission with the Happiest Retirees podcast is to inspire 1 million families to find happiness in retirement.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:02:12]:
    I want to learn how to live an exceptional life from people who do it every day. Let’s get started. Okay. Johnny Hiles, thanks so much for coming on the Happiest Retirees podcast.

    Johnny Hiles [00:02:25]:
    It’s great to be here.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:02:26]:
    I really appreciate you coming on. I’m excited to talk to you. You’ve got some great quotes and attitudes about retirement that I want other people to hear so that they can emulate you.

    Johnny Hiles [00:02:38]:
    Okay, fire away.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:02:41]:
    What I’d like to do is start off with a big question, and then we can kind of get into some of the specifics. So I was just right off the bat, why would you say you’re a happy retiree and why should people listen?

    Johnny Hiles [00:02:52]:
    Well, I think I’m a happy retiree because I just have no regrets about retiring. It was a relatively easy decision to make. I just hope people will hear my story and it’ll encourage them to do the same.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:05]:
    I love that you have no regrets and that you’re just so happy to be a retiree, because I’m sure that’s a big reason why people wait or worry. They wonder, like, is it the right time? So your original plan was to retire at 70, but you ended up retiring at 68. So how did your plan change?

    Johnny Hiles [00:03:25]:
    Good. Part of it had to do with COVID The business I was in really got interrupted by Covid. We did a lot of live events, marketing events that required people to be there, and several of them were nonprofits that did fundraisers, and those basically all went online. And I was in the promotional products business, so that changed. A lot of trade shows got put off, and that had a big thing to do with it. I had to go out and reinvent myself in terms of how I was marketing and who I was marketing to. And it was kind of funny. I was in business with my dad, and when I first started working with him, he said, I’m just still calling on my clients that are still alive.

    Johnny Hiles [00:04:07]:
    And that’s kind of what happened to me. It’s not like my clients were dying, but my business did fall off a bit because of it and doing the social media marketing. I’m not much of a social media person and doing some of those things. I didn’t have the drive to go out there and start beating on doors. I was kind of out of gas. I read Wes’s book, happiest retirees, what they know. And after I read that, honestly, I said, I can do this. And it really inspired me to just go ahead.

    Johnny Hiles [00:04:41]:
    It was time to do it. I got my wife on board, too. That helped.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:04:45]:
    That’s a key element. I would imagine.

    Johnny Hiles [00:04:48]:
    She was all for it, and she kind of is retired, too, so that’s good.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:04:53]:
    Did you think she’d be on board or you weren’t sure?

    Johnny Hiles [00:04:56]:
    No, I felt like she’d be on board.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:04:58]:

    Johnny Hiles [00:04:59]:
    I don’t think it was an overly major effort to do that, because we’re ready to start doing things that we hadn’t done.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:05:06]:
    Yeah. And you mentioned Wes, so you’re referring to Wes Moss, who wrote what the happiest retirees know. And you were reading this already, you had just found it and thought this might be a good thing to help me decide.

    Johnny Hiles [00:05:19]:
    Well, I heard him talking about it on his little radio show that he does on a local radio station. Maybe it might be national, I don’t know. But, yeah, I heard him talking about that, and I said, I want to check this out, because I was toying with the idea and find out what the other people know.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:05:33]:
    Yeah, right. Hey, and that’s why I want you on this show, so other people can find out what you know. So everyone’s paying it forward.

    Johnny Hiles [00:05:41]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:05:43]:
    Okay. Tell me a little more about where you worked along your career trajectory over the start to finish. Where you started, where you ended up, what happened along the way.

    Johnny Hiles [00:05:55]:
    Okay, well, first part is pretty brief. I graduated University of Georgia in 1978, majoring in accounting, and I worked for two and a half years as an internal auditor for a couple of large public companies. One was the Hertz Corporation out of New York, and then the other was the Rollins corporation here in Atlanta. Hertz. We would go do operational audits on truck rentals, car rentals, and equipment rentals places, and then with Rollins, they own Orkin pest control, and at the time, they owned a company, Rollins Protective Services. So I went from automobiles and trucks to bugs and burglars is basically what it was. And I was not very good at that job. I was a corporate policeman, really, is what it boiled down to.

    Johnny Hiles [00:06:40]:
    And people really didn’t like to see me coming, and they didn’t always give me the best office place to work. But anyway, what I liked about it was 100% travel, both of them. I got to travel a lot. That was a lot of fun and actually saved a pretty good bit of money because I didn’t really have any expenses. And then I got recruited to go be the area controller for a truck rental company. It was called Jartran, started by James Ryder, who started Ryder Trucks. And the story goes, he was fired by Ryder and started this Jartran company with the stock that he owned in Ryder because he was by far the largest.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:15]:
    Oh, okay.

    Johnny Hiles [00:07:16]:
    And then they got in a little bit of financial trouble, and basically, I got laid off. My dad had always been in the promotional products business at the time. They always called it specialty advertising, which is imprinted promotional products, anything you use with a logo on it, to do marketing. And I went to him and his partner and said, hey, can I come sell for you? And then the rest of the story was a 40 year career in that business.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:40]:
    Oh, wow. So that one stuck. Yeah.

    Johnny Hiles [00:07:42]:
    And that worked. My dad and I ended up buying out his partner, and then we merged with another guy. And a couple of things later, the company that we ended up owning was the second oldest in Atlanta. It started in 1920. So it was pretty well established, pretty well known, and then that was it. 40 years in the business. There are several things along the way, but that’s the gist of it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:06]:
    What was it like working with your dad? Was that positive, or was that sometimes a challenge?

    Johnny Hiles [00:08:11]:
    For me, it was extremely positive. My dad was well known in the business. He was real active locally in our local trade association. Then he went on to be chairman of the board of our National Trade association and eventually was elected to our national association hall of Fame.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:31]:
    Oh, really?

    Johnny Hiles [00:08:32]:
    The bad news of that was it was posthumously, so he died suddenly in the office in 1999. And so after that, I had two other partners, and three of us ran the company basically for another 15 years. And then the last five years of my career, my partners and I decided to go different ways. They kind of forced me to buy me out. We had a buy sell agreement. I went to work with another company. It was a direct competitor. And the good news there was we use the same operating system with a national company that provides the software and does consulting for us, and basically just switched my whole book of business.

    Johnny Hiles [00:09:11]:
    Everything just went seamlessly over their server, and my daughter was working with us, too.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:16]:
    Oh, okay.

    Johnny Hiles [00:09:17]:
    So anyway, I guess your original question was, what was it like working with my dad? It was just great because he was a very good mentor. And the other thing about my dad, he let me do things the way I wanted to do. He didn’t try to push me to be like him and do it his way. If we want to do something differently, he’d listen to it and he’d give us his two cent. And if the other two guys and I wanted to go a certain direction, he’d run with it. So that was great.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:44]:
    Sounds like a great dad.

    Johnny Hiles [00:09:46]:
    He was. He was a lot of fun. He wasn’t perfect dad, but he was a great dad.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:51]:
    Well, who is? I’m sorry to hear that he passed away and won posthumously. But I’m wondering if you’ve seen him pass away, literally while he’s at work. Contributed to you wanting to retire sooner because you wanted to experience more in your life after the working years?

    Johnny Hiles [00:10:09]:
    No, I don’t think it necessarily made me want to retire sooner, but it made me want to do things that some of these corporate suits, like make sure I exercise well and do some planning. He was very good at planning, and one of the things he encouraged us always to do throughout all of us that were at the company was try to max out our retirement accounts. We didn’t really have 401 ks. We had sarceps and simple iras. And he really emphasized us to do that. And then he did other things, like talk to health insurance and those kind of things, made sure that we had good plans that way.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:10:48]:
    Yeah. So you said seeing his health, that really catapulted you to sort of step up and exercise more in your life.

    Johnny Hiles [00:10:57]:
    Oh, yeah, definitely. But also my wife had a good hand in that, too. She convinced me that’s what I needed to be doing as well. And so that was a good part of it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:06]:
    Well, tell me a little bit about what you do. I know you play pickleball four to five times a week. What else do you do?

    Johnny Hiles [00:11:12]:
    Pickleball is relatively new for me, but I played a lot of tennis, and then just not a heavy duty workout, just like 20 minutes on the elliptical and then a little circuit on different machines throughout the gym. And it’s all, in all, about an hour a day, 50 minutes to an hour a day.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:29]:
    I try to do the same. Or if I tell myself if I can just get on and do a little something, it’s not overwhelming. I don’t know if you feel that way.

    Johnny Hiles [00:11:37]:
    Well, exactly. But the other key for me, and it still is a little bit, I had to do it in the morning. If I waited, do it in the afternoon, it wasn’t going to get done.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:45]:

    Johnny Hiles [00:11:45]:
    So when I was working, I’d get up pretty much every morning at 440, probably no later than five to get the workout in and then get back home and get ready to go to work. The office that I was at for most of my career was only a 1015 minutes drive from my house. But the last five years, it was more like a 25, 30 minutes drive, depending on the traffic.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:07]:
    That makes a difference. Yeah.

    Johnny Hiles [00:12:09]:
    But that was another one of the sort of a good thing about COVID though. I started working more from home, and it did help me get a little bit more technologically savvy. I’m still not good at it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:21]:
    I had another guest who said, she’s just good enough to be dangerous, so maybe you fit into that category. And so you’re talking about going to work. You’ve always worked in Atlanta, right? You grew up there and you spent four years, as you said, you spent four glorious years in Athens at UGA. But other than that, you’ve always lived in Atlanta?

    Johnny Hiles [00:12:43]:
    Yeah, that first job I had, or first two jobs was a lot of travel. But, yeah, I was living in Atlanta.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:12:49]:
    Okay, so you just commute to different parts of. I mean, because Atlanta’s so big. It was one job was maybe on one side and you lived on the other.

    Johnny Hiles [00:12:57]:
    Well, we go to the office, but in the old days when you used to really knock on doors and go see people in person, it, depending on where the client was, and I’d go see them, and we did have a showroom in the office and clients would come in to look at things in our showroom. But, yeah, Atlanta is a big city and we did a lot of driving, but probably the last 1012 years, more and more of it just got to be because we could do things over the Internet. We could do presentations on the Internet, we could see people on the Internet. But I still preferred face to face communications. But after Covid, people wouldn’t even let you in the door.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:31]:
    I know. Yeah, it seems like it weeded out some of the unnecessary work items, like, hey, drive to the other side of town for a 30 minutes meeting. Sometimes that’s not necessary. You can just do it online. But then some things you really need that face to face experience. You mentioned core pursuits, what we refer to as hobbies on steroids, things you’re really, really passionate about. So we’ve kind of covered a couple of yours already, physical fitness. So you like pickleball, going to the gym.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:02]:
    Tell me about some of your other core pursuits.

    Johnny Hiles [00:14:05]:
    Well, I hope one of them is going to come into more and more to travel.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:09]:

    Johnny Hiles [00:14:09]:
    And that was one of the reasons we want to travel early, just while we can. And so I hope at least every other year we’re going to take a really nice trip. And then we also hope to have family trips to the beach, possibly having a second home at a location that we can go to. What is the beach talking about?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:28]:
    What does the beach mean? Where is that?

    Johnny Hiles [00:14:30]:
    Well, anywhere there’s an ocean and sand. Fair enough.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:34]:

    Johnny Hiles [00:14:36]:
    Hopefully not the desert. Yeah.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:39]:
    Is there a specific beach that you go to or you’ll just go anywhere?

    Johnny Hiles [00:14:45]:
    Well, the closest beaches to Atlanta are probably the Atlantic, so anywhere on the South Carolina coast, down to North Florida, but then there’s also the gulf, and it’s pretty much the same distance. We’re over at Panama City and the Panhandle over there. And it’s helpful to be within five, 6 hours anymore. And that’s kind of too long a drive. And then if we are wanting to include the in laws and grandchildren, all that, it’s got to be convenient for the kids to get there, too.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:14]:
    Yeah. I think you did a recent trip, was it, to South Carolina with your son? Your son just got married about a year ago, right?

    Johnny Hiles [00:15:22]:
    My oldest son got married in September last year or this year, whatever year it was last year, this brand new year. Yeah. So they just got married. And so that’s still pretty recent.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:36]:
    Yeah. Time is blurring for me. How many other kids do you have?

    Johnny Hiles [00:15:41]:
    Got a daughter and a younger son. So the oldest is a son, then a daughter and then another son. And the youngest son lives in Charleston, so that’s over South Carolina, of course, on the.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:54]:
    Okay. Okay.

    Johnny Hiles [00:15:55]:
    And that’s a five hour drive from Atlanta.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:58]:
    Okay. We do a lot of research about happy retirees, obviously, and we found that the happiest retirees tend to live close to at least one of their adult children. So it sounds like you live close to two of them and then not.

    Johnny Hiles [00:16:10]:
    Two out of three.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:11]:
    Yeah. And then the other one is, it’s not like on the other side of the country. It’s drivable if you need.

    Johnny Hiles [00:16:16]:
    Right, exactly.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:17]:

    Johnny Hiles [00:16:18]:
    On the Atlanta traffic, the ones here can be 10 minutes away or an hour and a half away.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:23]:
    Yeah. It might be easier to go to Charleston on some days.

    Johnny Hiles [00:16:26]:
    Sometimes it is.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:28]:
    Okay. So some other core pursuits you have, I think you do a weekly men’s bible study.

    Johnny Hiles [00:16:33]:
    Yeah, that’s something I’ve done for probably 25 years.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:37]:
    Oh, wow.

    Johnny Hiles [00:16:38]:
    A guy that has a really good ministry. Again, I have to give my wife credit for getting me going to that. She knew about this guy and said, you ought to go. He has a men’s group. So I started doing that. And actually for maybe two years, I was actually on his board of directors. That was a good experience. But I’m not involved that closely anymore.

    Johnny Hiles [00:17:01]:
    I just attend.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:17:02]:
    Okay, but then you greet every other week at church. I can assume what greet means, but I don’t know if it’s a specific thing.

    Johnny Hiles [00:17:11]:
    Well, yeah, I say it’s like being an airline stewardess or a flight attendant, I should say, yeah, I just date myself. When the people come in, I say hi, and when they leave, I say bye. Okay. If somebody needs to know where the bathroom is, I show them where that is. But it’s just a matter of making people feel welcome and then thanking them for coming. That’s about as simple as you can put it. It’s a pretty big place. And probably for ten or twelve years I’m in the same location.

    Johnny Hiles [00:17:41]:
    I’m a one trick pony. I don’t want to learn anything else at the church.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:17:45]:
    Okay. So it sounds like greeting at church is sort of a concentrated shot of socialization, of getting out there and seeing people and it sounds good for the soul.

    Johnny Hiles [00:17:57]:
    Yeah, it is just making people glad they’re there. And one of the fun things about it, a lot of same people sit in the same places too, just like I greet in the same place. Over the years I’ve seen them come in with kids that were three years old and now they’re twelve and 15 years old and you’re kind of watching the kids grow up. That’s kind of neat too.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:18:17]:
    Yeah, that sounds really cool. You see them grow up in like a time lapse.

    Johnny Hiles [00:18:22]:
    Yeah, I don’t really get to know them, I just know who they are. But then again, I’ll see friends that I know that come too, that I’ve always known.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:18:30]:
    Yeah. Well, speaking of friends you’ve always known, you have an annual, you call it the BC Boys Beaver Creek ski trip.

    Johnny Hiles [00:18:38]:
    Well, we go to Beaver Creek and we’ve been doing that for 23 years. It started off with one of the guys bought a condominium out there, and through the years, over the last 23 years, he’s gotten a bigger one. Bigger one, bigger one. And so now he’s up to a four bedroom. Anyway, this year we had eight guys, but we’ve had as few as four that we had for the first two years and anywhere from probably six to nine of us. And I don’t know how we started calling ourselves BC boys, but all of us have known each other probably 48 to 50 years, some of them from elementary school and high school age. And a couple of the guys didn’t meet till college. But we’re all 40, almost 50 years out of college, so it’s a tight group.

    Johnny Hiles [00:19:24]:
    The majority of them were all fraternity brothers there. I wasn’t in their fraternity, I was in a different one, but I knew them all me, because when I think.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:33]:
    Of Beaver Creek, I think of Oregon. But is there one in Georgia?

    Johnny Hiles [00:19:37]:
    Not that I know of.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:39]:
    Oh, so you’re going to Oregon every year?

    Johnny Hiles [00:19:41]:
    No, it’s in Colorado.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:43]:
    Oh, okay, so then there’s one in Colorado too. Okay.

    Johnny Hiles [00:19:45]:
    Yeah, it’s out near Vale. It’s in the same area that vale and Breckenridge in those towns are.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:51]:

    Johnny Hiles [00:19:52]:
    Georgia is not much of a ski territory. They do have one ski slope, but you don’t ski there.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:57]:
    So the goal of the annual BC boys Beaver Creek ski trip, you’re going to keep doing it until the very last person is either standing, even if they can’t ski anymore. Is that kind of the goal?

    Johnny Hiles [00:20:08]:
    I hope so. I think two years ago we started laughing about it and we said, last man standing gets the condo.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:17]:

    Johnny Hiles [00:20:18]:
    But the guy that owned it said, well, too bad, kids already got it. I think he made arrangements where technically they own it, but he runs the show.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:28]:
    Oh, well.

    Johnny Hiles [00:20:29]:
    But now the goal is we just hope we can keep doing it because we have so much fun. I mean, we act like, try to act like we’re 20 again and it’s getting harder and harder.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:38]:

    Johnny Hiles [00:20:39]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:41]:
    I can definitely see you guys are having a lot of fun on these trips. You go all out.

    Johnny Hiles [00:20:47]:
    Yeah. Some of the stories we tell are the same stories we tell every year. They just get embellished a little bit more.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:20:52]:
    They get better with time. Right. That seems to be the way it works. So how would you say your core pursuits have made you happier in your life?

    Johnny Hiles [00:21:00]:
    Well, in a way, that’s kind of getting back to the book. When I went through the book and they started talking about core pursuits, things that you do and the habits of the happy retirees, a lot of those things when I went through the, I was really already doing and didn’t realize that they would be part of me and important to me as a retired person. So I really feel like I’m continuing what I was sort of already doing. I mean, there’s some other things that I think I’d need to do more of, such as more volunteer work for whatever community service things. I really think I really want to. I need to ramp that up just because I think it won’t be all about me. Yeah, it’s the best way.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:21:45]:
    Filling, right? Yeah. Volunteering regularly tops the list of our core pursuits for happy retirees. Tell me, what does a perfect day look like for you now that you’re in retirement?

    Johnny Hiles [00:21:56]:
    Well, some of them are also already described. I work out for an hour, play pickleball for 2 hours. 2 hours? Wow. You don’t get enough games in unless you play for 2 hours and then take care of personal business, do things that I have to do, whether it’s a necessity or something that we just need to get done around the house. We’re getting ready to move pretty soon, and we’ve got to get our house in order to show it. And so that’s going to be a big thing. And so I think the perfect day would be getting all that done. So it might not be one day, it might be a few weeks.

    Johnny Hiles [00:22:36]:
    It’s going to be a process. We lived in the same house for 28 years and then sold it and downsized into a high rise condo building. But the downsize was way too much and got a different one on a much higher floor. But now that we have grandchildren and things, we need more space, and I’m tired of taking the dog 16 floors to the bathroom.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:58]:
    Oh, man. Yeah.

    Johnny Hiles [00:23:02]:
    The perfect day is going to be getting ready to move and spending time on that, but also doing these personal things as well.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:09]:
    Do you ever just hold the dog sort of towards the window when you don’t feel like walking or going? Probably not a good idea.

    Johnny Hiles [00:23:17]:
    No, but she looks out the window, but she doesn’t really notice.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:24]:
    Now she’s a four year old Boykin spaniel, right?

    Johnny Hiles [00:23:27]:

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:28]:
    And my family had a dog that was not a pure spaniel, but it looks a lot like your dog or it looked a lot like your dog. And this dog was so happy, we named him happy. So I think that breed of dog just must be a really great breed.

    Johnny Hiles [00:23:44]:
    Yeah, they are. I mean, this is the first one we’ve ever had. We’ve always had labs and being in the condo, we needed to downsize a dog as well.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:54]:
    You downsized the dog and the condo at the time.

    Johnny Hiles [00:23:57]:
    Labs shed a lot, too. You got to do a lot of vacuuming and boykin sheds a little, but not near as much.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:04]:
    Yeah, this is interesting. You downsized and now you’re upsizing again.

    Johnny Hiles [00:24:09]:
    It’s not a major upsize. It’s just more spread out.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:13]:

    Johnny Hiles [00:24:15]:
    When my son comes with his grandson, they won’t be all on the same floor. We won’t have the same common area. Hopefully the room that we’re going to build out, it’s a townhome. It’s not a separate home. It’s not near as big as our original home.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:29]:
    Okay. But it sounds like it’ll be more convenient for having kids and grandkids around and dogs.

    Johnny Hiles [00:24:34]:
    Yeah, it’ll be kind of a playroom, third bedroom that they’ll be downstairs where they can be by themselves when they want to be.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:42]:
    And I’m always fascinated because I don’t know Atlanta as well as I want to know part. Where do you live now? Where will you be moving to?

    Johnny Hiles [00:24:50]:
    First of all, when we moved from our house to where we are now, we’re in an area called Buckhead. First of all.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:54]:
    That’s okay. I know.

    Johnny Hiles [00:24:55]:
    Well known area, buckhead when we moved, we only moved 2 miles, and now we’re moving 2 miles back, almost to where we. So it’s not far. And both of us, we probably live within 5 miles of where we lived our whole lives. And our condo building is on Peachtree street, which pretty much that’s all you ever hear about Atlanta. But the neighborhood I spent my elementary school years in is directly across the street from our condo building.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:25:22]:
    Oh, how interesting.

    Johnny Hiles [00:25:24]:
    So that street dead ends into Peachtree, right where our building is.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:25:28]:
    Okay, so you can probably go to the same grocery store you went to. Your dog can maybe go to the same vet. You kind of have the same infrastructure, for lack of.

    Johnny Hiles [00:25:36]:
    Well, this is going back 60 years ago. Stores have changed and the storefronts have changed. It’s not the same place, like where this building is. There used to be a wendy’s, that kind of stuff, but the grocery store is in basically the same location, but it’s not the same store. That kind of stuff, but in general. But yeah, when you start talking about the vet, the vet, he’s long gone. He was generation ago.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:26:02]:
    Yeah. Okay.

    Johnny Hiles [00:26:04]:
    But the vet is very close. Everything’s very convenient.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:26:06]:
    Yeah, that’s the key. Okay, so you said something to me that I thought was really profound. You said, in a way, retirement recreated me. I didn’t recreate myself. Tell me a little bit more about what you meant.

    Johnny Hiles [00:26:19]:
    Well, I think the question was, did you have to create your identity when you retired? If so, how’s it different? And by saying that, in a way, retirement recreated me. I didn’t recreate myself. Part of it is just what people call me. I grew up till I graduated college, everybody called me Johnny. But when I became a professional, it’s John. And then when I was working with my dad, people started calling me junior. Just people call, they’d say, do you want to speak John senior or junior? And everybody know Junior. And so people just start calling the office, say, I need know.

    Johnny Hiles [00:26:58]:
    They didn’t bother to say my first name, but basically for my whole working career. And when I’d meet new people that didn’t know me my whole life, I’d go by John. But now most of the people I’m meeting are either people I’ve known my whole life, or they’re new people that my wife is introducing me to, or that we’re meeting together in our building and it’s so. And that’s fine, because you know what? I don’t need to be a professional anymore. I just need to be me.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:27:27]:
    Right. Well, and I was introduced to you as Johnny, and so the way my brain works, that locked in Johnny. So I felt bad thinking you might want to be called John or Junior.

    Johnny Hiles [00:27:38]:
    Yeah, either one. I’ll answer anything. I’ve been called a lot worse.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:27:44]:
    All right, Johnny. I’m sticking with Johnny. What is the biggest challenge you think you faced along your retirement journey over the years?

    Johnny Hiles [00:27:53]:
    I think one of the biggest challenges would just be to making sure that I maxed out my retirement, the maximum I could put into my IRA plans or whatever, because, again, my dad drilled it in our head. You do it, and it will grow. And it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:10]:
    It did.

    Johnny Hiles [00:28:10]:
    Did pretty well. And so I think that was one of the main things. And then towards the end, just feeling confident that it could do it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:20]:

    Johnny Hiles [00:28:20]:
    I think one of the podcasts a couple guys ago, it might have been the guys that were the engineers, the trains. One of the guys said, make sure you have enough money to retire or to quit work and then do it and then quit. And I think that sums it up right there. So, it was just planning ahead of time and having the confidence to know that it could happen, because I really was. I just wasn’t ready to keep chasing orders.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:47]:
    So the first challenge was sort of, do I have enough money? And then after that, it was the confidence of, should I really be doing this? What am I going to do in my life? Type of thing.

    Johnny Hiles [00:28:57]:
    Yeah. And then reviewing things that are. I’m not advertising for that book, but it gave me the confidence to do what I want to do.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:09]:
    Right. Well, hey, we love that. Okay, so, tell me, have you felt in retirement, have you felt more limitations or less than you felt when you were working?

    Johnny Hiles [00:29:18]:
    Oh, gosh, that’s no question at all. There are no limitations. That’s what I like about it. Of course, there are certain things you just have to do, but in general, the definition of retirement, to me, is the freedom to do what you want to do, living it on my terms, and not having to meet quotas and bring home a paycheck, because there is no paycheck.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:42]:
    Yeah, I get that answer a lot, too. The biggest limitation for some is maybe as they’re getting older, they can’t play tennis as much as they want, but in terms of the social or the happiness level, there’s, like, way less limitations.

    Johnny Hiles [00:29:59]:
    Absolutely. Sometimes it’s harder to figure out what not to do, prioritizing what really is a priority and what is something that I’m just doing because I don’t want to do what I have to do, but I can do the other, if that makes sense.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:30:15]:
    Yeah. You can pick and choose the things that you really want to do.

    Johnny Hiles [00:30:18]:
    Right. But I need to pick and choose them wisely. Sometimes you take fun over work, right?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:30:25]:
    Yeah. Well, this is the time to do it.

    Johnny Hiles [00:30:27]:
    It seems like you never know when your day is going to come. And when I talk about my dad dying of a heart attack in the office, everybody goes, oh, I’m so sorry to hear it. And I said, well, not really because he really enjoyed his work. He had a great career and we didn’t have time to plan for it. But then again, he had no suffering or whatever. I call it the Fred Sanford. If you ever watch Sanford and son, he’s always having, oh, I’m having a big one. And he was gone.

    Johnny Hiles [00:30:55]:
    But it’s okay. So you never know when it’s going to happen. So you need to do it now. And I think that’s another thing. They were starting to take nice trips, and that’s got to do it while we can.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:06]:
    Yeah, I read a quote the other day, and I’m probably going to butcher it, but it was something like all this stuff you’re doing to get to your life, to get to where you want to be in your life that actually is your life. So start being grateful of what’s happening right now. So you said something else. You’re just full of profound quotes. So I just want to say another one that you had said before was, don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is the enemy of contentment. Talk a little more about that.

    Johnny Hiles [00:31:33]:
    Well, first of all, know all those quotes are plagiarized. They’re not mine. I wish I could take credit for them, but I can’t. Well, basically, if you start comparing yourself and say, in retirement, well, so and so’s got this and this and this and I’ve got this and this and this. Well, you’re always not going to be content with what you have. And there’s always somebody that’s got more than you and somebody that’s got less than you. And so you can’t do it. So I can’t go into retirement comparing somebody else’s lifestyle to mine.

    Johnny Hiles [00:32:06]:
    I just got to be happy with what I got. And I am. We’re very lucky. We’ve had some help along the way.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:13]:
    Yeah. I struggle with comparing myself to other people and it never works out for me. I’m happier when I don’t, when I’m just trying my best and not trying to do that. So I completely understand that.

    Johnny Hiles [00:32:26]:
    But that’s an important quote, you just be happy with what you got. And comparison is the enemy of contentment. You’re never going to be content.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:36]:
    Yeah. Okay. So what makes you a good example for other people to follow? People who want to retire? Or maybe they did retire, but they’re not liking it. Maybe they didn’t know what to do, help them out.

    Johnny Hiles [00:32:49]:
    Well, that’s a tough question. Mainly because basically I’ve just finished my rookie season. I’ve only been retired a year, so I don’t have a great track record. But what I can say is right now I’m very happy at where I am in life. And I am, I think, doing the corporate suits I like to do, I do want to do more volunteering. But in general, I think the example I set is I said I was going to do it and I did it. And if it continues that way, things are going to be fine.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:20]:
    I’m trying to think of a Georgia football player who was rookie of the year, maybe Jalen Carter. I probably don’t know it as well as you, but you may only be a rookie, but you’re the rookie of the year. In the world of.

    Johnny Hiles [00:33:37]:
    That’S. I could do worse. Yeah, but it’s fun. So I’m glad I retired. It’s working for me. So maybe people can follow that example.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:48]:
    Yeah, I think so. Well, is there anything else that you’d want to add that you want to make sure people consider in this journey of trying to be happy in retirement and get to that point wherever they are in their life?

    Johnny Hiles [00:34:02]:
    You do need to get advice, and I think you need to have a financial planner that you trust and do some planning and think ahead a bit, then go for it. I guess planning is important. I didn’t steadily plan throughout my career, but the last three to five years has really been in the back of my head and I’ve been monitoring it, if that makes sense.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:34:26]:
    Yes. Makes total sense. All right, well, Johnny Hiles, or John or junior, thank you so much for coming on the Happiest Retirees podcast.

    Johnny Hiles [00:34:34]:
    It’s been a real, you know, I can talk all day about myself.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:34:41]:
    We’ll have to have you back then.

    Johnny Hiles [00:34:43]:
    We’ll see. We’ll have to check the Nielsen ratings. Okay.

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