Capital Investment Advisors

#5 – A Fine Line with Joel Hoffman

If you line dance in Bakersfield, California, you know Joel Hoffman. The man who spent his career as a technician and analyst in the oil fields now dedicates much of his retirement to helping folks scoot boots, slap leather, shuffle, and slide their way to a good time. And he loves every minute of it. On today’s episode, we’ll find out what catapulted him into retirement, which part-time work became lucrative on his terms, and how he ultimately found his way onto the dance floor.

Read The Full Transcript From This Episode

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  • Joel Hoffman [00:00:00]:So it’s like everything else Ryan we’ve talked about. So it’s the elementary school. It’s line dancing. It’s driving all those things. I touch people in a positive way. Yeah, I make a few bucks, but interacting with people like that and being able to jump in and help people is just the coolest thing.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:00:20]:

    Bakersfield, California, is an interesting place. I remember looking had a map of where country music originated, and almost every dot was down in the southern portion of the United States, except for one lonely dot way out west in Bakersfield, California. And I think that’s a big reason why, despite its close proximity to Hollywood, I mean, it’s only about 2 hours. It feels so different. I’m from Bakersfield, but I live in Los Angeles, and that could explain why I’m sort of a honky tonk inside a teddy bear wearing a Members Only jacket. I mean, I’m all over the place. But all this to say, country music has a strong culture in Bakersfield, and with that, so does line dancing. Today’s guest, Joel Hoffman is all about line dancing.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:01:17]:

    If you line dance in Bakersfield, you know Joel Hoffman. He loves teaching you. You love being taught by him. He’s a guy who spent his entire career working out on the oil fields, but an early retirement sent him searching for the most fun way to live his life. Also, he’s found some great side businesses to use as multiple streams of income. As we all know, it takes money to do things. This guy is so charismatic that he’s almost like an entrepreneur without trying. I think we can all learn from him in our journey to become happy retirees.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:01:57]:

    So strap in, get ready to scoot some boots to shuffle to slide, because Joel Hoffman is coming at us. And by the way, Joel Hoffman is not a client of capital Investment Advisors. He was not compensated for participating in our podcast, but, of course, we really appreciate him joining us to share his retirement story. 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 Retire 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. I want to learn how to live an exceptional life from people who do it every day. Let’s get started.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:02:58]:

    Joel Hoffman, thank you so much for coming on the Happiest Retirees podcast. Hey, thanks for asking know it was one of those things where when your name was floated, I thought, duh. Why didn’t I think of that before?

    Joel Hoffman [00:03:13]:

    I’m glad you did. This is fun. I appreciate it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:16]:

    Yeah, I mean, you’re kind of exactly what we’re looking for. You’re a happy retiree, right?

    Joel Hoffman [00:03:22]:


    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:24]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:03:24]:

    I couldn’t be happier.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:03:26]:

    I’ve only known you, so full disclosure, we know each other. You are my mom’s line dancing teacher, correct? Yeah. You didn’t know, right? But I’ve only known you in retirement, so I’ve done some research, and I want to learn more from you, but it’s been interesting to see what you did before. I had no idea.

    Joel Hoffman [00:03:50]:

    Yeah. Well, I was in the oil field, so I didn’t go to college. I went out of high school and went to a grocery store, worked there a little while and heard about the big money in oil. So I spent almost 30 years in the oil industry with Shell and Occidental Petroleum and finally California Resources Corporation, which is where I retired from in 2015, eight years ago.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:04:17]:

    Okay, that makes sense because I was looking at your resume, and a lot of your sort of retirement jobs started in 2016.

    Joel Hoffman [00:04:28]:

    Correct. After that, retirement. And that was kind of my plan, man. Since I was maybe 40 years old, I wanted to retire when I was 55. That was my goal, man. I wanted to get out of that world. I wanted to get out of there healthy. I see friends of mine and stuff that they don’t retire till they’re 70, and it’s like, then what do you do? So I set my goal for 55, and that’s why you see so many things after it.

    Joel Hoffman [00:04:57]:

    I knew I’d like to supplement it with stuff, but only stuff I enjoyed. So, lo and behold, in 2015, the company said, hey, do any of you guys want to volunteer to retire? And that’s when I was 55. It was like, fulfill my goal. Yes. Twist my arm.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:05:16]:

    Wow. That’s the rare thing where the boss sets you up for your retirement the way you want.

    Joel Hoffman [00:05:22]:

    It crazy. And one of those package deals where they not only kick you out the door, they send gold with you. It was like, Are you kidding me?

    Ryan Doolittle [00:05:30]:

    Exactly. There you go. And here’s some gold bars.

    Joel Hoffman [00:05:33]:

    Take these. Yes. That golden handshake.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:05:37]:

    Okay, so this is great because Mallory and Marissa are producers here, and me, we all work with, we’d consider, like, the mothership. Wes Moss is our sort. He hosts the flagship podcast on our network called Retire Sooner. And he would be so happy to hear you retired at 55, because that’s, like, what he’s always trying to help people do, so we won’t get too much into the finances of it. But how were you able to make it happen? And how did you always know you wanted to do that?

    Joel Hoffman [00:06:08]:

    So putting away money while I work, taking full advantage, my company had a matching thing going on.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:06:17]:

    Oh, like a 401K match?

    Joel Hoffman [00:06:19]:

    Yeah. So if I contributed 7%, they had put in seven. I mean, I’m throwing away money if I don’t take advantage of that. So my wife worked the same place. She was doing the same thing, so socking away money to take advantage of what my company offered. And like I mentioned earlier, I didn’t want to retire and not have the energy and excitement and health to go do things that I have a passion for. So 55, I knew there were some laws that had to do with 401 and retiring early, and 55 seemed like that was a spot where I could do everything I wanted to do with the laws, the taxes and everything, not get penalized for dipping into my so here I am.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:05]:

    It’s funny, as I get older, 55 to me sounds like, oh wait, but aren’t you just kind of getting started? But you are because you’re finally getting to live the way you want, right?

    Joel Hoffman [00:07:18]:

    Exactly. I think some of our discussion before this, before you retire, you work, and maybe after you retire you work. But the difference is what you just said, after you retire, it’s your choice. Maybe it’s your choice where you work before, but still you’re reporting to a boss. You’re asking permission to vacation.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:46]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:07:47]:

    So after 55, it’s like you do things you want to do. If you want to make some money, you do. If you want to say no to somebody, you say no. Exactly.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:07:55]:

    Yes. Well, that’s one of the things we’ve learned from working with happy retirees and unhappy ones. The ones that just say, well, now I’m not going to work, so I can’t wait to sit on the couch. That doesn’t usually go very well, but it sounds like you had a plan.

    Joel Hoffman [00:08:14]:


    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:15]:

    All the things you wanted to do. Exactly.

    Joel Hoffman [00:08:17]:

    And my plan was that I would supplement my income with substitute teaching. So leading up to retirement, I made know I knew I needed to have a degree to do substitute teaching. It didn’t really matter what degree. So while I was working, I got my information technology degree from University of Phoenix online.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:42]:

    You’re saying technology?

    Joel Hoffman [00:08:44]:

    Yeah. So it’s a BSIT.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:08:46]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:08:47]:

    And I went for that degree because I was a tech guy. Anyway, I thought it would be the easiest thing I could do, actually graduate and get that degree, because I already knew that world. So I did. I was fortunate enough Occidental Petroleum helped with that expense. It was awesome. So I got my degree. So at 55, immediately I was ready to go substitute teach whenever I wanted. I don’t know what it is with other states, but in California, if you want to substitute teach, you pick your schedule.

    Joel Hoffman [00:09:24]:

    You don’t say yes to everything, but if you want to substitute teach, man, the demand out here is bizarre. It’s just they need you every day, all day. It’s easy to substitute teach in to.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:36]:

    All if you want it to be. It can almost be full time.

    Joel Hoffman [00:09:39]:

    It can be. It literally can be. And I know people doing yep.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:09:43]:

    Yeah, I’m down in kind of the Los Angeles area, so I know a lot of people who want to be actors, which a lot of times means they’re doing substitute teaching when they don’t have an active role or I I’m totally aware of that.

    Joel Hoffman [00:09:58]:

    It’s a great little I also about the time I left CRC, a little know, Uber and Lyft are out there, so I thought that would be kind of fun to try again. Your choice. When you go, when you stop. I love the you know, in addition to teaching, which is really cool because you’re touching little lives in an amazing way, I could go on and on about stories with little kids who just came up to me and said, man, this was the greatest day of my life, ever. I mean, imagine some little kid telling you that how good you’d feel. So with Uber and know, okay, so you make a little side money. You’re not going to get rich, maybe, but you meet people and interact with others who are facing different challenges. Maybe it’s single moms getting in your car with little kids and stuff, or it’s somebody you’re taking to the hospital, and they have to have some weird tests run, and you’re thinking, oh, my gosh, my world is so insignificant.

    Joel Hoffman [00:11:03]:

    These people have some real things going on. So a side benefit of Uber and Lyft, I made a few bucks, but, man, it opened up this world to other people and their challenges and made me feel better about life, too. It was amazing.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:17]:

    That is so inspiring. And I did want to get into the Uber and Lyft, because I think the word of today, when you have Joel Hoffman on the word of the day is parlay, because I feel like you’ve been able to parlay things from other things.

    Joel Hoffman [00:11:33]:


    Ryan Doolittle [00:11:34]:

    You started doing Uber and Lyft, and then now I think you’ve almost graduated to your own private driving business. I mean, I don’t know the exact you might want to explain it, but is that kind of what happened?

    Joel Hoffman [00:11:48]:

    Yeah, it was kind of interesting know, you do Uber and Lyft, and mostly that was all around Bakersfield. But I had some people ask me, hey, just between you and me, no Uber Lyft companies. Just between you and me, what would you charge to take us to Los Angeles International Airport? And I was, See, that sounds kind of cool. Cut out the middleman and just deal straight with these customers. And so I gave prices, started doing that, and, man, word of mouth just went nuts. People telling other people. And I had one guy, I didn’t ask for this. He liked my service so much, he went on to an app, a neighborhood kind of app, and he said, man, if you want to get rides to Lax, joel Hoffman is the guy.

    Joel Hoffman [00:12:38]:

    And he put my phone number, and I was over wine tasting my wife and I like to go wine tasting pretty often, at least once a month. And I was over wine tasting and my phone blew up. So I finally took the time to look at it, and I was getting all these messages, hey, how much do you charge to Lex? Do you go to Fresno? Will you go to Burbank? Is only airports what you do? What if we wanted to go to Las Vegas? It’s like, what the heck’s going on? So, yeah, I started getting these requests, fulfilling them. They told their friends. And now while I was sitting here, starting with you, my wife was taking two employees of a local ad company to Bakersfield Airport. I’ve got her filling in for me, my daughter filling in for me when I can’t provide transportation. So it’s gotten really crazy.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:30]:

    Even in retirement, you have a business empire of private driving.

    Joel Hoffman [00:13:35]:

    That’s crazy. You hired your family. Oh, my gosh.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:13:40]:

    And how nice of one of your you’ve done such a good job to have the client just decide to be your marketing director just for free.

    Joel Hoffman [00:13:48]:

    I know. It was amazing. So it’s like everything else Ryan we’ve talked about. So it’s the elementary school, it’s line dancing, it’s driving all those things. I touch people in a positive way. Yeah, I make a few bucks, but interacting with people like that and I had a couple call me from Glendale and down in the La. Area, and I was sitting at the house like, it was like, I don’t know, ten at night. And they called and said, joel, is there any way you can come down to Glendale? Our truck broke down.

    Joel Hoffman [00:14:22]:

    There’s no rental car agencies open. We’re just stuck. Is there any way you can come get us? I said, sure.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:28]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:14:28]:

    And so that happens a lot where I’m the savior of the day. Being able to jump in and help people is just the coolest thing. Whether it’s a kid at elementary school or teaching someone to dance for the first time, and they love it, or it’s saving them from some trip problems they’ve got. It’s been pretty cool.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:51]:

    So you’re not only a private driver, you’re also AAA.

    Joel Hoffman [00:14:56]:


    Ryan Doolittle [00:14:57]:

    So now you’re making their lives better. I mean, it must be such a positive experience.

    Joel Hoffman [00:15:04]:

    It’s amazing. It’s just amazing. I mentioned line dancing, okay? Teaching people to dance is cool, but COVID hits can’t go line dance anymore. So I immediately jumped on and learned how to use Zoom, partly because my religion, they moved all their activity to Zoom. So I knew Zoom. I did 40 classes, line dancing classes, over Zoom online during COVID And several of those dancers, they were telling me, man, if we didn’t have that, we’d have gone nuts. Yeah, you have this positive impact. It’s amazing.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:15:47]:

    And how cool that you were able to keep it going during that time when no one could be together. Right.

    Joel Hoffman [00:15:53]:

    We had people so there was at one point, they were letting you kind of meet in public, like at parks and stuff. Bam. So there’s a park in town, has a big stage, so I told everybody, invited everybody. We had people coming down to line dance with us because nobody else was. Oh, my God. It was a way to get out and get motivated and see other people and interact and dance. We’re in a park. It was so fun.

    Joel Hoffman [00:16:25]:

    But yeah, it’s totally cool.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:16:27]:

    I don’t quite know the age range. I’ve been a couple of times, and it seems like a pretty wide range. I see. I don’t know about teenagers, but early 20s all the way up to absolutely.

    Joel Hoffman [00:16:41]:

    Our advanced class is mostly people who are in the older age bracket. Okay. But there are line dances around town that cater to and attract a younger generation, like you’re saying in the 20s. So it’s all available. Anybody can go and dance and find line dancing. But yeah, with Libby and that group, man, I’ll tell you what, your mom and some others are just exceptionally advanced dancers, and so that class has to focus on advanced. And that’s not the 20 year old group. They’re not ready for that yet.

    Joel Hoffman [00:17:23]:

    They just want to go party at night at a brewery maybe, and drink a few beers and have fun trying out this new thing called line dancing in their mind.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:17:32]:

    Yeah, the youngins and then people like my dad, they just want to do the electric slide real quick. Right. But I know that the advanced dancers, such as my mom, Libby, if you aren’t coming out with new dances, you’re going to hear about it.

    Joel Hoffman [00:17:48]:


    Ryan Doolittle [00:17:49]:

    She’s going to say, Where’s the new dance? I will say, you have helped her in her retirement journey, because I’m sure she knew she liked dancing, but it’s really helped her find, what we call on this show, a core pursuit. It’s something that you wake up in the morning looking forward to, right? Yes. Oh, my gosh. That definitely has driven her. It’s been a catalyst of happiness, maybe.

    Joel Hoffman [00:18:17]:

    For your listeners, maybe a message from what I’m saying and what you just said is, if you can find a passion where you touch other people I mean, yeah, sitting in your own office or whatever and learning a computer program, totally cool. During COVID I built this computer that I’m on right now. I bought all the pieces, put it together myself. Wow, you can do that. But, man, when you can touch other people, like your mom, maybe I touched her a little bit, expanded her teaching, gave her an opportunity to do that more blah, blah, blah. But now she’s doing it. She’s sharing things that she’s learned that she has a passion for with others and are touching us. So maybe your listeners, if you can find things where you touch other people, that’s man, there’s nothing quite like that.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:08]:

    Yeah, absolutely. It’s the things that are yeah. Like you said, building a computer is important if you love it, and then the things where you actually change people’s lives even better.

    Joel Hoffman [00:19:19]:

    And you feel great. Yeah. Amazing.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:22]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:19:22]:

    You feel so much more accomplishment with that. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I was pretty feeling pretty good when my computer turned on. When I pushed the button, I felt pretty accomplished at that moment.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:19:35]:

    That’s very true. Yeah. We’ve kind of covered this a little bit. You’ve mentioned that you kind of had a plan for retirement. And that’s a big thing I want our listeners to learn about is how did you have a plan? How long did it take? How did you find a purpose for what you were going to do once the nine to five stopped?

    Joel Hoffman [00:19:56]:

    So watching people around me, even my dad, working until he was 70 or so and just watching people around me, I knew I did not want to retire when I was old. Old. That was the big lever that made me say, look, I got to figure out how to get this done by 55 so that I am healthy, ready to rock and roll and do things with my family. So that was the number one motivator. And then so after that, it was just, okay, set the date. Don’t just say, I’ll get there when I get there. Set the date. Get your mind around that’s what the target is.

    Joel Hoffman [00:20:36]:

    Set some financial goals. You got to have money. So my wife and I actually went to a financial planner. He got his spreadsheet out. Here’s what you got to do. This is what you got to set aside. This is the kind of interest you need to make. Blah, blah, blah.

    Joel Hoffman [00:20:49]:

    Here’s what Social Security is going to do. Here’s what not only your 401, but here’s what Shell’s pension plan is going to do. Calculate all that. I mean, I sat down, we sat down a couple of times with a financial planner and laid that all out. So we had a plan financially. And then, as I mentioned, my goal was elementary substitute teaching. So before I ever got to that date, I got my degree. I knew I needed that.

    Joel Hoffman [00:21:18]:

    Any degree basket weaving would have worked. Get your degree and you could be a substitute teacher. So I got that all done. Now I’m ready to supplement my income, and I got everything else in place. So at 55, I just got lucky. And at the same time, my company sent me out the door with a golden handshake. But I didn’t need that. I was going at 55.

    Joel Hoffman [00:21:45]:

    That was my mindset for 15 years.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:21:49]:

    Yeah. How young would you say were you when you started sort of the real nuts and bolts of the planning?

    Joel Hoffman [00:21:56]:

    I would say I was probably around 40.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:21:59]:

    Okay, so you got a good jump on it.

    Joel Hoffman [00:22:01]:

    Yeah, I think if I knew then what I know now, I would have got a better jump on the finances earlier, even. I mean, it doesn’t have to be much to put stuff away and have that working for you investment wise or interest wise. Whatever. Start early.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:23]:

    I mean, don’t get me started. If I knew then what I knew now, I would have been planning for retirement in high school.

    Joel Hoffman [00:22:30]:


    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:31]:

    Yeah, exactly.

    Joel Hoffman [00:22:32]:

    And I would have learned more dance moves in high school.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:22:35]:

    Right? Me too. Yeah, exactly. So you got the plan, you got the purpose, but how did you pick your core pursuits? Did you already know all the things you wanted to do? Or those came along as you got into retirement?

    Joel Hoffman [00:22:54]:

    For me, teaching others about the Bible when they’re interested in my doing so is big to me. So that was going to be a huge chunk that I could take more time doing. I love family. So my daughter and her husband and my granddaughter from New York visited this month for, like, ten days. I could take all the time I wanted to be with them. Every Monday night, another daughter and her husband, we get together. It’s pizza and wine and our favorite TV shows every Monday night. So god, family.

    Joel Hoffman [00:23:33]:

    I love Bicycling. Okay. My goal is 100 miles a week. Sometimes I’ll just do that in one day to get it done and over with for the week. I’ll go out and ride 100 miles.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:23:47]:

    In one day?

    Joel Hoffman [00:23:48]:

    Yeah, in one day. I’ve done that a couple of times in September, in fact. I didn’t have time to stretch it out, so I just took one day that I had free and went out and got her done. Oh, my gosh.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:00]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:24:01]:

    Some people know I’m crazy after I.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:04]:

    Tell them about that and have some sort of counter on your bike that tells you you’re at 82 miles.

    Joel Hoffman [00:24:11]:

    Or you wouldn’t believe the technology. It’s tracking my heart rate. It’s tracking how many pedals I’m making per second per minute. It’s tracking my wattage based on my weight and speed and elevation gain. It’s crazy what you track with these Bicycling computers. Yeah, so I definitely know how many miles I’ve gone.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:24:36]:

    Right? Okay, maybe we should do a whole other episode about your cycling because that is pretty fascinating. A hundred miles? I’m blown away. Okay, so tell me, what does a perfect day look like for you in retirement?

    Joel Hoffman [00:24:49]:

    I would say number one, it does not start with an alarm clock. Yeah, I hate alarm clocks. If somebody needs a ride to Lax and I got to pick them up at two in the morning, it happens often. I got to use my alarm clock. But a perfect day? No alarm clock. I get up when I’m done sleeping, and my wife and I like to start the day. The best day starts with some spiritual input, so we’ll both read the Bible together and discuss that, dig into some prophecy, maybe get into some deep stuff. But that’s every day.

    Joel Hoffman [00:25:24]:

    Start it in the morning. I do some Bible educational work at Cal State University. So a Perfect Day would be heading over there, doing that for a while, teaching people about the Bible. Then I’d probably hop on my bike, go riding for 40 or 50 miles. I absolutely love being out on a bicycle. Your mind is focused on that. In fact, I used to wear headphones and listen to music and I just don’t do that anymore because I’m not interested in the music. I want the experience of bicycling and the wind blowing over my face and hearing birds and rustles of animals running from this guy going by on his bike.

    Joel Hoffman [00:26:03]:

    That’s very therapeutic to get out there and ride. So that would be part of a Perfect day. And then I would end it with family munching down on some pizza or something, having a beer and maybe doing that at some dance event, right. Family there, dance, have some beer, socialize with friends. I guess that’s probably my perfect day. And fortunately for me, that happens. That actually happens pretty often. So I love it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:26:33]:

    I would say beer might be a core pursuit for you. Like you’re a fan, right. Tell me, how did you get into beer?

    Joel Hoffman [00:26:41]:

    My family very biblically based. We obeyed the law. So I never did beer in high school or anything. I just never did it. And so out of high school, when, you know, old enough to be able to drink beer, I found that I liked it. So it’s just like Diet Pepsi or I mean, it’s just another drink I really like. So my wife and I do a couple of glasses of wine every know, we’ll go through a bottle of wine every that’s, you know, over like 5 hours of time, her and I sitting somewhere, we’re not both sloshed, just enjoying wine. So whether it’s her and I at night enjoying a couple glasses of wine or 5 hours of dancing, I probably will put in four mugs of beer while I’m doing that.

    Joel Hoffman [00:27:31]:

    And man, my body just burns that like none other. But yeah. So that was kind of it. I just found that after I could legally drink it, I really liked it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:27:44]:

    Well, if you’re riding 100 miles too, I think your body’s begging you for more calories. So it’s good.

    Joel Hoffman [00:27:50]:


    Ryan Doolittle [00:27:51]:

    And speaking of the wine, we won’t spend this whole episode on drinking, but we found our happiest retirees and this is just a numbers thing, so I’m not telling you this is what you have to drink, but our happiest retirees tend to drink white wine. What kind of wine do you drink?

    Joel Hoffman [00:28:08]:

    So here’s what my wife and I found for us, right. We about, I don’t know, 15 years ago started that journey. Someone recommended going over to Pasarobels and starting that wine tasting journey. Neither one of us knew wine that much. So our palate enjoyed whites more than reds a doolittle easier. Not so rich and bold and thick. But as our palate developed, we went from white. Then we started Rose.

    Joel Hoffman [00:28:41]:

    A little red in there.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:28:44]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:28:45]:

    And now we’re up to the Big Sinfandels and Cabernets and Grenache kind of wine that you can chew. We’re Big Red folks now. We enjoy those. It’s just the way our palate worked.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:03]:

    That’s very interesting. And for those who don’t know Pasa Robles, correct me if I’m wrong, it’s kind of the napa of the central coast of California.

    Joel Hoffman [00:29:12]:

    Correct. And we’re not as proud or arrogant as well.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:18]:

    And can you taste that in the wine? You can taste the lack of arrogance. You can so highly recommend that area for retirees looking to, because travel is also I don’t know about you, Joel, but travel is at the top of our list of things retirees tell us they like to do.

    Joel Hoffman [00:29:37]:

    Yep. Beth and I just went to Hawaii a month ago. We were on the Big Island when the fires broke out on the Big Island, and we were, we were.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:29:51]:

    I want to I want to get back a little bit know, not every retirement or no retirement is going to be perfect. Are there some mistakes you made that maybe hit you back a little bit and then you had to overcome that? And maybe if you tell this story, another happy retirees can avoid that mistake.

    Joel Hoffman [00:30:11]:

    I think because I started thinking about this stuff early, I avoided a lot of that. Uhoh, we retired when maybe we should have thought this through a doolittle better.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:30:23]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:30:24]:

    Yeah. I think I had everything pretty well dialed in, and I understood retirement at 55 did not mean I had enough money to live on.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:30:33]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:30:34]:

    I knew I had to supplement my income, so I planned substitute teaching. I then heard about Uber and Lyft, so I was open to other ideas. I haven’t even mentioned this. My tech side. I teach classes on technology, on software. Could the college will send me out to local companies to teach Excelsay on site for their employees. So very I guess the words eclectic, I’ve always been open to, man, I might be able to make a buck doing this. Right.

    Joel Hoffman [00:31:15]:

    And if you’re open to that kind of stuff and constantly listening for it, doors open. Right. But always in your passion zone. I’m not going to do something I don’t want to do anymore. That’s what’s cool about retirement, man. You choose what you want.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:31:32]:

    Right. It seems like from what we’ve learned on this show is that it’s not not doing things. It’s saying no to the things you didn’t really ever want to do and saying yes to the other things.

    Joel Hoffman [00:31:43]:

    Exactly. Yes. And even so, like I told you, I’m going next month back to Iowa to visit family, so I’ve got ten days. It doesn’t mean all these. Driving requests stop. They’re still coming in, but I’m not doing them. I’m going to Iowa. That’s my you know, fortunately, I can take care of them with other drivers so far.

    Joel Hoffman [00:32:06]:

    But even if I couldn’t, I would just say, you know what? I don’t have anything, because my priority is doing travel, like you said. Or if I book a day for wine tasting, then I go wine tasting that day, period.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:21]:

    Right. Well, that keeps the demand high for the joel demand stays high. Right. If the supply is right, when you.

    Joel Hoffman [00:32:29]:

    Can get me, you have scored.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:32:32]:

    Exactly. Yes. Okay. So I feel like maybe I know the answer to this. Some people kind of have to recreate their identity when they retire, but it kind of feels like you had begun creating it about 15 years beforehand.

    Joel Hoffman [00:32:49]:

    Yeah, absolutely. The only thing I’ve modified is maybe what I thought I would be doing to make some side income that’s expanded a little bit. But yeah, I’m still me, just dancing, enjoying my family, enjoying my faith, enjoying wine, enjoying bicycling are those are the priorities. So those are the things I prioritize.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:13]:

    You’re making me wish I had your life.

    Joel Hoffman [00:33:15]:

    It’s funny, I’ll post stuff on Facebook, and I can’t tell you how many times people have said, I want your life.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:24]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:33:25]:

    Say that.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:33:26]:

    I have an eleven month old son, and so I still get fit in the beer, but it’s like in between diaper changes. And then the exercise is a lot of pushing the stroller. I’m like, oh, wow, I did a mile with the stroller today. That’s my cycling. So there’s still wheels involved, just different size.

    Joel Hoffman [00:33:50]:

    Yeah. Well, you pay your dues before you retire. That’s where you’re at. It’s just part of the dues. I did diaper changing and wiping and all that stuff. I had three daughters, so I dealt with guys and their interest in those daughters, and it didn’t always work the way I wanted it to. So there’s disappointments and paid those dues.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:34:17]:

    Yes. And when you talk about I think you were saying, is it every Monday you see is it your grandkids?

    Joel Hoffman [00:34:25]:

    Or who do one of my youngest daughter lives just a couple of miles from me. And yeah, I’ll go to their house, or they’ll come to we go back and forth. One night it’s their house, one night it’s our house. Pizza, wine, TV shows that we all enjoy.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:34:44]:

    Guitar Hero. I think I saw a picture of Guitar Hero.

    Joel Hoffman [00:34:47]:

    Oh, man, you nailed it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:34:49]:

    And your wife playing, she was shredding the guitar, too, it looked like. Absolutely.

    Joel Hoffman [00:34:54]:

    Yeah. My daughter can shred the drums. Yeah, man. My wife can handle bass, no problem. And I’m on lead. We kill it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:35:04]:

    It sounds like an obvious thing, but when you talk about that desire to see your grandkids, I didn’t fully feel it till I had a son. But I’ll be working and I’m literally find myself thinking, I have to go play with him. Not because I feel in need, but because I feel like a desire. I’m craving it. It makes sense. We’ve, in our research found that the Happiest retirees live near at least one of their adult children. It’s not always possible to live by everyone. And we’ve also found it’s not so great to live in the same house, per se.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:35:44]:

    I mean, some people make it work, but you want to be close, but not too close, right?

    Joel Hoffman [00:35:49]:


    Ryan Doolittle [00:35:52]:

    Yours live close enough to see every week.

    Joel Hoffman [00:35:55]:

    Yeah, I see them pretty often. And then the other one’s in which, you know, maybe once a year on average, something like that. And then my wife’s daughters live in Oklahoma and Iowa, so we’re seeing them at least. Same amount.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:36:09]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:36:09]:

    So travel, family all over.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:36:13]:

    Yeah. Okay. That’s great. You keep hitting all our little except for the red wine. You really hit all the bellwether.

    Joel Hoffman [00:36:21]:

    Sorry about that.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:36:22]:

    You’re going to ruin our okay. Okay. So, do you feel like you have any limitations in retirement? I mean, from what you’ve said, it seems like you might have less limitations than you’ve ever had.

    Joel Hoffman [00:36:33]:

    Correct. In fact, like I said, I post on Facebook, people will say, when do you sleep? Because I’m picking up people at one in the morning, I’m delivering them at four in the morning, whatever. But all of that’s my choice. I could easily say, man, I’m not available that day and farm it out to somebody. So I’m doing everything I want. I’m not really limited, except maybe funding. I can’t buy an island anywhere. That sounds fun, right? Can’t do that.

    Joel Hoffman [00:37:09]:

    No matter how much bank account shifting I do, that’s probably not going to happen. But am I happy? Am I enjoying my family, my interaction with people, and touching people’s lives? Yeah. I’m only limited by what I can think I want to do. Yeah, money is always a thing. I can’t buy a yacht and go scuba diving off Catalina with all.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:37:36]:


    Joel Hoffman [00:37:37]:

    Think it’s just focus. What do you have a passion for? You don’t have to. You see these little kids, like, you’ll watch some documentary on little kids in a poor town in Africa. They maybe don’t even get a meal to eat, but they’re out playing kickball. And to them, that’s their world. And they’re having fun. They don’t need a lot of this stuff. And I kind of look at life that way, too.

    Joel Hoffman [00:38:02]:

    Man, I can have a ton of fun interacting with tons of people. And if I’m limited because I don’t own my Lear Jet, that’s okay. I think I’m better off the way I am.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:38:14]:

    Well, yeah, that can be such a humbling experience to see someone who has less than you and how happy they are. And then for myself, when I see that, I think, what am I sweating this small stuff for? Things are great if people want to find you say we have a retiree that traveled and is checking out the area. Where would they find you to see? One, if you can drive them there, two, if they can dance with you, where should they go?

    Joel Hoffman [00:38:43]:

    I tell everybody.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:38:48]:

    Okay. That’s a one stop shop for you.

    Joel Hoffman [00:38:52]:

    Yeah. Because on there, you can contact me. There’s links to my Facebook, my videos on YouTube. I have a video on YouTube with over a million views doing the watermelon crawl. Yeah. Over a million views. Yeah. So my YouTube channel is approaching 2 million views, and all that’s kind of linked on

    Joel Hoffman [00:39:19]:

    So that’s probably the easiest thing, just Click on some links that make sense. Here’s the thing. You’ll see a music video up there where I had a production company in Los Angeles, Hollywood, contact me and ask if I could set would they want to do a video in, like, a real down to earth, honky tonk redneck kind of bar? I said, well, great. Let’s go out to the oh, yeah. I’ll get some dancers. I contacted the instructor that taught out at the Monte Carlo. He got his dancers.

    Joel Hoffman [00:39:56]:

    Well, that same production company has now contacted me and wants me to go down to Hollywood. They’re going to hire some professional dancers and have me do a video for another song. That is my original choreography. So that’s in the works right now. But those links, that kind of stuff’s all up on That’s probably the best way to get hold of me. And then I have to give you all kind of numbers and stuff.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:40:24]:

    Bam. You got it. Well, that is very exciting, and I have to say our goal on this show is to help 1 million families become happy retirees. So if each of your 1 million views on that video become happy retirees, we’ll be done. And then I’ll retire. There you go.

    Joel Hoffman [00:40:43]:

    Sounds good.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:40:44]:

    Yeah. Okay. Well, Joel Hoffman, thank you so much for joining us on the Happiest Retirees podcast. It’s been a real blast.

    Joel Hoffman [00:40:51]:

    Hey, Ryan, thanks for inviting me. It’s been a privilege. And I think I mentioned earlier, my number one thing in everything I do now is touching other people in a positive way, whether it’s faith, line dancing, driving, teaching, you know, whatever it is, it’s touching other people. So you’ve opened that door to allow me maybe to touch some other lives that I’d have never been able to touch otherwise. So I appreciate it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:41:18]:

    Thanks for the you know thank you. And maybe together we’re doing something good here, right?

    Joel Hoffman [00:41:25]:

    I’m sure of it.

    Ryan Doolittle [00:41:26]:

    Yeah. All right, well, you have a great day, and thanks for coming on.

    Joel Hoffman [00:41:29]:

    Thanks, Ryan. You too.

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