After working in the banking industry for thirty-eight years, Mike Drak was exhausted. With high blood pressure and low motivation, he searched for an exit. To his surprise, the bank showed him the door. Instead of quitting for free, he was now flush with freedom and a severance at fifty-nine years old.
The retirement honeymoon didn’t last.
After a few weeks, he was miserable. His wife and friends were all still working. He had the free time he’d been dreaming of but no longer felt the desire to pursue his favorite activities. He was experiencing what he now calls retirement shock. After an arduous journey of self-discovery, he found his way to the other side. He’s authored two best-selling retirement books, is a Senior Contributor at Booming Encore, and dedicates his time to helping other retirees avoid the mistakes he made. In other words, he’s happy.
Read The Full Transcript From This Episode
(click below to expand and read the full interview)
- Mike Drak (00:02.253)
All right, thank you Mallory for and for doing a better job than meMike Drak (00:11.682)
I think that’s it.Ryan (00:17.318)
Ha ha ha!
Mike Drak (00:18.019)
Very smooth. You see, she’s a professional. Very smooth. It’s like going to the doctor, right? And they just calm you down.
I know. It’s, she’s really good at dancing, both in real life and on Riverside, yeah. Ha ha ha.
Mike Drak (00:32.449)
I will… I will just…
Ha ha ha ha
All right, thank you, Matt.
Mike Drak (00:49.891)
I’m excited to tell it.
Okay, Mike. All right, Mike. I’m just gonna jump right in. Is that all right with you? Okay All right, here we go three two a Big theme of today’s show is retirement shock It’s not always an easy journey from retirement to happiness and today’s guest knows this all too well Mike Drax
Mike Drak (01:03.195)
You’re the senior contributor at Booming Encore and the author of, well, many things, including the bestselling book, Victory Lap Retirement and Retirement, Heaven or Hell. You actually heard one of my earlier episodes and reached out to us to say that you had a story to tell and I’m really so glad you did. Thank you for coming on the show.
Mike Drak (01:47.403)
Oh, my pleasure and thank you for inviting me. I love sharing my story.
Well, I can’t wait for other people to hear it because I think it’s a part of retirement that a lot of folks don’t realize. I mean, some people think, well, as soon as I’m done working, then the happiness just rolls on in, you know?
Mike Drak (02:07.227)
That’s right. And those are the ones that sadly wake up to reality and it’s not fun, believe me.
Yes. And now, did you sort of have that in mind, you know, once I don’t have to work? Or I know that your work situation wasn’t quite what you wanted at the end.
Mike Drak (02:24.535)
No, I wasn’t, let me start at the beginning. I worked in the banking industry for total 38 years. And, you know, I used to enjoy it, but at some point the stress starts to get to you. You know, the sales goals never stop. And they kind of changed their position. They got more concerned about making a lot of money and less about the customer. And that kind of went against my values.
Mike Drak (02:50.243)
So at some point I said, you know what, it’s time to stop. You know, I gotta get out of here. It’s starting to affect my health. I was getting high blood pressure and things like that. So I started telling people, I said, you know, I think I’m gonna leave. And so it was just a matter of actually officially telling the powers to be that I was gonna go. But before I could do that, they snuck me into one of these meetings, you know, these surprise meetings.
Oh wow, okay.
Mike Drak (03:19.843)
And sure enough, there was a person sitting across from me in the boardroom and going through the process about leaving the bank. And I was just sitting there and never forget because my boss was sitting beside me and was sitting so close. I don’t know if they think you’re going to jump out of a window or something when they pull these surprises on you. But it felt kind of uncomfortable.
Mike Drak (03:45.971)
I sat there and I’m listening to everything, but I really wasn’t paying attention because I was the happiest guy in the world when, you know.
Oh, really? Okay. So at that point you were just doing great.
Mike Drak (03:57.271)
Well, yeah, because they’re gonna give me a severance check and I was gonna leave for free. And I’ll never forget that at the end of the meeting, they said, oh, you know, you’re probably, you know, you know, suffering from a little bit of shock here, maybe you should go home early. And I said, you know, thank you, I think that’s a good idea. And as soon as I got in the car, I phoned my wife and I said, listen, we hit the lottery.
Ha ha ha!
Yeah, if there’s a way you can help other people learn when not to quit so that they can get that severance, you know, if you would quit one day earlier, you would have been without it, right?
Mike Drak (04:30.715)
Sure, you know, it was like, it was so lucky. And, and, and Severance at age 59 is, is pretty good.
Wow. Yeah, that’s great.
Mike Drak (04:41.067)
Oh yeah, I was just ecstatic. So for the next couple of weeks, life was just wonderful. I could sleep in, I didn’t have to, you know, that brutal commute to work. I didn’t have to go through that. I didn’t have to, you know, be under stress like I used to be. And I wasn’t tired at the end of the day from working hard. You know, life was good. And, you know, I could catch up on some chores that I was meaning to do some home improvements and things like that.
Yeah, those things are always piling up on the to-do list. So you thought, now I’m going to get to do them all.
Mike Drak (05:11.311)
Mike Drak (05:16.483)
That’s right. My wife was very happy about that. But she was still working. So I was home. I had nothing to do. And so she said, here’s the list. Start working on it. And then I remember one Monday morning it hit me because my wife went to work. I was all by myself at home. I remember I was sitting on the couch. I have this big screen TV. I have like 500 stations on the thing and I’m flicking through it.
Mike Drak (05:44.431)
Trying to find something to watch. Do you think I could? No, I was just miserable. And all my friends were still working. And I didn’t feel like doing anything. The fun things I used to love to do, like going out riding my bike or going fishing, I didn’t feel like doing any of that. I just wanted to isolate myself and moan about things. And it was as boring as hell. And what really frustrated me, Ryan, was
No, of course not. Yeah.
Mike Drak (06:12.927)
No one could understand what I was going through. My wife didn’t understand, and my friends couldn’t understand because everyone automatically thought, look it, Mike doesn’t have to work anymore, how can he be unhappy? And in that, you know, I had a hard time.
Well, they weren’t at the same stage, so they were still in that mindset that you had at first, right, I’m guessing, which was, if you’re not working, you’re loving life. That’s all it takes. Yeah.
Mike Drak (06:40.723)
Exactly. Yeah. So, you know, and, you know, I look back at it, and I find it embarrassing, because through my career as a banker, I helped hundreds, maybe even thousands of people save for retirement. My wife’s an investment advisor, she has a good handle on retirement. But I failed because I thought it was a money thing. I thought the more money you save,
Mike Drak (07:08.527)
the better your retirement would automatically be. And you can’t be happy in retirement, but I learned the hard way that a lot of people will suffer that fate because they haven’t planned things out properly. And I’m talking about the non-financial challenges that you’re facing.
Yeah, I mean, it seemed from what we’ve seen in our research, the money is important, but it doesn’t do much for you if you don’t have the other part. Yeah. So it’s almost like that’s the bare minimum is having the means, but you better have a purpose, which I think you call, you had a name for it, is it the, how do you pronounce it?
Mike Drak (07:36.495)
Mike Drak (07:46.207)
Oh yeah. Yeah.
Mike Drak (07:54.067)
Oh, that’s why yeah, that’s the process I use to, to help me find purpose. It’s a Japanese term. It’s a concept that’s been around for, you know, maybe 1000 years, I’m not sure. But, you know, basically, you sit down in a quiet place, and you answer four questions. Like one of the questions is, what do you, what are you good at? What kind of skills do you have?
Mike Drak (08:19.859)
And many of us are born with natural skills. Some of us are good with numbers. Some of us can paint and work with their hands and things like that. And the next question is, what do you have a passion for? And the third question is, what kind of problem can you solve for people? And what does the world need? Or can you provide a service or a product that will help people solve a problem?
Like, what does the world need? That type of thing or?
Mike Drak (08:48.639)
And the fourth question is, what can you be paid for? So you answer four questions if you’re looking for, in my case, paid part-time work. Or many people are just ignoring the fourth question. They’re doing volunteer work, and they’re happy as heck. But this really aligns your skills and your passion to the work that you want to do. And once you go through it a couple of times, like every time you go through it, you try to do a better version.
Mike Drak (09:17.983)
And at some point it all clicks in and you go, wow, that’s exactly what I want to do. And that’s how it worked for me. And it’s, it’s worked for many of my friends too, that we’ve worked on it together. And it’s amazing the answers they come up with. And that’s when retirement really changes because you have this new purpose that you have passion for. And I think I read in Wes’s book that the happiest retirees are people that volunteer.
Oh, that’s way at the top of our list of what we call them core pursuits, yeah.
Mike Drak (09:48.063)
Yeah, it’s true. Because I find myself now, I’ve changed from getting to giving. And it was really interesting how that evolved, because I always used to chase after money. That’s all I did was, you know, in my working years, you know, we always wanted to make more money, so you could buy more things and take care of the family and whatnot. It was hard to leave that kind of like thought process.
Mike Drak (10:17.867)
And then all of a sudden the volunteer kind of thinking and giving got in there. And it’s really taken over my life now. So I don’t know if you’re aware, I wrote a book, Longevity Lifestyle by Design. And we’re giving it away free to everyone. So they can just go to a booming encore, download the book and there’s a workbook. And really it takes you through retirement lifestyle design, the process. It tells you how you can avoid retirement shock and things like that.
Mike Drak (10:47.751)
And again, it’s just my way of giving back and helping others. So yeah, life’s never been better, but it was hard getting to this point, though. It was a struggle.
Oh, yeah, and just on that with volunteering, and Wes interviewed Mitch Albom, who wrote Tuesdays with Maury, a popular book. And one of his big mantras is, I believe it was giving is living. And he, you know, I mean, he’s a very successful guy, has a nice house, but he’s, the times he says he sleeps the best is not in his.
Mike Drak (11:06.071)
Oh yeah, I’m familiar with it.
Mike Drak (11:14.043)
fancy bed, it’s when he’s at, when he’s, he does a volunteer trip where he works, I think with orphans and you know, he’s sleeping on the floor and sleeping like a baby, you know?
Mike Drak (11:35.035)
Oh yeah, but it’s true, it’s so true. And really when you help others, you’re helping yourself. You get this real good feeling. And what I liked was during the pandemic, these are retirees I refer to as givers, right? They have the strong need to give back to the community and help others. And all of a sudden you would see them putting up their hands and they’d be working at the food banks and the hospitals.
Mike Drak (12:02.683)
And they would even volunteer to help out their elderly neighbors who were too scared to go shopping grocery store for fear of catching the virus. And I was looking at all these amazing things these volunteers were doing, you know, really made me feel good. And those are the stories we want to hear about on like, you know, the news and things like that and reading the newspapers. And we don’t see enough of them.
No, it’s tough to get those. The top of the show is always the negative, the bad things. Yeah, that might be like a side mention at the end. Here’s someone was happy. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Now it’s funny, I can hear a little bit of your, I think you pronounce process process. So I just, that reminded me, you’re up in Toronto, Canada, right? Okay.
Mike Drak (12:27.62)
Mike Drak (12:34.848)
Yeah, I wanna hear about that, right?
Mike Drak (12:46.941)
That’s right. That’s Canadian in me coming out.
Right, coming out, yeah, or do you say, you know, I love you, I love you, Dodd, instead of dad, or how do you pronounce dad?
Mike Drak (12:57.467)
None of this is dead for me, but we use A a lot. After we’re on Facebook, we’ll go, hey, hey? Ha ha ha.
Oh, ay, yeah, ay. Yeah, ay, it’s a boot beer o’clock, ay? Or, yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well, we’ve sort of covered this a little, but I just wanted to make sure we wrapped it up nicely in a bow. Why would you say you are a happy retiree? And why should people listen to what you have to say about it?
Mike Drak (13:07.643)
Mike Drak (13:28.663)
Well, I believe they know I’m honest about my story. No one could dispute the story. I wrote about the story in those other books you mentioned. And I’m not embarrassed to admit that I struggled. And I explain why I struggled and where I was wrong. And it was hard to find the correct path for me. And it was very frustrating because I went out and I got my hands on every retirement book I could eight years ago.
Mike Drak (13:59.231)
And eight years ago, there was none of this talk on the non-financial side. It was all about numbers and about how much money you needed to save. I couldn’t find answers anywhere. So I had to figure them out on my own. And that’s when I kind of woke up to it and saying, there’s going to be all kinds of other retirees going to go struggle the same way I did. And that’s when it hit me. Well, here’s a good way to help them to give back. And, you know, let’s go out and talk to many people as we can and tell them my story.
Mike Drak (14:29.231)
so they can learn from it and avoid the mistakes I made too.
You know, it’s interesting, I was having a discussion the other day with a friend who has a much different outlook on life than I do. And it had veered into politics, which I definitely won’t get into. But we were talking about personality types and he was under the impression it’s an alpha strong mentality to just forge ahead and never apologize or analyze yourself. And I thought, I feel the exact opposite. I think it’s the strongest thing you can do.
Mike Drak (14:44.484)
is realize where you failed and try to improve that. That’s much harder to do. Yeah.
Mike Drak (15:06.427)
That’s right. But you have to be vulnerable. You have to be prepared to be vulnerable. You have to say, look, I made a mistake. What got me excited was, like, I did a lot of research and I studied Maslow a lot the hierarchy of needs. And what I found interesting was a lot of people don’t know this at the top is self actualization, you know, to be the best person, the best version of you that you can be. But a lot
And the top is, like the bottom are the fundamentals, like eating or something. Oh, okay.
Mike Drak (15:38.011)
basic yeah like safety financial security food water and all that but what I learned is just near his death he was going to amend that hierarchy and he was going to put something else at the very top and he was going to put transcend I have to say this right
Mike Drak (16:06.743)
that’s where you want to be and eventually some people will make it. And it’s just like that’s where we’re trying to you know we work towards is getting into that giving stage and he said essentially those are going to be the happiest people, the people that will feel the most fulfilled and have meaning in their life through giving to others and it made an awful lot of sense to me. And it’s you know I keep thinking about because I’m getting
Mm-hmm. Oh yeah.
Mike Drak (16:36.835)
which I think is a wonderful thing. But it’s kind of, it’s not me wanting to do it. It’s like, it’s happening to me, which is something I find interesting.
Well, but I wonder if it’s because you’ve taken certain steps and now the momentum is just taking you that way.
Mike Drak (16:54.383)
Yeah, but I think the big thing for me was I have the freedom to do it now. Throughout my life, I was always a giver. I always liked to help people. And that’s the part of banking I liked is helping others. So it was always part of me, but it was blocked because I had to work for money and I had to do this and I had to do what they wanted to do. And now because I have I’m retired and I have financial security. I’m free to pursue whatever.
Mike Drak (17:23.619)
And so I’m letting that need that’s always been with me start pulling me in that direction. That’s where I’m having fun.
Yeah. And I can’t help but think when we talk about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, in a way, if you put that into a retirement context, the bottom part, the fundamental crucial survival things with retirement, the income part or the finance part is kind of that part. So we shouldn’t look at it as
Mike Drak (17:55.686)
Let’s do it the same. Sure.
the ultimate goal, we should look at it as, okay, that’s just the starting point. And then the happiness and all the non-financial things are what we’re working, we need to be headed towards.
Mike Drak (18:04.923)
Mike Drak (18:11.479)
So I’ve been playing around with the hierarchy myself. And so, yes, you’re right. Financial security, financial independence at the bottom. If you don’t have that, you shouldn’t retire. You can’t because you have to keep getting some form of cashflow. But above it, I have the first tier is comfort oriented retirees. So these are retirees that their biggest goal in life was across the retirement finishing line. And now that they’ve hit that, they’ll never work again.
Mike Drak (18:40.335)
They just want to enjoy a simple, safe life. And my mother was like that. She just wanted to hang around with her friends, do whatever she had to do around the house and watch her soap operas and she was happy. And then above that are the growth-oriented retirees. So these are people that instead of just taking it easy.
Mike Drak (19:04.367)
They want to go out and experience new things. They want to learn new things. They want to travel to different countries, maybe start their own business and things like that. So they’re an exciting group to watch, but then above them are the givers, the people that are doing these wonderful things out there in the community. And so that’s how I can see it. And I can see there’s a kind of a migration. Some people never get there because they don’t want to. And then…
Mike Drak (19:33.923)
Many will, then that’s when life is really good, right? But you see, you can’t tell a comfort-oriented that that’s what they should do. They’re happy living a simple life, right?
Well, that’s, you have to have a purpose, so maybe it doesn’t matter necessarily what the purpose is, right? Your mom’s purpose, maybe we could see it as more simple than someone else’s, but it’s perfect for what she wanted.
Mike Drak (19:59.695)
That’s right. Because she was happy just taking care of her family and friends. That was her focus and taking care of her cat. You know, that was her purpose. But some people, like people like me, I need a bigger purpose. I need to achieve and accomplish things. I need to set goals or things will get boring for me. So I made a goal of having that free book downloaded a million times.
Oh, that’s great.
Mike Drak (20:27.635)
It’s gonna be hard to get there, but we’re working at it. We keep chipping away at it. But it’s funny, you know, how much of a struggle it is to get the word out, even about a free buck. Like… Yeah.
You’d think the price is right and you might not have to work hard on that. Yeah.
Mike Drak (20:43.671)
There’s nothing on my sleeve, there’s no trick, it’s free, just here, I’m trying to help you. But yeah, it’s fun.
Well, don’t worry, after this episode, you’re gonna get a billion sales. Just, you probably already have them, by the time this airs. I’m sorry, a download, yes, no cost. You mentioned your mom loving her cat. That brings me to the fact that I know you’re a dog guy. So was that a big, were you still able to love each other, even with that huge discrepancy there?
Mike Drak (20:59.019)
It just means a million. It’s not a sale, it’s a download.
Mike Drak (21:17.815)
Well, no, I couldn’t have a dog when she had the cat. But the interesting story about the cat is, it happened after my father passed away. He passed away at the age 72 from pancreatic cancer. And she was alone. I was scared. She was living alone in the house. And we got this cat for her. And that cat gave her new purpose because she had to look after that cat. And that cat…
Mike Drak (21:45.899)
would follow her around and you know sleep with her at night and whatnot and it’s like you know they were meant for one another they each gave each other new purpose right she took care of the cat and the cat took care of her and it was just a wonderful thing to see and it just proved to me that purpose doesn’t have to be big this huge thing it can be something small as long as it works for you right and that cat did it for her.
Oh, absolutely. Yeah. And just for the record, producer Mallory, who you met, is a cat person. I’m both, but I only have cats. And Marissa, who’s our technical producer, she is a dog person. So that’s who you’re dealing with here. Okay. So remind me, so you worked for a large Canadian bank. That was your primary career, right?
Mike Drak (22:28.585)
I love it.
Mike Drak (22:40.92)
It was always in banking.
Okay. But now you don’t do anything with that in retirement.
Mike Drak (22:51.127)
Like, you know, if people ask me for advice, I give free advice. I’ll give them my opinion on certain things. Uh, at one point when I was doing that Iki guy process, one of the options I came up was, you know, providing a reverse mortgages to older people because I’m very protective of older people. I don’t want to be taken advantage of. I want them to get good advice. I think the product’s good in certain situations.
Mike Drak (23:18.967)
Uh, and I thought, Hey, that would be a great job for me. It would hit all my needs and it make me feel good about, you know, providing, uh, you know, help to older people. But then at the end of the day, I thought, you know what? I don’t want to work for a boss anymore. I don’t want to work, you know, regular hours anymore. And so I kind of kiboshed it, but it would have been a good fit.
Oh, okay. Okay. Um, let’s talk about core pursuits. I mean, the… the original conceit of this show is actually I was gonna be the core pursuit finder. And I had this vision of Sherlock Holmes, uh, you know, searching out people’s core pursuits, which on our show, they’re… they’re hobbies on steroids or, you know, something that kind of gets you out of bed in the morning because you love to do it. So, let’s see if I have this right. Your core pursuits…
Number one is fly fishing for Atlantic salmon. Is that is that the number?
Mike Drak (24:11.115)
I love it. Yes, I would put that right at the top.
And so where you how far from Toronto, how do you do that? How do you make that happen?
Mike Drak (24:21.175)
It takes two days of traveling there to get there. It’s a real pain. You know, we have to take a train to Montreal and then we take from Montreal two additional plans to get into the camp. So it’s right at the northern edge of Canada and it’s just the craziest place. It’s really rugged. I love it because it’s, I like being near water and I like being in the bush.
Mike Drak (24:50.435)
And it’s, the weather’s really rough too. So it’s like, it, it just gets me to do my deep thinking up there. You’re almost like in survival mode. And then at the same time, you’re trying to problem solve because you’re trying to figure out how you can catch Atlantic salmon on the fly and you’re trying all kinds of different things. And it, it really recharges me and I’m off the grid. There’s no computers, TVs, radio, none of that.
Oh, I bet.
Mike Drak (25:19.851)
Telephones don’t work. And I just love it. And.
Is that, do you go, you have to go through the Hudson Bay to get up to it or how do you get?
Mike Drak (25:27.759)
No, but we’re kind of north and to the right of that. So there’s a place called Angawa Bay, and George River empties into it, right? So this past year we were up there and there were muskox, which was a little bit different to see, but that’s how far north you are. And I just love seeing the wild animals and things like that.
What are, did you say must-ox? Oh, musk-ox. They’re big elk looking things?
Mike Drak (25:52.631)
muskox. They’re, yeah, so they have real hairy animals and when they go in a little herd, so if there’s danger they make a circle and they out. No, it’s the coolest thing, right? And you’re seeing them out in the wild, so no, I really enjoy it.
And I can’t help but think so. You love fishing for salmon and salmon notoriously swim upstream, which is kind of what you were trying to do when you first retired. And now you’re kind of going with the current. You’re going with the flow. You figured it out.
Mike Drak (26:25.667)
Yeah, yeah. And the thing I like about like fishing is it puts me in a state of flow. I get completely absorbed and lost in it. I don’t know what time it is. It could be snowing, raining or anything. And I’m still there because I’m so focused on the task. I like things that put me in a state of flow. Like writing puts me in a state of flow.
Oh, does it really?
Mike Drak (26:51.979)
Oh yeah, when I’m writing a book, like I used to get up and write at 430 in the morning. And it’s the funniest thing because you know, you have passion for what you’re doing. And when you write at 430 in the morning, this is really fun. You can’t remember what you wrote by the end of the day. You can’t. You’re not writing from your head. You’re writing from your gut. And so the first book I wrote, I did that for about…
Mike Drak (27:20.859)
four or five months. And then I’ll never forget, I sent the draft of the book into my editor and a week after I sent it in, she falls to be back, she’s all excited. And she goes, do you know what you did? And I said, yeah, I wrote a retirement book. She goes, no, you wrote a retirement book about not retiring. Ha ha.
Wow. Ha ha ha. And that’s what naturally came out, right? I mean, yeah.
Mike Drak (27:43.284)
Mike Drak (27:46.827)
That’s how I felt, right? I think working part-time in retirements is a good way to go, either, like I said, for money or volunteer, but I think it’s a good source of purpose and it fills all our fundamental needs, right? And so the truth came out of me, which was really funny. And then I had to make a decision. Well, should I get it printed? Because who’s going to buy a retirement book about not retiring?
No, I think a lot of people would.
Mike Drak (28:13.867)
Yeah, but back then we never thought like that. We thought, you know, I had visions of people giving a talk on that book and them all booing at me because, you know, who’s going to say, oh, yeah, I want to work part time. Right. But it ended up that a lot of people want to. And we’re seeing that now. We’re seeing that now in the stats that a lot of people are going back and they’re working part time, some for the money, but a lot for the meaning. Right.
Mike Drak (28:43.595)
Yeah, of course, fine work that you love to do.
Yeah, I interviewed a guy, I don’t know if you know Richard Eisenberg. Okay, if you look at his LinkedIn profile, it says unretired, which I think he took from his friend Chris Farrell. But it’s basically what you’re saying. Now he still works, but he says no more. If it’s something he doesn’t want to do, he says no. And then he does the things he wants to do.
Mike Drak (28:52.081)
I do, yes.
Mike Drak (29:13.423)
Right. But yeah, really you’re following your passions and he’s using his old skill sets for the new work he does and he’s having a lot of fun with it, right? Plus he’s helping a lot of people and he gets that too.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Okay, so the other thing I want to get into about your core pursuits is you have a goal to finish the Iron Man competition.
Mike Drak (29:42.147)
Oh yeah, this is one of my crazy ideas. So I tried it. Was it last? Yeah, last year in November, I tried it for the first time. And the reason I tried it was because when I retired and you write books and you spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, you tend to get out of shape really fast and you put on a lot of weight because, you know, when you’re stressed, you’re grazing all the time. Oh.
You’re eating crackers and yeah, exactly, yeah.
Mike Drak (30:10.907)
So I ended up putting on about 40 pounds and I, you know, I had to go for physio once because just sitting at the, in front of the computer on the keyboard, it’s funny what it will do to your body. So I said, this is crazy. And I write about, you know, you know, getting healthy and things like that. It was part of the longevity story. So I said, you know, I got to get healthy. So I’m going to train for an Ironman. I got this idea and I’m going to do it.
I know, right? Yeah.
Mike Drak (30:41.187)
by the end of the year. So the race in Cozumel was in November. And so I trained up to November. It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Or one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done. And I went down to Cozumel and the morning of the race, they had a bunch of rain squalls coming in and they delayed the start of the race. And eventually they let us start.
Mike Drak (31:11.623)
And it was quite the day. I got stung by all these jellyfish and the sea was rough. And then I got out there and I had to get on the bike and it was so hot in Cozumel. You wouldn’t believe the heat there. I think a third of the people quit. And like 99% of the people are younger than I was, right? And so you had all these younger people quitting and I was going like the, you know…
Mike Drak (31:39.891)
the turtle in the story about the hair. But near the end of the bike, they forced us to stop the people at the back of the pack because they ran out of time and they had to reopen the roads. Even though we were within the cutoff period, they wouldn’t let us go out and do the run. Now, between you and me, I was kind of happy they didn’t let us go out.
the tortoise and the hare. Yeah.
Yeah, but don’t tell anyone, right? Yeah.
Mike Drak (32:09.155)
You know, it was a lot of fun. It was interesting, but it was disappointing with the result. And now, you know, I look at it as unfinished business. So I’m going to go give it another shot when I turned 71 in two years. I’m going to go back. I have to, I can’t let it, it will bother. Yeah.
You can’t let it. Is the Iron Man, is it running, swimming, and cycling? Is that?
Mike Drak (32:31.855)
Yeah, you have to swim 4k and then ride the bike for well your equivalent 112 miles and then you run a full marathon. No one really runs the full marathon well except for the pros. It’s a combination of run walk. It’s a true endurance test for us at my age and our goal is just to finish it in under 17 hours and if we can do that you know it makes us feel good.
And thanks for converting that to Miles. You know, when Americans hear the metric system, we tense up. Yeah, we don’t know what to do. It reminds me of a joke I saw, and I did not write this all credit to the person I can’t think of at the moment, but he said, I’m doing something like the Iron Man. I can run faster than a shark, but a shark can swim faster than me. So I guess it’s all gonna come down to the cycling portion.
Mike Drak (33:01.217)
Mike Drak (33:06.701)
You throw the…
Which I found kind of funny.
Mike Drak (33:34.879)
You know, it’s the funniest thing because when you’re when you’re doing the event, I’m with a bunch of the older people because we’re about the same speed, right? And they’re real characters, men and women, and their attitude is contagious. And they just make you laugh because we’re all suffering. It’s but it’s a good type of suffering. And we share a lot of laughs and we’re laughing at each other.
Yeah, oh yeah.
Mike Drak (34:04.507)
of saying this is completely ridiculous. But we just keep going, right?
That’s the best when you can all just admit that, but you’re doing it anyway because you love it, you know?
Mike Drak (34:16.451)
the first part of it. And a quick story here. I was reading the other day and I told the story about this lady a couple years ago. It was one of my favorite parts is this lady went and celebrated her 100th birthday by going for a skydive. And I read yesterday she just celebrated her 104th by going skydiving again. Can you imagine? Like talk about getting down to your comfort zone.
Oh my gosh.
Oh, yeah. I my first thought is, is that a good idea? But then my second thought is, if you’re 104, yeah, if you want to do it, do it. Yeah.
Mike Drak (34:46.649)
Mike Drak (34:51.887)
What do you got to lose? But can you imagine her telling her friends at the nursing home or the retirement home saying, you know, I’m going to celebrate my birthday skydiving. You want to come and I’ll go, I don’t want to be part of that.
Yeah, what’d you do yesterday? I jumped out of a plane. How about you? Oh bingo, you know
Mike Drak (35:17.544)
There’s so many people out there like this. I refer to them as retirement rebels or lead bloomers. I love hearing their stories. Yeah, I love hearing their stories and they’re a source of inspiration for me. I look and I say, I see some people at age 80 plus in the shape they’re in. And I said, when I turn 80, I wanna be just like you, right? So it’s nice to have that out there. And we’re seeing more and more people like that.
Oh, I like that.
Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, you mentioned the stats, but if you look at the numbers of people kind of getting back into the action, it feels like it’s on the rise, yeah.
Mike Drak (35:57.939)
it’s a good trend and it gives us a lot of us hope for the future and that’s what you need, right?
Yeah. Well, tell me, Mike, what does a perfect day look like for you now that you’re in this phase of life?
Mike Drak (36:14.403)
Big day for me is to have a coffee around 730 and then I’ll come up to my office and I’ll write for a couple hours and then I go out and get my 10,000 steps in.
Oh, you do it all in one shot, the 10,000.
Mike Drak (36:32.635)
Yeah, yeah, we and you know why it’s funny because it’s almost like a form of meditation That’s when I can think and there’s no this I don’t take the phone I don’t take music or anything like that and many times I’ll do with my wife, which is nice So we can talk about things and then a couple of times a week either. I’ll go with my swim tribe Yeah, my friends will go do lane swimming or there’s my bike tribe will go out for a bike ride or there’s my
weight rooms tribe, you know, go lift weights three times a week. And there’s all these different people. They’re all trying to get, you know, get healthier or stay healthy. And they’re motivating. And we share stories and we laugh a lot. Uh, and you know, the odd time I’ll throw in a fishing trip or my wife and I will go to like Italy. I love going to Italy and I love the lifestyle there and we’re learning new things all the time. So.
Those are the things I try to input in quality time with my friends and my family. I plan that into. So if I have those things, a couple of happy things, throwing an adventure too. And that’s what makes me excited. And if I get an opportunity to help someone that really makes me feel good too. On a perfect day, a perfect day. Sorry.
What, how? Oh, oh, I’m sorry, I interrupted you, go for it.
Mike Drak (37:57.299)
A perfect day with, you know, is when I get an email from a reader or someone that I helped, and, you know, they thank me and they say, hey, this is how you help me. And yeah, I just smile like my face off when that happens.
Well, how do you get, how do you measure your steps while you’re swimming? I don’t know how that counts, right?
Mike Drak (38:21.065)
Let me know steps walking outside 10,000 steps.
But, so even if you do lane swimming, you still have to get 10,000 land steps?
Mike Drak (38:29.307)
Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no
So, okay, I’m just asking for me because I have a little one-year-old and I have limited time to get my exercise so that I don’t get too out of shape. So if I’m going to lane swim, that’s definitely going to count. I’m not going to still have to do… So how do you calculate that? You know what I’m saying?
Mike Drak (38:45.999)
Yeah. I don’t think it’s.
Mike Drak (38:56.499)
You just count the number of links. So you might go there and say, okay, I want to do 40 links. Uh, and then you can just keep counted those, or you can buy a lap counter that you can wear in the pool. Sometimes I don’t lose track of it with the steps outside. I just, it’s on my iPhone. So they keep track of it. Yeah.
Oh, okay, that’s what I was wondering, okay.
Gotcha. Okay. Okay, I had to get the technical aspects down on that. Uh. Okay, so in terms of your perfect week, I talked to you a little bit before and it sounds like it’s kind of just taking your perfect day and multiplying it by seven. Is that accurate?
Mike Drak (39:21.353)
Okay, I thought you were walking when I was swimming.
Mike Drak (39:43.975)
Yeah, that’s it. And, you know, I’ll just change the mix sometimes, right? I think it is very important to have variety there. And also, I’d like to inject specials, I call them specials. So maybe, like I said, you know, maybe take a trip somewhere or go to an event, maybe a show and dinner and things like that. So I try to put those things in to give me variety.
With, you mentioned Italy, so traveling is definitely at the top, near the top of what our happy retirees seem to pick as their core pursuit. So that’s the same for you, would you say?
Mike Drak (40:23.711)
Yeah, but you know my type of traveling, I don’t want to sit on a beach and just, you know, eat at the buffet and you know have a margarita or something. I’m going to go out and learn things. So I like history. So, you know, you go to Rome, you see the Colosseum all of a sudden I start daydreaming about all this thing. What throws me off is the McDonald’s sign beside the Colosseum. It kind of takes me back to reality and ruins it for me. But
I know, right? Yeah.
Mike Drak (40:52.895)
I like learning things like the Blue Zones. There’s one in Sardinia, you know. Yeah, he wrote the books on the Blue Zone. So I find it interesting that, you know, you go to a place like Italy and they seem to not watch as much TV. They don’t watch CNN or Fox News. And, you know, they’re more family oriented. And…
Oh yeah. Is that Dan, Dan Butener or Dan? Yeah.
Mike Drak (41:20.963)
The pace of lifestyle, the stress of living is much lower. And in Italy, you look around, you don’t see any retirement homes, right? Because yeah, most of the elders are staying with the families for the duration. So, you know, these are things that I noticed and I pick up on and I’m terrible because then I start asking a thousand questions of people to say, what about this? What about that? You know, the…
Yeah. Well, I’m… I would do the same, and yeah, but then you’re worried, am I asking too many questions? But you just want to know.
Mike Drak (41:49.683)
I find that very interesting.
Mike Drak (41:55.915)
Yeah, but thankfully, you know, with the language barrier sometimes, so I have to go slow.
Yeah, yeah, right.
Mike Drak (42:05.711)
But it’s nice to see these different lifestyles, but you know, the sad thing is, is I can see it changing and life getting more stressful there. And the blue zones are changing too. And they’re getting smaller and smaller because you have all these influences coming in the fast food, you know, stores are coming in and things like that. So it’s really changing it up.
Yeah, well, and the nice thing about Rome is, you know, if your wife says you want to go see the Coliseum, you say, well, when in Rome, you know, yeah.
Mike Drak (42:40.66)
Oh yeah. Everything’s cool, so you can walk to everything there. And you know, if you look at the exercise habits of the Italians, they walk everywhere. And you’re walking up or you’re walking down, you know, it’s hard to find any flat land there and that’s why it helps them a lot, right?
That’s an interesting concept. Just from an American perspective, when I visit New York, I walk everywhere and I don’t complain about it. It seems like just what you do. But I live out in Los Angeles and if someone says, hey, do you want to come to this thing? It’s like three blocks away. Well, let me see if I can get a ride. I don’t know what the mentality is. It’s not that far. So it sounds like in Italy, they’ve got that nailed down.
Mike Drak (43:28.259)
pretty well and they socialize a lot. You know they talk to their neighbours a lot. They’re not in these high-rise condos where they’re isolated. So on a Sunday everyone goes out to the town centre and they’ll have like gelato and they’ll talk to people and enjoy themselves. Yeah it’s something to see and I just hope it doesn’t disappear but you know I can see a change. I can feel it.
Oh, that’s great.
Well, and I think that socialization, we’ve, Wes had a guest on who was a sort of, for lack of a better term, a brain scientist. And they study a lot of primates, and I can’t remember the exact primate, it might have been chimps, who they see that especially males as they get older, they struggle to keep up their socialization, which never works out well.
Mike Drak (44:18.852)
And it’s the same thing for humans. And I think that could actually be a big reason why a lot of retirees struggle with depression because they’ve lost that, yeah. Did you find that for you? You had like your work social circle was gone and now you, yeah.
Mike Drak (44:25.899)
Oh, I hear. Definitely. Yeah.
Mike Drak (44:33.403)
Oh yeah, yeah and like I said, you know, when I was sitting there that first time it hit me, I was all by myself because my wife was working, my friends were working and that’s where I had to find and create these new tribes that I could join and belong to. So I could get the socialization back. And in the work I do, like giving, you know, seminars and things like that, I’m talking to people all the time. And that really kind of turned things around too, so it was good.
But I’ll tell you a funny story in Italy. I was having lunch with this young man. I know his family. And he told me that, you know, university degree and was working in a corporate office somewhere. And he said he didn’t like working there. He liked working outside. And he said he was thinking of becoming a shepherd. And I looked at him and I went, and you know, I studied the Blue Zones a lot and
Mike Drak (45:30.291)
you know, there’s a lot of research on the shepherds in the blue zones live to 100 plus and things like that. And I told them about that and I said, you know, a lot of health wise, maybe it’s not a bad thing, right? And I would have never thought about that before. I would have said, you’re crazy. You got to get a stay in the corporate world. You got to make all kinds of money. And so you can buy all this stuff. And I’m going, well, maybe that was wrong.
Mike Drak (46:00.779)
And so I didn’t want to tell him what to do because I kind of went through that, right? I went after the money and I did all those things. And, you know, there’s a beautiful story. I don’t know if you ever read it, but you have to. I could send it to you. It’s called The Mexican Fisherman. And it’s a wonderful story about this, this corporate banker talking to a simple
No, I haven’t.
Mike Drak (46:30.551)
more boats in, he should hire more people and he should create this huge business empire. And then at the end of it, and the fishermen said, well, why would I do all that? And then the corporate banker said, so you can retire and you can spend time on the beach here playing with your kids and hanging out with your wife. And he was already there. You got to read the story. It’s beautiful. But I’m starting to…
That really points it out. That really makes it clear, yeah.
Mike Drak (47:00.951)
Yeah, so why are we working so hard? I don’t know. I think I was wrong.
You know, the money is so hard to not, it’s a constant reminder because you see other people and money doesn’t do it, it doesn’t make them happy, but then if you have an opportunity to make money, it’s real hard not to go, no, I’ll be different. It’ll work for me, you know?
Mike Drak (47:29.539)
That’s right. And we’re driven that way too, because I remember my father said, hey, you work hard and you keep getting promotions and you do this and it’s all about status and being better than he was, right? And, you know, competing with others and, you know, I don’t know, I think that puts too much pressure on us.
Yeah, absolutely. Mike, how would you say that you had to recreate your identity when you retired? I mean, how would you put that?
Mike Drak (48:01.611)
Well, you know, it drives me crazy when people refer to me as being retired. Okay. Every time I walk into a bank, they have it on their screen that this guy’s retired. Right. And they’ll say, Hey, how’s retirement? And I kind of go, because retired being referred to as retired doesn’t mean anything to me. What does it mean? Right.
Okay, I’m sorry
Mike Drak (48:28.011)
And I’m doing so many exciting things. Like, you know, I’ve turned into an author. I couldn’t believe I wrote a book. I never wrote a book before. I turned into a public speaker, which is crazy because I had this terrible case of stage fright for years and years. Oh yeah, I turned down promotion so I wouldn’t have to public speak. And for years and in retirement, I had to conquer that fear. I joined Toastmasters because
Oh really? Oh I- okay. Wow.
Oh, interesting, okay.
Mike Drak (48:56.643)
Yeah, I needed to go out and talk about my buck. So it was hard. So many times I went there and I turned back, I wouldn’t even walk into the building where Toastmasters was, because I was scared. I couldn’t do it. Three times I did it. I drove there and I backed off. The last time I got there, I walked in and there was a lovely lady came up and talked to me. And I think they know, first timer, you’re gonna be scared and they’re gonna try to calm you down a little bit.
Mike Drak (49:25.975)
I’ll never forget, I said to her, do me a favor, could you lock the door over there? And she said, why? And I said, because at some point I’m going to try to make a break. Glory to God. I’m going to try to make a break.
That that I respect the diss you knew yourself you need you needed some borders Yeah
Mike Drak (49:42.003)
Oh yeah, I was gonna run, I was a runner. Like, I’m going, right? That adrenaline was gonna kick in and, you know, and I didn’t wanna leave, I didn’t wanna run. It was so hard, Ryan, so hard at the beginning, but I kept showing back, I kept going back, and eventually I got to where I enjoy it now, right? But it showed me, yeah.
Yeah, you wanted to run and now look at you. You’re also swimming and you’re also cycling. So yeah.
Mike Drak (50:08.107)
Oh yeah, that’s you, for sure. But it shows you what you’re capable of once you break through the fear. And the fear is made up. It’s something you made up, right? That you created this invisible wall and now I broke through it. So I learned a lot about myself.
There’s that great Jerry Seinfeld bit where he says the number one fear of people is public speaking. Number two fear is death. So that means if you’re at a funeral, the person would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy. Yeah.
Mike Drak (50:41.039)
For sure. I look like that. Well, man, I tell you, I used to break out in a sweat and oh, God, it was brutal. It was really, I’m just having a heart rate monitor on. I would have loved to see it redline.
All right, well, Mike, you’re if you had to define since and I know you don’t like the phrase retirement, so you don’t have to use that word. But how would you define what it optimally is?
Mike Drak (51:17.291)
You know, for me, it’s freedom with a lot of happiness, a lot of purpose, doing what I wanna do when I wanna do it. And like I said, the big driver for me is helping as many people as I can, and that’s what I’m doing. And it was life-changing. Because this is, I really believe this is what I was meant to do. I didn’t know how I was gonna help people, but it kind of fell into place.
but I’m really doing what I need to do, what I was born to do maybe. And I can use my skills that I had and my natural abilities. And the funny thing is, I think I was born to speak, but yeah, I love it now. I enjoy it, right? But it was hard to get there, to connect the dots and everything. And I learned all that during retirement. So, it’s been great.
So retirement, to close us up here, retirement helped you find your icky guy?
Mike Drak (52:19.691)
My Iki guy and it’s put me in a new direction, it’s given me new purpose. I get really excited to get out of bed in the morning. There’s a list of things I want to accomplish and they’re all fun things for me. And I’m very focused on doing the things that make me happy and ignoring the rest. So I have more control, I guess, more discipline and no, life’s really good right now.
Well, Mike, if people want to find you, if what you’re saying is really speaking to them, where should they go?
Mike Drak (52:56.375)
Well, they can find me on LinkedIn or just go to booming encore dot com and my contact information is there as well. So.
And what was the price of that book again? Was it zero? Zero dollars.
Mike Drak (53:07.851)
It was zero. You can buy it on Amazon, but why buy it when you can download it for free? That’s what I think.
I love that marketing pitch, yes. Well, Mike Drak, thank you so much for being on the Happiest Retirees podcast. All right, you have a good one.
Mike Drak (53:18.451)
Mike Drak (53:23.028)
Oh, I love being here, Ryan. Thanks a lot.
You too, take care.
Call in with your financial questions for our team to answer: 800-805-6301
Join other happy retirees on our Retire Sooner Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/retiresoonerpodcast
This information is provided to you as a resource for educational purposes and as an example only and is not to be considered investment advice or recommendation or an endorsement of any particular security. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal. There is no guarantee offered that investment return, yield, or performance will be achieved. There will be periods of performance fluctuations, including periods of negative returns and periods where dividends will not be paid. Past performance is not indicative of future results when considering any investment vehicle. The mention of any specific security should not be inferred as having been successful or responsible for any investor achieving their investment goals. Additionally, the mention of any specific security is not to infer investment success of the security or of any portfolio. A reader may request a list of all recommendations made by Capital Investment Advisors within the immediately preceding period of one year upon written request to Capital Investment Advisors. It is not known whether any investor holding the mentioned securities have achieved their investment goals or experienced appreciation of their portfolio. This information is being presented without consideration of the investment objectives, risk tolerance, or financial circumstances of any specific investor and might not be suitable for all investors. This information is not intended to, and should not, form a primary basis for any investment decision that you may make. Always consult your own legal, tax, or investment advisor before making any investment/tax/estate/financial planning considerations or decisions.