I Am Retiring at 32. Should’ve Done It Years Ago

retire-young

As the vast majority of high school students, I had no clue about what I wanted to do professionally. I decided to study Economics because it was a versatile course. It would allow me to work on several segments (e.g., banks, consulting companies, corporations), and it would also help me to start a business, should I follow that direction down the road.

After getting my degree I went to work as a Market Analyst for a multinational company. Quickly I learned that the corporate environment is rife with politics and bureaucracy, and I wasn’t particularly fond of that.

Exactly one year after starting at the job I gave in my resignation letter. Technology and the Internet had always been passions of mine, and I already had a couple of websites I built during my university years.

Every day I would arrive from work anxious to get in front of the computer to work on them. I figured that if I liked it so much I should try to build a business around it, and that is when I started a company to build and manage blogs and websites, called Online Profits LLC.

For eight years or so I had a blast. Building and managing my websites was pretty cool. People invited me to conferences to talk about the strategies I used to promote and monetize them. I learned how to code to develop web and mobile applications. Heck, the United States Government asked my help to launch one of their websites! Those were the days!

During those years money was not my focus. I was just having fun and working on things I found interesting. Money was a consequence.

But one day, around four years ago, things started to change. I guess I started caring more about what other people would think of me, so I decided that I had to make more money if I wanted to be seen as successful and powerful.

The mobile market was booming at the time, so I decided to start a company to develop mobile apps, called Kubic. My brother was my partner. I handled Android development, he handled the iOS part, and we hired a designer and a marketing guy. We had fun on some projects, but as soon as we started doing more client work, the headaches started multiplying. The clients never knew what they wanted, so constant changes to the projects were needed. Providing support was a pain because clients would call any time of the day or night. So on and so forth.

Still I wasn’t making enough money, so I started a third company with a good friend of mine, called SmartShop.com.br. The company buys and sells second-hand smartphones, both via the website and physical stores. It was my first offline business, and I learned a lot with it. Needless to say that the headaches started coming pretty soon, too. We purchased phones that were never delivered to us. We purchased defective phones without realizing it. We sold phones that stopped working within days. We even got robbed!

Not happy with what I had on my plate, around six months ago I decided to start yet another company, called MySushi. The idea came from my co-founder, who owned Japanese restaurants for the past seven years. We created small and practical kiosks that sell ready-to-go sushi combos. We want to franchise it and expand quickly throughout the country, given that the kiosks can fit pretty much anywhere, from malls to corporate centers and subway stations.

Obviously we have employees helping to run the companies, but managing them still take a lot of work, and I started to feel burned out. I have already gone through periods in the past where I had to work 60+ hours per week, but it was for projects that excited me. This time I was working hard solely for money, and it felt like a heavy burden. One I no longer wanted to carry.

That is when the whole idea of “retiring” came to me.

According to the dictionary, “work” can be defined as “mental or physical activity as a means of earning income.” I don’t want to do that anymore. I don’t want to trade my time for money.

Instead of “earning income” I want to work on stuff that I find interesting, exciting and fun. Stuff I would do for free, and that therefore won’t feel like work.

Don’t get me wrong, I still want to make a lot of money, but after this burnout I decided that I want to make money for the right reasons and through the right means.

For the right reasons means to identify clearly what money can provide for me that is aligned with my values and principles. I don’t want to make money to feel powerful. I don’t want to make money to buy fancy cars or clothes. I don’t want to make money to look successful for other people. I want to make money to provide for my family, to have financial security, and, most importantly, to have freedom. Freedom to choose where I want to live, on which projects I want to work on, how often I want to travel abroad and so on.

Through the right means involves focusing on projects I find interesting and exciting. Projects that will make me wake on a Monday morning eager to start working on them. If you believe you must choose between making what you love and making a lot of money, think again. I believe it’s possible to have both. In fact, I believe that if you focus on doing stuff you love your chances of making a lot of money will be much higher than if you focus on doing stuff you believe will make you money.

Obviously I will need to re-organize my priorities and re-structure my current projects, but it’s certainly going to be worth it!

Comments

  1. says

    Dan,

    We’ve been acquaintances for couple of years now and this is the only article from you that I’ve chosen to comment. The reason is that everything you said here, makes a lot of sense. An awful lot.

    I’ve seen you’ve grown over the years. From a scrappy entrepreneur to someone who was in pursuit of something you weren’t sure of to someone seasoned and seen it all.

    I like that you haven’t regretted for what you’ve done. That is super cool. Cos there are no good or bad thing you could’ve done, there are only experiences, no mistakes. And you’ve gathered enough to focus on what motivates you.

    Chasing money is like wanting to touch the sky. You know it makes you happy, you feel the adrenaline rush when you get closer, but you know deep inside that you never will reach there. And nothing will feel full. Many millionaires in their death bed say that they wish they had spent their life meaningfully, instead of chasing money and ending up lonely in a hospital bed.

    I’m glad that you are back to your own world now. I’m sure you will do something that makes you happy and motivated, rather than buy things to please/show others. I think you’re onto something bigger, better now.

    What ever it is, chase it. Be scrappy but be happy. Make it big!

    All the best,
    MK

    • Daniel Scocco says

      Hey Mani!

      Thanks for the kind words man, and I agree with everything you said, too.

      I am sure you are going after your dreams as well.

      Keep in touch!

  2. says

    Very interesting life story, mini is similar in a lot of ways. I also decided to shut down my company and get back to working from home keeping costs low.

  3. says

    Namaskar Daniel Scocco,
    My name is Anil Mahato, I am from Nepal, living in New Delhi. I teach Hindi online for living, but Hindi is not my passion but teaching is for sure, but one of the many.
    You won’t believe but truth this is the first article I read ever complete. Your story was so inspiring to me, and very educative. It forced me to write a message to you, whether you will read or not, but I wanted to try reaching upto you, thank you for sharing.
    am 25 now, soon going to be 26 in August. I have been also struggling to do & achieve some goals, yet not satisfied. Unlike you at the moment, I don’t have money or any source that I can simply leave and don’t worry about bills. I must have to, but what do you suggest me if I want to get retired in next 1 year or 2 ?

    • Daniel Scocco says

      Hi Anil,

      The first thing I would do is to find something you love and start working on it. If you do that, it won’t feel like work, and you won’t feel the pressure to retire or do something else.

      If you need some help with your website or online business, drop me an email. Good luck.

  4. says

    It’s like, computers were created to save time, but today people waste so much of time in front of it!

    Money was a means for transaction, but people are here to do anything to acquire a lot of it – and store it in their banks for unknown future. 🙂 I guess we are all afraid of the uncertainty life brings us. And also the uncertainty about what people we love think of us if we do not own money(a lot of it). Uncertainty of government and its policies. Uncertain about ourselves sometimes!

    Society is so judgmental about a person, by looking at the way he spends his/her money.

    I’m a developer/programmer and I love working on my own apps. I want to earn good income and automate my bill payments and other daily expenses. As you said, you get apartment rentals; I too have to build some assets so as to get some monthly income first. Till then, I just need to concentrate more on my work(that I love) and make money! Owning a home or even purchasing land doesn’t come easy in India. Most of the time people spend their entire life to purchase an apartment in which they wouldn’t live longer. We’ve a long way to go, and a lot to experience/learn.

    My best wishes for your future ..I admire you a lot Daniel

    • Daniel Scocco says

      Thanks Satish.

      Well, you are already working on stuff you love, so I would consider yourself retired, too!

      I know how hard you work, so good luck on all the projects!

  5. says

    Hi Daniel,
    your story is completely inspiring. I love it so much.
    I created an Agency in Italy (Lotrek), rised from the ground 0, with no money, 4 years ago. Now we are 23 people working hard every day, fighting against the absurdity of our customers and their stupid politics, by the way i feel great when we help the growth of a company with our skill.
    I find the force to wake up every day just thinking at my colleagues. We create an unordinary Agency, we are a real cooperative and this is great!

    I think we’ve to follow the destiny we choosen in ours dreams, and mine is to create something wonderful inspiring others people, working together.
    I just want to share my story with you, cuz sharing is the best way to know the World.
    Have a great time during your path.
    Fil.

  6. jack says

    So you’ve left other people to do the work for “your” companies, and you just cream off a retirement living?
    Capitalism is wonderful.

  7. HCLivess says

    You will end up working anyway unless you become a buddhist monk, but it’s good to have a choice

  8. Peter says

    Hey Daniel,

    I have a similar story, own and operate a few businesses, have bought and sold businesses. But planning to retire in 4 years at 33. I know I should retire sooner than that, but I am basically semi-retired now, and focusing on side projects as my businesses don’t require but a few hours of work per week. Looking forward to seeing how things unfold for you. I am leaning more towards putting money behind me and just living life. But, at such a young age I understand it would be easy to get stir crazy.

    Peter

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