Neal Doty – From Retiree to City Council Person


Retirement is supposed to bring us our “golden years” where we can sit back without worrying. But no matter how much you’re looking forward to retirement, it can still be stressful.

Because when you don’t have to work, you need to build a new life. Some retirees fill their days by watching TV all day. Others become cornerstones of their communities and build lives they love.

In this episode, you’ll hear from Neal Doty. Neal is a God-loving Texan who retired in Fayetteville after 18 years as a branch manager of a family-owned electrical distributor company.

He’s created an active, meaningful retirement for himself. And in this episode, he’ll show you how you can do the same.

Listen now to find out how to retire without regrets and find new meaning in your golden years with community service, faith, and “giving just a little bit of help” every day.

Show Highlights Include:

  • How having only 1 dollar left in your pocket brings you closer to God ([05:47])
  • The simple thought in your head that tells you exactly when it’s time to retire ([09:21])
  • How to amass all the money you’ll need in retirement with nothing but a 401k ([11:07])
  • Why you don’t need to worry about feeling bored after retirement (especially if you’re an active person now) ([15:52])
  • How to stop worrying about health issues and start living  ([17:09])




Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money?


Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money? So welcome to the Retire In Texas Podcast, where you will discover how to enjoy your faith, your family, and your freedom in the state of Texas. And now here’s your host, financial advisor, author, and all-around good Texan, Darryl Lyons.


([00:30]): Welcome to retire in Texas. My name is Daryl Lys. I’m the co-founder of PACS financial group in San Antonio, Texas, and Paks financial group is the sponsor of this program. So visit PACS financial group.com. And before I get it started, I need to share the disclosure. This material contains general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment tax or legal advice. Visit PACS financial group.com for more information, investment advisory services offered through PACS financial group.com. And so I had a great phone conversation with Neil before he came on and I am super excited about getting a chance to know him a little bit better and hearing about his journey, which I find very interesting. And so Neil Doty, thank you very much for being here today, Carol.


([01:11]): It’s great to be here with you today. Yeah. Any trouble getting here today? None at all. You know, we come from central Texas, Fayetteville, Texas, and the drive over is quite nice. But your construction on 10, you is quite congested. So tell the audience where Fayetteville’s at Fayetteville, Texas is about 10 miles immediately east of LaGrange, Texas, the fame of LaGrange, approximately halfway between Houston and Austin. Gotcha. And did you grow up there? No. WhereDid you grow up? I was born in a city. I was the son of my dad was in the military and he moved to Texas to Houston in about 1954. So Houston at that time was a relatively small town, 300,000. I was in the spring branch area, which we thought was the country. But now if you drive, you know, into Houston, now you find out that that is almost like the heart of the city, but it was a very open area and people in town, which would include anybody in the Heights, you know, thought that we lived absolutely. In the country in spring branch, Texas.


([02:19]): So spring or Springhead spring branch. Spring branch, correct. Oh, okay. And so that’s where you grew up now. Did you have brothers and sisters? I had three sisters. Okay. And one older and two younger and I was a spoiled second son. I bet. What were your parents doing when you were growing up? What was their occupation? My dad was an electrical engineer and he used, you know, his degree to sell power distribution products for general electric. First, he was with GE and Schenectady New York, and then moved to Houston as a GE salesman and later left and went to work for a smaller, independent wholesale distributor.


([03:04]): So was there growing up in that community in, gosh, it’s really hard for me to get a handle around Houston having 300,000 people today or back then, you know, knowing what it is today, 4 million over 4 million people now. Least. Yeah. Yeah. It’s Cut. ’em All right. It’s it’s so it’s hard for me to grasp that, but growing up, was there anything that your parents taught you about money or work specifically, directly or rather did you observe things from them? Darrell? Those were


([03:36]): Very different times. You know, that I try to explain to people that, that we were free range children, you know, mom let us out the morning. And the one rule is if you want dinner, you know, it’ll be on the table at five o’clock at night. You know, we were very self-sufficient, you know, we learned how to deal with, I mean, we weren’t dangerous there, there weren’t that many dangers to get into, but, you know, we kind of controlled our own and environment and, you know, had our friends and were responsible for things I could remember probably at the age of eight or nine, you know, being very impressed with the fact that I got a quarter from my neighbor from Moines, his lawn, you know, and that became a regular job. And then as my dad’s career continued to advance, he wanted, he started own small, independent, wholesale electrical distributor, and that opened up numerous job opportunities for me. So yes, I learned very directly from my parents in a very live business environment, the pluses and minuses being self-employed number one and the benefits of hard work and staying with it in the words that come from that, was there


([04:42]): Any specific, low points that made you into the person that you are today, either your financial acumen or character wise? Oh gosh. Which one? You know, it’s, you could pick one of several. I went to work for my father after going to college and getting my own electrical engineering degree and worked from the early seventies until the oil bust of the 1982 or the early eighties in Houston. And that, that was a very dramatic period. You know, that I, I think you woke up in the middle of April, 1982, and it’s just like the economy had rolled off the table, you know, the price ball completely dumped. And we were in a position where we had good capital assets, but, you know, loss of receivables, you know, investment and inventories that, you know, had no value. And, you know, you watch your capital assets ode, you know, in a 90 day period. And that’s pretty low point. I can remember at one time and I I’ve still got the dollar bill, you know, where I, I literally was down to my last dollar and I’ve got it in the top of my toolbox and my barn now. And every once in a while I look at it and just remember, you know, but it’s always amazing to me that in your time of need, you know, there’s no greater provider than the God that we serve. That’s right. You know, and it’s his provision over time is just incredible. Yeah. So I can’t say there are any really, really low points. There have been some points that I’ve had to reeducate realign, redirect, refocus, Learn to trust him a little


([06:13]): Bit more, learn how to trust him a little bit more. And that’s exact what those periods are. And those, the times that you think are the lowest or the times, or the greatest growth in that eighties time period in San Antonio, Houston, south Texas really impacted many, many people. Not only was it the oil, but it was the savings and loans crisis and all that together just course corrected. Everyone. Almost reminded people that the depression is real and it’s time to reconsider risk. I know a lot of families in the community remember that very well imprinted on them. Very definitely. Yeah. So where was the majority of your career at your professional career before you actually transitioned into retirement? Houston?


([06:59]): You know, the Houston area, you know, that very early in my life, I decided that, you know, traveling was not, for me, large corporations were not something that I was attracted to. I had a general rule I’d go anywhere and do anything for you business wise, as long as I can be home tonight and sleep in my own bed. You know? So I didn’t like corporate travel. I stayed at home, you know, that the ability to develop friends and customers and associates and business partners, you know, as you can go, as far as you want to develop that, or you can stay as close to home as you want to do that. And I chose to stay close to home. And who’d you work for the name of the was Houston electrical distributing company. And that was my dad’s company. And unfortunately we lost that company about 87. Okay. And I went to work for an independent electrical distributor by the name of turtle and Hughes, which was a larger corporation headquartered out in New Jersey, actually very good family owned company. And worked for them for 11 years, went away and worked at another location, doing something different for about 10 years and, and came back and worked another eight years before I decided to


([08:10]): Quit. So that was really the majority of your professional career was with them in an employer relationship. Did you find that it being that they were in the Northeast easy to work for? Did you find yourself having to travel up there for corporate meetings or anything? Occasionally. Yeah, but it wasn’t too taxing. It wasn’t too taxing Bonnie. No. You know, they had a fully functioning branch or location, you know, in Houston actually was a manager, one of their locations for most of that time. And it was a very satisfying


([08:41]): Career. So was that one of the things that you enjoyed the most working there was leading others and managing others? Or what was the most satisfying part of your career there? I think the most satisfying thing is, is to, first of all, run a business that is run ethically. And second of all, run a business, that’s run profitably mm-hmm <affirmative>, you know, and, and the only way to do that, that I know is to treat employees and customers and suppliers, you know, with the equity that you would expect, you know, otherwise there’s not really much chance to develop either of those two things.


([09:11]): So it sounds like you you’ve had, you enjoyed your time with them ethical company company. You can be proud of profitables it sounds like they checked all the boxes for what somebody looks for in a career. So when did you know, it was about time to retire? What was the catalyst that said, okay, it’s time for me to move on.


([09:27]): You know, it might be almost a cliche, but I don’t think you retire from anything mm-hmm <affirmative>. I think you finally decided there are other things that I want to do with the available time that I have left. And who knows how long that is, you know, when you start to reach early seventies or late seventies, you know, then you start to understand that life is not limitless. You know, that the fortunate thing is, is that we don’t know how long we have, and we’ve just gotta use that time as well as we can. And once you reach the point that you think I can use my time in a more productive way than this, it’s time to do something


([10:01]): Different. That’s very well said. Actually, I’ve talked to a lot of retirees over the years. I think that’s an understated approach. In fact, I’m trying to reflect on women the last time. I might have heard that. I’d like to think that I’ve heard that before, but what you said is important. It’s not as though you, you retired or exhaust, you just said, Hey, I think my life has better value in these other areas. Is that right? That correct? Yeah. I like that. So a little quick commercial as we continue to move on to remind those that may have just tuned in this is Dar Lyons and you’re listening to retire in Texas. You can go to PACS, financial group.com and grab our retire in Texas ebook. If you’re curious and wanna learn more, we’ve got Neil here and Neil, he cruised on in, into San Antonio today. So I’m glad that you got a chance to spend a few minutes with him. Appreciate that. When you transitioned into retirement, did you find that there was some tricky money decisions that you had to make, or was it pretty clear? I mean, was there anything confusing, maybe like a health insurance or pension or, you know, IRA withdrawals, budgeting, your family stuff. Was there any money decisions that were kind of tricky or confusing?


([11:07]): I think maybe the only tricky part of it was trying to find a way to transition into a my wife and I both knew where we wanted to be. You know, we had the good fortune of having been involved in the community of Fayetteville for 15 years before we finally built in Fayetteville, Texas. But I guess the only tricky maneuver is that then the career is getting involved in another house and building a house and then financing that house. You know, I was fortunate in having a deferred income plan. Okay. That has served, you know, the bill of the house in the last few years of my employment, you know, which is kind of an unusual opportunity, but you know, it’s a 4 0 9 a and it was a great way to accumulate funds and then spread ’em out over about a seven year term when I pulled the plug.


([11:50]): Well, I tell you what, that’s a very, it is a very unique investment tool that we frankly don’t see a lot of too, a 4 0 9 a. So yeah, that’s unique. And I could see how that could help did was the, and I’m sure this, I know the answer to this, but the prices in Fayetteville they’ve been going up just like everywhere else across the country,


([12:06]): Not as dramatically. Okay. Yes. You know, the pressure will be on from, you know, the housing cost probably is the least impacted. There’s just not that much available for sale or being built, you know, but we see the same problem when I fill up with gas or go to the grocery store or, you know, any consumable product that we buy, you know, it’s, it’s going the market, it


([12:27]): Increases. And I do wanna tee that on the house again. Did you find yourself when you were building the house, wanting it to it, be simple, small. What was your plans or make it big? So you can have under grandkids and volunteers, what was your thought behind the size? Make it small enough? None of the grandkids could live in the house. Okay. Okay. Got you. I knew there was a strategy behind it and it was it’s suitable for our use.


([12:49]): And did you also want it to be reasonable to maintain? Was that part of the thought process? Very definitely. Yeah. The type of construction, you know, the maintenance of the construction, you know, the, the fact that you can use materials that are much more durable and still create a nice farmhouse type atmosphere. And I think we did a pretty good


([13:08]): Job on that. Yeah. That’s great. You said you have a barn too, right? We have a barn. Yeah. That’s great. And you have critters out there and you at livestock, just cats. Just cats. Okay. Well and raccoons and, and all the other, yeah. Armadillos all the other Texas animals. So some people, when they make this transition out of a career, which was yours was 17, 18, 19 years, more or less. I think I got that. Right. Cause I know you had that little interval in there. There’s some emotional. So I’d like, oftentimes people’s identity was in their work. Did you find that to be a concern like maybe a year after, like who am I, or maybe I don’t have the same value that I


([13:45]): Had before or no, I’m gonna be as honest as I can be. You know, I, I quit on a Friday, you know, it was no cake, there’s no celebration, you know, there’s no severance, you know, I just said, you know, guys, I’ve had enough at this and you’re wonderful people, but that’s it for me. And I’d been telling them that for a period of time, but by Monday morning or by Monday afternoon, for sure, I could never figure out how in the heck did I ever have time to work a job. <Laugh>, you know, there’s so many things to do. And you know, so the transition had been happening for a decade, I would say. And your spouse is okay with it.


([14:20]): She is very okay with that. Okay. You know, and you know, she still works. You know, she’s really benefited from the COVID situation because rather than having to go to a project or an office, she now sits at home and gets online and performs all of her work functions. Her hours are reduced as she moves toward the end of her career. But she was very good with me being able to do some of the things at the house. I, I love to cook, you know, it’s been a great transition. I’ve enjoyed it very, very much. Some spouses get frustrated with a spouse retiring and rearranging the spice rack. So doesn’t sound like the case for you. She


([14:58]): Didn’t care about the spice rack so that, you know, I do so that if she were to do it to me, I’d probably get upset about it. But the other way around, It’s fine. I was catching onto that. So today what’s most important to you?


([15:08]): I think today, the most important thing for me is my faith. You know, that there’s a God, he’s in charge. I have utmost confidence in him and that I have found it very rewarding to finally have the time or take the time. I think it’s a better word to sit and listen and wait and decide which direction is best to proceed. And it’s amazing to me how obvious and apparent that becomes, you know, when you just take a little bit of time to, to listen and understand what’s going on,


([15:38]): Something about that scripture, be still a no. Right, right. Do you have anything that you plan on doing here in the near future? That’s maybe a project or an ambition, or even just something that you wanna porn to your family? I don’t know about the family, you know, that I decided about a year ago that I wanted to get more active in the community. So I ran for public office and I’m, I’m a city Councilman in Fayetteville, which is like, Woohoo, But that’s, I didn’t know that that’s,


([16:05]) But there’s, it’s a very interesting place, you know, and it it’s civics 1 0 1, you know, in place and don’t understand until you begin to serve that way. And there’s the other things that I love to do. You know, I’ve got a neighbor that I call myself a sharecropper, you know, but he’s 80 years old and he has problems getting around. So I’m his mule in the garden. I see. You know, and I, I love doing that. There’s just, but there’s no end of things to do. There’s no end of people that you can try to reach out impact just a little bit just by giving just a little bit of help, just a


([16:36]): Little bit of help I’m with you. I really think that it really all boils down to just a little bit of help to use that phrase. And I don’t wanna put this on anyone, but I think it’s worthy of teasing out just a little bit more when people retire, how would you advise them regarding getting into civil service or becoming a city council person, because that is a valuable role in retirement. Would you consider somebody looking at that going into city council? I mean, or school boards, school boards? I mean, tell me your thoughts on that. I just wanna know a little bit more there.


([17:10]): I think there’s a great tendency as we age and our health to look inward, you know, be worried about what’s going on with me. And I think the greatest way to alleviate any of that is just look outward, you know, try to see somebody else that may be suffering or needs something that you can provide. And if it’s in the community, like in a city council, you know, provide that service, you know, do it for your year or years and let somebody else do it, you know, make it a fun job, go to the school board, you know, volunteer for whatever you wanna volunteer.


([17:42]): I really like hearing that message cuz I like seeing good people go and serve in our community. We need good leaders. So I’m glad that you’re doing that. I did not know that. And it’s very cool. But at the end of the day, the most important thing is to be still a no. Right, right. Yeah. I appreciate that. Now the last question and maybe the most important question out of all of them is what’s your favorite salsa? <Laugh>


([18:02]): You know, I thought about that one a long time and I, I gotta tell you that I, when I leave here, I’m gonna go get at Mexican food. Good for you. And, and it’s San Antonio has great Mexican food. My favorite salsa is the one that’s sitting right in front of me. You know, when that bowl of chips comes, it’s time for Mexican food


([18:19]): Dinner. I’m the same with you. I don’t know if I’ve ever had salsa. <Laugh> well good for you. Well, look, I really appreciate you coming in. Neil, me getting to know you a little bit better. I, you little nuggets and of course some smiles just enjoying you and seeing that you’re really enjoying this chapter of life and really clear on what’s important to you. And that means a lot of hope that other listeners caught onto that. And as I close this out, I just wanna thank everyone for tuning in, to retire in Texas. Remember that you can go to PAX financial group.com and get a 15 minute consult with if an advisor that doesn’t cost anything. There’s no pressure. I just have conviction that it’s important to have somebody that can guide you with your financial lives. And, and I also have conviction that we can help you well there. So go to Pat’s financial group and you’ll see that 15 minute consult in there until then. Thank you for listening. And remember that you think different when you think long term,


([19:12]): This is the podcast factory.com.


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