Psychologist kayaks into retirement with Tony Dodge

Retirement is a time when you can finally do what’s been on your bucket list all these years. You can travel the world, have one-on-one moments with loved ones or even revive an old passion!

But if you don’t plan ahead, you’ll have so little energy that your retirement years will be nothing but regret and penny-pinching.

Today’s guest Tony Dodge has been a busboy, a service member, and a psychologist. Now he’s retired in Texas and spends his days kayaking, traveling, and leaving a legacy to his family. Now he’s sharing his story so you can do the same.

In this episode you’ll get timeless advice for planning your retirement, so you can have more fun, feel freer, and leave a lasting legacy.

Listen now!

Show Highlights Include:

  • Why sending your kids to work turns them into successful adults (even if you’ve got more than enough money to support them) ([4:56])
  • How to inspire a disinterested teenager by taking a walk through the bookstore ([6:24])
  • The “one-way doors” principle helps you avoid a financial catastrophe in retirement ([12:21])
  • Why planning your retirement early lets you travel more, take on new hobbies and take care of yourself better ([12:42])

DLP023 PC - Psychologist Kayaks Into Retirement with Tony Dodge



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.


([00:29]): Hey, welcome to Retire in Texas. I’m glad you joined us today. My name is Darry Lyon, CEO, and co-founder of PAX Financial Group. And before we get started, I need to share our disclosure. This material contains general information only, and it is not intended to provide specific tax investment or legal advice. Visit PAXFinancialGroup.com. For more information, investment advisory services are offered through PAX Financial Group. I also wanna remind you that if you text the phone number seven four eight six-eight, and put in the text texts, we will, you a retire in Texas ebook for free that’s 74 8 6 8. And just put in that text, Texas. And for many of those that listen really across the country where we’re getting the data feeds and it’s continued to grow. It’s it’s really remarkable how many people are listening, and I wanna get your feedback on topics that you want us to cover. You can email me directly. Darryl @ PAX fg.com, D A R R Y L PAX fg.com. So today we’ve got a guest I’m really excited to share his story with you. And it’s Dr. Tony Dale, Tony Dale. That’s my friend, Tony. Dale’s been on the show before Tony Dale is the up in Austin, but we have a different Dr. Tony, Dr. Tony Dodge, and I’m happy to have him here today, but like I said, we’re gonna hear about his story. I’ve worked with you. How long now? How long have we worked together? 12, 15 years.


([01:55]): Yeah. And I tell you, he is intimidating at first <laugh> and get to know him. And he is a man of character and thoughtful. And so that’s what you’re gonna get out of this conversation today. So let’s start out just first and foremost. Did you grow up in Texas? No. Grew up in New Mexico, small town in Santa Rosa? No. No. He used to be highway 66, state forties bypassed it now. So it’s changed. So how long did you live there? Once I grew up till I left outta high school and basically just turned 18. And did you leave then? Yes. Well, I went to college for a year. Didn’t know what I was doing while I was in college or anything. Didn’t do very well. I left after that year, my freshman year. And I think my mother and uncle and my uncle got into the collusion about what it’s do with my future. So they manipulated situation where I’d go out to California and work with my uncle lane steel. And so I worked there that summer and that was really my main exposure outside of New Mexico. You know, basically grew up with a, I wouldn’t say a poor family, actually. We were up wealthy family, not rich about wealthy. Yeah. And nine kids. Wait a minute.


([03:18]): You’re one of nine. I’m the oldest of nine. Yeah. I did not know that. Yeah. So you’re the oldest of nine and your parents, what did they do for a living? Well, my dad was carpenter. Okay. And he’s a all a two vet. My mother is a stay home mom raising nine kids. No kidding. Yeah. And so I love that you, you said that you were wealthy, but not rich. What did you mean by that? Wealthy in the sense that we had a great place to grow up in that time was ideal. Had everything in that town, friends sense of community, lot of relatives around strong family values. Just a happy childhood. Yeah. Yeah. Nine kids. And so were you, I mean, this may put you on the spot a little bit. What was the age gap there, like from you to the youngest? Well, I graduated from high school. My mother had the baby at the time. Oh, Is that right? Year? Yeah, same year. So basically 17 years or so. So your father was active duty. He served in world war II, right. Did he continued to stay in service in some capacity? No. He went into private business as a carpenter.


([04:27]): He worked for someone else, most of his life with the, with the lumber company there in Santa Rosa as a carpenter. So he worked hard, you know, raising nine kids and moms staying at home, he has to work pretty hard to feed nine kids. It’s unbelievable to me. I mean, yeah. I mean, I know a few families, but you know, even this generation that would seem like there’s no way it could be done, but it can be done. <Laugh>. I mean, you just have to sacrifice obviously, and, and you don’t make luxuries a priority. It’s so did they ever sit down and talk to you about money you’re the oldest, or did you learn from osmosis? Really? Didn’t talk about money. I, I learned to work very young. My dad being in a carpenter, he put a joke about it, bus born with a hammer, one hand and a shovel on the other. Yeah. You know, so I learned to work very young. My first paying job was at about 12 years of age, 25 cents an hour as a bus boy in a restaurant, you know? Wow. Learning to work is, is it wasn’t more much about money? It was more about working.


([05:27]): Yeah. So less about like, here’s what you do with your money. More about here’s work ethic. Here’s what work ethic looks like. Yeah. Actually I was the first one in our family in extended family to go to college. So I didn’t have that type of a role model that much encouragement That. Right. And so what gave you the confidence to say I’m gonna go to college? What was it versus doing some trade Long story, short story.  I’ll cut you off. I wanna hear it. Yeah. I’ll cut you off if it’s too long. Okay. Well, I mentioned I went to, to college right. Outta high school, and I joke about it. I had psychology 1 0 1, 8 o’clock in the morning and I flunk psychology 1 0 1, cuz I wouldn’t get out of bed to go to class. This is undergraduate. Yeah. First, freshman year. Yeah. Okay. And of course, eventually I got my, my doctorate in psychology, but yeah. So I thought that was just an interesting, Yeah. You, you failed your first psychology class. Yeah.


([06:18]): Yeah. I dunno if I call it failing cuz I never answer. You’ve never showed up. yeah. Anyway, how I got into this field when I was in California with my uncle, we were working actually on the Berkeley campus Uhhuh and of course I a little confused at that time then I wasn’t gonna do it. I didn’t know, was going back to New Mexico or go back to or whatever. But I walked into the bookstore kinda like a hippie store. I think of Berkeley as hippie. Yeah. And picked up a book of BI of some various psychologists and philosophers got intrigued. You read that book through the summer, but I put it aside at the end of the summer, I knew it was going, I did not want live like that being a laborer and you know, challenging my health and so forth and still didn’t know what I was gonna do. But I got an airplane back to New Mexico and a friend of mine was on the airplane, a high school friend of mine. And he had joined the service and kind of talked me into joining cuz he knew I was confused as why, why are you going back if you’re not ready for that? And so I, luckily I think that was one of the best things that happened to me is making that decision is I wouldn’t have done well if I’d come back to school. After I got outta service, I went back to school. Got my bachelor’s and my master’s and eventually my PhD.


([07:30]): So you needed some time just to mature grow up. Yeah. How long did you serve? Three Years. Three years Here in Vietnam? Yeah. Is That branch? Was It the army? Army. Okay. Thank you for serving. And especially during that time period, what was your role? Well, I was with a hundred first airborne division, so I was the infantry man. Oh wow. Yeah. I was lucky there too, because we went just before Ted, if you remember Ted and 60, 68, we went over as a division and I think it was October, November. So we were out in the field for about three months. Our company commander asked anybody know how to type here. I said, my hand went up really fast. This I didn’t wanna have anything to do with being out in the field. So I spent the rest on my tour in Vietnam at base camp, basically. Okay. Taking care of the, Are you, I wanna, gosh, for those that are listening that have served specifically in Vietnam, I know it’s hard to digest the conversation around that topic because what you’ve seen and done, but I just want you to know from where I sit, I honor you guys, including you and, and your peers, are you able to watch movies now or documentaries on that or does it affect you when you watch it?


([08:45]): I do watch, but I’m conflicted about it. Because if I had known back then what I’d known about politics and world, world affairs and all that, I probably would come to Canada, tell you the truth. Understand. Yeah. I hate to say that because somebody serve them and died over there and other servicemen gave their time, their lives for what they thought was a, a good cause. And well looking back, I think we can all agree that it was a mistake. Yeah. You know, there’s been a lot more that has been uprooted regarding Vietnam and obviously that’s a whole nother conversation, but I like to take a moment and just thank you for that time period. And then of course, how it impacted you many ways, but one of which it allowed you to mature go get your education. Right? You go back to undergrad, then know, I guess, do you jump to the doctorate or you go to graduate school for a few years and then your doctorate how’s that work?


([09:40]): I went through my undergraduate years and directly into a master’s program. The master’s program was about a year and a half more than a bachelor’s got out outta college at that point in time, one, my masters, there weren’t any jobs in New Mexico. So I went to work in Oklahoma was really my first professional job in Oklahoma. I was there for 10 years. Mm. And decided to go back to school. So I’m gonna fast forward just a little bit. There’s just a lot to unpack here, but wanna travel through time here and talk about your career in psychology. Okay. Were you majority of your time in private practice? Actually the most enjoyable years or after I got my master’s degree in Oklahoma for 10 years, I worked with a, a child guidance center. So we worked at children and families had a good group of friends. I worked with, we started raising our family at the time too. So some enjoyable years, but after 10 years, things were changing. You couldn’t get licensed as psychologist at that, that time. And now you can a master’s level. Okay. So it’s probably a period when I was in kind of a crisis. Cause my bosses were coming in with PhDs and I had all this experience. They were fresh outta college. Oh


([10:54]): I see. That’s type thing. So I decided you I’m either gonna have to open up a video store or go back to school, you know? Yeah, yeah. Struggled with that issue for a long time and just finally decided to apply for graduate school and move to Lubbock, go to Texas tech. Got my degree there. All right. And that brings you right to Texas. And that’s the name of the show? Retired Texas podcast. So you got to Texas through Texas tech, huh? Right? Yeah. Great. And for those that have just tuned in, this is retire in Texas. If you want to get a 15 minute consult with one of our advisors, you can just go to our website, retire in texas.com and you can just click on the 15 minute consult. Okay. So we’re here with Dr. Tony Dodge and we’re going kind of through his how he got here, which is we support through a lot of life, but you’ve then in practice, when did you officially transition? And, and it, it wasn’t like, I guess a defining moment when you transitioned out of being a psychologist into the second chapter of not being a psychologist


([11:53]): When, well, I retired eight years ago and it’s funny, cuz I called the state board of examiners Uhhuh and asked them, what do I have to do to retire? And they said, see that certificate on your wall, mail it to us. That’s it really, I was shocked. I send it in. I said, okay, that’s that’s changed my life right there. Not going back now. Of course I could go back, but I had to go through all the examinations and all that know, but didn’t think it was worthwhile. Yeah. I heard a, I think Jeff Bezo said it, you know, there’s two way doors and one way doors, two way doors. You can, you walk in and you can walk back through. That’s a one way door. You can’t go back in that door. You mail it off. You’re done. And what did your wife Mary say that Sshe was ready to she retired like six months after I did. Yeah. So that’s interesting. So the timing of y’all retiring, what were y’all talking about? Were you saying that there were there things that y’all wanted to do and it made sense for both of y’all to make this transition. Were you thinking about traveling RV? What was kind of in y’alls vision there <affirmative> or just, you were just tired of the mess.


([12:57]): I wasn’t much tired. I just knew it was ready to go onto my next phase of my life re raised kids. Didn’t had, my profession felt like I did made some contribution, you know, I was ready to be able to start taking care ourselves more. So we’re in agreement. We decided to do some traveling. We took up hobbies. Like we bought a camper. Our thing was kayaking. We did a lot of kayaking. Oh, I remember that now. Yeah. I want to go to that kayaking. Let me pause it for just a second. We oftentimes make financial decisions that are somewhat like a regret. Were there any mistakes that you had made and you can share to the degree that you’re comfortable, that you man, if I would’ve done that different, all of us would’ve said, Hey, I would’ve bought apple stock when you know, I had a chance or, but was there anything that you said, man, I could have done that better. Y’all done. Well, I mean, I know y’all, y’all done pretty good. So


([13:48]): I’m searching for that. <Laugh> yeah. Answer for that. Yeah. Cause I think we did fairly well. We planned that things out and you did, of course having this wife being supportive and made a big difference, went through it Together. You might wanna say that again. <Laugh> having your wife support. You has made a big difference is what you said. And, and that goes both ways. So right. That support piece when you transition is often understated. And so I’m glad you mentioned that and y’all both kayak. Is that right? Yeah. We still do. Is there particular places that y’all like to kayak in Texas, as people are Listening, we’ve gone through many state parks. And every time we we’re at a state park, some are okay. Some are not very good. We love to go to inks lake. Yeah. Mineral. Well, I mean falls, marble Mar


([14:34]): Falls. It’s hard to get a cabin there. Right? You’ve gotta, Yeah, we have our campers. Okay. Yeah. Okay. In fact, we’ll go in there next week. Hopefully it warms up a little bit. What about devil’s river? Devil’s river kayaking. We don’t do river kayaking. It’s a Little rough for that. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. I get it. Yeah. But that’s going down towards Del Rio. It’s you know, rapids and stuff, but enjoyable kayaking, inks lake, seeing beautiful scenery, fishing, Swimming, and so forth. Yeah. Taking our meeting our grandkids there. And it’s a beautiful place. We like it because it feels like we’re not close to the city who are away from, well, we don’t even have TV out there. Some people have to the antennas and all that, but we don’t do that. Radio’s hard to get to, we have phone phone service now, but for many years we didn’t have phone service out there. But every time we’re at a different place, we say we were back. We were back in a wish. We were back at ins lake. It’s kind of, we joke about it. It’s our waterfront property. Yeah. That’s nice. It’s cheaper. So when you retired and Mary retired, where did Mary retire from? She was a teacher. She’s a teacher. Where at though She taught different schools in San Antonio. She taught here for 25 Years now. 25 years. Yeah. Total 33 years that she taught.


([15:47]): Yeah. Yeah. That’s a, that’s a whole nother conversation. Actually. We could talk about that, but were a lot of teachers listening to the show, but she retired. She put in her time, she got all her credits. And then, you know, when, when you retire as a teacher, you get TRRS and then of course, as a independent contractor, you have to squirrel away money. You were an independent contractor for many of those years. Is that right? Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So you have to squirrel away money. And a lot of people don’t know this, you define your own retirement plan. You have to save money in a SEP or a 401k versus working for a big company where they, you know, they have all those things established. So you guys were really disciplined over the years. Was there any, like when you were making the transitioning and pivoting into this next chapter of kayaking and spending time with grandkids, were there any tricky decisions that you had to make?


([16:33]): I think the biggest question was, do we have enough funds to get us through whatever years we have left? Yeah. And what will happen if one of us passes away? So I think that was the big question. Yeah. That is the big question for really most of us. The second question. A lot of times people ask that question. The second question is, well, first of all, do I have enough? How much do I wanna leave the kids? And what do I do with the rest? So one of the questions I do wanna ask kind of off that topic, but similar, you could have retired anywhere really. I mean, you like water, you could have gone to Colorado, Alaska. Why did you stay here in Texas? Well, we stayed in San Antonio in particular, but because I did my residency at the health science center here. My wife had some years vested in retirement in Texas. Partly it was transferred to Oklahoma where it was vested here also. Okay.


([17:25]): I did think so. We didn’t wanna leave the state. And we felt like our other option would’ve been Colorado, which we ruled that out or New Mexico, but we ruled both those out because the school systems in both states were not in our, in our opinion were not to speed, but I think we had pretty good school systems here. Our kids got a good education and done well, I stayed here and invested our lives here and our friends at church and our sense of community and Yeah. Good. I mean obviously a lot of people agree with you. They’re moving here and not many people move out of Texas or at least San Antonio. We’re seeing a lot of people like to stay here, come in. Yeah. So as you kind of think about this next chapter, you know, you’ve pivoted, you’ve retired, pretty excited that you’re going up to inks lake. You said this weekend next week. Yeah. Next weekend. So as you think about this next chapter, what is it that you want to leave to the next generation? You know, we talk about inheritance is what you leave to someone, but a legacy is what you leave in someone. So what would you like to maybe share with your children and your children’s?


([18:29]): It’s not about money. I mean, we’re sitting aside some for our grandkids. We’re fortunate that both our kids, our two kids and their spouses do very well. So we’d worry about the, we’re very fortunate about that. That is great. I think what’s important to us right now with regards to our family is to be role models in demonstrating our faith, our commitment to each other and and spending time with our grandkids cuz they are growing up pretty fast. Pretty soon grandparents, aren’t gonna be all that important anymore. Yeah. So we have limited time short window here, small window. Yeah. That makes sense. And you know, I can see the value of work ethic in illustrated throughout your life that you learned as a young man. I can see it now. And then I can also reflect on the statement that you had Mary’s support and, and the fact that I’ve watched all over the years support each other very gently, but very emphatically. Like that’s just what we do. So from those two observations and the conversation we’ve had today, I can see you leaving that legacy of hard work and spousal support among the many others, including faith and love and things that are important to you that I’ve seen over the years. But it was a very interesting conversation. I’ve actually really enjoyed getting to know you. I did not. I’m still blown away nine kids and the oldest nine kids, but I do want to leave with one and the most important. And that is what’s your favorite salsa?


([19:55]): Anything that comes from New Mexico? Oh, you’re a New Mexico salsa guy. All right. Little different pepper. What’s that different pepper they use. Well the green chilis. Yeah. Green chilies. Green hatch chilies. Right? Well, yeah, they grow it all over the state. But the big productions from hatch here though, we miss New Mexico. It’s not the same Astec. It’s different. It’s totally different. In fact, we don’t call it Chile. We call it Chile, Chile with a E at the end. Not an I, yeah, That makes sense, Chile. So I could talk to tangents and we’ll have to do this another time, but I already talked to you about Vietnam, which I could do in a lot more. And then New Mexico, Chile. I need to get some recipes from you sometime. No, Sharon’s a good cook. Okay, good. So I really appreciate your time today. I think it’s been a good for the listeners. My hope is that those people who are listening can glean a few nuggets of wisdom from somebody who grew up with nine kids. And is here today, leaving a legacy. And again, I wanna remind you, you think different when you think long term have a great day.


([21:01]): This is the podcast factory.com.


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