Retired Teacher and Coach Makes up for Lost Travel with Rick Smith

When most of us imagine retirement, we conjure dreams of freedom, wealth and travel.

So why is it that so many people throw away their golden years isolating themselves from the community, watching Fox News, and tending to their flower beds?

Lack of preparation.

Today’s guest, retired teacher and coach Rick Smith, shows you how you can travel more in the first 4 months of retirement than in the rest of your life combined.

In this episode, you’ll discover how to retire on a high note and enjoy the freedom, wealth and travel you deserve.

Listen now.

Show Highlights Include:

  • Why ditching the “Coffee Can” mentality helps you avoid regret when you retire ([13:54])
  • 2 retirement “side jobs” to keep you engaged in the community (and pay for your next vacation) ([15:43])
  • The “Fox News and Flower Beds” trap that turns retirement from an exciting journey into a dull existence ([17:09])
  • How to retire with a hefty nest egg (even if you don’t know how to invest your money) ([17:30])


DLP039 PC - Retired Teacher and Coach Makes up for Lost Travel with Rick Smith


Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money? Welcome to “Retire in Texas”, 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.


Darryl: Hey, this is Darryl Lyons and I am the host today of Retire in Texas. Thank you for showing up. I appreciate it.

We’ve got a cool show today, but before I jump into it, I need to make sure that you get our legal disclosure. This information is for general purposes only. It’s not intended to provide specific tax or legal advice, so please visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information. Again, this show is sponsored by PAX Financial Group, so be sure to visit their website, and if you need to speak to an advisor, anytime you can text the word “Texas” to the number 74868. That’s “Texas” to 74868. [01:15].8]

For those that have been listening for a while, I do have a new mic today I’m trying out, so if it sounds different, I apologize. But I tested it. It sounded okay, but you never know when it’s finally produced. I have audio people, engineers. Thank you very much, if you’re listening, for making the show sound good, and I kind of show up and talk and then I find cool people to talk to.

We’ve got Ricky here or Coach, so thank you for showing up, Mr. Rick Smith. Thank you. I appreciate you being a guest on our show today.

Rick: Thank you, Darryl. I’m happy to help you out.

Darryl: Yeah. Can you tell us where you grew up? Was it in Texas?

Rick: Yes. I grew up in the Hill Country, in a small town by the name of Junction. That’s where I lived during my, I guess, formative years, my middle school, high school years. I lived in Corpus Christi, right after being in Boerne for about 10 years, and then we moved back to Junction, which is hometown. [02:10].0]

Darryl: Were you a Junction Boy?

Rick: Actually, I am a Junction Boy, but I wasn’t part of that “A” bunch, but I tell you, my senior year of high school in 1979, we brought Bear Bryant back to Junction for a little reunion and that’s where the Junction Boy book was kind of made from.

Darryl: That’s so cool.

Rick: Yeah.

Darryl: What an era. They did football differently back then, didn’t they?

Rick: Sure did, yeah. I can remember when I played, yeah, it’s a whole lot different now, and especially when I started coaching football, it was different then.

Darryl: Did you have a big family, a small family? Were there any brothers or sisters?

Rick: I have two brothers and a sister.

Darryl: Okay.

Rick: About the average size, I guess, family.

Darryl: Were your parents coaches or how did you…? [03:00].8]

Rick: No, neither one of my parents were even high school graduates.

Darryl: Oh wow.

Rick: I was actually the first one. I wasn’t the first one to go to college in my family, but I was the first one to graduate. My dad was a truck driver and my mom was a hair stylist, a beautician.

Darryl: Oh wow, and so that’s probably it’s a decent income, but it’s, I’m guessing, kind of almost lower middle class, right? I mean, I’m just thinking about the income. I mean, did y’all ever have any financial issues or was it challenging, or did you least find that you had enough?

Rick: No, we were, I would say, lower middle class, but then that we had most of our family, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, all living in the area, also. I know we never missed a meal, but there weren’t very extravagant meals either. I think we were just a happy family and that never realized that we didn’t have much. [04:01].4]

Darryl: That’s actually almost ideal in a lot of ways. Did they ever sit down and teach you about money? I mean, being a truck driver, a beautician, did they ever sit down and talk to you about working hard or showing restraints on spending? Did they ever teach you or is it just kind of as observed along the way?

Rick: They never really sit us down, but we, I think, learned by watching and we were expected to work. I know my first job was, I was maybe 10, 11 years old, washing dishes in a restaurant for 50 cents an hour and all the donuts I could eat.

Darryl: Was that in Corpus or was that in Junction?

Rick: Oh, that was actually when we moved back to Junction. I moved back to Junction when I was about 10, and I would weekends and sometimes in the evenings go wash dishes, and we were taught to work and kind of be frugal with our money since we didn’t have much growing up, but never any real set down lessons on how to handle money. [05:03].3]

Darryl: When you went to high school in Junction, and Junction is still not that big, but it was pretty small back then, huh?

Rick: Yes, yes, and it still is. I kind of equate communities by the vision they play in sports. Junction is, I think, now a little 2A school, 6A being the biggest type of high school. Yeah, we’re towards the bottom when we look at population. I think we’re maybe 3,000 people now.

Daryl: Wow.

Rick: When I was living there, it seemed like we were maybe close to 5,000, but people leave Junction and don’t really come back unless they’re going to come back to retire.

Darryl: Yeah, it’s a lot of ranches there. To make a long story short or a short story long, I lived in Boerne, which was 3A I think at the time, and then I moved down to Harlingen, which was 5A, and then I moved my senior year to Medina valley in Castroville, which was 3A. I still reference a lot of communities by their high school football division, I guess. That’s just how I grew up, yeah. [06:10].8]

Rick: Yeah. You grew up in a similar community, Boerne. I live in New Braunfels now, so I’m just down the road from Boerne. Then my son-in-law is from Pharr, Texas, which is not too far from Harlingen, so I’m well familiar with where you’ve been.

Darryl: PSJA, right?

Rick: PSJA, right. North.

Darryl: Yeah, yeah. I’m assuming you were in sports at Junction, right, playing some sports there?

Rick: Yeah, in Junction, we were kind of expected to play everything, so from Football to basketball, from basketball to baseball, from baseball and track and field at the same time. We played pretty much everything and that’s kind of what I think gave me and my siblings the love for sports. We were involved in all of them. [07:00].8]

Darryl: And so did you end up going to college, playing sports?

Rick: No, I had an opportunity to go junior college to play basketball or baseball and I went and checked out Ranger Junior College for baseball and, once I saw the facilities and where it was, I just knew that I didn’t want to play baseball that bad.

Darryl: Yeah, I can imagine if you went to UT or A&M.

Rick: Oh yeah.

Darryl: You’d have been mesmerized, but, yeah.

Rick: That would be different. My older brother went to Ranger because his grades were so bad. He was a fourth-round pick in the Major League Baseball draft in ’77.

Darryl: No kidding.

Rick: He went to Ranger and they won a national championship his first year there, and then that’s when he was drafted.

Daryl: Wow.

Rick: That’s what kind of interested me in Ranger, but then after I went and saw it, I said, “No, I don’t care to play that bad.” [08:00].0]

Darryl: But you did still have a love of sports, so after you graduated college, you ended up coaching.

Rick: Yes, that’s when I graduated high school. I didn’t go straight off to college. I didn’t really think I was college material, but after working a year and a half after high school, I decided that I didn’t want to work that hard the rest of my life and I knew the only way to stay involved in sports was really to become a teacher and coach. That’s how I kind of ended up going to college and getting a physical education degree and English and reading minors, and was able to teach in coach.

Darryl: Where did you spend most of your coaching and teaching career?

Rick: My first three years were in Rockport, and then my last 33 years were in Del Rio.

Darryl: Okay, yeah, 33 years. I mean, how many kids’ lives have you touched in those 33 years? Oh my goodness. [08:58].6]

Rick: I hope most of them were positive, but I know I’ve kind of calculated it, it had to be a couple thousand over the 36 years that I’ve been doing this. I recently retired, so it’s fun to look back on those kids and that’s probably what makes the teaching profession great. You’re not going to get rich doing it, but you can’t set a price tag on kids coming back and thanking you or inviting you to their graduations or their weddings. That’s what makes it all worthwhile that maybe you’ve helped somebody become a better person.

Darryl: Yeah, I had one high school coach. His name was Coach Vogler and he ended up, he was in Harlingen and then went to Alice. He’s since passed away, but I remember he was the one coach that believed in me and that’s all it took, and after that it was a confidence booster and so I’ll never forget him.

Rick: Sure, yeah. Yeah, there’s some good ones. Most of them are. You get a few, a few bad ones in the mix, but most of them are pretty good.

Darryl: And so, coaching in Del Rio, though, those that are listening are from the general Texas area and what I’ve learned over doing this podcast is we’ve got clients all over, really all over the world that are listening. Del Rio is pretty much a border town, so what were the challenges working with the Del Rio students and the community there that existed, being border town? [10:17].4]

Rick: Right, a great community. I would’ve stayed there and lived the rest of my life, just a really good community. People are good. The kids are great. You’re not going to have maybe the fiscal size kids that you would get maybe in the San Antonio, Dallas, Houston areas, but as far as heart and work ethic and doing things right, I can’t say anything bad about our Del Rio kids.

I mean, they’re just great kids and I went from early in my career, coaching football, basketball, and baseball, to kind of ending my career coaching cross-country track and field. The type of kids that we had, they were perfect for these cross-country distance run type kids. I mean, just they could go all day long and never complain and give you everything they got, so I love the kids in Del Rio, for sure. [11:15].8]

Darryl: Yeah, that’s good to hear. I can appreciate that, living down in Harlingen.

Just as a brief pause for those that have just tuned in, you’re listening to Retire in Texas. My name is Darryl Lys. I’m the co-founder and CEO of PAX Financial Group, and we’re talking with Coach Ricky right now. We’re going to transition. We were learning a little bit about his background so we can have context, and then we’re going to hear a little bit about his transition into retirement. For those that need to get a consult with an advisor, you just have to put in your phone, the word “Texas” to the number 74868. That’s “Texas” 74868.

Coach, you recently retired. What was the triggering event for you to make that decision? Was there something that happened? Did you get in a fight with a kid? Was there anything that happened that said, “Okay, I’m done,” or was it just kind of “Hey, I think it’s time”? [12:03].4]

Rick: No, it’s kind of a “Hey, it’s time” and I was actually going to do it probably the year COVID hit that was going to be kind of my last year. It was going to be 34 years and then I had enough days to kind of finish the 35th year by really just going one day a week. But, no, it wasn’t anything other than living in Del Rio. I was always the farthest away from family.

Darryl: Tough one.

Rick: All my family kind of lives between Junction and Kerrville and San Antonio area, so I just wanted to get closer to family, although I loved Del Rio. But now people say the kids have changed, and it wasn’t the kids that had necessarily changed. It was the parents that had changed.

Darryl: Yeah.

Rick: The entitlement that parents felt like they had, and so that was something that kind of helped me make my decision, “Yeah, I think I’m ready to go ahead and retire.” [13:07].3]

Darryl: Yeah, that makes sense, and when you were contemplating that, was there any sense of doubt in your mind that “Hey, I don’t know if this is the right decision”?

Rick: Not really. I’ve always been pretty frugal with my money and I finished my last eight years as an athletic director, so I was at that time making money that I never dreamed that I would make, so retiring on an administrative pay scale really helped, but, no, not really. I knew that I raised two daughters on a teacher’s salary as a single parent.

Darryl: Wow.

Rick: So, I knew that once I got ready to retire, I could definitely make ends meet on what I was going to retire with.

Darryl: And your parents, you were raised in such a way that you didn’t overextend yourself. You knew what it meant to live within your means and to appreciate things, and so that never left you, did it? [14:05].3]

Rick: No, it didn’t, and there were times that I still had money in a coffee can stashed away. Just in case something happened, I had it on hand. Yeah, in a lot of ways, I was old fashioned in the sense of not buying something unless I could pay for it in full.

I kind of admired my fiancée. I haven’t traveled much. She’s traveled a lot and she had a credit card. She would travel and just I never would do that. If I couldn’t pay for it completely, then I wouldn’t do it, but I respect her for doing that and wished I would’ve done it more. Now that I’m 60 years old, I wished I had seen more of the world, but I’m doing it now.

Darryl: Yeah, for you and your fiancée, is that a part of the plan, to travel and see the world in this next chapter of your life?

Rick: Sure, sure am. Matter of fact, in the last four months, I’ve probably traveled more in those four months than I have my entire life. We’ve been to Cancun. We’ve been to Washington. We’ve been to Oregon, fixing to go to Vegas, so, yeah, I’m taking advantage of it now. [15:15].2]

Darryl: That’s pretty cool. I got to tell you, there’s something very special about not going places and then going into it for the first time. It’s just magical, like going to Vegas or any of these places, Cancun. I mean, I’m sure you’re just loving it.

Rick: Oh, yeah, it’s been great to see some of these places that you’ve seen on TV or heard people talk about, so, yeah, I’m enjoying it now.

Darryl: Has there been anything scary about this transition? Financially, you mentioned that you felt comfortable there, but what about your identity? It has, to a certain degree, been in the coaching and being Coach Ricky and the kids giving you … just that’s a groove that you were in. Now transitioning out, was there a scary part of like, Now, what am I going to do? I don’t even know who I am. Any of that that go through your head? [16:08].8]

Rick: Not really, because in that COVID year, I stayed through the COVID year. I didn’t quit or retire then just for the fact that that’s what I would’ve been remembered for as the guy that walked out when things got tough, so I stuck it out and really just retired, July 1, this year. I knew I was going to miss the kids and the coaches and the community, but I had gotten my home inspection license over the last year and a half, so I knew that if I wanted to work, I could do that kind of part-time, which I am doing.

Darryl: Okay.

Rick: Then I actually got into officiating football here. Over the last six weeks, I’ve been going to meetings and trainings, and matter of fact, had our first scrimmage last Friday, so staying active. Probably the main reason I went into officiating was to kind of be able to be back in the mix with kids and coaches and stuff like that. [17:08].1]

Darryl: I don’t blame you one bit. One of my most treasured moments is coaching my kids and other kids, and I still do that, so I definitely know how it gets imprinted on your heart and never leaves you. I just love that you’re still active. That’s the main thing versus just Fox News and flowerbeds all day.

Rick: Right, yeah. I’m trying to say active, for sure.

Darryl: As I start to close this out, what would you advise maybe some younger teachers that are thinking about transitioning into retirement? Would you give them any advice to just kind of think ahead and plan? Is there anything specific that you might say?

Rick: Yeah, I definitely could have done a better job of investing money and putting some money in certain things to have it grow, and I didn’t start doing that until about, I guess, eight, 10 years ago. Up until, I guess, the last year and a half, man, things were going really well, putting money away, which is going to eventually really help me. If I need to add a little more to my income monthly and stuff, I’ve got it there. [18:10].5]

But I would, for sure, tell them to start investing early, and it doesn’t have to be a whole lot either. Like I said, I would always just kind of put it in a coffee can or leave it in my checking account or something like that. I wish I would have taken advantage of financial people out there that have the knowledge and stuff to really make your money grow.

Darryl: Yeah, that’s what gets me up, being able to help people do that.

Rick: Right.

Darryl: We’ve done that over the years for a lot of teachers and coaches, and I just appreciate all that you’ve done and the impact that you’ve had on other people’s lives. It’s really just a lot of fun for me to be able to ask you these questions and I’ve taken a very big helicopter overview of your life, but you are Texan. You’re very Texan and I love it. But before I let you go, though, I have the most important question and that is, what’s your favorite salsa? [19:00].7]

Rick: Oh, my fiancée, she is of Mexican descent, so she makes the best salsa that I’ve ever had.

Darryl: You’re playing it safe. I’m sure you’ve been honest, too. I’m sure you’re being honest. Is it green or red?

Rick: No, it’s red. We actually are members of Costco now, so if you know Costco, you’ve got to buy in bulk.

Daryl: Yep.

Rick: We usually buy more tomatoes and stuff than we can eat, so that’s what’s usually made out of them when they start to get a little soft. It’s some good old red salsa, and she makes the best that I’ve ever had.

Darryl: I love it. You can’t beat that homemade salsa. Look, I really appreciate you, Ricky. This has been really good and I’ve enjoyed it, so I appreciate you being a guest today.

Rick: Same here, Darryl. Thank you, and if I can do anything for you, let me know.

Darryl: Yeah, you’ve got it. Thank you for listening and tuning in everyone. You’re listening to Retire in Texas. Again, text 74868. Just put in “Texas” and we’ll speak to you about really anything with a dollar sign, so that’s “Texas” to 74868. And I just want to remind everyone that you think different when you think long term. Thank you. Have a great day. [20:09].7]

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