What would you do if you were approaching retirement age and were stressed in your job?
Retire and take a pay cut? Continue working and get burned out? Or pray to find a new employer who prefers experience over youth?
You could do one of those. Or, you could take the fourth option that lets you live life on your own terms – without taking a major pay cut. That is, go into “entrepreneurial retirement”, just like today’s guest Oscar Garcia.
Oscar retired from the Social Security Administration after 25 years and now has his own business. He has more time to do the things he loves and feels freer than ever.
In this episode, you’ll discover how to claim back your family time and freedom without taking a hit to your income.
Show Highlights Include:
- How to raise financially literate children (even if they won’t listen to you talk about money) ([4:34])
- The “doors” principle that lets you live a free and happy retirement (even if you hit a run of bad luck) ([6:18])
- Why sending your kids to Spanish class sets them up for career success ([8:36])
- Eradicate job stress without taking a paycut by going into “entrepreneurial retirement” ([13:00])
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]): Welcome to retire in Texas. My name is Darryl Lyons. I’m the CEO and co-founder of PAC’s financial group in San Antonio. And PAX Financial Group is the sponsor of this programs. So be sure to visit PACS financial group.com. And before I get started, I have a disclosure that I need to share with you guys. This material contains general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment tax or legal advice. Visit PAXs financial group.com for more information, investment advisory services offered through paxfinancialgroup.com. So today’s fun. And the reason it’s cool is because I could have interviewed Oscar Garcia. Who’s our guest today in two different ways, I could have asked about his expertise in the area of social security, which he is many of you guys have used his services before, and UMAX has leaned on his expertise for many years as an expert in social security. But I don’t wanna talk social security today. I wanna know Oscar better because Oscar retired from social security. Now it wasn’t actually social security who actually retired you.
([01:32]): It was actually social security administration. Okay? Yes. Yeah. All right. I was thinking it could have been the state or the federal government or the do O D well, it is federal it’s federal retirement. Was it first? Yes, it was first. First. Yeah, we’ll talk about that. I’m already jumping ahead. So it was first pension, social security. Okay. Social security office, but yeah. So Oscar Garcia’s here, fellow rattler, right? St Mary’s that’s correct. Yeah. So we both went to St. Mary’s university here in San Antonio, Texas. Now, did you grow up in San Antonio? I did. Where’d you go to high school at South San. So there weren’t many high schools in south San Antonio back then were there or No. You mean south San west campus? Harlandale McCullum was Lee considered south side or no, no, there they Northeast. Well now it’s yeah, They they’ve always been were those the rich kids? Yeah. Or church hill or yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So in, when you grew up on the south side, south Sam, you and brothers and sisters, or yeah, I have actually six siblings. I know you had a big family. Yeah. And I’m on that totem pole. I’m towards the bottom. Are you? I’m the second youngest.
([02:47]): So that’s a lot of kids right now, today. It’s a whole lot. But back then, you know, it was still a lot. I’m not saying that you’re really old Oscar, so I’m not implying anything here. Oscar’s real young and vibrant, but what do your parents do? Okay. So my father was a machinist. He worked for a steel company and he passed away a number of years ago and sorry. And my mother is, let’s see, she’s 91. And so she was a stay-at-home mom, as you could imagine, with seven children. Yeah. Fulltime job. That was, that was her full-time job. So he would work as a machinist and he’d come home and it’s a labor intensive job. I’m trying to think on the south side where there might be employers in the steel industry, did he work for a big organization? He worked a large fabricator called Mosure steel. They’re not in business anymore. In fact, that’s how his career came to an end, was with the company just going under. And he was just shy of having been vested for a pension with them when they laid him off no kid.
([03:59]): And then within matter of, of months, they closed their doors. But what, what year was that? Or more or less? This would’ve been in the early eighties. I’m thinking that too, because obviously there was a lot of volatility with oil and gas. Even if you think about, you know, the oil and gas volatility that did in the eighties and how that could have impacted rail and some infrastructure, which ultimately impacts steel and steel fabrication. And so, you know, there’s a lot of people that got laid off and I guess he was one of them. And so did they teach you anything about money? I mean, there were seven of y’all. Did they sit you down and say, okay, here’s how money works. We didn’t have that kind of a talk. My upbringing was learning by watching and seeing how my parents did things and being the example. So as far as what I learned, maybe from, in terms of money from them, it was that you can get by, you can, may it on not having a lot of money. I mean, by it, wasn’t by by choice. But, you know, with my father being the only one working and having a, a very modest salary to maintain a household with seven children that on a single parent income looking back, I don’t know how that was actually done. I mean, but I know that you, I guess they taught me, you can get by, on, on a little, but at the same time it teaches you that you don’t wanna be in that situation.
([05:32]): Yeah. Yeah. That’s good lessons. Now, was there a low point in all of that? Was there one that was like, oh man, or did, was it kind of steady, you know, everything kind of worked out, you know, the house school. Yeah, absolutely. In fact, one of my brothers, I think later as we’re adults and you look back and you start reflecting on things like that. One of my brothers said we were poor, but we didn’t know we were poor. Because we always had a roof over our head. We had clothes on our back and there was always food on the table and there was always lights were on love of family. You know, we didn’t have maybe the newest vehicle or we didn’t take the big vacations that other people were doing, but we weren’t lacking for it either.
([06:15]): So when you ad got laid off, did he find other work after that?
Yes. And that’s one of the things that I have learned from my parents is that you can have a set of circumstances that maybe are not ideal, that you wish were different and you can kind of have a pity party about it. You can sulk about it, or you can do something about it. And so my father was always one that looked to see, well, you know, that door’s closed, but there’s another door I gotta look for to, to go through. And even as part of later, as my father was kind of getting into more into retirement years, one of the things that he did is he went back and he completed his G E D is in his sixties. So Is that right? Good for him. And the mentality of not being a victim to say rejection is just redirection you learning from that. And observing shows me a little bit about your resiliency. Now you went to St. Mary’s university and did you jump into social security right out as school
([07:20]): Almost. Okay. Yeah. I took a, a different path in my college education, but when I graduated from St Mary’s, I had a teaching degree and I was a history major and English minor. And I started teaching the first year, her outta St. Mary’s. And then after having done that for a very short period of time, I realized, you know, maybe this isn’t the best vocation for me. It wasn’t what I expected. And so, you know, I started looking and really with the help of my wife, she’s the one that said, okay, well, let’s see what we can do. And back then it was take out, the classified are going through the classifies. Again, this is in, you know, I graduated St Mary’s in 88. So not the same way of job hunting as not Indeed. So we went through the classifies and she goes, look, the social security administration is hiring bilingual representatives. Didn’t have a clue what that meant, but it was a federal job. It good benefits. And I, I really wasn’t happy having that teaching experience. So I said, well, let me look into it. And Bing bang, boom. I got hired after a couple of interviews and had a 25 year career,
([08:34]): 25 years. So the bilingual things interesting because in some communities, was your grand grandparents first generation, or was it your GRA? I don’t know this to be true, but Actually it is like, my parents are first. Are they? Okay. So what’s interesting about that generation and different families had different strategies. Some parents would slap their kids over the head for speaking Spanish. Like, no, we’re learning English and we’re moving forward. And other people taught their kids how to speak Spanish. So what was that like for your family? It was, it wasn’t something that we were forced to do. We picked it up because both of my grandmothers, I never knew my grandfathers. They had already passed away, but both my grandmothers that’s all they spoke was Spanish. So to have a conversation with them, it was all in Spanish. And I always was. I picked up understanding it before I really could pick up speaking it. And then in our household, most of the conversation was English. Some was in Spanish, but we, you know, we went back and forth and, but we were never forced to. Yeah. But I do, I can relate to what you say, because I remember my father I’m lefthanded. I have a lefthanded brother. My father was lefthanded, but he would tell stories about when he was in grammar school, the nuns would take the, the yard stick and slap his left hand and force him to write with his right hand. Wow. And I’ve heard about, you know, Spanish and speak it in that way, but I’ve always been able to understand Spanish better than was able to speak it until I became, I would say a young adult at that point, you know, taking it in school and then practicing it in, in my extended family and with my in-laws, that was the primary means of communication. But then I, I needed it for work.
([10:17]): Yeah. Then, then it matters, then it really, yeah. It made, Then you needed to know to go to the, so yes. then the, the terminology is so different. It’s like, boy, I used to say it that way. And man, I was saying it so far from being even close to correct. Little Spanglish. Yeah. So I’m gonna take a detour here and just remind everyone. You’re listen to retire in Texas. My name is Dar Lyons. I’m glad you’re here, but grab an ebook. It’s our retire in Texas email@example.com. We’re here with Oscar Garcia. So Oscar, when did you officially retire from the social security administration? That would be July, 2015. It’s already been that long. Are you serious? This will be seven years in July. So when you retire, what was one of the, your social security expert you’ve been in the papers? You were always writing columns. You were the expert in the greater south Texas community, but with all that being said, what was one of the scarier financial considerations as you made that transition?
([11:17]): I, I think like with most business owners, it’s the unknown and the uncertainty of can I really make it, I enjoy what I do. I’ve always enjoyed helping people and, and being able to make sense of very important, but sometimes complex subject, but it was like, okay, now I’m gonna be dependent on a, making a living from people who value it, what I do enough that they actually see pain for that service. Right. You were giving it away for free. I mean, because that’s what social security had tasks you to do for 25 years. And you were gonna transition into a career where you’re now gonna be a consultant where you’re gonna ask people to write you a check for your advice. Yeah. Is that right? Yeah. So that was scary. It was scary too be, and I didn’t have to get convinced myself that what I was doing was valuable. Yeah. I know that. But having other people see the importance of something like that and, and at social security, it was only a certain level that you could do things at some of the, the really harder questions, the more important type of questions that people should, should have been asking social security says, that’s not our role. We don’t do that. You need to talk to somebody else about that. We’re just gonna help you get your benefits situated and those harder questions, like should I taken now? And later what’s the difference? What’s the trade off, you know, those kinds of things that people are asking. I couldn’t do that then. And that’s something that I’m able to do now that, but yeah, that was the transition that it was like.
([13:00]): So let me kind of paint the picture if I could and correct me if I’m wrong, like you’re the guy in the office in, you know, the administrative building where somebody in telecom yells at number 2 43 and, and that 2 43 takes their little town and they go sit down with Oscar and they get was that you pretty much just generally speaking. And then you had to go from this. I’m sitting down giving advice day after day and people are walking in and now there’s not this building. There’s not this, you know, system. And you’ve gotta create this system and you’ve gotta go and find clients. I mean, there’s not like an office or anything. So that’s a little frightening. What I love about this though, is that you were willing to transition from this safe, systematic salary, into the unknown of being an entrepreneur. Any regrets,
([13:47]): Not a single one. I had coworkers at the time saying, you’re crazy for doing this. You’re giving away a, a comfortable salary, a guaranteed paycheck and all the benefits that come with it to do that. And you’re still too young. You’re still gonna be working. So why not work, continue to do what you do here instead of doing it on your own. Why, why did you know it was time? Did your spouse have an opinion in there? Well, That’s the greatest thing about my marriage is that I’ve always had my wife’s support. Anna has always been behind my decisions and she’s also not that she just goes along with those decisions. We make decisions together and pray about it, but she’s always also there to be that voice of reason and bring a different perspective to whatever decision we’re going through. And, and that’s how we we’re able to balance each other out on that. But she’s always been in full support of it which I recognize that. And it’s going from making a, a pretty good salary as the 25 year employee with the social security, to making a fraction of that as what I’m doing now. But life’s just so much better. The stress isn’t there, there’s time to do things would take my daughter to school, pick her up and just be there. When things came up that were unexpected and having time there’s trade offs, not everybody who goes into business for themselves necessarily is in a position like I am where you’re, maybe you’re making less money than you were before, but the trade offs are worth it. And that’s what makes all of that possible. But yeah, it was transition. And I don’t look back on it.
([15:38]): I’m wondering if maybe if you kind of reflect back on your childhood at the idea of your parents raising you in a frugal way, and you saying, look, I can live frugal. If I need to like this worst case scenario I retire, I grew up without much, or, you know, it was modest. If we have to be modest, we could be modest. Was that, did that ever come to the surface and your absolutely Dar because what we looked at was, okay, look, this is where I am salary wise right now. Here’s what I’m bringing home. So if I retire and I start doing this as a consultant, what do I have to do? I’m gonna have a, a federal pension that I’ll be receiving. It’s gonna be a portion of my take home as a full-time employee. So there’s a, a gap there, a difference that I have to account for that gets me to same standard of, of income that I had before. So working and up to determine what I had to produce, what activity was required, how much work I had to do to fill that void would get me to the same level and there’s months that I’m blessed. And, and I exceed that there’s other months where it doesn’t happen, but yeah, we definitely had that conversation.
([16:56]): And your faith plays a key role in not worrying about that. Yeah, no question. Yeah. I know you that way, which, you know, it’s really a, quite a blessing to be a person of faith. When you’re an entrepreneur, you’re just like, oh Lord, Lord’s gonna work it out. And I mean, we don’t wanna be cerebrally stupid. I mean, stupid for Jesus is still stupid. But for the most part, you were making good, rational, old decisions. And so being as young as you are, and officially retired from one career and now transitioning into the other, what’s this next chapter of your life look like what’s important to you. Is there anything that you want to accomplish? Well, first and foremost, it’s always my relationship with my Lord and savior having that vertical alignment between me and God puts everything else on the horizontal plane in place, you know, seeking first, the kingdom and all these things shall be given. And so I’m looking forward to doing things that involve more family more, and those are things that most people wanna do anyway. They wanna spend time with their children, but they’re too busy with the work. I mean the work obligations,
([17:58]): And it goes back to some of what we’ve already said, that you make choices that put you in a position to do things. And maybe it does it at, you know, not having as much money because you’re not working anymore. You’re not working at the same level anymore, but it’s what do you value? What’s important to you? And for me, it’s transitioning into that. I’ve been working in the social security field for nearly 32 years. And, and I see people that I meet with and talk with all the time who are in their mid sixties, seventies, and even older, who are still working now, some of them are doing it because they love what they do, but others are doing it out of a necessity. That’s right. Yeah. That’s, it’s a tough situation. But I think that, you know, we all have to take inventory and say what’s most important. So what I love about what you’re saying is the next chapter, spending time with your family, even if that requires or ultimate is a trade off of more income, then that’s your priority. And you’re living that out authentically. So I love that last question. As we close this out here so much to talk about so much story behind the story, but most important question out of all, what’s your favorite salsa.
([19:04]): That’s gotta be the homemade salsa you make your own. Well, I don’t make my own. I’m blessed in the fortunate that Marion, I married up in so many ways. One of those is that my in-laws are fabulous cooks and you know, having access to homemade salsa that way. I mean, I’ve tried store bought and all these other kinds and I come back to home homemade. There’s nothing like it. So, you know, what’s really neat about that is I actually eat homemade. So anytime you wanna bring any of that stuff into the packs office, I actually consume it so well. Hey, I know homemade sauce is amazing, especially when it’s freshly made and you eat a stick, a chip in there. Look, I’m really happy that you came on today. It was cool story. Some things I didn’t know about you, it makes sense. You’re a man of integrity, values, purpose. And so it’s neat to see you seven years out of retirement and making this entrepreneurial dream work. And so I’m really excited to have walk alongside of you. I appreciate that. Yeah. Thank you for those that are listening. You’re listening to retire in Texas. Grab our ebook at pack financial group.com. And remember you think different when you think long term,
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