Twelve years ago, we traveled to the Disney Resort on Hilton Head Island for spring break. This is where I met the happiest guy I know.
The happiest guy I know is named Mike and he works for Disney.
Mike does several things for Disney including taking care of the pools, lifeguarding, and giving tours of Hilton Head Island.
However, his most important role is to give guests suggestions on what to do and where to go during their stay at the resort. Over the years, Mike has become my favorite person on the island.
He has given our family suggestions that have become amazing moments that we still talk about today. He told us to go to a little unknown beach at sunset because dolphins feed very close to the shore. That night (and every year since) we’ve watched an amazing sunsets with the dolphins.
The next year, he told us about this little, old church in Bluffton (just off the island) that overlooks the water. It has since become my favorite place. You can take a bottle of wine and sit on the lawn watching the sunset. It’s impossible to describe how peaceful it is there.
As we became friends, I learned that Mike used to own a pool maintenance company. When he and his wife were thinking about retiring, he closed down his pool company. They found a condo on Hilton Head and he got a part-time job at Disney maintaining there pools.
Today, Mike works full-time for Disney. He seems to work from around 7 am to 2 pm and has most weekends (and holidays) off. When he is working, he is usually talking with guests at the resort. He has developed hundreds of friendships with families from all over the world. Everyone loves him.
When Mike isn’t working, he’s exploring the island and surrounding areas with his wife looking for new ideas to pass along to guests. Or he’s vacationing with his family at different Disney resorts.
As a Disney employee, Mike gets some cool benefits including free annual passes to the Disney Parks, 50% off food, discounts off lodging at Disney resorts. He invites his children and grandchildren to Disney using his benefits as an employee to make the trip affordable for everyone. They get free guest passes to the parks, too.
Mike has life figured out. He really does.
And we can learn a lot from him.
I don’t think Mike is working at Disney for the paycheck. (Yes, I’m sure the paycheck is nice to have.)
He works at Disney because he simply loves his job.
He loves to meet people.
He loves giving guests amazing experiences.
He loves making long-lasting friendships.
He loves to tell stories.
During our 2018 spring break, Mike yelled “DUDE!” when he saw me. He then went on to tell my daughter’s friend that he was part of the family. He is.
Mike has designed an amazing life that he loves. My guess is that his retirement is actually very fulfilling.
He gets to spend the afternoons and evenings with his wife. He travels a lot at discounted pricing. He gets to spend quality time with his children and grandchildren several times a year. Hell, they can stay at the Disney Resort on Hilton Head whenever they want. He has hundreds of friendships with great families.
Believe it or not, I’ve since made several other friendships with other Disney crew members at Hilton Head and have come to learn several have copied Mike’s retirement plan.
They retired to the island and work part-time for Disney enjoying all of the perks of being a Disney employee.
I’m putting my employment application in now!
P.S. Take a second and think about what Mike’s retirement plan doesn’t include. It doesn’t include a big house. It doesn’t include flashy cars. It doesn’t include a large retirement fund. It doesn’t include expensive travel. It doesn’t include bingo at the local senior center. It doesn’t include sitting at home watching the news all day.
P.P.S. I’ll be releasing the April 2018 Cashflownaire Newsletter next week. In this newsletter, I’ve detailed my actual retirement plan. You can get this newsletter and become a member here: https://dividendrealestate.com/membershipspecial/