234: Creating a Purposeful Work Life in Retirement with Bob Foley
Today, I’m speaking with Bob Foley. Bob has helped launch billion-dollar companies, several nonprofits, and worked for many major brands in the country. His current venture and sole focus is Legacy Transition Coaching, where he helps his clients focus on the non-financial aspects of retirement, to let go of their corporate identities, and create a new life on their own terms.
Bob thinks about retiring with purpose and his work from a remarkably specific angle. He’s uniquely focused on helping answer questions of lifestyle, tackling issues of ageism, and navigating life and work after the loss of a spouse or partner–among many other issues affecting retirees today.
In this conversation, Bob shares the story of his unique journey into the world of retirement coaching, proposes new ideas and concepts for people transitioning out of full-time careers (especially when leaving the corporate world), and how to create more meaning, purpose and balance in life at any age.
In this podcast interview, you’ll learn:
- How Bob effectively mentored his successor and gracefully exited his corporate life, even though he initially thought he was being pushed out.
- Bob's process as he walks clients through what retirement can look like.
- The things Bob would have done differently had he known he was going to lose his spouse so soon into retirement–and the importance of prioritizing health now, not later.
- How retirement changes the terms of marriages–and why so many couples need help rewriting their rules of engagement.
- How to jump back into the working world as a retiree on your terms–and how to avoid becoming a workaholic all over again.
- "The whole thing about retirement is leaving behind a legacy because now you finally have time to do that because the kind of work or the kind of time you spend is time you want to spend it on, not have to spend it on." - Bob Foley
- "As you get into your 60s, that's when you really start to downplay the wealth accumulation and start to go towards health appreciation." - Bob Foley
- "A purposeful work life is something that you feel in your heart is something that you want to do to help you to change the world, change your community, or change yourself for the better." - Bob Foley
DisclosureOffer valid in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, to first-time requestors. During the offer period, receive one (1) in-stock book per request. Limit (1) book per week per household. Limit three (3) books total each calendar year, between January 1 and December 31. Offer valid while supplies last. Howard Bailey Financial, Inc. reserves the right to cancel, terminate or modify this offer at any time. Void where restricted or otherwise prohibited.
Casey Weade: Bob, welcome to the podcast.
Bob Foley: Casey, it's wonderful to be here.
Casey Weade: Bob, I'm excited to have another Bob here with me. And you were actually referred to me by Robert Laura. Bob Laura had referred me over to you. And Bob is, or I should say Robert Laura to make sure we don't get confused, Robert Laura was a self-proclaimed retirement activist. Now, to start the conversation, I was wondering what your thoughts were on being a retirement activist. Is Bob Foley a retirement activist?
Bob Foley: There's no question about that. What a retirement activist is today is someone that goes ahead, blazes the trail, and helps people who are going into retirement with their lifestyle. See, all the work that we do really isn't focused on the financial side. What we focus on primarily is the lifestyle side because that's the side that people don't prepare for. Most people go and they get a financial advisor like yourself, Casey, and they go ahead and they financially prepare for their retirement years. What they forget about is what are they going to do? What are they going to do in terms of most of our identity comes from our vocation, comes from the kind of work we do? And once they retire and leave that world, they have to go out and they have to seek a purpose. So, that's the first thing that we really do is help them seek what their new purpose is. The next thing we do is help them decide who they want to live with and where they want to live. Again, very, very important decisions. And a lot of those decisions are really predicated on their family, especially if they have grandkids. Many people like, for instance, where I live, I live outside of the Boston area and I live in just south of town called Plymouth, Mass., America's hometown. Anyway, and I live in a 55-plus community and the number of people that live here in the Pine Hills are here because they have children that have relocated workwise to Boston and they have grandchildren and they want to be near those grandchildren. So, those are all things to really consider that at 50, 55 years old, you're not even thinking about that. You're just trying to hold on to your job for five or ten more years so you can get to that finish line.
Casey Weade: Yeah. When we hear the word, activism, it kind of insinuates that there's a problem, something needs to be fixed. If we look at the history of activism here in the United States, there's always an issue or there's a problem that needs to be resolved. Is that the way you see retirement today?
Bob Foley: There is no question about that. And where the activism is surrounding is the whole concept of ageism. Ageism is alive and well within our workplace. It's something that's very accepted. It's something that's illegal, as a matter of fact, but it's still accepted. Some people do end up suing but the majority do not. So, because of ageism, what a big part of our practice and what we do as activists is show people pathways that they can get involved with so they can overcome the ageism and so they can become people with purposeful lives again that feel good about things. And what they can do is also continue to earn some money so they're able to delay having to dip into any of their retirement funds.
Casey Weade: Now, Bob, would you say that you've ever personally experienced ageism? Do you have personal experience with ageism during your career?
Bob Foley: Well, of course, I do. We all do. Now, let me tell you about mine. I guess it's about 12 years ago back when I, you know, actually, let me tell you another piece of the story before that. I actually retired the first time when I was a little over the age of 50. I got caught in the 9/11 recession and the company that I worked for, and I was a brand president, decided that they didn't need brand presidents any longer, that because of the recession, all they would do is promote all the tools to become brand leaders, and they'd be able to train them for a two-year period of time, which they thought the recession was going to take. And basically, they'd be able to do that at almost half salary. So, it's a cost-saving move. So, I got caught up in that. So, unbeknownst to myself, I got basically severed but it turned out now that I reflect back on it, to really be where my retirement really started. And what I did about a year after I left the company, basically what happened was a friend was starting another hotel management company and asked me to come in and consult. I did that and for 10 years I was the chief human resource officer. About five years into it, he said to me, he said, "What are your plans for retirement?" And I said, "I don't have any plans for retirement. I'm trying to help you build this company. I have no time to think about that." He said, "Well, you better. What I want you to do is I'd like you to hire somebody as your number three, mentor that person, bring them along. And at the right time, whenever you feel comfortable, that will be the handoff in order so that we can have a seamless transition."
I was floored. I thought I was being pushed out. I was very confused at a time when I really needed to focus because we were in such a growth pattern that something like this was very, very troubling. But I calmed down. I really began to think about what he was talking about and I agreed with him. And I ended up going out and I found a millennial. I found a millennial who had tremendous energy, great knowledge, and I began to mentor her. And we worked together for over six years. And during that period of time, we would meet each day for a half-hour, either in person or on the phone, and talk about future planning. And what would happen as certain things happened, either I or she would continue to move forward but what I found is that as I mentored her, she was mentoring me. She was mentoring me as a millennial and I her as a boomer. So, what happened? We did the generational handoff too both ways. I began to understand the millennial mindset and why and how much of an impact that would have on our business. And I also understood how to present myself to that group so I'd have credibility. So, we really helped each other a great deal. About two years, no, three years after that, my wife came down with stomach cancer. So, I became her primary caregiver for over two years. And the company was very good to me. They allowed me to take as much time as I needed and I took quite a bit but during that period of time, two things happened. The person that I had chosen in the role to take my place began to rise very, very well. We would talk once a day on the phone just to kind of connect.
At the same time, what would happen is I was able to spend quality time with my wife, the kind of time that we all hope we have with our spouse before they leave this world. So, in the end, when my wife did pass on, I felt completely fulfilled that I had done everything with her, for her, around her that I could have possibly done. And at the same time, I felt very good. It was almost like a testing phase of this person's leadership ability, and she came through with it like a champ. I stayed with the company for about another year, and then I said to myself, "You know what, after 40 years, I really decided that I've had enough of corporate life." And what I want to do is I want to set up my second half of life and we lived on Cape Cod. I want to be able to go back to the Cape and I want to be able to set up a business that's going to interest me and keep me cognitively aware for a good 10 years. That's what I'd really like to do. So, I did just that and I bought myself a franchise. I bought myself a Mr. Handyman franchise. Now, I had been a corporate CEO, a corporate H.R. director, a recruiter, a trainer, all these other things. All right. What did I know about being a handyman? Nothing. But I did know how to run a business. And that's what I did and I did that for a few years. And then I decided, "You know what? This has been very fulfilling for me from a time standpoint, but it hasn't been fulfilling for me, I don't feel as though I'm giving back."
So, that's when I went out and that's when I found Bob Laura, and that's when I found Retirement Coaches Association of America. And I got myself certified as a professional retirement coach and I started a dual practice. I do alternative career coaching and I do retirement coaching because the two dovetail on one another. So, doing that, I started to feel as though I was getting my fulfillment and I was finding that I was very much enjoying it. What was also happening is that I was making connections in that world that I really didn't expect. And what the connections were I was connecting with other businesspeople and helping them to do one of three things. Either become a business, well, one of three things is putting together their phased retirement so they slowly move out of what they're doing and they're still tethered to the company so that the company can call them back to backfill positions when they have unexpected openings, which is a very good use of human capital. The second thing is, is to help them decide whether or not they want to go into some sort of consulting business around their phased retirement. Or the number three thing is do they want to buy a business or start a business. And if they want to buy or start a business, would a franchise business or a franchise business model be the one that'd be perfect for them? Now, why a franchise business model?
Well, a couple of things. Corporate people tend to like structure, corporate people tend to like being part of an organization, and corporate people enjoy the fact and the camaraderie of being around people that do somewhat similar things to them so they can bounce things off and hear stories and just help to kind of engage, help them to benchmark where they're at with their career and life. So, with that, I found that franchising was really something that could bring all those things to the table for a fee and I found The You Network, which is a group of 25 of us who have done two things. We have been senior executives in franchise companies. As I mentioned, I was the CEO of a franchise company that I ended up having 600 units as CEO. And all of us have also owned our own franchises individually. So, we've seen the business from both sides. So, when you come to us and we coach you as alternative career coaches, we've seen the business world from all different sides of the prism. So, when we coach you, we're speaking from the heart, the mind, and the soul because we've lived through it all.
Casey Weade: Well, Bob, there's a lot in there that we could unpack. And I want to unpack it one piece at a time but first, there's one big takeaway that I had there. I think there's a lesson in there. When you shared that initially you felt a little offended or you felt that you were experiencing some ageism when your owner, CEO, whoever was the manager at the time of You said, "Hey, we need you to bring in somebody else because you're going to need to retire," you could have complained about that but instead, you created something out of it. You created a positive. I think some are going to experience ageism in the workplace and they have two choices. They can create or they can complain and you chose to create. And I think that really speaks to you and what you've experienced. Now, if we were to look at that timeline that you just laid out there, there's something that I want to ask you about specifically on your website, the LegacyTransitions.org site. It says that the first two years of retirement for you were a distraction. Where in this timeline were those first two years of retirement and how was it a distraction?
Bob Foley: That's when I was trying to decide exactly what I wanted to do. Where the distraction came from, I looked at a number of different franchises. I did some consulting work. I did some backfill work in my former company. And the reason why it was a distraction, I was doing way too many things all at once, and I wasn't doing any one thing very well. That's when I then kind of shut down everything else and went straight ahead with the handyman franchise.
Casey Weade: Now, was that really a problem, though? I mean, was it something that you could have avoided? Could you have avoided those distractions? Were they really distractions or was it an exploratory measure? You were taking the opportunity to test different grounds to figure out what was right for you. Do you think you could have avoided it?
Bob Foley: I could have avoided it because I should have started sooner. I should have started it back when I was still employed in the company. Now, I couldn't start practices. I couldn't start a franchise at that time or so I thought. But many franchises allow people to be semi-absentee owners where you can start the business as you still work in the company you're working at and set yourself up with a glide path to leave the company when you want and glide right into the business that you've started because now after 12 or 18 months, it can afford you.
Casey Weade: Bob, it seems like you haven't completely created a new identity for yourself. It feels like there are some elements of you in your past experiences that you've brought with you and maybe some of those that you've left behind. How far would you say you've gone in creating a new identity for yourself? And how do you decide what to bring with you and what to leave behind?
Bob Foley: What I have done really is taking what I feel are the most enjoyable parts of my identity and I have allowed those to mushroom. And what I have further done is the other parts of my identity corporately I have shut down, closed down. So, what I've done is I've become more of a coach, counselor, or a mentor than I was before because before I was a business leader, I was a process hound, I was a policymaker. I don't do any of those things now. What I do now is focus on the individual and see where I can get them to produce the best for themselves. That's the big difference.
Casey Weade: And when you're sitting down and coaching an individual, do you have any specific exercises that you could use to help determine what those strengths are that you should take with you and what you should leave behind?
Bob Foley: Oh, absolutely. We have a retirement assessment tool that we use. And basically, what it does is it highlights for the individual where they are mentally, where they have to be physically, where they are socially, and what to expect as they age, and finally where they're at spiritually because all those four things are the four basic bedrocks or, if you will, parts of this tool that make up what a successful retirement is all about.
Casey Weade: So, you have this wheel mentally, physically, socially, spiritually, you have this wheel that you want to keep balanced and figure out what might be empty it sounds like at the onset of retirement. One of our past guests explained this as a true wheel, where if that wheel is lopsided, if you're low on the spiritual side but you're heavy on the mental side, the wheel doesn't turn real well. So, if at the onset, you're working with someone to balance this wheel out, how often do you have your clients go back and revisit this wheel? How often should we check-in, revisit this wheel with ourselves? Is this something we do quarterly, monthly, annually? And how do we go about even making that check-in happen?
Bob Foley: Monthly. And it's just a quick check-in because we all emerge as we go through this process. You see, I take them through 40 years of possible retirement in front of them. There's your second career, 60s, there's your bucket list, 70s, your aches and pains, 80s. And if you make it that far, your last hurrah, 90s. So, that's the next 40 years of your life. So, you need to check and every single one of those decades has unique characteristics around the mental, physical, social, and spiritual side of life. So, it's very important to continue to check in because that's many times where people hit a roadblock and fear sets in. So, it's always good just to check in with the people that I'm coaching even after they're off the clock, just to make sure that they're okay and moving on. And I might be able to possibly help them through some roadblocks as they continue to age.
Casey Weade: Well, I could see this even being a daily practice. Every morning, I have my routine. I'm sure you do as well. Why not just check in with yourself in those areas, have a little conversation with yourself, and say, "What can I do today to fill this bucket up, to create more balance in my life?" Bob, do you have any daily practices that you use that the listener might find interesting or helpful?
Bob Foley: Sure. The big thing is self-introspection, and be honest with yourself. How do I feel? Have I put on weight? Am I watching too much TV? Do I have a regular? The whole thing about retirement is putting yourself on a regular schedule and that regular schedule needs to include a good diet, exercise, cognitive exercise, and then a purpose, something that you're going to do either every single day or a couple of times a week, whether that be volunteer work, whether that be owning your own business, no matter what the situation is. It's something that becomes yours and something that will lead you towards legacy. Because that's the whole thing about retirement is leaving behind a legacy because now you finally have time to do that because the kind of work or the kind of time you spend is time you want to spend it on, not have to spend it on.
Casey Weade: You know, Bob, quite often, the concept of legacy, the idea of legacy doesn't kick in for the families we work with for years in the future. There's usually some type of triggering event that could be the loss of a spouse. Did the loss of your spouse, and thank you for being willing to have this conversation, did the loss of a spouse change your view of retirement or more specifically, did it change your view of legacy?
Bob Foley: Of course, it did because, first of all, it was unexpected. My wife, Kris, always said to me, she says, "Foley, you're going first," and I said, "Well, how do you know that?" She says, "That's just the way it is." Unfortunately, it was the reverse. So, I found myself at a relatively young age, a widow, and that's the last thing that you think is going to happen to you as you become a widow in your early 60s. So, you have to start to rebuild your life again and it changes your social circles. Because here's the thing, the people that you knew together as a couple, you're no longer a couple. So, when you would go out to dinner with five or six couples, et cetera, et cetera, they would invite me in the beginning but I'd be the third wheel. And over time, people stopped inviting, not because they didn't want me around, they just didn't know what to do with me. And what I mean by that is they can only so many times tell me how sorry they are for my loss. And the other side of it is, is that my widow-dom affected them. It gave them fear that the same thing may happen to them. So, with that, I found rather terribly that I had to start to change some social circles, not cast off people, but go out and find new people to interact with. So, for instance, I joined a Friday night movie group, a group about 10, 15 people who were all widows and we would go out every Friday night for dinner and then go watch the latest movie, and that became a great networking group. And that's what you have to do when you lose a spouse is you have to give it grieving time, of course, a couple of years. And then after that, you need to get back out there and you need to connect with people. And most likely the people that you're going to connect with are people who are new to your circle because you find that you are doing new and different things that you had done before when you were a couple.
Casey Weade: You know, David Bach shared with us a statistic a couple of years ago, shared with us that 80% of men will die married. And now you were on the other side of that statistic. But that does show us that if we are married, we're stepping into retirement there's very high likelihood that we will lose a spouse. And is there anything that you think you could do, anything that you would have done differently had you known that you would lose a spouse that early in retirement? Would you have done anything different to be prepared? Of course, we can never be fully prepared for the loss of that great value to ourselves but is there anything that you think we can do to better prepare ourselves for those types of losses?
Bob Foley: I think what you have to do is just be aware that it's a possibility. I think what you have to do is I think you have to share with your spouse that they should do and yourself should do as many health-oriented things. You see, as you get into your 60s, that's when you really start to downplay the wealth accumulation and start to go towards health appreciation. So, you go from the focus of wealth to the focus of health because it's the old thing. No matter how much wealth you have acquired, unless you're healthy enough to enjoy it, it doesn't matter because all you're really doing then is getting yourself in a circular wheel that isn't going to help you at all because when you're 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, it's all about enjoying life. And if you have physical ailments or just don't feel right and many times you don't feel right, you're not motivated, you don't want to see people and then you cut yourself off. I mean, this pandemic has been terrible for that because we've isolated almost everyone. And with that isolation comes depression and with depression can come debilitation and with the debilitation can certainly become death.
Casey Weade: So, your focus would have been more on health sooner rather than later?
Bob Foley: Most definitely. Absolutely.
Casey Weade: You know, there's something that I caught you in earlier. You had shared the three things that you're coaching people on, a phased retirement, transitioning into a consulting gig or starting a business, entrepreneurship. So, I see that as phased retirement, consulting, and entrepreneurship. One thing that I found surprising that wasn't in there was what about the traditional retirement? Do you ever coach anyone into a traditional retirement rather than this phased retirement, consulting, or entrepreneurship, those individuals that say, "Hey, I'm going to retire at 65. I'm done. I'm going to go on vacation."?
Bob Foley: Never mention the word "retirement" to a baby boomer. They're offended by that. Remember, baby boomers are the Pepsi generation. They're the offsprings of the greatest generation and they're Woodstock warriors. They don't see themselves as being in their 60s or 70s. They just want to continue life as it's been. You know, they really feel that they can continue to do certain things for as long as they want to do it. Now, yes, certain people do decide to retire 100%. A good 25% of the people that I have coached choose that. And they get ready for it. They save for it. They figured it all out. They got the right real estate. They moved to the right places. Their spouse is doing okay. And maybe even if it's not their spouse, then it's their live-in or it's their partner or they're single. Remember, 50% of the population is single. So, they've learned how to set up their life around being single. And as I mentioned, a good 25% of my practice just wants to retire, doesn't really want to work, wants to enjoy life, they travel, et cetera, et cetera. But the other 75 want to work. Now, the majority of that group feels as though they have to work because they haven't been able to save the kind of money that they think/feel that they need in order to retire.
And that's why they need a person to come in and help them like yourself, Casey, so they understand exactly what the financial side of things are going to be. And they can't start that in their 50s or 60s. It's got to start in their 30s. They got to start in their 30s, contributing to their 401(k), company's 401(k) plan, or an IRA. And then in their 40s, they really got to take a look at the college fund. They're going to take a look at estate planning. They're going to take a look at how they're going to finance their retirement, what kind of stocks and bonds or CDs to buy, whatever the vehicles are. They need to do all that at least in their early 40s, and that becomes a very big part of this whole thing. Because by the time you get into your 60s and early 70s, I won't say it's too late to be able to finance your retirement, but it's going to be a lot tougher and you're going to have to work a lot longer.
Casey Weade: Would you say that you have, I don't know if this is the right word, a problem or an issue with that 20% that wants the traditional retirement? They want to travel. They want to spend time with their grandkids. They want to spend time on the golf course. Is there a little bit of an issue with that traditional retirement in your mind? Is there a problem with that?
Bob Foley: Oh, no, no. It's not an issue. It's jealousy. No, it's not a problem at all. The big thing is when you get yourself in that mode, that you don't slow down. You don't isolate yourself. You don't put on weight. You don't become ill health. You don't become somebody who isolates themselves. So, it's a challenge every day but you have to fill your life with different activities. And I coach a lot of people on the certain activities that they said they like to do that they need to position themselves geographically and either with a spouse or a significant other or a friend or whoever so they have somebody to interact with on a daily basis. Do you know that the average number of hours that retirees, so complete retirees, watch television is 48 hours a week?
Casey Weade: I've heard the statistic.
Bob Foley: I mean, that's lethargy. I mean, that is just not good. And it's not that it's bad to watch TV, believe me, but it's bad to stay that sedentary that regularly for so long.
Casey Weade: I think there's such a movement to this second act to finding a new career, to starting a new job, to continuing to work in retirement. I feel like there's this pressure that's been placed on retirees and they say, "Well, I just want to retire. I just want a traditional retirement. I don't want a new job. I don't want to go back to work. I don't want to own my own business or be a COO or a CEO. I don't want to do those things. I just want to retire." And I think that's okay. I think we need to offer permission to say that's okay to not work in retirement.
Bob Foley: Absolutely. But here's the other side of that. After they've done it for about six or seven months, what they start to find is that the rules of engagement in their marriage change because many times high-end corporate executives are used to getting their way on everything. And they were used to having their spouse come along for certain business trips or certain dinners or whatever and they did that very willingly. However, when they got into retirement, what they found was the spouse had another whole life set up apart from them and they weren't willing to give that up. They did not want to become part of their spouse's retirement. They wanted to continue their own life and the way they had set it up. Some work, some don't, some work part-time, some volunteer. They don't want anything to disturb that. And sometimes what happens is that the retiree, that becomes a shock that they never took that into consideration and this is all a revelation. And what also starts to happen is they get very uptight about that and they're kind of hurt by that.
So, what they start to do is they start to go to the local pub for dinner, or excuse me, for lunch every day, and the bartender starts to become their therapist and they end up having a couple of drinks at lunch and 4:00 they come home and they kind of take a nap and the spouse comes home, see if they're working and says, "You know, what have you done today?" "I had lunch." And the spouse, you see, gets turned off by that. So, that's what I mean about how the rules of engagement change. And you as a couple, whether it's traditional marriage or gay marriage or whatever it is, you've got to adapt to that and you've got to talk to each other about that. And that's another thing that we do quite a bit in retirement coaching. After we've coached people initially, we end up being called back and end up putting the referee uniform on and helping them get through that part of retirement.
Casey Weade: Well, that might lead to some type of work for these individuals that are going through these struggles. And you say that you practice the craft of helping people find their new purposeful work life. How do you define a purposeful work life? What's the difference between a purposeful work life and maybe something you had prior to that?
Bob Foley: A purposeful work life is something that you feel in your heart is something that you want to do to help you to change the world, change your community, or change yourself for the better. And then once you decide what that purpose is, it's putting the plan together to go out and attain it, and not only is it to go out and attain it, but to help it to flourish whether you use your own funds to do that or whether you go out and start a business to do that, or whether you volunteer with a certain not-for-profit to do that. Or a number of people now, what they do is they put out their own shingle after they've gone back and become reskilled. You know that in most states, 60 plus people can take any college course at a state university, if not for free, at least for 50% off. So, you can reskill yourself. You can get certification programs, you can get, well, you can matriculate towards a degree. You have to pay for certain courses even if you're matriculating towards a degree. But all the courses that you may want to take just to see if this is for you, you can take either free or at much-discounted prices provided that the course isn't full.
Casey Weade: So, give us a step-by-step high-level playbook here. Where do we start? I just had someone ask me the other day, a client that's stepping into retirement saying, "Hey, I want to work, but where do I start? I don't even know what I want to do." What is the step-by-step process that you would provide for someone like that, that's asking that question?
Bob Foley: Well, basically, we have an assessment tool. All right. And the assessment tool takes a look at their drivers, takes a look at their personality, takes a look at the things that they like to do. As we go through feeding back to them what the assessment tool has come back with, what it starts to do is it starts to unearth certain kinds of vocations, new, all the same, whatever, that they'll gravitate towards to, again, help them to fulfill that purpose. And then once we get that and get it down to three, four, or five different distinct areas, we start to drill down in those four or five distinct areas, either taking a look at doing some kind of phased retirement or consulting work or entrepreneurism or franchising.
Casey Weade: Being that your focus is C-level executives, is there a most common avenue that you see these baby boomers or retirees transitioning into?
Bob Foley: Yeah. What starts to happen is what they thought that they wanted in the beginning, after they go through the process, they usually end up either in a different place or in a place that has more clarity. And once they belong, once they find that space, it's usually a space where you give back to society rather than take from it. They don't necessarily want to get involved. They've already made their money. They've already been the big cheese. They go through about a six-month period of what we call a retirement honeymoon, and they go and they travel or they have endless retirement parties and things like that. And then one day they come home and after about a week of staring at a blank wall, as they sit at their desk, they say to themselves, "Now, what do I do?" And that's when they start to show up at my doorstep but it still takes a good another 6 to 18 months for them to really want to get into things.
Casey Weade: I think one of the most important things that I hear you providing those individuals that are working with you is clarity. Clarity leads to action, whereas confusion or a lack of clarity leads to procrastination or inaction.
Bob Foley: Yes. And it's also a very convenient excuse not to do something. That's what we call being blocked and that's a very common condition of people at this stage of life.
Casey Weade: Well, a blueprint would be very helpful to provide clarity if we're going through this. You say that you assist in plotting out a blueprint for their new life. What does the blueprint look like? Is there a physical blueprint that we're getting handed? Is there a written plan for the non-financial aspects of their life that were being handed? What exactly is that blueprint? Where do you get started on designing it?
Bob Foley: Yeah. No, there's an absolute blueprint. So, you take the assessment and you pull things off of the assessment. And what you're doing is you're pulling key attributes of what they feel that they are and what they really are. And then you match those attributes up with either different industries or different kinds of work or different kinds of volunteer work. We have profiles of different kinds of what it takes to do certain kinds of work, whether it be work-work or volunteer or part-time work, full-time work, or it's consulting work, or it's going out and becoming an entrepreneur. And it's not that I'm not trying to be specific but every single person is very different because all individuals are unique. We have certain common behavioral characteristics that come in place but when we get to the second stage of life, it's like you're back in your early 20s again, just graduated from college, having really got that degree in English, and having no idea what you want to do with it. And you kind of like network around and fumble around and then finally you fall into something and many people fall into something that they stay with because it's familiar. What people find in their second half of life they don't want that again because they knew that was a mistake. So, what they want is, is they want something that's very important to them, something that they feel they need to do. So, that's why each one of these becomes very individualistic. And the common trend that I see in this whole thing is that people want to give back. That's the big thing. Now, there are degrees to giving back. It could be as little as giving back, going, and being a volunteer at the hospital or it could be starting a new company that creates some kind of software that helps people to do something better. So, it really depends on, well, it depends on a couple of things. It depends on your motivation. It depends on what you feel you want to leave as your legacy and finally how you fulfill that and what kind of time it takes. That's the big thing. When you get to the side of life, time becomes the new currency. What you spend your time on is what gives you your personal return on investment,
Casey Weade: And that was one of my questions. If someone decides to go down this road, maybe they want to start a new business, how do you help guard your client's time so they don't start out in a whole new workaholic level career?
Bob Foley: Exactly. And what you start to point out is you're going down that same road again. I mean, you flip from being a coach to being a mentor. And what you do is you become the mirror for them of what they're going through so that they can avoid the potholes, hopefully, and they can understand that delegation is king or queen. And by doing that, what starts to happen is that they can get their fulfillment but they don't have to completely surrender their lives to it because then we're right back into the same morass that we were before.
Casey Weade: Yeah. And I bet a whole bunch of these people are going through you and setting up franchises. Given that you did say that you see franchising as the best avenue for the 50-plus renaissance warrior sector. First of all, what is and you said this previously, you used that term renaissance warrior, what exactly is a renaissance warrior? And then why is the franchise the best avenue for these people?
Bob Foley: What a renaissance warrior is basically is someone that has lived their life, learned, and now they have become wisdom-filled so they go through a renaissance. All right. And at the same time, they're driven. They're driven to whatever this new thing is that they've got clarity around. They take almost a warrior approach towards it so that it can succeed. But at the same time, they're cognizant of the fact that they can only be a warrior for so long, and then they have to set an organization up, whether it be an organization of three or four people or 30 or 40 people, to be able to continue this legacy so that it can continue to give the owner of either a financial benefit or some kind of spiritual benefit or some kind of feeling of fulfillment, feeling that they have given back. So, it's a whole idea of going out, getting it started, finding some new people, bringing those people in, empowering them, maybe even giving them pieces of the business financially so that you can continue to draw down for less time on the day-to-day parts of the business.
Casey Weade: And when it comes to franchising, let's say someone wants to get into the franchise as their second act. You know, are there certain sectors or industries? How should we decide what is the most attractive franchise for someone at that stage of life?
Bob Foley: Right now, there's approximately 3,800 franchised companies around the United States. There are 771,000 plus franchise businesses operating today as we speak. So, there, about 8.3% of the entire workforce is a franchised worker. And I'm not talking about just the owners. I'm talking about the people that work for them, too. All right. So, with that as a given, these 3,800 franchised companies represent 136 separate industries. So, literally, many people think that the franchise business is all about fast food or motels. That's about 20%. The other 80% are everything that you can think of. Now, over the last 12, 15 months, the area that has become very popular is the whole franchise world in the home improvement area. Now, why is that? Everybody's been working out of the house. So, all those husbands that for years have been able to put off doing certain things in the home because they escape to work when their spouse says, "We need this done," there's no escape. So, what happened was over the past 12 to 15 months, there was a 70% increase in that business, and I'm talking about all different kinds of home improvement from the most simple things to an overall redo. So, a handyman franchise, an irrigation franchise, a franchise that has something to do...
We even have a franchise where they come and they clean out the sleeve off of your dryer because of the lint that gets caught. See, before, dryers used to be right up against the exterior wall and the sleeve was about 5 feet long. Today, many dryers are in someone's bedroom, so it's a good 30 to 40 feet of sleeve. So, lint can get caught in there and it's the number three cause for in-house fires or in-home fires. And the funny thing is the workforce that is more likely to go to work for this company are firefighters on their off time because they see many times they're called to houses to put out these fires. So, they become a built-in workforce for this particular kind of work.
Casey Weade: Well, I can see with thousands of different types of franchise opportunities out there how confusing this could be, 136 industries, as you said just a moment ago. I can see how you could be working with someone to drill down to maybe the right type of industry, maybe the right sector. But what are you doing, and maybe you're not doing this, what are you doing to actually connect people? Are you connecting people with, say, this particular franchise? This is the one that we should go with. How do you get to that point?
Bob Foley: Oh, that's exactly what a coach does because, again, we have an assessment tool that's specific for the franchise business. It will tell you if you're suited for franchising or not, number one. Number two, what it will do is it will drill down and it will tell you the kinds of industries that your background experience and personality would thrive in or not. And then once we get into that arena, we drill down in that generalized area probably to about 10 or 15 different franchises that would speak to the person. And then from that, they usually pick two or three and we recommend they start with one and drill down as far as they want with that. And many times, they drill down and get to the finish line and many times they drill down and halfway through they decide to move over to another one. Sometimes it takes people six months to make a decision. I've had people with me for 18 to 24 months before the new decision. And I've also had people, the majority of people that I've had with me in the franchise space don't buy a franchise.
Casey Weade: Would you say there's a common misconception the individuals have around franchising that they believe it's going to take a significant amount of capital in order to get into the franchise business? And that's not always the case, correct?
Bob Foley: That's correct. Everybody thinks when they think franchising, they think McDonald's, they think Burger King, they think Pizza Hut, and those franchises, you need $1.5 million to $2 million to be able to buy and to get one of those operating. The average franchise today costs somewhere around $150,000 to $200,000. All right. Now, keep in mind that the SBA has special programs for that on the lending side and the requirements for, say, 150,000 is called an express loan. And that SBA express loan, they're looking for about 40% down on 150,000 so $60,000 and they want you to have either nine months’ worth of funds set aside that can pay your monthly expenses, your mortgage, your car payment, whatever, or that your spouse is still working and they can cover it all or that you pick a franchise where you don't have to work at full-time and you can cover your living expenses because you're still working full-time. So, there's all sorts of different avenues to get there. And so, the big thing in franchising is you're buying a business model. That's what you're buying. And 150,000 or 200,000 sounds like a lot of money, and it is. But when you start to take a look at the fact that the business is going to last a good 10, 15, sometimes 20 years, it's an investment. It's an investment in your future, not a cost of your future. Because through that investment, you can hopefully, if you follow the steps correctly, that you'll have success with it.
Now, not everybody has success. There are always things that don't work out exactly the right way but the hope is that if you follow the system, the system will guide you through that and get you to the other side. The neat thing is, is that franchises are overseen by the Federal Trade Commission and they have to be 100% transparent about their brand and what's going on. And as part of the process, you get to talk to as many franchisees as you like and they share with you all their financial information. They share with you exactly what happened to them and how it happened. What they do is they give you real-life validation of what the franchise says is going to happen
Casey Weade: Well, I imagine there are some pitfalls to watch out for here. Some think, well, I'll just buy into a franchise and everything is going to be taken care of. I now have a business. However, it can be a full-time job. I think in the Chick-fil-A world, you're committing to a full-time job on site but there's probably somewhere it's not the case. What type of workload variability do you see in the franchise world?
Bob Foley: Well, if you take a business services franchise, a franchise like that, by and large, does not require full-time work. All right. If you take a real estate-centric franchise, and I'll give you, for instance, that you invest in a business that leases out spaces for cosmetologists or people that want to do nails, hair, or whatever, or people that buy into a franchise that leases out office space, something like WeWork or Regus, something like that. And there's a number of those. Those are the kinds that those operations have one employee. It's a real estate-centric kind of thing. You sign a long-term lease and you release property that you're responsible for.
Casey Weade: Yeah. Well, I'm afraid we're going to end up with a bunch of Retire with Purpose tribe members here running out and buying franchises now, which I hope by all means. If it's right for you, please go out there, explore this concept. Such a neat thing that you're doing for your clients, Bob. I don't think we've ever had another guest quite like yourself. I want to leave you with one last question, and that is, what does retirement mean to you?
Bob Foley: What retirement means to me is I finally have the opportunity to do the things I want to do, not have to do. And I also have the time to be able to spend time on the things that I always wanted to do, which is very family-centric and very centric around going back like, say, to Ireland, where my family originally came from and experiencing what life was like for them. And also meeting my cousins over there and finding out the kind of life that they lead. That kind of thing is all part of legacy and having to be able to have the time to do that now is absolutely exhilarating.
Casey Weade: Beautiful, Bob. Thanks so much for joining us. It was a real pleasure.
Bob Foley: Casey, same here. Thank you.