Tony, and fizz, came to The Drawing Room in Bath to talk about not retiring. The importance of staying active, not taking health for granted, and taking on new challenges including starting a new business when most people are thinking of laying out the deck chairs and eating ice creams with the grandchildren.
the retireista project is a must-read guidebook for all men wanting to get the best out of the best years of their lives.
Divided into sections that mirror those here on our website, the retiresta project includes anecdotes, case studies, advice and checklists for the reader in an upbeat, friendly style. It redefines retirement as a positive, energised and dynamic life stage we can all aspire to once our conventional working life is over.
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Welcome to The Silver Fox entrepreneurs Podcast, a series of interviews to inform, inspire and support men later in life, who wants to start their own enterprise for profit. And for pleasure. I'm your host, Jim James. And I've recently returned to the UK after 24 years in Asia as an entrepreneur. Today we're talking with Tony Colston, author of Retireista with the able supporter fits the companion for the day, if you hear any barking, Tony, Tony Colston, the Retireista project and wonderful job. Tell us a little bit about yourself and the Retireista projectTony Colston:
Well, the Retireista project is simply a tool to helping people transition from their conventional working life into what's what's called a known as retirement. And we've basically gone about trying to give people some tools to really get the best out of the best years of their lives. And the retirees the word itself was born from the fact that retirement is a, that was a dog, by the way. The retirement as a word, it's got all these negative connotations, it's all about stopping, closing down withdrawing. So we came up with this word of Retireista, gave you a positive spin for for to try and get into the dictionary. And it's, it's about encouraging people to be active and to think about what they want to do in the later years of their lives. So we wrote a book, we put a website together. And that's it. We just started the process of trying to get the word retirees to acknowledged as being something that's a game changer in terms of getting people to make more of their lives later on. And also trying to get people to really think about what we think are the six major elements of retirement and getting on and getting the best out of the best years of their their later lives.Jim James:
Go to having heard read it. I found it very, very informative. And I'm so entering the pre retirees to age group mission six items you want to share with us. What are those six? He's got the book out now. Double check what all six are?Tony Colston:
Yeah, memories, number seven. Yeah, I the, what we felt were the kind of major elements of getting it right. And really helping people make the most of their, their later lives. There's home, you know, where do you want to live? Why do you want to live there? What reasons? Have you thought about it? Is it to be near the grandchildren? Is it to near the beach? There's a whole whole load of reasons as to where you want to where you might want to live? But has that been made as a an emotional thing? Because you've always wanted to live by the seaside? Is it made? Because actually you fancy living by the grandchildren? But what does that entail? And will you become the babysitter? seven days a week. So it's about trying to encourage people to think about where they might want to be spending the the, their later years. And it may be you want to go and live by the beach now. And later on, you might want to go and live in a sheltered housing scheme. But think about it, try and get it right, because it's just a painful process every time you go through it. Second one was health. And health from our point of view is absolutely critical. In 2017, as I said, we've we've sold our business in 2018. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer in February and Parkinson's in March. So you just never know what's around the corner. So don't take it for granted. Live life for today and really make the most of it and try and leave as lead as healthy life as possible. Finance was the other one was one of the other ones that finances is critical is you know, how much money have you got? How long do you need it to last? And we give some thoughts and tips in there as to how you might want to go about approaching how you think about and how you manage your finance. Yeah, the health is great, the home is great. finances are actually critical in helping you really make the most of all of those elements.Jim James:
And today we're talking before you sort of how, for example, with finance. You've worked on some quite interesting plans and well perhaps more approachable for people that are not financially minded on the show. You talk about these 10 year blocks that you and your wife decided to create as well.Tony Colston:
Yeah when we when we looked at the finance part in its entirety, you know, you've got assets, bricks and mortar, you've got your house, but you don't necessarily want to be selling that. Downsizing, yes, always an option. But you do want somewhere to live. And we looked at it in terms of okay. 10 year blocks, 60 to 70, 70 to 80, 80 to 90, and then from 90 onwards, we really weren't too worried. What 60 to 70? How much would we want to be able to spend every month to be able to get the lifestyle that we wanted? All those holidays that we might want? The activities that we might want to undertake? on how much would we actually need? So we took the pot, and we split it over those three blocks. And we came to a decision that, okay, 60 to 70, our annual expenditure would be x 70 to 80, it would be less, maybe why an 80 to 90, it would be even less. And it's at least given us a starting point in terms of budgeting as to how we can spend our pension pot.Jim James:
Now, obviously, that that assumes that we have a fixed income amount, drawdown for what about starting your own business later on in life, because that is also an option. What we're really talking about with entrepreneurs is that it's never too late to start. What's your experience, there? Are people actually starting businesses in retirement.Tony Colston:
Or we've talked to a lot of people who have started businesses in retirement. There's a lot of people who are coming out of retirement or sorry, coming into retirement 50, 55 out of the forces, of civil service, whatever the their conventional working life is, but actually the opportunity to start your own business. It's just, you know, it's just huge. What do you do? How do you do it? What finances you're going to need to do it? Yeah, all really tough questions that you need to answer. And obviously silverfox is going as going about helping people trying to address those situations. But the opportunities are there. You've just got to go and say, Okay, what do I fancy doing? How am I going to do that? We live in Lyme Regis. What do we find in Lyme Regis? huge number of people that go, we'll do a b&b we'll do a coffee shop. Okay. Some people get it right. Some people get it massively wrong. It's Yeah, they are things that you really need to think about whatever type of business that you're going to go into, because it will soak up your resources financially, or soak up your energy. And actually, you do want to get it right first time, ideally.Jim James:
And where can people go to find guidance advice we do our own about mentorship, because there's a lot of sort of young startup, tech startup funding and advice that wasn't hard for people later on in life, where would they go to get that kind of support?Tony Colston:
I think certainly organizations like silverfox are going to be a great starting point to try and give people some direction to try and give people some focus and get people to think about the outcomes. Beyond that, there are various organizations around the UK that will help you with mentors. In Dorset, for example, there's an organization called Dorman who offer mentoring programs to anyone that's starting up a new business does matter what whatever whatever age you are, and the use the resources that are there to help you develop the ideas that you've got.Jim James:
Even places like Age Concern, has got a job program and an entrepreneur program for people over 55. So it seems that the government has got more and more interest and local area authorities we've got more interest as well and supporting people and the Prince's Trust us to have an initiative for older people. You mentioned earlier on that. You're doing mentoring, trying to share more about how does mentoring work? If someone's out there looking at starting a company, you've obviously had a lifetime of entrepreneurship. Someone's got an idea. What would they get from a mentor and a mentor program?Tony Colston:
I'll give an example. I mean the door Dorman and endorse that mentoring program. You can apply to them and there's a charge now with think of I think it's 200 pounds for a year. And that basically that sorted out a lot of people who were applying for it and actually not really interested in it but just thought it was a good idea. So he kind of saw we'd sort the wheat from the chaff. And promote a good mentor what you'll get is you will get guidance, you will get People who will test you, they will challenge you, they will ask you all the awkward questions, they will encourage you to think outside of the outside of the box that you may have just been operating in. And at the end of an hour, hour and a half, or whatever it is, you will have a two or three actions that you will be responsible for looking at and, and doing until before your next meeting. So it's always result results orientated. There's always an outcome every month that you should be looking for and say, Yes, we thought about this, we've talked about that. And this is what we're going to focus on and address over the next few weeks. So it's a very focused process to help you develop your ideas,Jim James:
New sell for an entrepreneur for life. Tony maybe share a little bit about what businesses you started and you and your wife have started.Tony Colston:
Well, I was involved in the travel business originally. And we then I went off with a partner started up a motivation, consultancy. I then went into corporate life for six years as head of international marketing development for financial services company. And in where are we 96. just decided, actually, I needed to go back out and do my own thing. So I started up another events business. And that didn't go particularly well, for the initial few months, we then got involved with helping inventors develop their product, we raised help them raise money, we took their products to market, we did that for probably five or six years alongside running events as well. And yeah, I mean, it was a fascinating time, we learnt an awful lot, we raised quite a lot of money, we got some interesting products to market. And then unfortunately, two of the projects that we were working on bombed both within six months of each other. And that took us down to a new level of poverty, which we hadn't actually previously experienced. So when you start selling your bits around your house to go to work via car boot sales so that you can afford to buy food and stuff. That's that's where it gets interesting.Jim James:
Yeah. And that's the reality of entrepreneurs is it doesn't work at the beginning. And sometimes it doesn't work at all. What were some of the sort of tools or ways of thinking that you use to try and climb back out of that place? Because it can either get down and slow? or flat? Or you got to start to get sent again, haven't you?Tony Colston:
Yeah, you know, you've got to keep the positive attitude. Because you know, when you are running, rummaging around the house, what are we going to sell next. And when you get down to I think we were left with a garden furniture set to green chairs and a green table, a bed and a wardrobe. And that's kind of what we were left with. But you just got to keep a positive attitude. And at the same time we were running this events business. It was pretty quiet. Not a lot was happening. But we had faith in it. And we just hustled, we went out there and we knocked on doors, we networked as much as we could, we got one lucky break. And from that one lucky break, we created a business that we ran for the next 15 odd years. And it looked after us very, very well. We traveled all over the world, which we had some fantastic events that were ended up with us buying a restaurant in 2008 in the crash. So no, we were very, very lucky. But it's just don't give up. Just keep hustling.Jim James:
And then this is taught from an intimate relationship with your wife, because he's come up a lot. And it's very important. And for all of us that are entrepreneurs later on and who are married, that relationship's pivotal, really to the well being of the family. How did you manage the stress that comes about from running a company that's not doing well? Because relationships, when money's coming in tend to be fine. When the money is going out, and there are priorities to set and what to sell. For example, I just talked to us a bit about how did you and your wife on sort of a daily basis or weekly basis navigate the stress?Tony Colston:
We were very very lucky. We are like-minded people. We both have a positive attitude. We both deal with difficult situations in a way that says you know, 'it's a problem, we've got to solve it just get on and do it.' It isn't always about looking about oh what if if this is going to be a terrible situation. It's about, okay, what's the best we can make at this situation? So from that point of view, I think we were very, very lucky. It's very, very challenging. If you are not both of that ilk, you know, it only needs one partner to be the half, the glass is half empty, versus half full. Yeah, it can cause some very, very tricky situations.Jim James:
And then in terms of where you're hoping to sort of add value for people with the Retireista project to and to share, what would you like to be creating as part of your legacy? Having built businesses, recreated businesses and recreate your life? What was your vision for the next five years?Tony Colston:
Interesting question. Okay. So the legacy is really from the Retireista project as a whole, whether it's the book, whether it's the website, it's to get people to think about getting the best out of the best years of their life. It's giving them some tools, and some thoughts on what they might want to think about how they might want to think about it, what sort of outcomes they want from it. But actually, you know, make the most of it. Because this is the later years of your life, you don't know what your health is going to be like, you don't know what your finances are going to be like, you can always you may as planned as much as you can, but stuff happens. So it's encouraging people to really focus on, yes, I do really want to get the best out of the best years of my life. How do I go about doing it? And I just got to do it. I don't want to keep talking about it. I don't want to keep thinking, I'll do it tomorrow. You just get on and do it.Jim James:
Tony Colston, that was a pleasure to have had you with us today. Could you share if you want to find out more about you and the retirees too. But where can they go?Tony Colston:
Thanks, Jim, I really appreciate the opportunity to to talk to you today. And for those of you that are approaching retirement or are in the early stages of retirement, I'd encourage you to just have a look at what we've come up with we've got a website, retireista.com we've got a book, which is available on the website and on Amazon, the Retireista project yes, it does say on the front cover the must read Practical Guide for men wanting to get the best out of the best years of their lives. Don't be misled by that. The idea is is that my wife will be writing a book about women wanting the best years of their lives. The help, the guidance, the tips in here applied basically to everyone. It's just actually men are probably slightly worse at getting themselves organized later in the later part of their lives than women, mainly because women are just much more skilled at being multitasking and doing 100 jobs at once as opposed to the men. So yes, buy the book, go visit the website. What's coming on the website will be podcasts, talking about people who've been in various situations so that you've got some tips and guidance, some experience from people have either started their own businesses, or have been through the hoops. videos will also be coming. So it's early days from our point of view in terms of the business. But yeah, it's, it's you just need to get out there and do stuff and do the right stuff. So thank you again for the opportunity. Jim.Jim James:
Tony, thanks very much indeed. Do subscribe or leave a rating for more information, please visit Silverfoxentrepreneurs.life and drop me an email. I'd love to hear from you. And maybe we can get you on the podcast and share what you know, or let me know what you'd like to know. Thank you once again, have a great day.