Mike Drak’s Findependence Day: next stop Victory Lap Retirement


Mike Drak

By Mike Drak

Friday July 29th will be a day that I will remember for the rest of my life. After thirty-eight years, I finally packed in my banking career. I suppose my co-author Jonathan would call this my Findependence Day!

To be honest, it will take some getting used to as my banking job played an important role in my life. It provided financial security for my family and gave me a good reason to get out of bed most mornings.

My career, like most careers, had its good and bad points. Overall though, it was a good ride and one that I will miss to some degree, but I had to leave in order to publish Victory Lap Retirement and create my blog.

Banks really don’t like it when employees write books or blogs because it might not align with the story that they are trying to convey. Banks get nervous when employees stand out and don’t fit in, when employees invent something that is outside the approved message.

Banks are very protective of their brand. They want the customer experience to be the same in every branch across the country. They want every employee to talk, walk and act the same. They desire a high degree of predictable sameness, as it’s easier to control.

Why banks still sell the old version of Retirement

This is not a bad thing at first blush, but it tends to stifle individual creativity, which is costly long term both to the bank and its customers. The danger is that you end up being like every other bank selling the same story and nothing much happens out of the ordinary. Maybe this is why the banks continue to sell the old version of retirement, as it’s easier to sell to the masses. Marketing to the few is not very cost efficient.

I believe my decision to leave was motivated by me finally gaining financial independence after many years of hard work and saving. Something happens to you once you gain financial independence. You see the world a little differently, you think a little bit differently and begin to search for a better way instead of just sticking to the script.

I guess you could say that the day that I achieved financial independence was the day I finally stopped ducking at work. I realized there was no way I could get my message out without being subjected to intense scrutiny and acquiring the necessary approvals. The book would have been tough enough, a blog would have been impossible.

I was surprised how easy it was to make the right move. After so many years of playing it safe, worrying about what my boss thought of me and always protecting my job, I was finally free again. Having freedom again felt so very very good and to think it only took thirty-eight years to get here!

Yes, Friday July 29th will always be an important date for me as that is when the handcuffs have finally come off. I’m finally free to explain exactly how I feel about things which will probably take a little getting used to after all those years. Wow! I wonder what I have inside me that is dying to get out. Stay tuned, it should be interesting!

Victory_Lap_Retirement_Front_CoverMike Drak is an author, blogger and speaker based in Toronto. He can be reached at michael.drak@yahoo.ca. Victory Lap Retirement, co-authored with Jonathan Chevreau, is now available for preorders online and should be available in bookstores early this fall. This blog is reprinted from Mike’s site with permission.

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