Mike Drak Interview: How to Have a Fun, Exciting, Meaningful, Never-Boring (Un) Retirement!
Diana Landau | March 02, 2021
Carl’s guest this week is Mike Drak, author of a new book, Retirement Heaven or Hell: 9 Principles for Designing Your Ideal Post-Career Lifestyle. Mike writes from personal experience, including an abrupt retirement, his struggle and adjustment, and then how he went on to design the (un)retirement of his dreams. His book is honest, funny and heartfelt. The book also details steps YOU can take to determine your next steps. Each chapter asks reflective questions and encourages you to dive deeper into knowing what you want in this stage of life. Most of all, he encourages everyone with helpful advice on how to live your 55+ best life.
Mike grew up in Toronto and still lives there today. He had been working in commercial banking for 36 years, starting right out of college. What he found rewarding about his career was working with start-up businesses. Many were small family businesses (and multi-generational). He truly enjoyed helping people and still does.
SO after 30+ years as a banker, Mike began to think about doing something else. But nothing could have prepared him for the way he found out he was leaving. He was called upstairs to go over projections, yet a young woman from HR was there with severance papers. Adding insult to injury, the bank asked him to say he was “retiring,” and then to save money, actually combined going-away parties with other employees. “I felt like I was going to my own funeral,” Mike said.
He struggled, not knowing what to do at first. “I decided to write the book because I knew a lot of people were going to struggle like I did when transitioning to retirement. I knew a lot of people didn't have a handle on what real retirement is and what it feels like.” Waking up at 4:30am every day to write, he grew very excited about the project. (And he also happened to develop daily writing practice.) His editor noted that he started out to write a retirement book and ended up writing a book about (un)retirement!
Today Mike is a 38-eight-year veteran of the financial services industry, working with his wife and still living in Toronto. He is also the bestselling author of Victory Lap Retirement, an award-winning blogger, public speaker and retirement lifestyle designer. His personal goals include training for a 2024 Iron Man triathlon and visiting his son in Australia, where they plan to face their fears and get in a cage with a Great White shark!
Mike’s “9 Principles” from his book offer great (un)retirement advice, but here’s the key: “You need something to retire to—don’t waste valuable (un)retirement time planning what to do. Do it now!”
Diana Landau is the Content Wrangler for Pickleball Media. After 15 years in corporate marketing, in 2012 she pivoted to write and wrangle content for Niche Media's weekly blog. She now manages the “I Used to Be Somebody” weekly blog.