I’d like to tell you about an entrepreneur in England who got filthy rich parking cars.
The scheme he employed is highly illegal so I am by no means recommending anyone follow his example but I find this story so fascinating, amusing and, well, possibly believable that I feel compelled to share it with you; and then I’d like to talk a bit about retirement.
Right, so here’s the story:
Outside Bristol Zoo in south-western England there is a car park that holds 150 cars and 8 buses and for the past 25 years the same parking attendant has been collecting P15 for each car that parked there and about P70 for every bus. Reportedly, he was very pleasant, he never missed a day and he never had a helper.
Then about a year ago, he just didn’t show up for work so the zoo manager called the city council and asked for another parking attendant to be sent to the facility. At that point the council did some research and discovered that the lot was in fact the zoo’s responsibility and they informed the zoo that the attendant who had been collecting fees in their name was not, and had never been, on the city payroll.
So evidently, somewhere in the south of Spain or in Brazil or maybe in the Tuli Block is a man who had a ticket machine installed completely on his own and simply showed up to accept something in the region of P6000 in parking fees each day; and if he did that every day for 25 years, he would have pulled in over P70 million…tax free.
Unbelievable, you say? Yeah, maybe; to tell you the truth, I’m not sure I buy it either as I got that story from a friend who likes to pass on e-mails with amazing information such as July won’t have five Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in the same month again for another 800 years…which of course is a load of bollocks.
All the same, I want this tale to be true as I like stories that make government officials look silly, but for my purposes today, it doesn’t really matter. What does is how you feel about this joker’s retirement decision.
What I’m driving at – as you may have guessed if you read the headline – is how much do you need to put away before packing in the day job? I mean, according to the story, this clown must have scored a minimum of P50 million and if he was clever enough to pull-off this scam then he probably invested his profits wisely; so my question is, why did he stay on the job for 25 years? If he got caught he would have lost everything he had stashed away and probably spent a very long time in prison.
I would hope most of you guys don’t risk such drastic penalties every time you show up for work and that your jobs are a bit more stimulating than collecting cash in a car park, and most of all I hope you have the luxury one day of choosing weather or not you want to retire.
I guess it comes down to deciding how much we value free time as opposed to how attached we are to making money. I can’t answer that one for you but I do think even people who truly love their jobs should at least consider the possibility of doing something else for a while before kicking the bucket.