There is something to be said for people that retire while they are still on top of their game. Whether they are in the business world, in the entertainment field, or competing in professional sports, it takes quite a bit of internal discipline to be able to step away. For whatever reasons, these people listed below—John Arnold, Louis Chenevert, Bill Gates, and Chris Reining—left their field while they were still at their peak.
Bill Gates founded Microsoft with his partner Paul Allen and eventually turned it into the world’s biggest software company. In the process of it all, Gates became one of the richest men in the world. Depending upon the research, he may actually be the very wealthiest. Not bad for a college dropout. While his appearance does not scream world leader, looks can be deceiving. He has a networth of $91 billion. It is difficult to fathom just how much money that actually is. His three children have definitely hit the parent lottery.
Gates made the decision to retire about ten years ago in 2008. At the time, he was only 52 years old. Give him proper credit, he also put away his golf clubs at the same time. He didn’t want to spend his retirement wasting away hours on the golf course. Instead he started with his wife the appropriately named the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The company focuses on changing education, solving health problems across the world, figuring out the next big thing in technology, and an array of other things. Not a bad way to spend retirement, focusing on your other loves and helping the fellow man.
Perhaps you have never heard of John Arnold. He made his impact in investing and then shortly retired at the age of 38 in 2012. Retiring before the age of 40 is a goal for many, but very few are able to achieve it. However, Arnold is worth a couple billion dollars, so he is sure going to be able to survive off of that.
Arnold turned himself into a bit of a living legend back when he was a portfolio manager with Centaurus Advisors. In 2006 alone, he generated a 317 percent return on his investments. During his first seven years, he routinely scored more than 50 percent returns every year. So what do you do when you are 38 years old and retired with a couple billion dollars in your bank account?
Give Arnold total credit, he started the Laura and John Arnold Foundation with his wife. In fact, he gave his wife top billing, earning himself probably a few brownie points at home. The Arnolds have already given away about $1.5 billion to charity, and they continue to give back. In 2010, they signed on with the Giving Pledge with the likes of Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk. The pledge is to eventually dedicate their majority of wealth to philanthropy.
Chris Reining is not a celebrity and famous, nor has he ever really worked at a very high paying job. He is just the everyday man and living in Madison, Wisconsin. But he achieved a goal of retiring before the age of 40 with more than a million dollars in his bank account.
Reining was working in IT and enjoying it, but just like most jobs, it started to become more of a chore than an enjoyment. In the beginning, he bought a condo and a fancy car and was living it up. But by his late 20s, he decided to make a change. He wanted to gain his freedom eventually from having to work. To do this, he wanted to have $1 million in his portfolio by the age of 35. He achieved this by saving and investing. At the age of 37, he said goodbye to being in the workforce.
Reining credits automation in helping him stick with his goals of saving. A portion of his paycheck was automatically sent into his retirement savings, another chunk went to all his bills, and whatever was left was invested wisely. What does he do since he retired? Anything he chooses.
Louis Chenevert (read our previous article on him here) graduated from university in Montreal and started working for General Motors. In his 14 years there, he raised through the ranks to become general production manager at one of their plants. Next, he was hired by Pratt & Whitney, an aerospace manufacturer, and would later become president there in 1999. But he wasn’t done raising through the ranks.
Pratt & Whitney was owned by the huge conglomerate United Technologies Corporation (UTC). Louis Chenevert would eventually become CEO and President of UTC in 2008. During the next six weeks, he helped turn UTC into a force in many fields. Their stock went up from $37 a share to $117 a share in his six year tenure.
Louis Chenevert retired, unexpectedly, in 2014 and decided to spend more of his time with his family, yachting, and working on the board at Yale Medicine in hopes of creating better ways to battle cancer. His retirement package allowed him to receive close to $200 million from UTC after only working with them for six years. He could have made even more if he would have stayed on, but at the age of 57, Louis Chenevert decided the time was right to step down.
For these men, they all decided to retire for different reasons. Some retired with billions of dollars and money to burn (we are looking at you, Bill Gates). Another retired once he reached his magic number of one million dollars in the bank. Everyone has their own idea on how much money they need to retire. Just remember, it is not about how much you make, but how much you tuck away for good investments. In addition, once you have your house paid off along with your other major loans, you will not need as much money to live off of. So live as if you are going to die tomorrow, but save as if you are going to live forever.