Opportunities Don’t Last.
I first became aware opportunities don’t last forever when “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, was traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings.
The second time, my long-term employment ended with the golden handshake; an excellent ride and no regrets.
Think and Plan an Exit Strategy
Even though Gretzky did not lose his job, he left a team that reflected his identity. However, many thought Wayne was untouchable and would be an Oiler forever. Gretzky knew he was a professional athlete, and staying with one team for your entire career is a rarity.
Gretzky is known for a famous saying; “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”
There is no doubt that Wayne knew where his profession would lead; therefore, developing a backdoor plan and an exit strategy was where his future was going.
How do I know Wayne was developing an exit strategy? His Dad told me.
I have never met Wayne Gretzky, but I meet his Dad, Walter.
Walter Gretzky was a humble guy. So it was my Great Pleasure to hear Walter speak.
Part of Walter’s presentation allowed us to ask questions, and I got to ask Walter a question.
As a big fan of Wayne Gretzky fan, Wayne retired too early from the NHL and his on-ice hockey career. (one-time Edmonton Oiler season ticket holder)
Gretzky retired with 2857 total points, 894 Goals, and 1963 assists.
My Question to Walter Gretzky?
“Walter, Wayne had 2857 total points, 894 goals, and 1963 assists; in his last three seasons in the NHL and with the New Your Rangers, Wayne averaged over a point a game.
Why did he not keep playing; go for 3000 total points; he could have quickly ended his career with over 1000 goals and 2000 assists?”
Walter; said he asked Wayne the same question.
Gretzky had developed an Exit Strategy. Wayne knew his on-ice hockey career would not last forever. Wayne retired in 1999; he had formulated a plan long before he retired.
For those who are not enormous hockey fans, Wayne Gretzky’s jersey number was 99. Wayne planned to retire in 1999; this was an exit strategy he did not share with many folks. Nevertheless, regardless of his ability and other records he could earn or break, he had set a date.
The Great One had been eyeing his office retirement plans for years. But instead, Wayne planned to use his experience with Team Canada and the Olympics and be in the front office with an NHL team.
In addition, Wayne was setting the bar again, and this time, I was paying attention.
Since being a player, Wayne has had many behind-the-hockey bench and hockey management roles.
The Parttime Purchase; Fulltime Exit Strategy
In 2002 we started to purchase investment real estate, but it was not an exit plan. My wife and I bought a vacation property, which included a vacation rental component. We purchased a vacation property in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
We had the great fortune to purchase a property with the correct vacation rental home zoning, and in addition, it offered revenue to offset some of our yearly expenses.
By 2005 we had purchased several more investment properties, but still no clear plan. However, the thought was to have additional retirement funds, not an exit strategy.
The Awakening Read
In 2006 I read a book that changed our investment real estate life; Real Estate Investing in Canada by Don R. Campbell. This book is timeless and should be a must-read book before retiring.
Should You Have an Exit Strategy?
Having a backdoor to your home is another way out and a safe escape route, both important.
Thanks to Wayne, I knew there was life after On-Ice Hockey or your career.
Use the skills and interests you have acquired along the way; develop an exit strategy above all.
Your Backdoor; Gives You a Different View of the World and a Reality Check
I did not keep our investment real estate business a secret; I did not share it with most people at work.
Investment in real estate was another method of investing. However, I did not know that sometime in the future, this would lead to a new career.
For instance, I have used my investment in real estate over the last six years to build and grow a small entrepreneurial investment real estate business.
Don’t give up your day job; use your current employee career to build a robust financial foundation; your lenders will look kindly to you securing investment real estate mortgages.
Remember to learn from Wayne and know that no matter how much you think you are valued, you are still an employee; the employer’s door will hit you in the rear end at some point.
Getting the Golden Handshake should not come as a surprise; above all, how you handle the next stage of your life is the tell-tale sign of your character.
Put yourself in the Skates of Wayne Gretzky and ask, “The Great One Question”:
What is your exit strategy?