by Jon LeSage, edi¬≠tor, Used Car Mar¬≠ket Reports
EDITOR‚Äôs NOTE: This an opin¬≠ion piece with spec¬≠u¬≠la¬≠tion on future plans for Beg¬≠gs and oth¬≠ers in the auto indus¬≠try.
Travis McGee may have set the tone for baby boomers enter¬≠ing the retire¬≠ment phase of their lives. McGee, the lead char¬≠ac¬≠ter in a series of John D. Mac¬≠Don¬≠ald mys¬≠tery nov¬≠els pub¬≠lished in the 1960s-to-1980s, lived on his boat The Bust¬≠ed Flush in Fort Laud¬≠erdale. McGee would get hired to do pri¬≠vate detec¬≠tive work ‚Äď or what his busi¬≠ness card described as a ‚ÄúSal¬≠vage Con¬≠sul¬≠tant‚ÄĚ ‚Äď to retrieve stolen mon¬≠ey and goods. Between those gigs, he lived as a ‚Äúbeach bum‚ÄĚ on his boat, and would take his retire¬≠ment ‚Äúin install¬≠ments.‚ÄĚ When he need¬≠ed the mon¬≠ey, or some¬≠thing live¬≠ly to do, he would take the job. Today, that might mean a boomer takes an ear¬≠ly retire¬≠ment but con¬≠tin¬≠ues on with what they‚Äôve always want¬≠ed to do ‚Äď tak¬≠ing their retire¬≠ment ‚Äúin install¬≠ments.‚ÄĚ
I was a bit sur¬≠prised to hear that Ricky Beg¬≠gs, Senior Vice Pres¬≠i¬≠dent and Edi¬≠to¬≠r¬≠i¬≠al Direc¬≠tor at Black Book, will be retir¬≠ing at the begin¬≠ning of April. Dur¬≠ing NADA 2015 in San Fran¬≠cis¬≠co, I inter¬≠viewed Beg¬≠gs and his col¬≠league, Anil Goy¬≠al (Vice Pres¬≠i¬≠dent of Auto¬≠mo¬≠tive Val¬≠u¬≠a¬≠tion and Ana¬≠lyt¬≠ics, who will take on the new lead¬≠er¬≠ship at Black Book). For many of us work¬≠ing in the auto indus¬≠try, Beg¬≠gs has become a remar¬≠ket¬≠ing icon speak¬≠ing at con¬≠fer¬≠ences and week¬≠ly on his Web¬≠cast videos. He and the Black Book research team have been track¬≠ing activ¬≠i¬≠ty in the auc¬≠tion lanes for years; Beg¬≠gs has been the voice of Black Book since start¬≠ing his auto¬≠mo¬≠tive career with them in 1981.
‚ÄúThe excite¬≠ment of the dai¬≠ly ever chang¬≠ing mar¬≠ket and espe¬≠cial¬≠ly the peo¬≠ple will be missed,‚ÄĚ Beg¬≠gs said in a Q&A with Black Book. Beg¬≠gs said that he won‚Äôt miss being jammed in the mid¬≠dle seat on flights or tak¬≠ing a ‚Äúred eye‚ÄĚ back from the west coast. It was worth it, though; he does feel blessed to have been part of it.
I would have thought Beg¬≠gs would be work¬≠ing for sev¬≠er¬≠al more years. I‚Äôve known a few col¬≠leagues who‚Äôve con¬≠tin¬≠ued work¬≠ing full-time well into their 70s. While I didn‚Äôt con¬≠tact him for com¬≠ments on this arti¬≠cle, I‚Äôm spec¬≠u¬≠lat¬≠ing that Ricky Beg¬≠gs will miss being part of Black Book and remar¬≠ket¬≠ing, and will con¬≠tin¬≠ue to have some¬≠thing to do with the busi¬≠ness. Don‚Äôt be sur¬≠prised to see him attend¬≠ing con¬≠fer¬≠ences and meet¬≠ings like those put on by the Nation¬≠al Auto Auc¬≠tion Asso¬≠ci¬≠a¬≠tion.
When I‚Äôve talked to col¬≠leagues, friends, and fam¬≠i¬≠ly mem¬≠bers about their retire¬≠ment plans, I‚Äôm usu¬≠al¬≠ly told about the next phase of their work¬≠ing lives (espe¬≠cial¬≠ly by males). That could be as a con¬≠sul¬≠tant work¬≠ing on projects in between trav¬≠els; or a con¬≠tract work¬≠er for their pre¬≠vi¬≠ous employ¬≠er con¬≠tribut¬≠ing their exper¬≠tise; or a sub¬≠sti¬≠tute school teacher; or a writer fin¬≠ish¬≠ing that book they‚Äôve put off all these years; or a stu¬≠dent fin¬≠ish¬≠ing up that degree or cer¬≠ti¬≠fi¬≠ca¬≠tion to go in a career direc¬≠tion they‚Äôve always want¬≠ed to pur¬≠sue.
Hav¬≠ing retire¬≠ment income in place, with med¬≠ical cov¬≠er¬≠age, helps quite a bit; but these days, you can typ¬≠i¬≠cal¬≠ly talk to a boomer about how their retire¬≠ment funds have been tapped into deep¬≠er than expect¬≠ed, and they need to go out and bring in more income for now. Besides, they were get¬≠ting bored watch¬≠ing that TV series off of Net¬≠flix.
One of my col¬≠leagues will be retir¬≠ing from an elec¬≠tric util¬≠i¬≠ty this spring, and will be start¬≠ing up as a con¬≠sul¬≠tant sup¬≠port¬≠ing growth in elec¬≠tric vehi¬≠cle (EV) charg¬≠ing. Mul¬≠ti-fam¬≠i¬≠ly dwellings, such as apart¬≠ments and con¬≠dos, is where he‚Äôs most con¬≠cerned that EV charg¬≠ing faces its biggest obsta¬≠cles and oppor¬≠tu¬≠ni¬≠ties; that‚Äôs where he‚Äôll bring his skillset and peer net¬≠work to make a dif¬≠fer¬≠ence.
Many of the same peo¬≠ple famil¬≠iar with Beg¬≠gs also know about Auto¬≠mo¬≠tive Digest Pub¬≠lish¬≠er Chuck Park¬≠er. The oth¬≠er day, I asked Chuck to share his thoughts on what it‚Äôs like to be a sea¬≠soned indus¬≠try vet¬≠er¬≠an who won‚Äôt be retir¬≠ing any¬≠time soon. That lead to him writ¬≠ing a com¬≠men¬≠tary in his usu¬≠al col¬≠or¬≠ful style, called ‚ÄúTop Twen¬≠ty Anti Retire¬≠ment Action¬≠ables to Be ‚ÄėLive‚Äô & Remain Alive.‚ÄĚ That will be pub¬≠lished soon in Auto¬≠mo¬≠tive Digest, but here are two of them‚Ä¶‚Ä¶‚Ä¶
- ‚ÄúReal¬≠ize that you will be missed at the office for no more than a week and they will blame every¬≠thing on you for at least a year after you are gone.
- Know that you are now an entre¬≠pre¬≠neur and that every¬≠thing you do is tax deductible.‚ÄĚ
Rick Sikes, Fleet Super¬≠in¬≠ten¬≠dent for the City of San¬≠ta Mon¬≠i¬≠ca, and Kei¬≠th Leech, Fleet Man¬≠ag¬≠er for the City of Sacra¬≠men¬≠to, announced their retire¬≠ments in Jan¬≠u¬≠ary. They‚Äôve been well known at NAFA Fleet Man¬≠age¬≠ment Asso¬≠ci¬≠a¬≠tion and for mak¬≠ing sig¬≠nif¬≠i¬≠cant con¬≠tri¬≠bu¬≠tions to clean trans¬≠porta¬≠tion. Sikes has played a lead¬≠ing role orga¬≠niz¬≠ing Alt¬≠Car Expo in San¬≠ta Mon¬≠i¬≠ca since its incep¬≠tion in 2005. Leech served as Pres¬≠i¬≠dent of the Sacra¬≠men¬≠to Region¬≠al Clean Cities Coali¬≠tion. I saw Sikes at the Long Beach Clean Cities meet¬≠ing last week, where he con¬≠firmed that he‚Äôll be stay¬≠ing active in the com¬≠mu¬≠ni¬≠ty. I also get the impres¬≠sion Leech will do the same in Sacra¬≠men¬≠to.
Now that the tail end of the baby boomer gen¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tion has turned 50 as of last year, researchers have been track¬≠ing how this gen¬≠er¬≠a¬≠tion has been rein¬≠vent¬≠ing their careers in phase two ‚Äď or phase three. AARP (for¬≠mer¬≠ly the Amer¬≠i¬≠can Asso¬≠ci¬≠a¬≠tion of Retired Per¬≠sons) fills its month¬≠ly mag¬≠a¬≠zine with celebri¬≠ty pro¬≠files where Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Bob Dylan, and Har¬≠ri¬≠son Ford con¬≠tin¬≠ue lov¬≠ing their work and tak¬≠ing on projects. Clint East¬≠wood, 84, didn‚Äôt win an Oscar for ‚ÄúAmer¬≠i¬≠can Sniper,‚ÄĚ but we do expect him to make anoth¬≠er movie ‚Äď he loves doing it. AARP tracks demo¬≠graph¬≠ic research and finds that the fastest-grow¬≠ing seg¬≠ment in the work¬≠force will be 65-to-74 year olds; with some Amer¬≠i¬≠cans work¬≠ing well into their 90s.
I start¬≠ed my prac¬≠tice, LeSage Con¬≠sult¬≠ing, last year in Jan¬≠u¬≠ary at age 50. I was waf¬≠fling over it when my sig¬≠nif¬≠i¬≠cant oth¬≠er, who at age 51 had start¬≠ed a two-year master‚Äôs degree pro¬≠gram in project man¬≠age¬≠ment, gave me a reminder. I had com¬≠mit¬≠ted to keep¬≠ing my word, she said. (‚ÄúActions speak loud¬≠er than words,‚ÄĚ as my father used to say). So I took that plunge and haven‚Äôt regret¬≠ted it. I won‚Äôt be get¬≠ting any younger.
Nobel Prize win¬≠ning chemist (and cham¬≠pi¬≠on of vit¬≠a¬≠min C as a heal¬≠ing agent) Linus Paul¬≠ing offers a telling sto¬≠ry ‚Äď right up there with Travis McGee. In 1973 he co-found¬≠ed a Cal¬≠i¬≠for¬≠nia research insti¬≠tute devot¬≠ed to the study of the health effects of vit¬≠a¬≠min C and oth¬≠er nutri¬≠ents. He con¬≠duct¬≠ed research there until his death from can¬≠cer in 1994, at age 93. I‚Äôve always had a hunch I‚Äôll end up trav¬≠el¬≠ing down the same path as Linus Paul¬≠ing, Chuck Park¬≠er, and Travis McGee.