Robert and Sonia Koudelka have a philosophy that guided them in their careers, second careers (you read that right), and what they do in retirement:
“Get off your butt and do it.”
Whether it’s playing golf five times a week, cruising through the Caribbean, making memories with the grandkids, or taking up a new hobby later in life, Robert and Sonia are enjoying their Golden Years to the fullest.
But it’s no surprise as that’s what they’ve done their entire lives. We talk about what got them to this point, as well as…
The three things you need when you retire – and money is just part of it
Why it’s never too late to pursue your passion in life
The danger of saying “I’ll wait until I retire”
A mentor you need to help you with financial matters
John Curry: Hey, folks. John Curry here for another episode of John Curry's Secure Retirement podcast. I'm sitting here with two friends that I've known for 28 years. Sonia and Bob Koudelka, and I am looking forward to this because these folks retired at a young age, have done some travel that'll blow your mind. Hope we get into that today. But first, Sonia, Bob, welcome.
Robert Koudelka: Thank you.
Sonia Koudelka: Thank you.
Robert Koudelka: Our pleasure.
John Curry: I've been looking forward to this. Sonia, let's talk with you, ladies first. Would you tell us a bit about your background, how you and Bob met because of the career he had, your involvement. Just tell us a bit about who you are.
Sonia Koudelka: Well, first of all, I grew up in New Jersey. I went to Montclair State College in New Jersey. It's a teacher's college. I met Bob, who was at Stevens Institute of Technology, at a fraternity party. One thing led to another, and we became engaged my senior year of high school.
Robert Koudelka: College.
Sonia Koudelka: Of college. And from there we were married. I graduated in August and we were married. Well, I graduated in June. We were married in August, and we then moved about every two to three years as he was working his way up the corporate ladder with Union Carbide.
John Curry: Very good.
Sonia Koudelka: Let Bob continue on.
John Curry: I want to come back to that in a moment to talk about ... Because you started your career then at Union Carbide. Tell us a little about your background, Bob. Where did you grow up?
Robert Koudelka: I was born in New York City, spent the most of my childhood years in Queens, and went to Stevens Institute of Technology, as my wife says, and graduated with an engineering degree, and got a job with Union Carbide. It was in a development lab at Union Carbide. I was taking interviews for mostly marketing and sales positions, and someone said, "But if you start in marketing and sales, you'll be available to move back into something else that you might be good at and enjoy." So I started thinking about that and I said, "Okay, I'll go with Union Carbide and I'll be a development engineer." So I was working in areas of steel making, ore extraction, liquid nitrogen and freezing of foods. I have two patents, a very exciting time. Stayed there for about five years and moved to Hibbing, Minnesota where we had a process to a mine iron ore.
From Hibbing, Minnesota, we went to Birmingham, Alabama. Then we went from Birmingham, Alabama to Chicago, from Chicago to Hibbing, from Hibbing to Belgium, from Belgium to Connecticut, from Connecticut to Houston, from Houston to Connecticut. I'm probably skipping one or two places.
Sonia Koudelka: New Jersey.
Robert Koudelka: Huh?
Sonia Koudelka: And then back to New Jersey.
Robert Koudelka: Back to New Jersey where it all started. It's a weird way to go, isn't it? And basically decided that I wanted to do something else other than climb the corporate ladder through marketing and general management jobs and that kind of thing. And then decided that I wanted to teach college history. We had a condo in Destin, Florida and I wanted to find a university that was a convenient accessibility to Destin, Florida because we liked Destin. And so we chose Florida State and moved to Tallahassee in 1991 where we met this guy over here. And I went in and I had to get a master of arts degree in history because all I had was a mechanical engineering degree and a master's in physical metallurgy from Stevens. So, I did that, took all my classes to get the doctorate. Florida State wanted me to teach there, so I did for about almost five years, and then decided that we should do a little more traveling. We wanted to see the world.
Sonia Koudelka: Well, now, wait a minute. While he was in school.
John Curry: Right. I was going to say, let's back up because I want to hear more before you get to the FSU story. Go ahead, Sonia.
Sonia Koudelka: Well, while he was in school, I thought, "Hmm. Wouldn't it be nice if I decided to go back to school." I had been teaching after we got married, and of course, had to leave teaching because we were traveling, as you heard, every two years.
John Curry: What were you teaching?
Sonia Koudelka: Business education courses. So I decided to go back to school because I've always been interested in working with the poor. And so I decided to get a master's degree in social work. So we had a good time. While he was at Florida State and I was at Florida State, we would meet in the quad and have lunch together, and he would carry my books to my next class.
John Curry: That's amazing. And you're in your 50s here, right?
Sonia Koudelka: Yes, that's right.
John Curry: This is happening.
Robert Koudelka: We were in our 50s.
John Curry: So think about what you're hearing, folks. You got people who had a career, and then you retire. So instead of just retiring and doing nothing, you retired and went back to school, both of you.
Sonia Koudelka: Yes, we did.
John Curry: Interesting.
Sonia Koudelka: And we had such a good time with the young people.
John Curry: I bet you did.
Sonia Koudelka: They were so accepting of us. We attended a lot of parties then.
John Curry: So this is like …
Robert Koudelka: 27 again.
John Curry: ... going back in time.
Sonia Koudelka: Yes, it was.
John Curry: That had to be fascinating.
Sonia Koudelka: Yeah, we had a good time. We really did.
Robert Koudelka: It was very interesting competing against the 26 to 28 year olds who were making their living and wanting to make a living in teaching, and teaching history at the college level. I just was there to learn how to do it because it's always been a passion of mine. Since I was a teenager, I've read history books and not having any problems at all with wanting to ... I wanted to actually be a history professor when I graduated from high school, but circumstances intervened and I got an engineering degree. So I had a chance to do what I wanted to do back then.
John Curry: Let's back up, and we'll come back in a moment. Sonia, talk to us a little bit about ... How difficult was it raising a family, moving as much as you had to because of Bob's career? Talk about that for a minute. Or was it difficult?
Sonia Koudelka: At times, it was. I think the most difficult time was to leave New Jersey and moved to Minnesota, and leave my family behind. I think that was probably the hardest. Then after that, it just got easy.
John Curry: Did you have Bob and Steve at that point?
Sonia Koudelka: We only had one child. We had our oldest son at that time. It was interesting. It was fun. You had to make it fun. It got to a point where houses were just houses.
John Curry: So, it wasn't a home. You're just there temporarily.
Sonia Koudelka: No, it was a house, and it was a temporary place. We tried to make it a home per se. If things weren't done in the house in the first six months, they were never going to get done because we were going to be leaving. And then when we moved from Minnesota to Birmingham, Alabama, I thought I'd died and went to heaven because of the weather. The weather was absolutely glorious there. The azaleas were in bloom, where in Minnesota, it was still snowing, that kind of thing. I think I looked at it as a fun time, an exciting time, and we grew as a family. There was no question about that. Being away from our extended family, we had to learn to depend on one another. I think that was really important. It made us very close.
Robert Koudelka: And our second son was born in Birmingham.
Sonia Koudelka: Yes, and our second son was born in Birmingham.
John Curry: Very good. Very good. All right. Bob, back to what you were saying, let's talk about what led up to you retiring at such a young age. I think you told me 52, right?
Robert Koudelka: Yeah.
John Curry: Why did you retire at such a young age? What was the motivation?
Robert Koudelka: Corporate politics, frankly. We had two guys who were senior vice presidents. I worked for one of them and the other guy got the president's job, and I realized, at the time, that I was not going to be looked upon with promotional favor. And I said, "I've had enough of this." I could do what I wanted to do, and I was a youngster. And so what I did was enroll at Florida State. Kind of interesting, at Florida State, they quiz me when I applied. They said, "You've never taken a history course or college." I said, "That's correct." "And you had no experience in your humanities classes with history?" And I said, "Very small." So they said, "Well, we're going to have to accept you on a provisional basis." And I said, "What does that mean?" "Well, you're going to have to get a B in all your courses when you take ... "
I said, "That's okay. I think I can handle that." But then I took the GREs and got significant grades in the GREs. I got a nice call from the dean's secretary saying, "You're no longer provisional entry. Your grades were high enough on those two tests to say you're welcome to our program." So I got a master's of arts in history, and then studied for the PhD, and started teaching at Florida State, and loved the experience until I got to the point where they gave me 129 students in a very large classroom all by myself my second year. And I said, "Well, this is ... " Well, you had to work like crazy. You had to get certain things done. And then the next year, they gave me 129 again, and I said, "Why do I get the big coliseum here? And I have 129 ... " The secretary of the dean said, "If you had 130, we'd have to give you a teaching assistant." I said, "Okay, you can cross that out if you want."
John Curry: That's funny.
Robert Koudelka: So I taught there for, as I said, almost five years, and then decided to really retire. Maybe you want to comment about that? Oh, you just did. You did say that we went to school together, didn't you?
Sonia Koudelka: Well, after I got my MSW, I really wanted to go into private practice, but I didn't know what he was going to do, and you needed to spend two years under a tutelage of someone. I didn't know how long we were going to be in Tallahassee because I didn't know how long he was going to teach. I never knew what he was going to do. After a year and said, "I've had enough of this."
John Curry: You were so used to being a vagabond, huh?
Sonia Koudelka: There you go. So I wound up working for the guardian ad litem program, and really enjoyed that.
Robert Koudelka: For about nine years.
Sonia Koudelka: Yeah, almost nine years.
John Curry: I remember you doing that.
Sonia Koudelka: Yeah. And wound up being volunteer of the year one year. So that was quite an honor, and found it to be very, very rewarding. We came down here to The Villages on a lark. We just had heard about this place, and decided that we would just get away for a few days from Tallahassee. They had a special program here where you could stay in one of the nice homes, and they would give you money, per se, fun money, and you could rent a golf cart and go to the movies. You could play golf. You could do whatever you wanted to do, go out to eat. So we rented a golf cart and we were riding around the facility, and this man over here says, "This is really nice here. It's very well maintained." And he said, "If we don't do this now, we'll probably do it in a couple of years." I said, "What? What?"
John Curry: I remember that conversation. When he came back and we had our review, we were talking about that. I was shocked.
Sonia Koudelka: I went, "You got to be kidding me." I said, "Well, why would we wait? If this is what you really want to do, well then, let's do it." Well, we started looking at houses and wound up buying a house.
Robert Koudelka: That same week.
John Curry: That was 14 years ago. Right?
Sonia Koudelka: 14 years ago.
Robert Koudelka: That's correct.
John Curry: That's cool. Let's hit the pause button here for a second, and analyze what we've heard so far. You got this couple. They meet they get married very young. Traditional family from the standpoint, the husband goes off and has his career. You weren't working then.
Sonia Koudelka: No.
John Curry: You were just building a family.
Sonia Koudelka: Right.
John Curry: So then you end up retiring. You move to Tallahassee. You both go to college. So you're like high school or college sweethearts walking around on campus. This is so cool. And then you decide you want to teach. So you teach and do something that you'd always wanted to do, but got on the back burner. So you retire.
Robert Koudelka: That's correct.
John Curry: And you say, "I'm going to go back and you fire up this passion again, and go to work at learning the history and teaching."
Robert Koudelka: And I did it.
John Curry: Then you decide to retire. What'd you call it? Really retire, I think you said a moment ago, fully retire. So talk to us a little bit about your passion for travel. Then I want to come back to your art in a minute. But Sonia, over the years, every time we get together for dinners or something, you're always talking about the traveling you do. So let's talk about that some. What are some of those memorable trips you remember being on? Because it seems like you were going on a cruise almost every month to me.
Sonia Koudelka: Yeah. Well, it is kind of interesting because I thought I'd never want to cruise. Being on a ship with all those people out in the water, oh my gosh.
Well, when Bob retired, he said, "What do you want to do? You want to do something different?" And he said, "How about if we take a cruise to Bermuda?" Now, we went there on our honeymoon and I thought, "I could buy that. Leaving New York Harbor, going to Bermuda, yeah, okay." Well, we did and we really enjoyed it. We were bitten by the cruise bug. There was no question about that. But in addition to that, we also wanted to go places where we would learn something about the culture of the area that we were visiting. Not only have we done a lot of cruising, but we also have done a lot of touring in China, in Turkey, in Egypt. Help me out here.
Robert Koudelka: Australia, New Zealand.
Sonia Koudelka: Yeah, Australia, New Zealand, Tibet.
Robert Koudelka: Well, when we went to China, she said, "If we're here in China, I want to go to Tibet." So what did I say? "Yes, dear."
Sonia Koudelka: So we did that. And yes, we have really enjoyed the chance to go all over the world.
Robert Koudelka: Well, it's interesting, though. We were stationed in Belgium for almost three years, doing things with the Benelux. The company gave a 30% addition to your basic salary because you were in a different situation with different exposures, and maybe needed some additional money. So Sonia and I sat down and we said, "We could save this money and buy better housing when we get back home, or we can use it for travel." Well, this friendly little girl says, "Oh, I want to travel with the money." Well, we traveled all over Europe. We traveled ... You name it in Europe, we were probably there except Scandinavia. We had a really good time in Greece and places like that, and all over England and places like that. It was well done. But then when we got back home from being away for three years, we had already sold our house in Houston at the time. We came back, and we were going to buy a house in Connecticut. Well, then we said, "Ooh, we should have saved some of our money, because look at the price of these houses in Connecticut." So we splurged and did the best we could, and played at tight for a while, but somehow we survived.
John Curry: Thinking back on that, do you think that was the right decision, to go spend the money and do the travel while you had the opportunity, while you're healthy? Any regrets of doing that?
Sonia Koudelka: Not at all.
Robert Koudelka: None at all.
John Curry: I think it's the opposite that's the problem. I've been doing my business ... I'm in my 45th year now on the retirement planning side.
Robert Koudelka: Time to retire.
John Curry: Well, I don't want to retire. I could never retire. I'll be like George Burns, still working at a hundred, but on my terms. But I see people who keep saying, "Well, I won't do this. I'll wait till I retire. I'll wait until I retire." And then one of them get sick or there's an injury or something, and they can't enjoy it. But you did the opposite, at a young age, traveled, did a lot of stuff.
Sonia Koudelka: Yeah. We were fortunate to be able to do that. But then again, we moved a lot too. Oh my gosh, we moved.
Robert Koudelka: I think we have 14 different homes in the process of going from 1960, when I started, to 1991, when I retired the first time.
John Curry: Wow. 14.
Robert Koudelka: And that was moving around. In some places, we'd spend 11 months. And other places, we'd stay three or four years, so it averaged out.
John Curry: I can hear some people now, saying, "Wait a minute. If I had to move that much, I don't think I'd ever travel again."
Robert Koudelka: Really, I don't equate moving with traveling.
Sonia Koudelka: That's different.
Robert Koudelka: Traveling was a pleasure. Moving was a general pain in the butt.
John Curry: It was just a condition of your employment.
Robert Koudelka: Yes. In a lot of ways, if you're climbing the corporate ladder, you got to move around. You couldn't stay in one place. That's what I was attempting to do, and I'm semi successful in it.
John Curry: All right. Let's talk about The Villages. You decided to move to The Villages, and you got interested in golf, and you play golf on a regular basis. Tell us about that.
Sonia Koudelka: Yes.
John Curry: You didn't play golf until you moved here, right?
Sonia Koudelka: Well, that's not true. Actually, in Birmingham.
Robert Koudelka: But it's more true than it's not.
Sonia Koudelka: Yes. In Birmingham, I had some friends in our neighborhood that played a lot of golf. We belonged to a country club there and the club pro lived on our street. And so through some urging, they said, "Why don't you come out and take some lessons, and see if you like it?" Which I did, but I found out with young children, you can't go out and play 18 holes of golf and have lunch. It just wasn't working out. And so I did play for a while there, and actually learned to play there. Then when we got here in The Villages, and all the golf courses that we have, then I picked it up again, and I love it. I actually love it. At one point, I was playing five days a week.
John Curry: Wow. I remember one time I got to play with you and your friends.
Sonia Koudelka: Yeah, you did.
John Curry: It was a fun day. It was fun.
Sonia Koudelka: We had a good time.
John Curry: Bob, were you playing much golf when you first moved here?
Robert Koudelka: Well, being raised in New York City and playing stoop ball and American handball, and that kind of thing, you get a different slant on things. Golf wasn't at the head of the agenda. In fact, for me, it's never been really at the head of the agenda because when you start having kids ... I used to like to coach them. Baseball, soccer ... I played three sports in college, soccer, squash and baseball. So when the kids were playing anything close to those two things, I was happy to become the manager of the team and do that with them because I could spend more time with them. And so we enjoyed that.
One thing I'd like to add, though, is that our two sons had six grandkids, and each of these grandkids, at 10 years old, we invited them on a cruise with us. We love to cruise, and we assumed that they would love to cruise. We did have let them choose where they wanted to go. One chose Alaska. One chose the Eastern Caribbean. One chose the Western Caribbean. One wanted to go to Paris. We said, "Oh no, not yet." So she took a Disney cruise, but every time one of the six grandkids hit 10 years old, we had a week with them away from their parents, away from their siblings, and really had a chance to get to know them. They still talk about it. So traveling with your grandkids on a cruise is a very positive experience for us.
Sonia Koudelka: And we've been very fortunate that their parents would allow them to go with us.
Robert Koudelka: That's true.
Sonia Koudelka: That was big.
Robert Koudelka: That was very pleasurable.
John Curry: That's building memories.
Robert Koudelka: Oh, boy.
Sonia Koudelka: Yes. It is.
John Curry: Long after we're dead and gone, our grandchildren, our great grandchildren will remember the things that they did with us, and the feeling they have long, long ... More than they'll remember anything we leave, physically.
Sonia Koudelka: Exactly.
John Curry: And it's more important to them. Heck, probably most of the stuff we leave behind, they don't want. But they want those memories and they'll always have that.
Robert Koudelka: Interesting. We were on a cruise with a fifth grandchild, and I collect things. I have history books. I have a coin collection, stamp collections, things. I collect things. I even collect sand from around the world. I have 200 samples of sand from around the world. So I asked this 10 year old boy, I said to him, "Grandpa's got a lot of collections. Is there any one of my collections that you want?" He thought a little bit and he said, "No, Grandpa. I don't want any of your collections." And he stopped, and I said, "Okay. Well, what am I going to do with all this stuff?" Five, 10 minutes later, he says, "Grandpa, there is something you have that I want." And I said, "What's that?" "Your money."
John Curry: Your money.
Robert Koudelka: Those are beautiful memories.
John Curry: That's funny. Your money. "You've been collecting money. I want that."
Robert Koudelka: Yeah, "I want that."
John Curry: That's funny.
Sonia Koudelka: Lord.
John Curry: All right. Let's talk about something for just a second here. If you had the ability ... Well, you do because people listen to this, what advice would you offer the person who is in their 50s, maybe even their 60s, and they're trying to decide what to do, "Do I keep working longer? Do I retire? What do I do in retirement?" Just what would you say to someone, if you were sitting here face to face with them, that was posing that question.
Robert Koudelka: There are three things you need when you retire, in my opinion. You've got to have your health. You need good health. You got to be financially okay. You don't have to be financially independent, independent, independent, but you just to be financially okay, and you have to have something to do. You got to have something you love to do. When I retired for the last time, I became somewhat of an artist. I had something to do. I had a group of people who were willing to help me, a group of people that I liked, a group of people we socialize with. Art became one of my passions in my now years.
John Curry: And you're good at it too, so before we leave that. Also, you told me earlier over lunch ... Tell us about your display, what's happening at one of the rec centers.
Robert Koudelka: You really want that?
John Curry: I do.
Robert Koudelka: I've been designated spotlight artist for our club, which has over 200 members. It's a colored pencil club, and I favor colored pencil as an art medium. They came to me and asked me, "Could I have 12 of your paintings? We want to put you up as the spotlight artist for the summer in one of the rec centers here in The Villages." So I said, "Of course." I gave them 12 of my paintings and now my walls are bare.
John Curry: I see several of them right there.
Robert Koudelka: Yeah, but they're barer than they were.
John Curry: And I saw the one of my grandson on your-
Robert Koudelka: Ah, that was a pleasure.
John Curry: That you did ... I forget how many years ago now. He's 13 now.
Robert Koudelka: Well, he's 13 now and he was probably six, five.
John Curry: I'm thinking five or six, so long time ago.
Robert Koudelka: It's a cute picture, and I enjoyed doing it.
John Curry: Sonia, what about you? Bob hit something. I call it time freedom and money freedom. You got to have time freedom and money freedom, but you also have to be healthy to enjoy it. What would you add to that? What are your thoughts?
Sonia Koudelka: Well, you have to find something that really sparks your interest. I love to read, so I belong to two book clubs here in The Villages. I do play golf, which takes up a lot of time. There's no question about that.
Robert Koudelka: How many times a week did you play golf?
Sonia Koudelka: Five times a week. Now mind you, two of those times, I played on the championship courses, which is 18 holes. And the other times, were only nine hole golf courses.
Robert Koudelka: Oh yeah, executive courses.
Sonia Koudelka: Executive courses. I substitute in bridge clubs here in The Villages. I am very active in my church. I'm on the parish council of my church. There are things that I think you can find to occupy your time, and I think it's really important that you do.
Robert Koudelka: The thing that people talk to me about ... When I don't come to art for a while, and I'm trying to do something else, my mentor, a woman named Anne Klein here in The Villages says, "Bob, you haven't been doing much art lately." I said, "Yeah, because I've been doing this." She says, "Pick up the pencil. And I say, "Yes, ma'am." And that's what I really want to do, so that's what I do.
Sonia Koudelka: Well, he's got me involved in doing that now also.
Robert Koudelka: What I'm trying to say to people who are in the process of trying to get something focused for them to do, get off your butt and do it.
John Curry: Good advice. Let's talk a little bit about the financial side for a minute. You mentioned that. You have been very disciplined over the years I've known you. I've known you almost 30 years. You made a comment earlier about spending the money to do travel, but at the same time, you've been good stewards of your assets. You haven't wasted money. Talk a little bit about the importance and what advice you would offer someone to get on a path of where they have that money for think, you mentioned a minute ago.
Robert Koudelka: Well, one of the first things I would say is you need a good financial advisor. I found one, and I think he's right across the table from me.
John Curry: Thank you, Bob.
Robert Koudelka: When we started to do things ... I met him because I had a life insurance policy, and he was the representative of the company. I bought the life insurance policy when we moved to Tallahassee. And then from that, that sprung a very nice relationship and friendship. It's been a very knowledgeable experience for me to utilize John as my mentor in financial matters. His advice is usually good and what I do is-
John Curry: Usually good, huh?
Robert Koudelka: Usually good. Anyhow, the whole concept of being financially ... You don't need a lot of money, but you need enough money to be able to do the things you'd like to do. Retiring at 52 was a gamble, but I haven't had a full time paying job other than teaching at a college, and that wasn't the very lucrative. Since that moment in time, I'm retired. So we were going to take what we had and utilize that in a very frugal manner and survive. And apparently, we did.
John Curry: You've done a good job of that. I think the key is being frugal. You didn't go spend everything. You could've had much bigger houses than you had. You manage your money well, and the money you spent was, from an outside looking in, was family. You talked about having the place in Destin. You got the family together.
Robert Koudelka: Every year.
John Curry: Sonia, I'd like you to talk about that for a moment. You're nodding your head there about that. How important has that been in your lives at this point, looking back, and having all these family vacations around Christmas every year?
Sonia Koudelka: Well, also it started before that. In the summertime, we always had the family coming during the summer because of the kids being in school. They could always come to Destin and they would spend a week with us. But then we started having Christmas, and we always spent Christmas in Destin. I don't know. It's just tradition. Everybody wants to do it, and they want to know when they should come. We just have a wonderful time.
Robert Koudelka: And the grandkids know nothing else. That's been their tradition.
Sonia Koudelka: Exactly.
Robert Koudelka: For the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, they spend with the other half of their family. And on the 26th of December to New Year's and New Year's Eve, they're in Destin every year. Getting together both families from the two boys, three kids, each, very nice wives, very fortunate wives ... We're very fortunate to have daughters-in-law like that. It's became a …
Sonia Koudelka: Tradition.
Robert Koudelka: ... tradition, and it's a tradition that I've loved.
John Curry: It's fun watching you guys because I've had the pleasure of being there a few times with you, at least one day of those. It's just fascinating, all those activities going on. You're watching some ball games together. You've always got some game you guys are playing.
Robert Koudelka: Well, I put together pools for football, how much money is in the jar, what's in the box, those kinds of games. But the grandkids win money if they are the winner of the various games we play.
John Curry: Now, we know the real reason.
Sonia Koudelka: That's the reason, yeah.
John Curry: They get money.
Robert Koudelka: It's not that much, but it's something that they remember.
John Curry: That's funny. So what's next for you folks? You're not slowing down. You're still going. You're doing things. Still going to do travel?
Sonia Koudelka: We hope to.
Robert Koudelka: Yeah.
Sonia Koudelka: Why not?
Robert Koudelka: In fact, we're talking about a couple of places that we want to go to. We have not been to Iceland. We'd like to go to Iceland, and we'd like to take a river boat on the Columbia River out in the Oregon territories. And Sonia wants to do a river boat somewhere in Europe. We haven't done that yet.
Sonia Koudelka: We've never done that yet.
John Curry: I thought you had.
Robert Koudelka: No.
Sonia Koudelka: No, not a riverboat.
Robert Koudelka: We like to take transatlantic voyages back to the US so when we leave a Barcelona or a London, the boat is going with the time so that you can correct the clock for one hour on your five days going back and you don't feel it like a bang when you get here, and have to make the adjustment if from a plane.
John Curry: I never thought of that. That's a great idea.
Robert Koudelka: Oh, it is. It works out.
John Curry: So you don't get yourself a worn out.
Robert Koudelka: We've had a good life.
Sonia Koudelka: We've been very fortunate. We really have, and our health is pretty good.
Robert Koudelka: My doctor says I'm in better health than he is, and he's only 50.
Sonia Koudelka: We've had some bumps in the road, but we've managed, as everybody has.
Robert Koudelka: Well, you beat cancer, girl.
Sonia Koudelka: That's true, I have.
Robert Koudelka: Breast cancer survivor right here and that's part of the people you meet with here too.
Sonia Koudelka: That's right.
Robert Koudelka: I'm surprised you didn't mention that because you like those of people.
Sonia Koudelka: Yes. Oh, that's right. There is a wonderful support group here. There's so many things here in The Villages that you can become involved in it, and it's up to you. It's your decision, whatever you want to do.
Robert Koudelka: Get off your butt.
John Curry: That's great. I think that's good advice, just determine what you want to do, and then go do it, and quit making excuses. Do it or don't do it, but take the time. I call it stepping back, thinking about what you want, reflect on it, talk about it as a couple, and then have a game plan and go do it. Just go do it. I want, before we get off here, some more travel. Talk a little bit about your experience of going to China. Weren't you there like a month?
Sonia Koudelka: Oh, no. We weren't there that long.
Robert Koudelka: About three weeks.
Sonia Koudelka: Yeah, we were three weeks.
John Curry: Three weeks.
Sonia Koudelka: It was incredible. We flew into Beijing and we were with a wonderful tour company. It was Overseas Adventure Travel and they were absolutely incredible. They were, what, 15 of us on that tour?
Robert Koudelka: Yep.
Sonia Koudelka: And from there, we took a train down to-
Robert Koudelka: From Beijing.
Sonia Koudelka: From Beijing to Xian. And then from Xian, we were down on the Yangtze, and took a boat through the Three Gorges Dam. And then from there, we went to Chengdu. From Chengdu, we flew to Tibet.
Robert Koudelka: Lhasa.
Sonia Koudelka: To Lhasa. This was all during that three week period. So we saw a lot. We did a lot. We intermingled with the Chinese people.
Robert Koudelka: Stayed in their houses.
Sonia Koudelka: Yes, we did in a farmhouse. We stayed in a farmhouse with a Chinese family. It was terrific. It was really wonderful. The other fantastic trip that we took was the Turkey trip where we flew into Istanbul, and went from Istanbul to down to Ephesus, and went through that historical area, and then further down to the Turquoise Coast where we got on a gullet and spent four days on a gullet, sailing the boat.
John Curry: What's a gullet?
Sonia Koudelka: It's a boat.
Robert Koudelka: A yacht.
Sonia Koudelka: A yacht.
Robert Koudelka: A big yacht.
Sonia Koudelka: Now again, I think there were only 14 of us on that. And so we sailed along the coast, and at night, anchored. Our captain was Barbarossa, we called him. And our chef that caught the food off the boat-
John Curry: Wow.
Robert Koudelka: Seafood.
Sonia Koudelka: And cooked it. It was amazing. And then from there, we went up to a place called Cappadocia with these ... What were they made out of?
Robert Koudelka: Sandstone.
Sonia Koudelka: It's kind of sandstone houses and, we took a balloon ride over that topography, which was absolutely incredible. That was also almost a three week trip. Another outstanding trip was our trip to Egypt where we were…
Robert Koudelka: Another balloon ride across the Nile.
Sonia Koudelka: Another balloon ride over the Nile. Yes.
John Curry: So I'm just listening to you. You've got me motivated, wanting to go do some more travel.
Sonia Koudelka: Oh, it's really ... We've been very fortunate. We've gone to some very interesting places and done some very interesting things.
John Curry: Well, I know we got some plans here coming, so let's wrap up. Any closing thoughts you'd like to share before we wrap up here?
Robert Koudelka: Well, enjoy what you're going to do because if you don't enjoy it, it's not going to be worth it. We seem to hit things that ... We started a couple of things we didn't enjoy, so we stopped it and we did the other things. But the traveling, we enjoyed. I've enjoyed my original profession, my secondary profession, and I really liked doing art now. Just enjoy what you're going to do.
Sonia Koudelka: I agree. You have to enjoy what you're doing. There's no question about that. There are times that I don't feel like getting up at six o'clock in the morning to go out and play golf. But once I get motivated and I'm out there, and it's beautiful and it's quiet and serene, and you're with a group of people that you enjoy, there's nothing better than that. So, get out and do.
John Curry: I love it. That's awesome. Thank you so much for taking time to do this. Folks, I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I am. By the way, I forgot to say this. Normally, these are done in my office. I'm actually sitting in their kitchen, sitting here with my recorder, sitting with a coffee cup, doing this.
Robert Koudelka: Can we have a martini now?
John Curry: Yeah, I'm ready for the martini now. So, we're going to say goodbye now and go have a Martini.
Speaker 4: If you would like to know more about John Curry Services, you can request a complimentary information package by visiting Johnhcurry.com/podcast. Again, that is Johnhcurry.com/podcast or you can call his office at (850) 562-3000. Again, that is (850) 562-3000. John H. Curry, chartered life underwriter, chartered financial consultant, accredited estate planner, master's in science and financial services, certified in long term care, registered representative and financial advisor of Park Avenue Securities, LLC. Securities products and services and advisory services are offered through Park Avenue Securities, a registered broker dealer and investment advisor, financial representative of the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, New York. Park Avenue Securities is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. North Florida Financial Corporation is not an affiliate or subsidiary of Park Avenue Securities. Park Avenue securities is a member of FINRA and SIPC. This material's intended for general public use. By providing this material, we are not undertaking to provide investment advice for any specific individual or situation or to otherwise act in a fiduciary capacity.
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