Ep. 101 – Andy Robin – How To Have a Tapas Life
Are you ready to start living your tapas life after retirement? Life is diverse and interesting, and it doesn’t stop being so after you retire.
There are many different elements in life that you can engage in and continue enjoying after you retire. When planning for your retirement, a tapas life should be a big part of it if you want your life to be meaningful in your later decades.
In this episode of the Secure Your Retirement podcast, we have Andy Robin explain to us the different ways you can adopt a tapas life after your long career. Andy is the author of the Tapas Life book, which is about assembling a new, fulfilling, meaningful life after retirement.
In this episode, find out:
- Andy’s life experiences that led to writing his book Tapas Life.
- How to open your eyes to different life elements you can engage in after retirement.
- Andy shares some of his meaningful tapas that keep his life interesting.
- Taking your failures as learning experiences that make life more exciting.
- Different ways you can get connected socially to improve your life after retirement.
- Some passive and active ways you can stay engaged with your business brain.
- Having a spousal conversation on how to reinvent yourself and your spouse after retirement.
- How to maintain good health after retirement to stay independent for longer.
- “Open your eyes to the options that you can assemble a life that has different elements that you can participate in.”-Andy Robin
- “When you keep your good health, you’re delaying the day when your loved ones have to become your caregivers.”– Andy Robin
Connect with Andy:
- Website: https://www.tapaslife.com/
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Here’s the Full Transcript:
If you’re in retirement or planning for retirement, and you’re thinking, “What is it I want to do with my life in retirement?” You’re going to love this video. By the end of this video, you will gain clarity for your personal retirement plan and you will have action items to secure your retirement.
Murs Tariq: To learn more about securing your retirement and all the different elements you need to know, subscribe to our channel and hit the bell to be notified when we post a video every Monday. We have helped 100s of our clients gain clarity and get on the path to a comfortable and happy retirement. Now, it’s your turn. Let’s dive in.
Radon: Welcome everyone to our Monday podcast, where our goal is to always bring someone that can add value and can help us in making good decisions or thinking about, or looking at examples of others that have gotten ready for, and they’re living through retirement. And we try to do things from time to time around lifestyle. How do we have a retirement that I guess gives us fulfillment? That’s probably a good way to say it. And today I think we have done a good job with the guests that we have in the sense that what he’s going to be able to talk about, I think is going to be very intriguing. His name is Andy Robin, and he is the author of the book that is entitled Tapas Life. We’ll ask him what that means here in a minute, but Tapas Life, a rich and rewarding life after your long career. So, Andy, thank you so very much for coming on and chatting with us today and bringing to us some of your wisdom.
Andy Robin: Thanks for including me gents.
Radon: Very good. So I’ve got a question for you, but before we get into all the stuff about the book and kind of some of the things that you teach and talk about, can you just give us a brief background of kind of like where you come from and kind of what made you get to this point of actually writing a book about this Tapas Life?
Andy Robin: Yeah, sure. I’m originally from Chicago, as you can probably tell from the way I speak. But my dad was an entrepreneur, moved the family to Mexico when I was a kid. So I grew up in Mexico City and I think having those two alternative experiences and viewpoints prepared me for a career in marketing. Which I was in business to business marketing and the semiconductor industry for a few decades. And after that, my wife and I had agreed to swap roles before we got married. When our kids were in their early teens, she went back to work after staying home to raise them. And she went back to her career and I became a house dad one Friday after being VP of marketing of a big semiconductor company. I had a great time with those kids. And then I found I had to reinvent my life after they went to college. And it took me about four and a half years to figure out a life.
One day on the streets, somebody stopped me, a friend, “Hey, Andy, how are you doing? What are you up to?” I said, “Well, I’m living my Tapas life.” It dawned on me at that moment that I had assembled an interesting life of lots of little pieces that fit together really well. And I decided, boy, that was kind of a long adventure. When I talked to friends, they didn’t seem to have anything like that in mind. So I figured I’d write a book about it. Not to make a bunch of money, which I’m busy not doing with the book, but to try to be helpful to some other folks. And it’s really part of my meaningful Tapas if you think of it that way.
Radon: Got you, Andy. Yeah. Thanks for that overview. And you’ve had a very fulfilling life it seems. I see here that you got your MBA at Harvard and then you had a nice career, good family life and everything like that. And then that led to this book called Tapas Life, which I think of, and I’m sure everyone is envisioning all these different plates set in front of you, different categories of proteins, different categories of everything. And you just get to taste a little bit of all of it. So is that kind of what you’re saying is that in this book here, do you believe that you should have a lot of different things going on in your life, particularly when it comes to that retirement stage that everyone’s excited about. But also a little fearful of because they maybe haven’t given enough thought as to what they are going to do.
So is that kind of what you’re saying here? Tapas Life is the way to go.
Andy Robin: It’s a way to go Maurice. I mean, I’m the last guy who will tell everybody that one size fits all and certainly there are people who like to work until they get dragged out of the office in a pine box. And there are folks who like to sit around and watch the grass grow. What I’m saying is, is that there’s a large category of people for whom a Tapas Life will be really interesting and something they probably have not contemplated during their long career. People think about, “What’s my next act going to be?” And I think about, “Well, what’s your next collection of apps going to be? What are all the different things that you could do?” Because life is diverse and interesting. There’s a lot of stuff out here to enjoy and to engage in and to learn from.
And so all I’m saying is that open your eyes to the option that you can assemble a life that has all these many different elements that you can participate in.
Radon: Right. Could you kind of give us just so that we can make sure we’re all thinking similar here? Can you kind of give us an idea of maybe some of these different Tapas things that you’ve either experienced yourself or that you see other people that are maybe in your peer group that would fit in that category of a Tapas Yvette?
Andy Robin: Yes, absolutely. So if I just name my own Tapas as an example, and then a few more from some friends I know. So I had to become a cook when I became house dad in our family and it took me six months until the family wasn’t our choice me. So cooking’s one of my Tapas. I’m now pretty good at it. I enjoy it. I like good wine. I’m a wine collector. So I’ve built a big wine cellar and I enjoy reading about it, tasting it, sharing it with friends, matching it with food. I like the arts. So I play classical piano about an hour and a half a day, which is something I just started doing when I was 52. I started taking lessons and now 15 years later, I’m pretty decent at it. Travel is one of my wife and my Tapas.
I do my life and executive coaching, which is also one of my meaningful Tapas along with the book. And I have an exercise Tapas. So I play a little golf. I work out twice a week, get my body in decent shape. So you got to have your health or otherwise, nothing else is worth a darn. And so many things like that. I have a friend who always wanted to be an equestrienne and now she is. She likes hanging out with her dogs. I have a friend who is very focused on a bunch of grandchildren they have, and that’s one of their big Tapas as many different things that you can engage in.
Radon: So I’d like to jump into the book a little bit here. We’ve looked through some of the things that you’re talking about there, and this one phrase kind of jumps out to me and it’s failing freely. And so from the book, I guess you’re trying to teach people how to live a risk-free adventure and you say by failing freely. And so I know that failing is part of life and sometimes really good lessons come out of it and resilience comes out of it. So what’s your opinion? What are you talking about there in that chapter?
Andy Robin: Well, if you think about most of your life, you’ve worked hard not to fail at things, right? You maybe wanted to do okay in school. When you got a job you wanted to do well enough to get promoted and get more pay and get some respect from your peers and superiors and to be able to move around and do what you wanted to do. After your long career, if you’ve saved well and if you invest well, according to the advice of guys like Radon and Murs, then for the first time in your life, you can try stuff and fail miserably yet. And there’s just no cost to that. The only thing I really advocate is yeah, go ahead and try it. And if you fail at it, either try again. See if you feel like it better again, or if you don’t ,at least mind it for learning.
“Okay. So that was a dud. What did I learn from that? Oh, well maybe I don’t like doing that kind of thing. Maybe I only thought I liked doing that kind of thing.” Or, “Maybe I need to try some other thing that’s a little different from that.” And then all those little mini-adventures or big adventures can be a delight and can be the source of learning and personal growth and makes life interesting.
Radon: Very good. One of the things that we hear a lot, because we work with a lot of people that have worked obviously for decades and now all of a sudden they find themselves either stopping that particular career or that part of their life. And now it’s a whole new life and a lot of different ways. And one of those is this idea of I used to go to work every day and I had those people that I hung out with and now I don’t have those people anymore. And you talk about making sure that we build social connections and making sure we do that. How do you suggest for people that are transitioning and basically kind of maybe even moving, we have some folks that moved literally their home from wherever they live. Maybe for us, it’s a lot of people in the Northeast moving down here. So now they’ve come into a place where they don’t know anybody. How do you get into that scenario of having new friends and nurturing those social connections?
Andy Robin: Sure. So let me first say if you’re an extrovert, or at least if you’re a couple, one of you is an extrovert, that really helps because you’re a person who gets your energy from being with other people. So you’re going to be comfortable reaching out a lot, because it feels good. If you’re both introverts, it’s going to be hard, because the only way to get it done is to reach out. And so if you’re a religious person and have a religious community, then meet people at your place of religion. If you’re a card player, join a bridge club, join a poker club. If you’re into movies, most communities have groups that get together and watch a movie and talk about it or have a glass of wine afterwards and talk about it. Were you going to say something, Merge?
Murs Tariq: Oh, no, carry on. I’ve got another question for you in my brain but you keep [crosstalk 00:11:58]-
Andy Robin: Okay. All right. But joining some sort of group or interacting with some sort of group is going to be a good way to get a handhold because otherwise it’s going to be too easy to be holed up at home disconnected. And lots of research says that when you disconnect and don’t have social connection, your life really goes down a pretty bad decline. It gradually affect your immune system and it’s a bad outcome. So yeah, really you’ve got to get connected and that’s probably a good way to go about it.
Radon: Yeah. I know this past a year, going through the pandemic and everything like that, that was a small taste of what isolation can feel like whether you were ready for it or not, whether you chose to retire or not. Everyone got a little taste of some type of isolation with all the quarantining that was happening all over the world. And so I agree. It’s very important to kind of stay social in whatever manner that makes sense for you and finding that pathway to get to it. But when we’re working, there’s certain things that we have to do to stay current, whether it’s just reading the news every morning or staying aware of all the different things in our own career and staying sharp basically. And so how does someone do that once they start to phase out of their career or they do retire, you have this phrase of keeping your business brain alive. And so what do you say there?
Andy Robin: So there is some ways of engaging actively and more passively. So more passively, you can still get together with friends from work or colleagues from work and stay a little bit up to speed. And that may work for some number of years until it starts to feel like you’re kind of disconnected, right? Unless they were especially good friends. And that’s a good way to stay up on what’s going on. And if, while you were in some business or industry, you read certain publications or listen to certain podcasts or followed certain authors, you can continue to do that. And those are good passive ways to stay abreast. But if you want a business Tapas, then you can apply your business brain that you’ve accumulated over decades and put it to active work. So you can go be a coach to people in an area that you know about in which case get a little training. It’s useful to learn how to be a coach.
So you’d do a good job of it. You don’t have to do a ton of that, but some is good. Be a mentor. If you know some people who are a little younger or a little less far along in their career than you were, maybe back at your old workplace, contact them and say, “Hey, I’m willing to be a mentor to you, either for free or for some amount of remuneration.” Or do some networking amongst your friends and relatives and see who you might be a mentor or a coach to. You can still get involved and be a consultant. When my wife left her large job to be house mom to little babies, she wound up doing some headhunting in the industry she worked in, because she knew a lot of people. So she did some recruiting and executive recruiting in that industry for a few years and still she started to lose her contacts in the industry. But those are ways that you can be either passively or actively engaged in using your business brain.
Radon: Very nice. Now, when we were having a brief conversation before we started recording our podcast, you mentioned this and we had a whole conversation with a person about this idea of while we’re growing a career or yet come into retirement. Sometimes partners end up not being able to stay on the same path. And then we have folks that come in and maybe it’s a husband and wife, or it’s two people who have been together. And they say, “Man, I don’t know what it’s going to be like being at home with them all the time, now that they stopped their career.” And you have a whole chapter on spousal conversations. Could you give us a little bit of insight there about what you’ve learned on that and what your message is on that?
Andy Robin: Yeah, it’s the old joke, right? The one spouse says to the other, “You can hang around the house all you want as long as you don’t come inside.” So yeah, the fact is, is that after your long career a lot of divorces actually happen then, and it’s kind of a sad thing. You’ve really spent your whole life building a life together. And then you can easily find that you don’t know each other very well anymore. You’re certainly not the same people you were when you got together. You’ve certainly developed in many ways on different paths. And so yeah, very actively sitting down and having a heart to heart with your spouse or partner and saying, “Let’s rediscover who we are. Let’s reinvent our relationship. Let’s learn about what we each still want out of life and what we’d like our days and months to look like. And let’s find out what we still have in common. What do we still like to do together? How do we want our lives to be?”
And that may be kind of awkward to sit down and say that to a spouse or partner, but there’s not a one who or react other than by saying, “Wow, okay, let’s try it. I don’t know what this conversation will be like.” But I don’t think you’ll find many people who will react by saying, “That’s stupid, what a dumb waste of time.” I think people will be quickly engaged. And you’re not going to have a 10 minute conversation about that and be done. You’re going to have multiple conversations and they’re going to go on for weeks or months. And new things are going to come to mind and your brain and heart needs soak time between the conversations to get clearer and to figure out what life may want to be like both for yourself and together with a spouse or partner.
And in my book, I talk about some questions you can ask, conversations you can have, but there are also lots of other sources of… And other books about how to have those conversations at this sort of age. It’s so important.
Murs Tariq: Yeah. I agree. Communication is very important, especially when the life that you knew is completely changing. And so you want to be able to talk through that. I guess my last question, and it seems like it would be somewhat of a no-brainer, but it’s still, how do you do it is always an issue, which is staying healthy. Obviously, everyone wants to stay healthy, but maybe you had that lifestyle when you were working that 40, 50 hour week to where you pretty much had a sedentary job. But you didn’t have the energy or the effort to put in the work to stay healthy or maybe develop bad eating habits, or maybe it was opposite.
Maybe you had a very active job, active lifestyle, and then you don’t have that anymore once you retire and you transition into more of a sedentary lifestyle. So what’s your thoughts on… I know you have a whole chapter on it, but what’s your thoughts on it and why is it so important to stay healthy once you make that transition?
Andy Robin: People who have been in good health all the time, maybe don’t appreciate what it’s like not to be in good health, but let me tell you and ask anybody else who’s maybe a little older who has had some health problems. When you don’t have your good health, life sucks. It’s bad. That’s not where you want to wind up. And if you think about it in your 50s and 60s and beyond, the one strong point I’d really like to make is when you keep your good health, you are delaying the day when your loved ones have to become your caregivers. Nobody really wants to become a burden to their loved ones. And so if you don’t want to do that to the people you love, then you need to keep your health good.
I point out in the book you can have multiple trajectories after your long career. You can have a long gradual decline into death, or you can stay pretty much at peak level until pretty late in the game. And finally, the mechanism starts to give out and I’d say, “Boy, the latter is where you want to go. You want to have some good quality of life and years to enjoy it. You don’t want to just fall apart by degrees until your quality of life is bad.” So there’s two elements to it. It’s kind of simple. It’s exercise and eating. And eating is getting away from what has made much of America obese and a lot of diabetes and heart trouble.
And instead, eating a healthy mix of good carbs, good vegetables and fruits, and good protein and more chicken and fish and less red meat and good fats. So avocado and lots of stuff like that. Eat that way. If you’re really into it, then do the so-called limited fasting where you basically only eat during a certain time window during the day because it gives your body longer to prosecute the food and get your body back up to snuff for the next morning. So don’t be going out to big dinners at nine o’clock at night like you did when you were 30. Because it’s not what your body wants today. So, eating pretty basic. In terms of exercise, yeah, you don’t have to go to the Olympics. You have to walk some or run some.
I advocate strongly what I learned from a book called Younger Next Year, working out on machines or doing things that exercise all parts of your body. Not for strength, but for so-called proprioception so that your brain remains connected to all the parts of your body. Because otherwise, as you get older, when you trip you fall over and hurt yourself, unlike when you’re in your 20s and 30s, when you trip and you catch yourself and keep going. And so the longer you can keep your brain and body connected, so that you have quick reactions to things, the better a chance you have of not being the person who falls over, breaks their hip, gets pneumonia and dies, which happens to too many people. And so those are the two elements.
Very good. Well, certainly what I like about this is when we talk to people, some people talk theoretical of what they think is going to be the case. And it’s nice to be able to talk to somebody who has kind of lived this and made this a part of their life. So it makes it much more easy for us to take in. So Andy, if somebody wanted to get the book or they wanted to maybe reach out to you and just see about what type of things that you might be able to assist them, when it comes to coaching or whatever it might be, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Andy Robin: So if they go to tapaslife.com, they can learn a little bit more about the book and about me and about other people. And then there’s a link there to Amazon where they can buy the book either as a paperback or a Kindle, or they can just go straight to Amazon and buy it. Just look up Tapas Life in books.
Radon: Very good. Well, we’ll make sure we have all that information on the website and the show notes and all that kind of thing, but thank you so much, Andy. We certainly do appreciate you coming on and talking with us today.
Andy Robin: Delighted Radon, Murs. Thanks very much for including me.