Retirees Could Put Americans Back To Work By Creating One Local Job At A Time? FitOldDog Is Trying Anyway!


“All we have to fear is fear itself” Franklin D. Roosevelt

Hi folks,

I had two fortunate experiences in August, 2010, an abdominal aortic aneurysm, which came close to finishing me off (thus this blog), and termination from my lucrative job as a research scientist. The aneurysm was fixed with a rigid stent graft (Thank you UNC Hospital), and losing my job was softened by a generous severance package (Thank you Sanofi-Aventis) that helped me to ‘get my financial house in order’ in time for the summer of 2011. Now, you have to admit that I am a lucky guy.

Rock, a musician and pumpkin salesman, at Johnny's Gone Fishing in Carrboro, NC, and doing a great job.

I don’t have enough saved to live on for the rest of my life if I wish to do the many things I would like, so I have been pursuing both online (Old Dogs in Training LLC) and local (Johnny’s Gone Fishing LLC) business interests. This effort was initially motivated by concern for my family and their impending needs, but it was the pumpkins that changed my world view. Several blog posts ago, I wrote about the pumpkin sale with Rock, which taught me something very important. Having had a job for the last 50 years, and an excellent career, I finally realized that creating a job for someone else is even more satisfying. I risked $500 on someone I trust, and received $10 in interest about 3 weeks later (annualized rate of return 35%). I was surprised how good it felt to create a job, whilst risking only a calculated portion of my retirement capital.

FitOldDog with Johnny of Johnny's Gone Fishing and Brian (sold trees to FitOldDog)

Trees from Brian (right) to be sold by Johnny (tall guy next to FitOldDog) at Johnny's Gone Fishing

I have now moved on to slightly bigger things, Christmas trees. I am again risking some of my retirement funds – about $6,000 on a handshake, with the ‘promise’ of a reasonable rate of return. This money has been used to purchase the trees, which will be sold by the original Johnny at Johnny’s Gone Fishing. The hoped-for profit from the Christmas trees will be plowed back into Johnny’s Gone Fishing LLC, of which FitOldDog will be a legal business partner within the next couple of days. More importantly, the capital that I am risking will employ the equivalent of three people for two months, or one person for half a year, which to my surprise feels much more important than the potential profit.

Food, nutrition, farm produce, Johnny's Gone Fishing

Johnny's Gone Fishing, which FitOldDog and two business partners are working to reopen for their neighborhood.

These experiences got me to wondering whether more people in my situation, with 401k accounts or other savings, could take a small amount of their resource and invest it into real people locally, in the way that I am attempting. They would be taking a risk, but it is a calculated risk and it will feed into their local community. They would also meet the people in whom they are investing.

As a youngster in England I was raised by my Mom on arcane quotes, many of them from the Bible. My ongoing experiences remind me of  ‘The Parable of the Talents,’ except for the gnashing of teeth part, which I hope to avoid. Furthermore, I am putting Americans back to work, of which I can almost never be sure when my money is sitting in a large brokerage house. Think globally, act locally, is a good motto.

The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge

An inspiring and encouraging book for older adults. From:

Oh! Yes! I nearly forgot. Learning new things keeps your brain alive and young, and may stave off degenerative neurological disease, so I’ve read. I concur with this concept based on my training in the neurological sciences (I was a neuropathologist many moons ago). I am certainly learning new tricks everyday from my business adventures. Exercising  appears to be keeping my body young, or so I’m told, so why not my brain, too? According to Norman Doidge’s book, learning new things keeps your brain young and agile. That’s what I want, plus a small return on my investment in the form of social satisfaction.

-k @FitOldDog



  1. There is less risk in local business than in the banking system at the present time. The US as well as Europe are heading for full blown economic depression. Money in banks and brokerage houses can evaporate in a trice. Look to Easter bunnies next…

  2. Hi Trevor,
    I take it that you endorse my approach? As far as I am concerned, underemployment is one of the greatest threats to societal stability. Just look at what is going on in the US.
    It is nice to hear from you. I hope to visit the UK next year, so maybe we can get together.
    -kevin aka @FitOldDog

  3. Endorse it yourself, it’s your call. It does seem sound to me.
    We are at a key time in the long cycle. A period (see J Schumpeter) of “creative destruction”. As such it is the time of the entrepreneur. Grandpa was quite brilliant at entrepreneurship so he is a good guide.
    After the bunnies come the maypoles here. But I guess the God and guns lobby about you might buy bibles and bullets! Fish hooks and flowers for the wife!…
    Entrepreneurship is inspirational not rational…If something FEELS right go fo it.
    I buy silver…
    I still cannot sit for long with pudendal nerve entrapment so flights are out for me for a time…

  4. societal stability? or social stability? I don’t like those new invented words.
    I think I might get “Buddha’s Brain” by Rick Hanson. I know I am on the right track with this Kundalini yoga.

  5. Minnows…

    Worm Food

    There’s minnows in a feeding frenzy
    Down in Westford stream
    But kingfishers they need to dine
    So Death is not a dream

    Small things they feed the little fish
    And fish they feed the bird
    On fish and fowl I feed myself
    The worms don’t say a word

    from Saga of the Sorrowful

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.