My Year End Review

Since I had never written a book before, I did what made sense to me and wrote the last chapter first. This is apparently a no-no in the writing world but I knew how I wanted my life to play out and what’s wrong with writing a story with a happy ending for yourself. Makes sense to me!

My Own Victory Lap 

Our book Victory Lap Retirement is all about designing your lifestyle. My overriding goal, in writing the book, was to help me design a fulfilling low stress lifestyle that would deliver maximum happiness over the next ten years. Instead of looking forward I now live with a sense of urgency. It’s all about living happy now, not delaying it to some point down the road. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not spending money like a drunken sailor, I still have to justify the investment to myself. Let’s just say I’m no longer concerned with saving money anymore. 

Continuing to work is a key part of my Victory Lap and I intentionally created a work lifestyle that I will never retire.  My work is exciting, I finally get to call the shots, and best of all I get to help a lot of people. I want to help as many people as possible as it makes me feel good and is very important to me. People genuinely saying thank you means the world   to me.

This new career gives me the flexibility that I craved and best of all it generates my fun money that allows me to invest in adventures for me and my family. Who says you can’t have it all!

Another important goal of my Victory Lap is to push my “best before date” as far back as possible. For those unfamiliar with the term best before date it is that period of disability free    living where you are healthy enough to still do what you want to do. After that it really doesn’t matter how much money you have if you are not healthy enough to enjoy it.

Nobody really knows what their best before date actually is but for planning purposes I picked the date of 2027 for myself. I chose that date because that is the year that I will turn 72 and my father passed away from pancreatic cancer at that same age. So for planning purposes I have basically given myself ten years to enjoy an awesome lifestyle and anything beyond that date I will consider a nice bonus.

My Personal Mission:

My personal mission has two parts:

Help people transition into their own Victory Lap. A part of that mission is to convince investment advisors to provide lifestyle planning to their clients. Financial planning fails without lifestyle planning and investment advisors in my opinion are in the best position to provide it.

Help young people get off to a good start in the working world. Young people need to learn the concept of financial independence and sadly for some reason this is not being taught in the schools. I will build a guide to help our next generation as they enter the work world.

2016 Overview

While 2016 was at times, very stressful, it was also a very good year in terms of accomplishments and change.

Here are some of the highlights:

1)    Victory Lap Retirement was released at the end of Oct after three years of hard work. Writing that book was a life changing event for me. It was therapeutic and helped me recover from some of the trauma experienced while traveling through the big dip.

2)    I finally conquered my fear of public speaking which had haunted me most of my working life. It wasn’t easy believe me but I didn’t want it to end up as one of my biggest regrets in life. In December I delivered a presentation to 120 accountants, and if accountants like your speech, you know it had to be good.

3)    After thirty-eight years I finally exited my banking career and started out on my own Victory Lap. I finally feel “free” to do what I want, when I want and boy does it ever feel good!

4)    I started my own weekly blog.

5)    I started building the VLR community.

6)    I started to build a social media platform.

I accomplished some major goals in 2016 but the price I paid was spending a good portion of 2016 feeling out of balance, while transforming into the “New Me”.  I still have things to work on, my health goals and some of the adventures that I wanted to do with my family were delayed, which is unacceptable. I will focus on these goals in 2017 with an emphasis on my health both mental and physical. I will develop good routines and shed unproductive old habits that get in the way. I will share my progress with you in future blogs.

Top Ten List

I have a top ten list of items which I want to accomplish over the coming years. Some are more immediate, such as improving my health and others are more longer term such as doing something crazy when I turn sixty-five in three years. So in no particular order here is what is on my top ten list:

  • Take my family to Kenya in November 2017, stay at the giraffe hotel for a couple of nights and take a hot air balloon ride over the game preserve.
  • Learn to scuba dive in Cozumel Mexico
  • Attend all kinds of bike/run/walk charity events in North America
  • Visit Hawaii, Italy, and New York City
  • Lecture all over the world on Victory Lap Retirement
  • Fish more!
  • Go on one spur of the moment trip each year with the Contessa
  • Get and stay healthy.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and stay in the moment more.
  • Write a book to help kids get off to a good start in life.

My General Life Themes 

Always keep improving. Never give up, never stop moving ahead. It’s finally my time and I’m not going to waste it watching the world go by.  I have the opportunity to change my life for the better and it is up to me and only me. Stay tuned. It should be quite the ride!


P.S.  CIBC just released a survey showing 46% of people do not have a financial plan and that 43% of the people surveyed worry that they won’t have enough money to live the life they want. I always say that financial planning fails without lifestyle planning but the opposite is also true lifestyle planning fails without financial planning. Bottom line everyone needs a plan!

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6 thoughts on “My Year End Review

  1. Pete Reply

    Great post Mike. Just finished the book and I’m inspired to start planning my own Victory Lap. Thanks.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Thanks Pete! Start working on your own top ten list and remember it’s ok to swing for the fences!

  2. Linda Craig-Ganske Reply

    Inspiring post and was very much able to relate. “Just show up”…perfect! Love your book and I’m retiring in May after 40 years in the “Corp”, man! Am I ever doing cartwheels! Lucky for me that I did plan and saved hard especially the last ten years…but I also worked hard and need to learn how to live without that work purpose everyday. I’m passing out your book to girlfriends that are 8 to 10 years out. Very happy to pass your message of Victory Lap around. Looking forward to your new book for young people! I keep telling my daughter…save now! She’s not picking up what I’m putting down…your book will help! Thanks so much for your book and post!

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Thanks for your wonderful comments Linda. Congrats on your escape and don’t worry about finding purpose it will come to you when you are ready but first you need a few months off to regroup/recharge. Follow the blog we are going to talk a lot about this in the months ahead. Keep working on your daughter so she understands how the game is played. I will be writing a future post about “the really big dip” which relates to the challenges that millennials will face and I’m sorry to say it is not a very pretty picture so it’s important that your daughter gets it right now.
      Welcome to Victory Lap Linda and please have a blast! You earned it!!!

  3. Marian Reply

    I am enjoying your blog. Luckily, my decades of frugal living and obsessive saving means that I am likely not going to become a bag lady any time soon (one of my fears as a younger woman).

    While I haven’t read your book (yet!), I am experiencing a similar personal transition. Throwing off the corporate shackles was one of the best things I’ve ever done, but reinventing myself and defining my personal goals & objectives has taken a bit longer than anticipated. After 30 years in the corporate world and pining for freedom, I didn’t realize that I would become paralyzed with so many choices. It’s taken me a while to come out of that stage but I am now putting my lists together and organizing my life better.

    • Mike Drak Post authorReply

      Marian thank you for your comments. My transition into VL took me longer than I anticipated as well. It took a lot of time to adjust and I spent a great deal of time trying to find the old me and remembering what I really like and want out of life. But now that is behind me I can honestly say that I am having the time of my life and I’m sure you will as well.


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