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How a 70-year-old retiree started a painting business as a stock hedge

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  • 70-year-old Joe Mlaker decided to start his own business just two weeks after retiring from his pastoral job.
  • This side income has become more important as the stock market crashes, he says.
  • He expects to make about $2,000 a month from running the business.

One Sunday in May, 70-year-old Reverend Joe Murrayker presided over the final service. About 40 years later, he had retired and moved to Florida with his wife.

But just two weeks later, he decided to start an interior painting business.

He started the job in July and generated more than $7,000 in revenue and nearly $3,000 in profits by September, according to insider-verified documents. He says he can take home about $2,000 a month from his new gig.

A self-professed “Type A personality,” Mlaker started his business because he was restless and looking for “something to do,” but in recent months the stock market has been booming for him. It has become a more important source of secondary income, he says. tank. In late September, the S&P 500 hit a new low for the year, with signs of further deterioration in the coming months.

“Money really matters, especially when you look at what happened to my retirement account. How quickly did we lose 10% to 15% last year. His loss estimates are a bit conservative Bloomberg estimates that as of June 30, average 401k balances were down 20% year-over-year.

In addition to being a “hedge” against the market, he hopes his business income will help him and his wife travel the way they envisioned during their retirement.

In recent years, rising property values, COVID-19 concerns, and layoffs have led to an increase in early retirement. However, high inflation and a slump in the stock market are causing some retirees to consider re-entering the workforce. For example, his CNBC survey in June found that 68% of workers who retired during the pandemic would consider returning to work. If they return in large numbers, it could help ease ongoing labor shortages and ease wage pressures, one of the reasons the Fed is holding the economy to a halt.

However, although the rate of retired workers returning to the workforce has returned to pre-pandemic levels (about 3%), growth has stalled in recent months. It remains to be seen whether economic conditions will eventually further encourage them to do so.

“I always wanted to do something”

A pastor of four different churches in Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin, Mr. Mulakar “always had a lot on his plate.” Gated in the Naples area, he says he quickly became restless when he moved into his 2,500 home in the community.

“All my life, I always had something to do and I needed to go to the office,” he said. “Even during COVID, I was going to church every day and recording services. Coming to Florida, I didn’t have a routine like that.

After noticing a lot of painting work going on in his community, Mlaker spoke with a handyman friend. He had run a small painting business for nearly three years in his 20s, so he seemed a natural fit.

He jumped at the opportunity, applied for an LLC, designed a business card, and bought a pickup truck. According to documents provided to Insider, his initial costs included $250 for Sherwin Williams’ open contractor account, $22 for a web domain, $145 for business liability insurance, $126 for storage lockers, and a truck magnet. $117 was included in the sticker.

Once everything was sorted out, he began posting about his business on local networking service Nextdoor and community Facebook groups.

“I said, ‘Hey, I’m new to the community.

This has allowed him to land some jobs, which he says have “been word of mouth.”

Joe Mullaker

Mlaker tries not to work more than three days a week. A typical job would take her 4-5 hours and generate about $275 in profit, while the largest job would require her to work 8 hours three times a day and generate about $1,400 in profit. .

He charges his customers about $1 per square foot of painted walls — he said the typical rate is $1 to $2 — which is about $350 for a typical room. Equivalent to He cut the cost of the second coat by 75%. This is what customers usually want, he says.

Ongoing costs for the business include tape, plastic covers, roller covers, paint tray covers, and a new brush for about every four jobs. He says he gets a 35- to 40-percent discount when he buys paint and passes it on to his customers. Operating costs include gas, insurance, storage rentals, and bank fees.

In his neighborhood, his business was in great demand. In fact, Mlaker says he never left the gated community because of a job that “fits perfectly” into his lifestyle.

When it comes to business competition, he says the major painting companies typically pursue larger jobs like entire homes, but less competition when painting just a bedroom, for example. He’s his one-man team and wants to limit his time, so these smaller jobs are exactly what he’s looking for.

And small jobs can lead to more. He recalls that he made $2,000 to paint half of a client’s house and was called back to paint the other half. Another client had him paint the bedroom and then the kitchen as well.

Mlaker chooses his working days and likes the flexibility his business offers. He recalls running out of paint at his job one morning. He went to a paint shop near the beach where he relaxed for two hours before returning and finishing his work.

Mlaker believes others his age can achieve similar success, but admits he’s blessed with a strong body. He’s an avid road cyclist, says he rides “thousands of miles” a year, and even says he still plays ice hockey.

“Being active is part of my life,” Mlaker said. The more you can participate in different activities, the better you can actually do everything with them. “

Mulakar worked with many people during his pastoral years, but says life pushed them in so many different directions that he rarely got a chance to see the “end result.” But painting allows him to step back after a hard day’s work and be proud of his finished product.

For his generation, who are thinking about starting a business or returning to work, I asked them, “What do you like to do?” “

Moving forward, Mlaker intends to continue working part-time only, but is considering taking on additional work outside the community. He lives about eight miles from the ocean and was not in an evacuation zone, although he suffered wind damage during Hurricane Ian, causing a temporary loss of power and water.

But at Fort Myers, a few miles west, there is “heavy damage.” As the area rebuilds, he expects there will be many job opportunities if he chooses to pursue them.