Sophia Grekin (SG): What do you want to do with your money?
Henry Ammirato (HA): Keep it. I want to retire.
SG: You don’t want to spend it on anything?
HA: Well you know, I can eventually retire one day and that’s all I really want to do. That’s the goal — retire.
SG: What about enjoying life before retirement?
HA: I do enjoy life, but I usually can enjoy it without paying for things.
SG: Can there be more to working than making money?
HA: If I wanted to do something that only made me money I’d become a petroleum engineer and try to develop the new type of synthetic oil for the next car everyone uses, those people get hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’m [going to do] something I like … Here’s a good example — one of the people my dad works with, his name is George, he is an old man; he is “retired,” which means he still works for the company but he really only works on jobs he enjoys. He comes in when he says, “This is a job I’m up for doing,” and then he does that.
[When I was younger], my dad always was very keen on teaching me the value of money and of time. He did that by not pushing, but my first few jobs were manual labor jobs. My first one was as a farm hand on a berry farm nearby. I was the ripe age of 14, probably. Not legally old enough to work, so I wasn’t paid with actual checks. I was paid, you know, under the table, if you will. It was a great job because I could bike there and spend some time outside and I enjoyed working on the farm. But it was also a job that required getting up at five in the morning … You have to prune all the bushes and stick your hands in them, you get all these cuts. I couldn’t wear long sleeves because it was too hot. You’d work [6 a.m. to 12 p.m.] and I was paid like $90 for the week, which is like you’re getting paid $4 an hour because I wasn’t technically an employee, I was just helping around.
Stuff like that, and doing things like helping the neighbors chop wood or refurbishing fire hydrants for 40 hours a week, it pushes you to understand that you don’t want to be in a situation where you have to continue to do this. There’s a certain level of desire to have security and retirement. I want to be able to stop doing things I don’t want to do and things that other people tell me to do and just do some side projects — like hiking the Appalachian trail. When I say I want to retire it’s not because I think I’m going to hate my job or never find a job, it’s that after 40 years of any job, you’re done. Who says you’re even going to be able to find that job, that you’re not going to get fired. It’s nice to have a certain level of security in your life. A little utilitarian, but it is what it is.