Yes, you read that title correctly.
Today I gave Zillow Group notice that I’ll be retiring.
Retired, as in no longer working for a living. You know, that thing typically reserved for people older than me (albeit, not a whole lot older).
To say that Francy and I are ridiculously excited about this new phase in our life would be a huge understatement.
Why retire? Because a couple of months ago when I asked Francy what she wanted for her birthday she said, “I want you to retire.” Because the thought of spending more time with my amazing wife and “kids” is incredibly appealing. Because I’ve worked almost daily for the last 40+ years, always with the end goal of not having to work until the day I die.
Why not retire?
“But what will you do all day? How will you pass the time?” some may be wondering.
I’m 57 years old. I want to retire while I am still young and spry enough to enjoy life. To spend more time with those I love. To travel. To sail. To write, take photos, and finally learn to play my guitar. To slay fish. Maybe hack up a golf course now and then. I want more time to help others less fortunate than I am, to volunteer for causes I believe in. Taking a simple walk on the beach holding my bride’s hand is about as good as it gets. To do nothing, or anything. I’ll get to do whatever I want to do.
To quote Thoreau, I want “to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”
That isn’t a bad way to go through life…
I don’t have a firm date set yet, but it’s looking like sometime this summer. As some reading this know, I’m due for a “Rest and Recharge” sabbatical with Zillow this summer, and had planned on taking that in July/August.
Now I’m just going to go on sabbatical for the rest of my life.
Doesn’t that sound positively delightful?
Why not retire tomorrow? Believe me, it’s tempting; we’re crazy excited to get this new phase of life rolling. But I owe Zillow Group a tremendous amount of gratitude, and I care very deeply about this company. I want to give my team time to transition me out and work through replacing what I do. Plans are in place, they’re insanely smart people, no one is irreplaceable, and they won’t miss a beat without me there. But there’s no point in leaving until things are in order. I’m not running away, I’m retiring. (And I won’t be gone for good. In fact, my manager and I are already talking about me consulting for Zillow Group occasionally).
What has nothing to do with retirement
My current job at Zillow Group, despite what some see me dealing with on a daily basis in the social space, has zero to do with my retirement. Zip, zilch, nada. I love my job (most of the time). In fact, I’ll be very sad to leave, even as I look forward to what’s next.
Zillow Group does, of course, fully support this decision. I told my manager and VP about this a couple of weeks ago, and their support was off the charts. There’s a reason Zillow Group wins countless “Best Places to Work” awards–it IS an amazing place to work, filled with amazing people, and I will miss it deeply.
And no, there wasn’t some ugly/nasty/bitter/absurd/hated-filled comment from some brand detractor that finally made me say, “I’m done with this.” I’m not a quitter, I’m a retiree.
It’s just that time
The simple reason for retiring now is it’s just that time. We are financially secure, we have places we want to see, friends and family we want to visit, and things to do. Francy and I have been married almost twenty-seven years. I’ve spent a significant chunk of that time working, growing a real estate business, working, building a brokerage, working, employed by Zillow, and working some more.
The opportunity has presented itself and it will allow me to spend the rest of my life in continued awe of my wife and children. I relish the thought of spending day after day after day with my bride, unencumbered with a job, answering to no one but each other.
I might do a little side work for fun and profit. I can even foresee popping into the occasional real estate conference over the next few years. Mostly to hang out with my friends, but to also keep my real estate skills sharp (and will someone finally plan a real estate conference in Bora Bora? I’ll hit that one for sure.)
I might drag my real estate brokers license out of Arizona and into Washington state and sell a home now and then. Or I might not. I’ll stay licensed for sure.
You see, that’s the beauty of this retirement thing. I get to do whatever I want to do, and I won’t have to do anything I don’t want to do. I will, of course, continue to do what Francy tells me to do. I’m not an idiot, I’m just retiring.
I’ll see y’all around. I’m retiring from a career, not from life.
This isn’t an end, it’s a new beginning.
Bring. It. On!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
— H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Photo credit: Lauren Thompson (Ruby Beach, WA)
Just for fun….
You’ve earned it, and then some! Enjoy! You’re making one of the best decisions of your life.
Thanks, Bill! We are SUPER excited for this.
Jay that is the best
Jay-Thank you for all that you have done for so many in our industry. Along with travel and photos, please DO NOT ever stop writing.
Congratulations! If you don’t need to work there must be like a zillion fun things to do.
wow, that’s amazing and I thank you for always being there when I had those crazy questions….you’ve got this!
I LOVE YOU MAN!
Right back at ya, Ira!
Bill took the words right out of my mouth. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful retirement and hope you still keep us updated on your adventures henceforth.
Thanks, Perri! I’m going to dust off this blog and do a whole lot more writing. You’ll get more updates than you probably want!
Fish on, Jay! Excited for this new chapter.
Thanks, Jeremy! We are REALLY excited.
Congratulations, Jay. Hard decision when you enjoy your work but there is so much life ahead to experience. Wishing you all the best and look forward to following your adventures.
Thanks, Linda. It’s really hard, harder than most people expect, I think. I love working for Zillow Group and love the people here even more. I’ll miss them deeply. But there may well be some opportunities to do a little consulting / project work for ZG from time to time, so that will help.
Well, Jay, to say that I am excited for you, Francy and your kids is a gross understatement! WOW! I hope this means there may be a day or two of sailing with you and me. What a life you have created. Now you get to create and write the next chapter. I know you will make it a magnificent work of art. Until next time… BIG hugs and love…
I would love nothing more than to go on sail with you, Jim! We *will* make that happen!
Good for you! At 51, I doubt I’ll be able to retire at 57…but it sure would be nice.
Thanks, Karen! And you never know what might happen down the road.
Congrats!! still would like to see you in Omaha.. in April! 🙂
Thanks, Mike! I’d still like to attend and will do my best to get there!
WOW. I mean seriously wow. Congratulations to you and Francy. Can’t wait to see where life leads you next.
Thanks, Emmy! We can’t wait either! I’m sure there will be oversharing of photos and thoughts…
Jay, I’m so excited for you and your family! Life is too short. Go out there and do all the things you love to do! I’m sure we will still see each other every now and then. I look forward to watching you head in this direction in 2018!
Congratulations on your brilliant life plan! ❤️
Thanks, Michelle! You’re right, life is too short! No doubt our paths will cross, and I look forward to it!
I am so happy and excited for you both. Congratulations, my friend. Do “whatchalike” sounds amazing. 😍
Thanks Ms. Awestrom! We’re beyond excited.
Incredible! I couldn’t be happier for the two of you!
What I also find is that the beauty in your honesty and openness in regards to Zillow. It speaks volumes about who they are and who you are!
It’s not going to be a good bye, just a different path that I’ll see you on. Best of luck to you!
Thanks for the kind words, Mike. And you’re spot on, not a goodbye. We need to get together, it’s been way too long!
Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. Well deserved! Retirement is what my husband and I look forward too. In our age retiring sooner than working until 66 is an accomplishment.
I love this more than words. You are deserving. You planned it. Thanks for inspiring me, Jay. All the best this bit world has to offer to you and Francy. Well done, sir.
Thanks, Gwen, appreciate that!
Well earned Jay! Can’t wait to see what you have in store!
Thank you Mike! Told Heather earlier that a visit to DC is on the list. Don’t be surprised when we show up at your door!
Congrats Jay! You are an inspiration and your love for life is so enjoyable. I can’t wait to see more photos in the future of your adventures as well as the Pacific NW! Wishing you all the best but still glad you will be around.
Thanks, Erika! I got a new camera for Christmas, and plan to wear it out!
I read this with excitement. I hope to one day to retire at an age where I can still run jump and play. Congrats on making a decision that is best for you and your family 🙂
Clearly you’ve never seen me jump…. 😉 Thanks, Imran!
Lori Bee - Bee at the Beach
So, so happy for you, Francy, and your entire family. Thank you for all you’ve done for our industry thru Zillow. Looking forward to your next “independent” stage. Love and best wishes, pal.
Thanks Ms. Bee! Our paths need to cross soon, it’s been WAY too long!
Congratulations Jay on the exciting news. You have definitely earned it and deserve it. You are an amazing person!
Thanks, Jeremy! You’re pretty darn amazing yourself.
Great idea Jay, especially keeping open the option to consult and/or sell real estate occasionally. Best wishes!
Thank you, Malcolm! I’ll never be fully able to separate from real estate, it’s too baked in (and I love this industry,) Always good to keep the options open!
I have been reading your blog posts for about a decade now …
This one was the best one so far.
Good on you sir!
Thanks man. It was fun to write! Always appreciate your insight and friendship. Keep on keeping it real.
As in all your previous encarnations will you be an amazing retiree!
Thanks, Cheri! It’s been a fun and sometimes wild ride!
Jay you’ve earned your retirement a million times over with the patience you’ve shown over the years to the Zhatters. Sail away and enjoy yourself.
Thank you, Cindy. We’re crazy excited to start this new chapter!
So well said my friend……looking forward to your next adventures!
Thanks, Matt! Keep up the amazing work at ARMLS, my favorite MLS! (And not just because I was a broker in Phoenix. I think its one of the best run, most progressive and member-focused MLSs out there. Due in no small part to your leadership.)
Shelli Lamoreaux - Engler
Jay, as always you have a way with words. . . I am excited for you and Francy – You’ve worked you entire life for this moment, you deserve it and all the best for a Groovy retirement! 🙂
Thanks to the grooviest title person I know! Appreciate it, Shelli!
Congrats Jay! This makes me happy for you, enjoy life and your family… you have more then earned it!
Thank you, sir! All my best to you and Beth!
Congrats Jay! Always nice to go out on your own terms. Happy trails!
Thanks, Jeff! Sure bests getting thrown out! (and now I’ve got “Happy Trails” stuck in my head, thanks for that. 😉
So very happy for you Jay, feels good to see/hear good things happening for good people. And you are one of the best!
No, YOU are one of the best, Amy! Thanks!
Dena L. Stevens
Congratulations to Fancy for speaking her mind. And to you for enbracing her wishes. I’m a couple years younger than you are and the word “retire” has crossed my mind as well. Who knows we may bump into each other in our new ways.
I hope we do bump into each other, Dena! Always appreciate your kind words and support.
It’s about damned time. You’ve earned the right to fish, to travel, to hang with your lovely Francy and the kids. Go. Do You. Be You. And enjoy every flipping minute of it.
Thanks so much, Lisa! We’re building a list of places to visit, and the Big Easy will be on it. Love watching you do your thing! My best to you and the Big Chicken!
Wow!!! So awesome to read this!! So very happy for you Jay!!!!
Thanks, Larry, appreciate that! I’m sure our paths will cross again.
Soooo Happy for you!! Enjoy Life!! Look forward to seeing you at conferences
Thanks, Carole! I always enjoy seeing and visiting with you. My mom and sister are moving to Prescott, so we’re hoping to get back down to Phoenix soon.
Ponder on Jay, ponder on…
Thanks Bill, for all the good chats and friendship over the years. Don’t be surprised if there’s a knock on your door some day! Give my best to Cindy and Kev.
Wisdom 101: “I will, of course, continue to do what Francy tells me to do. I’m not an idiot, I’m just retiring”….
So happy for you both! God bless you Matey! You know you have an open door, clean sheets, and 2 very willing tourist guides waiting for you in Australia.
We *need* to camp on the beach with you two! You’re on our list!
What ^^she^^ said. And thanks, mate, appreciate you!
Congrats to you and your family! Have a blast doing whatever you want on a daily basis sounds very exciting!
Thank you, Barbie! We’re SUPER excited to see what retirement life has in store.
This is such great news, Jay! I’m a little jealous, but mostly thrilled for you and Francy!
Thanks, Steve! My mom and sister are moving to Prescott, so we’re hoping to come see them soon. We’ll have to swing by Echo and grab a cup and a chat.
Very happy for you Jay. This is a big decision for all of us of a certain age. I admire the way you handled yours. Scott
Well thanks, Scott. It is a big decision, and not as easy as I think a lot of people may believe. Best to you!
Jay while I wish you much happiness and enjoyment in this next phase it must also be said you will be greatly missed in the social space!!!! Your calmness and measured way of responding to all that I’ve seen (and Im sure much never seen) come your way has been nothing short of miraculous!!! I have a feeling you will be busy doing something you enjoy after a much needed sabbatical. So take the time- enjoy and love on your wife and family- and I will look forward to seeing what your next phase will be- oh and count me amongst one of your many RAVING FANS!!! 🙂
Thanks for those very kind words, Dawn. It truly means a lot to me. I’ll still be around the social space, but I’ll be avoiding the craziness that pops up now and then. (well, not “now and then,” more like a lot!)
Hi Jay – Congratulations!! I love how you ended your post – we dream of doing the same thing in the not-too-distant future. So glad we got to spend a little bit of time with you in Chicago at the NAR Tradeshow.
This….>> “I want to retire while I am still young and spry enough to enjoy life. To spend more time with those I love. To travel. To sail. To write, take photos, and finally learn to play my guitar. To slay fish. Maybe hack up a golf course now and then. I want more time to help others less fortunate than I am, to volunteer for causes I believe in. Taking a simple walk on the beach holding my bride’s hand is about as good as it gets. To do nothing, or anything. I’ll get to do whatever I want to do.” <3 <3 <3
"…So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Throw off those bowlines and go have the time of your life – you deserve it…..
Thanks, Ann! It was great to see you and Jim, and we’ve already decided to go to NAR in Boston this year, so hope to see y’all there too!
We’ll be there for sure! We live about 50 miles north of Boston, in Portsmouth NH, so we’ll look forward to seeing you then.
Enjoy it Jay! Since glad to meet you in person at NAR ORLANDO. Enjoy your time off and with family you can’t buy it back. If you ever come to fish in Florida give me a ring!
Thanks, Brent! Would love to fish some Florida waters, will definitely keep you posted!
Joe Connector Kennedy
Congrats Jay! I look forward about all your future travels …..
Thank you, Joe!
J. Philip Faranda
Dude! Thank you sir, for your guidance, your insights and your friendship. It’s all greatly appreciated. Give Mel a hug and a kiss for me.
It seems only yesterday when I first met you in person at the 1st REBC Phoenix…as a wide-eyed new agent starting my career as the industry took an historic free-fall. Then, as now, I appreciate your good nature, honesty, caring and common sense approach to whatever path you venture on. You’re one of “The Good Guys” Jay – my life is richer having known you a bit.
Thanks & Happy Trails!
Wow, that seems like both yesterday, and a lifetime ago. Thanks Kent, for the kind words, all you’ve done for me, and all you do for the industry. I’ll see you around!
Jay – it’s been great to work with you, going to miss your wit and sarcasm around ZG. cheers!
Thanks, Jon! It’s always great to work with you and your team. Best to you sir!
I’ve been following you and listening to your perspectives for 10 years. The industry is going to miss you. Go enjoy that retirement!
That I will do, Ken, thanks!
Congratulations Jay – perfect timing and beyond perfect motivation. Now, about that visit to Cape Town … apparently I need to work though Francy 😉
David – you two are pretty high on our list of people to visit!
What Francy said! Was great seeing you in Seattle, and meeting Pia. We’ll see you again, in Cape Town!
Congratulations, Jay. I am excited for you and yours. Go live you some life, brother. And please keep sharing those cool pics of your adventures.
Thanks, Paul! There will likely be an oversharing of pics…
WWJT do? Be his own person. Just like WWDG did.
🙂 THank you sir!
you know what I hope you’ll have time for… some writing. I really miss you blogging regularly (back from the days on ActiveRain) and I wish you many years of retirement bliss.
Not sure I’ll retire in my 50s (following my daddy’s footsteps) and I already missed my 40s (my mom retired at 43) But I will tell you I too wish to retire while I’m young and spry. My dad retired at 52 and has enjoyed the last 25 years with lots of travel and good food and family time. My mom retired when I was expecting my daughter to be the person who helped me raise my daughter. And on the cusp of my my first grandbaby I’m a little jealous that I don’t feel ready to step away from work fully right now. But owning my own brokerage I already have a pack and play ready for little Cooper at my office.
I wish for you so much joy in your retirement! And … I’m looking forward to reading all about it!
Thanks, Tammy! When people ask me what I’m going to do with my time, one of the first things I say is, “write.”
And yay for the upcoming grandbaby. Can’t wait to see pictures of Cooper chilling in your office!
Say it ain’t so, Jay. Say it ain’t so. Who’s going to pick up the gauntlet?
It is so! Thanks, Alan. We’re working on hoisting that gauntlet.
Mr. Thompson! I’ve followed you since I first got into real estate back in 2005 and by some stroke of luck was introduced to Bloodhound Blog. I’ve always found your thoughts and ideas on the real estate industry to be above board, well thought out, and grounded – it inspired me to keep myself the same way. Congrats on the retirement and I’m sure you’ll enjoy every bit of it… If you’re ever in FL and feeling like a drink on the beach, I’ll buy.
Mr. Hanoud! Thanks, that goes back a LONG way. Florida? Drinks? Beach? Sounds delightful, I’ll take you up on that offer.
Whoa! How fantastic! I’m so happy for you, Francy and the kids. Congratulations, Jay.
Thanks, Kimmy! We’re pretty excited. OK, we’re CRAZY excited!
Congratulations Jay and Francy – very best wishes for you both as you savor every moment!
Thanks, Paula! Hope all is well with you and those beautiful grand babies! (well, I guess they really aren’t babies any more. Time sure flies…)
WOW, I would have never expected this news! Congrats to you and your wife on the next chapter of your life. As a Realtor, I just don’t know what all of us real estate junkies will do without you!
I still have a real estate problem, and won’t ever be able to leave it completely. I’ll hang around. Thanks, Chris!
That is so exciting. I first started working with you back in the “old P2” days. Enjoy this next phase. Life is short!
Wow, Point2. That seems like a lifetime ago. Or maybe just yesterday. Thanks, Sallie!
Love this announcement and great news, Jay! You have been such a grounded force and gift to all of us and it’s time for you to take care of you, nurture your beautiful family and your soul, and enjoy all of the amazing gifts in each day ahead. Congratulations with very best wishes. Hugs and love to you!
Thanks so much Becky! It’s always a delight seeing you, and our paths will certainly cross again.
Awesome, congratulations, and happy news to read Jay! Well timed and deserved! Let me know when you’re in the Sunshine State! As grandma used to say: we not saying goodbye, we’re saying “I’ll see you later”!!
Thanks, Randy! We’re building a list of places and people to see. And Florida is on it! The fish in the gulf should be very very afraid…
Congratulations Jay! All the best in your next chapter.
So happy for you both – what a bold decision. Congratulations!
Thanks, Sherry! It wasn’t an easy decision, but we are super excited about it!
Thanks, Guy! Francy has never been to Tahoe, so it’s on the list. We’ll see you around there, or some conference. (Man, it’s been a long time since we were Inman roomies.)
Do it! Now! My husband, the love of my life, died suddenly from a massive heart attack 5 months ago. I’m so glad we had the retirement time although I spent much of it working real estate. He had a blast and only did what he wanted. We had not quite 48 awesome years together and I miss him terribly everyday, I hate doing this alone. I didn’t hear anyone at the funeral home lamenting the fact they wish they would have spent more time at work. So my advice…take the time while you can, don’t miss a kiss, don’t miss a hug, don’t miss a moment of togetherness because that old saying, tomorrow really isn’t promised. Good luck in your retirement. I hope it’s every thing you want it to be. I’m very thankful for my work experience but more blessed to be with someone I truly loved for so many years. 😘
Jay you are so blessed with so many that love and respect you! The next person to fill your space at Zillow will have his or her work come out for them. You will be missed greatly and I thank you for personally giving me a call when I needed guidance on decision to further my business by adding Zillow to my marketing plan. I have followed you for years and you are a man of your word which is rare unfortunately these days. Your wife and family deserve to have all of you instead of only the time you can take away from work! You have planned well for this day and so happy for you and your new life of less stress and more FUN! I will be following your blog to see all the wonderful things you and Francy will be doing together! God bless and Thank You Friend ❤️👍
I enjoyed chatting with you Sue. Thanks so much for the kind words!
I’m so sorry for your loss, Pam. Thanks for the wonderful advice. Take care of yourself.
CHEERS!!! 🥂 😀 To doing only what you WANT to do…. for the rest of your life, Jay.
Best wishes and congratulations!
Thanks, Wendy! We can’t wait to get started.
I had to scroll pretty far to find this comment box! Congratulations on a new chapter Jay and thank you so much for everything you’ve done over the years. You’re an incredible source of inspiration and a voice of reason that could always be counted on with boots on the ground. A straight shooter and a fan of the process. Will miss seeing you around so much but I trust our paths will cross again in the near future. I’d be honored to show you guys around Bend when you make it around this way again. Wow. Incredibly impressed and forever inspired. I hope you get everything you want. Cheers man
Thanks so much Greg. I’ll definitely be around, and our paths will cross. LOVE Bend, and I’ll take you up on that offer!
Congratulations on the next phase of your life!
After 40 years of working, did you know that you would retire when you were in your mid 50’s?