Creative Personal Project Buys Early Retirement

Insatiable appetite for lifelong learning

Dan Florio
By Dena Zocher
Freelance Writer

“My background and career are both all over the map, just like my retirement,” says app developer, science fiction writer, and part–time retired person Dan Florio.

Florio's career arc reflects one of those people who are always trying new things, whose curiosity, passion and energy seem inexhaustible. It shows in the creativity with technology that led him to develop a successful app, and his interest in science that is the seed of an emerging new career as a science fiction writer.

Florio describes himself as a “what will I major in today?” college student. Starting with an astronomy and physics double major, he then fell in love with mathematics. After working at Space Camp, followed by a stint as a massage therapist, he reentered college with a double major in history and philosophy. That's when Florio found a passion for “this new thing called the Internet.”

The “designated computer geek” in his college's library, Florio was tapped to build their first website. “After that experience, I kept playing around with HTML and JavaScript throughout my college years. That ended up paying huge dividends.”

“As you go the way of life, You will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.”
– Joseph Campbell

A study–abroad year in Wales brought Florio back to the States “penniless.” But his skills quickly landed him an IT job, and a career culminating in the Xbox division of Microsoft.

You will see a great chasm. Jump.
Florio had his sights set on being a freelance developer. He just needed a portfolio piece to showcase his abilities as an independent developer.

Inspired during a three–hour film, Florio created an app around a small but significant problem encountered by moviegoers: when to take a bio break. The app lets a viewer know when the action is at a point that they can afford to run to the bathroom without missing anything crucial.

Not only did clients appreciate the work but the app itself also took off to the point that Florio quit freelancing and started managing the app full time. The humorously inspired portfolio piece enabled him to retire in his 40s. “I didn't set out to find a pot of gold, but I achieved the developer dream,” says Florio.

The next frontier
“For me, being retired means being busy. I've been ‘retired’ for five years, but I feel busier than ever.”

Not only is Florio building a cottage for his mom on his semi–rural acreage, but he is also realizing a lifelong desire to write fiction. “I love everything about it: creating an alternate universe, with its own rules and requirements, choosing the right words, creating characters.” Florio is currently working on a trilogy, with plans to finish all three books in the next two years and self–publish on Amazon.

To others on the path of post–career transition and new definitions of retirement, Florio offers his favorite quote from American mythologist, writer and lecturer Joseph Campbell: “As you go the way of life, You will see a great chasm. Jump. It is not as wide as you think.”

Experience the #retirementyouwant – find out more at www.jackson.com

The opinions and forecasts expressed are those of the author and individuals quoted and should not be construed as a recommendation or as complete. Dena Zocher is not affiliated with Jackson National Life Distributors LLC.

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