Jonah Goldrich | 86 | Owner, Goldrich & Kest Industries, real estate development and property management
How many hours a week do you work?
I work about 40 hours per week in the office, but work is always on my mind.
Why not retire?
Why retire when I am passionate about what I do and what I’ve created? Perhaps I’ll slow down once I find a replacement with the right talent.
Does your spouse want you to retire?
Best part of working past 80?
The best part is looking back and watching how the business grew while still maintaining control.
The worst part is that I’m more tired than I used to be and get more upset when problems arise. Unfortunately, the business climate has changed such that it is much more difficult to develop and have deals pencil out here in Los Angeles.
Are you up to date on technology?
I’m somewhat up to date. I have used a cellular phone for many years and rely on my assistants to send and receive email on my behalf. Social networking for me consists of face-to-face meetings. Deals are made sitting across the table from somebody.
What is the best advice you ever got?
The best life advice I received was from my father before I escaped from the Nazis. He told me to never feel sorry for myself and he said: “Education is very important. The Nazis can never take away what is in your mind.” Sadly, I never saw him again and he perished in the Holocaust. The best business advice I received was to slow down after a certain age and not try to grow the business beyond a manageable size.
What advice would you give to people who want to work well past 65?
I would advise those who want to work past 65 to find something that they are passionate about and don’t take no for an answer. Perseverance and hard work is necessary to succeed. Furthermore, you will be more successful if you are in business by yourself.
What’s the secret to staying healthy and active?
The secret is to continue working in order to keep your mind sharp, eat right and exercise. Don’t smoke and limit drinking. Try not to get too aggravated about work.
Do you work as much as you used to in your 40s and 50s?
No. I used to work seven 10-hour days a week and now work five eight-hour days. I am not developing as many ground-up development projects as I used to.
How has your work routine changed?
I don’t visit as many properties as I used to and focus my attention on asset and property management from my office. I come in later and leave earlier than I used to, along with the occasional nap.
What do you miss the most about being young?
I miss having more energy and enjoying such active pursuits as skiing and playing tennis, which wreaked havoc on my knees.
What do you see in the future?
I envision the company focusing on its existing assets versus growing the portfolio. From a societal perspective, more people will live in apartments and not purchase homes. It is ludicrous for people to spend four hours each day commuting to and from work at the expense of time with their family. Apartment owners and developers will continue to do well. I hope to see the Metro lines and mass transit expand in a more expeditious manner.
– Compiled by Subrina Hudson, James Rufus Koren and Jonathan Polakoff
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