Last week, I heard an interesting story on the radio while delivering lunches. Thomas Baham bought a small independent movie theater as a retirement plan. His philosophy is that everyone has to work until they die, so he might as well work on his passion project. This is a good philosophy. I agree that we should all do some work after retirement. Work gives you a sense of purpose and keeps you going. However, it has to be the right job. You have to enjoy it and it should improve your finances. Otherwise, it’s not worth doing after retirement.

Let’s see what it’s like to own a business post-retirement.

On sale

Wow! I found a data in The previous owner was looking to sell in 2011 and left a comment. Check it out.

Live the retirement dream at beautiful Sweet Home Oregon. Foster Lake and the Cascade Mountains beckon as he aspires to the perfect retirement setting. He owns a fun part-time entertainment business in a small town and lives in the apartment upstairs. The single screen Rio Theater for sale on Main ST. in Sweet Home, Oregon. Enjoy bringing family-oriented first-run movies to the community Friday through Sunday, then take the rest of the week off! Local community events, special screenings and/or daily movie screenings are at your disposal. This is the perfect opportunity to earn a modest income and still enjoy free time. $295,000*.

shomerio on April 27, 2011

Actually, this sounds like a nice retirement. I always thought living upstairs and working at a small business on the main floor would be great. The price wasn’t bad either. However, I did see another comment a bit further down. In 2013, there was a major snowstorm, and the theater suffered water damage to the restrooms, concession, and lobby area. They repaired it and opened their doors again. But this is a red flag. A lot can go wrong with a small business.

*I think $295,000 was just the business and equipment. Mr. Baham bought the building, so the final sale price was probably much higher than this.

roller coaster ride

In 2014, Mr. Baham purchased the Rio Theater after considering it for several years. He renovated the theater and business improved tremendously. In 2018, they bought the small room next door and turned it into an additional projection. Wow, that’s brave. Business must have been booming for him to expand like this. He had to renovate both venues and update the equipment. Things were going great until the Covid pandemic hit.

The theater had to close, but various payments continued. They took out loans to buy and renovate the business. They had to keep making the payments or they would lose business. Mr. Baham sold his house to keep the place running. They operated creatively and rented out the theater to small groups and tried to generate income in any way they could. That sounds super stressful.

Fortunately, they held the door open somehow. The pandemic relief fund helped a little. They also got a grant from the state and raised some money through a fundraising platform. They beat the pandemic and the theater is riding the wave of recovery.

Sweet Home is growing. Remote workers and retirees have moved to affordable small towns for a better quality of life. The theater has benefited from the growing client base and the Rio Theater is better than ever.

Business is doing so well that Mr. Baham has just bought another small independent theater: the Palace in Silverton. My God! He is brave. Business is good now, but who knows what the future will bring. This retirement plan is too stressful for me.

The previous owner of Silverton Palace posted a closure announcement on They could barely make it work as a business. The last nail in the coffin was a dispute with the owner of the building and they were evicted. I hope Mr. Baham can turn it around and make this theater a success as well. I assume he bought the building to avoid future problems with the previous owner of the building.

small business is hard

Running an independent theater is a tough business. These days, viewers can stream new movies at home. Most of us no longer want to go to a crowded theater. It is much more comfortable and affordable to watch a movie at home. Also, there are so many things to do. Going to the movies is not as important as in the old days. But it might be different in a small town. Good theater can anchor the main strip and bring people together. According to Mr. Boham, many shows were sold out at the Rio Theatre.

I think owning and operating a small business is a great idea. However, I would never invest more than 10% of our net worth in a business. There are too many things that can go wrong in any business. It would have to have low overhead and not eat up the rest of our retirement fund. Blogging is a great little business if you can make it work. Although, it’s probably better to start a YouTube or TikTok channel these days.

Actually, I have a personal story. In 1976, my grandfather invested in a movie theater. He had a successful fabric business, but his friends convinced him to invest in a new movie theater. The business failed spectacularly and he lost everything. The moneylenders harassed him for the rest of his days. That was sad.

Here it is Sir. Boham’s story at OPB. Take a look if you want to know more. I found other snippets on the internet. At the time of broadcast, he is around 50 years old. He is not that old yet.

Would you gamble your retirement fund on a small business? A bed and breakfast or a small coffee shop might work for me.

If you want to try blogging, here is my guide: how to start blogging.

Image Credit: Mark Hessling

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joe started retire at 40 in 2010 to find out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at age 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have a lot of projects in the US so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you achieve financial independence.

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