Retiring in the AV Industry: Advice From Someone Who’s Done it Twice

retirement road ahead

By Ron DeVoe

Since I have retired from the AV industry TWICE, I have been asked to offer advice or recognition of possible fallacies in retirement enjoyment. Because ownership of an AV business requires an enormous amount of mental energy for time and resource management, goal setting and attainment, cash flow and keeping up with the technology — turning off that daily, thought-provoking faucet proves to be impossible.

My greatest recommendation to the potential AV business owner/retiree is to first take a sabbatical for six weeks completely away from the business with no contact or communication. Many find that nervousness and frustration set in within a few nanoseconds, but that can be the best test to determine if one can really depart from a lifetime of work.
Understand, that as I have mentioned above, I’m on my second retirement — beware “they keep pulling you back”.

So, what are some of the challenges and possible ways to combat the “f………ing (frustrating) retirement?

ron devoe retirement 2
So, what are some of the challenges and possible ways to combat the “f………ing (frustrating) retirement?


Mother Nature seems to be on the lookout for the instant one retires to call out the semi-neglect of one’s multi-decade mass of skin and bones. I have one friend who confessed “every part of my body hurts and what does not hurt, itches.” Your joints can all be surgically repaired and then you will be placed in the loving and caring arms of therapists who will delight in providing PT … Physical Torture. Both the surgeons and the sadists delight in the fact that you will need even more joint work. Eyeballs, teeth and skin can be resurfaced and certain procedures that send film crews into your private parts are a coming attraction. Enjoy!


While I know plans were made to live in the lap of luxury, someone is always tightening that lap. “Out with the old and in with the new” is far less fun when it ushers in new roofs, new AC compressors and a new transmission in one month. The above medical discussion also continues to drain the remnants of your wallet.


I attended my 55th high school reunion last fall, and was shocked by the number of older people. When I saw myself in the group picture, I was sorry to see how well I fit in. The new retiree will possibly find that what was late is now early. Restaurants are loud and you cannot hear yourself eating. Social events are yearned for like a root canal. Conversations that include “in my day” or “do you remember when” beget immediate drowsiness among your party. There are few social events requesting BYOC (Bring Your Own Curmudgeon).


Few AV retirees spend multiple hours in front of their new enormous 42” or 65” or 85” TV to delight in back-to-back episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show” or “Rawhide.” Some spend their time in front of their computer still trying to find that pearl of wisdom lurking in social media. Others are so uplifted by the enlightened chatter of network news that they have no problem forcing a perpetual frown.

OK, so now you’re aware of all of the challenges that are experienced by most retirees from the AV industry. Now, here are a few suggestions that have helped me to make this era in my life fulfilling, meaningful and enjoyable. I hope they do the same for you.

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  • Volunteer: There are countless opportunities to give back using your talent and experience. Beware that you may find the management, adherence to time and poorly run meetings a stepping stone to trip you into deeper commitments.
  • Self employment: Seek remote working positions as a board member or working on an advisory council. I found that my involvement as a day trader satisfied my “risk/reward” compulsion. The reward is rising early to see financial news, making trades and counting my pennies in the late afternoon.
  • Travel: I know that this is a long-sought reason for retiring. Overseas travel or cruises to far off lands are both exhilarating and life changing. However, it is not cheap and can greatly stretch that retirement budget if one dips into the nest egg too much. It is great to rediscover the U.S. Pack up your car with your spouse or significant other and hit the road to those places that you have not experienced or those that you visited and wished you had spent more time.
  • Family: Most of the retirees from the AV world now have grown children. Work conflicts often prevented coaching, participating in and or attending the numerous sporting events, concerts, recitals and so forth that your children were involved with. My daughters have been kind enough to provide me with grandchildren, and while it is probably a moral imperative that we older ones attend such functions, the enjoyment is insurmountable.
  • Bend, stretch, but don’t break: Golf, pickleball, Tai Chi and Yoga should be your new alternative to rock climbing, balance beam competitions and rugby.
  • Date Night: If you wooed your significant other back whenever by going out, get back to it. Dressing up and watching a play or enjoying a concert gets you out on the town and out of a rut.
  • Let the creative juices flow: I know many of my fellow AV retirees who have picked up their musical instruments and are picking or playing their way into some gigs. I know some who are painting, carving, singing and writing. I myself, am attempting to write screenplays and I am grateful to that number of people who have read my script — both of them.
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The suggestions above only reflect my thoughts and ideas and may or may not be credible or applicable to all. But I have one last important thing to say: Our AV industry, though growing, is still a small community. I am thrilled to see the family-owned AV businesses pass down from generation to generation, giving greater meaning to the “AV family.” Retirees are still in the family and that family wants continued contact.

P.S. My daughter, Dee Dee, who has recently started TOTAL 2. 0, a new exciting independent representative firm, finds herself delivering another grandchild to us. I am coming back! We are all an AV Family!