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Early Retiree: Take the Money and…?

2 minute read
Joel Stein

This is what too much money can do to a person. Since selling his business to Netscape in March 1996 for “enough to sustain my lifestyle indefinitely,” Jayson Adams, 32, has spent a lot of time thinking. An incredible amount of that thinking has taken place at Menlo Park’s Cafe Borrone, a coffee shop four blocks from his apartment. “Since I was 16 or so, my objective was to start a company and sell it or IPO,” he says, sipping a cup of tea.

Now he’s not sure what his objective is. “If you don’t have a job, you have to confront who you are. If you’re not dating, you can usually say, ‘It’s because I’m working all the time.’ Now you can’t say that.” His business card gives his title as “emeritus.”

Almost all of Adams’ contemporaries, who swore they’d retire, have started new companies. But Adams is steadfast in his refusal to work. So he’s going to spend his weekdays this fall commuting to Los Angeles to study guitar, and then fly back for his weekend drawing classes. He knows all kinds of things now, such as what time of the day the supermarket is least crowded. And ever since reading a tome called Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, he’s got a little weird about progress. He doesn’t use the Internet or watch TV, and he bikes and walks to most places. He has renounced most technology, except for some wings with speakers attached to them that he built for this year’s countercultural Burning Man festival.

After his tea, Adams walks across the street, where the millionaire Luddite buys $20 worth of lottery tickets.

–J.S.

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