A Handcrafted Retirement

TCDRS member Philip Goodwill has taken steps to ensure his retirement someday will be as well-crafted one of his custom furniture pieces!

Philip Goodwill manages construction projects for Bell County. He started working for the county 19 years ago after leaving the Navy. Now, he’s got his eyes on retirement.

“75 is time to quit,” Phil says, “The county is doing a lot of construction… so it’s getting tougher.”

As Phil is preparing to close one door, he’s already spent time building himself a new one in his woodworking business, Salado Woodshop. Phil has been involved in woodworking his whole life, but he got into it seriously about 12 years ago. “It gives me something to do,” Phil says. “The big thing is I enjoy doing it. It keeps me busy, keeps me out of trouble.”

Phil makes most of his sales through word-of-mouth, but he also sells specialty items he’s created on his website. He’s built tables, dressers, boxes, trays, benches, crosses and more out of specialty, high-quality wood.

Photos courtesy of Philip Goodwill 

When it comes to high-quality woodworking, finding the right market can take some legwork. Not everyone is looking for a handcrafted, heirloom piece.

“Most of what I make is out of specialty wood,” Phil says. “The wood alone for one of my China cabinets was $1,200. A lot of people are perfectly happy going to IKEA and buying something they need. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s not what I’m making.”

When Phil officially retires from Bell County, he’s hoping to use some of that newfound free time to travel around Texas to craft shows and markets.

“I get a lot of pleasure when someone appreciates the particular piece I’ve made for them,” he says. “I enjoy figuring out what a client wants and fulfilling their expectations.”

Phil’s advice for folks looking to retire soon comes from a story he was told by a retirement consultant earlier in his career. “You’ve gone fishing, and you’ve caught the most fantastic fish,” Phil explains. “You’re absolutely excited about it. Monday morning, who’s the first person you tell? If that person is somebody you work with, you aren’t ready to retire.”

“You need to find something you can put your passion into to keep your mind working,” he adds.


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