I could have been fully retired some years ago. But I was too young when I sold my business (41) and I "was so stupid that I" became a commercial pilot.
What flight schools don't tell you is that beyond minimum licensing requirements ($ minimum costs) is a whole whack of buildup flight time on the appropriate aircraft types to get even a modest position with a small charter company. Then the recurrence and upgrade training on larger/faster/larger planes.
Then, you (smartly?) think that you can use your own small plane to build hours since you (smartly?) bought one anyway. All fun and games until you realize that a fixed gear single engine (Cessna 172) doesn't build multi-engine retact hours that look so great on a resume with the charter base commander. So you fly right seat pro Bono to get at least some co-pilot time and at least get to keep your instrument and multi-engine skills sharp.
Then you also realize you still have to pay out of pocket for your time, fuel and maintenence on said personal bug smasher since you can't charge for flying passengers without a charter certificate and piston single engine ops aren't legal outside of daylight hours either.
So you go back to real work to pay for your now very expensive toy that your mid life crisis told you would be a better choice than a ZR1 'vette. But dayum, it sure is a blast punching holes in the sky...
Seriously, it wasn't as terrible as I just made it out to be. I got most of my money back out of my plane when I sold it, less the upgrades and maintenence costs (don't ask...) I dumped into it. Less of course, the hellish amount of training costs and 1500 flight hours entailed.
Trust me, GAS is cheap in comparison!