20 Questions We Are
Billy and Akaisha
January, 1991: At the age of 38, Billy and Akaisha packed it up, sold
everything, left the conventional working world, and moved to Nevis, a 36 sq. mile island in the Caribbean. From
there they started traveling and haven't looked back.
"Life is an adventure, follow your dreams."
Updated August, 2015
Guatemala with Lake Atitlan in the background
Why did you retire early?
We were on a fast track, hamster wheel of life, and made the
decision to leave our jobs to pursue traveling and other interests. Many
older retired folks told us "do it now, while you're young." We heard them
and took their advice. Life isn't a game where whoever has the most money
or stuff, biggest house, or newest car wins. We assessed ourselves, created this
opportunity, and went for it.
Aren't you too young to leave
jobs and a secure paycheck?
In 1991 when we were
38, no one told us there was an age qualification on obtaining
financial independence. We think it is a worthy goal at any age. Now, decades later we feel
one of the best decisions
we have ever made.
you wasting your lives?
Chances for volunteering, continuing education, and
activities present themselves constantly, now that we are not tied to a job. We have taken full advantage of these opportunities, including teaching English
to children, coaching basketball teams, building tennis courts, teaching massage
to indigenous people and writing books and articles. Possibilities are everywhere, and now we have the
energy and time to
In San Cristobal, Chiapas, Mexico
did your friends and family think of your unconventional plans?
Our leaving the working
world challenged the belief system of Everyone. We. Knew.
sit around and do nothing, aren't you bored?
interests that span a broad spectrum, and traveling always keeps things new. "We wake-up in the
morning with nothing to do, but by the end of the day, we only have half of it
done." Boredom has never been a problem for either one of us, as we
are both very self-directed people.
you manage your finances and mail while traveling so much?
We have very little "snail mail" coming
to us now, and 99% of our communication and bill paying is done
electronically. It wasn't this way when we started 23 years ago, but the
internet has made dealing with these obligations much easier. Also, at that
time we spoke with full-time RV'ers, who told us how they handled their
mail, and they were a great source of information. We explain this topic in
more detail in our very popular books,
Guide to Early Retirement, A Common Sense Approach and
Retirement Dream IS Possible.
Akaisha, Casa Escobar Steak House,
you figure the dollar amount to spend each year?
We don't. We track our spending using
a spreadsheet we developed and is available in
Retirement Dream IS Possible. This gives us plenty of data to know what percentage of our net worth we are
spending, so if we need to make adjustments we can do so in real time. We
recently did an
annual spending update and our average annual
spending is around $22,000.
own a house?
We have a low maintenance, high amenity humble abode. This comfortable place in an
resort community satisfies our needs completely
when we are in the States. Otherwise, we are traveling.
Versus Gals - How did you give up the idea of having a traditional home "with
the white picket fence?"
This is a very good
question. I'd be lying if I said it came easily. However, just as
Billy realized he's not his job, I realized I am not my house. These
nesting desires must be taken into consideration to find your own balance. It became clear to me that my personal craving for travel and adventure overcame
my requirement for a traditional home. Again, we discuss this topic in further
depth in our book (Table
much capital is enough? How/when did you know you were ready to retire?
When our days filled up with more "have to's" than "want to's,"
we realized we were going in the wrong direction. The amount of capital is
a personal decision, and one that needs to be thought about carefully. The
better you know yourself and your lifestyle needs, the easier it is to decide
that amount. Do not let Fear make that decision for you. Risk has a
price, and so
your investments in the stock market, were you hurt in the recent bear markets
and did it affect your lifestyle?
Did we get hurt? Sure we got hurt, but did it alter our
lifestyle? Not much if any. We continue to travel and expand our lives
through what we learn and share. We survived the second worst bear market in history
and this current Great Recession, lived
well to tell about it, and have a higher net worth now, after expenses, than
when we began in '91.
Healthcare - What do you
do about health insurance?
This is a very common
question. We used to have health insurance, or as Akaisha likes to call it "asset
insurance." It was a high deductible, catastrophic coverage plan and
it worked well for
us for a very long time. However, a few years ago, we decided to
We take care of health issues while on the road in our own
version of medical tourism. When we visit the States, we purchase traveler's
you do about transportation?
Transportation is easy in foreign countries. Mass
transit, tuk tuks, taxis, boats and a variety of other sorts are plentiful and can be
a low expense.
own a car?
We used to own a
vehicle, but decided years ago to become
car free. The
adjustment to this lifestyle was easier than we ever expected. We hire a driver
to take us places if we cannot walk to them and share rides with friends.
Generally, we prefer walking to and from stores if at all possible.
Billy in a Chicken bus in Panajachel, Guatemala
We do not have children. However, that does not mean
that those who do cannot become financially independent. We know people who have adult
children, and plenty of money, but feel they cannot afford to retire or step
away from a paycheck. It's
not the kids. It's the mental fear surrounding this issue. We have
couples with children who have successfully broken away from conventional
lifestyles. And of course, this way of living isn't for everyone.
have any regrets? Would you do it differently?
Guide to Early Retirement, 3rd Edition
A Common Sense Approach
We have no regrets, and are not sure how we could be doing it
differently. However, you have to modify your plan to fit your needs. Oh, we
suppose we could have worked another ten years, and "really" had a pile of cash,
but then, we would not have had the experiences that we've had in the last ten. And neither one of us would have traded the time for the money.
We believe that with some of the devastating market crashes, we might have
become timid, pushing back our "Freedom Date" even further.
What have you learned by being retired for 25
1.) Itís a lifestyle, not a vacation.
The stress doesnít stop, it just changes form.
3.) We utilize the K.I.S.S. system; Keeping it simple pays dividends in time and
Retirement is a work in progress, and we're in charge.
Don't take life so seriously, have fun with it!
It's later than you think!
admire what you are doing, but it sounds risky. Aren't you being naive?
When we were in our
late 30's preparing to leave the conventional workplace, people certainly did
think we were being naive and expected us to fail at this endeavor. After all
these years we have walked the talk and have proven that early retirement can
not only work out, but bring major life benefits as well.
We say that Life is a risk. There are no guarantees for anything;
health, marriage, bear markets, the unexpected, weather, tragedy. Since we
have been retired, we have "survived" SARS, the Asian Bird Flu, H1N1,
the Ebola breakouts, the bear market of 2000,
The Great Recession, the first Gulf War, coups in foreign countries, the deaths
of close friends and some funny
traveling debacles just to name a few. If you want a guarantee, buy
a Sears battery.
would you say to someone considering leaving the conventional working world and
becoming financially independent?
Be flexible, there is no one way to do this, have your plan
and be willing to adapt to changes. Adaptability is an asset. There are many ways to live a life,
so find out what works for you. Never give up your dreams.
are you going next?
We continue to watch
for airfare deals, countries that interest us and where the currency exchange
rate is favorable and visa stays are friendly. The world is a big place!
Travel Coupon Codes and
Deals at CouponBend.com website
About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are
recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of
finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their
they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991.
They wrote the popular books,
The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and
Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
information about financial independence and travel, visit our