Retire Early Lifestyle
Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler

 
 

Retire Early Lifestyle Blog  Free Newsletter Subscribe/Contact Us

Advertise on RetireEarlyLifestyle.com info here

In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Expat Expert

Bill Clevenger

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Everyone has particular skills that they bring to their retirement lifestyle. Bill Clevenger has a down-to-earth practicality and robust sense of humor that is contagious. Well traveled, Bill has been living an Expat life since 2002.

Bill, we understand that you spent some time in Bangladesh. Could you tell us about that experience?

In mid 2001 I accepted a 12 month contract as a management consultant with electric cooperatives in Bangladesh. I had always wanted to retire early and live abroad so I sold everything and relocated to polluted, chaotic and exotic South Asia. My job took me to small villages and provincial cities by car, air and river ferries; I was both repulsed and engrossed by the extreme poverty and the Bengali peoples resigned acceptance of their plight.

Expat Expert Bill Clevenger

Where do you call home these days?

Thailand. I have a retirement visa, renewed annually, so it is easy for me to stay here. I “discovered” Thailand while working in Bangladesh and decided I wanted to settle here after retiring. My original plan was to retire in Mexico and perhaps someday I still might. I think I could live there for the food alone.

You recently spent some time in the Philippines. Would you consider moving there?

In a heart beat! How can you not love a country comprised of over seven thousand islands? I can never resist a bargain and overall the Philippines is a bit cheaper than Thailand. Superficially the Philippines appears more westernized but it’s still very Asian so it is both familiar and exotic. The Filipinos are great, fun loving people and can they ever sing!

How long have you been retired and what prompted that decision?

Finding myself suddenly single, I became disenchanted with work and spending all my “free” time maintaining the house and other possessions. Bangladesh was my trial run and I discovered that I actually enjoyed the minimalist lifestyle. So my last day of gainful employment was October 31, 2002 and I never looked back.

Tea break at a Bangladesh river crossing

Do you consider yourself a Perpetual Traveler?

Definitely. I don’t own a house, car or any other possessions that would tie me down or hinder my wanderlust. One of my personal goals is to travel to six continents - I’m giving Antarctica a miss - and I have made it to five already. I also want to spend more time in South America so maybe I will base myself there at some future point.

 

Where’s your favorite place to people watch and how do you meet new friends?

I’ve meet some colorful characters at the small family run guest house where I am staying now. They have a table near the street, so I hang out there with the regulars and chill out with a cold beer. The street scene in Thailand is so vibrant: food vendors making dishes to order, hawkers peddling fake Rolexes and DVDs; couples strolling in the evening and the occasional beggar requesting “small money.” Last night our group consisted of two Brits, two Australians, one Norwegian, one Canadian and yours truly. I’m usually the only American, but I am accepted - or at least tolerated - by all. (Laughter) Seriously though, I’ve meet some great people during my travels and I socialize much more abroad than I did back in the USA.

Bill helping out at a Thai funeral

Communications with family and friends back in the States can be expensive how do you manage this?

They all rejoice that I’ve left the country. (Laugh) I mainly rely on Skype and e-mails. I can call my parents back in the states for 2.1 cents per minute on Skype. With a fast connection the voice quality is almost as good as a landline conversation. I also have a cell phone so I can be contacted immediately if there is a real emergency.

If you had twice your net worth, would it change your life?

Hmmm, good question! Due to a strong market, my portfolio is up 50% since I retired but I did not increase my personal budget by the same factor. I am pretty conservative financially speaking, so I probably would not blow a lot of money on “stuff.” Being a Perpetual Traveler instills automatic discipline on shopping; I can only haul so much around, so the more I buy, the more I have to dispose of. I do admit to owning five pairs of shoes though (Smile).

How do you handle finances while on the road?

With my trusty laptop I manage all of my accounts online. If there is a glitch, I fire up Skype and yak away with a customer representative. My sister sends me new ATM and credit cards so that is an enormous help too.

Christmas Eve in a Bangkok Soi

What do you do about health care?

I am uninsured so I just pay as I go. Medical care is top notch in Thailand and relatively cheap compared with the USA. (Thailand has a strong tradition of medical science; King Bhumibol was born at Cambridge, Massachusetts while his father was studying medicine at Harvard) I try to take care of myself and I am naturally healthy, so maybe I’m just lucky.

Do you ever consider returning to the States to live?

I have always felt that I would return to the USA at some point, maybe when I am older and want more familiar surroundings. I would probably settle in a Recreational Vehicle community and still live part of the year abroad.

 

What do you miss about the States that you cannot get in Asia?

This may sound corny, but I miss the inherent kindness and decency of the American people. The US military conducts annual “Cobra Gold” joint training exercises with other SE Asian nations and there are a ton of US service men on shore leave in Pattaya, Thailand. Many people of all nationalities have commented positively on their polite and friendly behavior. I do admit to missing my Mom’s cornbread as well. (grin)

What would you recommend to others who are considering becoming an Expat?

Just do it. Sure, you will encounter problems but deal with them and go on. After all, if you truly are homesick you can always go home.

Enjoying Kho Chang, Thailand

What makes you unique?

I don’t feel unique but I do feel fortunate to be living my dream. As a kid, I would go to the library, grab an atlas and a stack of National Geographic magazines and travel the world. Now I’m doing it in real time.

What books are you currently reading?

The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl. It’s a great read that I just stumbled onto.

In one sentence, what is your philosophy on life, or your motto?

“If you think you can or you think you can’t, either way you’re right.” Henry Ford.”

We want to thank Bill for taking the time to share his life here and for providing us with photos of his world travels.

To read more interviews with Expats, Early Retirees and Interesting Characters, click here

Free Newsletter, Subscribe here

About the Authors
 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

HOME   Book Store

 

Retire Early Lifestyle Blog      About Billy & Akaisha Kaderli      Press     Contact     20 Questions     Preferred Links     Retirement     Country Info    
Retiree Interviews
      Commentary     REL Videos