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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.

It Doesn't Hurt to Retire Early

Interview with Kim Hurt

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

The journey towards retirement is unique for everyone. Since we all have a different approach, we thought Kim Hurt’s account of leaving the working world and entering retirement would be informative to those of you who will be facing that challenge soon yourselves.  

Kim purchased our book, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement, then visited us while we were living in Chiang Mai, Thailand. After many personal discussions about himself - both his past and what shifts he's made towards achieving retirement - we thought his story was intriguing and worth sharing to our readers.  

At the age of 11, Kim's Mother passed away. Then, the youngest of four children at 14 years old, his Father became ill. At that point he was the last child living at home and became the primary caregiver to his Father until he died a short two years later. He credits his Father for giving him a moral compass and in guiding him to strengthen his character, especially during the time his peers were being tempted by drugs and a salacious lifestyle. He earned scholarships in order to attend college and since he was on his own early in life, he learned the value of being both self reliant and having relationship skills.   

Kim, thanks for taking the time to answer a few of our questions about your newest adventure, retiring early. 

Kim shopping for a shirt that proudly honors the King of Thailand

Could you tell us how old you are, and how far along you are in your transition to full retirement?

I turned 57 in late 2007. My quest to position myself to be able to stop working and take up my passion for travel began in earnest about two years ago in 2005. 

If you define “full retirement” as meaning that you can pick up and leave at any time, be gone for an indefinite period and have no work responsibilities, I would say I am about 75% there. 

I have a pretty conservative nature and rather than just chucking my career and jumping into retirement, I decided to phase myself into it. In February of 2007 I began planning a two month adventure. Southeast Asia was my destination of choice which was inspired by your book, The Adventure’s Guide To Early Retirement. Thank you.

That's very humbling that you would credit us for inspiring you, Kim. Thank you! Could you tell our readers a little about your business background?

After graduating from Northern Arizona University in 1972, I was recruited into a management training program with a company named Trus-Joist Manufacturing in Phoenix, Arizona. They transferred me to Santa Rosa, CA in November of 1972. Trus-Joist is in the construction supply business. Due to a severe recession in the commercial construction industry in 1975, they closed the Santa Rosa facility. I was the assistant manufacturing plant manager at the time they closed. 

I did not want to move from the Santa Rosa area so in 1975 I got my real estate license and began my new career. In 1980, I, along with two coworkers, purchased the real estate company we worked for. For fourteen of the next eighteen years I was the managing broker for our company which employed a staff of 32 sales people. Selling my interest in the real estate company in 1998, I affiliated with a friend’s firm and still have a desk at that office. I truly love helping people and get great joy from serving people as their real estate representative. In 2005, I decided to position myself to follow my passion for travel. 

 

How long have you been planning Early Retirement? And what gave you the final push to make the commitment?

I started considering my options regarding retirement in early 2005. I knew that if I wanted to travel I would need to redirect my equity in real estate into other investments that did not require me to manage them. By the end of 2006 I had converted much of my real estate equity into investments that do not require management on my part. At that point I was financially independent and no longer needed to work. 

Kim as Elephant owner for a day in Chiang Mai, Thailand

I heard the two of you being interviewed by radio talk show host Clark Howard in 2006 and the timing was perfect. I knew my passion was to travel but I did not know exactly where to start or how to go about it. I purchased your book, The Adventure’s Guide To Early Retirement, and it was the perfect vehicle to help me create a vision of how to go about making the break from everyday work life. Your book is truly what gave me the push to make the commitment.

What has been your biggest challenge to taking the plunge?

I really had two equally large challenges to taking the plunge:

The first challenge was to make sure the people in my real estate business, my clients, many of whom have become good friends and who depend on me, are well taken care of in my absence. Fortunately I have been able to resolve this issue.

Second, I had several real estate investments which I personally managed. Property management is very time consuming and I knew if I wanted to travel extensively it would mean eliminating or at least substantially reducing my management responsibilities. In addition, the return on my equity (cash flow) from the properties was low because while the properties had gone up substantially in value over the years, the rents had not. I needed to increase my cash flow in order to take the plunge.

Scuba diving on Phi Phi Island, Thailand

In this transitional period, what has been the biggest surprise?

The biggest surprise to me about transitioning into retirement is how simple it is to do once you make up your mind to do it. I sometimes have a tendency to over-think things and make them more complicated than they really are. At the risk of sounding like your book publisher, it was your book that helped me see that if I followed some very simple steps I could travel very inexpensively and stress free. That was a surprise to me.

Will you plan to keep a home in the States, do more traveling, or become a full time PT? ( Perpetual Traveler )

Santa Rosa, CA has been my home town since 1972. It lies in the heart of the premium grape growing area and wine industry for the United States. Just an hour north of San Francisco, where the giant Redwood trees grow in northern California, it is in truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. I will always have a residence there but plan on doing much more traveling in the future. 

I am divorced, have no children, and currently unattached so my responsibilities are minimal which gives me great opportunity to become at least a part time PT. My current goal is to travel between 6 and 9 months of the year.

Do you travel with electronics? If so, do you find that they help or hinder you in your travels?

I travel with a digital camera, lap top, cell phone, and a hand held GPS device. I find them all to be tremendous assets and I would not travel without them. They are small, light and their utility value is far greater than any inconvenience of having to transport them.

In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Sea of Cortez

We understand that your investment approach using real estate is much different from ours using Index stock mutual funds. Can you tell us about it?

A mentor of mine in real estate once said to me “you can make a good living selling real estate, but you build wealth by buying real estate.” I began buying real estate in the late 1970's and by 2004 had accumulated a fair amount of investment property – mostly residential which is very management intensive. 

Over my years in real estate I have been through several peeks and valleys. Early in 2004 I felt that the rise in real estate values was likely close to, or at a peak. I started looking for alternative investments that would provide me with income that did not require my direct management. I discovered an investment vehicle called Tenant In Common (TIC) ownership.

Tenant In Common (TIC) investments are typically large commercial, industrial, or residential apartment properties. They are generally managed by the companies that create them or by a professional property management company. Not all “TIC’s” are real estate investments. There are also energy investments such as crude oil and natural gas that qualify as Tenant In Common (TIC) investments. For the real estate properties I had owned and managed for many years there is no tax on the gain (profit) at the time of sale, as long as the I.R.S. requirements for a 1031 tax deferred exchange are followed. A real estate professional, CPA, or attorney can easily explain the rules to those readers who may have an interest.

As a result of doing a tax deferred exchange to move my real estate equity from properties I managed to TIC investments, I eliminated any capital gain tax obligation at the time of sale for the properties I sold. I substantially increased the monthly income produced by the TIC investments versus that of the rentals I had owned. Because the TIC investments are professionally managed, it eliminated any personal responsibility for property management which freed up my time for travel.

Having fun with Thai girls promoting a Thai product

What are your greatest passions in life? What motivates you?

I am truly passionate about helping people to help themselves. I strongly believe in the principal that if you give a hungry person a fish they will eat for a day and if you teach them how to catch the fish they will eat for a lifetime. I think that is the reason I am so passionate about my real estate work, because I am helping people to help themselves. As I travel and stay in different places I will be able to apply this principal and continue my passion around the world and, I am sure, make many new and good friends along the way.

Also, I am passionate about travel and discovering new and different things in life. If it is possible, and I think it is, to combine my passion for travel with my desire to help people in some capacity, it would be my perfect world. 

My motivation, at least in part, is driven by a desire to make as many good friends in as many places around the world as I possibly can. I believe the more friendships that cross international borders the safer place the world becomes. I am not naive in the belief that I can bring about world peace with this philosophy but it certainly will not hurt. It is my small contribution and besides, it is a lot of fun.

 

What’s the one thing you can’t live without?

Chocolate ice-cream!

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

Live life with integrity and always be honest. In one sentence that is both my philosophy of life and my motto.

Once again we would like to thank Kim for taking the time to answer a few of our questions and wish him the best for his future.

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

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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 popular 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.

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