Retire Early Lifestyle
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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.

 

Rob Bennett

Author of the book Passion Saving

Publisher of PassionSaving.com Home Page : The Financial Freedom Blog

February, 2006


The Retire Early Lifestyle Site


The first thing I like about the Retire Early Lifestyle site (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com) is that the “20 Questions” page offers a concise introduction to the Retire Early concept.

This page explains that: “At the age of 38 [in 1991], Billy and Akaisha packed it up, sold everything, retired, and moved to Nevis, a 36 sq. mile island in the Caribbean. From there they started traveling and haven’t looked back.” It then offers the Kaderlies' take on the questions most frequently asked by those hearing about the Retire Early concept for the first time.

This page provides a nice introduction to what our movement is all about. Asked if they are wasting their lives, the Kaderlies note the opportunities for volunteer work and for learning new things that open up to those who overcome paycheck dependence early in life. Asked how their friends reacted on learning of their plans, they say that “our retiring early challenged the belief system of everyone we know.” Asked what they do about health insurance, they reveal that they rely on a high-deductible catastrophic coverage plan.

 

These questions all merit more in-depth responses, and the Kaderlies no doubt provide more in-depth responses to many of them in their The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement CD-ROM (I expect to review the CD-ROM at some future date). I think it was a good idea to build a page containing only the briefest of responses to these common questions.

It is easy for newcomers to the movement to be intimidated by the amount of information there is to process before taking the big step of handing in a resignation to a corporate or government job. The “20 Questions” page provides a helpful overview for those who want to dip their big toe into the water before deciding whether all this early retirement jizz-jazz is worthy of further exploration.

The second thing I like about the Retire Early Lifestyle site (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com) is what the Kaderlies say about why they pursued the CD-ROM project even when they faced difficulties in bringing it to completion.

After commenting that completing the project was hard work, they note that “creativity has a place.”

Precisely so.

There are some segments of our community in which “work” is viewed as a four-letter word. What a bore!

There are certain types of work that we all want to escape from, to be sure. That’s the point of winning financial freedom early in life.

But I don’t have the sense that most community members want to avoid all productive activity from the day they hand in their resignations forward. Note the tag line at the top of the home page of this site: “Winning Financial Freedom to Do the Work You Love.” We are not a movement dedicated to avoiding work so much as we are a movement dedicated to becoming free to do the right kinds of work (which includes some activities more commonly thought of as “play” than as “work).

The Kaderlies found that completing work on The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement was the right kind of work for them to be doing in their retirement. So they stuck at it. Community members seeking to learn some lessons from their financial freedom quest reap the benefits of their insights and the Kaderlies got to experience that good feeling inside that comes from completion of important and meaningful work. A win-win.

The third thing I like about the Retire Early Lifestyle site (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com) is that it reveals that the Kaderlies published their guide to early retirement in an unusual format--a CD-ROM.

The Kaderlies explain that they were finding that they were not able to accomplish what they wanted with their guide by publishing it in the conventional book format. For example, they wanted to include photos of places they had visited in their travels. They determined that publishing numerous photos in a book would be prohibitively expensive.

 

They decided to apply some independent thinking to the project. They note that that comes naturally to early retirees. I very much agree.

The Retire Early idea shocks many people when they first hear it. The reality, though, is that some form of early retirement makes good sense in many circumstances. The hardest part of the journey is applying independent thought to see that it makes sense and thereby to overcome the skepticism so many express about the idea.

One lesson I have very much taken to heart as a result of putting together my Passion Saving plan is that it is important to question conventional thinking in many areas of life. It is possible to get carried away with that sort of thing. There are usually good reasons why certain ideas come to be accepted by majorities. In the right circumstances, though, there can be a big payoff to checking things out for yourself. Independent thinking is very much a distinguishing trait of Financial Freedom Community members.

The fourth thing I like about the Retire Early Lifestyle site (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com) is that the Kaderlies make the case for their decision to retire early on efficiency grounds.

The Kaderlies note that, when they were both employed, they had lots of money coming in but little time to enjoy it. Their decision to retire early meant a drop in buying power but an increase in time to enjoy the things that money allows one to obtain.

Many people become so accustomed to the struggle to gain more money that they come to believe that it is always a good idea to trade one’s time for money. It isn’t. The discovery that that is so is the discovery that drives the Retire Early movement.

The fifth thing I like about the Retire Early Lifestyle site (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com) is that the Kaderlies stress how making changes to just three spending categories can make a big difference.

The Kaderlies rediscovered something that Paul Terhorst (author of Cashing in on the American Dream) learned a good number of years back. Three expenses--housing, cars, and taxes--dominate the budgets of many middle-class workers of today. Make dramatic cuts to those three, and you may not need to do all that much else to gain financial freedom many years sooner than would otherwise be possible.

The first thing I don’t like about the Retire Early Lifestyle site (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com) is that the Kaderlies were DINKs (double-income, no kids).

They can’t help it, of course. We all are what we are. And there are benefits in reading another story of how a DINK couple attained financial freedom early in life.

Still, I think the need is greater for the other kind of Retire Early story, the kind in which a married couple with a moderate income and with the responsibility of raising children pulls off some version of the Retire Early dream.

Those stories are different sorts of stories, of course. We don’t all have the same options open to us. But we do have moderate-income workers with children telling their stories at our discussion boards. So there are versions of the Retire Early dream open to non-DINKs. We need to place more focus on those types of stories in days to come and less on the types of stories we hear from Terhorst/Kaderli types, in my view.

The second thing I don’t like about the Retire Early Lifestyle site (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com) is that the Kaderlies adopt a glib tone in their discussions of the risks of early retirement.

Handing in a resignation from a good job at an early age is a risky business. That’s the primary reason why most people react so skeptically when first hearing of the Retire Early concept.

We need to explain why the risk in some circumstances need not be an insurmountable obstacle. But we make a mistake to underplay the risk, to suggest that people should just take a chance and that things will likely work out for the best.

The Kaderlies were lucky. They invested heavily in stocks and they retired in the early 90s, when stocks were about to begin the biggest run-up in prices that has ever been experienced in the U.S. market.

Other early retirees will not be so lucky. They should not let the risks of early retirement stop them from exploring the concept. But they should be prudent in their planning. They should give the risks serious consideration before taking any irreversible steps.

The third thing I don’t like about the Retire Early Lifestyle site (RetireEarlyLifestyle.com) is the over-simplification I feel the Kaderlies engage in when they argue that planning an early retirement is “not rocket science.”

It’s not rocket science. The statement is literally true.

But there is a lot that you need to look into before reaching the point where you can responsibly hand in a resignation from a good job at an early age.

The time I spent putting together my plan was a great learning experience. I didn’t know much more than the conventional wisdom on saving and on investing and on career advancement before I began putting together my Retire Early plan. It was the process of thinking hard enough about these topics to put together a plan that had a decent chance of working in the real world that helped me develop many of the strategies that I write about at this site.

I wouldn’t want to deny that sort of learning experience to anyone. Planning an early retirement is not rocket science. But there are a lot of things that need to be worked through in the process of putting together a successful plan. And doing that is a good part of the fun that makes early retirement so enriching a life experience.

Don’t hand in a resignation without spending a good bit of time putting together a plan and then examining it from ten directions looking for any possible holes in what you have put together. There’s no better way to develop true expertise in the money management project.

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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