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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.

Was it Worth It?

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Retiring 25 years ago at age 38, We ask ourselves - Was it worth it?

After all these years of retirement, we still look forward to what the future might bring.

During one of our private two-hour lunches, Akaisha brought up the topic: “Was retiring early at the age of 38 worth it?” Wow! What a question. We each have had our share of personal ups and downs in life - before and after we retired.  It was a subject worthy of discussion.

What if?

If we had stayed in our careers until the “normal” twenty years of service in the corporate world, that would have us retiring in 2006 at the age of 54, a mere eight years ago. Still this would have qualified us for “early retirement” by most definitions.  Assuming things would have been the same,

I wish lunch could last forever in Phuket, Thailand

financially we would be much better off had we continued working. With a house and our cars paid for, living near a beautiful beach with great weather in California, a corporate pension, plenty of stock market assets and cash, it would seem that we would be wanting for nothing.


Health wise, who knows? The stress of working high pressure jobs most likely would have taken a toll on our physical health. And over two decades later with the aches, pains and caution that ageing brings, would we still be

Invited into a family's house in Ganlanba, China

as adventurous and willing to try new things in retirement? And then, there is the question of whether or not we would still be together. Many of our friends are on their second marriages, and we have lost several to unexpected death. This could possibly have happened to us as well.

Of course these are all hypothetical notions as this is not the way it happened.

However, had we retired from the workplace in 2006 with a greater portfolio “traveling in style, having the good life and livin’ large” we would have been sitting pretty until the markets took one heck of a fall in 2008. With the S&P (SPY) Dow (DIA) and NASDAQ (QQQQ) all dropping over 38%, the shingles of our financial house would have been heartily shaken, making us ponder if we did the right thing by leaving work early. Is there ever the perfect time to retire? And how do you know?

Experiences vs. assets

Traveling the world for the past twenty-five years, we have garnered a wide range of experiences and have tested our mettle. How do you put a price on first-hand education and twenty+ years of living around the globe?

Since we stepped out of the corporate box in 1991, we have sailed the Caribbean, lived on exotic islands, RV’ed the Western United States, learned skills like Thai massage, scuba diving in the West Indies, and built tennis

courts in the heart of Mexico. For years at a time we have lived in Asia, Mexico and Central America and traveled through all extensively. This is not on a tour or a two week vacation but getting down and dirty with the locals, many times being invited into their homes for meals or to spend the night.

When the call came to do End of Life Care for our parents, we had the time, the energy and the patience to do so full-time, something we could never have done while holding down stressful jobs.

We consider ourselves to be global ambassadors, living everywhere and nowhere. Our style is to dive into local cultures like a roaming, self-generated Peace Corps, putting in thousands of volunteer hours teaching English, business skills and sporting activities, leaving the place better than we found it. And the learning is not just for them.

Having way too much fun in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Our maid is teaching me authentic Mexican cuisine and Akaisha and I continue to explore digital gadgetry as well as improve our foreign language abilities, and travel techniques. Much of this we photograph, and journal on our website, RetireEarlyLifestyle.com. Opportunities to help or mentor others are everywhere and the reward is much more gratifying than a paycheck.


After over two decades of retirement, suffice it to say that no amount of money can replace the accumulation of knowledge, skills and personal confidence that our adventures have given us.

One the road in Luang Prabang, Laos

So here we are into our third decade of living this lifestyle to the fullest, tasting flavors from exotic locations and ready to meet life’s challenges. While our finances might not reflect the substance of those who continued to work, no one can take away the dance we’ve danced.

The future is always filled with surprises whether one is working or retired. Life with its challenges never stops. However we can rest assured that at age 62, we have had one heck of a ride over the last twenty some years and we eagerly look forward to our next decades of upcoming journeys and adventures.

So, was retiring at the age of 38 worth it? We can only say a resounding YES!

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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.

For more information about financial independence and travel, visit our book store


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Billy and Akaisha continue to journal and photograph their world travels.

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