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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Retire Early Lifestyle

Interviews the Lozano Family

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

We at Retire Early Lifestyle enjoy giving our readers the stories of other Financially Independent people. One can stay at home, or travel the world. Some stories are about single people, others are about growing families. But one thing for certain, is that there is no one-size-fits-all.

We met these guys while walking on the streets of Oaxaca, Mexico. Billy remarked about the camera Kelvin was using and Kelvin asked about Billy's RetireEarlyLifestyle T-shirt. We decided to meet for coffee in the following days and learned more about the Lozano family.

Let us introduce to you Kelvin, Annalisa and Elio Lozano!

 

Retire Early Lifestyle: Could you tell us a little about yourselves?

       Hi, we’re a family of three

       Kelvin: 31, from the Philippines and moved to USA (Nebraska) when 9, spent 10 years as a mechanical/industrial engineer turned corporate operations leader, now traveler and aspiring storyteller, husband, and dad.

       Annalisa: 30, from a small town in Illinois, spent 8 years as an oncology nurse, now a health coach, wife, and mom.

       Elio: 2 year old who doesn’t want any labels like the ones mom and dad have. Likes mangoes, reading library books, and playing with everything other than his toys.

 

Taking a walk in San Miguel de Allende

Taking a walk in San Miguel de Allende

       Back-story

       When we were in our early 20’s, we got the ideal start to our careers. We made good money and we spent it all. I spent it on stuff (car, motorcycle, house, hobby-related gear). Annalisa spent it on clothes and travel. A couple years later, we started getting tired of conventional life. We minimized our belongings, worked hard, paid off debts, saved, and invested. 9 years later, we had a son. Despite being a year and a half away from our “number” and the pandemic that just hit, we set our plan in motion early. We sold nearly all of our things, stored the rest in my parent’s basement, and set off to explore the world. Now, the question is “Did we make the right decision or did we leave a perfectly adequate life?” To answer it, we’re traveling to new places, meeting interesting people, and eating good food. We’re learning about the world, the lives of other people, and most importantly we’re learning about ourselves. We’re constantly refining our definition of the good life. It’s a test to see if we have what it takes to put into action what we’re learning. The question above then turns into a better question: “How can we live a life we’re proud of?”

REL: When did you start your journey to Financial Independence? What was your motivation? Were you both always on the same page with this goal?

       At first, it had nothing to do with Financial Independence. I just wanted freedom from all the stuff I bought. I wanted to be able to pull into the garage without scraping the sides of my car against all the things I accumulated… to be able to open the closet without something falling out.

       It started with a book. I was home alone for the weekend. I think Annalisa was visiting her family. It was a book called Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts. Someone gave it to me as a 2012 Christmas gift. Anyway, I got to a part that said something like “A man shackled by his material possessions can never be free.” I put the book down and looked around. Big screen, surround sound, entertainment center, leather couch... All things that we once thought we needed I now saw as shackles. I already had the inkling that this was the case. The book confirmed it.

       I didn’t yet know what kind of freedom I wanted to have. But I knew that the shackles were heavy and uncomfortable. I wanted to take them off.

       Annalisa came home that Sunday and found our spare bedroom filled with a bunch of my stuff. I had opened every closet and drawer. Looked under each bed. Cleaned out the garage. Everything that looked like a shackle went into the spare bedroom, I took a photo, and posted it on Craigslist and eBay. It was such a long time ago that neither of us can remember exactly what she said. She has a pretty good long term memory so I think she’s just being nice. She probably thought I had lost my mind. Also, it was just my stuff so she wasn’t mad.

       Once I get started on something, I go deep, quickly, obsessively. I wanted to learn how to live with as little as possible. I discovered minimalism. And once I stopped buying so many things. My bank account started to grow. I didn’t know what to do with it. Then, I stumbled upon a few articles on investments, which then led to blogs about financial independence.

       I was am a nerdy spreadsheet engineer so I created a table to track our spending, assets, and liabilities. Later, I made a graph to compare our spending with a 4% return on investment on our investments. When I showed Annalisa the graph and what it meant when our 4% of our investment crossed lines with our spending, she got onboard.

       We still spent money on what we loved (mostly good food and some travel) but we cut spending on the things that didn’t matter. We sold my Acura, my second motorcycle, all of the gear related to abandoned hobbies. We rented out our spare bedroom. We also turned the family room into a bedroom and rented that out. Eventually, we moved downtown (close to work and everything we liked to do), rented out our entire condo, sold Annalisa’s car, and rode our bikes everywhere. We became debt free very quickly and all of our extra money was invested into the stock market.

REL: Did you ever think it was possible to live a different lifestyle other than the conventional one? What triggered you to think outside of box?

       No, at first we didn’t think there were any other options other than to work until you hit “retirement age.” Since retirement age was decades away, we wanted to have fun with our money. So I bought things for my hobbies and Annalisa bought experiences. We had no idea that money could be used as a tool to buy yourself an early retirement. But thanks to many financial independence bloggers, our eyes were opened to real examples of other possibilities. Many people were retiring in their 30’s and 40’s. And they were showing how they did it!

 

 

 

 

Winery in Austin, TX

Winery in Austin, Texas

REL: Would you consider yourselves to be Financially Independent? Are you still working to afford your lifestyle?

       No, we quit our jobs before we reached our number. The panic selling that happened in February and March of 2020 due to the pandemic affected our portfolio value. It would have taken about another year and a half to get to our number. But we didn’t care because we knew that we still had enough. Perhaps not “enough” to live in the most expensive places but enough for most places. And at this point, our son Elio was one year old and we were seeing him grow so quickly and we felt like we were missing out.

       To hedge against further market volatility and so that we didn’t have to worry about health insurance, Annalisa found a job as a health coach. It’s 100% remote and she’s able to help people prevent the very diseases she used to treat while she was a nurse. I’m spending most of my time doing research for our travels and documenting through photography and videos. You can watch our latest videos on our YouTube channel, Kaneri Life Uncaged.

REL: The cost of housing is one of the highest cash outlay in any household budget. In your retirement lifestyle, did you choose to keep a home? Relocate? Travel? Do you have a home base now? Where do you keep all your “stuff”?

       We sold our condo when we moved from Iowa to California. We rented in California because we knew we’d be exiting within 3 years of moving. Now, we’re traveling. It’s been a bit more constrained with the pandemic of course so we’ve had to keep our travels within the USA and Mexico. After we get the vaccine and other places start opening back up, we’ll extend our travels to other countries.

       We still have our bicycles, motorcycle, car, and some kitchen stuff at my parents’.

Swimming in a cenote in Merida

Swimming in a cenote in Merida

REL: How long have you been Financially Independent?

       To our original standards, we haven’t reached our number. But based on our past 6 months’ spending, we’re there.

REL: In your retirement life, what will you do about access to health care? Are you open to Medical Tourism? Since you have a child, how do you approach your access to medical care?

       We’re still covered under Annalisa’s health care plan. If/when we travel to other countries not covered by her health care plan, we’ll buy global medical/traveler’s insurance and do our routine doctor’s visits when we come back to the states.

REL: What do you average in spending annually? Does this include health insurance? Do you track your spending?

       We’ve only been traveling at it for 6 months (half in the USA and the other half in Mexico). Right now annualized spending is about $30,000 (excluding electronics bought for photography and videography). Our budget is $45,000 and we are much less strict about tracking our spending now compared to before we started traveling. We usually do a monthly review where we use a simple spreadsheet along with an online service to review our numbers.

REL: Can you share with us anything about how your portfolio is structured? Did your retirement affect your asset allocation at all?

       Usually it’s 75% stocks, 15% bonds, and 10% in commodities

       In July of 2020, we liquidated some of our portfolio because I was afraid of the second sell-off. Since that second sell-off still hasn’t happened, I’ve been feeling pretty foolish haha. We’ve been putting money back in every week. But in the back of my mind, I’m still thinking we’re in a bubble.

Time with grandparents in Nebraska and Illinois

Time with grandparents in Nebraska and Illinois

REL: What was your biggest challenge to early retirement?

       Lately, it’s been fear and trying to time the market. We’ve lost out on a lot of gains over the back half of 2020.

REL: Since you are so young, what did your parents think of your choice? Were they upset that you will be traveling to foreign countries with a young child?

       They think we’re crazy, which is ok. I think we’re crazy too.

       They also miss their only grandchild, which is understandable.

       There’s also that fear that is fueled by the media. And we get it, some places of Mexico are very dangerous. But in our three months here, the people have been nothing but nice and friendly to us. I mean, really nice. To the point where it almost makes you want to shed a tear level of nice. I think, just like anywhere, even in the USA, there are going to be rough parts of neighborhoods and there are things that your common sense tells you not to do. We’re using that same judgment wherever we go

REL: How has traveling the world with a young child affected your plans going forward? So far, how has this travel benefited your son?

       Well, the days of traveling with just one backpack are gone! Now we have clothes for a little human, diapers, wipes, stuffed animals, extra medicine, baby carrier, and a stroller. We also had to make sure he had a bunch of shots before we left. Eventually, we’ll get better at packing even more minimally.

       It starts with mindset of knowing inconvenient things are going to happen and you just have to deal with it. For example, we recently took a bus. Ten minutes in, Elio throws up all over himself. What do you do then? Well, I took the unused garbage bag out of the trash can, we stripped him down, changed his clothes, put the barf clothes in the garbage bag, tied it up, and got on with our trip. We’re also learning how to be more flexible. For example, we used to not let him watch any kind of TV. When we visited our families before our travels, the TV stayed off, no one was to show Elio their phone, etc. etc. We were quite rigid. Now, we let him watch read-along books on YouTube so we can enjoy dinner at a restaurant.

       Elio has been a great traveler though. He enjoys riding on taxis, motorbike side cars, airplanes, buses, and boats as much as he enjoys riding on a swing at the park. Everything is an adventure for him.

       He’s also friendly. There’s no such thing as culture shock for him. He says “hola” to people while we’re out and loves playing with kids from all sorts of backgrounds. It doesn’t matter if we’re in the city center or in a remote village. If there’s a kid there, he’s going to say hola and play. It’s instinctual.

       We’re also very proud of him for trying all of the foods. He looks skinny but his belly is huge. We don’t force him to eat anything but we do encourage him to try. Usually he likes it and asks for more.

       Overall, what we hope is that this lifestyle teaches him that:

       You can have a big goal and make it happen with time, effort, and a bit of luck.

       There are many paths in life. So many options to choose from.

       People come in all kinds. There are differences in how we look, where we live, what we wear, what we eat, how we think, how we speak, etc. but we are also the same in a lot of ways. And teaching him that early on is important. It’s as basic as him realizing “I’m a kid, those are kids over there, they look different, but they like chasing each other around, I’d like to play chase too.”

Playing with a new friend at a Zapotec family’s home in Oaxaca

Playing with a new friend at a Zapotec family’s home in Oaxaca

REL: Did you face a lot of negative peer pressure for your Early Retirement decision?

       We didn’t really talk about it with others, not even with close friends. It was hard because we felt like we were hiding such a big part of ourselves. I was worried that if my coworkers knew, they would think differently of my work. I wanted my work to keep speaking for itself. I didn’t want any of them to think I was less dedicated to the mission just because I also had a financial goal that would give me the option to exit. Annalisa only talked to one of her friends about it but that’s only because her friend was working on financial independence too.

REL: What has surprised you the most about your journey to Early Retirement?

       How it comes before you know it. Once the money system is created and put on autopilot, you don’t have to think about it anymore. You don’t miss the money and eventually, it grows.

       Back in 2017, we took the “retired life” on a test drive by taking a 3-month sabbatical. We learned that the alluring vision of sitting on the beach all day drinking Mai Thais is not for us. I mean, every day was about adventure, eating good food, and just a bunch of hedonistic stuff. It turns out, we enjoy working. To be consumed, for at least part of each day, doing something difficult, creative, and beneficial is a critical part of our life.

We are Retire Lifestyle Mentors. Our goal is to help you achieve your retirement dreams.

REL: What is exhilarating beyond words? Something you would never trade about your lifestyle to obtain “security?”

       Having the time, physical, and mental energy to do things we’re passionate about.

REL: So far, what has been your biggest challenge with this new lifestyle?

       We go travel to a new place every month so the biggest challenge has been choosing where to go next, planning out activities, etc. Options are great but choosing what to do every month is still challenging.

       I also really enjoy meeting people. The pandemic has kind of put a damper on that but hasn’t stopped it altogether.

Canoeing in Ladybird Lake in Austin, TX

Canoeing in Ladybird Lake in Austin, TX

REL: What would you say to someone who is considering tossing the conventional lifestyle and retiring early? What advice would you give?

       Leaving the conventional lifestyle and retiring early is a sexy goal. Every time I thought about getting rid of all the shackles (demanding career obligations, material possessions, etc.), I got a smile on my face. I thought, once we get there, everything will be so much better!!! Our experience is that the options money brings DOES make a lot of things better, but not everything. Not the most important things. Along the journey, it’s still crucial to work on your health, marriage, role as a parent, friendships, knowing the kind of person you want to become, knowing what kind of life you want to have and why, figuring out what activities make you genuinely happy, etc. The cool thing is that you can live a rich life long before (and even without) financial independence and retirement.

       In relation to achieving early retirement, many people have talked about the path in clear and simple ways online. Here’s how we approached it:

       Get educated. Annalisa and I read many books on money. Our favorites include “I Will Teach You to Be Rich”, “The Millionaire Next Door”, “Smart Couples Finish Rich”, “Total Money Makeover”, and “Your Money or Your Life”. We also read blogs and listened to podcasts that fall under the Financial Independence umbrella like Mr. Money Mustache, Mad Fientist, JL Collins, Our Next Life, ChooseFI, BiggerPockets, and Planet Money. We learned from many sources because we wanted to be students on the entire topic of Financial Independence. We took the parts from each book, blog, or podcast that made sense to us and created our own strategy.

       Get on the same page with your partner early on.

       Understand your numbers. Make it easy with a service like Personal Capital or Mint and create a simple spreadsheet to track your net worth, income, spending, savings, and investments.

       Spend on what you value but cut down spending on everything else. For example, we like eating healthy and tasty food. So we spent a lot on groceries and restaurants.

       Eliminate your debt. I recommend to start with whatever has the highest interest rate but some people prefer to knock out the smallest debt accounts first.

       Make more money, either on the side or at your day job. Don’t live a bigger life. Instead, invest a bigger amount with every paycheck. Max out your tax-benefited accounts. If you have any leftover, put it in a taxable investment account.

       Track your progress. We had a graph that showed a line representing 4% of our investments and another line with our spending. It was very motivating to see those two lines get closer and closer together.

 

REL: What would you say are your most unique talents? 

       Kelvin

       Openness and adaptable to new/different situations

       Ability to envision a better reality

       Persevere to do hard things

       Learn new things quickly

       Self-awareness (I can list my weaknesses just as easily as my strengths… probably better)

       Annalisa

       Humility (she’s too humble to list her unique talents so I’ll do it for her)

       She can tumble (this was the only answer she would give me)

       She’s loving and caring. She loves me and Elio like no other.

       She’s a great mom.

       She’s conscientious of how other people feel.

       She’s extremely well organized. It’s because of her that we don’t miss flights, we don’t forget to pack things, we never run out of diapers for Elio, etc.)

       She’s very introverted but is open to meeting and talking to new people.

       She’s good at relationships with the most important people in her life.

       Elio

       Can relate to anyone babies, kids, grownups... anyone

       Fearless! The world is his playground.

       He’s great at sharing.

       Great napper and sleeper which we appreciate

       I don’t have any other kids to compare him to but I think he’s very smart. He just turned two but when we talk to him, I feel like he understands 99% of what we are saying and even responds with his own thoughts.

       He inherited smarts from me and a loving heart from Annalisa.

REL: What are your greatest passions in life?

       Working on our most important relationships (self, with each other, and with Elio).

       Spending time with locals wherever we’re traveling, walking in their shoes, breaking stereotypes).

       Documenting and sharing our travels for our own memories as well as for lessening our audience’s fear about the world. I’m also enjoying getting better at storytelling.

Cleaning the corn at a Mezcal palenque in Oaxaca

Cleaning the corn at a Mezcal palenque in Oaxaca

REL: Tell us about your greatest personal success, not necessarily finance related.

       Marriage is hard. We’re far from perfect but we’re always working on making ours better.

       Having a kid is hard. Again, another part where the gap between who we want to be and who we are today is wider than we’d like for it to be. Elio is a great kid but it still takes a lot of energy, intentionality, attention, etc. Especially since we’re together 24/7. We’re reading books, talking to other parents, trying things to be better parents and maintaining our sanity.

REL: How do you contribute to the world?

       I like to think that we’re just doing our thing. Figuring out how we want to live and then putting in the work to get there. If that contributes to the world by inspiring other people to figure things out too, great. If not, well, at least we didn’t disappoint ourselves. And we also think that the best way to teach Elio life lessons is through how we live our own. We’re trying to be good examples for him.

REL: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

       Wow, so much can change in 5 years. I think it will depend on whether or not we want more location stability. After so much traveling, we might want a solid group of friends, a community we can really be a part of, a good school Elio can go to. Or, we might still be traveling. The beautiful thing is that we’ll have options.

 

 

 

 

REL: What is your biggest splurge?

       Annalisa

       Some things never change: Travel and adventures.

       Kelvin

       Some things never change: Camera gear. Apple products.

       Elio

       Diapers are very expensive. If Elio had his own money, he’d splurge on bubble makers and ice cream.

REL: Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you've found to be very helpful?

       Memento Mori (remember, you’re going to die)

       You always have a choice, no matter what (reminder that we not only have agency but that we also bear the responsibility)

REL: What do you do for fun or entertainment?

       French pastries with a cup of good black coffee

       Play dates for Elio (it’s also fun for us to meet other parents)

       Learn about the culture of wherever we are through their food (and when we’re lucky, by spending time with locals)

       Photography and filmmaking

       Going on walks

       Reading (usually non-fiction unless we’re counting the many books read with Elio throughout the day). Right now reading:

       Green Lights by McConaughey

       The Way to Love by De Mello

       Born a Crime by Noah

       Bird by Bird by LaMott

       And The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Perry

 

We at Retire Early Lifestyle would like to thank Kelvin and his family for taking the time to be a part of our Community and for answering our many questions. We hope you found their interview to be inspiring.

Thank you for sharing your lives with us Kelvin, Annalisa and Elio!

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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.

contact Billy and Akaisha at theguide@retireearlylifestyle.com

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