5 Things Your Mover Wishes You Knew

 

 

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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.

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Don’t hang up your gardening hat just yet, check out these clever wintertime gardening ideas

 

Thank you for visiting the RetireEarlyLifestyle Blog!

This post is no longer live, but if you want to know more about financial independence, world travel and medical tourism, please visit our website.

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.

Thank you!

 

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Online shopping for new mattresses made easy

Darren Wilson

Everybody needs sleep especially when very tired. Your body needs to rest if you want to function well the next day, but you can’t have that if you are sleeping on a rock-solid bed or a mattress that’s already falling off the seams. You know why? Because it can damage your back and will cause so much discomfort that you would rather sleep on your couch. Also, people who already have an existing back problem will not appreciate having a foam that could damage their backs even more.

Choosing the best mattress can be hard because there’s a lot that you will need to consider like the brand, how it could affect your spine, and so on. But it’s even harder for people who have no time to go to the mall to do their mattress shopping. So what do they do? They order online and of course; most people may think that it’s not OK to look for your new mattress online because you can’t try it out. But what they don’t know is that there are a lot of benefits when you choose this method too.

No salesperson to hover around you

Imagine shopping alone and there’s a person asking you all kinds of questions that will irritate you more than help you out. It’s only natural for employees to do this but you will really know when they are trying to hit their quota because they will pressure you in buying their most expensive products for extra incentives. Before you do your shopping online, you can research mattress reviews or use a reputed forum to ask and get answers and then look for a reputable store (offline or online) that has the product you like.

You get to buy a cheap but high-quality mattresses

When you go to a mall, you will probably notice that almost all items are overpriced but once you check for the online price, you will see that there is a huge difference with the online price being cheaper. The reason why stores will mark up their prices is because they are also paying for other expenses that comes with operating a store. Ordering online will really make a difference and you’d get to own that mattress you have been eyeing for a more affordable price.

It’s more convenient when it’s shipped right to your address

No more tying your brand new mattress at the top of your car or paying for an extra delivery charge when your house is just a few blocks away from the store where you just bought it because most online-only mattress brand will ship it you at no cost especially if you’re a first time customer. Just look for the right online mattress manufacturer and you’re good to go.

Shopping online isn’t so bad as long as you have the idea on what you want to buy and which online store/shop can give you only the best. it’s true that there are disadvantages like it’ll be hard when you try to return it, but the easiest solution for that is to do extensive research first in order to avoid being in that situation.

 

 

 

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Pros and Cons of RV Living and Other Housing Options

Q&A with a Reader

Hi Billy and Akaisha:

Thank you both so much for sharing your wonderful experiences and wisdom about early financial independence and retirement in your fantastic newsletter and guidebooks!  I thoroughly enjoyed the recent article on your newsletter about Akaisha’s early adventures riding on a motorcycle to Alaska and across the U.S.

I was wondering if you have ever written an in-depth article about your time traveling across North America together in a Fifth-Wheel RV.

I know many of your readers, including myself, are considering an RV to replace the “Bricks and Mortar” conventional home to allow for a more mobile retirement adventure.  In contrast to an RV retirement route, however, I also see the strong appeal of your recent comments on pursuing the lowest infrastructure in retirement.

Simple infrastructure!

I realize that everyone’s thoughts on retirement will differ, but I am truly curious as to your personal thoughts, experiences, advice, pros/cons, costs vs. benefits, and so forth, regarding an early retirement involving an RV for a traveling home compared to your current far lighter, more nimble, and zero maintenance & repair choice.

Best regards,

Kevin B.

Hi Kevin,

Thank you for your enthusiastic comments regarding our newsletter and website. We appreciate it!

In regards to your question about living the RV life in retirement, we would say the following:

It is a GREAT life.

The people you will meet on the road and in the RV parks are friendly, open, and are of a wide variety of personalities, and income brackets.

We would suggest that you start out purchasing a used RV – search Craigslist (especially in RV retirement locations like Arizona, Southern California, New Mexico, Florida, etc.) There is no reason to purchase new and when you buy used you will literally save yourselves thousands and thousands of dollars. If you purchase in a state with no sales tax, then you save again.

The simple life…

We chose to have a tow vehicle (a used 1 Ton pick up) and a separate 5th wheel. In this way, there was only one motor to worry about, and if your truck or tow vehicle is in the shop, you still have a place to live. We know of people who chose a Class A RV, with the slide outs, washer and dryer and so on (lots of motors) … and if anything needs repair, then they are in a hotel (spending money) until the repair is done. If the new RV is still under warranty, then one must go to special repair places and parts need to be ordered, and again… one is in the hotel without the means to cook meals or the convenience of your home.

One couple we know just started out on a two month trip, with 1 month of food purchased and stored and then needed repairs to their Class A. They couldn’t use the food in the freezer and refrigerator since they had to wait so long for the repairs to be done. I think they gave the food away

It’s something to think about. I know those slide outs are very attractive, but when they don’t work… it’s a hassle.

Relaxing by the beach

Also, there are size limitations in some National Parks so if you have a unit that is too long, you have to forego seeing that park. Do a bit of research so you know what you are looking for in an RV – size, price, age, slide outs or not, washing machines or not, and so on. Remember, the heavier your RV, the less miles per gallon you will get with your fuel.

Also, we recommend to travel slowly. There really isn’t a reason to drive hundreds and hundreds of miles in a day (the price of fuel will add to your costs) then stay a night or two somewhere, and then drive hundreds of miles again 3 days later – only to stay a night or two somewhere else.

We “lived the life.” That means we often bought a month’s rent at a time (a discount is often available) in places that allowed us to stay a month. (some only allow you to stay a week.) Then sometimes we would stay in a campground for a week… travel 7-10 miles down the coastline, and stay in another park for a week.

We would mix upscale park sites in between staying in BLM dry camps (Bureau of Land Management). These campsites, because they are dry camping and you are not hooked up to electricity or water are cheaper. Sometimes we stayed in Wal*Mart parking lots or even in a friend’s driveway. The slower you travel, the more you save on fuel and rental prices for your site.

RV resorts offer lots of amenities

In the days that we were RVing, there was no internet or WiFi, but today there is. So I would research how to get hooked up to the internet so that you have communication — Email, Skype, Facetime, paying bills, banking/managing your finances and so on. You can also stream TV or movies these days. Research whether or not you want a generator in case of power failure and whether or not you want some sort of solar paneling to help with utility costs.

You can also consider doing Workampers which will save you money on site rental and you might even be able to make some money.

There are lots of sites to give you current information such as Good Sam Club, Woodall’s Campground directory, and the RV forums and park reviews. (Check out our Travel Housing Page.) Also, you will probably need an online mailbox system to monitor and retrieve your mail. We use Traveling Mailbox. This article explains how it works.

As an alternative lifestyle, you might also consider a combination of house sitting and various hotel and apartment rentals. This is also a terrific way to travel and manage the housing cost portion of your retirement.

House sitting can be “free” housing, and sometimes the owners will pay you for watching their home and pets. Apartments and hotels will give you a discount for a month’s stay. In this way you have no particular cash outlay (like for an RV and tow vehicle or for a snowbird location) but you can still travel all over the world.

The world is a big place! Travel and Explore!

We have a small park model in Arizona, and if you have not read this article on Worry Free Housing, I would recommend that you do so. It explains the benefits of having such a home. In this way, you could stay in one favored location for 6 months of the year, and perhaps house sit for the other 6 months.

In general, housing options these days for a retired couple are much broader than ever. We would suggest that you not limit yourself and try several different styles until you find one that suits you best. Enjoy the journey of discovery.

I hope this answers your questions and if you have any other ones, feel free to write and let us know. We’d be happy to answer them.

Sending our best regards,

Akaisha and Billy

 

Posted in All Things Financial, Housing, Q & A From our Readers, Travel Tips and Insight | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Questions on becoming immersed into the Latin culture

Q&A with a Reader

Hello,

My wife, young daughter and I are looking to do our first out of country trip. We are looking to spend a month learning about Latin American culture.

We like small towns and because we are bringing a child along, safety is our number one priority.

We are looking at the San Pedro Spanish school to do a home stay with a family there and take day trip from there. However, we are open to other options.

Sounds like you know this area well. Can you make any suggestions or direct us to previous articles that may guide us?

Thank you so much!

Chris

Hi Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to write.

What an exciting trip you have planned!

First, I would recommend our book, The Adventurer’s Guide to Pana Living. It will give you the ins and outs of the Lake Atitlan area which is a real heart of the Maya culture.

Akaisha and her Maya friend, Panajachel, Guatemala

I would also take a look at our Guatemala page. This lists other pages of interest, including Antigua information, and our Adventurer’s Guide to Guatemala.

If this is the first out of country trip you have ever done, please realize that Guatemala – while having the ultra-modern city of Guatemala City, and the gorgeous Colonial city of Antigua – is fairly rustic. I would bring with you a few things like Dramamine (or the seasickness preventing aid of your choice), baby wipes to wash your hands often, Imodium and a vegetable laxative so you have both sides of the “colon issue” covered. I would also bring some sort of mosquito repellent. It’s the rainy season here now, and hence, more mosquitoes.

Bring a hat or ball cap, a light jacket in case of wind, and some sunscreen for your nose and face. Bring some solid shoes for you to walk the cobblestones and for perhaps walking around the volcanoes (with a guide).

Santa Catarina Arch, Antigua, Guatemala

Make sure your debit card (for use in the ATMs) uses the Plus, Star or Cirrus systems. This is how you will obtain local currency, about $280USD per withdrawal. I wouldn’t plan on using your credit cards for much of anything. Local businesses are pretty small, and from what I have seen, those who use their credit cards have been subjected to a 25% surcharge on their purchase. Most businesses (unless it is a hotel or a larger import-export business) have no means of accepting a credit card.

Do not drink water out of the tap. There is bottled water available everywhere.

There are several Spanish schools located in San Pedro and there are schools located in Panajachel also. San Pedro is a little funky hippy-style town with a lot of young 20-30 year old tourists. Pana is a little more sophisticated, with a wider choice of banking, ATMs, restaurants and markets to purchase foodstuffs. Each town around the lake has its own flavor.

Maya children playing in the Plaza fountain, Antigua, Guatemala

So long as you don’t take off hiking on your own into the mountains (hire a guide) you should be fine in regards to your safety. If you have computer gear, make sure you have something like a PacSafe to lock up your valuables, including your passport.

There is a lot to share with you about traveling to Guatemala, but if you take a look at the above links, this will give you a good start.

Have a GREAT time in Guatemala. Enjoy the people and the stunning natural beauty here at the lake.

My Best Regards,

Akaisha

 

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How Senior Homeowners Can Supplement Their Income and Win in Retirement

Thank you for visiting the RetireEarlyLifestyle Blog!

This post is no longer live, but if you want to know more about financial independence, world travel and medical tourism, please visit our website.

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.

Thank you!

 

 

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Need a Mailing Address in the States? Try This!

Full disclosure: There are affiliate links on this page. If you click on them and sign up for this mailing service, we will receive compensation. Hey, it’s not a bad thing!

Billy and I have been traveling the world for almost 3 decades.

We visit family in the States, but much of our travels are overseas. So what do we do about our mail?

We first learned of mail forwarding services through RVers we met on the road. What a great idea! So we signed up for one to handle our mail.

For many years we utilized a mail forwarding service whose prices increased annually for P.O. box rental, we were charged for the envelope they used each week to forward our mail, and we were charged postage. That definitely added up.

Now we use Traveling Mailbox. Maybe you have heard of them. They have the lowest prices in the industry, and they give free scans of our mail every month. They will send us a notice via email when we receive mail, and we can view the envelope online from anywhere in the world we might be.

3 Plans to choose from

At that point we can choose to have them scan it (so we can view the contents of the mail ourselves), forward it to any address we choose including a coffee shop, a hotel or vacation spot or we can tell them to shred it.

Our basic plan allows three recipients to use the address, a certain number of free scans and shreddings, but there are a total of 3 different plans from which to choose depending on your needs.

We decided to have a “Premium address” and paid for our service upfront for the entire year, so we could receive 2 months for free.

We pay $199 a year for Traveling Mailbox, but with our other mail forwarding company, we were over $300 for the box rental alone, plus postage and the weekly envelope.

This gives us an address in the States which is very convenient for things like our brokerage accounts and Social Security checks. Of course our SS checks are direct deposit, but we don’t have to worry about being in a foreign country or on the road and proving an address.

If you plan to do serious travel in your retirement, or if you want to house sit or be footloose for a while, Traveling Mailbox might be a service you would consider.

Other articles on this topic

What to do with mail on long-term travel

 

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Traveling through Central America – Is It Safe?

Q&A with a Reader

Good day,

I just discovered your website yesterday, and I certainly envy your decision to retire so early!

My husband and I will be retiring next year, and we have a bucket list of travel to do. I have always been attracted to travel in Guatemala, and we have seen Tikal and the amazing ruins there. But I always thought that travelling in that country solo was dangerous, mainly because of the drug cartels, not the people. My main concern is being kidnapped or robbed on local buses. I am being crazy in thinking this? Do you feel pretty safe travelling on your own?

We also want to travel further in Central America as well.

And I asked to subscribe to your newsletter as well.

Cheers,

Sylvia

Hi Sylvia,

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Billy and I have been traveling the globe now for almost 3 decades.

There are certain things to keep in mind to maintain one’s safety as best we are able. While nothing is guaranteed, doing the following should help you gain confidence to travel and not be afraid.

Maya children playing in the Plaza fountain, Antigua, Guatemala

Do not flash cash or digital toys, and do not wear expensive jewelry. Doing any of this will make you a target for thieves. We try to blend in as much as possible and not make any waves of any kind. We generally pay for food and hotels in local currency, and we don’t bring out a wad of cash and peel off the bills when doing so.

These days just about everyone has a cell phone, but we still carry our computers and cameras in a day pack. We also lock up everything of value, including our passports, extra cash and digital items with a pacsafe. We do this whenever we leave our hotel room.

Also, we don’t wear any expensive jewelry as that would have us stand out from the regular people. There is a large financial discrepancy between the locals in Mexico, Guatemala and Central America and most tourists – and it’s hard for them to imagine owning gold or a diamond ring. Better to keep temptation away.

Do not join in on any demonstration of any kind. Stay out of local political events and leave your own politics at home. Do not make yourselves loud by arguing, shouting, or disagreeing with people in public places.Try to be a diplomat or an ambassador of good will.

Docked boat in Flores, Guatemala

Do not wander around inebriated at 2 or 3 in the morning, and don’t go home with your new best friends you met at the bar. Be aware of your surroundings and your possessions (travel bag, day pack, glasses, passport, etc.)  and if you need to get your bearings duck into a store or restaurant to look at your map. Have a sense of assurance when you walk so you are not pegged to be a hapless mark to those with odious leanings.

Avoid night travel when possible. Overnight buses can appear attractive – you just sleep all night and arrive the next day at your destination. But if something goes wrong (a flat tire, a blockade in the street) you are more vulnerable to trouble.

Do not tell vendors too much about yourself. When street or beach vendors ask politely ‘Where are you from? Where are you staying? Where did you have dinner?” realize that they want to know this information for a reason. Vendors have years of experience sizing up tourists in order to estimate what price they might be able to extract from you for their goods – they are not ‘just being friendly’. When you divulge too much information about yourself, your whereabouts and what kind of money you may be carrying, you are clearly asking for trouble.

Santa Catarina Arch, Antigua, Guatemala

Put Caution into perspective and know the difference between caution and fear. Years ago I read a book by Gavin de Becker called The Gift of Fear. I would recommend this book to you as well.

Mr. De Becker takes the position that violence isn’t just ‘random’ and that clues and access to information which can prevent us from becoming a victim is available to us beforehand. He explains that caution is different than fear, with fear actually being a gift that can save our lives. Gut instinct is much different than an over-active imagination.

The information in this book is good, solid advice to use anywhere, including your own home town.

A very high percentage of victims of violence will admit that they knew ‘something wasn’t right’ or that they felt strangely before violence struck. They shushed themselves up and went ahead into the dangerous situation anyway. In other words, we as human animals ‘know’ but often don’t take our warning signs seriously.

Akaisha and her Maya friend, Panajachel, Guatemala

Learn some survival phrases. World Nomads has free language apps available. Take a look! When you are traveling through foreign countries, knowing some basic phrases puts you more in control. And anyone with nefarious intentions will think twice when they understand that you speak some of their language.

All this being said, we have not experienced any trouble traveling throughout Mexico, Guatemala or parts of Central and South America. We would certainly encourage you to pursue your desire to travel, as it is such a life enhancer and broadens your perspective.

I hope you find this information to be useful. Feel free to write any time.

Best Regards,

Akaisha

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Growing Our Nest Egg in Retirement

Q&A with a Reader

Hello, Akaisha.

My 93-year-old mother lives with my wife and me at our condo which is in Florida.

I am a full-time employment consultant and Joan is a caregiver, plus helps me with my practice. We are positioning ourselves for retirement, once my mother passes on and no longer needs our care. We are in a good position from following key element of your and Billy’s advice and others.  We have a nest-egg touching seven figures.

Our thought is to allow our nest-egg to continue to grow so we have something substantial to hand to our two daughters (and their families) rather than draw it down to a pittance when we are at our end.

In all the REL newsletters and articles, where can we review ideas and stories of other retirees that are income producers with the flexibility and freedom to travel?

Thank you,

Jack

Hi Jack!

Thanks for taking the time to write and to share your situation with us.

Here are a couple of recommendations for you if you are interested. By the way, congratulations on your upcoming retirement!!!

We have a page where we list interviews of Successful Retirees and Captivating Characters. You might find their individual stories inspiring, and it could give you some ideas.

You might also want to join any of the free online financial forums listed on our Financial Education Page.  In this way you will be with like-minded people who are dealing with similar futures. And definitely take a look at our Preferred Links Pages — you might enjoy doing something like house sitting or home exchange which can definitely save you money on lodging while you travel the world comfortably.

Another suggestion is to perhaps set aside some money for each of your daughters and allow that to accrue over the years untouched. Then you can see the amount left that you might want to spend on yourselves during your retirement. You can always place your daughters as your TOD (transfer on death) beneficiaries so that the amount of money left when you pass on goes to them. I would assume each of you would have the other spouse be the primary TOD and the surviving spouse could place the daughters on as subsequent TOD beneficiaries.

I hope you find this information to be useful. I’m sorry about your mother… I know how much energy it takes to do End of Life Care

The best to you both, and do keep in touch.

Best Regards,

Akaisha

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Travel Is an Adventure, so Embrace It!

 

 

Thank you for visiting the RetireEarlyLifestyle Blog!

This post is no longer live, but if you want to know more about financial independence, world travel and medical tourism, please visit our website.

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.

Thank you!

 

 

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