Comments on Getting Out of the Rat Race

Hello,

I am a 44 year old Australian women who has recently discovered your e-book, newsletter & blog and I have to say it has inspired me. I have started using your spreadsheet and documenting all of our spending. We have no children and love travel so are looking at ways to decrease the time we spend at work and increase our travel.

I was particularly moved by a letter written on your site by Peter a 61 year old (also Australian) wondering why he feels the need to escape the rat race and if other people feel like that too. Peter – I would say most readers of  Billy and Akaisha’s website probably feel the same. I also regularly think about quitting my job, sell everything and just escape the rat race. However I know that one day the money will run out so can’t afford to do this (not yet anyway!!!). My husband & I don’t earn big money and already lead a pretty simple life but I am now looking at ways to simplify more.

Simplify, simplify, simplify

Like Peter, I also struggle with why I feel this way – why do I want to just escape it all when others seem very happy to work 5 days a week and just have their 4 weeks annual leave. We are constantly reminded in Australia how we should feel lucky for our 40 hour weeks (however I know few people who work only 40 hours) and our 4 weeks annual leave. BUT – that is not enough for me. As Peter said in his letter I don’t want to wait until some life changing event such as major illness to realize this. I also wonder at times why do I feel this way – is there something wrong with me – why can’t I just be content with my friends, family, nice job, reliable car, and reasonable home??

Peter maybe there is nothing wrong with us – maybe we are the normal ones realizing there is more to life and having a never ending curiosity to see and experience the world. I work as a Social Worker and my husband a nurse – we meet many people who either never make it to retirement or once they reach it, they are too unwell to enjoy it. That is my biggest fear. Peter – just do it. Sounds like you are financially safe and at 61 I think it is more than reasonable to want leave the rat race behind. Convince your wife life is short – get out there & I look forward to meeting you out there in some far flung corner of the world.

Maree

Hi Maree,

Thank you for taking the time to write and to let us know how you like our website, book and newsletter. It is wonderful that you are already using the spreadsheet and that it is working for you! Excellent.

I thought your response to Peter was also really good – Not everyone wants to work all their lives and take a 4 week vacation. This might work well if you are raising children and want that sort of stability, but even so, we have seen many traveling families. The children are very flexible, have great self-confidence and speak several languages due to their travels. So there are different ways to live a life.

There is nothing “wrong” with people who want something different. I just think that is life. There have always been travelers – those who brought products from one culture and shared them or sold them to another. Look at the ancient Silk Road or the explorers who wanted to know what was just over that ridge.

Some people want security and sameness and others want variety and challenge, something new. There is no one way to live life.

Welcome aboard! Please feel free to write any time. We’d love to hear from you again, so do keep in touch.

Best!

Akaisha

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Q&A From an Aspiring Near-Term Retiree

Hi Billy/Akaisha

Craig: I have read your web site many, many times & researched my upcoming retirement from much of your tips.

Hi Craig,

Thank you for your kind words regarding our website, and we are happy you found our site to be helpful!

Craig: I am actually starting to visit different international sites to “recon” where to retire. My first trip is to Mazatlán, Mexico next month. Then every 4-6 months to check out as many places in the next 3-4 years. Thinking I’d like access to ex-pats to mix back home with new cultures. 100% committed to leaving the USA. Have a 6-8 point criteria of what I think I want.

Akaisha: It’s good that you have a 6-8 point criteria for what you are looking for. It’s much easier to find exactly that spot when you know what pleases you.

Simplify and set yourself free.

Craig: I vacationed recently in the USVI & loved the island but a little expensive. One question I have to ask is: what made you pick Nevis to retire and do you ever get “small island” phobia where you need to get off for a while or does your travels just naturally take care of that? Part of me thinks a 36 sq mi island would run out of options after a few years???

Akaisha: When we first retired, we moved to Nevis, but didn’t stay. We wanted to travel the world, so actually, we don’t really “live” any one particular place, and we live in many. We have a base in Chapala, Mexico, another one in Chiang Mai, Thailand, another in Panajachel, Guatemala and we have a small manufactured home which we rent out to a friend in Arizona.

We perfectly understand what you mean about getting small island fever and not having enough to do in a location. This is why, for us, we tend to choose large towns or small cities which have access to larger cities for all the benefits that larger cities bring, but without all the traffic and confusion. Since we don’t have a car, our locations must have good access to public transport to take us to markets, to doctor’s offices or to restaurants and theaters and so on. It’s also been beneficial to have access to an active Expat population, just for the camaraderie and to speak English with someone.

Craig: I think I’m doing all the right options to get to where you guys are at: however, I’m 58 years old so it took a little longer. Sold paid-off house last year, invested proceeds, no debt at all.

Akaisha: Congratulations on having no debt! That’s huge.

Craig: Renting now. Just shy of a million dollars in retirement & taxable accounts. I wonder the annual expense to live retired, $30K @ year, $40K, $50K. My goal was to create a dividend stream of ~$30K @ years and take social security @ 62 for little extra, perhaps $15K annual. Work is burning me out so not sure I can even make it to 62.

Akaisha: You might want to take a look at our Annual Spending Update which includes a link to  Adventures in Financial Independence. This might give you an idea of how it can be done.

Craig: Just looking for friendly advice. A friend of mine recently pointed me to a good site which gives great advice on how to expatriate & helps you with process of naturalizing to a new country.

Akaisha: I am happy to introduce you to an Immigration Attorney from the Dominican Republic who will answer any questions you might have about second passports, residency and even having a business in the Domincan Republic. I will send you this introduction email shortly. Her name is Maria Abreu and she is quite capable.

Craig: I recently Googled ex-pat blog sites to start writing to expats on their experiences. Have 3 I signed to.

Akaisha: You might also take a look at our Relocation Page which has many Expat blogs listed there.

Craig: My destination choices remain in the Central America / Caribbean area right now. Similar time zone to USA/Canada. Not ready to move to Europe or AsiaPac right now.

Akaisha: I understand. While Asia can be a great choice, it can seem to be very far away. Plus it takes much longer to get back to the States for visits or emergency family issues.

Craig: Keep up the great web site writings and advice to a growing boomer wave of upcoming retirees.

Akaisha: Thank you for your kind words and do feel free to write any time with questions you might have.

Wishing you all the best,

Akaisha

 If you are interested in receiving an email introduction to Maria to find out about residency in the Dominican Republic or how to obtain a second passport, send us an email to TheGuide@RetireEarlyLifestyle.com

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Retiring Early? Yes You Can

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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Dancing Through the Pain

Guest post by Laverne H. Bardy whose humorous, often irreverent, slant on life in general, and aging in particular, draws a large readership. She has been syndicated with Senior Wire News Service since 2004 and you can find her columns on the Huffington Post. Her book, How The (Bleep) Did I Get This Old? was released in January, 2012, and is a compilation of the best of her columns.

LaverneI opened an e-mail that included a video of a 94 year old woman dancing the two-step. Background music was Gene Kelly’s classic Singing in the Rain.

Before executing her amazing agility, she demonstrated what a 94 year old is expected to look like, by entering the dance floor slowly, pushing a walker. Her dance partner, a much younger man, attempted to take her walker, but she resisted. At the end of this charade, the two of them began to dance.

Her moves were fluid. Her body was limber. And, if you know what a two-step is, you know it isn’t easy. It not only requires agility and strength, it calls for a sharp mind.

I want to be that woman when I’m 94. I want to be that woman now. I love to dance, and if I do say so, I used to be pretty darn good at it. I even won a couple of jitterbug contests back in the early 1950’s. Then I married a man who had no interest in dancing, so I spent 21 years at weddings and bar mitzvahs doing nothing more than tapping my feet.

Do not let Fear make your decisions for you. Risk has a price and so does security.

The next chapter of my life I married Mighty Marc, the best dancer I’ve ever known. In fact, he used to teach the instructors at Arthur Murray Dance Studios. But, as fate would have it, after finally landing a man who danced, my arthritis doesn’t allow me to do more than stand in his arms and sway to the music.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with my friend, Rochelle. I told her that I become teary-eyed when I see an elderly couple walking arm and arm. “It’s lovely to realize that they are still in love,” I said.

“Love has nothing to do with it,” she answered. “They’re holding each other up.”

I’m not shot in the head with all the negative changes aging has forced me to accept. I know my body has been undergoing changes from the day I was born, but most of those changes brought positive results; unlike now when each change has me rolling further down the other side of the hill.

Recently, I had a mammogram. The technician looked at me and said, “You have beautiful, well-defined shoulders.” I’d never had someone compliment my shoulders before so I didn’t know how to react. I decided to just tell the truth. “Thank you,” I said. “It’s arthritis.”

My hairdresser had the audacity to point out what she described as “a gray hair.” I quickly kicked that thought to the curb when I shouted, “You’re wrong! I do not have gray hair.” She reexamined the strand and recanted. “You’re right,” she stammered. It’s blonde.”

Aging doesn’t just manifest itself as wrinkles and gray hair. It shows in other, more subtle ways, too. For instance, I was in the bedroom, rushing to get dressed and out of the house when Mighty Marc walked in and found me standing in nothing more than a pair of undies.

He looked at me and said, “Are you ready yet?”

My brows furrowed. “Do I look ready?”

After checking me out for a few seconds he said, “You could use some lipstick.”

There was a time when walking into the bedroom and finding me in a state of undress would have brought about an entirely different response. Back then he wouldn’t have noticed, or cared, if I was headless.

I once greeted my first husband at the door, wrapped in Saran. Being his usual pragmatic self, he looked at me and asked, “Aren’t you cold? Where are the kids? What’s for dinner?”

What a terrible waste of plastic wrap.

Mighty Marc and I have been together for ten years and there is another change that is apparent. The three little words he used to say so often, have changed to “I gotta pee.” On our last road trip we had to drive the longer route to our destination because the shorter one didn’t provide rest stops every ten miles. To avoid eating junk food along the way, we packed healthful snacks, which we devoured before the third rest stop, forcing us to buy junk food at every rest stop thereafter.

My cousin, Joanie, is starting to think she married an usher. “My husband keeps a flashlight next to the bed so he can navigate to and from the bathroom throughout the night. Is that romantic….or WHAT?  I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the way flashlight replaced candle light. I guess we’re officially old.”

I can’t begin to imagine how seniors maneuver through this time of life without a sense of humor.

Other posts by this author

Men and Women Throughout History

I Don’t See Well Anymore

Giddy Yup

Stop Telling Me I’m Old

Growing Up Dangerously

Watching Real Beauty

Hell, Not on the Map, but I Was There

Cellulite: A Rite of Passage

Camping: Not for Sissies

Don’t Count Me Out

Aging, Not All Fun and Games

Challenging My Legacy

Behind Closed Doors

Battle of the Bulge

How the Home Shopping Network Turned Me into a Zebra

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Including Charity in Your Will: What You Should Know About Estate Planning and Giving

By Jasmine Howard

Including Charity 1You’ve probably heard the expression “you can’t take it with you,” in relation to your personal wealth after you pass away. It’s why most people draw up a last will and testament, outlining what they wish to happen to their money and valuable possessions upon their death. While most people leave at least some of their estate to their family, many people also provide gifts to charity via their wills.

While it might sound simple to say “Donate X” to a specific organization after your death, it often isn’t that simple, especially when it comes to large gifts and gifts of property. Tax considerations — both before and after your death — are of great concern to everyone involved, and questions about how the gift should be used, and whether the organization can even accept the gift at all, must be answered before such decisions are made.

It is best to work with qualified legal counsel and a financial planner before making any decisions about your final wishes, but knowing a few important points beforehand can help your decision-making.

Not sure you can retire? Get answers here

What Happens to Your Estate When You Die

If you were to believe Hollywood, the process of dividing up an estate begins with the reading of the will to an assembled group of people who expect to be named in the document — and they either walk away pleased or unhappy with the dictates of the document. In reality, it’s not quite that simple.

In many cases, a deceased’s estate must go through probate. The probate process essentially determines who receives which assets, and transfers ownership of those assets. For smaller estates, meaning those with a value of less than $100,000 after subtracting real estate, the process is generally simplified, while higher-value estates often have to go through a complex process that costs time and money. There are some exceptions to probate laws, though. If assets are jointly held, such as those owned by a husband and wife, they automatically transfer to the surviving owner. Assets held in trust, or that have a named beneficiary (like a life insurance policy or a retirement plan), are also exempt from probate.

So why is this important when making charitable gifts? For several reasons. First, it’s possible that your heirs could contest your will during the probate process, delaying or cancelling your gift. The more likely problem, though, is that the probate process will reduce the value of your estate thanks to the legal fees and estate taxes that result from probate. This reduces the value of your gift — and the value of assets your heirs receive.

Including Charity 2Avoiding the Probate Question

While probate is common, it doesn’t have to happen. Many people who wish to make gifts to charity after their death (also known as bequests) make other arrangements prior to their death in order to maximize their contributions, reduce estate taxes, and ensure their heirs are taken care of as well.

Some of the most common means of making charitable gifts after death include:

• Naming an organization as a beneficiary to your 401(k) retirement plan or life insurance policy. You can designate a specific dollar amount or percentage of the account to be donated.

• Establishing a trust with the charity named as the beneficiary.

• Creating a charitable gift annuity, which provides both a source of income and a tax deduction while supporting the charity.

• Gifting real property, such as donating a boat or vehicle, artwork, or other item of value to the organization.

Each of these options has its own benefits and drawbacks, but most will limit your tax burden.

Additional Considerations

Most charities welcome bequests, but few like surprises — especially when it comes to gifts of property, or when gifts come with strings attached like provisions for their use. If you have a specific purpose in mind for your gift, it’s best to discuss your thoughts with the charity in advance to prevent misunderstandings and misappropriation of your assets. Charities also like to be able to plan for major gifts (even if they don’t know exactly when they will be coming) and might have some insights that will help you maximize your gift and reduce your tax burden.

It’s very important that you discuss gifts of property in advance. Not all charities are equipped to accept gifts of physical property, even if they seem insignificant. If the charity cannot accept your gift, it might have some other ideas (such as selling the property and donating the proceeds) for you to support them.

Again, work with your attorney to determine the best way to handle your estate and make charitable gifts. With advance planning, you can both support an organization that you care about and provide for your heirs without creating a tax burden.

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Did You Really Say, “Far Out, Man?”

Garret Mathews is retired from writing the metro column for the Evansville, Ind., Courier & Press. He penned more than 6,500 columns in a career that began in 1972. Mathews lives in Carmel, Ind., and happily babysits his new grandson four days a week. 

Garet MathewsI’ve written a lot about men and women who came of age during the Second World War. They’re living history lessons, and I’m not shy about popping the questions.

What was the Depression like? Did you know anyone who toiled in make-work jobs provided by the WPA and CCC? At the time of your enlistment in the service, what was the furthest you had been from home? Unlike mobilizations in Vietnam and Iraq, public support for World War 11 was close to 100 percent. What was it like to have such unity of purpose?

Face it, folks. Despite our best efforts, one of these days we’re going to be old. One of these days, a young fellow will knock on my door at the nursing home.

“You’re a living history lesson,” the lad will say as I scoop another portion of Metamucil.

“Is it OK to pop some questions?”

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The tables will be turned. What will their generation want to know about my age group? What will they be curious about? What are some things that happened on my watch they’ll want explained?

Here’s what I came up with:

– Do you remember the day your father carried the family’s first television set across the threshold? How much did it weigh? How many knobs did it have?

– Talk about the Cold War with a special focus on the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. The United States and the Soviet Union were on the precipice of nuclear war. Were you afraid you were going to die?

– In the heyday of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, did you know any racists who worked at a restaurant or a hotel or a department store who denied service to blacks?

– What was the first thing you filed on your Commodore 64 computer?

– Did schools let out when John Kennedy was assassinated?

– Let’s go back to the 1970s. No Internet. No cable news on TV. No sports stations. What was it like to fall asleep during Monday Night Football and have to wait until the next day’s newspaper to find out who won the game?

– How in the world did that geek Nixon get to be president?

– What was the first television show you saw in color?

– Did you like the Beatles better before their “Revolver” album, or after?

– What was it like in the days before fast-food restaurants? Did people actually eat at home?

– Do you remember the first car you rode in that had air-conditioning?

– Let’s go back to the beginning of the fitness revolution. Can you remember the first time you saw a grown-up jogging who wasn’t being chased by the police?

– When your family left the drive-in movie at the end of the picture, did your dad ever pull out with the speaker still in the window?

– When you were in college, did you really say, “Far out, man?”

Other articles by this author

The Early Years

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Free Money From the IRS – Child Tax Credit

Guest post by John Ohe, IRS Enrolled Agent and chartered Financial Analyst.

John Ohe 1For many expat families with children under 17 years of age, it is possible to get a “refund” from the IRS without having paid any U.S. taxes. This wonderful subsidy is called the Child Tax Credit. Basically, it’s money that the U.S. government provides to middle income families to help with the cost of raising kids. The Child Tax Credit can be worth as much as $1,000 per child.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples:

Nancy and John – Nancy works, and John is a stay-at-home dad

Nancy and John have 3 children, all under the age of 17. Nancy earns $30K per year. The family does not have any additional income. At this level, Nancy and John do not owe any income tax (because their income level falls below standard deduction and exemptions). However, they can expect a check (or direct deposit) from the IRS in the amount of $3,000 – assuming Nancy and John file their tax return.

Open up to new possibilities abroad.

Susan and David – Both Susan and David work

Susan and David also have 3 children, all under the age of 17. Susan earns $100K per year as a consultant. David works at a non-profit and earns $30K per year. With a combined income of $130K, this family is earning well above middle class income. The Child Tax Credit normally begins to phase out at $110K in income. However, many U.S. expats have the advantage of exercising the foreign earned income exclusion (FEIE).

Susan qualifies for the FEIE, and will basically wipe out all of her income on their tax return. David will purposely not exercise the FEIE, so that his income will qualify the family to receive the Child Tax Credit. Same as with Nancy and John, Susan and David can expect a check (or direct deposit) from the IRS in the amount of $3,000.

Can I get money back from past years?

Yes. However, there is a 3-year statute of limitation, after which one cannot claim a refund. Therefore, one has until April 15, 2015 to file a 2011 tax return (which was originally due on April 15, 2012).

Tax Deadline Reminder

April 15th – interest on any taxes owed begin accruing
June 15th – due date for filing without the risk of a late penalty
October 15th – due date if you filed an extension

Other articles by this Author

U.S. Expat Taxes – An Introduction

Buying and Selling Real Estate (Foreign or Domestic) from a Tax Perspective

If you would like to submit a tax-related question, please visit us:  HolaExpat.com .

All responses are provided by John Ohe (IRS Enrolled Agent and Chartered Financial Analyst).

Hola Expat helps Americans living abroad with their U.S. tax returns. Our professionals are IRS Enrolled Agents with expertise in expatriate tax return matters. Take a look at our fee schedule. We offer the most sensible pricing among our competitors.

Disclaimer: The answers provided in this article are for general information, and should not be construed as personal tax advice. Tax laws and regulations change frequently, and their application can vary widely based on the specific facts and circumstances involved.

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House Sitting – Travel the World and Your Lodging Is Free

Guest post by Josie Schneider. Josie is a freelance writer, international house sitter, Airbnb host, and experience junkie. To help others get started in the rewarding and low-cost world of house sitting, she offers tips and inspiration at her website, HouseSittingTravel.com

Full Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link, so if you click on the link and sign up, we will be compensated.

DSC_0431Would you travel more often – or to more exotic locations – if the cost were lower? Imagine being able to travel where you’ve always dreamt of, but couldn’t afford it. Or how about finding a house sitting assignment near your grandchildren and visit them every day for a month. House sitting may be the answer.

Our Adventures

My husband Conrad and I discovered the amazing world of house sitting in 2008 and we have enjoyed several European locations and in the States. We hop from one assignment to the next while exploring the world. We “lived” in a large and comfortable renovated home in Denmark for six weeks. Our next “home” was a remote off-the-grid mountain cabin in southern Spain where we rejuvenated our souls in the glorious natural surroundings for two months. We got ten days of free apartment lodging in amazing Tuscany in return for harvesting olives. And right now we are tending a gorgeous home near Washington D.C. for a year while the two doctor-homeowners are in Italy on work assignment. As I type this, I’m listening to the bubbling fountain in the back yard through the open French doors. Tough work!

Want to change your life? Make it possible, click here

350 year-old adobe home on the mountain

350 year-old adobe home on the mountain

What About You?

Is house sitting for you? If you are flexible, and enjoy discovery and adventure, then it could be a fabulous way to travel for less cost. Most assignments are an even trade – the homeowner gets peace of mind knowing their home, (and sometimes animals), are looked after, and you get free lodging. Lodging costs are a big proportion of your traveling dollars, so without that expense, traveling longer or farther becomes possible.

Visiting family is more feasible too, when you house sit nearby. And because the assignment may be for long periods – like our current one-year house sit – you can really get some quality time with your loved ones.



Downside

When you house sit for someone else, their home, and pets, you don’t have a choice of travel dates. You must be flexible enough to adjust to their schedule. And once there, you can’t call the front desk to bring fresh towels. All of the chores – laundry, cleaning, cooking, walking the dog, or mowing the lawn are yours. In addition you are responsible for the well-being of house and animals.

In Tuscany, Italy

In Tuscany, Italy

The Up-Up-Up Side!

The most compelling upside is that your lodging is free. That’s a perfectly good reason to jump for joy, but it is by no means the most important upside, and all seasoned house sitters heartily agree with this next sentence. Cultural immersion and living like a local are by far the most life-affirming and life-changing events that occur while house sitting. Not only do you understand a place after several weeks of living there, but you can choose house sits in locations that are completely unavailable to “regular” travel. Want to look after a cattle farm in the Australian Outback? What about an off-the-grid mountain home in Southern Spain – we did! Or perhaps you’d like a regal Irish castle, all to yourself, in which to spend your summer vacation.

The Procedure

So how do you start house sitting? Websites connect homeowners and house sitters together. The matching-up process is fun and safe, as correspondence is internal, so you keep your privacy. As a potential house sitter, you receive daily emails detailing new assignments. You initiate a back-and-forth communication until a good fit with a homeowner is found. House sitting assignments are available in virtually every state, every country, and every corner of the planet, with very little exception.

Three good house sitting sites, (but there are many):
TrustedHouseSitters.com
• HouseCarers.com
• MindMyHouse.com

Wishing you safe and happy travels!

Posted in All Things Financial, Guest Blog Posts, Travel Tips and Insight, Women's Work | Leave a comment

What Will I Do with All That Free Time in Retirement?

Hi Billy and Akaisha,

Thanks for your article on ‘Are You Afraid of Retirement?‘ and would love to see more articles dealing with the psychological aspects of retirement.

It is a timely article as well as it’s something I am dealing with right now. As you mention, fear can come up and rear its ugly head and as I get older, fear of the unknown is uncomfortable.

I feel as though I have been ‘institutionalized’ by working for almost 40 years and the freedom that appears to be there for me creates fear as well- what will I be doing with all that free time? Traveling around the world isn’t my cup of tea as after about 3 weeks I am ready to go home no matter how exotic the location.

I guess there are different types of retirees and I just gotta figure out what type I am…

Best Regards,
Robert

Do not let Fear make your decisions for you. Risk has a price and so does security.

Hi Robert,

Nice to hear from you again and happy to learn that you enjoyed our “Afraid of Retirement” piece.

Sometimes the anxiety we feel can actually be excitement but we don’t recognize it as such. Then again, it is probably a very good idea that you make a list of the things that you are interested in, things you might want to learn or even teach, and places you might want to go. Empty days have a way of filling up anyway, and if you can direct some of that energy into what you want to do, you will have more joy about it.

You could always join a club (gardening, chess, photography, hiking, tennis, etc.) or become a mentor (little brothers and little sisters, volunteer,) or take a class at your community college or city park or even at UDEMY or an online university (painting, accounting, computer class, woodworking, learn about world history, art) — there really is so much to do to fill up one’s days.

Take a look at our Preferred Links Pages for some ideas.

But the best thing is to know who you are and what you want. What do you want to do? Start there.

Thanks again for writing, and good luck. Once you get started I think it will be easier for you and you will have some excitement about your retirement future.

Best,
Akaisha

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Would You Retire in Today’s Financial Market?

Hi, I’ve emailed you a couple of times in the past on other issues, but just read your latest article on “fear” of retirement.

This question is for both of you, but I know Billy handles a lot of the investment ideas etc. Our fear being under 50 years old, but with enough invested to handle the traditional idea of 4% withdrawals, is that the investment climate is so different than when you guys retired in the early 90’s.

We have markets at new highs and bonds at all time low yields and CD’s and money market instruments basically pay nothing. I’m wondering if you could imagine yourselves making that decision now based on today’s investment horizon, would you have saved more to account for what might be a much smaller SWR like 2-3% instead of 4%, or anything else different you might have done?

Thanks so much.

Darin

Do not let Fear make your decisions for you. Risk has a price and so does security.

Hi Darin,

Thanks for taking the time to write. We appreciate it.

The fact is that in January of 1991 we had no idea of what the market was going to return in the future. All we could do was base our best guess on past returns. And honestly I cannot tell you what it’s going to do from here. However we have faith in ourselves and a strong will to succeed.

The S&P 500 has had a compound annual growth rate of better than 10% over the last 70 years. So pulling out 4% leaves you 6% for inflation and growth. Sure, if you can get your withdrawal rate lower than 4% all the better. There have been years when we went above it, however on average we have stayed below.

Flexibility is key, tracking your expenses and knowing what percentage of your net worth you are spending at any point in time is valuable.

If you are concerned for the next few years you could also have a larger than normal cash position.

At some point you have to have faith in yourselves and know that you can manage accordingly.

Would we do it again? Heck yes!

Regards,
Billy

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