Compliments on Your Website

Billy and Akaisha,

Just wanted to drop you a line and share how much I enjoy reading Retire Early Lifestyle articles. I cannot recall precisely how or when I first found your page, but I know it was somewhere around 2008, so I’ve been following your adventures for about 6-7 years.

I always find your observations about the world to be very detailed, to-the-point, and also warm and caring. Your site offers a depth of understanding to the world that I don’t have the luxury to enjoy…yet. But I’m on the path, and it’s enjoyable to see someone who is already there and encouraging others.

I just turned 39-years-old this past year, and after realizing that you two retired a year younger than that has pushed me to focus more intently on my goals so that my family can enjoy more of my time once I’m past the point of needing the 9-5 (or in my case 7-4). I have three kids, one of which is age 4 presently, so I probably won’t be traveling the world full time just yet. But my wife and I have plans to exit the “daily grind” within the decade. I have you to thank for the motivation to pursue this audacious–and very exciting–goal.

Thanks again for all you do!

Sid

Want to retire? Not sure you can? Your Retirement Dream IS Possible! For more information, click here

Hi Sid!

Wow… thank you for such a heartwarming and detailed email letting us know how you enjoy our website and articles. This is fabulous!

What is even better is that you are at such a young age to have full awareness of how important it is to save for the lifestyle of your choosing. If you keep focused and keep your dreams alive, you will surely accomplish this goal. We are happy that you and your wife are on the same page. Some couples are not and it makes it harder to move forward into this lifestyle of financial freedom. So we would like to congratulate you both on that achievement!

Just in case you might be interested, we know of several families who travel with their children — one family has 5 children and she just gave birth to her sixth child while traveling on the road, and another has a child of about 3. So if that is a lifestyle you might choose, realize that others are doing it successfully and joyfully.

Please feel free to write any time.

Wishing you all the best on your road to financial freedom, and thanks again for taking the time to write.

Akaisha

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I Want to Leave the Rat Race

Hi,

My name is Peter and I purchased a copy of your “Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement” about 3 years back. While I haven’t corresponded before I did enjoy your book and have been a consistent reader of your website and I must say I admire your “get up ‘n go”.

From reading your website and other sites on the subject of early retirement and world travel there seems to be a consistent theme of some life changing event, often a negative one such as marriage breakup, family tragedy etc. While understandable that people see these events as catalysts for change my question is are there any people who just do this, travel the world with a back pack or some such, just because they are footloose or simply want to view things/be out of the rat race.

The reason I am asking is that I frequently feel a need to break free from the rat race. I am an Australian, semi-retired making my living from option trading, happily married, 2 grown up children, 2 delightful grandchildren, nice house, nice area, 2 cars, dog, money in the bank etc., etc. Oh and I am 61. What I struggle with (apart from talking my wife into cutting loose also) is why I have this urge. Have no financial need to live in a lower cost country, have a good life where I am so why a desire to cut loose. Have traveled extensively over the years (ex-Australian military and lived in both Malaysia and England while in the military) and regularly wander up to Malaysia for a couple of weeks at a time each year.

Are there others out there you are aware of similar to me, would love to correspond with someone of a similar ilk.

Regards
Peter

Life is an adventure. Follow your dreams.

Hi Peter,

Thanks for taking the time to write, we appreciate it. And thank you for your interest in our books and website!

In terms of meeting others who like to travel, it’s best to meet them while on the road. It’s not as easy to meet them in one’s regular routine — as these people are out traveling!

We see the urge to travel the world as a “normal” thing — but it is true — not everyone is a traveler and some can’t imagine leaving their lifestyles, gardens and pets. And of course, we are not pushing them to do so, everyone is different. But opening one’s self up to other cultures, other foods, other ways of living, other geographical configurations — it’s a fascinating life and one filled with reward.

If you want to “cut loose” but are a bit timid or can’t get your wife on the same page, you might try house sitting as a way to get to other locations and still live in comfort – also you will be able to keep your own home during this time — just have a house sitter sit your home as you sit someone else’s – or do a house exchange. Take a look at our Travel Housing Options page for ideas.

Or you could go traveling on your own or in a small group – our Single Travelers page might give you some insights.

We think having a sense of adventure is an exciting trait and makes for an interesting person. But again, not everyone is the same. If you are interested in a certain location and would like to meet some locals there – you might try joining some of the forums listed on our Relocation page. Forums are free and it’s a good way to find out what a place is like right from the people who are living there.

If you really want to break free from the rat race, then you could downsize your home and cut back on the number of vehicles you own and maintain. Track your spending for the life you are living now, and see where you could make changes. What would it cost you if your housing and transport categories were modified? When your monthly number is one you can maintain without working or without financial stress to you, then you are able to break free from the prescribed manner of living and choose a life of your own creation.

If your wife is not on board for these changes and you are still interested in making them, then you need to make the “new life” interesting to her. What would she gain if you downsized or changed your manner of living? Is there anything that she would be attracted to? Maybe she is comfortable in the home you have now and with the ability to see the kids and grandkids regularly. It would be a large change for her but perhaps doing some “snowbird” combination like travel for so many months and then being home for so many months might work.

We discuss different options for disagreeing couples in our book, Your Retirement Dream IS Possible which you might find useful.

I hope that I have answered your question, and if you have more questions, please feel free to write back to us any time.

Wishing you great success in creating the life that you want,

Akaisha

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Sell My Car? And What About a Spreadsheet?

Hi Akaisha,

I just heard your interview with Mad Fientist, it was great.

I’m seriously considering selling my car, and that interview helped. You referred to your spreadsheets to track your daily/annual spending-do you show those anywhere? If so, please let me know. I checked in your retirement book that I bought and I could not find it-I’m interested in how you set it up and how you track them, I do not need to see your actual expenses, that’s not my business.

Thank you for your help.

Mark

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

Hi Mark,

Good to hear from you. Thanks for your kind words about the Mad Fientist interview. It was a fun interview to do. If you are thinking of selling your car, you might also take a look at our Car Free piece.

We give a downloadable spread sheet and explain how we set it up in our book, Your Retirement Dream is Possible. It’s the only place this spreadsheet is located.

In terms of our expenses you might want to take a look at our video, Adventures in Financial Independence, where we give our average spending for over two decades.

Let me know if you have other questions. Always happy to answer them.

Best,
Akaisha

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See the World on 10k Annual Income?

Hi Bill and Akaisha,

I enjoy reading your articles. But when you keep talking about portfolios, it seems it doesn’t reflect for the very poor. How can I have medical coverage and see the world, with an income of 10k yearly. I’m 53, and keep dreaming of these wonderful places, also, I’m single. Thanks so much for your time and dedication.

Asha

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Hi Asha,

Thanks for taking the time to write, we appreciate it.

That is a challenge to be able to “see the world” on $10,000 a year income. We know people who are living overseas on that amount but they do not do that much travel, or if they do travel it’s with local transport and not all that often.

The largest expenses that you would have to concern yourself with is housing, transport and food. If you can find a decent place to rent for about $200-$300 a month (which is doable in Thailand, Mexico, Guatemala etc.) that leaves about $500-$600 for other things. Food is generally cheap in the aforementioned countries so you could find yourself with several hundred a month to put towards travel — so long as you don’t find yourself spending this “extra” money on dental care or other medical needs.

To have adequate access to medical, you would probably have to live overseas and pay out of pocket. This would probably work until or unless you had contracted some chronic health condition which would require medications or frequent and regular visits to the doctor.

Medical care is generally more affordable overseas with doctor’s visits and medications at lower cost. Even paying for help around the house or with shopping and cleaning is affordable, but you would be wise to set aside some money for an emergency fund should you need it.

And don’t forget the expense of renewing your visa. This will often entail traveling outside the country to get stamped out and then get stamped back in every so many months. You might try applying for a retirement visa or a permanent visa, but often there will be financial requirements that you might not meet. In this case, you will need to continue to renew your tourist visa.

We know a man who does some “slow travel” and he lives on $12k a year and seems to be able to manage that fairly well. It’s definitely doable and not impossible. If you are self-disciplined, then it is probable that you will be able to manage some travel on your $10k a year.

Take a look at our Relocation Page and find some Expat forums where you will be able to find out what the local expenses are in any location.

We wish you the best of luck. Do your research and you are apt to find some doors opening to you.

All the best,

Akaisha

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Q&A with a Reader: Working Overseas While Retired

Hello I am interested in going to one of your suggested retirement locations. I don’t have enough money to simply not work. I am interested in part time or seasonal work possibly in the hotel or concession business. I haven’t read any articles of places one would have a good chance of doing some part time work. How does Panama look as far as that is concerned?

Sincerely,

Tom

Not sure you can retire? Get answers here

Hi Tom,

Thank you for taking the time to write, we appreciate it.

We don’t know anything about Panama personally, as we have never been there. However, I can suggest that you go to our Relocation page and contact some of the Expat Forums listed there. People on the forums, who actually live in these locations, will respond to your questions and perhaps help you set up. There is a forum especially for living in Panama listed on this page.

Also, you might take a look at our Retirement Jobs Page and see if any of these job situations might work for you. There are part time, seasonal, dream jobs, adventure jobs, working from home jobs and more

Good luck to you. A little research on these pages should pay off for you.

Best,
Akaisha

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Starving for Time to Ourselves

I am Matt from NY.

Tough and stressful in Queens , NY – between the time we spend commuting, working, etc. and things we have to do each and every day of our life, most people don`t have but 1 or 2 hrs a day to themselves.

Matt

Hi Matt,

Great to hear from you!

Your description of life in NY with a full work schedule is exactly what motivated us to save our money, invest wisely, cut our expenses and retire early. We had every creature comfort but we were starving for time to ourselves.

We encourage you to reassess your current situation and look to where you want to go in your future. We believe that if we can do it, anyone can.

Take a look at our Retirement Issues Page as well as our Digital Book Store. Both our books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement, A Common Sense Approach and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible will help you get your life on track for retirement. We give lots of good tools for you to use including a downloadable spreadsheet for tracking your expenses.

We wish you the very best now and in the future.

Feel free to write any time.

Akaisha

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Is House Sitting for Everyone?

Q&A with a Reader

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

Akaisha, thank you for responding, I’m very surprised that you said that if one “was serious you could schedule your whole year with house sitting opportunities“, and that at some point you can “just about call your own shots”.

It surprises me because you’d think everyone would want to do this, and that there would be tons of people chasing a smaller number of jobs.

Regards,

Mark

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

Hi Mark,

I understand what you are saying, but I think it’s just like anything — first of all, House sitting is not for everyone. Secondly, the location of the gigs and the dates themselves change making this somewhat of a moving target. And just because a person sat in Greece one year, perhaps they want to sit in England another year. And don’t forget about visas and the amount of days one is allowed into any one region. These things can complicate arranging sits.

Also, some sits are for short periods like a long weekend, over the Christmas Holidays or just for a week or two vacation. Some sits involve pet caring or even working a Bed and Breakfast or hotel on an island. One may want to run a hotel once but not again. There are lots of variables. 



That being said, international house sitting is a relatively new concept and is just coming into the mainstream.

We do know of people who do house sitting full time, living in hotels or apartments in between gigs. We also know of people who only stay in one area and sit for the same people year after year until things change again. Some house sits are listed on the internet and other house sits are by word of mouth only – so there are lots of opportunities to choose from.

Good luck – I think there is plenty of room for you if you want to try this approach to housing and travel.

Best,
Akaisha

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Men and Women Throughout History

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.

LaverneMichael G. Conner, Clinical and Medical Psychologist, writes that men are built for physical confrontation, and their skulls are usually thicker than a woman’s. This, of course, comes as no surprise to women. What I didn’t know was men’s skulls are thick because they are “attracted to reckless behavior,”which explains their interest in slaying dragons, battling alligators, and any excuse for a slugfest. Dr. Conner says that “women have four times as many brain cells as men. While men rely on their left brain to solve one problem, one step at a time, women can more easily access both sides of their brain and focus on more than one problem at a time,” which often drives men to distraction.

Throughout centuries men have protected and provided for their families. In caveman days they gathered firewood, invented tools, killed wild animals, and spent excessive time butting heads with dinosaurs; a sport well suited for thick skulls. The little women stayed home, created murals on cave walls, sported rabbit skin originals, prepared tasty bison recipes, gave birth on dirt floors, and did their best to stay one step ahead of diaper-free toddlers.

In the 1800’s men left their families for months and drove cattle across long dangerous trails through mountains and valleys in harsh weather. Women stayed behind with the children. Their only responsibilities were to scrounge for food, and fight off wolves and Indians, from the comfort of their homes.

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In the early 1900’s men did their best to cocoon women from the harsh realities of the world. They seemed to know, instinctively, that women were best suited for domestic work. But obstinate, unappreciative women bucked and defied men’s good intentions and insisted on battling for equality.

Men are often guarded when meeting other men. They intuitively know how much is safe to divulge. They discuss generic topics such as sports, politics, and the hot chick at the end of the bar. They mention the world-wide cruise they’re planning (even if they’re not), and the new Benz they’re thinking about buying (even though they’re not).

A woman will usually jump in and lead with her mouth. Within five minutes of meeting another women she’ll offer the name and number of her plastic surgeon and her shrink. She’ll reveal that her husband had an affair, her son has learning disabilities, and her teenage daughter is promiscuous. She’ll delight in discussing anything and everything about sex.

Up until the late 1970’s men’s and women’s roles were fairly well defined. Men grappled with difficult undertakings such as wars, unemployment, taxes, and finding affordable World Series tickets. Women dealt with daily menu selections, Big Bird and Ernie, diaper changes, and perfecting faux smiles that hid their true feelings.

Recent years show the line between male and female roles is becoming blurred. Men are taking a more active part in homemaking and child rearing, and women are thriving in the business world.

I was thinking about the television commercial Jets football star, Joe Namath, made back in 1973, where he struck a seductive pose while sporting a pair of Hanes’ pantyhose. He made that commercial in the middle of the sexual revolution. I don’t know how men felt about it but women loved that this handsome, brawny, quarterback had the courage to show his feminine, sensitive, side.

In my fantasy Namath, who had a huge following, could have gotten better mileage out of his celebrity by encouraging men to include pantyhose in their own wardrobes. Maybe, if he had done this, stereotypical male/female roles would have been obliterated by now. But, I suspect, that after enduring the constricted waistbands, and suffocating discomfort of pantyhose, Namath opted to shirk an opportunity to advance the sexual revolution and chose, instead, to return to smashing bodies and banging heads with other football titans. Personally, I think that Joe Namath dropped the ball.

Hey, it’s my fantasy and I’m stickin’ to it.

Other posts by this author

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

Posted in Guest Blog Posts, Humor | Tagged | Leave a comment

Reducing Fall Risk with Age – What It Is and What to Do About It

Guest post by Thomas C. Davies MD, CCFP, MSHA, and FACHE
Dr. Davies is a Family Doctor with over 30 years practice experience in the US and Canada. For the past 10 years he has provided inpatient hospital medical care to patients aged 65 or older.

Dr Tom DaviesI’m strong on my feet and walk a grassy path to the roadway daily without thinking about it. Having passed age 60 I felt as strong as ever as if the effects of aging would be in the distant future. This day my foot hooked the curb so fast I had no memory of being slung to the asphalt. A bad fall happens that quickly.

I remembered not to get up too quickly which might cause additional injury so I crawled to the curb, sat up and checked myself over. My wrists; hands, knees and face had equally absorbed the impact. There were lots of abrasions but no fractures or broken teeth. As a medical doctor I know falls can be life altering so I began asking myself the tough questions. What are my risks and what should I do about it?

Facts about falling

One out of 3 people over 65 have a significant fall each year. The odds of avoiding this problem are not in our favor. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries and non-fatal for the elderly population. An active lifestyle helps maintain mobility but ironically exposes us to falls like mine.

After a serious fall some people limit their activity which adds to the long term risk. An honest assessment of oneself and making an individual fall prevention plan should help avoid injury. I decided on the spot to make myself a personal fall risk plan.

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

My fall risk plan

These days I consciously consider my footing and terrain. Uneven ground requires more concentration. I have an eye out for broken pavement, cracked sidewalks, chuckholes, and loose rocks – anything that might challenge my balance or traction. Each morning I choose footwear that should be appropriate for the coming day’s activities.

Speaking of footwear I no longer economize. Ankle support is helpful. The synthetic soles on today’s shoes can be super slippery on wet concrete or tile. Oil resistance is not enough; I test footwear I plan to wear on different surfaces wet and dry.

Other balance challenges

It’s a little humbling to realize our sense of balance declines with time. Potentially risky activities such as climbing ladders, walking on rooftops, even riding bicycles challenge our ability to balance. It’s worth heeding advice from your friends and spouse; they often see dangers we don’t.

With age we’re more prone to serious injury from a fall because of declining bone structure and strength. Many of us are deficient in Vitamin D and Calcium causing progressive bone weakness. A Dexa scan for bone density is an objective way to determine the risk of osteopenia and osteoporosis. National guidelines suggest this test for females over 65.

Some age related changes are subtle. Declining balance is a huge problem even when our strength is good. Often this is insidious related to a decline in the brains balance center or blood supply. If balance seems different on looking upwards or during certain activities then some simple tests under professional supervision are advisable.

Blood pressure may drop with changes in posture. Known as “orthostatic hypotension” this may relate to medications or arterial changes. You may discover this at home but if there is any suspicion it is worth a trip to the doctor. It is treatable and could result in avoiding a fall.

What you can do

Our place is free of scatter matts, floor clutter or unstable furniture. I turn a light on when getting up at night and sit on the bedside for a few seconds to allow my cardiovascular system to adjust. Quality of life is enhanced by managing the risks of aging. I don’t worry about falling but build these precautions into daily activities. It’s like insurance for all those future activities I plan to attend on foot.

Useful Links and Data on Falling

Injury Prevention & Control: Home and Recreational Safety

About 50% of injuries over age 65:

US Preventive Services Taskforce

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I Don’t See Well Anymore

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.

LaverneDriving down a road my husband often asks me to keep my eyes open for things like highway signs, street names and house numbers. I invariably turn and stare at him.

“How long have you known me?” I ask incredulously. “Do you honestly believe I can see those things? Sure, I can make out objects like mountains and sky scrapers, and elephants, but street signs and house numbers? Are you serious? If you’re counting on my ability to get us to our destination, we could very well end up in China.”

I was sitting in an airline terminal waiting for a plane. Around four seats down from me, seated against the wall, I spotted a woman. One of her shoelaces was untied and dragging on the floor. I know that today kids intentionally leave their laces untied and can actually walk around that way, without falling on their faces. But adults don’t have that ability, and since this woman was definitely beyond teenage years, I signaled to get her attention. When she looked up I said, “Excuse me, I thought you’d like to know that your shoelace is untied?”

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

She looked down at her feet, then back at me. “I’m not wearing shoelaces,” she answered.

I leaned forward, squinted hard, and discovered that what I had thought was a shoelace was the cord draping from her laptop computer to the wall socket in back of her.

“I’m really sorry,” I said. “I don’t see well anymore.”

Looking out of our living room window my husband called to me and said, “Hurry. Fast. You’ve got to see this beautiful Cardinal perched on the tree branch. He’s magnificent.”

I rushed over to the window, looked out, squinched my eyes and said with disdain, “I’m having difficulty seeing the tree, and you want me to focus on a branch and then hone in on something the size of a kosher pickle? I don’t see it. You know I can’t see that far, so stop showing off.”

I suppose it’s nearing that time when I should consider having my cataracts removed but I’m chicken. Besides, I’ve kind of gotten used to viewing the world through Vaseline covered corneas; I mean it’s not as though I’m really missing anything. I’ve been around over seven decades, and I’ve probably already seen everything worth seeing, right?

I’ve noticed that I don’t hear well anymore, either – without my glasses. I never knew this before but I can read lips. I really can. I didn’t go to special school to study lip reading but there’s no doubt that I have an innate ability to do so. I discovered this phenomenon the other evening while visiting friends. I had accidentally left my glasses in the car and when we all sat around talking, I was unable to understand anyone. I mean, I knew that they were talking because I could hear vocal sounds emanating from their throats but I only understood a fraction of what they were saying. As soon as I put on my glasses, I was able to understand every word.

I have to admit, I’m quite impressed with myself.

Other posts by this author

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

Posted in Guest Blog Posts, Humor, Women's Work | Tagged , , | Leave a comment