Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are old
hands at retirement--ask them anything about saving, spending or
traveling. But one thing may surprise you: their age. Sixteen years
after they retired, they are now both 54--almost old enough to satisfy
the minimum age requirements of the
community in Mesa,
Arizona, they call home (when they're not traveling around the world).
When they were in their late thirties, Billy, a stockbroker, and
Akaisha, a restaurant owner-turned-office manager, decided they were
working too hard and paying too much in taxes. They vowed to save enough
to quit in two years. "Every time I looked at a latte or a new pair of
shoes, I decided I didn't need them," says Akaisha. "If you are clear
about what you want, it becomes easier. You can either buy this or be
days closer to your goal."
By 1991, they had accumulated about
$500,000, including a $100,000 profit from the sale of their home. They
put their belongings in storage and set out to see the world. After six
months on a Caribbean island, they headed for South America. Returning
to California a year and a half later, they bought an RV and wandered
around the western states for two
years. Then it was off to Mexico. They had planned to visit the Lake Chapala area for a few months and ended up staying four years. Since
then, they've returned home from time to time to care for their parents,
but have spent the rest of their time in Asia and the South Pacific.
What's their secret? This might sound like an extravagant lifestyle, but
Billy and Akaisha limit their expenses to
$24,ooo a year. They eat
well and enjoy themselves but don't buy much "stuff." Their few big
expenses include Akaisha's extensive dental care in Thailand and a
laptop computer they use to update their Web site (www.retireearlylifestyle.com),
which attracts 12,000 visitors daily.
The couple invest mainly in low-cost index funds, withdrawing about 3%
of the balance each year. They pay little in taxes because most of their
income is from capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at a maximum
of 15%. They haven't had to touch their IRAs, which would still cost
them early-withdrawal penalties. "At this point in our lives, we are
less worried about running out of money and more concerned about not
having enough time to enjoy it," says Billy.
HOW TO DO IT
A complicated lifestyle
An attractive lifestyle
can cost much less in
outside the U.S.
spending and figure out where
to cut. This is your life
now, not a vacation.
entertainment such as hiking, bicycling