At 62, This Couple Is in Their 25th Year of Retirement

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

By Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

At the age of 62, we are beginning our 25th year of financial independence. That is quite a feat! From the beaches on Nevis, West Indies, to the shores of Phuket, Thailand we have traveled extensively through these decades, and what a ride it’s been! Young and strong in those early years, we were willing and able to tackle just about anything. Now we tend to be a bit more cautious but we’re not letting up. We still climb into the backs of pickup trucks, ride the chicken buses and soak in volcanic hot pools. The time has passed quickly from when we were the youngest, grayless couple in a group of retirees, to now where we blend in with the retiree crowd.

Still, no one can take away the dance we danced and we are filled with gratitude for all the miles and smiles.

What about You?
How do you want to live the next five, ten, twenty years or more? Only you can decide what is
best on your path and how to get to your goal. We were often told retiring early couldn’t be done successfully and that we would fail. These self-supported 24 years have proven the naysayers wrong, and we believe that since we have done it, you can too. In our books and on our website we share the tools we have used to get us here so that you, too, can create your own successful retirement, early or not.

Time Tested Tools
We maintain that one must keep their dreams alive. No one will do it for you and besides, it’s much more fun to be led by one’s dreams instead of being pushed by one’s problems. No matter where you are on your retirement path, here are some time tested tools we have
used. We hope you can use them to take advantage of our experience.
akaisha-billy-25-by-62-1

Track Spending
This is basic and oh-so-essential. When you track what you are spending you know exactly where your money is going and you are able to make decisions clearly and in real time about your cash outlay. This one habit will change your financial life.

Manage cost per day and annual net spending
Once you track your spending, you are able to figure out the yearly amount of money you are
devoting to live the lifestyle you are currently enjoying. Divide your yearly amount by 365 days a year and you have your Cost per Day. Manage these figures assertively and you will be in control of your money. We have been retired for a full 24 years (beginning our 25th year
January 14, 2015) and our annual spending for these years has been well under $30k per year.

4 categories of spending
In any household, there are four categories of major spending: housing, transportation, taxes
and food. If you make adjustments here – and there are lots of ways to do so – you are on your way to financial independence. Open yourself up to options such as house sitting, moving to a less costly area to live, paring down the amount of vehicles you own, and being aware of your entertainment outlay.

Positive attitude and mental flexibility
Some people think having a positive and flexible mental attitude is small stuff and inconsequential. But without a sense of wonder, an open mind to new things and even to
change itself, making the transition into a satisfying new life of retirement is more difficult. There are so many opportunities and different ways to live, travel and experience life! Why get in your own way? Embrace your retirement and get a mitt and get in the game!

So, as we begin our 25th year we encourage you to dust off that dream and create a clear vision. Strengthen your will to move into your new life and put your solid financial plan into action. If you do these simple things, you, too, can live the life of your dreams.

Note: On the date of our retirement, January 14, 1991, the S&P 500 was at 312.49. It has averaged better than 8% yearly plus dividends over these decades. Our average annual spending is well below $30k yearly.

About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published
authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular 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.

Comments? What is your target retirement date – past or future? Did it/will it happen on time? What is the secret to your retirement success? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below. We are sure Billy and Akaisha would love to hear your plans and could comment accordingly.

Posted by Admin on February 17th, 2015

36 Comments »

  1. I’m going to guess the writers of this article have been blessed with remarkably good health as they have left out a spending category for many of us: health care. I certainly spend much more on health care than I do on transportation. Beyond that, if they spent ‘under 30k’ 25 years ago, and are spending that now as well, they are forgoing more now than they did when they were younger. If you want to write for a crowd of seniors, I think you need to be a bit more realistic, not too many people over 65 are going to strap on a backpack and take off to Phuket to sleep on a beach.

    by Ginger — February 18, 2015

  2. Agreed Ginger, an unexpected illness can blindside you. However, there is something to be gleaned from the post, since we started tracking our spending and rid ourselves of the second vehicle, we’ve been able to live on less. A great deal is about management.

    by Vickie — February 18, 2015

  3. 24 years of “retirement” at age 62 means they “retired” at age 38. I put those in quotation marks because I question that they were actually retired. Did they somehow have such high paying jobs that they made enough to retire at 38, or did they work during those years? The article says they wrote books and have a website. That alone constitutes work, so this is a bit of a lie. Granted, it is a lifestyle that is a whole lot better than most peoples 9 to 5 every week, but retirement is supposed to mean NO work for pay. Even if working only part time, that is still not retired. I see this mistake in AARP now days too. Articles on “How to work in retirement”. Well, shoot, working is not retired!! I retired at age 56 and am now coming up to 66, and I have not worked during these last nearly 10 years. For pay that is. Plenty of work around my house or on my boat, but that kind of work is different from working to earn money 🙂

    by Bob — February 18, 2015

  4. This article would be titled “Working in your early retirement” if honesty was involved.
    They had to have high paying jobs to invest in stocks traded on Wall Street, especially the “S&P 500”. They now get compensated as “financial consultants” which means their STILL WORKING !

    We know it all but we DON’T HAVE – kids, kids college bills, kids healthcare bills, kids activity bills (karate, baseball, football equipment), family insurance bills (health & life Ins policies), town taxes (they don’t say they own a house), money for residential maintainence (roof, refrigerator, washer, etc), the need for two cars because both parents work (in two different directions), paying for a child’s wedding, no long term healthcare policies Mentioned either.
    Hey “real retired workers”, should I go on about how this whole “retired” lifestyle story is a big farce !

    by Richard — February 18, 2015

  5. Please redefine “retirement” for me. These people seem to be working.

    by John H — February 18, 2015

  6. We are a little surprised at some of these comments, a few of which verge on mean-spiritedness. To us, retirement means anything you want it to be, except maybe working for “the man”. You define it the way you want to define it. A very high percentage of people who consider themselves retired also work for money or other intangible rewards, usually on a part time basis. To us the ability to travel around the world on the authors’ own terms seems like an accomplishment worth praising and not criticizing. Lets look for the positive, it’s way to easy to find the negative in this world.

    And speaking of whether retirement means full time or not, here is an interesting article on the subject from the NY Times – “Easing into Leisure, One Step at a Time” that explains how some folks are doing this.

    by Admin — February 18, 2015

  7. The tips mentioned are spot on, and good for all of us to keep in mind. That said, I’d be curious as to how many kids the authors have–and ages.

    by Gary C — February 18, 2015

  8. And what about those of us in our 60’s who have the responsibility of taking care of aging parents?

    by Martha Whitford — February 18, 2015

  9. I agree that there is a lot unsaid in this article about how they have chosen to live. And I also agree with the comments by Admin. Just because YOU don’t “work” at what you like, don’t dismiss those who do. Dismissing the advice given in the article is a major reason some have difficulty in “retirement”. The primary key to this article is “what they have chosen to do” and when they chose to start doing it. Almost everyone still has options — part of the authors’ advice is to avoid giving up any options.

    So yes, let’s do redefine “retirement” the way I interpret that the Kaderli’s have done: Begin a new life of enjoying what you do and attempting to pursue each day only those things that you want to do. Do you have to be rich or have a huge “retirement” savings to make that a reality? No. But for many, it may be deemed a necessary precursor. Do you require perfect health? Not necessarily, but having good luck with health and a plan for health insurance is clearly helpful. Do you have to “work”. No, but as a former career counselor, my best advice has always been that, if you love your “work”, why give it up to “retire”? Find a balance. (If you hate all “work” because it is not “play”, you may never find either retirement or happiness.)

    I retired “early” at 55 and have not “worked” at the job I used to love (and retired because I no longer did enjoy it). Nor have I continuously done any other “work” that I don’t enjoy. Nor have I received any but minor, incidental “working” income since then. Because my expenses exceed $30K annually, I chose to build a small but decent retirement fund. But even today I personally keep up my home (and will continue as long as I’m able), I actively use my workshop, I continue to learn new things and I “work” at managing our financial resources. Do I love every single moment? No (especially not the heart attack). But so far as is rational, I do every day what it is that I want to do — including giving free “retirement” advice to friends and even here at Top Retirements.

    You may not be able to do all that the Kaderli’s have done, but you too can choose the path you want to take. But you can’t say that such a path isn’t possible just because you have reached an age and/or circumstance that limits YOUR options. And no one should discourage another from trying to make the better choices to improve whatever their future life may be including “retirement”.

    Rich

    by Rich — February 18, 2015

  10. well, i also think the admin people need to redefine or make categories of RETIREMENT. in general, the majority of us worked hourly, salaried or commissioned. some incomes were large some were small. some on wall street street, some in government, some in corporate games, but most of us were in the trenches of life. i do not fault these people’s success at getting retired early in life. the problem is, their story just does not fit the life most of us have lived. another point i would like to make, concerns selling the idea of retirement in MEXIFORNIA. my wife and i spent over 30 years in the SAN DIEGO area. we watched the train wreck roll along unimpeded. it is still a great place to visit and vacation, because you are unaware of the real truth. the impact of our national border problems has destroyed a beautiful place to live and retire. as i said in my last input, we escaped MEXIFORNIA in SEPTEMBER 2013. GOOD LICK TO ALL. DAVEFH

    by davefh — February 18, 2015

  11. We need to think about our definitions of retirement and working. Retirement isn’t what it used to be and working for yourself in retirement isn’t the same as working for someone else. My parents spent years and years at the same employers and were pretty well “wrung out” by the time they retired in their early 60’s. That was back in the 70’s, and their only income was from Social Security. Dad had plenty to keep him busy at home during those years. A few years after her retirement, Mom began teaching piano and thrived on it. Music was her passion, and this was the perfect retirement activity for her, plus it provided extra spending money. Dad also benefited because he enjoyed interacting with the endless stream of students coming through the house!

    We need to keep our minds and bodies active if we want to live long, healthy lives. For me, that means working or volunteering to get me out of the house and socializing with others. I just retired and spent the last few months completing classes to become a life coach. I’m starting my own business, which is so much better than working for someone else, and I get a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment from helping others. I’m also considering teaching piano and writing a book. When my husband retires (he’s 74 and still works fulltime), I hope to sell the house and buy an RV so that we can travel the country, visiting old friends and family, and gathering more material for the book. Traveling will also provide us with the opportunity to find the perfect place to retire near our daughter so that we can spend time with her and the grandkids while they’re growing up. I suppose much of this sounds like work, but I don’t want to get stale and sedentary.

    by Barbara — February 18, 2015

  12. retirement: noun, the action or fact of leaving one’s job and ceasing to work.

    Doesn’t sound to me that these two are retired either.

    by Marianne — February 18, 2015

  13. Retirement does actually have a definition and it involves having no earned income. You can have savings, pension and social security but you can’t be working for money. If the question, “what is your occupation is asked,” you cannot reply retired if you have a business, consult, write books, etc. It would be great to hear about enjoying a more flexible lifestyle and not working full time but I agree that would not equate to retirement. I envy and respect these people and other people that have commented but the message does need to be clear.

    by Mary — February 18, 2015

  14. After 35 years in a job that I never enjoyed but paid the bills, retirement means the freedom to have the time to do the things I want to do. It doesn’t matter if anyone pays me or not. It’s finally not about the money.

    by Petra — February 18, 2015

  15. I don’t see how they can claim to be retirement experts. Perhaps they’re experts on giving up a middle class lifestyle including waiving contributions to their social security benefits or a pension fund in order to live on a low income, but as noted above it appears they didn’t have children, cars, a mortgage, home insurance, auto insurance, commuting costs, utilities, etc. Apparently they’ve also never had serious dental, health or other issues that could wipe out $30,000 quickly, and were willing to make compromises about wherever they chose to live. I suspect — but of course I have no proof — that they used family members and friends to stretch their own resources as much as possible at the expense of others. It would also be interesting to know how their $30,000 per year is funded, and whether they started with the $750,000 to $1M investment that Fidelity, Merrill Lynch and other sources say is necessary to throw off $30,000 a year.

    by Sharon — February 19, 2015

  16. Retirement as we have known it in previous generations is dying. The baby boomers are redefining everything, including this. Most will never truly retire in the sense that the previous generation did. They will continue working either because they “have to” or because they “want to”. But, the work for many will be different…they will be either self employed or work part time in a position that interests them more than the career they “retired” from. Some will work simply to earn money for expensive hobbies or travel. I personally retired from the 60 hour career job which was super stressful when I was 44, took 5 years off to regroup, and now am self employed for about 25 hours per week. Now at 60, I do not see myself really retiring until I can no longer function in my field. I love my work and I control my schedule…as others have mentioned the word freedom is more a focus than the word retirement. I realize that I am blessed with skills that I can leverage in this manner, and that not everyone can. But, I see “post career” work very differently than my parents.

    by LJ — February 19, 2015

  17. In my way of thinking, we retire FROM some sort of working for others – for example, I retired FROM teaching for 32 years. i am presuming that this couple worked very hard until they retired FROM their jobs, and now do what they love, which fortunately brings in some income to support their lifestyle. Bravo! There is good advice in this article concerning tracking their spending habits. But my favorite quote, and one which is SOOOOO important is
    “But without a sense of wonder, an open mind to new things and even to
    change itself, making the transition into a satisfying new life of retirement is more difficult.”
    Thank you for the article!

    by SandyZ — February 19, 2015

  18. I am happy for the couple that were able to live their dreams. When you do something you love to do and get paid for it, that is a relaxed lifestyle. Retired or not, does it really matter as long as they are happy? Some people save lots of money even when they don’t make a lot. I have a friend that made 40K most of her working career and retired at 58 years old. She has over $1,000,000 in her nest egg. Not because she made a lot of money, but because she saved a portion of her money from every check from day one. Yes she has a paid for house, no car payment, no credit card debt and 2 kids that she funded through college. Not everyone is broke when they retire. I also see lots of older people working because they have to. That’s a choice they made when they didn’t save for their future. I agree that it keeps people young when they have something to do. Sitting in a rocking chair growing old, isn’t an option for us.

    by Sue — February 19, 2015

  19. Keep ’em coming admin…I couldn’t relate to this one, but am always interested! I can stop reading an article, but cannot know what is missing.

    by elaine — February 19, 2015

  20. Obviously this wouldn’t apply to someone taking care of parents. An article about taking care of parent wouldn’t apply to those who aren’t. Same goes for health etc. Some rather harsh comments.

    by easilyamused — February 19, 2015

  21. The article lost credibility with me when they missed healthcare spending which also includes insurance premiums.

    by Bubbajog — February 19, 2015

  22. Bubbajog: I agree with you. I was wondering if their $30,000 a year might come from disability payments, which would make them eligible for Medicare, although since they claim to have been young and strong at the beginning of their adventure this wouldn’t make sense. Or they could have inherited loads of money and decided to live “retire” and off their inheritance instead of working. I kept coming back to the fact that I couldn’t figure out any way that the numbers worked, without knowing more about their back-story. Yeah, the points about managing your spending, keeping busy and having a full life are worthwhile. Ultimately, it becomes the same old story about lifestyle choices.

    by Sharon — February 20, 2015

  23. (Sorry about the typos…in a hurry getting ready to leave for work at 6:00 am, to save a few more bucks for my retirement in a year or two vs. being on a beach on Nevis or soaking in a volcanic hot tub). This cold in the Eastern US sure isn’t great for us poor older folks who are dragging ourselves out of bed and off to work so we can hope to supplement social security.

    by Sharon — February 20, 2015

  24. Davefh,
    you nailed it….indeed a sad situation in to many places.
    reality is not a word that is in many americans vocabulary and deny, deny, deny is.
    to many live within a bubble and think being nice means sacrificing our own national security

    by jeff — February 20, 2015

  25. Let’s face it stories like that of the Kaderli’s are all fun to read, but not realistic for all of us. What if everyone retired at 38? Where would we be? We still need people to grow and transport our food, manufacture clothes, automobiles, and myriad other products we use. We need retailers to sell us the food and products. And I’m being very simplistic here. Also, in many parts of the country you can’t live on $30,000 a year. Property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes (you get the drift) would eat up half that $30,000.
    $30,000 a year in passive income is possible, yes, maybe they did save a fortune by age 38, Afterall, one million dollars at a 4% yield would give you $40,000 in passive income, well above their stated needs. And if writing books and maintaining a website provides additional income that they don’t consider “work”, well good for them.
    So, I’m not demeaning what they’ve been able to do, it’s just that it shouldn’t be called retirement. It’s a lifestyle choice they have been able to achieve and maintain for 25 years.

    by Leonard — February 20, 2015

  26. I took the few minutes needed to go to the website the Kaderli’s provided and got answers to almost all the questions we all asked above. Most of them are at: http://www.retireearlylifestyle.com/20questions.htm , Others are at: http://retireearlylifestyle.com/clark_howard.htm .

    All are easy to read and listen to. I If you don’t want to followup there, you really have no reason to criticize. I’m sure there is more info at the site, but I haven’t been through it all yet.

    by Rich — February 20, 2015

  27. I think most retirees or soon-to-be-retirees know that a move to Central America, Thailand, Myanmar or numerous other international locations will allow a somewhat comfortable life for $30K per year. That’s Retirement 101 and is relatively easy to arrange.

    Instead of wandering the shores of Phuket, I raised a family and cared for aging parents and in-laws, decisions that I don’t regret. I’m not dissing on the Kaderlis’ choices, but rather echoing Leonard’s point that that freewheeling lifestyles only work when others who stay behind are willing to do a lot of the heavy lifting.

    Just sayin…

    by JayBird — February 20, 2015

  28. I think we’ve allowed these cold (NE US), dark (winter) days to get to us. Not every thought or article needs to be realistic. I think the Kaderli’s are encouraging us to dream. They are encouraging us to live the life we want to live, and not allow ourselves to be so limited by our conditions and thinking. I realize that we all have limitations; but speaking for myself, i can live like a horse with blinders on if i’m not careful. This is not a “how to do” article, but one that is meant to inspire – like a breathe of fresh air. As for me, i’m going to try to stop focusing on the limitations of my situation and let a little light in!

    by ella — February 21, 2015

  29. Said article is totally non-relative to 99 % of retirees!

    by Carol L. Daly — February 21, 2015

  30. JayBird, I agree…there is a very tiny population that can/will disconnect from family and take on such far away places. If they can and really enjoy it, well so be it. I’m in the caring for the parent role and have been for a few years, it is an honor that I would not exchange for any worldly travels. The sandwich generation is trying to balance the needs of parents and children while carving out potential retirement and some fun. This is becoming a bigger issue as we live longer…It’s just life and we all take the cycle on differently, no wrong or right.

    by LJ — February 21, 2015

  31. Ella,
    You have a beautiful soul; one to which I aspire!
    Update: We haven’t yet found our dream home NW of Knoxville, so we are looking towards the Chattanooga area for our next month assignment. Input from anyone regarding that area would be most welcome.
    The weather hasn’t been all we had hoped for. We’ve been holed up for the past week; not unlike many others to be sure.

    by Caps — February 22, 2015

  32. If you go to their website and read the 8 secrets of early retirement it tells how they handled health insurance and how being retired allowed Akaisha to take care of her parents to the end. It also states their savings at the start of retirement was $500,000.

    by Mona — February 22, 2015

  33. Thanks for the clarification, Mona. I’m glad that’s settled!

    by ella — February 22, 2015

  34. Caps- what are you looking for in a house? How big of a lot would you like? View? Convenience to medical care, groceries, etc? We live in Chattanooga and might be able to make suggestions.

    by LisaJ — February 23, 2015

  35. Thanks Lisa,
    We would love a view and to be near Cleveland ‘s new jetport. We found a home with a swimming pool near the country club that is very nice, yet no view. We are currently investigating the Hiawasse River area. We may have to build to get what we want, if you know any decent builders. Ideally, a home with the main level 2,000 – 2,500 sq feet and no steps, except for a bonus room. Lot size isn’t as important as view. A nice neighborhood would also be important.

    by Caps — March 4, 2015

  36. There is another blog, Mr. Money Mustache. The writer also retired in his thirties by saving half of his income and living on the other half. He invested the half he saved in Vanguard Index Funds and owns one rental home plus his small residence in Longmont Colorado. Read his blog–he loves being retired-and having free time to do as he wishes–who wouldn’t?, Once he saved 20 times his annual income, he was able to retire and he claims that he, his wife and his son live on $25,000 per year. They bike or walk and drive very little. He states they live very well on their income. So this man has started a movement towards downsizing and minimal living-not deprivation. He draws the attention of those on Wall Street who seek his advice. He was written up in the Washington Post and that is when I signed up for his newsletter.

    by Jennifer — March 5, 2015

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