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Risk and Happiness in Retirement: The Price of Security

Category: Adventurous retirement

By Akaisha Kaderli
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller

Recently I have been reading a book called Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. You may have heard of it. The theme of the book is about being vulnerable, taking risks and being willing to expose ourselves to possible failure. It’s an enlightening read – and one that we think has relevance to those of us entering retirement.

I bring this up because what I want to share with you that security has a price. Everyone speaks about how risk is dangerous and sometimes unthinkable. It seems that everyone wants unmitigated surety – the 100% guarantee.

But security never makes one courageous nor does it make a person’s heart sing. We all want our bases covered, and none want to be starving or out in the land of the lost. But there is an energy about taking a risk with the possibility of failure that adds dimension to our lives and creates memories that we share with our children and grandchildren and we can ruminate over when we become old. Having everything laid out, fully unchallenged with no adversary to overcome makes for a dull story. Since retirement is a do-over on life, we should keep these thoughts in mind.

Personal Examples
To make my point, I want to share with you a couple of big risks I took with my life direction over the years.

In 1971 I was 19 years old and my then 20 year old boyfriend wanted to make an extensive summer motorcycle trip across the country from the Midwest through a semi-southern route, up the coast of California to Alaska and back again via northern roads. This sounded like the most exciting thing I could imagine in my life at that time.

I had $400 dollars saved and a vinyl, fleece-lined coat my father had given me. My boyfriend had $500 and a good pair of warm gloves he let me wear when it snowed or rained. We owned sleeping bags and a tent.

He had a 550 Triumph (oh those electrical problems!), was a good driver and gasoline was 40 cents per. We ended up traveling thousands of miles in heavy wind, rain, fog and unbearable heat but also on perfectly crisp mornings, and amazing sunlit days. We traveled the Alaskan pipeline before it had been completed and helped a friend build a log cabin on his property in British Columbia’s Queen Charlotte Islands.

We tested our mettle and we tested our relationship. Everything survived. The memories of that summer don’t fade into oblivion like the summers I worked in the department store and ate pizza on Friday nights.

I took the courage I garnered from this trip forward with me into my future. I found out that I was not a lightweight and that quality of spirit has served me many times over the years.

Similarly, after a 6 month trip to Europe almost a decade later, my husband Billy and I purchased a restaurant with some creative family financing. “Everyone” told us we should not pursue this venture and that we had surely overreached. We were 27 years old and our financial futures were on the line. Failure wasn’t an option. Our blood, sweat and tears paid for that restaurant and it certainly was not an easy career choice. We did not have holidays off, a 401k program or an employee sponsored pension. We paid for our own health care.

The Kaderlis

The Kaderlis

But on the other hand, we matured young and built a sense of self-reliance that money can’t purchase. We still hold the perspective that if there is a choice between taking a chance that will enrich your life or staying put in entrenched security, one should take the chance.

Bottom line for retirement
We as humans never tire of looking for that illusive feeling of security – especially in retirement. But in order to add zest to life after a paycheck, we must be open to trying new things, meeting new people, and visiting new locations. These actions will pay dividends and you won’t regret it.

I guess my point is that risk has a price but so does security. I think risk pays better.

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, 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. In retirement the couple travels – they are currently living in Vietnam.

Comments: What do you think about balancing risk vs. security in your retirement? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on May 22nd, 2014


  1. I was in agreement with you until I lost my husband to cancer. Then it seemed a wonderful thing that we had so many adventures in life before he passed but I really needed some secure time for me going forward and my risk taking was reduced to near zero. Beginning to feel there might be some adventures to come so it was great to read this as a reminder. Thank you.

    by Pam — May 22, 2014

  2. My husband and I are toying with the idea of renting in northern Baja for our first year of retirement. This requires us to sell our home and furniture. We are both studying Spanish (Rosetta Stone) and are visiting to explore our future location. This is pretty scary but we want our lives to be full as long as possible. thank you for your encouragement.

    by Viv — May 22, 2014

  3. What a fabulous story. Our generation did push the limits. I’m looking forward to the new adventure retirement will bring.

    by Stacey — May 22, 2014

  4. Funny this article would appear right now. I just wrote this story of our current adventure on another site in top retirements. I’ll restate our adventure in brief here.
    Adventures and huge lifestyle changes and never been a big priority for us. We have lived in northern Illinois for the past 62 years. Now I have retired, just three weeks ago at this date.
    1. We are selling our home and every stick of furniture in it.
    2. We have already purchased a new home in the desert, actually in Mesa Arizona.
    3. Goodbye too seven months of cold, cloudy skies and deep snow. Hello to 95% sunshine and cactus!
    Surprisingly, I am not scared yet. For us this is truly a lifestyle, and life experience huge change.

    I promise to report back in 12 months on the success or the challenges we face! 😯

    by David Coughlin — May 24, 2014

  5. David – where did you purchasing in Mesa? We are closing on a place in Gold Canyon on 6/2/14 (next week). Looking forward to warm weather (even hot is OK).

    by glenns — May 27, 2014

  6. I think this is an important topic. You would think I would be cautious…I’ve taken a lot if risks and had a lot of failures. But I’ve had so many adventures, and have so many great memories! Recently I rented out my house in NY and moved to Marana, AZ. I bought a park model home in a small mobile home park. Still settling in. My next goal is to also purchase a small travel trailer, so I can use my park model as home base and travel inthe summers.
    Although I have hada lot of failures and lost a lot of money, so much that my retirement is a much lower budget retirement than I had planned and worked for, I am not willing to give up my adventures. This is my one ride in the merry-go-round and I plan to enjoy it to the end.

    by Ginger — May 28, 2014

  7. Ginger, you go girl.

    by Godsgirl — May 28, 2014

  8. Ginger, so glad that your experience have been good. Tell me a little about your park. My house still on the market, which seems really slow right now, so I will have to wait for my dream, like yours. I would like a small home base then get an small RV and travel. But it all has to wait till the house is sold. But I can dream, right.

    by svenska — May 28, 2014

  9. Ginger, You have a beautiful attitude. 😛 I know you will love your travels and adventures. Love to youom Elizabeth in NY~

    by Elizabeth in NY — May 28, 2014

  10. We have been retired 6 years and decided our lovely home on a golf course in Nebraska was NOT how we wanted to spend our time…….ventured out to find sunshine and a community where people are active and involved in their community. Sold the house and furniture and we will land in Encanterra…San Tan Valley, AZ. A new adventure for sure!! We too are tired of cold weather and nothing going on here, so time to try something new! Feel so lucky to have choices!!!!

    by Cindy — May 28, 2014

  11. Congratulations, Cindy! How exciting. I just looked at Encanterra on the web last night so your post is perfect timing. It looks incredible. It looks like there is plenty of stuff around, but that could be deceiving. Is there shopping, grocery stores, etc, nearby? Thanks.

    by Tessa — May 28, 2014

  12. 😆 We took the big plunge last summer in Wisconsin. Sold it for less than we wanted but it was worth not being in Wi last winter. Daily we expressed our appreciation of being in San Antonio.

    by susan — May 29, 2014

  13. TESSA….yes, shopping, medical care, restaurants close and Mesa is 13 miles for more of big name stores. You should try the stay and play pkg.!!!

    by Cindy — May 29, 2014

  14. Cindy, Thanks for the reply. I’m going to be in that area in a couple of weeks. I’ll only have time to check out a couple of places but you’ve just pushed Encanterra to the top of the list. Best of luck with your move.

    by Tessa — May 29, 2014

  15. Svenska…I thought I wouldn’t like this park. It is small, with some amenities….pool, spa, clubhouse…but not all the amenities of the big parks, but I love it! It is more informal and has less rules than the big parks. And really friendly and nice people. I have already made some nice friends who are going to help me get through my knee replacement surgery…people who will drive me to therapy, etc. I think you will love it down here; can’t wait till you sell your house. I love our bright sunny days and, yes, it is hot. But not that hot. Nothing like Las Vegas. or Phoenix. I am very happy I chose Tucson.

    by Ginger — May 30, 2014

  16. So glad that you are happy in your park. I remember you were a little unsure in the beginning. I have also been told that it is better to go into a smaller park because the members become more like family. In a big park you sometimes get lost. Can’t wait to sell my house either and get moving. Good luck with your surgery and hopefully see you soon.

    by Svenska — May 31, 2014

  17. Glenn’s:
    We are moving to the northeast corner of Mesa in a gated community named, “Apache Wells II”. It is a smaller, gated 55+ community, at the corner of McPhillips and Recker. It has about 60 duplexes, so that is 120 patio homes. One clubhouse with an outdoor pool, a small gym, a large kitchen and a resident-operated little library.
    Don’t confused Apache Wells II with the original Apache Wells next door. The original is now a mix of trailer homes, condo buildings and a growing number of patio homes. The original Apache Wells complex also has an 18-hole golf course and different owners than Wells II. Other than the name there is no connection……we can’t even use the golf course.

    by Dave C. — May 31, 2014

  18. Hi Ginger:

    Your enthusiasm for park models and the Tiny house movement had mostly gone over my head UNTIL they arrived in Washington, DC. I found some great websites for some upscale Tiny homes about 400 Sq feet with lofts and I fell in love with them. My favorite is Wheelhaus. They are based in Wyoming and will park your home for you anywhere–of course they charge for that. I love their homes so much that I was hoping to find a place where others were of the same quality and not a mish mash of styles. I really want to feel secure and safe if I choose to live this way. How many parks did you investigate and since these are technically RV’s I realize that property tax cannot be accessed in most states. Would love to hear more about your experiences..

    by Jennifer — May 31, 2014

  19. Yes, I’ve looked at the Wheelhaus website and they are very nice. Out of my budget. Mimi’s unaware of any park model communities that would have homes this custom and expensive. I looked at parks in Florida, in Phoenix and Tucson. The parks in Florida tended to have much higher monthly rent, and not a lot if amenities. I looked in Ocala, St. Augustine, Flagler Beach, Lakeland. They may have better deals further south but I was concerned re hurricanes. Phoenix area has a large number of park model communities, but I didn’t care for Phienix. Also worth noting that 80% of all Valley Fever cases are in Phoenix. In Tucson there are several park model home communities..Voyager RV, Rincon West and Rincon East are three that come to mind. These are larger communities with LOTS of amenities. Pools,spas, tennis, pickleball, ceramics shop, woodworking…you name it. Hair dressers, cafes, stores. These communities are VERY safe…gated , monitored, etc. however, not many of the homes will be of Wheelhaus quality.

    I hope this helps.

    by Ginger — May 31, 2014

  20. Ginger:

    How much is the rent per month in your park? I was hoping to have solar panels installed on the roof of my home so I could live off the grid. Is your park safe enough that you can leave your tiny house and travel? That is all I really care about. Wheelhaus may be a bit more expensive–but everything is included and it would be paid off. I feel it is pretty much turnkey–I would just have to bring a few things of my own. Another thing I want to ask is can you have pets in your park? Is there a community garden?

    Thanks for your help with this. I lived in Cairo Egypt and we have the Khamseen there which is essentially sand storms–looks like rainy cloudy days, when in fact it is sand, It can also get in the lungs and cause pneumonia and coughing. Overall, however, I love a desert climate–I hate the humidity of Washington DC and even in Indianapolis< IN where I was born.

    I would like to know more about your Park. What kind of laundry facilites so you have there?

    Thanks again.

    by Jennifer — June 1, 2014

  21. We have laundry facilities in the clubhouse for $1.25 for wash or dry. Pets are allowed and, unlike some bigger parks, they are not confined to a ‘dog walk’ area…you can walk them anywhere on leash..,just clean up after them. My park seems to have less rules than many. I imagine they would have no problem with solar. Bear in mind that the moving costs for your unit to Arizona will be prohibitive. The rent here is $3600 a year, or $330 by the month. You can get park Internet for $12 a month. You will want insurance on your home; for that you would goto Foremost insurance, as for park safety….very safe. Many people have part-time homes here; they go north in the summer. There is no community garden, but people do have small garden in their sites, when there is room. Bear in mind this is desert…many things can’t survive here. Also, digging in dirt a good way to catch Valley Fever, although no one here has had it and some do have gardens. However, this park is mixed…park models, mobile homes and RVs. It is very clean and well maintained, but some of the homes are older. It is not full of high end park models like what you plan. If you are seriously interested, I will get park manager email for you.

    by Ginger — June 2, 2014

  22. Jennifer, here is a link toa park model company in Chandler, AZ. They have nice units and it would be thousands less to move it.

    by Ginger — June 2, 2014

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