People spend way too much time scrutinizing examples of early retirees who just recently FIRE’d and not nearly enough time on early retirees who actually made it through decades of retirement.
That’s why there’s a whole cottage industry of blogs and books by recent retirees dispensing advice (and downloadable spreadsheets) on how to save a million bucks, retire to Southeast Asia, and sip mango juice all day and get cheap massages.
But there’s nothing to actually scrutinize in these examples because no one really miscalculates their nest egg so badly that they have to go back to work within a few years.
We should spend more effort analyzing examples of people who actually successfully STAYED retired for decades. (And I don’t mean folks with $10s of millions.)
That’s because the shockingly simple math to get TO early retirement is different from the shockingly un-simple math to get THROUGH early retirement.
Yet there are few and far between examples of early retirees who actually made it through decades, weathered all the ups and downs intact, lived a good and fulfilling life, and are still in good physical and financial shape.
So you can imagine how excited I was to speak with today’s guests, a senior couple who achieved precisely this.
This week, I chat with Billy and Akaisha Kaderli, a husband wife couple who early retired 3 DECADES ago in 1991 and are still going strong. With one full 30-year retirement already behind them and a nest egg that is bigger than ever, Billy and Akaisha have traveled the world across decades, lived a great life, and have tons of stories and advice to share.
- Their varied career path before retirement (French chef, stock broker)
- Why they decided to retire early long before a FIRE community existed
- Why they decided not to tell anyone about their early retirement plans
- Why they defined their FIRE number based on only a subset of their expenses (and which expenses those were)
- What they invested in before there were ETFs, and how big their portfolio was on the day they retired
- How they planned their travels via a multi-year loop over the decades, and how they chose regional “home bases” around the world
- When they decide to travel together vs. solo
- How large their portfolio is now 3 decades later
- How they afforded healthcare over the decades (including emergency surgeries) with no health insurance…and without bankrupting themselves
- How they dealt with downturns and recessions over the decades…including the one time they briefly considered going back to get a j-o-b (and why they decided against it)
- What they would have done differently if they could do it all over again
Does Billy and Akaisha’s story change your view on what it takes to get to FIRE? What it takes to successfully live a good and full retirement life for decades? Does it influence any choices you might make in your retirement planning plans? Let me know by leaving a comment when you’re done.
Don’t miss an episode, hit that subscribe button…
If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any upcoming episodes!
I need your help, please leave a listener review 🙂
If you liked this episode, would you please leave a quick review on Apple Podcasts? It’d mean the world to me and your review also helps others find my podcast, too!
Links mentioned in this episode:
Read this episode as a post:
Andrew Chen 01:22
My guests today are husband and wife couple Akaisha and Billy Kaderli. I’m really excited to bring them on the podcast today.
Akaisha and Billy early retired three decades ago in their 30s to travel the globe. They’ve remained retired this entire time, and they are recognized as one of the early participants and experts of the FIRE movement even before there was such a term.
Their story has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, Motley Fool, MarketWatch, Forbes, Fox Business, U.S. News and World Report, and many other newspapers and radio and TV shows.
They’ve written numerous books and guides about early retirement and nomadic travel strategies, and they share much of this information as well on their website, retireearlylifestyle.com.
Akaisha and Billy, thanks so much for joining us today to share your insights and wisdom about early retirement and nomadic travel.
Akaisha Kaderli 02:11
Yes. Thanks for having us.
Billy Kaderli 02:12
Thanks for having us, Andrew.
Andrew Chen 02:13
Just to set context for our audience so we can understand a little bit better about your story, in what year did you early retire?
Billy Kaderli 02:25
In 1991. We were 38 years old.
Andrew Chen 02:27
What was your career path before you guys pulled the trigger?
Akaisha Kaderli 02:38
We did lots of different things.
Billy Kaderli 02:40
I was trained as a French chef. In 1979, Akaisha and I went to France. I was trained in the U.S., and then I got more training in France.
And then we came back to Santa Cruz, California, and we bought a restaurant because that was my dream: being a chef. We owned and operated that for 10 years. During that period, I was approached twice by the branch manager of a local Dean Witter Reynolds office, which is now Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, to join Dean Witter.
I refused the first time because I was enjoying what I was doing. But then years later, he came back to me again and he asked me if I’d be interested in doing it.
By then, I was getting burnt out on cooking. I had been cooking for so many years.
So I gave it a try. I became a stock broker. After a few years, they gave me my own office and I was the branch manager of the Aptos, California office, and doing quite well.
And then Akaisha, once we sold the restaurant, she became an executive secretary for a civil engineering firm in Scotts Valley, California.
Now, because I was a broker branch manager in California, the stock market opens at 6:00 in the morning and closes at 1:00, so 1:30 I’m at the beach. Well, that didn’t work out real well on Akaisha.
Akaisha Kaderli 04:08
No. It wasn’t working for me, especially when I was still running the restaurant and when he was a stockbroker. That was five years long or so.
I’m working nights, weekends, and holidays. He’s off at the beach at 1:00 in the afternoon. No, no, no.
Billy Kaderli 04:25
So we started taking a look at things. We realized that we were starting to drift apart. Anyway, it just happens.
We’re two Type A personality people, and we’re both gung ho into our own careers.
Akaisha Kaderli 04:44
So he comes to me with this idea that he writes down on the back of an envelope. “Hey, I got an idea. Why don’t we quit our jobs and travel the world?”
I’m going, “Yeah, right, sure.”
He goes, “No, really, we can do this.”
Billy Kaderli 04:58
So I penciled it out. We had a computer that we ran our restaurant on, but it was nothing like the stuff we have today.
I penciled it out, and for two years, we knocked around this idea. We tried to poke as many holes in it as we could, both financially, emotionally, and any other way we could, just trying to take the balloon down out of the sky. Well, everything kept working.
Akaisha Kaderli 05:27
We tracked our spending and found out what we were spending on ourselves, not for things work-related. And we found out that our money at the time could support that.
Billy Kaderli 05:37
The amount of money we had invested in the equity markets.
Andrew Chen 05:41
Was there a single moment of recognition when that came? And if so, what caused that? Or how did you guys gradually realize that you wanted to make this big life change?
Akaisha Kaderli 05:54
How it happened was it was a process. Like I said, he came to me with this idea.
We had a beautiful home a quarter-mile from the beach in Santa Cruz, California. My parents and sisters lived in the same town.
To be honest with you, I was hoping he’d forget about it. “Okay, we’ll track our spending. Yeah, sure, we’ll do this.”
I just assumed that, at some point, he’d let it go, but he didn’t.
So this is the process part. When the numbers started lining up, he said, “Look, we could travel.”
I’m a big traveler. He’s a big traveler. So I had to work out the family thing and the house thing.
But once we did that, and again, that took two years or so, then we moved into making that happen.
Billy Kaderli 06:41
Now, during this period, Andrew, we didn’t tell anybody.
Akaisha Kaderli 06:46
Billy Kaderli 06:46
Not our parents, not our friends, no one. We kept it to ourselves because we didn’t want those people to try and to pressure us into thinking that we were making a mistake or whatnot.
Akaisha Kaderli 07:01
Remember this is 1991. There’s no FIRE.
There’s no forums. There’s no Amazon.
There’s no Facebook. There’s no email. There’s nothing.
Billy Kaderli 07:11
So it’s just us two, and we kept it quiet. And that’s when it all happened.
We gave our bosses a two-week notice. Two weeks, period.
Andrew Chen 07:25
When you guys were making this plan, was the life you envisioned one of long term travel even from the very beginning, or did that unfold in a more gradual way?
Akaisha Kaderli 07:37
Both. We both are travelers, and we wanted to go to places that we didn’t have to go back in a four-day weekend or a two-week vacation.
I studied anthropology in college. I like native peoples and cultures. And we both enjoy food.
We wanted to go places and stay months at a time. So we did envision that as an expression of our way from work.
There was no FIRE at that time, so retirement was the only word we used. There was no “financially independent” word. Michael Jordan and Bill Gates were financially independent, but that was not what regular people did.
So we just said we were retired, and that is how we saw that lifestyle for us.
Andrew Chen 08:20
When you guys were tracking your budget, the budget you would need (I guess that means your expenses), it sounds like you were doing that daily. Were you factoring in the budget you would need during travel or the budget you were spending in Santa Cruz? Which one were you trying to beat?
Billy Kaderli 08:38
What we did is we tracked our spending, and then we excluded all housing-related expenses, all work-related expenses, property taxes, car-related expenses, all this stuff. And we found out that we really weren’t spending all that much on ourselves.
So then I took that number and I said, “How much do we have to have invested in the financial markets in order to generate that kind of income?” And that’s pretty much the process that we did.
Akaisha Kaderli 09:08
Now, we don’t separate traveling from the lifestyle. I know a lot of FIRE people do that. They say they want to travel, but then they go somewhere else or they do separate travel.
Ours was a travel lifestyle. That’s what we did. We’d go and we’d live in hotels or apartments.
We’d go back and refurbish the wardrobe, but we’d be gone a year at a time. That kind of thing.
Billy Kaderli 09:32
Mostly, our time constraints are visas. I’m sure your people are familiar with it, but when you go to a foreign country, you have to have a visa. You have to have permission from that country to enter, and then they typically restrict you to a certain number of days or months, and then it’s time to move on.
Now, there’s ways of dealing with those things by either going to the embassy and re-upping, or to go to a neighboring country for a week and then come back.
But we never planned this out. It has been an evolution.
Akaisha Kaderli 10:14
Yeah. It’s been organic.
Billy Kaderli 10:15
Akaisha Kaderli 10:15
It just came about.
Andrew Chen 10:17
What I’m trying to get my head around is when you guys were planning for long term travel, if you were planning to live in, say, Thailand versus in London (I’m sure there’s many places you want to go), the budgets will vary widely.
How did you factor in what you anticipated you would need for things like airfare and the cost of living differential between high and low cost countries and make sure that it would work essentially forever from the vantage point of 1991?
Akaisha Kaderli 10:47
What we did was we tracked our spending. We had an annual amount and we had a cost per day. So we managed that every day.
When we’d go to a higher-priced country, London or Australia or New Zealand, our daily average would go up. And then we would just arbitrage that amount by going to Thailand or Mexico or Cambodia or something like that, and then that average would go down.
We didn’t budget. We just monitored our cost per day.
Billy Kaderli 11:20
And the more you do that, the more comfortable you get with knowing that you can bring it back down to where you need it to be.
We’re going back some years, but I think when we were in Australia, we were spending well over $100 a day, and when we were in Thailand, we were spending $40 a day. We get back to Thailand and, all of a sudden, we start seeing our averages come down and we’re all good.
Andrew Chen 11:44
Gotcha. Once you realized that your investments would cover your average daily spend, how long was it from that point, that realization, to actually pulling the trigger?
Akaisha Kaderli 12:02
I think Billy pretty much said, “When we take the house mortgage out, the car insurance, and the house insurance, property taxes, we’re spending this amount.” So our finances, our investments generated that amount plus a little more.
So we had to sell the house. We had to sell our stuff. We had to get stuff in storage.
Billy Kaderli 12:32
One thing was I got an annual bonus from Dean Witter, so I wanted to make sure that I was there long enough to get that bonus. It was pretty much two weeks into January I got the bonus. We’re gone.
Akaisha Kaderli 12:45
Yeah, it was January 14th. He went down to Nevis, and I had to finish the house. I’m still going to the flea market in Goodwill.
Billy Kaderli 12:53
Nevis, West Indies in the Caribbean.
Akaisha Kaderli 12:55
Nevis, West Indies. Right. So then I just met him down there as I tidied up what was left of the house.
Andrew Chen 13:01
What did you guys invest in to build this retirement fund? Literally, what were the type of stocks or bonds you were holding?
Billy Kaderli 13:12
At that time, we were 100% long in equity funds. At the time, we were using Dean Witter funds because I was loyal to the company. But then once I got away from there, we switched things over to Vanguard and bought into the Index 500 and pretty much 100% long for years.
Andrew Chen 13:30
Billy Kaderli 13:32
VTI wasn’t around. It was the S&P, what’s now SPX. But it was the mutual fund, open-ended fund, because ETFs weren’t around at that time.
Andrew Chen 13:44
Got it. And you guys were 100% long on stocks for the growth and no fixed income?
Billy Kaderli 13:50
Andrew Chen 13:52
Billy Kaderli 13:54
Let me just tell you how that works in rough numbers. Say the markets average 10% a year with dividends reinvested. If you’re spending 4% of that and you’re making 10%, that leaves 6% to be put back in or just left into the market.
Exponentially, it’s just going to continue to grow. That’s what has happened in our situation.
Andrew Chen 14:15
How much did you guys have saved up before you realized it was enough?
Billy Kaderli 14:19
We had about $500,000.
Andrew Chen 14:22
In ’91 dollars?
Billy Kaderli 14:23
In ’91 dollars.
Andrew Chen 14:24
Gotcha. Now you guys have been retired for over three decades now technically, or you’re right on three decades?
Billy Kaderli 14:34
Andrew Chen 14:35
Over all those years, how many have you lived abroad versus in the U.S.?
Akaisha Kaderli 14:42
I would say that we have probably lived, especially now, about 80%.
Billy Kaderli 14:48
I would say that because we spent a lot of time in Arizona.
Akaisha Kaderli 14:53
Yes, but we’ve mostly been overseas.
Billy Kaderli 14:55
Yeah. 60/40, something like that.
Akaisha Kaderli 14:58
It’s hard to say. Because what was happening for a while there is, of course, my parents were still alive and we’d go visit home and family.
And then we’d have a three-year loop where we’d go to the U.S. and then we’d go to Thailand and then we’d go to Mexico. That would take two or three years to do that. And we do have a place in Arizona that we have.
Billy Kaderli 15:24
But then for when we would do that loop, we would just branch off to other countries while we were in those areas, because it doesn’t make sense to be in the U.S. and then fly to Vietnam and then come back to the U.S. and then fly to Thailand. That’s ridiculous.
Andrew Chen 15:37
I see. So then you had multiple home bases from which you would launch out to do more regional travel.
Billy Kaderli 15:46
Andrew Chen 15:46
And it sounds like Thailand was the home base for Asia, Mexico for Southern Latin America, and then Arizona for North America?
Akaisha Kaderli 15:54
Billy Kaderli 15:55
Andrew Chen 15:56
Billy Kaderli 15:57
Chiang Mai, Thailand specifically.
Akaisha Kaderli 15:58
We would go for a year. We’d leave Arizona and go to Thailand for a year. And during that time, we’d visit Bali, New Zealand, Australia, Laos, China, all those areas.
And then we’d maybe go to Mexico next or something, and then we’d visit Central America and all those places, and stay there for a year.
Billy Kaderli 16:15
And then once we got to Mexico, we could easily shoot up to Arizona or California to visit her family or mine were in Florida at that time. So we just tried to coordinate that with airports and how easy it was to travel.
Akaisha Kaderli 16:30
Yeah. The earlier years, we spent more time in the States.
Billy Kaderli 16:33
Akaisha Kaderli 16:34
And then when our parents passed, these days I go back for a month at a time, five weeks, to visit family. And then we’re mostly overseas.
Andrew Chen 16:43
Gotcha. Chiang Mai is beautiful.
Akaisha Kaderli 16:45
Andrew Chen 16:46
I’ve been there. It’s quite lovely.
Billy Kaderli 16:48
Andrew Chen 16:49
Where are you guys currently based at the moment?
Akaisha Kaderli 16:52
Chapala, Mexico. It’s near Guadalajara.
Billy Kaderli 16:56
About an hour south of Guadalajara.
Andrew Chen 16:58
Billy Kaderli 16:59
We’re about 5200 feet in elevation.
Andrew Chen 17:02
Great. So your loop from Thailand, Mexico, U.S., how do you guys proportion your time between these places now that you have even fewer obligations?
Do you mostly spend your time now outside of the U.S.? How do you guys think about the loop these days?
Akaisha Kaderli 17:28
We do spend most of the time outside of the U.S. We probably did the Asia loop for about eight years, from about 2000 to the Great Recession, 2008-2009.
Billy wanted to be on the same time zone as the markets. When you’re over in Asia, when we’re sleeping, the markets are open, so we went to this side of the time zone. We started doing more Latin America, Mexico stuff to be on the same time zone as the markets.
Andrew Chen 18:00
Got it. How did you guys choose these home bases? I’m sure cost of living had something to do with it, but there’s certainly other places that have low cost of living.
How did you guys choose the specific home bases you did? What were some of the other factors or considerations that went into the decision?
Billy Kaderli 18:24
In between all this time, we brought a fifth wheel trailer and we were traveling around the Western United States: Montana, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Texas.
When we were in Texas, we met another couple who mentioned Chapala, Mexico, and they invited us to come down and visit them. The plan was to come down for two months, and we stayed four years.
Akaisha Kaderli 18:46
We really liked it.
Billy Kaderli 18:51
We got caught into a “Mexicoma” is what I call it, and it has just worked out really well for us. So that’s how we discovered Chapala. Then we’ve since discovered many places throughout Mexico.
And then years prior to that, before I met Akaisha, I had been in Guatemala and I told her I wanted to take her down there. So then we started basing out of Panajachel, Guatemala, on Lake Atitlan. We stayed down there for four or five years.
Akaisha Kaderli 19:20
Yeah, much longer.
Billy Kaderli 19:24
So if we like a place and we get a good vibe out of it and things are what we call easy living or we can shop easy locally and has little hassles and easy to get to an international airport, we’re good.
Akaisha Kaderli 19:40
Yeah. We like to look for good weather, good cost of living.
We don’t need a car. We don’t want to have to have a car. We like to have access to excellent food, friendly people, have it be safe.
We do have a list. And like Billy says, we look for easy living.
Andrew Chen 20:00
When you say that you stayed in Chapala for four years and Guatemala for four or five years, was that cumulatively, like a year at a time when you were doing the loop, or actually altogether?
Billy Kaderli 20:11
For Chapala, it was altogether. Back then, you could get into Mexico with a driver’s license and a tourist card. They didn’t stamp your passport.
So we had a way to extend our visas. It wasn’t exactly the most legal thing to do, but it worked.
Akaisha Kaderli 20:34
Things are a lot more digital now.
Billy Kaderli 20:35
Yeah. They know right where we are today.
Akaisha Kaderli 20:38
I’m not a crook.
Billy Kaderli 20:43
So that’s how we stayed in Mexico. In Guatemala, we had to leave every 90 days.
Akaisha Kaderli 20:48
So we’d go to Panama.
Billy Kaderli 20:50
What we did there is we would give our passports to a travel agent who would run them through the border and bring them back with stamps in and out of Guatemala. That’s how we did it down there. But that’s risky because you’re giving your passport away to somebody else.
We never had a problem with it, but there were times when other people were stopped at the airport and said, “This is an illegal stamp” or “We don’t have you in the system.”
Akaisha Kaderli 21:17
But we’d also go to Panama or the Dominican Republic. We travel.
We just recently went to Colombia. You can get out of the country and get restamped.
Andrew Chen 21:31
How do you guys do accommodation? Do you rent an apartment for a year lease, or do you do short term accommodations to have the flexibility to travel regionally and locally so that you’re not then paying hotel costs when you’re away as well as apartment costs holding the apartment? How does that work?
Akaisha Kaderli 21:48
We used to travel for a year at a time, and we’d have to bring beachwear and mountain gear. That got to be really heavy.
But as time has moved on, we have a residence here that we rent. But on those other years, we often would hire a hotel, get a room. You get a monthly rate.
Or you can do an apartment hotel. They come in and clean. You could have three, four, or six months of that type of stuff, then you leave.
Billy Kaderli 22:17
If you go to a hotel and you ask them the price for a night, it’s one. If you ask them the price for a week, it’s another. If you ask them the price for a month, it’s a third price.
You can usually get a pretty good deal if you go for a monthly rate. You can get benefits thrown into it as well. “Okay, I’ll pay a little higher price, but I want this, this, and this.”
Akaisha Kaderli 22:37
Yeah. And this was before Airbnb.
And we’ve done house sitting. That wasn’t necessarily available in the earlier years either.
Those things all affect your housing costs. It makes it a lot easier.
Andrew Chen 22:50
Gotcha. At this point, how many countries have you guys gotten to visit in the last three decades of nomadic travel?
Billy Kaderli 22:57
I don’t know.
Akaisha Kaderli 22:59
Dozens. We’ve never really had a list.
Billy Kaderli 23:01
We don’t count it like that.
Akaisha Kaderli 23:04
Not like if you go to Europe and you visit all those little countries, is it just the EU or is it all those little countries?
Billy Kaderli 23:11
We’ve been to almost every island in the Caribbean.
Akaisha Kaderli 23:13
Billy Kaderli 23:14
Does that count?
Akaisha Kaderli 23:16
Yeah. We’ve been all through Europe.
Billy Kaderli 23:18
We lived on Nevis.
Akaisha Kaderli 23:19
Yeah. Canada, U.S., Mexico, lots of places in Asia. We’ve not done anything in Africa yet or Middle East.
Billy Kaderli 23:28
Right. We’ve not been to Russia.
Akaisha Kaderli 23:31
We’ve not been to Russia. We’ve been to China.
Billy Kaderli 23:34
Akaisha Kaderli 23:35
Yes. And Ecuador. South America, we’ve done some.
Billy Kaderli 23:39
Andrew Chen 23:40
What are the most memorable places you’ve traveled?
Akaisha Kaderli 23:45
Gosh. It depends on what category.
Weather makes a difference. Food makes a difference. Ease.
Billy Kaderli 23:51
We have memories from all of them.
Akaisha Kaderli 23:53
Billy Kaderli 23:54
We’ve discussed recently, because China has been in the news, that our time, we were in Western China. We didn’t go to Beijing or anything like that. We were in Western China, in a place called Jinghong which is on the Mekong River.
There was only one other English-speaking person in that town that we could find. Boy, we were on her like glue.
Akaisha Kaderli 24:15
Yeah. “Help us here. Help us there.”
But people everywhere are wonderful. Food everywhere is interesting.
We do prefer good climate. The cloud forest sounds really romantic, but it’s flipping cold and wet and damp.
I’m glad I went there. That’s a good memory in that I went there, and I would choose not to go back.
Billy Kaderli 24:42
Vietnam is great. We’ve been there twice now. Last time, I think we were there for three or four months.
Akaisha Kaderli 24:48
Billy Kaderli 24:49
All in Saigon. Talk about a happening city.
Akaisha Kaderli 24:51
Billy Kaderli 24:54
It’s going there.
Andrew Chen 24:55
Did you guys always travel together from the very beginning of early retirement as a pair? Did either of you travel solo without the other?
Akaisha Kaderli 25:04
Billy Kaderli 25:05
Sure, we do that. I’ve got a funny story.
Recently, in early March of just this year, a friend of mine that I met here in Chapala, I said, “I’ll take you down to Guatemala” because he’s never been there.
It’s Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, which is where we go. It’s a beautiful lake. It’s like Lake Tahoe, which I’m sure you’re familiar with, only warmer and surrounded by three volcanoes.
We left on March 11th, and about four days later, the entire country shut down because of this virus. That means the airports were closed.
I’m not with her. We’re communicating daily, but I’m telling her, “Look, things are getting bad here. They’re starting to shut this place down.”
“I’ve got Plan B going here for us to get out of here.” But I wasn’t going to be flying at that point because they closed the airports, they closed all public transportation, and they closed the borders.
I’ve got a private driver down there and I’m talking to him, and he’d go, “I don’t know. They got roadblocks all over.”
I said, “How much do you need?” So we paid him quite a bit of money and we left. It’s a six-hour trip to get to the Mexican border from Panajachel, Guatemala.
About four hours out, we got stopped. The police held us up for 45 minutes and asking all kinds of crazy questions. At one point, they wanted us to go back to Guatemala City and be quarantined.
I just told the police, “Look, that’s just not going to happen.”
I said, “We’re Mexican residents. We’re going to Mexico. You can’t deny me exit out of this country.”
This went back and forth. Finally, they said, “Okay, you can go, but he’s going to turn back.”
So here we are, my friend and I. We’re standing there in the mountains of Guatemala hitchhiking when there’s no public transportation. Well, we got to the border.
Andrew Chen 26:57
Billy Kaderli 26:59
No. You know what a “tuk-tuk” is?
Andrew Chen 27:01
Billy Kaderli 27:04
Two hours in it with a series of tuk-tuks. Our asses were sore.
One guy would take us so far, and then we’d stop, and he says, “I don’t go any further.” So then we get off and find another one, and then another one.
Finally, we got to the border. Once we got into Mexico, all was good.
Andrew Chen 27:27
Gotcha. Have there been other times, not counting pandemics, when you guys decided to split up?
What I’m curious to understand is how did you guys make the decision of when to go together, when to go solo? Was it just one wanted to go one place and the other didn’t? How did those things happen?
Akaisha Kaderli 27:58
One time, I did end-of-life care for my parents, and that was a two-and-a-half-year period. So Billy did a lot of travel with friends on his own during that time. That’s when he first went to Asia, and that’s why he wanted to bring me there.
And I really like it when he does these reconnaissance trips because I’m older now, so I like to have a little bit more comfort. So I really like it. He can do a guy trip and stay in crummy hotels and figure out where he can take me.
Andrew Chen 28:32
I love it.
Akaisha Kaderli 28:33
Yeah, because I did all that when I was younger. I can’t tell you the hotels and the bugs I’ve seen. But I figured I’ve done it.
So now I love it when he goes with the guys. And I tend to do more family trips and stuff like that because I see my family yearly.
Billy Kaderli 28:49
I go down to the beach all the time by myself or with other guys, or I meet other people down there. We rendezvous at some western beaches here in Mexico.
Akaisha Kaderli 28:58
And I might stay home.
Billy Kaderli 29:00
She might come with me.
Akaisha Kaderli 29:01
Andrew Chen 29:02
Gotcha. At this point, it sounds like you guys have a familiar loop. You guys do Thailand, Mexico, Guatemala, U.S.
Did those home bases emerge organically where you started out just continuously traveling and then realized, “We want to stay in this particular place for a longer period of time”?
Or did you guys already plot out even from the very beginning the strategy of having home bases to then branch off from?
Akaisha Kaderli 29:31
It was just organic. One of the things, like Billy said, is we like being close to an international airport. That’s one of our easy living things.
Chiang Mai, it’s a short flight to Bangkok. But then from Bangkok, you can go anywhere in the world. The same thing here, Chapala to Guadalajara Airport, you can go anywhere.
Billy Kaderli 29:50
It’s 30 minutes from here.
Akaisha Kaderli 29:53
That was organic. We just didn’t figure that out.
Billy Kaderli 29:58
The thing that speeds us up is usually the visa. We’ve been trying to get back to Europe since 1979, and we were planning on being there right now. We were ready to book tickets to go to Italy.
And then we decided, “Maybe we should hold off a little bit.”
Akaisha Kaderli 30:14
“Well, the flights are really good prices.” I said, “Yeah, then we’re stuck over there.”
Billy Kaderli 30:22
Yeah. But if we like a place, and like I said, if we can get comfortable on a place, we’ll stick around.
Akaisha Kaderli 30:28
Andrew Chen 30:29
In what ways does travel feel different as a long term traveler versus a vacation traveler? Because I imagine there are going to be really big differences when you’re going for two weeks versus going for a year.
Billy Kaderli 30:41
The size of your suitcase. Ours is much smaller.
Andrew Chen 30:46
Interesting. The longer you go, the smaller it is. I guess you buy a lot of stuff locally?
Billy Kaderli 30:50
Exactly. If you need something, you buy it. We’re down to carrying just day packs.
Akaisha Kaderli 30:57
If a day rains, or if one of us gets ill, like we catch a flu or something, we don’t have to go, “Yes, but it’s Tuesday, we have to get to Belgium. We’ve got to get going.”
No, it’s not like that at all. We just stay another four or five days. Or if we get into a bad weather pattern, we just move on.
Billy Kaderli 31:12
We wait it out.
Akaisha Kaderli 31:14
Or wait it out. So we have a lot more freedom. We’re not glued to a schedule.
If we can’t make the museum today or the beach today, we’ll do it tomorrow or Thursday or something.
Billy Kaderli 31:24
We’ve given up a fair amount of return tickets.
Akaisha Kaderli 31:27
Andrew Chen 31:28
Do you guys typically buy round trips or just buy one-ways now everywhere?
Billy Kaderli 31:32
We buy one way if we can. Some countries, you need to have an ongoing ticket to go through it.
And again, there’s ways around that. There are ways of doing these things and making them work for you.
Akaisha Kaderli 31:47
Yeah. What if we decide to go to X place and then take a bus from that country to the next place?
We often will say that we’re going to overland from this place to that place, so we don’t need a round trip ticket. And that works too.
Andrew Chen 32:04
Gotcha. Did you guys ever have to deal with loneliness on the road over the years and decades? I guess you had each other, but not everybody has that.
Akaisha Kaderli 32:14
Billy Kaderli 32:15
Akaisha Kaderli 32:16
In the early days, I missed my family a bunch. With my parents both gone, that connection has opened things up.
With my sisters, I talk to them every week. I visit them once a year for five weeks at a time.
My girlfriends, I get them all on Zoom or Skype, and we do email and that kind of stuff.
Billy Kaderli 32:43
Akaisha Kaderli 32:44
We do a lot of WhatsApp. I’ve got friends all over.
Billy Kaderli 32:47
Akaisha Kaderli 32:48
Loneliness not so much. We really self-entertain well.
I’m an artist. I can just zoom into my artwork for days.
Billy Kaderli 33:00
And since I was trained in French cooking, since we’ve been “locked down” here in Chapala, which is a loose term, I’ve been cooking these great gourmet meals.
Akaisha Kaderli 33:13
Beef Wellington and blackened salmon and tenderloin pork crusted in parmesan.
Andrew Chen 33:20
Good for you, Akaisha.
Akaisha Kaderli 33:22
Billy Kaderli 33:25
We could still buy wine. There’s no beer here in town anymore. The Mexican government had this great idea to shut down the breweries because they weren’t essential, but the tequila factory is going.
You can’t make any sense out of any of this.
Andrew Chen 33:43
I’m just curious because you mentioned in the early years for you, Akaisha, homesickness for family was somewhat of a struggle. Were there ever any moments for either of you where you had a twinge of regret and thought, “Did we make the right choice?”
Even if not financially, just life path. Were there ever any moments where you second-guessed? And how did you guys grapple with that?
Akaisha Kaderli 34:16
I never second-guessed. I never wanted to do anything different. Once I got the communication together with my family and friends, then I was set.
I’m a traveler. I’ve been moving around since I was a young kid.
Billy Kaderli 34:32
Andrew, when you travel to a new location, it’s like being reborn. Everything is new.
It could be new cultures. There’s new stores and restaurants. You’ve got to get familiar with it.
New transportations, situations. It just pretty much occupies all of your time just negotiating things early on there. So, no, I haven’t had any regrets about this.
I wish we had started investing sooner, even younger than we did, but it’s worked out well for us.
Akaisha Kaderli 35:09
Yeah. I like to bring the stories and the insights back to my family. That makes me feel like I’m including them in all my travels.
So I’m good. They’re good.
Andrew Chen 35:18
What is the community of long term nomadic travelers like, as you’ve experienced it?
I’m sure there are other people you’ve met on the road over the years who are doing a similar type of early retirement long term travel. I’m just wondering if you could help us understand the community that you guys have met.
Akaisha Kaderli 35:39
I would say that most of them are freedom-oriented, freedom-loving, independent, self-reliant, creative, interesting, intriguing, constantly learning. It is a great community.
It doesn’t even matter the age, because we started early. We were 38, but not kids.
Now people are that same age and they’re traveling. Young women are traveling, which is just great. I just think that’s fabulous.
Billy Kaderli 36:10
And everybody has a story. There’s many occasions when we meet somebody and they go, “Are you Bill and Akaisha?”
“Yeah.” “I bought your book 10 years ago or something.”
Akaisha Kaderli 36:22
That’s always fun.
Billy Kaderli 36:23
So then we sit down and have coffee or dinner or whatever. But we want to hear their stories. We want to hear what motivated them and how they got to this point.
Plus travel tips because everybody has “When you go to this town, you got to stay at this hotel.”
That’s how you learn about, I call it, the taco telegraph.
Akaisha Kaderli 36:43
Yeah. It’s a great community. It really is because there’s no one size fits all.
There’s no flavor that’s the same. Everybody is different. Different sizes, ages.
Andrew Chen 36:54
Is there a mailing list that you guys can keep in touch? Or is it more transient where you meet people but then they drift away after you guys go your separate paths?
Akaisha Kaderli 37:09
We do have long term friends that are also world travelers, whether they’re in Asia or whether they’re in South America or they’re in the Philippines or whatever. That’s where WhatsApp comes in because it’s free. You can call or chat or send a photo.
Billy Kaderli 37:25
Right. I’ve been communicating with a friend of ours from our book because he bought our book. I’ve probably known him for 20 years or so.
He’s in the Philippines right now and he’s stuck, so he has to decide whether or not he wants to get out.
Akaisha Kaderli 37:45
Yeah. We have other friends in Portugal.
We had a friend that just got out of Peru because he was stuck down there. Billy helped him get out of Peru. We’ve got some friends that just came back from Asia who are now in Southern Mexico.
There’s a group that sometimes we just check in to see how they’re all doing.
Billy Kaderli 38:03
We travel together if they’re around. We’ll say, “Do you want to go to the beach? Do you want to go to the mountains?”
Andrew Chen 38:09
In all the time, how have you guys weathered the economic ups and downs since you retired? Because there have been really big recessions during your retirement period.
Even in the early ‘90s, there was one. 2001, “dot-com” crash. 2008, Great Recession.
Now in 2020, there’s been a big one.
Were there times when your portfolio took a beating and you feared potentially having to return to work?
Billy Kaderli 38:40
I was a stockbroker in October of 1987 when the market went down 23% in one day.
Andrew Chen 38:47
Oh, yeah. Black Monday.
Billy Kaderli 38:48
Yeah. All of a sudden, that scarred me. I saw how fast this could happen.
So then when we retired, there was the 1989-1990. There was one I think in 1995, and then Y2K in 2000, and then 2008-2009, and then now this. We’ve been through a few ups and downs.
What we did was, in the ’07-’08 recession, as we’ve gotten older, we talked about “Let’s move a little bit more into dividend type funds or ETFs” so that we had a better cushion on cash flow and so that we weren’t forced to sell in a bad market.
We made that move back then. And we also used that opportunity to move out of Vanguard open-ended funds into VTI and SPY because I wanted real-time trading. With the open-ended funds, I was stuck with the end-of-day pricing.
Back then, the market was falling 5000 points a day, so it would put a sell order into suicide. Then you wait until tomorrow, it drops another 5000.
With the ETF, you just sell it real time. So we used that opportunity to do that and do some tax harvesting back then.
Since then, we’re only about 60/40, 55/45 stock equity to cash or bond equity or bond portfolio.
Andrew Chen 40:33
Earlier on, when you guys were doing the math of what your expenses were and whether your investments had covered those expenses, how much of a buffer were you guys factoring in to prepare for some of these market dips, which the only thing you know is that they’re going to come but you just don’t know when?
Billy Kaderli 40:56
True. They’re going to come.
We’re going to have another bear market. Well, we just had one.
What we did back in ’91, we figured our living expenses were about $20,000 a year. I multiplied that times 25 and I came up with half a million dollars. At that point, that’s when we realized we were about there because that’s basically the reverse of the 4% rule.
Are you familiar with the 4% rule, Andrew? Okay. That’s pretty much a backwards way of doing the 4% rule.
Figure out how much you’re spending that year and multiply that times 25. That’s what you need to have invested. So that’s pretty much the way we did it.
In spending $20,000 a year, we had a buffer. If the market is performing 10%, we could have done it on $200,000. So we had a buffer of twice that plus.
Does that answer your question?
Andrew Chen 41:55
Yeah. You mentioned you’re 60/40, 55/45. Now you have a much bigger buffer, I imagine.
In the earlier half of your retirement, did you guys have a withdrawal strategy so that you could avoid selling investments at a loss? For example, having two years’ worth of cash or bonds, liquid investments, or a bond ladder, etc., so that you wouldn’t have to touch equity investments in case there was such a loss?
Or did that emerge only later, more organically?
Billy Kaderli 42:30
It emerged later, more organically. In fact, like I said, we were 100% long for a long time, and we rode these things out.
If I had a crystal ball and I could say “The market is going to drop next month,” we would take more money out this month so that we could get through that period.
We had a small amount of cash back then, but nothing like we have now. Now we’ve got about five, six, seven years of cash to buffer it.
I think that’s important to have a couple of years’ cash. As you get older, you get a little wiser.
There was nobody to guide us on this stuff, Andrew. We were on our own trying to figure this out the best we could.
But we wanted to maximize growth at that time. It all just evolved.
Akaisha Kaderli 43:17
Yeah. There were no forms or anything. There was no Skype or anything.
Billy Kaderli 43:22
Nobody to knock these ideas around with.
Akaisha Kaderli 43:23
Andrew Chen 43:25
What does your portfolio look like now, three decades later? Is it larger than when you started out? What are you actually holding in your portfolio these days?
Billy Kaderli 43:35
It’s much larger after inflation and spending. It’s much, much larger.
We’re holding VTI, SPY, a dividend plan called DVY, which is popular, and then Vanguard Technology, VTT. I think that’s about it.
Akaisha Kaderli 43:59
Billy Kaderli 44:03
We’re on Social Security and we’re on Medicare now. Medicare is “free” because you paid into it. But Medicare Part A, which is a supplement to Medicare, we decided to stick with that because it’s fairly inexpensive.
So what I did is I bought an ETF called MAIN, and it pays a monthly dividend. That covers our Part A amount.
Akaisha Kaderli 44:28
Actually, it’s the Part B. A is your Social Security.
Billy Kaderli 44:31
Okay. It’s the Part B amount.
Akaisha Kaderli 44:32
It’s the Part B, and then that raises up every year. But our main dividend…
Billy Kaderli 44:37
…it’s a monthly payout, which is nice. I’m always balancing that with taxes because we don’t want to put ourselves into a bad situation where we’re giving money back. So I keep a pretty close eye on that kind of stuff.
Andrew Chen 44:51
Got it. When there were market dips, did you guys end up reducing or adjusting your withdrawals commensurately, or was it 4% rule pretty simply applied? Was there more nuance to it?
Billy Kaderli 45:08
Yeah, there’s more nuance because, even though we’re very familiar with the 4% rule that was invented many years after we retired, I wouldn’t say we never because in 2007-2008, we went over 4% in our withdrawals.
But we have a tracking system where we not only track our spending, but we track it as a percentage of our net worth. Every day, I know what percentage of our net worth we’re spending. Once we see that starting to go out a lot, we can contract our spending if we need to or make some other adjustments.
But we like to do things in real time.
Akaisha Kaderli 45:47
Our lifestyle hasn’t really been affected very much, Andrew, by any of these downturns. We did, at one point in the 2008 deal, consider going back to work.
But then we thought, “We’d have to get professional clothing. We’d have to get a car. We’d have to move back to the States on a more permanent basis.”
“What kind of job would we get? We’d have to pack our lunch. We’d have to have gasoline and maintenance.”
So we went, “Nah, I don’t think so.” That was our one and only, first and last discussion about going back to work.
We really live well on very little, and we try to spend more money sometimes. Sometimes we go out with friends and go, “Ah, Billy is going to buy tonight.” We just don’t need to spend a lot of money.
We’re really happy. We eat well. We have great weather.
We’re healthy. Thank God. We’re self-entertaining.
Billy Kaderli 46:42
We’re 67 now, so we know there’s an exit plan for us somewhere down the road. We don’t have children, so you can’t take it with you.
Akaisha Kaderli 46:56
We have causes.
Billy Kaderli 46:58
When we travel, we try to have more comfort. We stay in nicer hotels. Maybe sometime in 2050, we’ll be able to travel again!
Akaisha Kaderli 47:10
Billy Kaderli 47:12
I’m an optimist, Andrew.
Akaisha Kaderli 47:16
Put my coffin on the plane.
Andrew Chen 47:18
Once they invent the youth regeneration pill.
Akaisha Kaderli 47:22
Billy Kaderli 47:23
I’m in. Give me the ticker symbol.
Andrew Chen 47:27
Definitely long on that one.
Billy Kaderli 47:29
Andrew Chen 47:32
Were there ever any large unexpected expenses that came up over the decades that put stress on your retirement finances? I’m thinking in particular about healthcare, but there might have been other things.
Billy Kaderli 47:50
We were living in Arizona at the time and I had to go to the hospital, and we had a $10,000 deductible. It was a hit, but it was one that we had already factored in mentally, so we dealt with it.
Akaisha Kaderli 48:05
Nothing has ever really hit us to the point where it affected our portfolio.
Billy Kaderli 48:09
Akaisha Kaderli 48:10
Billy had that incident in the States. That ended up being a $14,000 expense, but we were able to pay the hospital back on an interest-free loan. I paid them every month.
I took advantage of that so the portfolio could grow.
Billy Kaderli 48:27
So we didn’t have to extract anything out of the portfolio.
Akaisha Kaderli 48:30
But we’ve had other emergencies and surgeries and had that taken care of overseas. The cost difference is just huge, so we didn’t have to pay very much.
Billy Kaderli 48:41
We spend out of pocket for everything overseas.
Andrew Chen 48:43
Interesting. I see. I’d love to understand a little bit more about how you guys do health insurance and healthcare right now.
Now you’re on Medicare, which will cover you in the States but not abroad. I guess there’s some assurance in that regard.
If you could comment, how did it work before you were on Medicare, and then how did it change after you were on Medicare? That would be really insightful.
Akaisha Kaderli 49:11
We lost you for a second.
Andrew Chen 49:13
Oh, yeah. Sorry.
Billy Kaderli 49:14
We lost you for a second. We know you’re in Silicon Valley where they have weak internet.
Andrew Chen 49:26
I love it.
Billy Kaderli 49:27
We’re down here on Coke cans and a string, Andrew.
Akaisha Kaderli 49:30
Let me just say that in the early years, we did have a U.S.-based health insurance plan. We spent thousands of dollars a year to do that. And we were traveling the world for so much of the time that we realized, other than Billy’s one event that we happened to be in the States at the time, we were not really using that U.S.-based health insurance.
So we did what in the community is called “going naked.” We basically went naked of any insurance company, of any insurance policy.
When we went to the States, we took out a travel plan from World Nomads, and that took care of us if we were sick or something in the States. But otherwise, we took care of everything locally and we haven’t had a U.S.-based plan for 15 years maybe.
Billy Kaderli 50:18
But we are on Medicare now and we’re covered. But Medicare doesn’t do anything outside of the United States.
Andrew Chen 50:22
Akaisha Kaderli 50:24
Unless you’re 30 minutes from the coast and on a cruise ship or something. There’s rules.
Andrew Chen 50:33
Health insurance is one of the big ones, I think, that deter folks from making this life choice of early retirement or at least make them think really hard about it because, obviously, in the U.S. we don’t have universal healthcare. Once you have a condition that arises, you’re pretty much locked out from preexisting conditions.
Obamacare definitely changed that, but that didn’t come until two decades after you guys were in retirement. Also, there’s a lot of pushback now politically to try to roll that back. That’s a separate discussion.
But how did you guys get the confidence that that would be okay? Because it is one of the things that a lot of people worry about.
Billy Kaderli 51:19
I can just give you an example. Here in Mexico, I can walk into almost any pharmacy without a prescription or without going to see a doctor, and buy medicines at a lot less than what it costs in the United States.
That eliminates me spending $100 or $200 or whatever it takes to go to a doctor just to get a piece of paper to go to a pharmacy. The prices are so much better here.
Akaisha almost lost her finger in Guatemala. This was a very serious accident where she cut an artery in her finger and she was bleeding out on the street.
We got her to a local hospital where they patched her up, but she was losing her finger as it was turning very black and very cold. There was no circulation in it.
Long story short, we got in touch with a plastic surgeon in Guatemala City. He’s also a hand surgeon. He took her under his wing.
She had to do two weeks’ worth of hyperbaric chamber treatments plus two surgeries. The whole thing was about $3000, and $1000 of that was a private driver from Antigua, Guatemala into Guatemala City. So that was very manageable for us.
My advice, especially for younger people, is don’t be afraid. Go out and live.
If you’re going to stay fearful all your life of “What if I get this?” or “What if I get that?” you’re probably going to get it.
Just get out of that stinking thinking and move on.
Akaisha Kaderli 53:05
We were very programmed. I certainly was.
My mother had notices when I was growing up, so the idea of being without a health insurance policy terrified me when we first retired. We were living in Nevis, West Indies, and I’m assuming that I have my health insurance, and two or three months later, I find out that I have no insurance.
I don’t know what I was thinking at that point. I had something going on. But I found out that I had been three months not covered.
I just broke out in a sweat and I said, “Well, I made it.” I made it three months without a policy.
So things started to change then. And then like Billy says, just being afraid of it.
If I were younger with a family, like the people coming in now, I would seriously consider moving overseas, or trying some of the ministries where they share prices, or one spouse could work digitally, nomadically, and get a health insurance policy. You can get a concierge program from some doctor who allows you so many visits, x-rays, access to prescriptions a year.
There’s all sorts of other things to do. You could move to a foreign country and pay out of pocket. If you’re retiring early, you can afford most of these prices.
Billy Kaderli 54:27
There’s a whole industry called medical tourism. Bangkok has one of the finest hospitals in the world, and they advertise full page ads in the Bangkok Post of heart specials. This month, we got a special on…
Akaisha Kaderli 54:43
Billy Kaderli 54:44
Yeah, heart surgery.
Akaisha Kaderli 54:45
We’re replacing hips this month. This is a deal right here.
Billy Kaderli 54:51
They’re in competition with other hospitals. It’s like if you’ve got a restaurant and the restaurant next door where you’re in competition for the same customers. So they marked down their prices to get people in.
And their quality of care is fabulous. Princes and kings and presidents all go to this hospital.
I’ve worn glasses since I was three years old, and I had the most thorough eye exam in my life in that hospital. I had never had anything like this done with any U.S. ophthalmologist. It was unbelievable.
Akaisha Kaderli 55:22
Dentists do the same thing.
Andrew Chen 55:24
Did it not make you nervous the first time you saw heart procedures being advertised like they were beef in a supermarket?
Akaisha Kaderli 55:33
No. We go, “What a great business plan.”
Billy Kaderli 55:36
Yeah. This is a top-rated hospital, I’m telling you.
You think you’re in the United Nations. When you walk in, you have your own interpreter come with you.
Akaisha Kaderli 55:45
They speak eight or 12 different languages. You get the language of your native tongue. And that person takes you all around.
It’s a great business plan. And dentists do the same thing. They’ll give you three caps and a bridge or something this week.
Billy Kaderli 56:03
Even right now in Algodones, right on the border of Mexico and Arizona, people go out of Phoenix, they drive to the border and get dental work done.
Akaisha Kaderli 56:14
Billy Kaderli 56:16
Because it’s a third of the cost.
Andrew Chen 56:18
Have you guys met other travelers (maybe it’s not yourselves) who have chronic conditions? And how do they manage trying to take advantage of medical tourism but also realizing they need constant, continuous care?
Often that is easier done when you go to the same hospital because, obviously, they have your track record. They have all your stats, etc.
Billy Kaderli 56:39
That’s one thing. Yeah, they’ve got all your stats.
Here it’s your responsibility. They give you your stats, so you travel with it. You put it digitally.
You go in to another doctor, another hospital, they plug your chip into the computer, they see all your history. So it takes a little bit of more personal responsibility.
But if you’ve got a chronic thing where you need to be checked out, I’ll give you a good example. A friend of ours who is younger than we are, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer here in Mexico.
He had the procedures done. He had two operations done. He had to be monitored very closely because they did a chemotherapy on him, etc.
He’s on a plan now to be in Mexico every three months now. It was once a month. Now it’s three months.
Soon it will be six months and then once a year. But he just makes it a point to be back in this area right now.
Akaisha Kaderli 57:32
He also got things done. He got his thyroid hormones while he was in Mississippi or Florida (they have family in both states), and he got it taken there because he had his little chip.
“This is what I’m doing. These are my numbers. I get a blood test before I go to the doctor.”
I’ve had something similar where I had a condition that every three months I had to have checked. I did it in Mexico, Thailand, in the United States, and someplace else.
Because everybody has two arms, two legs, two eyes. Doctors know these parts. As long as you have your information, you get your blood tests, you’ve got your data, any doctor can read that.
They might want to take their own x-ray, but it works.
Billy Kaderli 58:18
Measure twice, cut once.
Akaisha Kaderli 58:19
Yeah, right. So it’s not as scary as it’s said in the States.
Billy Kaderli 58:26
Right. And it goes back to personal responsibility. You’ve got to take on a little bit of that yourself.
My theory, and I haven’t been wrong yet this year, is that this whole health insurance thing was born out of World War II where our fathers came back from the war and companies were retooling to a civilian society from a war economy, and they were in competition for workers.
These men came back and they had a training in the military, so they offered them health insurance. Before that, the doctor on the corner delivered the babies.
So this whole thing is a fairly new phenomenon about when you get a job, you get health insurance and you never have to worry again about your life because somebody else is going to take care of me.
We don’t prescribe to that. We think our health is our responsibility.
Akaisha Kaderli 59:25
It is a big leap, Andrew, when you first move from that mindset because we were retired and three months into living on a paradise island. I realized, looking back, I hadn’t been covered by my insurance.
I don’t know if I had a panic attack, but [inaudible]. So I get it. I do understand and I know some people do have health issues [inaudible].
Andrew Chen 1:00:05
Got it. You cut out a little bit, but I think it’s back.
I think I got the gist of what you were saying, Akaisha, that it is a real fear and it was a very personal decision, but it’s not the end of the world.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:00:23
Right, because there really is good medical care in a lot of countries. If you take responsibility and you bring your data with you, most doctors can figure that out for you.
Billy Kaderli 1:00:35
When we were in Panajachel, Guatemala, that’s isolated there. It’s not the best medical area. I had a gastritis attack and I had to go to the hospital in Guatemala City, which is a hard three- to four-hour drive.
I was in the hospital for two or three nights. When I was getting ready to leave, the doctor came in and he said, “I want to see you again in 10 days.”
I said, “Doc, I live in Panajachel. You know what the drive is like.”
He said, “Here’s my personal cellphone number. Call me and let me know you’re okay.” Done.
That’s the kind of care we’re used to getting in these parts. They actually care about us.
Andrew Chen 1:01:17
Gotcha. Shifting gears and beginning to wrap up, I understand that you guys did not have children.
Can you share about how you came to that decision? What were the factors you considered and why you ultimately decided against having kids?
Akaisha Kaderli 1:01:40
It was a personal decision. I think I would have been a nervous mother, actually. I wanted a career.
I don’t think everybody is meant to be moms. I’m a much better teacher.
I’m a much better aunt. I’m a much better sister. I’m a great daughter.
But as far as the mother thing goes, it takes very special people to be parents. That’s a forever job, 24 hours a day. It’s one of the biggest jobs with the greatest respect I have.
I just didn’t think I wanted to do that.
Billy Kaderli 1:02:13
And we came back from France and we bought a restaurant. Our 100% focus was operating that restaurant, and it was no place to have a kid running around in there. We were busy.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:02:26
Working 80 hours a week.
Billy Kaderli 1:02:28
Andrew Chen 1:02:29
Got it. Is it accurate to say then that that decision preceded the decision to retire early?
Akaisha Kaderli 1:02:36
No, it had nothing to do with it. In fact, I just want to say that we have done interviews with families.
One family is a family of five. They’ve got five children. Another family is a family of six children.
And they travel the world. One travels the world globally. The other travels within their location.
They do a lot of camping and stuff. And they are retiring with children.
The global people, talk about healthcare, talk about education. They do all of that digitally in medical tourism.
She’s had a baby here. She’s had a baby there. So it’s just your style.
What do military people do? They do it all over the world. Or people that live on sailboats.
Billy Kaderli 1:03:19
There’s plenty of them around.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:03:20
Right. And I really admire those people too because they’re giving their kids a world education. I think it’s great.
Andrew Chen 1:03:28
Based on what you’ve observed, how does early retirement or nomadic long term travel differ when you have a family? What are some of the considerations that the families you’ve met have had to factor in that perhaps couples or solo travelers do not have to?
Billy Kaderli 1:03:48
We’ve seen them get their kids involved. With the times we’ve spent with them, they’re very polite. They ask adult questions.
They’re not whining over there because of some reason, this or that. No. They’re part of the group, and we find that very refreshing.
So I think the biggest thing is they want to be involved in the culture that they’re in and to absorb as much as they can, because when you’re younger, you’re like a sponge and languages just come easy to you.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:04:18
They’re more flexible. They’re more solid in who they are.
Many of them speak different languages, two or three languages. Many of them, obviously, either they go to bilingual schools or they’re home-taught.
They’re not fussy about their food because this is what we’re eating.
“We’re in Vietnam. This is what we’re eating.”
“Now we’re in Italy. This is what we’re eating.”
I think the kids get a real good self-reliance and self-respect and a worldview.
Billy Kaderli 1:04:48
Akaisha Kaderli 1:04:49
Confidence. And like I said, they speak several languages. Personally, I think it’s one of the greatest things you can do for your kid.
Now, I understand same school, basketball team, same friends forever. I get that. That’s the other side.
There’s not one versus the other. But since our life is a global one, we see what an advantage it is to those kids, and we really like that.
Andrew Chen 1:05:14
All right. Great. Looking back, knowing everything you know now about early retirement, nomadic travel, long term travel, is there anything you would have done differently if you could go back and do it over again?
Billy Kaderli 1:05:28
Start investing earlier.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:05:30
Billy Kaderli 1:05:30
We probably wouldn’t have bought a house.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:05:32
Yes, I would not have bought a house.
Billy Kaderli 1:05:34
At the time, we owned a fair amount of excellent stock. We used that to buy the house.
Looking back, if I compare the two investments, there’s not a comparison. That would be my thing.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:05:49
That would have been mine too. I was in California on the beach. In my 30s, we wanted to buy a house.
Why? Because I wanted a garden and I had a dog.
But like Billy said, we had excellent stock. Later on, I would not have bought that house. I would have kept the stock and we would have done far better off.
And investing much sooner. But nobody told us anything about investing.
Andrew Chen 1:06:18
It seems like it worked out still pretty well.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:06:20
Billy Kaderli 1:06:21
It’s worked out fine. Yeah.
Andrew Chen 1:06:23
What adventures from your bucket list are coming up that we should keep an eye out for in terms of future Akaisha and Billy sightings?
Billy Kaderli 1:06:31
Hopefully June 1, they’re going to let us go to the beach and into the water.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:06:38
We want to go to Greece and Italy. We want to do our own style of food tour.
Billy Kaderli 1:06:43
We want to go back to Colombia because we discovered some new places that we’d like to go next time we get there.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:06:52
I wouldn’t mind doing a safari. I hear there’s some really nice safari things.
That would be a two-week deal, and I want to be comfortable. Yes, I do.
Andrew Chen 1:07:04
I should connect you with my wife. I think you guys would be good travel buddies in terms of what you guys look for.
All right. Listen, Akaisha and Billy. This was so delightful.
I’m so glad I was able to connect with you guys and share your story with our audience today. Where can listeners find out more about you, your website, what you’re up to?
Billy Kaderli 1:07:26
retireearlylifestyle.com is our website. We update it pretty much every day.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:07:33
We have an eBook store.
Billy Kaderli 1:07:35
We answer all emails. If somebody has got a question from this podcast, you’re welcome to shoot us an email.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:07:42
We have a mentor service. If people want to sort out some sticky problems they may have for their own retirement, we answer.
We have a service for that. We answer questions, give you private phone calls.
We have an eBook store. We have our free newsletter.
Billy Kaderli 1:07:57
Andrew Chen 1:07:58
All right. We’ll definitely link to all that stuff in the show notes, point folks to that.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:08:02
Andrew Chen 1:08:02
So they can learn more. Thank you again so much for taking the time to chat with me. All best wishes with everything, and I hope we see you in your travels in the future.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:08:14
That would be wonderful.
Billy Kaderli 1:08:14
Thanks, Andrew. Come on down.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:08:15
Yeah. Give your wife our best.
Andrew Chen 1:08:17
Thank you so much. Cheers.
Akaisha Kaderli 1:08:18
Thank you too.
Billy Kaderli 1:08:19