Retire Early Lifestyle – Perpetual Travel

Updated : Oct 25, 2019 in Articles

Retire Early Lifestyle – Perpetual Travel


Mad Fientist: Hey, everyone. Welcome to the sixth episode of the Mad Fientist
Financial Independence Podcast. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli from RetireEarlyLifestyle.com. Billy and Akaisha retired over 22 years ago
at the age of 38 and had been traveling the world and enjoying early retirement ever since. I came across Retire Early Lifestyle through
recommendation by a Mad Fientist reader actually. A commoner named Probate left a message on
my Shortest Path to Financial Independence article and said that I should try to get
in touch with Billy and Akaisha and have them on the podcast because they seemed to be doing
exactly what my wife and I are planning to do once we achieve financial independence. After taking a look at their website, realizing
that they’ve been traveling around the world, slow traveling, living in amazing places,
learning languages and living like locals, I definitely was very excited to get them
on the program just to talk to them about how it’s been traveling for 20+ years and
how a savings of half a million dollars between them has lasted for that long considering
all of the financial crisis, the dot-com bust and everything else that’s happened over
the past two decades. I’m really excited to talk to them. Billy and Akaisha, thanks a lot for being
here. Akaisha Kaderli: We love it! Thank you. Billy Kaderli: Thank you for inviting us. Mad Fientist: Hey, no problem. I’m really excited to chat with you. Before we dive in to what your 20+ years of
early retirement had been like, could you first just tell a little bit about yourself
and RetireEarlyLifestyle.com for those that may not be familiar with your story? Akaisha: Well, we retired in 1991 at the age
of 38. None of our friends had this in mind at all. It wasn’t even on the radar at all. Our families first thought that we were trying
to scam away or get over on someone. When I had to explain that we’re paying
for it ourselves, the whole idea was just out of the box. We traveled until 2005 I think. We were writing letters. This was far before email was so common. We would use phones and it was a lot more
expensive. Long story short, we decided to start a website
and we wrote all of our updates on the website. And then, people would share those updates. Before too long, our website would crash. So that’s how Retire Early Lifestyle came
about. We wrote our first book in 2005 after all
those years of retirement. So it wasn’t like we decided to fund our
retirement initially by writing books on how to do it. It sort of organically involved into that. And now, we have an ebook store. We answer questions for everybody who writes
to us and we have a newsletter. We answer all those sorts of questions. Mad Fientist: Excellent! Yeah, actually, just recently (in the last
month or so), I picked up your Adventurer’s Guide to Destination Choices. It’s been great reading through that. Billy: Thank you. Mad Fientist: I’ll obviously link to that
in the show notes so people can check out all the other books you have. But yeah, you mentioned that none of your
friends were doing it. That’s really the thing that’s so impressive
to me. These days, there are lots of great resources
like your website and others out there that are talking about how people have done this. But I’m imagining back at 1991, that wasn’t
the case. Billy: No, Brandon. You have to imagine back in the 80s before
we retired in ’91, it was the boy with the most toys won. People were just into acquiring stuff. We’ve never been big consumers. Just the wow effect wore off us pretty quick. We just put two and two together. We decided we didn’t want to chase the neighbors
trying to buy the latest and best and newest thing. Akaisha: Peer pressure was pretty heavy. We were living on the coast of California
and it’s beautiful there. The people are beautiful, the weather is beautiful,
the homes are beautiful, the cars are beautiful and you have beautiful things. One can really get caught up with that. We sort of did. We’ve never been big consumers like Billy
mentioned, but that peer pressure was certainly there. Mad Fientist: Right! And I still find it so impressive that you
didn’t have anyone really to look up to. And even though you’re probably running
the numbers yourself and saying, “Well, this looks possible,” but it’s like, “Why
doesn’t anybody else do it. This seems like a much better way to live.” There was some self-doubt. Billy: Oh, there definitely was self-doubt. In fact, we got to the point where we watched
a movie called Joe and the Volcano and this couple (I can’t remember who the stars are),
at the end of the movie, they take a leap in the volcano not knowing what their future
is. Mad Fientist: Right! Billy: That’s what it was for us. We always figured that, “Look, if it doesn’t
work, we can always come out of it some way.” Mad Fientist: Exactly. Billy: But it’s worked. It’s worked out well for us. Akaisha: We also did hit on those mental paradigms
of, “No one else is doing it. Why do we think we can? This is so out of the box. Our friends, they’re not on the same page
at all.” We didn’t share it with anyone. And I have to say, let’s see, we started
realizing we could do this when we were about 36. And so, we took two years to program our expenses
and start to actually track them to see if it was financially feasible for us to do. Billy: A lot of backend work was done during
that period. I mean, we were trying to poke holes through
it constantly and come up with the math. We’d look at the numbers and we’d go,
“What if… what if… what if…” We kept trying to poke holes through it, but
all the numbers kept adding up. Akaisha: The numbers added up. But for me (and I don’t know for whomever
else), it was the emotional challenges. “Yes, but I want a home. Yes, but I love my garden. Yes, I want to be close to my family. Yes, but we live in the most beautiful town. What about all my friends?” Those things were more of a challenge for
me than the numbers. Billy kept assuring me the numbers worked
and I just trusted him because he is so good at math and he’s in the finance industry,
so I believed him that it was the emotional challenges that were big for me. Mad Fientist: Right! Yeah, that’s quite some more with my wife
actually. Just visualizing the future and seeing exactly
what we would do helped her come around to the idea and realized that, “Yeah, we’ll
have to give up some stuff, but there’s so much exciting stuff out there that’s
to come.” Akaisha: Absolutely! Billy: Once you become financially independent,
it becomes a lifestyle and not a vacation. Mad Fientist: And that’s something we’re
looking forward to most, actually living like locals in a local neighborhood in an apartment
rather than only having, whatever, two weeks, a year to go and see somewhere and you’re
surrounded by American and European tourists and things like that. Akaisha: Exactly! Mad Fientist: Yeah. So that’s what we’re very excited about. So Billy, you said you worked in the financial
industry. Can you just talk a little bit about that,
your last job prior to your earlier retirement? Billy: Yeah, that was my last job. I was recruited by Dean Witter Reynolds at
the time in the west coast and it worked out well for me. Because we owned a restaurant prior to this,
I had a lot of business background. And so, the whole New York stock exchange
lifestyle appealed to me. I was successful quickly. I worked hard and I worked like nobody else
would. I was working seven days a week. You asked, “How can you work seven days
a week when the stock market is only open five?” Well, I work on the weekends. I mean, I cold call until my fingers were
bleeding. That’s just what I did. Akaisha was running the restaurant at the
time. So our schedules were 180°. I had nothing else to do anyway. So, I compiled a large list, a large book,
as we call it, in the brokerage business for clients. And after three years, they gave me an office
of my own where I became the branch manager of the [inaudible 00:08:39] office. Mad Fientist: Oh, great. And so, Akaisha was still working in the restaurant. So, this is around when you were 36 when you
decided that maybe this is possible. You both were working at the brokerage firm
and Akaisha was running the restaurant, is that right? Billy: That’s correct. We weren’t seeing a whole lot of each other. In fact, our lives started to split a bit
because we had such different lifestyles and such different times that we were working
and we were forming different groups of friends. At one point, we just decided that we need
to focus more in ourselves than on anything else. Mad Fientist: So, at 36, you decided. “Is it possible?” Are you going to do it? So, do you start attempting to sell the restaurant,
I assume and you’re just accumulating as much savings as you can. Is that how it went? Billy: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. We successfully sold the restaurant and we
successfully got paid back for it. One of the things that triggered this whole
thing is that we sold the restaurant when we were about 36 and we started receiving
payments from it. And when it came time, it went back up to
second. This restaurant, we put our blood, sweat and
tears in it. The restaurant is a hard industry to be successful
in. We were successful. We were one of the finest restaurants at Sta. Cruz at that time. We put a lot of sweat equity into this thing. And once we started receiving payments and
then tax time came around, all of the money that we were receiving the payments was going
to pay taxes. It was like, “Wait a minute! This isn’t the way I planned this out.” It got to where we were paying over 50% of
our income in taxes between the federal and the state of California. I told Akaisha, “Look, I’m in partnership
with her. I’m not in partnership with the federal
government, the federal and state governments.” So it really de-incentivized myself to work
any harder because I realized half of my day was being spent paying the government every
day. Akaisha: At that point, Billy had said, “We’d
be better off if we stayed home and didn’t work at all.” That didn’t appeal to me because I’m an
ambitious, I like to accomplish things, I was used to moving up the ladder in one form
or another. And so I took another job. And when we looked at our finances and realized
that basically, all of the income we’re making on the restaurant was going to pay
the taxes, that’s when it hit us that we wanted to do something else. That’s when we started tracking our expenses,
backing off of maid services and gardener services, dry cleaning services, things that
we just took for granted and started seeing that we could live without all of the stuff. Billy: We went back and we tracked how much
money we were spending in a year if we took out all of our work-related expenses. Mad Fientist: Yeah. I actually just read one of your previous
articles where you mentioned ‘cost of working’, which is a great, little phrase. It’s amazing how much that actually is when
you take that out. You really realize you don’t actually live
on that much if you took out the cost of working. Billy: Exactly! And as long as you don’t have any debt,
between no cost of working and no debt, you don’t spend that much money to be honest
with you. We don’t anyway. Mad Fientist: Yeah, I’m excited to dive
into that just to see what a typical year’s expenses are when you’re living abroad. But before we get to that, what investment
strategies did you use? Billy: At that time, it was pretty much the
Vanguard Standard & Poor’s Index 500 Fund. Mad Fientist: Perfect! That brings up another story I remember hearing
about. I think you mentioned when you discovered
index fund, you were a stock broker. And then you sort of felt guilty bringing
people into whatever product your company was selling rather than just going with the
index funds. Is that true? Billy: That is very true. I started having doubts in my mind with what
I was doing. That was just the seed that was planted in
my mind that I needed to get out of this place. Mad Fientist: It’s always great to hear
that though. A lot of people I know think, “Oh, yeah. Index funds, that’s the easy way out if
you don’t want to make a lot of money and if you don’t want to spend time doing it.” But really, much of the studies show that
it is the optimal strategy just due to the low cost and the diversification, the tax
efficiency and all of that. So it’s great to hear someone who is actually
in the business coming to that realization as well even though I’m sure you had many
resources at your fingertips to potentially try to beat the market averages. Billy: Sure. But that’s the thing, the market averages. This is what the money managers try to beat
every year and they struggle to beat it. So why not just own it? Mad Fientist: Exactly! Yup, absolutely! So that’s your 36 or 37. So then, 38 rolls around. I assume all of your numbers start looking
good and you actually take the plunge. So what was that like? Akaisha: Well, we were supposedly prepared
for this. We had estate sales for two or three weekends
in a row. And that, we sold everything – the bed out
from under us, our inlaid dining room furniture, our grass mirrors, our China cabinet, the
obsidian glass, pecan wood, bedrooms, the whole thing. And each piece going out – again, I’m
just going, “Oh, my God!” And so, after the estate sales, Billy went
to the flea market. Then after that, we went to goodwill and women
centers and all that sort of thing. And then, after that, things went into storage. We actually had stuff later that I thought,
“Well, if this doesn’t work out, I’ll use these business clothes. I can’t get rid of my books. What about all the letters from my grandpa
and my father?” These kinds of things. There was a lot still left, just a kernel
of things that we still didn’t want to get rid of. Billy was offered a job, a transition job
as a French chef down in the Caribbean islands. That was our first destination, that I was
going to meet him on these Caribbean islands and he’s going to be the chef and I was
going to be doing probably the manager, managing the reservations or some such at this Caribbean
island resort. That was in January of 1991. Well the Gulf War began and nobody was flying. Everybody is telling me, “Do not even think
about it, airplanes and going to a foreign country.” I said, “I have no place to live. I have no furniture.” So actually, the transition was a little funkier
than people need to go through. Mad Fientist: Did you end up going to the
Caribbean islands? Akaisha: Oh, absolutely, yeah. Billy: Oh, yeah. We lived on the island for six months. My friend was the executive chef at the Four
Seasons Resort. This was a new business venture for the Four
Seasons company. They needed help. They were down there trying to train these
island people on how to have five star service and cook five star food. They had date set when they were opening,
but they were behind schedule. So he contacted me once he knew I was free
and asked me if I’d give him a hand down there. It was a great entry for us to get out of
the States and go to the Caribbean, which we loved and just to try something completely
different. But it was just a temporary situation until
we got the Four Seasons up and running. Mad Fientist: Had you always planned on becoming
perpetual travelers or was that something that, at the end of your time in the Caribbean,
you just go, “Hey! Let’s go somewhere else new” and it just
has continued like that for 20 years? Billy: Yeah, it’s just taken a life of its
own. We went from the Caribbean, we caught a sales
boat. We sailed down south to Grenada and through
to Venezuela. We hung out in Venezuela for a while. And then we came back to the States, used
one-time pick-up and a 28-foot 5th wheel trailer. We traveled to the western states for a number
of years. Mad Fientist: And now, you have a base in
Arizona. Is that correct? Billy: We have one base in Arizona, that’s
correct. Mad Fientist: And also, you’re down in Chipola,
Mexico as well? Billy: That’s where we’re currently at,
yes. Akaisha: I was just going to say we have a
couple of bases. We like Guatemala quite a bit in Central America. So we rent a place when we’re there in Panajachel,
Guatemala. And we love Asia. We generally hang out in Chiang Mai where
we went as well. And then we can fly through the whole Pacific
rim nations. So we are perpetual travelers, but we tend
to have a base which is familiar, from which we travel to these other locations. Mad Fientist: Yeah, that appeals to me so
much. Whenever we live abroad for a long period
of time, like when we were in China for three months, we would see backpackers whenever
we’d visit places like Hongkong or something like that. Just seeing them just makes me feel so tired. I’m like, “I don’t know how you do it.” We felt like home was in China at that point. And then, whenever we’re just going out
and spending a weekend or a week something traveling somewhere in the region, then it
feels like we do come home, but it’s just home in China. That just makes it feel so nice and you don’t
get tired, I don’t think. Akaisha: Right! Mad Fientist: We would run into people and
they’re just trying to pack so much in and they’re just seeing in so much. We were in Belize recently and we ran into
people that were traveling just non-stop for over a year. They’re like, “Yeah, we just went and
saw some more ruins.” They weren’t impressed by it at all. They just had to do it. It was like a job. Akaisha: I know! Exactly! It’s like a job. It’s not that awful to live with the people
and hang out and be in the markets. We don’t take our backpacks to the market. We don’t bring all that stuff. It’s so much more fun. You can see the early morning fishermen and
see the festivals when they happen and all that kind of stuff. You get to know your neighbors and the restaurant
owners and whatever. It’s so much more fun. Mad Fientist: It sounds amazing. Actually, Chiang Mai is on probably the top
of our list as far as where we’re going first. We’ve never been to southeast Asia and that’s
one of the places that I’ve wanted to go the most. It’s just great that it happens to be also
one of the cheapest places to live. Akaisha: It’s gorgeous there. Mad Fientist: Chiang Mai seems like it’s
much more our style than maybe Bangkok or somewhere else in Thailand. Billy: It’s much more manageable. Mad Fientist: Good, that’s good to hear. That’s where we’re heading first. I’m really excited just to explore that
whole area and live the Thai life for a little while. So you’ve been traveling – well, you’re
slow traveling for the past 20+ years. Now, during that time, were you invested still
in index funds. Is that the primary thing that you are invested
in? Billy: Yes. And even today, we still have quite a bit
in index funds. Mad Fientist: So you survived the dot-com
crash, the 2008 financial crisis, all of these things. What was it like to go through those periods? Billy: We survived Black Monday in 1987 when
you were just coming up. Mad Fientist: That’s right. Yeah, that’s weird. Akaisha: You’ve been barely born. Billy: Well, you know what? We were fine. We were able to weather all of those crisis
out including the 2008 financial meltdown. But at that time, after three in a row in
a short period of time, I decided to get more proactive in our investment approach. And so, that’s what I did. I put my broker’s hat back on. I’m not a day trader. Just to give you an example, so far this year,
we’ve done one trade. So we’re still quite a bit buy and hold. But I’m trying to hedge ourselves in order
to avoid these 30% or 40% downdrafts that can just wipe out huge chunks of your portfolio. Mad Fientist: So you’ve been withdrawing
around 3% a year. Is that correct? Is that what you’ve been targeting throughout
your early retirement? Billy: We don’t really target it, we just
spend it. And then that’s the after effect. But when I went into this, I used the 4% rule
before that was even invented. I just figured out that if we spent this much
money and add some inflation to it, even if I could make just a little bit more than that,
it would be okay. And that’s how all these got started. And then, later, I learned about the 4% rule,
I said, “Oh, okay. Well, that makes sense.” But we don’t budget it. The 4% rule is pretty strict if you’re a
diehard about it. Just take your portfolio’s value, multiply
it by 4%, then add inflation and that’s what you’re able to spend. Well, we don’t do it that way. We just spend and then we figure. We track it every day. I can tell you what percentage we’re spending
on that up to today. We have set up a spreadsheet program that
does this for us. Mad Fientist: That’s available on your website,
isn’t it? Billy: Yeah, it’s available through our
books. And I think that’s really important for
people to get. Whether you use our spreadsheets or create
your own, I think it’s really important because the tools are here today to do this
very, very easily. You should be able to know where you’re
at every day financially. I tell people that if you’re going to drive
from California to New York and you’re lost somewhere in Texas, how are you going to get
to New York? You need to know where you’re at in order
to get to where you want to go. Mad Fientist: Absolutely! And especially with tools like Mint out there. Just tap into everything. Even if you don’t want to spend any time
doing it, some software can actually do it for you these days. Billy: Exactly! I’m old-fashion and I just develop my own
spreadsheets for my own particular use. Mad Fientist: I’m the same actually. You can do them exactly what you want them
to do rather than… Billy: Exactly! I know what information is important to me
and I know the warning signals that I have to look for, so I’ve got them built in. Mad Fientist: So you track all your spending. I think I remember reading that you don’t
budget. You just track where you’re at, but you
don’t necessarily have a budget to govern where you’re going. Is that correct? Billy: That’s correct. We don’t say, “We’re going to spend
x amount of food every month and x amount on lodging.” We just do it and figure it out. Akaisha: The other day, we were looking at
our spending here in Chipola. We’ve been eating out because we haven’t
seen these people for a while. We’ve been going to restaurant and bars
and so on and so forth. I just finished refreshing my wardrobe in
California because I can try the clothes on. They’re my size and my style and so on. We bought some digital equipment and so on
and so forth. So, we’re sort of blowing money, which we
don’t really do. Anyways, when we were looking at our spending,
the daily average and such, we were just shocked at how much per year it was. It was so little. We both looked at each other, “How much
more can we eat? How much more fun can we have? How much more clothes do we need?” We bought new computers, we bought new hard
drives, the whole thing. We spent some money. Plus our vitamins, the whole thing. And then, we were still ridiculously low. Mad Fientist: Yeah, it doesn’t seem it will
take a lot to give you a really exciting, interesting, fulfilling life. Akaisha: Exactly! Billy: And the Internet is probably the most
deflationary thing in our lifetime because it has just created so much competition for
sales of everything. The competition is so fierce out there. Computers are half the price what we used
to pay for with three times the features! Mad Fientist: Right, absolutely. So, what would you say is your average annual
spending if you don’t mind me asking just over the past five, ten years? Billy: Less than $30,000 a year. Mad Fientist: Wow! For two people? Billy: Right! People think they have to have millions and
millions of dollars to retire. I think the brokerage business is the one
who created this myth. Mad Fientist: Oh, absolutely, yeah. I’m sure there are many industries that
have created the myth just to keep people working and spending. Billy: Exactly! And the brokerage business, they only tell
you when to buy, they never tell you when to sell. Mad Fientist: Right! Yeah, exactly. Akaisha: I do think that, speaking of the
brokerage business and a couple of million dollars in order to manage the lifestyle that
you currently have…that’s what they always say to maintain the level of living that you
currently have. And yeah, some people do want a boat in the
harbor and they do want a couple of cars and they do want a garden and a pet and three
or four bedrooms in their homes and stuff like that. Those people will probably have to have more
because they have a maintenance that they have to pay. But not everybody wants that. There are so many different housing options
and so many different types of options to live your life. I mean, I have people that pay thousands of
dollars in income every month. Ten thousand with this one guy I know every
month on his retirement income and it’s still not enough for him because people tend
to spend what they have. It’s coming in, they spend it. So it’s like it’s never enough is my point
unless you decide that it is. Mad Fientist: Right! Yeah, absolutely. I’m going to do something different I haven’t
done before since I’ve never had multiple guests on at the same time. I’m just going to go through like a lightning
round of quick questions about places for early retirement because I know that’s something
I’m very interested in because like I said, my wife and I hope to spend most of our time
somewhere else abroad. So if you don’t mind, I’m just going to
go through a quick list of questions. You both can answer. You don’t have to agree (or you can agree). Billy: True or false? Mad Fientist: No, good places. So, we’ll start it off. The best food, where in the world that you’ve
lived with the best food? Billy: Oh, man. France. Akaisha: Mexico, Thailand. Billy: I say France. France has got the best food in my opinion. But I’m prejudiced because I was trained
in French cooking. Mad Fientist: Right, yeah. That’s true. So France, Mexico and Thailand. Excellent! How about friendliest locals? Billy: Guatemala! Akaisha: Yes, Guatemala. Everybody has been friendly everywhere. We think the Thai are fabulous, the Mexicans. But Guatemalas just take prize. Mad Fientist: Where were you in Guatemala? Billy: In Antigua and Panajachel. Mad Fientist: Excellent! Which one did you prefer? Billy: Panajachel because they’ve got this
large lake, the Lake Atitlan there. It’s just a natural. It’s beautiful. It’s the Lake Tahoe in the south. It’s one of the top ten places in the world
to see, so you’ve got to go there. Mad Fientist: Excellent! Sounds perfect. How about the nicest weather? Billy: Chipola, Panajachel, Guatemala. Mad Fientist: Are these all high altitude
places? Billy: A mile high below the Tropic of Cancer. Mad Fientist: Okay. So nice spring lake temperatures all year
around I guess? Billy: Yeah. You can put Antigua, Guatemala in there as
well and San Miguel de Allende and Mexico. I mean, as long as you stay up on the hot
elevation, it’s not going to be too hot and it’s going to be too cold. Mad Fientist: Nice! Akaisha, is that the same for you? Akaisha: Yes, it is. We both tend to like dry, cool, fresh weather,
a lot of sun. Mad Fientist: Excellent! How about best beaches? Akaisha: Ah, Vietnam, Naples, Florida, Gulf
Coast of Florida. Billy: Phuket, Thailand. Akaisha: Phuket, Thailand, all the islands
on southern Thailand. Mad Fientist: Excellent! Akaisha: Mexico! Billy: Mexico! Akaisha: The Pacific has outrageous beaches. Billy: Yeah, they’re different. Akaisha: That sugar white sand is gorgeous. Billy: If you want the beach like in the vacation
promo, then you go to Phuket or Naples, Florida or the Caribbean side of Mexico. But if you want the rough and tough surfing
beaches, then the Pacific coast of Mexico are some of the best in the world. Mad Fientist: Excellent! How about biggest culture shock? Billy: Asia. Akaisha: Oh, it’s in Asia. Billy: For sure. As soon as you go off the plane, you realize
you’re not in Kansas. Akaisha: It’s so exotic. It’s so exotic. It’s so exciting. It’s just amazing. Of course, you’ve been there, so you know
that… Mad Fientist: Oh, it was amazing. That was the thing there I like the most. Akaisha: Yeah. Mad Fientist: Yeah, it was actually quite
weird. We flew into Hongkong. We were living in a city called Wenzhou. We spent like four days in Hongkong before
we went to Wenzhou. I was just so excited in Hongkong. But my wife, the culture shock really hit
here then. She’s like, “Oh, my gosh! We’re going to be here for months and months.” But I was fine. I was just on top of the world. I was so excited to be there. And the switch when we went to Wenzhou, I
was like, “Oh, my God! We’re going to be here for three months
at least.” And finally, my wife was like, “Oh, this
is fine. This is good.” So it worked out because we’re able to support
each other in our times of our, “What are we doing?” Billy: Exactly! Mad Fientist: But that’s what makes it exciting. That’s what you look back on and think,
“Oh, yeah. It’s so amazing just to be somewhere so
completely different.” Akaisha: Exactly! Billy: And Asia is that. It’s completely different. I tell people that it’s 180° from the western
world. Mad Fientist: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely! But that’s what makes it exciting. How about most familiar? Akaisha: Maybe like in a different culture,
the most familiar? Mad Fientist: Yeah, like somewhere where you
feel instantly settled and…? Billy: Oh, Chipola. We spend so much time here in Chipola, Mexico
that it’s just like a home to us. We’ve got a lot of friends here. Some of these people, we’ve known for 20
years. Mad Fientist: Oh, that’s great. That must make it a lot of fun. Billy: Yeah. Mad Fientist: How about easiest to get around? Akaisha: Asia, would you say? Billy: Yeah, public transportation is so good. Mad Fientist: Because you guys haven’t had
cars for a while now, is that correct? Akaisha: That’s right. Billy: That’s right. Mad Fientist: Oh, man! I hate cars so much. If I never have another one again, I’m just
excited to get rid of the ones that we have and not… Billy: People have no idea the expense that
their car costs them. Mad Fientist: Oh, it’s crazy. It’s by far the biggest expense even over
housing. It’s insane. Billy: Yes. Akaisha: Yes, it is. Billy: And it’s a depreciating asset. That’s what hurts. Mad Fientist: Yup, yup. It’s terrible. So final one in our little lightning round. If you had to chose one place – I know that
was probably hard because you have so many bases and so many places you’ve been. But if you had to chose just one…? Akaisha: Hmmm… oh, no. I guess I would choose a place in Latin America,
some place, either Chapala or Guatemala just because the culture is familiar and I speak
the language. I don’t speak enough Thai or Chinese to
make my life comfortable. And the international airport is close to
home if I need to go for a family visit for whatever reason. I would chose Latin America. Mad Fientist: How about you, Billy? Billy: Yeah, I think Panajachel, Guatemala
would be my number one choice at this time. I stopped because Chiang Mai, Thailand is
very good. It’s a very close second just because the
services in Chiang Mai are so good. You’ve got top-rated hospitals and doctors
there as well as tennis and Olympic swimming pools and things of this sort. Akaisha: International airports, transportation,
cost of food and living. Mad Fientist: What would you say the cost
of living is like for people that may not – I obviously know how cheap it is. Well, not firsthand, but just through lots
of reading. But could you just give a rundown of a typical
day maybe in Chiang Mai just to show people how little you actually would need to spend
to have an incredible life over there. Akaisha: Sure. You could probably spend $10 or so in your
hotel. And that would be a nice one. All your meals for the whole day for one person
(and that’s if you blow it out) would be $5. So say you want to buy something for a friend
and ship at home or something, that’ll probably between $5 to $10 depending. You know what I’m saying? The quality of items over there is just fabulous. Mad Fientist: You can live over there for
about $38 a day without much hardship. Akaisha: And that’s for the two of us. Billy: Right! That’s for two people. Mad Fientist: Wow! That’s incredible. Is the food as amazing as I dream it is? Billy: Oh, yeah. Plus, it’s international. You can get everything from McDonald’s to… Akaisha: …to pizza, barbecue ribs, cornbread. But those types of food will cost you more. If you do the… Billy: …Thai food… Akaisha: Yeah, you’re talking a dollar,
less than a dollar. Mad Fientist: Yeah, that’s what I’m looking
forward to. I love Thai food. I’m very excited about that. What are some of the challenges associated
with your lifestyle? Obviously, to me, it seems amazing and perfect. But I’m sure there are some challenges. Are there any that you’d be willing to share? Billy: Probably visas are the biggest challenge. Unless we decided to take up residency in
some country, we’re forced to move on at some point. If you’re not decided, it knocks some cobwebs
off of you to go see other places. Mad Fientist: Oh, that’s true. Billy: So, we’re still young enough to where
we’re not ready to just settle in one place yet. There’s a yin and yang to that. But definitely, there’s always something
that’s at the back of your mind that, “Okay, I’m here for so many days. And now, I’ve got to move on.” Now, there are ways around that. In Asia, you do what’s called ‘border
runs’, as well as in Latin America. You take the bus to the border, turn around
and come back and get a fresh visa. In Guatemala, we actually pay somebody to
do it for us so we don’t even have to leave. So, there are services set up for this. But things changed since 9/11. Companies, countries have gotten more automated,
more computerized. And so, everybody knows where you’re at. Mad Fientist: Akaisha, you mentioned that
you speak Spanish, I assume. Have you guys picked any other languages along
the way? Akaisha: Yes. We’re functional in Thai. We can order food and get a hotel and bargain
at the markets. We use and speak very lightly social type
of Thai. But between the amount of English they speak
and the amount of Thai we speak, we can get along on a very service level. When they speak English, we can get a little
deeper. But I’ve forgotten all of my Chinese. That was just pretty basic, basic nothing. But between the Spanish and the little bit
of Thai we know, that’s functional. And of course, English, that covers a lot
of area. Billy: She used to know some French, but that’s
too long. Akaisha: Yeah, I took French in school too. I’m sure I’d pick it back up. It’s dormant. Mad Fientist: Yeah, that’s one other thing
I’m really excited about. I’ve always wanted to learn a language. But without needing to learn it, it’s always
one of those things that just keeps getting pushed back down the priority list. Akaisha: You know, one of the things that’s
really good is the World Nomads Free Language Guides. We have a link to that too on our site. I’ll be happy to send it to you. Mad Fientist: Oh, perfect. Akaisha: You just go to World Nomads Language
links. They give you all the survival phrases free. You don’t have to pay for it and get it
as an app. And so basically, all you have to do is get
started and then you can function in that culture. Billy: I think the best thing to do is just
emerge yourself in the culture. With Spanish, we come down here into Mexico
or into Guatemala, anywhere Latin America and jump in. There are language schools all over the place
and they’re not expensive. Some of them, you stay with them a family,
a local family. So you’re forced to speak Spanish 24/7. Mad Fientist: Oh, wow! Yeah, that sounds great. Alright! Well, yeah. We’re getting to the end of the interview
here. I usually ask all of my guest if they had
one piece of advice for someone that’s just thinking about starting their pursuit of financial
independence, what would it be? Billy: Work hard, spend a little, save a lot
and invest wisely. Mad Fientist: Akaisha? Akaisha: Yeah, I would say the freedom you
get from financial independence is worth anything you have to do to get there. I don’t care if it’s giving up that extra
pair of shoes or not going out to lunch. If it means that self-reliance, that freedom
means anything at all to you, you find out how to do it, do it. Mad Fientist: Perfect! Thank you both again so much for joining me
today. It’s been so good to talk to you. And if people want to get in touch, should
they just head to RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they can email you there or…? Billy: Yes. They can email [email protected] We answer all of our emails. Mad Fientist: So that’s [email protected]? Billy: That’s correct. Mad Fientist: I will put a link on the show
notes both to the website and to the email address. And then all your books are available on the
website as well? Billy: That’s right. Akaisha: That’s right, yeah, a digital bookstore. Mad Fientist: Excellent! Well, again, thank you both so much. It’s been a pleasure. Hopefully, I’ll see you down somewhere in
Latin America in the next couple of years. Akaisha: Excellent! Billy: Thank you very much, Brandon. We’re always available. Mad Fientist: Excellent! Thanks again. Akaisha: Thank you. Billy: Bye bye. Akaisha: Bye bye. Mad Fientist: Well, I hope my discussion with
Billy and Akaisha was as exciting for you as it was for me. The fact that they were able to retire with
$500,000 between then in 1991 and then go on to live such exciting and adventurous lives
really gives a lot of hope to people like me who are interested in incorporating long-term
travel into their early retirement plans. It’s also great to hear that they haven’t
really tired of the lifestyle either and just seemed just as excited by the possibilities
as they may have been back in the early ‘90s. ‘ So yeah, it was a great interview. I really appreciate Billy and Akaisha taking
the time to talk with me. Thank you, guys out there for listening.

7 Comments

  • My Expenses are about $800 USD in southern thailand, I live in a 2bd/2ba new house in a local area. I do not penny pinch and eat out often.

  • I am very happy for these 2 people However, Let me hear about the couple making $60,000 per year who retired at the age of 38 years old. And do not get me started on the Mr Money Mustache guy who was making over $300,000 plus a year with his wife and retired at the age of 30. This is Fantasy B.S. . I am Truly happy for anyone who can Retire at such an early age but The Average Jill and Joe Cannot. And Note that these people have books and a membership site and even a coaching program to Help Them Take Your Hard Earned Money and Give it to Them while They SELL You The Dream that You can do it too no matter what your income. Total Crap, Just like the Self help industry. And I am almost FI but am 60 years old and making under 50K. Sorry for the Rant but feel free to tell me your thoughts good or bad. I can take it -:)

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