Financial Interviews

 #37: Financial Independence at 38 – Interview with ‘Retire Early Lifestyle’

We are joined today by Billy and Akaisha Kaderli, who blog over at Retire Early Lifestyle.  They are fortunate enough to live a very satisfying and financially stable lifestyle and share their path to success through this interview. 

How to retire early, retire early lifestyle blog, financial independence at young age

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

We are Billy and Akaisha Kaderli.

In 1991 we became financially independent at age 38, and left the conventional working world to enjoy a Natural Geographic type lifestyle, traveling the globe. We are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. We help other people achieve their own retirement dreams and we have authored 10 books, including the popular The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on our website bookstore and on Amazon.

How did you achieve financial independence at the young age of 38? 

First off, we weren’t big consumers. We worked hard, saved a lot, and invested wisely at a young age. That is why the “time” element is so important to your readers.

Billy and I owned a restaurant (Billy was a trained French Chef and I hired/fired/trained employees, did payroll, advertising, worked shifts myself, ordered food and wine, etc.).

Then after five years, Billy was recruited by the brokerage house Dean Witter Reynolds and soon became an award winning manager, running the most profitable office in the nation in Aptos, California. Meanwhile, I was still running the restaurant so we were socking money away and paying our mortgage down (which many people saw as a less-than-good-idea at the time).

Related: there is no such thing as a good debt 

At this point, running the restaurant, I was working nights, weekends and holidays, and Billy, due to the NY Stock Exchange markets and the time difference between the east coast where the markets were and where we lived on the west coast, he was leaving his office at 1pm in the afternoon to go to the beach, and had nights, weekends and holidays off. Our relationship was suffering because we were like ships passing in the night – PLUS – with our double incomes, we were paying so much in taxes, that one of us might just as well not have been working.

This is when we took two years to monitor and track our expenses to see if we could live off our investments instead of both of us holding down jobs and paying for a complicated life infrastructure. It turned out that we could, so we sold everything, and on January 14, 1991, we retired and began to travel the world.

What do you mean by “complicated life infrastructure”?

A “complicated life infrastructure” is this: the categories of highest spending in every household are:

  • housing, 
  • transportation, 
  • taxes and 
  • food/entertainment. 

When you make changes in these areas of your life, you can bring your annual costs down greatly. That’s why tracking your expenses is so important.

How did you simplify your cost/lifestyle infrastructure?

We started tracking our spending on a spread sheet and we saw places that could easily be eliminated or reduced. For instance, at that time we employed a gardening service and a house cleaning service. We eliminated both of those right away and did the work ourselves.

We realised that once we were retired, we would no longer own our house, car or need to have our work clothes dry cleaned. So we eliminated expenses such as our mortgage, house insurance, car insurance, maintenance costs for both items, parking, fuel costs, hot tub expenses, high utility bills, and so on.

We did cut back on daily lattes, on going shopping as a stress release, on going out to dinner as often (Billy is a French Chef, so there was no hardship there, we just ate at home!) and we cut back on purchasing new work clothing, shoes, getting manicures and high priced hair cuts.

It got to be a game, with each month, streamlining our costs and finding ideas on how to save and live a more minimalist, sustainable, and satisfying lifestyle.

How did you get into blogging? What’s the central aim of your blog?

While traveling the globe, in the early 1990’s, many people asked us questions about our lifestyle and how we achieved financial independence. We answered these people over and over and a familiar theme emerged.

In 2005 we decided to write our first book, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement, answering many of these questions and more.

These days, our blog focuses on topics of financial independence, world travel and medical tourism. In these areas, we like to give our readers options they might not have thought about.

What has worked for you so far and what hasn’t in the blogging business?

What works for us is content, content, content. We like to give people down-to-earth information that works and is useful. We also like to inspire – open doors and windows to different perspectives. This mix has worked for us very well.

We are who we are. We like who we are. What doesn’t work for us is when we might be tempted to present ourselves differently than who we are.

We became financially independent long before personal computers, social media, digital nomads, kindle books, Skype, financial forums and so on. One of our challenges has been keeping up with the tech tools which have simply exploded in recent years. We did not grow up with cell phones, ipads, snapchat, Facebook, or Twitter.

Is the blog part of your financial independence and ‘retire early’ plan?

We were retired and financially independent for 15 years before we started our website. Thus, we have a track record of living without the blog income that we have enjoyed over the last decade+. If we stopped tomorrow, it would not alter our lifestyle in any way other than we would miss meeting great people throughout our travels who have used our books and advice to change their lives.

Although the website is profitable, we like to utilize some of these gains to fund or make donations to personal projects we find relevant and worthy throughout our travels. We have a list of charities we prefer, and we enjoy giving to local indigenous families.

What is your money philosophy?

Always, live below your means. This is critical for financial independence. A rough rule of thumb regarding your income is 1/3 to cover your living expenses, 1/3 for fun, 1/3 to invest.

We are not big consumers; we gather experiences rather than things.

What financial goals have you set in life?

Financial independence is first and foremost. Without that life can be a struggle. Once FI is achieved, options and opportunities are endless. We can do anything we want with our time because we don’t have to worry about covering the bills.

What are your top financial tips / hacks that you’d like to share with our readers?

  1. Time is on your side – The earlier you start investing the easier it will be. 
  2. Create your own money machine – Use low cost Index Funds such as VTI, Vanguard Total Market, and SPY, S&P 500 Index.
  3. Learn the language of finance – This is so you can operate your investments yourself. No one can take advantage of you if you are familiar with the topic. 
  4. Open an account with Fidelity or Schwab – The benefit of this is  a worldwide rebate on your ATM fees.
  5. Track your spending – Once you know where your money is going and why, then you have control of your finances. This is so important. Marry someone on the same financial page as you. Divorce is costly in many ways.

Any financial mistakes you’d like to share?

During the 2008 financial meltdown we owned Vanguard mutual funds. I wanted to use that market fall to move from mutual funds into ETF’s that trade in real time. I wanted do this in stages, not all at once. After I made my first sell via Vanguard, they froze my account for 30 days due to their trading policies and there were missed opportunities​. 

Financial education can be costly.

You make it sound so easy and interesting:) I am sure a lot of people will take your story as an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your financial secrets with us today!

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2 thoughts on “ #37: Financial Independence at 38 – Interview with ‘Retire Early Lifestyle’

    • I agree. It’s difficult to follow a perfectly pre-planned budget and this rule gives us a bit of leeway while ensuring we save a bit for retirement all along.

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