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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

There Are No Guarantees in Retirement

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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Playing tennis in Arizona

People often tell us they are going to wait a few more years to retire.

They point out that by waiting, they will have health care provided for life and a pension that will let them afford the same lifestyle to which they've become accustomed. They won't have to scale back on spending or make awkward choices concerning their budgets. Not only will they not need to relocate to a city or state that is more affordable, they will be able to own two houses: one at home with their country club membership, and another on a lake, near a beach, or in a foreign country.

Sounds great

These people have worked their entire lives for this remarkable retirement plan.

They have made personal sacrifices throughout the years such as spending time away from the family, not pursuing their hobbies, and not taking long sabbaticals. They have made these choices because in doing so, their retirement plan will be fully guaranteed.

After investing 35 or 40 years of their working lives, saving their money, raising children, and putting their own personal wants on the back burner, they now look forward to that day when they can relax and finally enjoy the life they deserve.

No tough decision making, no cutting back on their consumer habits.

Or at least, that's how they think it'll be.

 

There are no guarantees

What we have learned in our almost three decades of financial independence is that the perfect time for retirement simply doesn't exist. Things change, and sometimes radically.

Perhaps your personal plan for retirement was to take big amounts of equity out of your home. But then the housing market takes a dive or your home or is affected by something out of your control. Oops.

Natural disasters can come up, affecting your lifestyle and investments. Forest fires, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, drought can all threaten your home whether you have insurance or not. What an upheaval! It's a financial and emotional storm no one wants to go through.

Financial markets have their earthquakes too, and while the market over the years has performed at about a 10% annual return including dividends, since we retired in 1991, those of us who are older now receiving Social Security, might not have the time to recover from something drastic.

Health challenges

We have a myriad of friends who, as they worked and aged, have had health problems affect either them or their spouses. One man wanted to travel through Europe, but now has developed claustrophobia (due to an earlier trauma he suffered) and can no longer fly, or take a cruise in a tiny cabin, far from shore.

What if you or your spouse find yourselves with a medical condition that doesnít allow you the freedom you fought so hard to achieve? What if your grandchild has special needs and requires assistance, time, or your financial help?

Where can you look for comfort in circumstances such as these?

Reap reward from your self-reliance

If you have learned to live below your means, have kept your monthly expenses reasonably low, and have not loaded up with huge amounts of consumer debt, the above scenarios could be an uncomfortable bump in the road, but not a life-defining event.

If you find yourself awash in a financial storm and the days down the road seem dark and menacing or if your retirement dreams seem to be permanently shelved, try some of the following steps to regroup:

Stay calm. People retire every day, in good times and bad. Like deciding to have a child, it's never the perfect time. Realize that it's normal in life for unforeseen events to rattle your confidence level, so try not to let it faze you. Above all, do not make a reflexive emotional decision about the rest of your life by making a bad trade, or an impulsive decision about your home.

Be independent. Make your own retirement investments independent of your employer's plan. Don't rely solely on your employer for your retirement, whether it's through a traditional pension or with company stock in a 401(k). This way, if your company goes under for reasons you cannot see today, you'll still be in control of your future.

Know where you stand. Get support from your past good behavior. If you have been tracking your spending and living below your means, you know exactly where you are financially. The confidence and discipline of controlling spending should give you great self-assurance that you can weather any storm. And you will know exactly where to make spending changes if need be.

 

Look for buying opportunities. Itís always a good time to review your portfolio to see whether you have been over concentrated in one stock or in one particular sector. We recommend no more than 4% in any particular stock, and that includes the companies you worked for. A balanced portfolio with roughly 50% equities - 50% cash bonds and equivalents for those in or nearing retirement is a good approach. Invest in no-load ETFs (Exchange Traded Index Funds) such as VTI, Vanguard Total Market Fund or SPY, S&P 500 Index, that you can buy or sell in real time, instead of the market price at the dayís end and use weakness in the market to add to your positions.

Consider other work possibilities. If the idea of fully retiring frightens you, consider working part time, cutting back the hours at your current job, doing consulting work, or starting a second career. You'll still earn income, but you may not have the same work demands that your current job makes of you.

Get creative. Consider other alternatives for the expression of your retirement life. Perhaps you now have the incentive to think about relocating to a smaller home, a more affordable city, or to own one vehicle instead of two. You don't need to shelve your future plans entirely. Find other ways of scaling down pressure and moving toward fun, relaxation, and new ways of self-expression.

Join a free forum. You are not alone. If you find yourself in a financial or health challenge, there are others who are facing something similar. They may have an answer for you, share some tips or point you in the right direction to receive the help you are looking for.  

No matter what your circumstances, there are always opportunities, there are always options. Be open to them and make the most of where you are!

About the Authors

 
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.

Billy and Akaisha continue to journal and photograph their world travels.

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