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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.

 

Financial Independence: Going from Satisfaction to Satisfaction

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli 

More and more retirees are discovering Lake Atitlan Guatemala

As more and more Boomers retire, articles on the topic proliferate in the news and online media. One such recent article in the New York Times by Joanne Kaufman titled, Is Early Retirement Great? For Some, It's Hard Work to Have Fun presented some surprising challenges and questions.

The ones that struck me the most are listed below, and I've given a different - and hopefully more uplifting - perspective on the conundrum that some people face.

Peer Pressure

We know all too well this particular confrontation, as we encountered it ourselves in 1991 when we pulled the plug from the conventional working world at the age of 38.

In her article, Kaufman presented it thusly:

What’s the best response to strangers at parties who ask, “So what do you do?” How do you handle peers’ curiosity and envy? What kind of message are you sending your children?  

I think it’s important to unravel this new life description in your own mind first, so that you feel comfortable with your decision. From that place of confidence and personal security you can respond to questions that you might receive in social gatherings more openly and clearly.

Defining ourselves by what we do is classically American. We are our job, we are our salary, our address, our car, our educational degrees. If you have chosen to do something else with your life that doesn’t fit into this specific description, it’s easy to feel as though you are the odd one out, or that you somehow don’t rate high enough on the scale in the competitive society that makes up American culture.  

However, if you have chosen to reclaim your personal life and had the discipline to save, invest and plan for your future, you have a lot to be proud of. Not everyone has chosen to be that focused on their own financial independence. Depending on the list you made prior to retirement (you know, the list you wrote of all the things you wanted to learn, do and see), you could say any of the following with self-honor:

“I am volunteering at the animal shelter (hospice, children’s hospital, food bank, community college).”

“I am learning Chinese (physics, how to play the saxophone, how to cook French cuisine).”

“I am organizing my sailing trip across the Pacific (my motorcycle trip across Canada and the US, our RV trip to every National Park in our country.)”

“I plan to house sit all over Europe and write a book (start a blog, take amazing photos, leave an artistic journal legacy for my grandchildren).”

Your responses are literally endless depending on what it is you are actually wanting to do with your time.

The Adventurer's Guide to Destination Choices

Now, for your kids

In answer to the question of “what kind of message are you sending your children?” this one can be exciting as well.

How about something along the lines of:

“I am demonstrating self-sufficiency, goal-setting, financial management and the fact that it is possible to own one’s life and live it with satisfaction. That life does not have to be drudgery, but rather an adventure. I am establishing the fact that we are more than our jobs and with persistence, commitment and a knowledge of how to manage money we can free ourselves up to participate in the community at large through volunteering or mentoring.”

Again, your answers could be pulled from a vast store of options depending on your own personal values.

Moving the sides of the prescribed box of self-description for children is a good thing. It helps them grow and to become more of who they truly are and to use their particular talents. Teaching our children to be wage-slaves, to consume, to compete in purchasing stuff, to get into debt, to judge others on what they own, what they look like or what address they have pales in comparison to all the choices available.

Your decision to retire early is an example of your personal expansion based on your self-reliance. It's a practical role model they can see for themselves and implement into their own lives.

 

Guilt

Apparently, saving and investing enough money to live a life of one’s choosing has a side effect of guilt for some people.

One woman in the article admitted that she had a strong work ethic and felt she “should” be contributing to the household in a financial way. However, her job was so stressful that it affected her health and her relationships with her family. What was better? To continue working at this pace, risking her well-being, snapping at family members because she was exhausted and emotionally unavailable after a day of executive pressure on the job? Or make a different decision, allowing her to be fully present with herself, her family and having the time to utilize her talents and strengths within the community? To create some breathing space to support and energize herself?

Remember, when we create financial sustainability for ourselves we have a choice as to what we can do with our time. Those options are vast, productive, creative, and fulfilling. 

The stigma of the word “retirement”

In Kaufman's article, some felt that there was a stigma to the word, "retirement."

Once again, a new description is needed here. Many times people will say they never want to retire, because to them, that word connotes uselessness, disconnection from others and a lack of involvement with life and activities.

This is one of the reasons we like to say we are “financially independent.” Who can resist that? Wouldn’t everyone want to be financially independent to live the life of their dreams?

What those dreams are is up to you. It might be a mixture of travel, lifelong learning, special time with the family, mentoring, volunteering or personal creativity.

The point is, we don’t have to allow someone else’s idea of “free time” to define what it is we are doing with our lives. Go from satisfaction to satisfaction.

With your career, you have put in your time and now you have chosen something different to do.

Be proud. Be happy. Be fulfilled. Be creative. Feel solid in your choice and thrive. You have not decided to disconnect from life and "do nothing." You are now on a life adventure; something that is interactive, alive, engaging and gratifying in a different way than work was.

At the next social event you attend, you will be grinning from ear to ear and when someone asks "What do you do?" it'll be because they want to know why you are so happy.

 

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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 Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on Amazon.com.


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