Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler
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
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.
know all too well this particular confrontation, as we
encountered it ourselves in 1991 when we
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
However, if you have chosen to reclaim your personal life and had
the discipline to
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
“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
Your responses are literally endless depending on what it is you
are actually wanting to do with your time.
Adventurer's Guide to Destination Choices
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
About the Authors
information about financial independence and travel, visit our
and Akaisha continue to journal and photograph their world travels.
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha