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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.

Creating a Lifestyle of Meaning within Your Retirement

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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Billy and Akaisha Kaderli at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

At various times in our lives all of us come to a fork in the road - that place where we need to make a decision about where we want to go for our future. Picking a career, choosing a spouse, or determining whether or not to have children are examples of these significant junctures.

We submit that choosing to retire early rather than working for a couple of more decades which is the conventional choice, is a personal decision not unlike the ones listed above. This change in your life direction has consequences - not only for you, but with your relationships.

A peer or a friend?

Peers are those with whom we work, people who match our financial level, who attended the same educational facility or with whom we share common interests. Sometimes these same people can be our friends also, but not always.  

These relationships matter to us in many ways, but they are not as intimate as friends and family.

Generally speaking, friendships are more stable and hopefully long lasting. We share happiness, joy, and have a heartfelt connection to these people. Sometimes those connections can be challenged by Life Itself, but if we are truly friends, the relationship wins out through the ups and downs of living.

 

Decision time

We believe that the timing of leaving a career is an individual judgment. This is not something that needs to be discussed with one’s peers, taking a consensus of opinions to guide your life.

Recently we read an article oddly suggesting that in order to smooth your transition from the traditional working world to Financial Independence, you need to make sure your friends, family, coworkers, neighbors and peers are “onboard” with your decision. The worst thing you could do is to upset the applecart, rock the boat, or surprise anyone invested in your current lifestyle. If you do, trouble could follow as you are forcing these folks to question their own life’s path.

In our particular case, we did upset the applecart, and apparently our decision to live a lifestyle of our choosing - instead of continuing to accumulate cars, a bigger home, consumer debt and more promotions in our careers - challenged everyone we knew. We found this situation to be quite curious. What we considered to be a personal decision had the side effect of throwing everyone into unwanted self-reflection, and some felt threatened or were generally unhappy with our change.

The article went on, suggesting that you tell your colleagues you are considering leaving the working life and are choosing one of pursuing personal passions; travel, volunteering, lifelong learning, a spiritual quest.

We find this approach to co-workers puzzling. While your decision to leave the conventional working world does not necessarily need to be a secret, making sure “everyone” is fine with your choice seems unrealistic. Some things we must conclude on our own. However, as with any life decision, there are consequences.

Retiring Early - or obtaining Financial Sustainability sooner than your friends - will have the by-product of making you stand apart from the crowd. Some people find this position to be uncomfortable. We understand that, however, do you think Monet asked a friend if he should place a swish of color here or there? Or asked them what subject to paint? Do you think Hemmingway checked with his good buddy to see if his sentence structure was ok?

Personally, we took two years planning our exodus from our working life and did not tell anyone about it until we gave our notice at our jobs. We did not want the naysayers to distract us from our goal and chose to work out our doubts and concerns about our future life between ourselves.

The future impact of your retirement – building meaning within your financially independent lifestyle

Your relationships will be impacted by your intention to retire, especially if it is before the socially accepted age. Therefore it is important for you to have a plan of creating personal meaning in order to fill in any spaces that your lifestyle decision has created.

Another perspective to keep in mind is that once you remove yourself from your career path - with all the discretionary purchasing power that it includes - certain doors may no longer be open to you.

If watching your peers collect their second or third home, drive Maseratis, give generously to charities and be selected to become directors of significant public companies is going to grind on your own sense of self-worth, this is something you must weigh carefully before you chuck your lifework for good. If you leave your profession early, you may not have as many conventional post-work opportunities. However, this choice of early retirement allows you to determine for yourself how you want to utilize your particular set of talents and abilities. This can be immensely freeing and gratifying.

Useful questions to ask yourself are "what will you be doing with your newfound time? What areas in your life carry significance to you?"

 

Some people choose to mentor or volunteer abroad or at home in their communities. Others invent digital apps, write books, learn new languages or go back to school. There are those who choose meaningful travel, going on anthropological digs, visiting the world’s holy sites, or starting a boutique travel agency which brings a limited number of travelers to exotic locations, opening their perspectives.

Just as worthy, some pursue avenues of personal value such as gardening, learning yoga, spending time with the grandchildren and family or getting involved with animal rescue.

It is imperative that you use this gift of personal free time to edify your morale, confidence and self-respect. If you allow yourself to slip into insignificance in your own eyes, it is guaranteed that you will be unhappy. It doesn’t matter so much what you do, so long as it holds satisfaction and meaning to you.

It’s a delicate balance between succumbing to peer pressure to stay at your job, continuing to consume at a certain level - or pursuing what you value most. Life does not stop when you cross over from the world of work to one of Financial Independence. Rather, this new direction can bring delight in ways you have never known before.

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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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