5 Things Your Mover Wishes You Knew

Aqib Ijaz

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in; your work needs you to interact with people. It doesn’t matter whether its new or old clients, you just wish they knew a few things that will make your work easier. The same goes for moving companies. Yes, they wish you knew the following pointers!

Don’t Get in Their Way

How can you help the moving team? Let them do their work, and they will be fine. You may believe you know how to get everything done perfectly, but you are paying the professional team for some reason, right? They are trained and have years of experience.

They deal with such hurdles on a daily basis, so they know better than you. They have been moving furniture, boxes, and delicate items for years. They know what they are doing. So, don’t get in their way, this way you won’t stress, and feel frustrated.

Pack before the Big Day

Does your moving company offer packing services?  If yes, then take advantage of it. If you don’t want to, then make sure everything is packed and ready to move before the moving day.

You don’t want to waste their time. If they have to wait for you to finish packing, remember you are paying for their time. So, don’t waste your money and breath. Get everything ready for the big day.

Take Valuables with You

There are a few things you don’t want the moving team to handle. These are your cash, jewelry, and medicine. Don’t burden them with these valuables, trust us they feel the same way.

The fact is, a moving company will take every chance to steer clear of the chance for being accused of stealing or misplacing your valuables, but they are not allowed to say no to a paying customer.

We understand that taking care of your valuables on a moving day is not a walk in thepark, but it’s one of many challenges you will face during the move. So prepare yourself for this.

Label Fragile Items

You want the move to handle fragile items carefully? No surprise, but how can you expect them to do this if they can’t tell fragile items from the rest of your stuff?

Yes, now you get the picture. If you are packing your stuff by yourself, you have to label the fragile stuff with great care. If you are paying the company to pack, then you should remind them to do so.

Take Precaution with Heavy Items

If there is something heavy, you better pack it separately. Yes, you don’t have to pack them with light items. Even large guys will find big and heavy boxes a headache.

They will have a hard time carrying it around, and it can easily burst open. So avoid putting heavy items in a big box with other lightweight items.

You need to differentiate them by packing them in a small box and label it for its heavyweight. The Demenagement ADT will appreciate this thought.

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Don’t hang up your gardening hat just yet, check out these clever wintertime gardening ideas

Gardening doesn’t have to end with your final summer crops each year. Whether you live in milder winter regions or where the snow piles up high, there are so many different gardening projects available to fill the winter months and keep your pastime going until spring. Below Rhianna Miller of Rubber Mulch shares a few great wintertime gardening ideas to keep you busy and productive in the coming months.

Plant Winter Gardens. Swap out your summer containers for winter containers with frost-tolerant flowers and greens such as evergreens, cabbage, twigs, and strings of lights. In milder regions, rotate your garden to a winter one with plant greens, root crops, herbs (depending on your region), and other hardy vegetables.

Indoor Gardening. There are many herbs that can easily be moved indoors during the winter months, such as rosemary, basil, and parsley. Just keep your containers near a window for maximum sunlight. Salad greens are also a cinch to grow indoors with the right amount of light and warmth. Just avoid placing them near cold windows. Other plants like white jasmine, narcissus, and cyclamen open beautiful blossoms during the cool seasons of the year. Even small lemon trees can be grown indoors during the winter months.

Plan Next Spring’s Garden. Winter is the perfect time to start planning your summer garden. There are so many wonderful resources online to help you do the job easily like Smart Gardener or Gardena’s My Garden. During the winter you can lay out your garden, decide what you want to plant, request seed catalogs, and order flower and vegetable seeds, as well as, any new gardening tools and accessories at an off-season discount (think trellises, fencing, compost bin, and plant containers).

Research New Plants and Flowers. Take inventory of your yard and landscaping in the fall and note areas that are lacking and need filling in. Decide if you’re looking for plants, trees, shrubs, or flowers. Take some time for researching plants and figuring out what’s native to your region and would grow the best. Look through online photo galleries, browse through Pinterest, and visit the websites for different seed retailers and see what their offerings are. Once you narrow down your selections, you’ll be ready to order once spring arrives.

Winter Care and Maintenance. There are a lot of things you can do in fall and winter to help prepare yourself for spring. Many of the items on the list take some time and effort and you may not find the time until the cooler months arrive. Things to add to your winter care and maintenance list are cleaning off tools, wrapping terra-cotta and ceramic pots in bubble plastic, organizing seeds, properly storing hoses and tools, and checking the supplies you’ll need for seed starting. The good news is that you may also find some deals online and even in stores with left over gardening tools and supplies.

Prepare a List and a Schedule. First off, you have to map out a winter gardening itinerary to follow. You need to know your area’s frost dates, for starters. The USDA site has a plant hardiness zone map you can use as reference to know which plants are best at surviving cold weather, and which need special care. You can then schedule the chores, tasks, and other activities that need to be done in your winterizing list. Small acts like rolling up garden hoses, putting plastic containers away to prevent from cracking, and draining the fuel tank of lawn mowers will save you a lot of heartache (and money) when spring rolls around.

Trim, Clean and Put Away. Before it gets too cold to do outdoor activities, clean up garden debris as best as you can in milder weather. Leaves, dead stalks, decaying foliage, and other garden refuse can become a breeding ground for pests. Rake fallen leaves, trim overgrown shrubbery, and compost where you can. Don’t forget to put away garden accessories like buckets, hoses, rakes, and others – keep them in a shed so they won’t freeze or rust. Remember to cover your compost with a tarp or a thick layer of hay so that it won’t get soggy with snow. Give your garden a general cleaning so that it still looks presentable after all the snow melts.

Get Rid of Weeds. Don’t neglect weeding pre-winter. Many can survive the cold and wreak havoc on your plants. Carefully remove those with seed heads so that none will come out. Even a tiny portion of seeds can germinate fast and invade your garden in a matter of weeks. Make sure the weeds are nowhere in contact with your other plants and soil. Put them in a covered garbage bin where they belong.

Keep Shrubs Snug and Warm. Plants can experience chill, too. You can wrap shrubs with a burlap sack or a thick fabric to keep them from freezing and suffering windburn. Never use plastic because it doesn’t breathe, and can overheat young plants. When the weather becomes warmer, remove the wrapping right away.

Mulch, Mulch, Mulch. Plants need extra warmth during winter, and mulching will act as a protective blanket for them. New plants that have not taken root yet especially need mulching. It will keep moisture where it needs, and prevent weeds from taking hold, while keeping soil temperature even for tender plants. Check in mid-January to early February if the mulch has moved from heavy wind and rain, and reapply as needed.

Bio: Rhianna Miller is the Home & Garden Design Expert at RubberMulch. Rubber Mulch is the original and environmentally responsible mulch made from 100% recycled rubber used in gardens, playgrounds and sustainable landscaping. Rubber Mulch is weather resistant, durable, and the most cost effective mulch around.

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Online shopping for new mattresses made easy

Darren Wilson

Everybody needs sleep especially when very tired. Your body needs to rest if you want to function well the next day, but you can’t have that if you are sleeping on a rock-solid bed or a mattress that’s already falling off the seams. You know why? Because it can damage your back and will cause so much discomfort that you would rather sleep on your couch. Also, people who already have an existing back problem will not appreciate having a foam that could damage their backs even more.

Choosing the best mattress can be hard because there’s a lot that you will need to consider like the brand, how it could affect your spine, and so on. But it’s even harder for people who have no time to go to the mall to do their mattress shopping. So what do they do? They order online and of course; most people may think that it’s not OK to look for your new mattress online because you can’t try it out. But what they don’t know is that there are a lot of benefits when you choose this method too.

No salesperson to hover around you

Imagine shopping alone and there’s a person asking you all kinds of questions that will irritate you more than help you out. It’s only natural for employees to do this but you will really know when they are trying to hit their quota because they will pressure you in buying their most expensive products for extra incentives. Before you do your shopping online, you can research mattress reviews or use a reputed forum to ask and get answers and then look for a reputable store (offline or online) that has the product you like.

You get to buy a cheap but high-quality mattresses

When you go to a mall, you will probably notice that almost all items are overpriced but once you check for the online price, you will see that there is a huge difference with the online price being cheaper. The reason why stores will mark up their prices is because they are also paying for other expenses that comes with operating a store. Ordering online will really make a difference and you’d get to own that mattress you have been eyeing for a more affordable price.

It’s more convenient when it’s shipped right to your address

No more tying your brand new mattress at the top of your car or paying for an extra delivery charge when your house is just a few blocks away from the store where you just bought it because most online-only mattress brand will ship it you at no cost especially if you’re a first time customer. Just look for the right online mattress manufacturer and you’re good to go.

Shopping online isn’t so bad as long as you have the idea on what you want to buy and which online store/shop can give you only the best. it’s true that there are disadvantages like it’ll be hard when you try to return it, but the easiest solution for that is to do extensive research first in order to avoid being in that situation.

 

 

 

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Pros and Cons of RV Living and Other Housing Options

Q&A with a Reader

Hi Billy and Akaisha:

Thank you both so much for sharing your wonderful experiences and wisdom about early financial independence and retirement in your fantastic newsletter and guidebooks!  I thoroughly enjoyed the recent article on your newsletter about Akaisha’s early adventures riding on a motorcycle to Alaska and across the U.S.

I was wondering if you have ever written an in-depth article about your time traveling across North America together in a Fifth-Wheel RV.

I know many of your readers, including myself, are considering an RV to replace the “Bricks and Mortar” conventional home to allow for a more mobile retirement adventure.  In contrast to an RV retirement route, however, I also see the strong appeal of your recent comments on pursuing the lowest infrastructure in retirement.

Simple infrastructure!

I realize that everyone’s thoughts on retirement will differ, but I am truly curious as to your personal thoughts, experiences, advice, pros/cons, costs vs. benefits, and so forth, regarding an early retirement involving an RV for a traveling home compared to your current far lighter, more nimble, and zero maintenance & repair choice.

Best regards,

Kevin B.

Hi Kevin,

Thank you for your enthusiastic comments regarding our newsletter and website. We appreciate it!

In regards to your question about living the RV life in retirement, we would say the following:

It is a GREAT life.

The people you will meet on the road and in the RV parks are friendly, open, and are of a wide variety of personalities, and income brackets.

We would suggest that you start out purchasing a used RV – search Craigslist (especially in RV retirement locations like Arizona, Southern California, New Mexico, Florida, etc.) There is no reason to purchase new and when you buy used you will literally save yourselves thousands and thousands of dollars. If you purchase in a state with no sales tax, then you save again.

The simple life…

We chose to have a tow vehicle (a used 1 Ton pick up) and a separate 5th wheel. In this way, there was only one motor to worry about, and if your truck or tow vehicle is in the shop, you still have a place to live. We know of people who chose a Class A RV, with the slide outs, washer and dryer and so on (lots of motors) … and if anything needs repair, then they are in a hotel (spending money) until the repair is done. If the new RV is still under warranty, then one must go to special repair places and parts need to be ordered, and again… one is in the hotel without the means to cook meals or the convenience of your home.

One couple we know just started out on a two month trip, with 1 month of food purchased and stored and then needed repairs to their Class A. They couldn’t use the food in the freezer and refrigerator since they had to wait so long for the repairs to be done. I think they gave the food away

It’s something to think about. I know those slide outs are very attractive, but when they don’t work… it’s a hassle.

Relaxing by the beach

Also, there are size limitations in some National Parks so if you have a unit that is too long, you have to forego seeing that park. Do a bit of research so you know what you are looking for in an RV – size, price, age, slide outs or not, washing machines or not, and so on. Remember, the heavier your RV, the less miles per gallon you will get with your fuel.

Also, we recommend to travel slowly. There really isn’t a reason to drive hundreds and hundreds of miles in a day (the price of fuel will add to your costs) then stay a night or two somewhere, and then drive hundreds of miles again 3 days later – only to stay a night or two somewhere else.

We “lived the life.” That means we often bought a month’s rent at a time (a discount is often available) in places that allowed us to stay a month. (some only allow you to stay a week.) Then sometimes we would stay in a campground for a week… travel 7-10 miles down the coastline, and stay in another park for a week.

We would mix upscale park sites in between staying in BLM dry camps (Bureau of Land Management). These campsites, because they are dry camping and you are not hooked up to electricity or water are cheaper. Sometimes we stayed in Wal*Mart parking lots or even in a friend’s driveway. The slower you travel, the more you save on fuel and rental prices for your site.

RV resorts offer lots of amenities

In the days that we were RVing, there was no internet or WiFi, but today there is. So I would research how to get hooked up to the internet so that you have communication — Email, Skype, Facetime, paying bills, banking/managing your finances and so on. You can also stream TV or movies these days. Research whether or not you want a generator in case of power failure and whether or not you want some sort of solar paneling to help with utility costs.

You can also consider doing Workampers which will save you money on site rental and you might even be able to make some money.

There are lots of sites to give you current information such as Good Sam Club, Woodall’s Campground directory, and the RV forums and park reviews. (Check out our Travel Housing Page.) Also, you will probably need an online mailbox system to monitor and retrieve your mail. We use Traveling Mailbox. This article explains how it works.

As an alternative lifestyle, you might also consider a combination of house sitting and various hotel and apartment rentals. This is also a terrific way to travel and manage the housing cost portion of your retirement.

House sitting can be “free” housing, and sometimes the owners will pay you for watching their home and pets. Apartments and hotels will give you a discount for a month’s stay. In this way you have no particular cash outlay (like for an RV and tow vehicle or for a snowbird location) but you can still travel all over the world.

The world is a big place! Travel and Explore!

We have a small park model in Arizona, and if you have not read this article on Worry Free Housing, I would recommend that you do so. It explains the benefits of having such a home. In this way, you could stay in one favored location for 6 months of the year, and perhaps house sit for the other 6 months.

In general, housing options these days for a retired couple are much broader than ever. We would suggest that you not limit yourself and try several different styles until you find one that suits you best. Enjoy the journey of discovery.

I hope this answers your questions and if you have any other ones, feel free to write and let us know. We’d be happy to answer them.

Sending our best regards,

Akaisha and Billy

 

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Questions on becoming immersed into the Latin culture

Q&A with a Reader

Hello,

My wife, young daughter and I are looking to do our first out of country trip. We are looking to spend a month learning about Latin American culture.

We like small towns and because we are bringing a child along, safety is our number one priority.

We are looking at the San Pedro Spanish school to do a home stay with a family there and take day trip from there. However, we are open to other options.

Sounds like you know this area well. Can you make any suggestions or direct us to previous articles that may guide us?

Thank you so much!

Chris

Hi Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to write.

What an exciting trip you have planned!

First, I would recommend our book, The Adventurer’s Guide to Pana Living. It will give you the ins and outs of the Lake Atitlan area which is a real heart of the Maya culture.

Akaisha and her Maya friend, Panajachel, Guatemala

I would also take a look at our Guatemala page. This lists other pages of interest, including Antigua information, and our Adventurer’s Guide to Guatemala.

If this is the first out of country trip you have ever done, please realize that Guatemala – while having the ultra-modern city of Guatemala City, and the gorgeous Colonial city of Antigua – is fairly rustic. I would bring with you a few things like Dramamine (or the seasickness preventing aid of your choice), baby wipes to wash your hands often, Imodium and a vegetable laxative so you have both sides of the “colon issue” covered. I would also bring some sort of mosquito repellent. It’s the rainy season here now, and hence, more mosquitoes.

Bring a hat or ball cap, a light jacket in case of wind, and some sunscreen for your nose and face. Bring some solid shoes for you to walk the cobblestones and for perhaps walking around the volcanoes (with a guide).

Santa Catarina Arch, Antigua, Guatemala

Make sure your debit card (for use in the ATMs) uses the Plus, Star or Cirrus systems. This is how you will obtain local currency, about $280USD per withdrawal. I wouldn’t plan on using your credit cards for much of anything. Local businesses are pretty small, and from what I have seen, those who use their credit cards have been subjected to a 25% surcharge on their purchase. Most businesses (unless it is a hotel or a larger import-export business) have no means of accepting a credit card.

Do not drink water out of the tap. There is bottled water available everywhere.

There are several Spanish schools located in San Pedro and there are schools located in Panajachel also. San Pedro is a little funky hippy-style town with a lot of young 20-30 year old tourists. Pana is a little more sophisticated, with a wider choice of banking, ATMs, restaurants and markets to purchase foodstuffs. Each town around the lake has its own flavor.

Maya children playing in the Plaza fountain, Antigua, Guatemala

So long as you don’t take off hiking on your own into the mountains (hire a guide) you should be fine in regards to your safety. If you have computer gear, make sure you have something like a PacSafe to lock up your valuables, including your passport.

There is a lot to share with you about traveling to Guatemala, but if you take a look at the above links, this will give you a good start.

Have a GREAT time in Guatemala. Enjoy the people and the stunning natural beauty here at the lake.

My Best Regards,

Akaisha

 

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How Senior Homeowners Can Supplement Their Income and Win in Retirement

Rebecca Kennedy

Tell me if this scenario sounds a little familiar. The cost of living keeps increasing and your income remains fixed. Every year the bare essentials seem a little harder to obtain for a comfortable retirement. Property taxes, homeowners’ insurance, credit card interest and the cost of common goods continue to go up. The future and your retirement are at the forefront of your mind more and more as these realities settle in.

Although the situation above can be felt by homeowners of all ages it is harder for retired people on a fixed income to cope. The good news is you might be literally sitting on your solution. If you have equity in your property then your income supplement may be closer than you think. I have spoken with thousands of retired individuals and couples over the past 10 years that are “house rich and cash poor.” This is a term many of you have probably heard before and can relate to. You struggle with the month-to-month spending requirements, but you have hundreds of thousands in the equity of your property.

How can you access this money, so that you can supplement your income without increasing your monthly debt? This is the million-dollar question. Many of the homeowners I speak with first inquire to refinance their first mortgage in an effort to obtain some additional cash-out. Qualifying for that cash-out refinance can be a lot more difficult than it sounds. Even though the homeowner has plenty of equity to access, their monthly debt-to-income ratio prevents them from qualifying. In today’s mortgage market lenders will want to see a debt-to-income of around 43%, which can be too tight for a homeowner on a fixed income that is already tight on their monthly spending capability.

The second option that a homeowner might inquire about is a HELOC, or a home equity line of credit. These types of mortgage loans do require a qualification process, but can be easier to obtain than a conventional cash-out refinance. A lot of homebuyers will start at their personal banking institution to qualify for the HELOC. A quick $100,000 line of credit might seem like a great solution to your problem, but let’s take a closer look.

The HELOC is an interest only loan for the first 10 years. While the lower monthly payment looks appealing since no money is required to be paid towards the principal this is most likely a catch-22. If no money is going towards the principal then the loan is not being paid down each month. It is a monthly debt that is not going away anytime soon. In addition, after the first 10 years the required payment will include principle, so that monthly payment will increase.

Although, the two mortgage product options discussed can infuse more money into your retirement it lacks in the most important piece of the puzzle, which is eliminating or minimizing a retiree’s out-of-pocket monthly debt. What happens when the money obtained is used and a homeowner is left with that additional monthly payment? I might not even need to project that far down the road, because I have seen homeowners start to use the additional money they received to actually make the monthly payment on that loan. This type of strategy can only work for so long, if at all.

So, what is the solution? If you are a homeowner reading this that is the age of 62 or older you might want to inquire about a government insured reverse mortgage. What is a reverse mortgage? A reverse mortgage is a mortgage product that can give homeowners a line of credit, cash out, monthly distribution, or all of the above. There are numerous ways that a homeowner 62 or older can take control over the equity in their home.

The best part is that the homeowner can also eliminate having to pay the mortgage payment out-of-pocket for as long as they live in the property. Never make another mortgage payment out of-pocket ever again, or continue to pay as little or as much as you want, every month. The choice is yours with a reverse mortgage. You can tailor fit your mortgage to your retirement needs. Please know that the homeowner will still be required to make their property tax, insurance and HOA payments on time each year.

A reverse mortgage cannot only increase your available money, but it can eliminate most homeowner’s biggest monthly out-of-pocket debt. If you want to know more about qualifying for this program then you should visit the reverse mortgage calculator. It will only take a second to let you see your retirement future a little more clearly.

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Need a Mailing Address in the States? Try This!

Full disclosure: There are affiliate links on this page. If you click on them and sign up for this mailing service, we will receive compensation. Hey, it’s not a bad thing!

Billy and I have been traveling the world for almost 3 decades.

We visit family in the States, but much of our travels are overseas. So what do we do about our mail?

We first learned of mail forwarding services through RVers we met on the road. What a great idea! So we signed up for one to handle our mail.

For many years we utilized a mail forwarding service whose prices increased annually for P.O. box rental, we were charged for the envelope they used each week to forward our mail, and we were charged postage. That definitely added up.

Now we use Traveling Mailbox. Maybe you have heard of them. They have the lowest prices in the industry, and they give free scans of our mail every month. They will send us a notice via email when we receive mail, and we can view the envelope online from anywhere in the world we might be.

3 Plans to choose from

At that point we can choose to have them scan it (so we can view the contents of the mail ourselves), forward it to any address we choose including a coffee shop, a hotel or vacation spot or we can tell them to shred it.

Our basic plan allows three recipients to use the address, a certain number of free scans and shreddings, but there are a total of 3 different plans from which to choose depending on your needs.

We decided to have a “Premium address” and paid for our service upfront for the entire year, so we could receive 2 months for free.

We pay $199 a year for Traveling Mailbox, but with our other mail forwarding company, we were over $300 for the box rental alone, plus postage and the weekly envelope.

This gives us an address in the States which is very convenient for things like our brokerage accounts and Social Security checks. Of course our SS checks are direct deposit, but we don’t have to worry about being in a foreign country or on the road and proving an address.

If you plan to do serious travel in your retirement, or if you want to house sit or be footloose for a while, Traveling Mailbox might be a service you would consider.

Other articles on this topic

What to do with mail on long-term travel

 

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Traveling through Central America – Is It Safe?

Q&A with a Reader

Full disclosure: There is an affiliate link on this page. If you purchase a book from Amazon through this link, we may receive compensation.

Good day,

I just discovered your website yesterday, and I certainly envy your decision to retire so early!

My husband and I will be retiring next year, and we have a bucket list of travel to do. I have always been attracted to travel in Guatemala, and we have seen Tikal and the amazing ruins there. But I always thought that travelling in that country solo was dangerous, mainly because of the drug cartels, not the people. My main concern is being kidnapped or robbed on local buses. I am being crazy in thinking this? Do you feel pretty safe travelling on your own?

We also want to travel further in Central America as well.

And I asked to subscribe to your newsletter as well.

Cheers,

Sylvia

Hi Sylvia,

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Billy and I have been traveling the globe now for almost 3 decades.

There are certain things to keep in mind to maintain one’s safety as best we are able. While nothing is guaranteed, doing the following should help you gain confidence to travel and not be afraid.

Maya children playing in the Plaza fountain, Antigua, Guatemala

Do not flash cash or digital toys, and do not wear expensive jewelry. Doing any of this will make you a target for thieves. We try to blend in as much as possible and not make any waves of any kind. We generally pay for food and hotels in local currency, and we don’t bring out a wad of cash and peel off the bills when doing so.

These days just about everyone has a cell phone, but we still carry our computers and cameras in a day pack. We also lock up everything of value, including our passports, extra cash and digital items with a pacsafe. We do this whenever we leave our hotel room. Also, we don’t wear any expensive jewelry as that would have us stand out from the regular people. There is a large financial discrepancy between the locals in Mexico, Guatemala and Central America and most tourists – and it’s hard for them to imagine owning gold or a diamond ring. Better to keep temptation away.

Do not join in on any demonstration of any kind. Stay out of local political events and leave your own politics at home. Do not make yourselves loud by arguing, shouting, or disagreeing with people in public places.Try to be a diplomat or an ambassador of good will.

Docked boat in Flores, Guatemala

Do not wander around inebriated at 2 or 3 in the morning, and don’t go home with your new best friends you met at the bar. Be aware of your surroundings and your possessions (travel bag, day pack, glasses, passport, etc.)  and if you need to get your bearings duck into a store or restaurant to look at your map. Have a sense of assurance when you walk so you are not pegged to be a hapless mark to those with odious leanings.

Avoid night travel when possible. Overnight buses can appear attractive – you just sleep all night and arrive the next day at your destination. But if something goes wrong (a flat tire, a blockade in the street) you are more vulnerable to trouble.

Do not tell vendors too much about yourself. When street or beach vendors ask politely ‘Where are you from? Where are you staying? Where did you have dinner?” realize that they want to know this information for a reason. Vendors have years of experience sizing up tourists in order to estimate what price they might be able to extract from you for their goods – they are not ‘just being friendly’. When you divulge too much information about yourself, your whereabouts and what kind of money you may be carrying, you are clearly asking for trouble.

Santa Catarina Arch, Antigua, Guatemala

Put Caution into perspective and know the difference between caution and fear. Years ago I read a book by Gavin de Becker called The Gift of Fear. I would recommend this book to you as well.

Mr. De Becker takes the position that violence isn’t just ‘random’ and that clues and access to information which can prevent us from becoming a victim is available to us beforehand. He explains that caution is different than fear, with fear actually being a gift that can save our lives. Gut instinct is much different than an over-active imagination.

The information in this book is good, solid advice to use anywhere, including your own home town.

A very high percentage of victims of violence will admit that they knew ‘something wasn’t right’ or that they felt strangely before violence struck. They shushed themselves up and went ahead into the dangerous situation anyway. In other words, we as human animals ‘know’ but often don’t take our warning signs seriously.

Akaisha and her Maya friend, Panajachel, Guatemala

Learn some survival phrases. World Nomads has free language apps available. Take a look! When you are traveling through foreign countries, knowing some basic phrases puts you more in control. And anyone with nefarious intentions will think twice when they understand that you speak some of their language.

All this being said, we have not experienced any trouble traveling throughout Mexico, Guatemala or parts of Central and South America. We would certainly encourage you to pursue your desire to travel, as it is such a life enhancer and broadens your perspective.

I hope you find this information to be useful. Feel free to write any time.

Best Regards,

Akaisha

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Growing Our Nest Egg in Retirement

Q&A with a Reader

Hello, Akaisha.

My 93-year-old mother lives with my wife and me at our condo which is in Florida.

I am a full-time employment consultant and Joan is a caregiver, plus helps me with my practice. We are positioning ourselves for retirement, once my mother passes on and no longer needs our care. We are in a good position from following key element of your and Billy’s advice and others.  We have a nest-egg touching seven figures.

Our thought is to allow our nest-egg to continue to grow so we have something substantial to hand to our two daughters (and their families) rather than draw it down to a pittance when we are at our end.

In all the REL newsletters and articles, where can we review ideas and stories of other retirees that are income producers with the flexibility and freedom to travel?

Thank you,

Jack

Hi Jack!

Thanks for taking the time to write and to share your situation with us.

Here are a couple of recommendations for you if you are interested. By the way, congratulations on your upcoming retirement!!!

We have a page where we list interviews of Successful Retirees and Captivating Characters. You might find their individual stories inspiring, and it could give you some ideas.

You might also want to join any of the free online financial forums listed on our Financial Education Page.  In this way you will be with like-minded people who are dealing with similar futures. And definitely take a look at our Preferred Links Pages — you might enjoy doing something like house sitting or home exchange which can definitely save you money on lodging while you travel the world comfortably.

Another suggestion is to perhaps set aside some money for each of your daughters and allow that to accrue over the years untouched. Then you can see the amount left that you might want to spend on yourselves during your retirement. You can always place your daughters as your TOD (transfer on death) beneficiaries so that the amount of money left when you pass on goes to them. I would assume each of you would have the other spouse be the primary TOD and the surviving spouse could place the daughters on as subsequent TOD beneficiaries.

I hope you find this information to be useful. I’m sorry about your mother… I know how much energy it takes to do End of Life Care

The best to you both, and do keep in touch.

Best Regards,

Akaisha

Posted in All Things Financial, Legal Matters, Q & A From our Readers, Travel Tips and Insight | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Travel Is an Adventure, so Embrace It!

Jessica Larrabee from Explore Local Box

Retirement is an adventure …….Embrace it! is the motto of Retire Early Lifestyle.  That has also been my travel philosophy – travel is an adventure, so embrace it and what better way to embrace it than to immerse yourself in local culture.

I am writing this on a plane heading home from my latest adventure in Montana. Watching all the travelers at the airport, I thought about the many different ways to travel: cruises, tour groups, international, camping, all-inclusive resorts, hotels, hostels, house rentals, timeshares, rural, urban, and more.  These choices shape how we experience the destination.

When I travel, I enjoy going at my own pace and exploring – checking out what makes that area unique and different.  I get off the highway and explore the area like a local. I try to visit farmer’s markets, visit restaurants that are unique to that area and check out little shops to get a feeling of the local culture.

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By trying to experience the area like a local, I feel I get to see what daily life looks like in the community and experience a different side of the place.  Plus, it is fun to interact with the people who live there.

Thinking back on my Montana trip, I had a nice conversation with a man I met while hiking one day.  As it turns out, his parents spend summers at the same coastal town across the country where my family spends time. Another day, I was chatting with the woman who checked me in at a small locally owned hotel; she spent a year as a nanny in the same town where I grew up and told me why she loved her new hometown in Montana.

I may have come across these same people if I stayed at a large resort or at the tourist attractions, but likely the interactions would not have been the same.  I think the people I meet this way are more chatty and willing to share their stories because they know I am interested in their home town.

I love finding craft markets and farmers markets when I travel because it is just one more way to interact with locals from the area.  I was lucky to come across a small craft market the first day I was in Montana.

I met and talked to a few artisans there and purchase some unique items from them.  One is a bricklayer from Arizona who spends summers in Montana now that he is retired.  To make extra money, he carves wooden bowls from local trees.  Another is a potter who makes clay items from Montana clay.  Not only does purchasing souvenirs from them support the local economy and help the artisans make a living, but also it helps keep these communities thriving.

These are the places that make each community unique. While chain stores play a role in the national economy, we all know that it is the small businesses that create the distinct character of a community. Plus, it is so much more interesting to interact with the artisans and small business owners and hear their stories.

After traveling to all 50 states, most of them multiple times, I love comparing areas and seeing how one place can be so similar to another – a place in Arkansas can remind me so much of Billings, MT. It is also fun to experience the great contrasts in this country from the white beach coasts to the red-rock deserts, to granite mountains and scenic farmland and see how the locals live.

I started Explore Local Box because I love traveling and after exploring amazing places in all the states, I wanted to share my experience and bring unique locally made items to others.  Explore Local Box is a gifting and subscription box service which provides customers an opportunity to explore a different USA city each month through local products and food.  Every box has local items from a different city – some food, some locally made products.  These are all items that I have bought or would buy if I were visiting the area.  I hope to make the recipient get a feel for the character of the area and what makes the cities similar and what makes them feel different.  The recipient gets to “explore” the city and experience some wonderful and delicious products and the interesting people who have created them.

Take a look at my website and see if you are as excited about this idea as I am!

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