Kiplinger.com carried a story recently about retirees Billy and Akaisha
Kaderli, who live in an adult-active community in Mesa, Ariz. Don't tell
anyone though. You see, they don't meet the community's minimum age
Although they retired 16 years ago, they are both just 54.
Most folks would say Billy and Akaisha are living the American dream,
playing golf, traveling the country, and socializing with friends, whenever
they want. They aren't rich, though, merely frugal.
And they are a fine example of early retirement planning leading to an
"extreme early retirement." You can enjoy it, too - provided you're willing
to make some admittedly tough choices.
How They Planned for Early Retirement
In their late thirties, Billy and Akaisha decided they were working too
hard, enjoying it too little and paying too much in taxes. Most people would
stop there and say "well, that's life."
But is it really? Or is it more about the choices we make about saving and
"Every time I looked at a latte or a new pair of shoes," says Akaisha, "I
decided I didn't need them. If you're clear about what you want, it becomes
easier. You can either buy this or be days closer to your goal."
Contrast this point of view with the materialistic mindset of many
Americans, who often find themselves stuck on what psychologists call "the
hedonic treadmill." Instead of thinking about financial freedom, they're
obsessed with thoughts of a bigger house, a fancier car, the hot new
restaurants and, of course, a high-definition 50" flat-panel TV.
I would be the last to argue that these things don't make life more
enjoyable. And, who knows, a bigger house may be the best investment you
ever made. (Although if you pulled the equity out and spent it, it really
hasn't brought you any closer to your financial goals.)
We spend a lot of time in this column talking about investing. But without
saving, let's face it, there is precious little to invest. Yet statistics
show that most Americans today are saving virtually nothing.
How The Experts View Retirement Planning
In the investment classic Financial Genius, now undeservedly out of print,
Mark Haroldson boils down investment success to four factors:
Yet many folks never make it to step two.
In The Millionaire Next Door, Thomas Stanley reports that most Americans
with a net worth of a million dollars or more followed a remarkably similar
path. They maximized their income, minimized their expenses, lived beneath
their means, and religiously saved the difference. It sounds pedestrian, I
know. But do this for a period of years and one day you just may wake up and
say "honey, we've got a seven-figure net worth!"
It means making sacrifices, however. As we go through life, we quickly find
that expenses rise to meet the income available. In our wonderfully
capitalistic society, there will never be a shortage of fabulous products
and services vying for our attention.
Almost Everyone Can Save for Retirement
During an interview on Fox TV in Tampa last year, the interviewer suddenly
popped this question on me. "What do you say to those people out there who
say they just can't save ANYTHING?"
Little did he know that I had just returned from a two-week investment tour
of China. During the trip, I saw many laborers who made less than $150 a
month. Yet the average Chinese worker - acutely aware that his government
provides next to nothing in social security - saves over 30% of his income.
"Too many Americans don't save anything," I said, half-jokingly, "because
they're spending money they don't have, on things they don't need, to
impress people they don't like."
Judging by the look on his face, that wasn't the answer he was expecting.
Look, I know that when you're young and poor and starting out in life,
saving may not be an option. When you get older and you have kids (and
sometimes parents) to support, saving can be awfully tough, too.
But most of us could get by - by hook or by crook - on 10% less than what
we're living on today. If we pay ourselves that 10% first, it can mean an
awful lot 10, 20 or 30 years down the road.
Just ask the Kaderlis… when they finish the back nine.
About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are
recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of
finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their
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.
information about financial independence and travel, visit our
Billy and Akaisha continue to journal and photograph their
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha