Retirement; like your parents, but way cooler
In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 4th decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
lnterview with World Travelers
Carey and Susan Mossop
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
We at Retire Early
Lifestyle like to share with you the stories of
Characters. Below you will find another success story of a journey to
financial independence and personal satisfaction. Enjoy our interview with World
Travelers Carey and Susan Mossop!
Retire Early Lifestyle: Could you tell us a little about yourselves?
We are Carey and Susan Mossop. In January of 2016, at the age of 53, Carey quit
his job as a Product Manager for a large multi-national company. We sold
everything except for a carry-on suitcase and a daypack each and began to travel
the world full-time. Our nomadic lifestyle centers around traveling slowly,
staying in a country for as long as a tourist visa allows, usually 30 to 90
days. So far, we have spent time in 23
REL: When did you start your journey to
Financial Independence? What was your
motivation? Were you both always on the same page with this goal?
We have always saved and
retirement, starting in our early
twenties. At that time, we thought that it was the prudent thing to do to ensure
that we would be comfortable in retirement. About eight years before we actually
retired, we “supercharged” our saving and investing strategy to be able to
retire early and travel while we were still young enough to really enjoy it.
Carey was probably more focused on a traditional life of keeping up with the
Jones and having a nice big house in the suburbs, two cars, etc. Susan was
always more of the mindset that things were not that important in life and
experiences and living life to the fullest was the way to go.
REL: Did you ever think it was possible to live a different lifestyle other than
the conventional one? What triggered you to think outside of box?
The first trigger was an article we read in the newspaper in the early nineties
about a growing trend of Americans
moving abroad at retirement for adventure and
a lower cost of living. This concept fascinated us. We loved to travel to other
countries and the idea of living abroad started us thinking about whether we
could do something like that and retire earlier than the commonly accepted 65
years of age.
The second trigger was our son moving out of the house after his first year of
college. Carey was traveling for work in the USA and Canada about 50% of the
time. Why on earth did we still need a three-bedroom house in the suburbs with
multiple cars when it was just the two of us?
Why spend the time, energy, cost and effort to have all this “stuff” when we craved travel and adventure much
REL: Would you consider yourselves to be Financially Independent? Are you still
working to afford your lifestyle?
We do consider ourselves to be financially independent. The bulk of that is in
401k and IRA accounts. We did have some savings and cash outside of that from
the sale of our house when we retired.
REL: The cost of housing is one of the highest cash outlays in any household
budget. In your retirement lifestyle, did you choose to keep a home?
Travel? Do you have a home base now? Where do you keep all your “stuff”?
We sold our last house a couple of years before we retired. After our son moved
out in 2007, we
sold our house and downsized considerably, eventually to a
one-bedroom rental apartment. We found renting to be a much more flexible and
lower cost lifestyle. We did buy a small house in 2011 to live in for a few
years, taking advantage of the downturn in housing prices. We extensively
renovated it, selling for a nice profit to boost our retirement funds.
Our mailing address is Susan’s sister in the Seattle, WA area. She is kind
enough to let us know what little mail comes for us – we do as much as we can
online. If it is something she thinks we need to see, she will snap a picture
and email it to us. For things like new bank cards, etc. we have her FedEx it to
us wherever we are in the world.
We pared down our stuff to a few family keepsakes and heirlooms that half-fill
the smallest storage locker we could find in the Seattle area, a 5-foot by
Since January 2016, we made two short trips back to North America: summer of
2016 for a wedding and family reunion, and Christmas of 2019 to visit family and
for Carey’s parents' eightieth birthdays. Other than that, we have been
traveling full-time until
coronavirus restrictions necessitated a temporary
return to North America.
REL: How long have you been Financially Independent?
We became debt free – mortgage, credit card debt, etc. - a couple of years
before we retired. Like a lot of people working in Corporate America for
decades, we had a significant 401k balance. Of course, while we were working, we
could not draw on the 401k retirement savings balance.
We could not have lived an acceptable lifestyle to us with our 401k and other
savings in an expensive country like the USA. Now, our monthly expenses are 50%
to 70% lower than what we needed in the USA living a nomadic lifestyle in
REL: In your retirement life, what will you do about access to health care? Are
you open to
Thankfully, we are both healthy. We have a high deductible
medical plan just in case something major happens. We have never had to use it. The cost
of medical care outside the USA is incredibly affordable and is of an extremely
high quality. We pay for any needed medical costs out of pocket. We have a
favorite dentist in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and a favorite doctor in Bangkok,
Thailand that we have gone to for routine check-ups, teeth cleanings, etc. We
both take one long-term maintenance prescription each and have no problem
getting our medicine around the world without a prescription at any drug store –
at a fraction of the cost compared to the USA.
REL: What do you average in
spending annually? Does this include health
insurance? Do you
We typically spend between $35,000 and $40,000 a year right now, including
health insurance. When we first started our retirement, we tracked our spending
almost to the penny. I think we wanted to make sure that we really could do
this. Now we just review our bank balances and credit card statements monthly to
make sure we are on track.
REL: Can you share with us anything about how your portfolio is structured? Did
your retirement affect your asset allocation at all?
Our investment portfolio was always focused on aggressive growth mutual funds.
Early on, we realized that we were
in the stock market for the long haul and did not worry about the ups and
downs of the market in the short term. Many financial advisors suggest
rebalancing your portfolio at retirement to a higher mix of bonds and short-term
investments versus growth stocks. However, since we hopefully have another 20 to
30 years left in retirement, we do not want to limit our long-term portfolio
of our investments are in an S&P 500
Index Fund. We keep four years’ worth of living expenses in short-term
investments like bond funds – long enough to outlast even a major market
REL: What was your biggest challenge to early retirement?
Carey probably had the biggest mental block of ditching the traditional
lifestyle of “work till you are 65 and retire”. Although we both loved the idea
of traveling and the associated lifestyle, it took him a little longer to make
the actual leap and jump in with both feet.
We really cannot think of any major challenges or hardships. People ask us, “But
don’t you get homesick and miss your friends and family back in the USA?” The
answer is, “Yes, but not enough to give up this lifestyle and go back to a high
stress, high-cost lifestyle in the USA.”
REL: What did your children and family think of your choice of retirement
Our son loves it! He comes to visit us once every year wherever we are. Carey’s
parents have visited us in
Vietnam and one of Carey’s brothers
visited us in Vietnam. These days with social media, email, video conferencing,
etc. it is so easy to stay in touch.
Some of our family members were not so sure about our choice and a few still
worry about our safety in “strange, faraway lands”. Ironically, most places we
go are far safer than living in the
REL: What has surprised you the most about your journey to Early Retirement?
Carey was a little surprised at how liberating it was to get rid of the bulk of
our “stuff”. Living in a one-bedroom apartment and
only having one car freed up
our ability to enjoy life without being tied down to
housing, storing, caring
for, and maintaining our “stuff”.
REL: What is exhilarating beyond words? Something you would never trade about
your lifestyle to obtain “security?”
flexibility we have to do what we want to do, when we want to do
it, where we want to do it, is huge for us. We love hiking and snorkeling. We
are avid history buffs and enjoy visiting UNESCO World Heritage sites all over
the world. Our greatest joy comes from meeting people around the world and
foods, customs, and culture.
REL: So far, what has been your biggest challenge with this new lifestyle?
Right now, coronavirus!! Since we live in countries on tourist visas, when
covid-19 restrictions hit, most countries in the world closed to non-citizens or
non-long-term visa holders. We were in Thailand in March of 2020 and the Kingdom
of Thailand graciously let us stay on a tourist visa until the end of July. At
that time, Thailand ended their visa amnesty program for stranded individuals
and we had to return to either the USA or Canada. We chose to ride out covid-19
in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
We cannot say that we really have had any big challenges. Technology makes a
life of traveling so easy today. We can videocall, text, email, or phone our
friends and family from practically anywhere in the world. We try to learn a few
courtesy words in the language of wherever we are going, but there are apps that
can translate for you. Gone are the days when you had to travel with a bunch of
cash or travelers checks, bulky phrase books, and physical maps. Even in some of
the poorest countries in Asia like Nepal, Cambodia, and Myanmar you can find
ATMs to get local currency with just your bank card.
You do have to have the right attitude and be able to go with the flow
sometimes. You will run into obstacles that you were not expecting, challenges
you were not anticipating, cultural norms that are different than what you are
used to. If you let things like that stress you out and expect everything to be
just like your life in the USA only cheaper, you will end up frustrated and
REL: What would you say to someone who is considering tossing the conventional
lifestyle and retiring early? What advice would you give?
The biggest piece of advice we would give is figure out what is important to
YOU. How do YOU want to live your life? We hope that reading about our lifestyle
might inspire someone to try this lifestyle, but we know it is not for everyone.
Find out what is important to YOU and go for it.
For us, our goals evolved over time. We first started reading about people’s
experiences retiring overseas in places like
Panama, Costa Rica, and
joined a few Facebook expat groups to see what people had to say about their
lives. Later we began to read about vagabonding and nomadic living. When we
looked at the nomadic lifestyle, we knew we had found what we wanted to do.
Once we had this goal in mind, we aggressively downsized our “stuff” and
expenses to save and invest for the life we really wanted. Retire Early
Lifestyle has used a term that we really like, “reduce
your personal infrastructure” it perfectly describes what we have done. We essentially got rid
of all of our stuff except the suitcase and daypack we carry with us. The only
“fixed costs” we have today is $60 per month for our storage unit rental and
about $1800 per year for an emergency medical plan. Practically all of our other
expenses are variable on a day-by-day basis. If we had to, we could rent a
furnished condo on the beach in Malaysia for $300 per month on a month-to-month
basis and spend $10 a day on street food and survive nicely.
REL: What would you say are your most unique talents?
Our avid curiosity and love of people.
When we started traveling full-time, we also discovered that we have a highly
sought-after talent; we are native English speakers. English is by far the most
popular second language in the world. While trekking in Nepal, the head teacher
of the village would often come to meet us with a couple of their best students
to practice their English. In many other countries, people, especially children,
want to try out their English on us. We had the privilege of being invited to
teach at a holiday “English Camp” in Malaysia for a month.
REL: What are your greatest passions in life?
Our love of travel. We especially love meeting people from other cultures and
seeing that we are so much the same as human beings, and yet have such a
wonderful diversity of how we approach life, from our customs, language, food,
We love the variety we have in our life. We
rarely go on package tours, but love
hiking, snorkeling, visiting museums and UNESCO world heritage sites. What we
really enjoy most of all is being able to interact with people outside of the
tourist areas and get to know them as much as we can and experience their daily
life. Some of our greatest joys are being invited to people’s homes, getting to
know them, and sharing time and meals together.
REL: Tell us about your greatest personal success, not necessarily finance
This is probably true for all parents but raising our son has given us joy and
satisfaction (despite being very challenging at times). We feel our greatest
success now is being able to focus on and do the things we needed to do to now
be able to enjoy an incredible life as a global nomad.
How do you contribute to the world?
As Christians, we believe that
service to others is an important part of life.
We do not formally seek out specific opportunities, but we run into
opportunities to serve around the world for example; we have helped repair and
renovate a school in the
Republic, assisted at a school for
underprivileged children in Paraguay, assisted a Pakistani refugee family in
Bangkok, and taught English for a month in Malaysia.
When we can, we try to support local, small businesses such as shops, guest
houses, local artisans and weavers, and local tour guides whenever we can.
REL: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
Our goal is to be traveling across this world somewhere. People often ask us if,
and when we plan to stop traveling and settle down somewhere. Our answer is,
“When we are too old and creaky to travel anymore!” We do realize that as we
age, our bodies will wear out and our stamina will decrease. We hope to be
traveling full-time at least into our late seventies and when the time comes, we
might find that perfect spot in the world to establish a home base.
REL: What is your biggest splurge?
Our travel style is slow travel, so we rarely travel long airline flights. However, I can think of a few times we went over our
typical monthly budget to do some incredible things. We traveled to Astana,
Kazakhstan in 2017 for a week to visit the 2017 World Expo – this was far out of
our path and relatively far and expensive to fly to for just a week. We do not
usually do package tours or programs, but we splurged on a nine-day trek in
Nepal and a four-day safari tour in Chitwan National Park in Nepal.
Susan loves meeting weavers and artisans and has collected some nice handwoven
fabrics. Even though we typically don’t buy more stuff, she will splurge and buy
some pieces. We ship these back to Seattle to her sister and plan to enjoy them
when we finally settle down somewhere and enjoy the fabrics as mementos of our
there a happiness mantra or motto that you've found to be very helpful?
We don’t have a particular mantra or motto
but do find ourselves looking at each other from time to time and saying, “I
can’t believe we get to do this! I can’t believe our incredible life!”
REL: What do you do for fun or entertainment?
Our fun and entertainment come primarily from the adventure of traveling to
different countries, meeting the people, eating the food, and learning the
culture. We do try and visit most UNESCO World Heritage Sites that we are near.
We always look for nice day hikes everywhere we go. When we are in the coral
triangle of Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the
Philippines we eagerly seek
out great places to snorkel. When we get to stay in a particular city for an
extended period, a month or more, we will look for local and expat Meetup groups
where we can get together with people of similar interests, compare notes, and
learn of other great places in the world to visit.
If you are interested in following our adventures, you can find us at:
We at Retire Early Lifestyle would like
to thank Carey and Susan for taking the time to answer our questions and
share their lives and lifestyle with our Readers. We hop their story
inspires YOU to live your best life!
For more stories and interviews
of Captivating Characters and Early Retirees,
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About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.
Retire Early Lifestyle Blog
About Billy & Akaisha