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Lanches on Lake Atitlan Guatemala

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.

Interview with Jim and Kathy McLeod

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

We at Retire Early Lifestyle like to share with you the stories of Captivating Characters. Below you will find another success story of a journey to financial independence and personal satisfaction. Enjoy our interview with Jim and Kathy McLeod!

Retire Early Lifestyle: Could you tell us a little about yourself, and how old you are?

Jim and Kathy McLeod: We are Canadians from a small town in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario. Jim will be 55 this year and Kathy will be 41. We'll be married 20 years this June, and due to a number of health issues, we were unable to have children. So whenever we assess something and ask the question, "can we afford to do this?", we always ask, "can we afford not to do this?"

G'day, g'day, we’re from the valley, eh!

G'day, g'day, we’re from the valley, eh!

REL: What got you started investing?

JKMcL: When we made the decision to retire, we finally took a look at our company's group Registered Retirement Savings Plan and were shocked at how much we had lost to fees *and* how poorly they had performed! 

REL: When did you know you were ready to retire and what motivated you?

JKMcL:  "Freedom 55" was always in the back of our minds, but at 50 Jim was getting burnt out in the high stress field of Internet Security. One day Jim quipped he wanted to retire early and Kathy told him to "Google it". The first result to appear was The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement and, as they say, the rest is history!

With our pug Bogie, who couldn't fly, we needed to go somewhere that we could drive to from Ontario, so a year later we semi-retired and decided to check out the Lake Chapala area mentioned in your book and after two "snowbird" seasons we retired permanently, "sold the farm" and moved here.

Bogie celebrating his 11th birthday, Mexico

Bogie celebrating his 11th birthday, Mexico

REL: What do you do for income generation?

JKMcL: Investing in the stock market.

REL: What do you plan to budget annually for your retirement?

JKMcL: We budget $16K Canadian per year for everything except travel. Anything we make over that, we allow towards our travel budget. With our target of making $30K Canadian per year, we've gotten to travel quite extensively so far.

REL: Can you share with us anything about how your portfolio is structured?





JKMcL: After a disastrous start with "managing" our own investments, Jim decided to take a hands on approach by taking an intensive, week long Value Investing course offered once a year by the Ben Graham Centre for Value Investing. By utilizing and further developing the skills he learned, we value certain (mostly Canadian) stocks and buy when they fall below our value criteria and then sell when they reach a (very conservative) profit. So far, we only need to invest a relatively small portion of our total savings, with our returns far exceeding our target and our expectations.

REL: What has been your greatest challenge on your road to Early Retirement? Your biggest lesson?

JKMcL: Greatest challenge: Getting out of the workforce! Because of Jim's skill in Internet Security and Internal Auditing of Quality Management and Information Security systems, it took a while before he finally said sorry (because he's Canadian) but no more.

Biggest lesson: Learn to manage your own investments! Investment managers get their fees whether they make you money or not!

REL: What advice would you give to someone considering Early Retirement?

JKMcL: If The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement resonates with you, and running the numbers add up, just do it!

Riding the “bus” (pick-up truck), Guatemala

Riding the “bus” (pick-up truck), Guatemala

REL: What would you say to someone who is considering tossing the conventional lifestyle and living one of travel? What advice would you give?

JKMcL: Break the mold and get out there and try it. Most places will give you a discount the longer you stay. Save up your vacation days and/or take a sabbatical and book an extended stay somewhere that intrigues you. We did this for two months in Dominica and we were hooked!

Lounging in the Emerald Pool, Dominica, The Nature Island of the Caribbean

Lounging in the Emerald Pool, Dominica, The Nature Island of the Caribbean

Conquering the Boiling Lake hike, Dominica, The Nature Island of the Caribbean

Conquering the Boiling Lake hike, Dominica, The Nature Island of the Caribbean

REL: How do you contribute to the world?

JKMcL: We both enjoy helping others: Jim's a troubleshooter and Kathy can connect with anyone. So Jim can help resolve a lot of technical issues and Kathy helps people at a personal level.

REL: Do you speak other languages?

JKMcL: We are both currently learning Spanish through a combination of programs such as Duolingo and Memrise, YouTube videos such as Spanish with Paul and just practicing with as many locals, whom we meet during our travels, as possible.

REL: What do you do about healthcare? Are you open to medical tourism?

JKMcL: Since we are now residents of Mexico, we enrolled in Seguro Popular as insurance for anything serious, otherwise we just pay out of pocket.

REL: Share with us your best money-saving secret.

JKMcL: For the most part we live quite frugally. Since we don't watch a lot of television, we only watched channels we could get with an antenna. And we were one of the first to ditch our land line in favor of pay as you go cellphones. And we didn't have a lot of "stuff". (Or at least we didn't think we did until we went to get rid of it all. :-)  )

REL: What is your biggest splurge?

Kathy enjoying a Cafe Mocha

Kathy enjoying a Cafe Mocha

JKMcL: Cafe mochas. :-)  Yummy.

REL: Have you had a brush with fame, the proverbial '15 minutes'? Tell us about it. 

JKMcL: Not yet but, as we expand our horizons, it's inevitable.

REL: What are your greatest passions in life?

JKMcL: Learning! A new language, (value) investing or history and geography of a new area. There's always something to keep us challenged and engaged.

REL: Do you have a home base or own a home?





JKMcL: We have a "home base" in the Lake Chapala area that allows us storage facilities in the event we decide to take off somewhere for an extended period of time.

REL: Tell us about your greatest personal success, not necessarily finance related.

JKMcL: Researching alternatives for treating our various health issues. The greatest success: eliminating processed foods and identifying foods we are allergic or sensitive to. In the case of Kathy's Crohn's, we knew we were doing something right when a local surgeon (not a specialist mind you) stated categorically that she never had Crohn's! (She was diagnosed years earlier with Crohn's by two different specialists!)

REL: What is a secret fact about you?

JKMcL: There is 14 years between us, but Jim is immature for his age, and Kathy is mature for her age, so we meet in the middle. :-)

REL: What are you most proud of so far in life?

JKMcL: Considering both of our backgrounds, neither of us expected to ever leave our hometowns, and yet here we are traveling the world as early retirees! We've both worked extremely hard to get to this point in our lives and can say without a doubt that we’ve earned it.

REL: What do you do for fun or entertainment?

JKMcL: Geocaching. Whenever we get to a new area, we check to see what geocaches are there. This way we get out to explore places we may not have even known about.

Geocaching with Bogie the GeoPug, Canada

Geocaching with Bogie the GeoPug, Canada

REL: Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?

JKMcL: On a beach, reading a book. Or on a trail searching for a geocache.

On the beach, Mexico

On the beach, Mexico

REL: Where are you going next?

JKMcL: We're actually in the middle of a 4 week stay in Los Ayala, Nayarit with no definite plans after that. El Salvador, Ecuador, Nicaragua, or within Mexico to Zihuatanejo, Puerto Escondido or possibly a beach house over the water in Bacalar.

We at RetireEarlyLifestyle would like to say thank you to Jim and Kathy for taking the time to answer our questions about their journey to financial independence. This was a fun and informative interview, and we look forward to seeing you both again on this road less traveled!

For more stories and interviews of Captivating Characters and Early Retirees, Click Here

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, 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

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