Overlooking a coconut farm on
the north shore of the Dominican Republic
In 1991 when we retired
there was no internet, online banking, Bill Pay, stock trading or Skype. We had
to make large pre-payments to credit card companies so that there would be money
on our card and we would not be late with a payment. Not having Skype, Magic
Jack or even Verizon, phones calls were two dollars a minute from Mexico so a
half an hour phone call home was $60USD.
And the mailÖ well letís just say that
if it arrived at all, it was weeks later. At that time, anything more than a
manila envelope was confiscated at the border, so no Christmas or birthday
presents arrived to our place in Mexico. And it was difficult to send packages
up to the States too. There was no Amazon!
It was 1998 when we
bought our first notebook computer which weighed 10lbs including the power
source. Those were the days, and it was just the beginning. We had no idea how electronics and technology would
change our lives.
Fast forward to present
time and we can do more with a smartphone than we ever could with our first PC.
Now we both travel with netbooks and a smart phone.
With automatic bill pay
systems we never concern ourselves over late payments anymore and can also
electronically write checks for other expenses to be mailed out of the States on
There is no more hauling
around a heavy 35 mm camera with all the lenses. A couple of light weight
digital cameras suffice for us and we get instant gratification from seeing the
These days we can get
movies, music, news, online classes, join forums around the world and download
books on our Kindles.
Our global travel has
gotten easier with booking airline tickets from our room anywhere in the world.
All we need is an internet connection and we can manage our financial portfolio,
keep up with current news and call home with a VOIP video option.
Now that we are taking
Social Security that, too, is directly deposited into our accounts where we can
easily take a withdrawal from an ATM in local currency from any authorized
machine. Getting a better exchange rate from an ATM than directly from a bank,
we use Fidelity Brokerage accounts for this purpose and they rebate all ATM fees
on our debit cards. Since we each have accounts both of us carry numerous debit
and credit cards in the event that one malfunctions.
Even with the
precautions one must take for digital security, our traveling lifestyle and
managing our financial independence is far easier and quicker than just 28 years