Transitioning to Retirement; The Housing Conundrum

Q&A with a Reader

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I wrote to you a few years ago.

At the time, I was considering retiring in Brazil in a home that we own.  My wife is from there and her family lives close by.  To qualify for permanent residence I have to stay there for 6 months.

I have now reached the “magic” age of 62 and after 44 years in my technology career, I’m looking forward to retirement but I don’t intend to sit around and do nothing.

In Brazil, I can teach English or technology part-time or help my wife in some of her small businesses such as renting out kayaks on the beach or parking cars in our parking lot.

I recently purchased your latest Retire Early Q&A  volumes 1 and 2 and The Adventure’s Guide to Early Retirement.

You’ve mentioned that you have investments in the U.S.  Most brokerage firms require a U.S. address to maintain an account.  I’m guessing you use your residence in Arizona to satisfy that requirement.

You also mention that housing is the largest expense.  I totally agree.  I do not own a home in the U.S. but we would like to come back for visits.  Most of our family is here in New England.

The cost of housing can take a chunk out of your retirement budget

We considered purchasing a 3 or 4 unit building and keeping one of the apartments for ourselves but then we would have to hire a property manager when we traveled for long periods.

The other option is to do what you did, purchase a manufactured home in a park.  In New England, sometimes the homes are expensive but the park fee is low.  In other cases, the homes are cheap but the fee is much higher.

I’m curious as to what you are paying for a park fee in Arizona.  Maybe I should move there or to Florida – LOL.

Best Regards,


Hi Paul,

Thank you for taking the time to write.

Congratulations on your upcoming retirement. Sounds wonderful!

To answer your question about maintaining a US address for your brokerage account, we utilize Traveling Mailbox. You can read about the features and benefits here.

Do you need to keep a home in the US?

In terms of housing being the largest expense in any household, and the idea of your purchasing a domicile in the States so that you can visit family… I sincerely would recommend house sitting. Chances are there are people in your New England location who want to travel and need someone to look after their home and/or pet. In this way you are not purchasing property and saddling yourself with insurance payments, maintenance, property taxes, or having to deal with renters, a property manager, a gardener or anything of this sort.

House sitting allows you to stay in someone’s home (for free, usually) in exchange for watching over their pet and belongings. We know of people who travel the world house sitting in one country after another. Many of the home owners ask the sitters to come back year after year, and strong friendships are created in this manner. AND it suits everyone’s needs. I would certainly give it some thought as an alternative to spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in purchasing property.

If you would like some other ideas for housing, take a look at our Travel Housing Page or our Housing Options Page. You might find the information here to be useful.

In case you have not read about our manufactured home in AZ, here is our piece on Worry-Free Housing. Since we chose not to purchase the property, our annual Lifestyle Fees are a modest amount, less that you would pay to rent an apartment in the same city.

Active Adult Communities have many amenities

I hope you find this information to be useful to you. If you have further questions, feel free to write to us any time.

Sending you our best regards, and looking forward to hearing from you again sometime.

Akaisha and Billy

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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