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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Interview with Soon-to-Be Retirees,
Lori and Randy Grant

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Over the years, Lori and Randy Grant have written to us about preparing for retirement, and now their day of leaving the workforce is in view. We at RetireEarlyLifestyle like to offer our Readers stories of those who are successfully paving their path to financial independence.

Please enjoy this interview with Lori and Randy Grant!

Skiing at Appi Kogen in Japan

Skiing at Appi Kogen in Japan

RetireEarlyLifestyle: Could you tell us a little about yourselves?

Lori and Randy Grant: We are two teachers who left Mississippi 15 years ago for the great unknown. We were offered the opportunity to come to Japan to teach and we jumped in with both feet. It was the best decision we have ever made. It has enabled us the opportunity to travel, you can see our travel destinations on our blog, to so many interesting places. It has truly been a most rewarding experience.

REL: When do you plan to retire?

L&RG: There’s about a 50% chance that we’ll be retiring this year, but it looks more realistic for us to retire next year, just before Lori’s 50th birthday. This will allow us a bit more breathing room in our pre-retirement timeline to get all of our affairs in order (Obamacare, taxes, international banking, selling all our household possessions, etc.) before taking this giant step.

 

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

L&RG: We are both realizing that we’re becoming pretty burned out with teaching. Lori has been in the classroom for over 27 years and I have been teaching for over 20.  We just have this strong feeling that there is something else out there waiting for us and even though we have no idea what that “something” is, we know we are ready for a big change.

REL: Do you have a home base or own a home? Will you stay put in the same location, relocate or travel?

The family in Tokyo with Imperial Palace

The family in Tokyo with Imperial Palace

L&RG: We have no permanent home, but we do have relatives in Florida and Mississippi. Retiring early will afford us the opportunity to spend time with our aging parents and help out with their care if and when it’s needed. Until that time, we plan on moving around the world from place to place, renting furnished apartments, or even giving international house sitting a try. When our visa for one country runs out, we’ll simply move on to our next adventure!

REL: What has been your greatest challenge on your road to Early Retirement? Your biggest lesson? What were your fears and obstacles before making the leap? Did the fears and obstacles pan out or were they replaced with others?

The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement, 3rd Edition

L&RG: I think our two biggest fears are running out of money somewhere down the road and going without health insurance during early retirement.

We don’t mind paying for medical care as we go and have used hospitals overseas before as medical tourists. The care we’ve received overseas has been phenomenal and state-of-the-art. What to do about insurance (or going naked) while in the states is another nail-biting issue, however.

It seems like most of the media tries to scare you into never retiring, but sometimes in life you just have to go for it. Another fear is the question of what will happen when the “honeymoon” of retirement wears off? How will we cope with day-to- day life once we are out of tourist mode?

REL: Do you have any advice for someone looking to retire in this current economic environment?

L&RG: We have approached our early retirement the same way we did when we found out we were expecting our son. Everyone tells you that you can’t afford to have kids. But when you do, it just all works out. I think our retirement goals are similar. Everyone tells us we can’t possibly retire this young, but we have researched and prepared much more for this milestone than we did when we realized twenty years ago that we were suddenly going to be parents. 

REL: What style of retirement are you looking to create? Do you have goals? A 3-5 year plan? Or are you looking for a care-free lifestyle?

The family in Athens, Greece

The family in Athens, Greece

L&RG: I think the carefree lifestyle seems more appealing to us. We want to explore and interact with as many cultures as possible and be free to pursue opportunities as they arise. When people ask us where we plan on retiring, we tell them the answer to that question is… everywhere! We have made lists of retirement interests we want to pursue such as language learning, tai chi lessons, volunteering, blogging, and expat networking. 

REL: Do you have children? How did that figure in to your retirement preparation?

L&RG: We have one son who is currently a junior in college. We always said that we would wait until he finished school before we retired, but it looks as if he is going to be financially set thanks to academic scholarships and student loans when needed, so we decided to go ahead and take the leap sooner than we originally planned.

REL: Where have you traveled to longer than 2 weeks? Are you looking to scratch below the surface in your retirement travels?

The Adventurer's Guide to Destination Choices

L&RG: We have traveled to Europe and New Zealand for longer periods of time. Every time we travel somewhere we always wish we could stay longer. We try to get off the beaten path and really mingle with the locals. The tourist sites are great, but really getting involved with the locals and participating in their daily customs are the true rewards of traveling. 

A spontaneous cultural exchange Beijing, China

A spontaneous cultural exchange Beijing, China

REL: What will you do about transportation? Do you own a car?

L&RG: Like you, we plan on going carless. During our last year of work we are planning to downsize to just one car and then sell our remaining car right before we retire. We have been many places around the world and we don’t have a problem using their local transportation. Plus, walking is great exercise and we actually lose weight while traveling because we walk everywhere.

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

L&RG: Currently, we have our yearly checkups in Bangkok (Bumrungrad Hospital) and Lori has even had surgery there. The care we’ve received is phenomenal and the price is so much cheaper than the states. Obamacare is something that we are currently researching.

The laws are still very new so we plan to consult a CPA this summer about our options. Since we don’t necessarily want to live outside the U.S. for 330 days a year in order to be exempt from having insurance, we have to figure out a way to work around it. This next year we hope to uncover some solid answers to this dilemma.  

REL: How do you plan to manage your finances while on the road?

L&RG: We have a financial advisor who we’ve consulted with for over 20 years and he has advised us on our journey so far. We are in the process of setting up which accounts we will use first and the withdrawal percentage that we will use each year. We are also looking into some overseas banks (HSBC) that might make withdrawing money out of ATMs a little easier, as those fees add up over time. (We are open to suggestions.)

Editor's note: Fidelity rebates ATM transaction fees. You might want to contact them for more info.

 

REL: Can you share with us anything about your portfolio? Did the market declines of 2008 affect your retirement nest egg or make you question your retirement plans?

L&RG: We have always maintained keeping a certain asset allocation within our portfolio. When we started at the beginning of our marriage, we had about an 80/20 (stocks/bonds) allocation. We currently have and will maintain in retirement around a 65/35 ratio. Our accounts took a pretty big hit in 2008, but we have always practiced dollar cost averaging. We didn’t get spooked, continued to invest when stock prices were low (we’ve always loved a good sale!), and therefore our accounts eventually bounced back very nicely. 

Approaching Milford Sound, New Zealand. 

Approaching Milford Sound, New Zealand. 

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

L&RG: We are currently budgeting for $60K a year, but in reality we plan to live on a lot less. Living in places like Thailand, Guatemala, Malaysia, or Ecuador, we could easily live on half of our yearly budget projection. 

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

L&RG: For us, the secret to our financial success has always been to pay ourselves first. We have always systematically invested even when our paychecks were much smaller and the big, bad bear markets came along to stir up chaos. We have never wavered from saving monthly and we have weathered financial storms with some bruising here and there.

The Adventurer's Guide to the Possible Dream

When we got raises at work, we upped the ante on our investments and continued living below our means. Simplifying our lifestyle and only shopping for things we truly need has also helped a great deal. Like you both, we now choose experiences over things. Best decision we ever made!

REL: What are your greatest passions in life?

L&RG: We are both happiest when we are traveling anywhere. We love the major sites when we travel, but we have enjoyed it most when we meet people we’d never expect to meet. In China, we got lost walking around the hutongs (old neighborhoods of Beijing) and stumbled upon some little old ladies drinking tea and gossiping. We didn’t understand a word they said, but they laughed merrily and invited us to sit with them and join their little tea party. What a priceless memory that was!

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

L&RG: I think we both agree that having Chase was one of our proudest accomplishments. He is articulate, well-mannered, self-motivated and has never been embarrassed to have us hang around even when we taught at the same school he attended. He is great to travel with and his quick wit keeps us in stitches most of the time. He has also been bitten by the travel bug and is already forging his own path toward early retirement.

REL: If you had just 5 years to live, what would you accomplish or do with your time?

L&RG: We’d do exactly what we are planning to do right now. We’d get out there while we can and see the world. There are so many places we have yet to see so we are very excited about starting this next chapter in our lives. We have been very blessed so we definitely want to give back to others as we travel the world.

Lori walking the ancient city streets of Pompeii, Italy. 

Lori walking the ancient city streets of Pompeii, Italy. 

REL: Where are you going next?

All of our books lead to adventure. Don't miss out on yours!

L&RG: In the summer we plan on going to Chiang Mai, Thailand for a month to do a trial run of early retirement. We want to rent an apartment and track our daily expenses in order to make adjustments as needed. We will probably stay long term in Thailand and Malaysia to start off. Our son will be studying abroad in China next year so we would be closer for visits with him. If not Thailand or Malaysia, Lori wanted to spend her 50th birthday in Italy. If so, we’d head there during the fall for three months before returning to the states to see Chase graduate from college.

We at RetireEarlyLifestyle would like to thank Lori and Randy for taking the time to answer our questions and share their lives with our Readers.

Thanks Lori and Randy!

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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 RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, 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 Amazon.com.

Retire 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.

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