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53: Will retire in four months.
Old 06-12-2008, 07:41 PM   #1
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53: Will retire in four months.

Or maybe I'm starting an open-ended vacation in four months. I can always choose to end an open-ended vacation should I run out of interest or money, though I can't see either happening. But looking at this next big step as an opened-ended vacation makes it an easier step to take then the R word.

I intend to spend the first year traveling to check out possible places to live, and do some general travel while I'm in the area(s). I've been to Baguio in the Philippines, I'm going back to check out Cebu City and Davao. Then it's on the Chiang Ma in Thailand. Possibly look into Malaysia, but I haven't finished my research on that country yet.

Then it's on to Latin America, probably my eventual destination. I've been studying Spanish for 4 months, but I'm not ready for a Spanish speaking country. I'll check out Arequipa in Peru and Mendoza in Argentina. I can't afford Chile, but I won't miss visiting Valparaiso. Finally I'll head to Costa Rica and contemplate it all.

I'm able to retire early because I was blessed, lucky and diligent. I inherited a sum in college that was about 1.5 times the salary of my first professional job, so I was able to start investing early. I'm a software developer, which means I get paid well to do something I'd be doing as hobby. When my peers were buying 3-series BMWs I was driving a beater and investing the difference. There were a couple of times where I got lucky in the market, that sure helped.

I intend to fill my time with things there has never been enough time for: photography, contributing to an open source software project, volunteer work in the community, taking up chess again after 40 years, learn the language and culture I live in and just hang out with good friends.

Now all I gotta do is increase the rate of finishing things on my pre-retirement To Do list.
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Old 06-12-2008, 08:11 PM   #2
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ENJOY and welcome to the Forum.
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:06 AM   #3
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Enjoy your vacation. May it last...
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:27 AM   #4
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It sounds like you have led a very interesting life, and will continue to do so whether you are retired or on vacation.

A life of playing chess, getting more involved in your photography, hanging out with friends, immersing yourself in local language culture, volunteering, and using your skills in the open source volunteer project you mention, sounds like a really pleasant and sufficiently busy alternative to work.

What sorts of things are on your Pre-Retirement "To Do" list? The reason I ask is that I am getting closer to retirement myself.

At any rate, welcome to the forum!
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:15 PM   #5
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What sorts of things are on your Pre-Retirement "To Do" list? The reason I ask is that I am getting closer to retirement myself.
The first thing on my 'To Do' list is to create it. I'm on the third draft and am happy to share it. Some of the items have already been completed but I've left them on the list because they might help someone else.

Bill

I expect the next version of this will have columns for Priority & Timetable
Priorities: Must Do, Beneficial to Do, If Have the Time
Timetable: Specific dates if applicable, otherwise as countdown to day of flight, e.g. 2 months prior, 2 weeks prior.

Legal Docs
Passport
Visas
Docs needed to get Visas
Copies of above to friends / family
International driver's license (for use as an ID)

Financial Docs -> DVD/Memory Stick/Online
Scan last three tax returns
Investment records

Personal KnowledgeBase -> DVD/Memory Stick/Online
Convert to most common doc type for access from public computers
Subdivide into country / topic and put online.
Read Culture Shock book.

Citizenship
County Registrar - how vote out of country?
See if can renew state drivers license for max period.

Finances
Give notice to landlord
Close all but two credit cards
Freeze credit?
Two banks: 1 USAA, 1 country specific?
Two ATM cards per account.
Account A - No transfer capabilities. ATM withdrawal only
Account B - Transfer & ATM
Arrange auto transfer from Vanguard to Bank(s) in case no secure access to online banking.
Determine budget with aim to hit 59.5 without having to tap retirement accounts.
Know Ins & Outs of conversion to Roth
Leave a few $K with sister for wiring to me in emergency

Health

1 mo before leaving: Get a physical, New eyeglass prescription, Dentist checkup
Research availability of OTC drugs
Vaccinations - for all anticipated countries & then some
Copy of recent medial records

Stuff

Categorize everything into:
Traveling with me
Safe storage with friend
Sell Ebay
Sell Craigslist
Give away via The Freecycle Network
Dumpster
Into storage for possible return. If no return, have pod (PODS - Reinventing Moving and Storage > Home) delivered to friend who will ebay for a portion of the proceeds

Cars
Prep second car to sell
Sell second car myself
See what CarMax / other dealers will pay for primary car
Use rental for last few days

Travel plans

One way ticket
Onward ticket
Reservations for first few days in country
Arrange transit & accommodations in city from where flight departs USA for a few nights preceding


Travel Equipment
(In addition to my usual travel list)
Consider what clothes will be needed beyond first few months.
New walking shoes
Third World Teva sandals (ones with toe box to prevent stubbing on broken pavement)
Mini laptop for online banking
Password dongle for public terminals
Figure out what I can't buy but will really miss & bring some or none.
Mini chessboard
Consider backup MP3 player
Will current phone work in all anticipated countries, or buy unlocked quad band phone.
Burn unused Books on MP3 to DVD
Backups for mp3, camera usb cables.

In Country #1
Have general plan for sequence of destinations in first country. Base on seasonality (climate, tourist crowds, festivals)
Know likely departure point(s)
Use expat forums to identify volunteer opportunities
Use expat forums to see if I'm going to be able to use my dance shoes.


Misc
Start blog (as if I had the time)
Mail forwarding service?
Use sister as addressee for returned deposits. Leave bank deposit slips with her.
Photos of what I'm supposed to look like after a hair cut.
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:31 PM   #6
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For a vacation, it sounds like a lot of w*rk...

R
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Old 06-14-2008, 03:38 PM   #7
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Great list. I was going to begin putting mine together when I got to less than 500 days - I think I'll modify yours. Thanks.
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Old 06-14-2008, 05:17 PM   #8
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Welcome. You have a big list of things to do. Hope that you will find a perfect place to stay for your extended vacation. DW likes to settle in Malaysia because of its scenery and spicy food. Just curious -- what kind of open-source software will be working on?
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Old 06-14-2008, 08:32 PM   #9
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Welcome. You have a big list of things to do. Hope that you will find a perfect place to stay for your extended vacation. DW likes to settle in Malaysia because of its scenery and spicy food. Just curious -- what kind of open-source software will be working on?
As this list gets longer I see the possibility of getting overwhelmed. That's what happened last year when I underestimated the preparation required. While I delayed retirement (oops - I mean my Open Ended Vacation) for a year I tossed / sold / donated most of the rarely or never used contents of my apartment and garage. The time consuming items that are pure grunt work, such as copying or scanning things and taking photos for eBay postings, I've been doing a little at a time.

As I update the list to include priority for each item, I see how few things actually must be done. I know I'll be able to get those done, the rest is gravy.

I'm currently a C# / Asp.NET / Sql Server developer, for which there are almost no open source projects. I intend to learn LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql and PHP) both because the software is free and there are oodles of projects to choose from.
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Old 06-14-2008, 09:28 PM   #10
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Welcome and best of luck in you retirement. I too am a software developer and have been cutting back on the hours since I was about your age.
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Old 06-14-2008, 10:14 PM   #11
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Wow, that is quite a Pre-Retirement To-Do List!! I think the only two things on your list that are also on mine, would be getting rid of stuff and getting a thorough physical. I am also planning to sell my house after I retire, but that will take a while so it isn't really a pre-retirement item. Right now I am working on fixing things in preparation for selling it, when the time comes. I will be moving, but within the U.S. so my list is shorter than yours.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:15 PM   #12
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great list, you've really been thinking about this. We have similar plans starting in 2010.

The only thing I see you may want to add is "get any dental work sorted out"
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:32 PM   #13
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Uh, what I don't understand is why you [the OP] (and others who are dreaming about this) did not travel more when you were working? You should have already done most of the things on your list during some of your other vacations.
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:26 PM   #14
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Uh, what I don't understand is why you (and others who are dreaming about this) did not travel more when you were working? You should have already done most of the things on your list during some of your other vacations.
Who says we don't do a lot of travel?

So far this year we have been to Spain and France. Last year it was Quebec and England. Year before it was Guadaloupe, Spain, France, and Italy. Also in the last 10 years we've been on vacation to Martinque, Australia (twice), Puerto Rico and lots of places in the USA. DW has twice spent 6 weeks in England over the last 3 years travelling everywhere on trains and buses plus I've done many business trips overseas. (in fact 2 years ago I had to have extra pages added to my passport)

Still need to have lists. No doubt in our mind that we want to travel in retirement.
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Old 06-16-2008, 01:52 PM   #15
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Uh, what I don't understand is why you [the OP] (and others who are dreaming about this) did not travel more when you were working? You should have already done most of the things on your list during some of your other vacations.
From my Original Post
Quote:
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Some of the items have already been completed but I've left them on the list because they might help someone else .
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Old 07-23-2008, 11:12 PM   #16
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Consider backup MP3 player
Will current phone work in all anticipated countries, or buy unlocked quad band phone.
Burn unused Books on MP3 to DVD
Backups for mp3, camera usb cables.
I notice you have the Philippines, Thailand and Malaysia on your list of destinations. Having lived in SE Asia for the past 13 years, I would suggest there is no need to haul spare electrical/computer equipment. You will be able to find whatever you need without much trouble. Just bring the basics that you need and replace if/when necessary. You will probably find that prices are lower too.

As for mobile phones, most places in Asia (and the World for that matter) run on GSM, many on 3 or 3.5G, but all on at least 2G. Unless you intend to use your current US phone, I suggest buying a cheap GSM phone in your first port of call and then buy a prepaid SIM card in each country you visit. That would be the cheapest/most economical route. Otherwise, using your US phone would accrue massive IDD and roaming charges and every call you make would be international.
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:09 AM   #17
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Just bring the basics that you need and replace if/when necessary.
The manufacturers of my camera and MP3 stuck an electric dohickey in the cable, apparently to prevent the device from being used with a generic cable. I'm sure generic cables are easy to find and inexpensive, I don't know about a cable for a 3 year old off-brand mp3 player.

Quote:
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I suggest buying a cheap GSM phone in your first port of call and then buy a prepaid SIM card in each country you visit. That would be the cheapest/most economical route.
I have a cheap GSM phone, prepaid sims has been my strategy. The phone is a tri-band, I was curious if there were any countries where it wouldn't work. I figure I'll deal with that issue if and when it arises.
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:14 AM   #18
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Impressive list. Good things come to those who plan. Good luck with everything!
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Old 07-24-2008, 12:27 PM   #19
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Wow, it sounds like AWSOME FUN!!!!

I've been to Arequipa and went to Colca Canyon from there and it was really fun. I went to Bankok but never been to Chiang Mai. Each each trip was only a week long, so I definitely want to go back to these places again for a longer period. I would also like to visit Argentina.

You must be SOOOO excited!

A friend of mine (in early 2000's... I think he was in his mid thirties at the time) took a year off from work (he got laid off and decided to just take a year off with his wife) to travel (backpacking and staying at cheap hotels) Asia and South America. They found a seasonal (one year) renter for their house. They emailed us their adventures from local internet cafe's the whole year. They had a great time (Both were slim to start with but they were skinny when they got back.... all the walking and carrying big backpacks!)
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