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Old 12-05-2007, 07:19 AM   #41
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I am guessing, but I would think others have similar experiences.

In our community, there are those people who know how to fix washers and dryers but don't know beans about computers. We exchange those services and everyone benefits. Or sometimes there is an elderly or ill person who cannot get to the grocery or prepare a meal. I do both of those things on a regular basis, and I simply check in with them to see if they need anything. If I'm making a pan of lasagna, I wrap up some portions and give them away. Then, when we are on our long travels, these same people will look after our place to be sure our roof doesn't blow off in a storm, or we don't have any water damage. We don't get the daily or Sunday newspapers but a neighbor does, and when there is a cupon for a sale at Michael's crafts, she walks down and gives me the flyer. When I make poached pears with wine and cinnamon, I give her a batch for her trouble.

How does one put a value on these peripheral services/items? I'm not sure, but yes, our lives are richer for it. I could live happily without the banana bread, but it makes life sweeter having the exchange.
No need to guess any longer. We lend the neighbor our car and I fix his technical stuff: computer, camera, scanner, phones. They look after the plants and cats when we are away. They also supply banana loaves and cookies, and they deliver the daily paper after they have read it.
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Old 12-05-2007, 07:32 AM   #42
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That's interesting....... I guess I assumed that since your books were popular and you charge for them (of course!), that they generated some cash for you. But you say 100% of your cash expenditures are covered by investment income from money you saved before retiring at 38.

I also enjoyed your comments regarding bartering. I had assumed you sometimes received some items of value such as accomodations or transportation. But you emphasized receiving only small favors such as someone providing a discount coupon or watching your house while you're away.

Very impressive. With only $24K/yr passive investment income, I can't imagaine how we would make it without having the part time business generate at least a few pennies of spendable cash or the bartering result in receiving something in trade that meaningfully reduced expenses.
There are real benefits to bartering. We do home swaps and the savings are enormous but the main value is in the enhanced travel experience. Cheaper and better. Can't beat that.

Spending time discovering things an ebay, craigslist or The dollar store is rewarded with lower expenses. And I think the decision to write about your experiences is very common. Just look at all the blogs. But summarizing that stream of consciousness into a useful book generates value even though it was not originally done to make a profit. Like Billy and Akeisha, we are fine with the pensions and portfolio but I shop for value as a hobby.

When I see the same issues come up on boards such as this repeatedly, I will summarize my contribution and experience on the subject and post it to my website. Usually that delivers greater value and avoids posting the same stuff over and over. Does that make me an author? You tell me.
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:10 PM   #43
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We retired in 1991. 15 years before writing our popular and successful book, The Adventurerís Guide to Early Retirement, A Common Sense Approach.

We had no idea what the sales of our book would be so we put the proceeds into another account and continue to do so today. What we do with that account in the future is yet to be determined. Donate it to charity, start a library in some remote country or do something elseÖwe have no clue at this time.

The point is this money has no bearing on our spending, lifestyle or travel.

For 15 years before we wrote our book we led this lifestyle, traveling the world, donating our time to volunteer and enjoying terrific adventurers. Itís really that simple.

The 24K figure is what we average in spending. If you need to spend more fine and sometimes we do also, but on average thatís what weíve run.

Weíve been doing this for 17 years now and continue to hone our skills. Like Kcowan says, itís shopping for value as a hobby.

We do know other ERís that make us look like the Rockefellerís in our spending, some of whom are forum members.

We use our real names not aliases on the forum. Our lives are public via our website, www.RetireEarlyLifestyle.com and so what good would it do if we lied? We are proud of our accomplishments and maintain the attitude that "if we can do it, so can you." (Itís supposed to be inspirational, not confrontationalÖ )

We wrote The Guide to answer many of the questions we were being asked both in person and via our old website and to challenge the reader so they could see different positive options for their future. With 15 years of experience people were interested in our story and how we managed to escape the rat and consumer race so many are trapped into.

We have obviously struck a chord based on the testimonials we receive from readers where they comment on how much we have inspired them to look at their lives from a different point of view.

Many of our readers have come to visit us wanting first-hand knowledge of our experiences. The last few months weíve met a couple that climbed Mt Kilimanjaro who have some awesome stories, an early retired Canadian couple with a teenage daughter and an avid bicyclist who rides the back roads of Thailand. Later this month other forum members are meeting us as well as people from Australia and Tokyo.

These meetings have reinforced our beliefs that if we can live our dreams so can others.

In January we will begin our 18th year of financial independence, and look forward to the new adventurers it will bring.

Kcowan talks about the benefits of bartering and gave some good examples. Get familiar with Craigslist for startersÖ and your neighbors too!

You would be surprised as to how it will increase your lifestyle -- and the community it brings to your life is a very strong and meaningful additionÖ and if you want ideas for lodging benefits while traveling try Couchsurfing.com . All these types of things are listed on our site. http://retireearlylifestyle.com/favorite_er_links.htm

The point is that there are many ways to enhance your retirement besides simply increasing your monthly pension amount.

Itís really that simple and itís Common Sense.

Be well,
Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:26 AM   #44
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We do know other ERís that make us look like the Rockefellerís in our spending, some of whom are forum members.
Anybody I know?

MJ (aka Mr. Thaiwad)
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Old 12-08-2007, 03:27 AM   #45
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When I met Billy and Akaisha in Chiangmai, they seemd to spend a lot of time at the pool and seeking out scrumptious buffet deals, the kind where you pay around $3 per person at very upscale four or five star hotels. Talk about blowing money

They were also gracious enough to host several pool side "Happy Hours" and Billy forced old Lance to drink some beer Chang. They never charged me for the beer, so no income there...

But about this sneaking some (paid) work in, I says we haul Billy before the Supreme ER Investigative Work Panel and make him repent for his dasterdly deeds. If found guilty, he should be punished severly, like no Chang for a month. I say we give Akaisha a pass because: 1) she is a nice lady; 2) most likely Billy forced her to assist him in work projects; and 3) she doesn't drink much anyway

I did some interpreting for a guy and he paid me. I wonder if Billy will press charges against me as well

Lance
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Old 12-08-2007, 02:47 PM   #46
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Great post Lancelot!
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Old 12-08-2007, 06:11 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Billy View Post
Itís really that simple and itís Common Sense.
Be well,
Akaisha
You guys serve as an inspiration to us all. What I like is how you freely share your experiences here and elsewhere.

Akeisha, we have bought a place in PV. We are planning to spend winters from late October (Hallowe'en and The Day of the Dead celebrations) until after Easter celebrations. Then we will travel to Europe/Far East and summer in Vancouver. I hope we can intercept you guys in either Thailand or the US. We will probably be in San Diego in May 2009 on a home swap in May. If we go to Nevada, can we rendezvous somewhere?
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Old 12-11-2007, 09:41 PM   #48
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That was a great post, Lance! Anytime you wanna meet up again... We'd love to see you!

Kcowan

Quote:
You guys serve as an inspiration to us all. What I like is how you freely share your experiences here and elsewhere.



Thank you, Kcowan. We appreciate your appreciation!

Quote:
Akeisha, we have bought a place in PV. We are planning to spend winters from late October (Hallowe'en and The Day of the Dead celebrations) until after Easter celebrations. Then we will travel to Europe/Far East and summer in Vancouver. I hope we can intercept you guys in either Thailand or the US. We will probably be in San Diego in May 2009 on a home swap in May. If we go to Nevada, can we rendezvous somewhere?


Sounds great! and thanks! We'd love to meet up with you. We do have some travel plans for Mexico/Central America next summer and we'll be here in Thailand until the spring of '08. Why not email us anytime and see if our locations are compatible?

Did you buy a condo in PV? We haven't been there in too many years.

If you don't mind sharing, how did you manage your home swap? Is it a 'company' that you have used before? I have a few links on our Preferred Links Page Favorite ER Links for home exchanges... just wondering if yours is a better deal, and how easy it was to arrange.

Thanks again.

Be well,
Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
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My opinion and concerns
Old 12-12-2007, 12:03 AM   #49
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My opinion and concerns

Hi-
I am one of the many people who have written to Aikasha and Billy and received nice responses concerning retirement. Last year I wanted to semi-retire or completely retire from working in Singapore after 19 years as a teacher in International Schools, and Aikasha wrote me a few times to say that I really do have enough to retire. It does take a certain level of courage to make that move.

I'm a Permanent Resident in Singapore for life, and frankly, the cost of housing has become too high at the moment for one that now has to pay rent. I received a call from an ex-colleague to teach in Amman, Jordan, at another very nice international school. It looks like I'm still working, but the feeling I have is that I'm retired. When you have enough to retire (I'm 61) and you choose to work, in my mind, it's retirement.

This next year I may actually do something I never thought I would do, and that is set up a homebase in the States. Having a homebase there does not mean I need to remain there, but it's important now for me to have a place to put everything and the freedom to still teach overseas or do volunteer work overseas. Carrying everything with me is not the way I like to do things anymore.

I'm aiming toward my old stomping grounds from the early 1970's, San Antonio, Texas, the last place I lived for any length of time in the States. I look at townhouses there that are in great shape for under $120,000. I like that feeling of having a home of my own. I've never had that before.

The financial concern I have is that I am still struggling with how to tap into my retirement money. I've met my goal of about a million dollars in savings and investments, but 75% of that is in an after-tax annnuity with TIAA-CREF, and the rest in property stocks and regular stocks also with TIAA-CREF along with a pretty ample bank account. With the after-tax annuity I have 3 choices. Option 1: I can annnuitize the whole thing and get a guaranteed lifetime income of $48,000/year going up to $60,000/year after 25 years. I'd let the rest of my retirement investments remain and grow for another 7 or 8 years, which would greatly help my yearly income after I receive social security. Option 2: Instead of annuitizing, I can take the $750,000 annuity over a period of 9 years and re-invest it. The problem for me is is I would not sleep well if I had to worry about where to put all that money. I really do fear the stock market (it's me, I know). An annnuity income guarantees everything for life, and TIAA-CREF has the highest rating of any investment company, frankly. I wish I could annuitize part of my annuity, but the after-tax annuity is either all or none. Those are the TIAA-CREF rules! Option 3: I could live off the interest from my annuity, which would give me about $36,000/year. However, when you run the numbers, there is not a great deal of profit delaying the annuity payment by a year when the principal stays the same.

I'll probably annuitize sometime next year. I like sleeping at night, and the $200,000 I have in stocks and property investements with TIAA-CREF will sit and I'll add to that over the next few years.

I have read so many articles on Annuities, and there are a fair number of people who hate them, but if you're single, don't have any heirs, and have a family history of long life, that certainly might be worth the cost.

Anyway, I have rambled far from the purpose of this post, and that is I have appreciated Akaisha's and Billy's responses. I am retired, really, and although I drive to a job everyday, I feel good knowing I am retired and choose to do this. Being retired is a state of mind, and if you work, you can still be retired. Just my opinion.

Regards,
Rob
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:18 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Billy View Post
Did you buy a condo in PV? We haven't been there in too many years.

If you don't mind sharing, how did you manage your home swap? Is it a 'company' that you have used before? I have a few links on our Preferred Links Page Favorite ER Links for home exchanges... just wondering if yours is a better deal, and how easy it was to arrange.

Thanks again.

Be well,
Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
Yes we bought a 15-year-old condo in old town. We avoided the tourist-focused high rises in favour of one that locals live in.

The home swaps were arranged at a retiree web site from my megacorp days. This was because there was a certain base level of comfort with former workmates. I note that craigslist is becoming a major place for swaps.

Once we get settled in PV we will be looking to swaps in Europe as there are many interested in visiting PV. Our northern home in Vancouver appeals to skiers when we are in PV, and we use it ourselves in the summer.
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Old 12-12-2007, 08:24 AM   #51
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I'll probably annuitize sometime next year. I like sleeping at night, and the $200,000 I have in stocks and property investements with TIAA-CREF will sit and I'll add to that over the next few years.

I have read so many articles on Annuities, and there are a fair number of people who hate them, but if you're single, don't have any heirs, and have a family history of long life, that certainly might be worth the cost.

Anyway, I have rambled far from the purpose of this post, and that is I have appreciated Akaisha's and Billy's responses. I am retired, really, and although I drive to a job everyday, I feel good knowing I am retired and choose to do this. Being retired is a state of mind, and if you work, you can still be retired. Just my opinion.

Regards,
Rob
No problem with annuities. You are outsourcing your portfolio to professionals and askiing them to guarantee you an income in return for some serious fees. With no concerns about heirs and a likely long life expectancy, it sounds like a good fit for you. Make sure it is inflation-adjusted.

And you already demonstrate what is needed for a successful retirement.
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:48 PM   #52
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Anyway, I have rambled far from the purpose of this post, and that is I have appreciated Akaisha's and Billy's responses. I am retired, really, and although I drive to a job everyday, I feel good knowing I am retired and choose to do this. Being retired is a state of mind, and if you work, you can still be retired. Just my opinion.


Rob, you are most welcome. (I remember you well!) I like the idea that being retired is a state of mind... that works for me too. To me, it's the idea that I don't have to work. I don't have to do anything to make money come in. That provides me with a lot of emotional and intellectual room!

Lovely lovely penthouse Kcowan! thanks for sharing. Couldn't get the 15 year old condo link to load... said page not found.

But I can seeyou have great taste, so my imagination works well for the condo.

Sounds like you have things all set up for your housing needs. Thanks for the info on the swap, too.

Be well,
Akaisha
Author, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:46 PM   #53
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I guess ( Early) retirement has a meaning of it's own for each.
To me it is living to the same standard as when I was in
the working life, but now are free to do as you please with your time! No ifs, ands, or buts about it. No more budgeting than before, or living cheaper than your working career.

Too many as far as I am concerned think retirement is just to stop
working, then everything becomes a delicate act of living within a strictly defined budget. Everything for these types comes down to what something cost. Money on the brain syndrome. Money is the first thought process of anything and everything that they do or happens to them. ( slave to money for eternity).
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