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Early retiree, 11 years later...
Old 05-20-2012, 09:19 AM   #1
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Location: Nevis, West Indies
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Early retiree, 11 years later...

Hi, all.

I just joined up to see what's going on over here--looks like an interesting forum. I've been a member of, a sister forum in the Social Knowledge group, for a few years, and served as a moderator and administrator there for a while, so thanks in advance to the mods and admins here.

A little background...

My wife and I retired at age 56 in 2001, just as the Tech Bubble burst. Being staunch Vanguard investors for years, we adhered to the mantra "stay the course", and weathered the storm, but not without a bit of angst.

My wife was a high school and college math teacher, and I was a utility executive. Neither of us have fixed pensions--we chose to manage our retirement benefits ourselves, along with our IRAs. I was an early user of FIREcalc, and it helped me develop a sense that we could actually pull it off without crashing and burning.

After retirement, we lived in a vacation home we'd built on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia for five years, doing quite a bit of sailing, including two six month sojourns amongst the islands of the West Indies. That's our boat (now sold) in my avatar. We found we liked it so much down here that we sold our house in Virginia in 2006 and moved to the island of Nevis, where we've since been living full time.

Nevis has been really great, but we're now planning to move back to the States, primarily to be closer to family and old friends, and especially to be able to spend more time with our two young granddaughters. And to to some traveling, before we get too old to enjoy it.

I'm looking forward to getting to know the forum and members, and hope to be able to chime in with some pertinent info when I can.



p.s. just to let you "retirement guys" know, Janet H saves her best avatars for the sailors over on CF... Haha!
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:45 AM   #2
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Hello Hud, and welcome aboard. Leaving Nevis? That's a big step, and I imagine you'll have a bit of adjusting to do. We lived not far from there in Venezuela for a few years. We never made it to Nevis but did go to St Kitts when we needed to really get away.

We retired a year before you and survived the same market torment. A few others here as well. Interesting times, then and now, eh?

Lots of interest here in retirement abroad, so hopefully you be able to add to that continuing discussion. Good luck.
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:56 AM   #3
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Thanks, Michael.

Moving back is a big step, but the time is right for it. It was never our intent to stay here forever.

When we retired back in 2001, we decided that we didn't want to fritter away our retirement years, so we decided to take roughly five year "chunks" and focus on doing something we really wanted to do. The first five years was focused on sailing, and we did quite a bit. The second six years has been "living on a tropical island". The next "chunk" we've decided will be getting back to family and old friends and doing some significant traveling, at least one major trip per year.

You never know how long your health will last, so we're out to make the most of it while we still are able.
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:17 PM   #4
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Hi Hud - nice to see you here at E-R. Keep us posted as your move progresses. Are you planning to return to the Chesapeake area?
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:21 PM   #5
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Hello Hud3,

Welcome to the forum. Sounds like you've had a great retirement so far!
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:27 PM   #6
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welcome HUD,

i immediately recognized your name from

it was our dreams of retiring early to go full time cruising with my wife after our son (5) graduates high school that led me to this forum.

the cruisers forum i had to break from because i spent all my time daydreaming and thinking about sailing and looking at sailboats to cruise.

im now spending most of my time learning how to get there (early retirement) and we are doing very well.

there are so many cruising on $500/month threads and questions, but our goal is $5,000/month.

from your experience, reasonable?

we want to spend time on land in addition to on water. and major boat work and repairs will be hired out.

goal is 50 years old. 13 more years.
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Old 05-20-2012, 02:47 PM   #7
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Hey Hud, nice to see you here. I like that 5 year chunk philosophy.

What have been your favorite and least favorite things about living in Nevis?
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Old 05-20-2012, 04:02 PM   #8
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See my sig line LOL! Welcome to the forum! I'm also a 10+ years early retiree (1999).
Retired since summer 1999.
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Old 05-20-2012, 04:31 PM   #9
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Welcome, Hud.
Living an analog life in the Digital Age.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:25 PM   #10
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Hi, all. Thanks for the warm welcome!

Janet, yes, we're planning to move back to the Richmond, Virginia, area. Maybe I'll get a small trailer sailer that I can sail it on the Bay.

Floridanurse, you're way ahead of where we were. It took me until age 57 to figure out we could afford to do some serious cruising. Our monthly living expenses living at anchor in the West Indies was less than $1,500/month, and we didn't feel like we were scrimping in the least. Any boat repair costs or travel would be over and above that.

Hey, yerself, Andy. Lots to like about living on Nevis, but the people here are what do it for me. The locals are friendly and very welcoming, and the ex-pats are a really diverse and interesting bunch and although the island is a somewhat high-end tourist destination, we've yet to meet any snobs. The bad news is that shopping is spartan, which is also the good news. Our overall living expenses here are about half of what we were spending back in the States. It's easy and very rewarding to live simply down here and still enjoy life to the max.

audreyh1--I like your sig line! Great minds, and all that... So, what five year phase are you in right now?
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Old 05-21-2012, 02:40 PM   #11
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Welcome aboard. I just retired last summer, though more importantly I've been sailing for almost 40 years. However, we're boat less now for the first time in 23 years. I race every week summers on OPB though - lots cheaper. Did an overnight race this past weekend. The more sailors/boaters the better...
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:27 PM   #12
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Welcome Hud3! I sailed/raced on the Chesapeake and Severn River 5 - 7 days/week while attending the "Boat School" (USNA). I have a lot of memories on the water there.

Good luck with your next 5 year chunk.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:52 PM   #13
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Welcome Hud. I look forward to hearing your stories of places you have been and adventures ahead. I like the idea of the 5 year chunks that you and Audrey are doing.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:36 AM   #14
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Thanks, guys.

Rowdy, my first sail ever was in Round Bay on the Severn River when my uncle took me out on his Comet and let me handle the jib sheets. I think that may have been what hooked me on sailing.
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