Retire Oveseas – Early Retirement – It’s a Lifestyle, Not a Vacation

Retire Overseas - It worked for us

Retire Overseas – It worked for us … it can work for you too

Retire overseas to re-awaken memories, feelings and experiences that have probably been buried dormant under your busy work-a-day lifestyle for decades.  Even in today’s economy, early retirement is still a viable alternative when you open your mind to retirement overseas.  For many of you, that re-awakening will fall somewhere between a “breath of fresh air” and a “glass of cold water to a dying man looking for water in a desert”.  Early retirement overseas can be truly life changing for people of any age.

Don’t be one of the many that works yourself to death to afford to retire, only to discover that you are too tired, too old, too sick or too broke to experience the “retirement good life” that you dreamed about over all those decades of work.

One of my inspirations for the “early retirement” lifestyle has been in the books and blog posts of Billy and Akaisha Kaderli of the Retire Early Lifestyle blog fame.  Turns out, while I was out plowing my own path as a nomad underwater photographer traveling the world, visiting over 100 countries and living in 6 different countries, the Kaderli’s were also out on their own worldwide quest to find an ideal place to retire overseas.

Adventurers Guide To Early Retirement

Adventurers Guide To Early Retirement

I borrowed part of the title of this blog post from a recent post on the Retire Early Lifestyle blog.

It’s a Lifestyle, Not a Vacation

I felt this was an important topic because so many people have misconceptions about what it means to “retire overseas”.  For many of you, your only frame of reference for the term “retire overseas” is your limited experience as a tourist visiting an all-inclusive vacation resort or other touristy beach town somewhere.  All hustle and bustle, umbrella drinks and party, party, party…. and of course, tourist inflated prices.  Trust me, for most of us expats, that is pretty far from the lifestyle we choose once we get here.  True enough, we can easily take advantage of those nearby “vacation-style” amenities whenever we like, but many of us choose to live a more sustainable, lower cost lifestyle.

Another misconception is about the term “early retirement”.  Again, most Americans have a singular frame of reference regarding retirement.  You work till you are 62, or 65 or even 70 then you hang it up and try to live on Social Security and whatever you have managed to squirrel away in some IRA or 401k or similar savings plan.  I have seen and known so many people that have literally worked themselves to death to reach “retirement” only to discover that they are too tired, too old, too sick or too broke to experience the “retirement good life” that they dreamed about over all those decades of work.

Retire Early Lifestyle - Meet Billy and Akaisha

Retire Early Lifestyle – Meet Billy and Akaisha

Who mandated that retirement needed to look like that?  Who said you have to wait that long?  Who said that you needed to stop earning a living just because you are “retired”.  Who said you have to keep your high cost of living lifestyle that you have in America, Canada or Europe?  Who said you have to keep paying exorbitant healthcare costs?

The Kaderli’s did it differently.  They hopped off the treadmill at age 38 and set out to figure out how to enjoy early retirement… decades before their counterparts.  Of course that meant adopting the overseas lifestyle.  The following are a few of their observations regarding “early retirement” and how to “retire overseas” based on the last 25 years offshore.


Ever wonder how it was for us in the beginning of living life without a paycheck?

In 1991, we understood that we were retiring with the idea that we would not be returning to work. If we had to, we would, but it was not part of the plan. We were not taking a break from work, we were leaving the working world all together. It was a little unnerving to be making such a clean break because we were out on our own with little emotional support from family and friends. Our retirement at age 38 challenged the belief systems of everyone we knew.

Important points

After all this time, the most important thing we want our Readers to know is: Don’t let anyone destroy your dream. Learn to be self-sufficient and self-motivating and you can create the life you want to live. If you desire something strongly and it makes you happy, don’t look to others for approval. Move in the direction of your dream.

Additionally, we want to inform you of the value of tracking spending. We’ve tracked our spending since our early years of owning a restaurant when we were in our 20’s. This has given us a sense of control over our finances and that brings self-confidence. If you track your spending you always know where you are financially, and if you know your net worth you can calculate what percentage you are spending. A rule of thumb is to keep your spending at 4% or below of your invested capital. If the market changes or your life circumstances change, knowing where you are with your money output is priceless.

Retire Early Lifestyle - FREEDOM

Retire Early Lifestyle – FREEDOM

What we wanted to achieve

Above all else, we wanted our freedom.

We had been working 60-80 hour work weeks with very little personal time or time with family and friends. While we consider ourselves to be productive people and we loved our jobs, this amount of time focused on work began to feel like a grind. I am sure many readers understand this feeling as we were not unique. We longed for large stretches of time before us that were unstructured so we could do as we wanted, when we wanted. So we traveled, read books, took classes, played music, took photos, and met new people – all on our own time schedule.  This pleased us greatly.

The greatest lessons we have learned

It’s a lifestyle, not a vacation Live your newfound freedom as a lifestyle instead of in constant vacation mode and that will give you stamina and your wallet longevity.

The stress doesn’t stop, it just changes form. Being retired doesn’t mean you are stress-free. There are family issues, bills to be paid, perhaps car or home maintenance and the very important task of keeping yourself young and engaged with life.

The trash still needs to be taken out.

 Keep things simple

Life has a way of becoming complicated. Wanting to cram years of fun and ideas into a few hours can make for stress you don’t really need. We encourage you to keep things simple.

Retirement is a work in progress, and you’re in charge.  While you may have done your homework on the retirement front, there’s still the chance that your dream lifestyle might need some tweaking. If you find that this is the case, you are not a failure. You are the captain of your ship and can decide what to change if something might fit better. Life is not static. Leave room for some serendipity.

Don’t take life so seriously, have fun with it! It’s later than you think!

This last point is so very important. No matter where you are on the continuum of life, it’s later than you think. We can’t tell you how many friends we have lost in the last few years – those who were only in their 50s, some in their mid-60s.

All this planning and focus on the future and not a moment to enjoy the present is unfulfilling.

Today is the day to smile. Find a way to laugh heartily. Try something new. Refresh yourself. Have no regrets. Because it’s truly later than you think.

Would we have done anything differently?

In terms of our manner of retirement, we probably would not have done anything differently, as we are happy with our lifestyle. However, it would have been wonderful to have known beforehand that we would have a successful retirement so we could have relaxed about it a little bit more. We were so on the cutting edge and with not a lot of people to look to as mentors so there was that thread of underlying stress of “could we thrive in early retirement?”

That’s where self-reliance, self-motivation, and self-confidence all comes in. We left no room for failure.

Advice to those who read our site

Our readership spans those who are in their 30’s and just starting families and who are looking ahead, people in their 40’s and 50’s  who are wanting to retire in the near future, and those who are in their 60’s who want a fresh look to their retirement dreams.

Our message of freedom and self-reliance has broad appeal.

For everyone, we say don’t let anyone steal your dreams.

For our younger readers we always say to save as much as you can as early as you can. Learn to live simply, don’t go into debt and to track spending. Learn the language of finance and don’t depend on anyone else to make your dreams come true.

For those nearing retirement we help with organizing – Do you want to live abroad or move to a lower cost of living location? How much is your annual budget? Could you live car-free? How does one keep in touch with grandkids and family? What about access to healthcare or assisted living?

We suggest to these people… do not to let fear rule you future, try new things and allow flexibility with how your retirement dream shows up.

What about YOU….. are you going to be one of the majority that works themselves into the grave… only waiting for that day in the future when you finally think you can….

Or will you step out and explore.  Will you do the homework to discover that you really can afford to live the life of your dreams if you open your eyes to what you can do if you retire overseas.

For us, we settled for a “working retirement” lifestyle down here on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic.  We enjoy the year round great tropical weather, the almost constant ocean breezes, the unspoiled and uncrowded beaches and being surrounded by friendly, warm people.  We hope you will at least give us a chance to share a bit of what this experience is like on one of our free Discovery Tours.

For now, it’s Barry off on another of our weekly tours with another family from up north.


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