Friday, February 28, 2014
Privacy World - The WORLD'S SHREWDEST PRIVACY NEWSLETTER
A Transformational Retirement Tale
Retirement in Troubled Times
My wife and I worked at professional jobs for 30 years, but our wealth accumulation was from owning real estate. In 2005, we had a five-year plan to retire when several of the rental properties we owned were paid off. In this same year we sold one problem property and reinvested the money in a tenancy-in-common, known as a TIC. This allowed us to own a small stake in a large commercial property, and our income more than doubled from making this change. We liked that idea so much that we sold the rest of our investment properties, and bought into more TICs. These changes in our portfolio resulted in a fairly large monthly income, without requiring us to manage these properties.
Because we could, we retired immediately.
At this point we bought a large motor home and took a seven-month trip around the US and deep into Mexico. We had enough income that we did not sell our home.
Feeling flush, we took a trip around the world stopping in Paris, then going on to Africa and climbing Kilimanjaro, and going on safari.
Dazzling African sunset
When our fellow climbers returned home, we rode a bus across Tanzania and took a ferry to the island of Zanzibar.
Exotic, dream-filled lifestyle
After a month in Africa it was on to Asia.
In Thailand we met up with Billy and Akaisha, with whom we had been communicating after reading their book, The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement - <retireearlylifestyle.com/>. We spent two months in Thailand and a month in Vietnam. At this time, an around-the-world airline ticket cost only a few hundred dollars more than a ticket to Africa.
Life was still rosy.
We took a trip back to Asia the next winter and went to Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.
We bought a ticket to Asia, a ticket back home four months later, and basically, just went where the wind took us in between.
Life is change
Arriving back to the US, we found that the whole economy had crashed.
To our great disappointment, our investments started suspending monthly payments, one after another. Now, things were not so rosy. We wanted to stay retired, and we wanted a smaller RV, so we sold our motor home at a major loss and put our brick and mortar home up for sale. Luckily we found a buyer for cash, but at a price much less than we would have received only two years before. When the house sale closed, we bought a truck camper and moved into it full time.
Fortunately, we wanted to travel in a truck camper, so it was not a hardship moving into one.
What was hard was seeing our financial investments crumble.
A personal encounter with falling investments
Money that had taken us 30 years to accumulate was being lost in a very short time. Our commercial tenants were going bankrupt, and without tenants, we were losing investments. Even though we were still doing what we wanted, I found myself to be very angry at those whom I felt had caused the problems resulting in our losing much of our retirement assets.
I had been diagnosed with prostate cancer when I was 49. I was cured, but I had come face-to-face with the old adage that "No one is promised tomorrow." With the financial losses we were suffering we could have gone back to work full-time, but we decided to stay retired while we were still healthy. If we had to return to work sometime later, so be it.
A four month trip to Alaska in the camper was wonderful.
We decided to take jobs at Amazon.com in Fernley, NV for the three months before Christmas. Working in a warehouse was a completely new experience. Not only did the hard physical labor get us in better shape, it also gave us a new appreciation for how much things cost when we made a fraction of our old incomes. A tank of gas for the truck was 10 hours of hard work!
Perspective enhancing benefits
I have finally come to grips with my anger at losing so much of our retirement investments. I rarely beat my self up anymore with the "Why didn't I do X instead of Y." When I slip into that mindset, I remind myself of three ideas:
1. Being angry is like taking poison and hoping the other guy gets sick. I am only hurting myself.
2. If I had done "Y" instead of "X", like selling our house sooner, I would not have taken the money and just let it sit in the bank. Knowing myself, I would have invested it, and whatever I invested the money in - be it stocks or real estate - would also have gone down in value, and I would be wondering why I didn't do "Z" instead.
3. Today we are happily retired, although it is not the retirement I thought we would have. I am thankful we retired when we did, because I do not know if I would have had the guts to retire if I had waited until after the crash. I am afraid I would have thought I did not have enough income to retire, and we would have kept working during these prime years of our lives.
Retirement is not a static state
After two years living full time in our truck camper, my wife told me she needed either a bigger RV or a house. As wonderful as I am, two years living close together in a truck camper was enough. After a lot of thought, we realized that we did not want to settle down in a house that couldn't move.
We recently bought a beautiful used motor home.
Freedom and comfort on the road
Our new motor home is nicer than the one we sold in 2008, and cost nearly the same amount as what we received for selling our previous one. Now I don't feel so bad at the beating I took on selling the first one.
This summer, we are going to work as camp hosts at 10,000 ft. in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. More than likely, this is not something I would have done if I still had a large income, but I am looking forward to a summer in the mountains, doing what other people can only hope to do on the weekends.
We plan to travel out of the country again within the next year. Our fixed expenses are only a fraction of our old ones, but we can park a motor home in storage for $100 a month, not the $3000 a month we used to pay for our house. I am happy every day that I am retired and I now know I don't need $100,000 a year to do so.
What has been lost is lost.
It is the future that interests me now.
The above article by Drake Bozarth
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Posted by John MacHaffie at 7:34:00 PM