Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are now 68 years old and they retired over 30 years ago at the age of 38, with a little over $500,000 in their investments. Since then, they’ve used their investments for income. They haven’t worked; they’ve been traveling around the world. Now their nest egg has grown to over a $1 million and it’s been keeping up with inflation. I found this story so fascinating that I wanted to share it with you. We can take some advice about what worked for these two and apply it to your retirement journey.

So how did Billy and Akaisha do it?

#1: Take Time to Plan

Billy and Akaisha took two years to plan their retirement. They didn’t just decide one day that they were going to sell everything and retire from their jobs. While they were still working, they took time to create a draft retirement plan. Then for the next two years, they tried to poke holes in it and find reasons why it wouldn’t work. They really stress-tested their retirement plan.

#2: Make Sure Expenses Are Accurate

According to Billy and Akaisha, the most important part of making their plan was to ensure that their expected expenses were accurate. When they first came up with the idea to retire early, they went back the previous two years to look at what their expenses were and then they closely tracked expenditures for the following two years, to make sure that they were in line with what they thought. And I agree that having a good understanding on what your needs and expenses are in retirement is key. Really, if you’ve got that incorrect, that it doesn’t matter how much you have saved. If the amount that you need each month is inaccurate, it can really throw off the success of a plan.

Taking the time now to track these numbers is a worthwhile investment. You could use or another tracking software. You can do it manually too, but just make sure that you’re paying attention. It is a time investment to do it, but it will be worth it. When you track expenses over a period of time, it becomes easy to categorize normal expenses. You’ll also be able to differentiate between needs and wants. From what I’ve seen, the people who track expenses have a higher chance of success in retirement and feel a lot more comfortable with their plan.

One Caveat

This story of Billy and Akaisha is inspiring and it’s good to apply what worked to them to your own journey. But, we also need to remember that this was 30 years ago and it’s not today. There are some big differences between what was going on then and what’s going on now. They retired right at the beginning of a wonderful bull market for the following nine years. And as we’ve seen from the sequence-of-returns risk, the year that you retire makes an impact on the success of your plan.

There are some ways to make sure that you protect yourself from retiring at the wrong time. For instance, many people retired right before the financial crisis in 2006 or ’07. Those who were successful in navigating the crisis were able to implement some of these strategies to be able to make it through that period and come out on top. And also, most importantly, feel confident and not stressed about needing to go back to work. They wanted to be retired. They had a plan for what retirement was and thankfully they were able to do that.

All in all, this is a great story and I encourage you to watch the clip, get inspired, and take away pieces of advice that you can apply to your own plan. But remember, you’ve got to back it up with practical and wise financial advice and retirement planning advice to make sure that you’re on the right path for your own retirement, not somebody else’s. So, if you need help planning your retirement, please reach out to me.