Akaisha and Billy are one of the pioneer FIRE couples who retired at the ages of 38 in the 90s, nearly 30 years ago when the early retirement frenzy did not make waves. They have been through every known FIRE struggle you could think of and they poured out every detail of their lives after quitting their jobs.
I think you can agree with me that these two are more than qualified to speak on the FIRE movement, with years of experience under their belt.
The Decision To F.I.R.E.
In the interview, Akaisha and Billy mentioned that realizing that they were going in the wrong direction, accelerated their decision to early retirement.
They were busting their backs accumulating wealth when we looked at each other and asked, “how much is enough” and that changed our lives.
They got caught up in the social and economic competition that is very common in California and, while both of them were ambitious, their relationship suffered. Billy worked days at Dean Witter Reynolds (an investment firm), and Akaisha was working nights, weekends and holidays keeping the restaurant going.
So they wanted to do something more with their lives. Travel, renew their relationship, volunteer, learn new things, meet the indigenous of the world.
Fears After F.I.R.E
Living in Santa Cruz, California with a large surfing community the surfers’ creed is “No Fear”. Akaisha and Billy pretty much jumped into this with full confidence that no matter what they encountered they could sort it out. Owning their restaurant at the age of 26 with little money and large responsibilities matured them quickly and instilled confidence to overcome obstacles.
Akaisha added that:
“My biggest fear was that my parents would die while I was on the other side of the world, and I wouldn’t be able to be with them in their last days and hours. As it turned out, being retired allowed me to do End of Life Care for my parents. Billy and I helped with End of Life Care for his father also.”
Top Savings & Investment Strategies
Regarding investments, they advise that one should start as early as possible. Invest as much as you can as often as you can using VTI (Vanguard Total Market) and let the market work for you. Also that it is very useful to learn the language of finance so you won’t be taken by someone unscrupulous. Learn from your mistakes.
Regarding savings, their advice is to track your spending so you always know where you are with your net worth. Live Below Your Means (LBYM) – this is an excellent Life habit to begin as soon as you can. Keep peer pressure in perspective. There will always be the social belief to buy more and to own more, but they say that you, keep your goal foremost in your mind and don’t allow those opinions to influence your spending or knock you off track.
The Biggest Misconceptions About The F.I.R.E Community
According to Billy and Akaisha, who has been retired for almost 30-year, they confirmed that indeed there are a lot of misconceptions about those who choose this lifestyle.
For example; that you are a failure if you earn income from some side gig. “Which means all of those WalMart greeters are no longer retired”.
Another misconception is that FIRE-ees sit around doing nothing and that they lose their “mental edge.” Or that they no longer contribute to society, when actually, being FIRE’d allows you the time and money to give back to those less fortunate through volunteering and sharing your expertise without the pressure to meet your bills.
Advice To Potential FIRE-ees
First, you need to know where you are starting from. Track your spending. Be aware of how much you are spending daily, monthly, and annually. Multiply that figure by 25 and it will give you a financial amount to shoot for in your investments.
It is important to ask yourself what sort of retirement you want to have. If you want to travel, stay in your home country, then you will have to figure out what to do with your time. They suggest that you make a list of all the things you want to learn, want to see, and want to do.
This list is very important they emphasized. It will keep you from getting bored in retirement, and it will keep you focused on the best use of your freedom.
After F.I.R.E, What Next?
Akaisha and Billy have traveled the world, seen lots of cultures and different kinds of lifestyles, they found some countries to be surprisingly affordable and that it always depended on the changes with currency fluctuations and the strength of the US Dollar.
“Currently, Mexico is a great value for us”
They have some plans for next year but nothing is put in stone. Flexibility is the key for them and they do not like having a scripted future. Instead, they look at it as a blank canvas being created daily.
“We are always looking for a cheap airfare to “Saint Somewhere.”
Throughout the interview, Akaisha and Billy took their time to explain what helped them along the way. The obstacles they were faced with and how they overcame those hurdles. Check out their blog, RetireEarlyLifestyle.com for more about their FIRE journey, saving and investment strategies and a lot more. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our youtube channel for more.