Updated: Apr 6, 2022
(for Part 1, click here)
The problem, of course, is that most people can’t find a way to finance a life of travel earlier than full retirement age, if at all, because of financial limitations. We were no different than most. We had not invested wisely in our early years. There was no nest egg. We would have to get creative. For us, that meant we needed to maximize our available resources—we needed our limited financial options to work harder for us.
We analyzed our position. Our cost of living was already quite low. We did not carry any debt. We drove used cars paid for with cash. We lived in a fifth wheel trailer that was also paid for. We owned a large house in Montana, free and clear, that Andy had been adding onto and remodeling for many years. It wasn’t completely finished, but we were able to rent out at least portions of it. We also had a large wood shop with an apartment above it. Those could both be rented out. We might even be willing to sell the whole six acre property, though this would be hard for us: it was my grandparents’ house before we purchased it and I had come there on the aforementioned family road trips since I was a small child; and Andy had literally shed years of blood, sweat, and tears over it for so long.
We ran the numbers. If we could maximize our current rentals, or even sell our property and purchase something else that would provide solid rental income, we figured we could leave our careers for a life of travel—provided our monthly travel costs were half or less than the monthly income we were bringing in.
This would allow us to build up a cushion to fall back on when we needed to bring our travel days to an end. We would need to maximize our time in places with a lower cost of living. No problem there. With both of us able to use Spanish and happy to spend our time “south of the border” living a simple lifestyle, cost of living would not be a problem. The plan seemed sound to us, but then we have never been known to be completely prudent in financial matters, as money has never really been our strong suit. We ran it by a few other people, including my dad, a former banker. Much to our surprise, we received green lights all around.
We knew it all hinged on maximizing our rentals, though, and this would be difficult to do when the house was not finished and we were still running back and forth between our jobs in Oregon and our home in Montana. Andy had the skills to finish the house, but we needed a solid block of time. Our jobs were stressful, but they were also steady, reliable sources of solid income. For most people, that stability would be hard to walk away from.
We, however, are not most people.
(for Part 8, click here)