2013 was our first year of traveling the globe, and what a good year it was! We traveled by plane, boat, bus, car, bicycle, and foot through Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and part of the US Pacific Northwest.
We swam with whale sharks, released baby turtles into the sea, swam in underground rivers, jumped off waterfalls, witnessed many wonderful sunrises and sunsets, and ate delicious foods. We studied Spanish, guitar, jewelry making, and Mexican cooking, skills and interests that we can carry through a lifetime.
We left the stresses and inconveniences of the working world behind, and found happiness and contentment through everyday experiences. We even learned quite a bit about the finances and tax benefits of early retirement, slow travel, and medical tourism. But perhaps the highlight of all of these adventures and experiences, we met a lot of interesting people and made many incredible new friends
By any metric, our first year of early retirement was a great success
Throughout the year we have shared details of our expenses, in order to inform others who may be interested in pursuing a life of travel and adventure themselves. Let’s look back on those expenses with the benefit of hindsight
|Details||2013 Annual Expenses||Notes|
This isn’t the full financial picture, of course, as we had several atypical or non-recurring expenses that we broke out separately. These are expenses that, at the time, we assumed would be abnormal for other travelers, or as in the case of Spanish language classes, something better amortized over a longer period of time. (Over time I became more selective for what was considered unusual and these things found there way into the Misc category)
|Other Expenses||Atypical and Nonrecurring expenses|
|1 TB HDD||$112|
|Mother's Day & Birthday||$251|
|US Immigration Processing||$120|
|Guitar amp & cable||$15|
|Total 2013 "Other"||$5,537||~$15/day|
|Total 2013 Spending||$38,966||~$107/day|
Total spending then came in at a bit less than $39k for the year, or about $107/day. Based on the 4% rule, this could be supported by a portfolio value of just under $1,000,000.
This is a pretty reasonable sum for some rock star living.
For interested parties, it is possible to explore these expenses in great detail. A few things that I think are worth highlighting:
$2,563 (~$7/day) of our Healthcare spending was for health insurance (nearly all of our healthcare spending, in fact), which we decided to eliminate and self-insure. One factor that influenced this decision is the relatively low cost of healthcare outside the US. A recent visit to the doctor in Taiwan that included blood work, a chest X-ray, and an EKG cost less than $60, for example.
Many travelers could spend less than we do on housing and dining out. We have rented places with extra bedrooms in order to entice friends and family to visit, a practice that has not had a high return on investment. Going forward we will tend towards renting smaller places, but will be ready to welcome visitors with open arms
Our dining out expenses will continue to be high as a percentage of total spending. Once in Belize, on our way to eat lobster omelets for breakfast, we passed a picnic table full of backpackers silently spreading peanut butter on slices of white bread. We love peanut butter sandwiches as much as the next person, but we will continue to spend a little extra for the lobster omelets in most cases.
For many, the expenses in our “Other” category would disappear entirely, and many of the “Misc” expenses wouldn’t exist at all. If you could avoid dropping your laptop and already knew some Spanish, for example. This will be the case for us as well when we return to Spanish speaking countries, something we very much look forward to
2013 was a great year for us, one full of happy memories and a happy wallet. With it as a benchmark, we feel great excitement for the future and look forward to many more years on the road
Thank you for reading and for your support
Jeremy & Winnie
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