You gotta love all that Facebook hate
That original CNBC article about our story is just nuts - and I had no idea how often news is recycled from media outlet to media outlet. CNBC was the funnel, then it got picked up by several other entities and now, thanks to a Scripps network website called Don't Waste Your Money, our budget has made its way around Facebook.
To include being shared by AKON, the incredibly well-known singer who's Facebook page has more than 50 million likes. Umm, wow!
I gotta admit, it's kinda cool. I generally enjoy seeing my name in print.
But, once again, the negativity that surrounds these types of stories is definitely rearing its ugly head. And, let me be clear: I'm not upset. It is what it is, and stories like ours are very often the recipient of insane criticism.
It's all a part of doing business when you're out in the open. And apparently now, we're more open than ever. Again, that's cool.
Here's my goal in all of this:
If our story inspires just a single person to make some serious changes in their life and begin prioritizing their future, it's all worth it. I really mean it.
Also, if you're here after clicking through from Facebook, welcome! I promise that I'm not a hobo living on the street just to avoid work. Hell, I'm not even here to preach to you about saving money. Your money. Do what you want. I'm just some dude who chose a very different path for his life.
Different doesn't mean "better". It means different. It works for me. It's okay if it doesn't work for you. I'm not judging you. We all need to make the best decisions that we can and take our lives where ever we want them. And, it doesn't need to look anything like what my wife and I are doing.
Choose your path. Do your best. Be happy.
Responding to the negativity
First, let me state how positively giddy I was over some of the comments I've read on Facebook. I was amazed that so many people approached our situation with an open mind, and several of them tagged their spouse in their comment with something like, "Why aren't we doing this too?"
It gets the mental wheels in motion, and that's good. It all starts somewhere.
But, comments weren't so positive when a CBS affiliate in Arizona shared our story. From sarcasm to downright nastiness, reading those comments prompted me to write another one of these posts. Once again - when you dive deeper than the surface-level vitriol, there's a legitimate concern.
Especially involving healthcare.
"How are they only spending $300 a month on health insurance?", one Facebook commenter asked. Another person jumped in and replied to her comment:
"Try closer to $1000/month."
"I'd like to know what health insurance they have... $300/mth for 2 people?"
"We pay $2300 a month as one income retirees. Not possible to pay 300 unless someone is covering the difference."
We pay $300 for both my wife and I because we don't have traditional health insurance. We've chosen to stay as far away from the healthcare mess as possible while we're young and healthy. Instead of health insurance, we signed up for Liberty Health Share. You're treated like a cash-paying patient, but Liberty provides reimbursements that are similar to those of insurance.
And, we can see any doctor we want. You aren't tied to a specific doctor in a specific city. As full-time travelers, traditional health insurance just won't work for us. So, we looked elsewhere and found a solution that's becoming more and more popular with the younger generation, especially those who are nomadic. Health shares cover that niche that we're in, so it works.
Naturally, this won't work for everyone. You'll need to "agree" to Liberty's rules that some might feel are too intrusive, though we found Liberty to be one of the more tolerant health shares out there. If you have a pre-existing condition, again, health shares may not work. Some health shares won't cover them, but Liberty does in 25% installments over four years.
If a health share won't work for you, that's fine. It works for us, so we're taking advantage of the lower cost of health care while we can.
Here are a few other of my favorite comments:
"What a stupid article. Couple making over $200k/yr somehow manages to save over a million dollars and retires early! Wow. Say it isn't so!"
Couples who earn $200k/yr retire early all the time, right?
Most don't. Most (as I did in an earlier life) adjust their lifestyles upward as they earn greater salaries. More things. Bigger homes. Nicer cars.
The truth is, even with that income, we sold both of our homes and live in an Airstream trailer. Sold the majority of our possessions (most of which just turned into "stuff" that no longer provided any real value in our lives). We live small, but nothing about this lifestyle is anything other than pure luxury.
"If it's that the lifestyle you want. No kids, sure, live in a trailer and eat beans and rice. That's not exactly my goal, I enjoyed raising kids and the job was tolerated."
Nothing wrong with raising kids! In fact, my folks raised kids. :)
Kids are not in our future. Neither my wife nor I have any interest in raising children, so we won't. And yes, the lack of kids definitely helped us retire this early. But, don't compare yourself to us. Different strokes, different folks.
Gotta admit, though, that we love eating rice and beans. They are both delicious and staple bulk foods that provide incredible nutritional value (though rice is kinda carb heavy). We don't only eat rice and beans. We make delicious shrimp tacos every week and I'd put my guacamole up against anybody's. Oh, and my wife is gluten free, so we're forced to buy some of the more expensive stuff like coconut milk for the spicy sauce we add to many of our Asian dishes. Womp womp...
"I think they may get bored in a couple years. What happens when they need a new truck, new camper or even tires?"
Actually, we did two of those things this year. Our new truck is a 2012 GMC Sierra 2500 HD. Awesome truck and rides much better than our 2008 Dodge RAM we traded in did. And speaking of the Dodge, we had a tire blow out earlier in the year that forced us to replace all of our tires.
But, that's what emergency funds are for.
And if we get bored, that's okay - we'll do something else. International travel is on our list of possible things to do in a later life.
"Yeah good for them. I'd rather work into my 60s and retire with $1 billion..."
I really wanna be your friend.
Here's a regular soothsayer who apparently has an awfully good grasp of exactly what'll happen in the future. Perhaps I should play the lottery and beg this guy to pick my numbers for me, 'cause I'm bound to win!
"That 1 million will only last them 30 years, so that means before they are 70 they will be broke and going back to work."
Though, I'm heartened that you believe our money will at least last the next 30 years. Most people assume it won't last more than 10. :)
Oh, and one person said this: "He looks like Adam Sandler." I find Adam Sandler to be a beautiful man, so I'll take that as a compliment.
"I'd rather spend... can't take it with ya!"
Fair enough! But, the same can be said for all your stuff.
A few other actual comments that kinda make you go "Hmm...?":
- "Sounds like a miserable life"
- "Tight wads"
- "They look f'ng horrible for being 30"
Okay okay, enough with the negativity. It's the holiday season, after all!
We are thrilled that our story is getting out there and that so many people are approaching what we're doing with an open mind. Living full-time in an Airstream and traveling the country definitely won't be for everyone, but it's an experience that we'll never forget. The places that we've seen and people we've met are quickly becoming the spice of our lives.
It works for us, and that's a wonderful thing.