“Our Retirement Was Coming Off the Rails”

Shortly after my son graduated from college, I talked to him about life.

I told him that life is like that first big hill on a rollercoaster. At his young age, he was slowly going up…up…up…and all he could see were blue skies ahead. I, on the other hand, had crested the top…and clearly saw the bottom racing toward me.

Five years ago my entire existence felt like it was coming off the rails. My wife Cynthia and I were living in a large, beautiful home in Las Vegas with successful careers and investments that were propelling us toward our retirement goals.

Then the economic crash struck and we both were abruptly downsized.

It didn’t take long for us to discover that lucrative employment opportunities for folks in their 50s were virtually nonexistent. We found ourselves facing an unexpected crossroads—should we keep plowing ahead in a perhaps futile attempt to get our lives back on track? Or was there another way?

We started exploring online for options to live abroad and stumbled upon an unknown city in a country we knew next to nothing about—Cuenca, Ecuador. But we did know what we were looking for:

Cuenca appeared to check all of our boxes, so we quickly scheduled a trip to find out firsthand whether it lived up to its promise. We were searching for red flags…but we didn’t find any. In fact, this UNESCO World Heritage city totally exceeded our expectations.

After returning home for a year to get our affairs in order, we got off a plane in Cuenca to begin our new adventure. Three years later we continue to enjoy an amazing life experience.

Our decision to make the move so quickly was based on the realization that every year we have left is our best year. Sure, we could have stuck it out and maybe saved a few thousand extra dollars for retirement. But at what cost?

We wanted to start living—really living—our life now.

Have you asked yourself what’s keeping you from pulling the trigger?

Are you hoping to accumulate more money? What if that plan doesn’t work out and you find yourself down the road with wasted years and less capital?

Not sure where to relocate? Figuring that one out is easier than you think. Just ask yourself with complete honesty, as Cynthia and I did, what do you want to wake up to 24-7-365? Don’t just think about the climate and topography—think about everything that defines your ideal life. You’ll be amazed how quickly the list of possibilities narrows.

Maybe you’re clinging to some vague hope that “things will get better.” That light at the end of the tunnel may indeed be sunshine… Or it could be an oncoming locomotive.

It’s not necessary to face a difficult situation like I did to recognize that this year—this one right now—is the best year of your life. I now wake up every morning thankful that I once again see blue skies in front of me.

What about you?

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