How to retire early when you are not rolling in cash!

This photo was the start of something huge.

It was March 2020 and we were about to fly from Perth to Bangkok for 9 nights holiday. Kylie's phone was ringing off the hook with a few friends asking "are you sure you want to go?" which was rather curious to us.

You see, it was the month that the pandemic really started to affect Australia, but since we didn't watch the news we were kind of oblivious to the whole thing, and in total naive excitement, we returned an excited "yep, we can't wait to get there" to those well-meaning friends.

Fast Forward to the last day of our trip and we had a massive influx of messages demanding "when are you coming home... the government has called for borders to close today". They were all rather relieved we were already at the airport waiting to take off.

We actually had the best time over there! The first few days we weren't loving it so we decided to do as many tours as we could as we figured we wouldn't be back. And that's what made us fall in love with Thailand. By the last day, we were dreaming about when we were coming back (turns out it would be longer than we liked due to the worldwide pandemic).

Fast forward 3 months and Youtube showed us the way.

June 2020 saw me fly to Perth for a Plexus conference. As we tend to do, we were sending each other photos of our evening meal. Mine (Kylie) was from a fancy restaurant with my gorgeous Plexus family and Oli's came back a photo of cheese toasties in front of the TV which he had paused to take the photo. 

The TV was what caught my attention.... it was a Youtube video called

"How to retire in Thailand for $2K month" 

I queried "Whatcha watching there babe?"

To which he replied "We'll talk about it when you get home"

And so it began.

How do you retire in your early 50's when you are not rolling in money?

We figured out pretty quickly, that if we wanted to move to Thailand then we would have to be earning our income online. So this is where we stood when the planning started:

  • Superannuation - can't touch that until you're 62.
  • Shares - not a massive amount but enough to give us about $700 dividends a month
  • Savings - a mojo account (aka barefoot investor style)
  • A house - was currently rented but will be sold before leaving but had a mortgage

So where we began meant that our only income besides Kylie's online income was the share dividends. Clearly not enough right?

This is where things got interesting. They say when the student is ready the teacher will appear. I had been building a business online since 2015 in the health sector along with publishing books. Since I seem to have always been an entrepreneur at heart I was always trying new things, and Oli was always found it fun to find new ways of making money so we are a good match when it comes to being enthusiastic about trying things.

As passionate as I was about my health business, I loved everything about the world of being an entrepreneur and how you could make an income in the most random of ways. During those years I earned income building websites for people, doing workshops to help them uncover their branding and niche, and did graphics for others. There is not much I was not willing to have a go at.

BUT.... what I loved most was encouraging my friends, clients, and followers in the health business to find what lit them up in life and pursue it. So many coffee dates and phone chats centered around me giving tips on how to get started in something, or what options were available. I would even tell Oli and we would spitball different ideas. Oli has always been an ideas man!

So we knew at this point we needed about $2500 a month to live comfortably, so the plan started for how to grow that. Do you know how that happened? I wrote a list of all the things I or we have done and all the questions I've ever been asked which culminated in this blog.

Areas where money can be earned by anyone.

Are you like Oli, in so much as you have always worked for the man? He has had a great career however it took him a while to come around to the idea of earning money online simply because it was such a foreign concept to him. Is that you too?

Here are a few ideas just to get you started, but don't forget to download a full list HERE

  • Teaching English online (no degree necessary)
  • Writing Books for Amazon (you don't need to be the next Shakespeare)
  • Network Marketing (Brilliant for people who love to chat)
  • Design Merchandise (Are you quick-witted & make people laugh?)
  • Affiliate Marketing (Do your friends always want what you have because you make it sound amazing and you love it?)

This is just the start. Honestly, there is something for everyone when it comes to earning money online. The trick is to be open-minded enough to try something.... oh and to know what you're working towards.

So how much money do you need to retire?

That will all depend on where you want to live and your expectations. We have never longed for the BIG house (too much work) and FANCY sports car (my fave car is an F350). We are more interested in collecting experiences NOT stuff. So for us, it is easy to cut down on what we need. I guess the questions you need to ask yourself are:

  • What does your retirement look like to you? Is it on a tropical island, in a caravan or RV, or on a large block of land being self-sufficient? Different strokes for different folks, so get serious about what truly lights you up and plan for it. 
  • What age are you? How many years before you want to retire or go on adventures? Our end date is September 2023 to be in Thailand. Earlier if possible but we can realistically put our finances in place by this time.  
  • What savings do you already have to fund this vision? Don't forget to include current assets that you plan to sell. For example, we will sell our car which should gain us around $50,000 AUD but we need that amount in a Thai bank account to get a retirement visa so that is taken care of already on our list of things we need to save for. We also have our house and furniture which we will sell most of (except for special items) as we are planning to be gone for 10 years. 
  • How long does it need to fund you for? For us, it is a little over 10 years until Superannuation kicks in and that will take over our income. Planning for a long life is key here as you don't want to be caught short right?

This can all just be doodles in a notebook. It can be a spreadsheet in Google. It can be wherever you want it to be, but what changes this from a dream to a plan is actually putting it on paper. Currently, we are working with Google Sheets because we can share the document and both add to it as we think of things. This simple act keeps us both on task with working towards our goal.

Once you know what income you need it is simply a matter of being curious as to how that can be achieved. However, before you decide on what income streams you are going to have a go at, make sure you are clear on what your retirement looks like. For example, if you choose network marketing and are moving to somewhere like Thailand, will they ship there? It may or may not be a deal-breaker (you could have products sent via a 3rd party shipping) but it is something to factor into your plans.


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