“I start out (by) asking them how they envision their future life, whether they're comfortable in their house, do they see themselves downsizing, that sort of thing. And I talk about what skills they've got, what have they learned through their working period, things that they enjoy doing that maybe they've never been paid for before. Thinking that being a mentor, teaching at a local university or community college, that sort of thing will bring in some money, allow them to keep their hand in whatever they're doing if they're interested in it, that sort of thing.
Then we start to dream and I take them back in time when you were 10 years old and you didn't have to do anything. You ran out the door in the morning. What's the first thing you did? What did you think of? What did you want to do? And then when we move gradually age those dreams to something more age appropriate and we work along the path toward where those dreams could take them now.”
- Jacquie Doucette, Retirement Lifestyle Planner
Jacquie Doucette is a “retirement lifestyle planner.” Her version of retirement is one that’s re-imagined and re-defined. For her, retirement doesn’t mean “stopping” it just means doing something else. Sometimes that “something else” means you’re earning money to help supplement your retirement lifestyle… sometimes not. We also talk about what couples wrestle with when one retires before the other, balancing the wants and needs of each person and how their lives might change.
This episode of The Matt Feret Show will give you an insider’s guide to retirement lifestyle planning, traveling the world on the cheap, location-independent online platforms offering retirees ways to create additional income, and a whole lot more!
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Deezer, Podcast Addict, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, Alexa Flash Briefing, iHeart, Acast or on your favorite podcast platform. You can watch the interview on YouTube here.
Brought to you by Prepare for Medicare – The Insider’s Guide book series. Sign up for the Prepare for Medicare Newsletter, an exclusive subscription-only newsletter that delivers the inside scoop to help you stay up-to-date with your Medicare insurance coverage, highlight Medicare news you can use, and reminders for important dates throughout the year. When you sign up, you’ll immediately gain access to seven FREE Medicare checklists.
“People don't seem to realize that retirement is in the top 10 list of big stressors in your life and most people just look at it as it's the end, but it's not an end. It's a beginning and you've got to take the time to acknowledge that something has ended, sort out how you're feeling about what has ended and then look forward to what the future has and it's a big transition.”
- Jacquie Doucette, Retirement Lifestyle Planner
“What I've seen as the people who are both physically and mentally active are the ones that are the happiest. The ones that have found something to do every day, something that gets them up and gets them moving for, I'm not going to give a prescribed period of time, but something that gets them up and out of the house and doing something every day as well as having something to keep their brain going, something to solve a problem. My dad did crossword puzzles and the Sudoku every single day. Kept himself thinking, that sort of thing. I don't think that you're going to have a long productive post-retirement life if you don't incorporate exercise and mental health. You've got to keep your brain going.”
- Jacquie Doucette, Retirement Lifestyle Planner
00:02:47 Early Retirement adventures and FIRE
00:05:51 The FIRE movement
00:06:58 The Paradise Pack
00:07:32 Jacquie’s version of retirement
00:12:07 Jacquie’s process
00:15:01 Defining yourself by your work and moving beyond it
00:15:53 Location-independent cash flow in retirement
00:18:03 Online platforms for income during retirement
00:24:51 Retirement planning for couples
00:28:42 Retirement planning and stress
00:32:55 Defining and finding meaning in retirement
00:34:18 Physical and mental health and happiness in retirement
00:37:43 Cash flow needs in retirement
00:40:01 Great international locations for active retirees
00:42:54 The right age to begin retirement lifestyle planning
00:46:17 The best age to retire
00:47:05 Retirement planning and failure
00:48:40 Jacquie’s contact information
00:49:42 Show close
00:00:00 / 00:50:55
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Matt Feret (00:03):
Hello everyone. This is Matt Feret, author of the Prepare for Medicare book series, and welcome to another episode of The Matt Feret Show, where I interview insiders and experts To help light a path to a successful retirement. Come say hello at www.themattFeretshow.com for show links, notes, websites referenced quotable quotes, and the complete show transcript. You can also check out www.prepareformedicare.com and my new site, www.prepareforsocialsecurity.com. Both support the books, Prepare for Medicare, The Insider’s Guide to Buying Medicare Insurance and Prepare for Social Security, The Insider's Guide to Maximizing Your Retirement Benefits. Each website has a spot where you can sign up for my monthly newsletter. I cover Medicare, Social Security plus wealth, wisdom, and wellness topics in, or nearing retirement.
Jacquie Doucette doesn't call herself a retirement coach or a life coach, but rather a retirement lifestyle planner. As you're about to hear, she's been practicing and exploring retirement for years. That's because she's retired three times. Her version of retirement is one that's reimagined and redefined. For her, retirement doesn't mean stopping, it just means doing something else. Sometimes that something else means you're earning money to help supplement your retirement lifestyle. Sometimes not.
We also talk about what couples wrestle with when one retires before the other, balancing the wants and needs of each person and how their lives might change. This episode of The Matt Feret Show will give you an insider's guide to retirement lifestyle planning, traveling the world on the cheap. Location-independent online platforms, offering retirees ways to create additional income and a whole lot more. Enjoy. Jackie, welcome to the show.
Jacquie Doucette (02:00):
Thanks Matt. I'm really excited to be here today.
Matt Feret (02:03):
So tell everybody what you do, how long you've been doing it, and how you help people?
Jacquie Doucette (02:09):
Okay. I call myself a retirement lifestyle planner and what I do is I help people who are thinking about retiring or who have just found themselves in retirement and are wondering what to do, figure out what the best course of action is for them, how they can enjoy their life to the fullest now that they've got what everybody thinks is freedom for the rest of their life. And I've been doing it for about three years since I started thinking about retirement on my own.
Matt Feret (02:36):
Yeah. How did you get into this?
Jacquie Doucette (02:39):
Well, it's a long story.
Matt Feret (02:42):
That's a podcast. You got time. Go for it
Jacquie Doucette (02:45):
Matt Feret (02:46):
Jacquie Doucette (02:48):
I first retired at the age of 39 and I thought, "This is fabulous. I'm done. Look at me. The world is my oyster." Only my kids were little at 39 and there just wasn't going to be enough bread on the table if I wasn't still working. So retirement didn't work that time. So I went back and I figured that maybe I could retire at 50. So it's always in the back of my head and I figured I'll talk to my financial advisor, I'll get it all sorted out. And I came running back to my husband with the papers in my hand, "Look, I can retire at 50." And he looked at me and he said, "But you've got me making the same income till I'm 85." I said, "Well, yeah. It's my retirement plan."
Matt Feret (03:31):
Not yours. My retirement plan is you working to 85.
Jacquie Doucette (03:36):
Yeah. So we negotiated a little bit and I kept working, but it was always in the back of my head, "How can I replace my income?" Because that's what we all think about is where's the money going to come from if I retire? And I found a package called the Paradise Pack, and in it is a bunch of different programs that help you make an income from anywhere in the world. So the idea is that you can be a vagabond, you can be traveling around the world and still making money. And I really liked that idea and I got really involved in one of the programs inside it. And in this program I met a few people that taught me about house sitting and international house sitting is hey, my retirement gig, that is the thing because you can travel the world. But I was doing that.
So I was house sitting from my day job. I took all of my vacation all at once. I took five weeks and I went to Mexico to do a house sit. And while I was there, these friends who introduced me to house sitting said, "Come on Facebook and be an audience for this guy who's trying to teach people how to create content for their podcast." So I said, "Well, yeah. Okay. I've got nothing else to do. I'll do that." And in three days I had 12 months worth of podcast content laid out. So I said, "I might as well do a podcast."
So my podcast is about my journey to retirement. And from that I started going along and meeting people who have no idea about retirement or what to do, where to go, how to figure it out. So I figured, "Well, I can help them. I'm doing all these steps. I can show them what I think is the best way to plan their own retirement." So that's what I do, and it finally made it to my retirement point and I've passed that spot and now I'm helping other people get there too.
Matt Feret (05:32):
There's so much to unpack there. I mean, I don't know how long we have or you have, but I can spend hours talking about this. So let me go all the way back. You said three years, that's not true. You had practiced retiring prior to three years. You've done this a couple of times, it sounds like.
Jacquie Doucette (05:51):
Matt Feret (05:51):
Okay. So I think maybe some of the people listening have heard of the FIRE movement, financial independence, retire early movie, the movement, and that was only a thing starting what, 10 years ago, eight years ago. But it sounds like you did that well before it was an acronym, FIRE.
Jacquie Doucette (06:07):
Well, except that I didn't get the FI part right. I didn't have the financial independence. I just had the retire early part.
Matt Feret (06:14):
Okay. But you tried and you were always with this ear and eye towards some financial independence and retiring early, getting away from the traditional 55, 60, 65, 70, just living life on your own terms. So then it sounds like, and again I'm summarizing your story, which is again, many, many... Tell me where I'm wrong. I'm wrong every day. Then you worked some more, your husband works some more, although it sounds like he doesn't have to work till 85 anymore, which is good. But then you found a packet of information you said about, when was this? I mean recently 10, 20 years ago. I mean, what was the packet called?
Jacquie Doucette (06:58):
It was called the Paradise Pack. And every year, for the last few years, it's come out once a year for a couple of weeks it's available. And I bought into it in 2017. And what it has every year is a few different programs or opportunities that people have put together showing how they are living, location, independent life, basically. Different ways that you can lead a location, independent life. And that's what I was looking for, something that would make me money that I could do from anywhere.
Matt Feret (07:32):
So your version of retirement is a pretty specific version then. It sounds like it's a highly mobile, still making an income. It doesn't sound like you're not working, obviously you are working, you've got podcasts, you're on this show, you're helping people with retirement, you're house sitting. That's a different version of retirement than most people I think, I think of, which is sit on the rocker, play some golf, spend time with the grandkids. Talk to me about how you found your version of retirement and what that means to you.
Jacquie Doucette (08:07):
Okay. I think I knew that when I retired, I didn't want to just sit with my feet up watching Netflix, drinking a nice little drink with an umbrella. That wasn't going to be my life because I envisioned my life being long and that isn't the way to live it, in my opinion. I want to be out and doing things and I love to travel, so I wanted to be able to travel. I want to spend time seeing the parts of the world that I didn't get to see because I was working all the time. And I looked at my parents who were in their mid-thirties when I was born. I watched them grow old and I watched my dad retire. And his retirement, it started out active. He was doing all sorts of things, but as he got older, the ability to do those things deteriorated.
And I think a lot of that it was medical problems, but I think some of it could have been, I don't know, slowed down if he had been up and doing other things, but as he got older, he did less and I don't want that to happen to me. I don't want my retirement to be looking out a window from a rocking chair. I want it to be doing other things. And I think that the way to do that is to reimagine or redefine what retirement is.
And for me, retirement just means you're not doing the job you were doing for your midlife. It means doing something else. And I think that's important because most people say, "I'll never retire. My job is my life." And those people need to work, but they don't need to do that job necessarily. What they're saying to me is, "I have to be busy." And what I like to do is help people figure out a different way to be busy so that they're not locked to that job, that nine to five all the time so that they can live their life.
Matt Feret (10:07):
When people approach you, are they looking for that? Are they looking for, I don't mind "working" and I don't mind earning income and retiring? Or are they looking to for you to help actually, I just want to retire and I don't want to work? Or is it some combination?
Jacquie Doucette (10:29):
It's a combination. There's a lot of people who come to me and ask me, "How can I retire?" And I'm quick to say, "I'm not a financial advisor." I'm not going to tell you how you can retire and whether you're going to be able to pay your bills. I'm here to give some options, show you some different paths you could go down, help you create a life that you might want to start living, and in that way help you retire from what you're doing now and move on to something new.
Matt Feret (11:05):
At what age-
Jacquie Doucette (11:05):
A lot of people think that they have to keep doing what they're doing because that's all there is. They've forgotten the things that gave them joy earlier in their life. So I'm here to help them stir that up and remember what it is that makes them jump out of bed in the morning.
Matt Feret (11:21):
And what age do you normally have these conversations? Not your age, their age? What age range? When do people start talking to you? Well, before they're thinking about this or, "Hey, I just retired a year ago and I'm listless."
Jacquie Doucette (11:36):
I wish they'd start in their late forties, early fifties, when they're at the point where they can start making those plans and there's still time ahead. But most of the people that have come to me are saying, "I want to retire now, or I just retired last month. What am I going to do now?" And sure I can help those people because there's lots of things out there to do, but it's a little harder when you haven't put the plan in motion a little bit sooner.
Matt Feret (12:07):
Take me through one of those planning. I mean, you don't have to feel like you coach me live here on a recorded show, but how do you start when someone says, "I'm retiring or I'm thinking of retiring and I think I need someone like you to... I like what you're doing, show me how you're doing, what you're doing and what I need to think about." How do you take someone through that first initial contact?
Jacquie Doucette (12:31):
Sure. We have a little bit of a conversation first about their current state of affairs, what they're doing, how they're feeling financially, whether they're comfortable or whether they think they need more money along the way, because that determines whether I go down the road of we need more income. There's a questionnaire that I give them that just outlines or helps me outline what their interests are, whether there's other people in their life that they have to think about. What location or lifestyle they're looking for, whether they want to stay where they are because they're happy in their little apartment or their big house, or they want to live in the tropics. I go through all the different steps to try to get them thinking about what opportunities are out there.
And then from that, we take each section and we go through and do a little bit of what if we did this, where would that take you? And what if you were going to move to the West Coast of wherever you are? What would that mean? How would it look? And we just play back and forth a little bit with each of the sections to lay out what might be a path for them. And then they can take it away and think about that for a while and say, "I want to look into this particular path a little bit more. Let's go down that road." And I go back and we go a little bit further with whatever direction they've decided they want to go.
Matt Feret (13:58):
Do you normally get asked very practical questions or do you get asked the, how do I move to Costa Rica? Questions from the central whatever, the random town in the Midwest. What do you get?
Jacquie Doucette (14:14):
I've been asked that because one of the things that I've said is that once we are fully retired, my husband and I, my plan is to move to Mexico. So people have said, "How are you going to do that? What are you going to do? What do you think about?" So we talk about the logistics of moving to another country, what you do need to think about, what steps are involved. But I also get very practical questions like, okay, I'm going to retire, but what do I do tomorrow? And that's a big question for a lot of people is, "I don't have to go to work tomorrow. What am I going to do?" And they're lost. Those are the ones that say, "My job is my life." And I like those people because those are the ones, "Hey, you've got a whole new world out there. There's so much to do."
Matt Feret (15:01):
How hard is it for those folks to get beyond that whole work is my life?
Jacquie Doucette (15:07):
It's hard. It's very hard for a lot of them because they're still not dreaming. They're not thinking in terms of I can actually move beyond that work. I can go out and I can start a new job. I can go out and build my own business. I can sit on the deck and read a book. I can do whatever. And they're not thinking that way.
Matt Feret (15:34):
What's the split between people who need to or want to earn extra income while they're "retired," and the split of people who are like, "Nope, I'm set. I've got everything. Now I'm looking for that dream and that vision and your help with it." What's that split?
Jacquie Doucette (15:53):
I think it's about 90/10 people who say it'll be good to have a little bit of income because they're really scared. They're worried that they're going to outlive their money because they're starting to think about life being longer and they're starting to say, "Well, maybe I didn't save enough along the way. And what happens when I'm 85 and there just isn't any more money in the bank." So they're all looking for ways to make some money, but most people seem to think that I've got some little box of get rich quick things and it doesn't work that way.
Matt Feret (16:30):
Yeah, 90% though is shocking to me. I figured maybe you'd say 50/50, it's 90%.
Jacquie Doucette (16:37):
Yeah. I think that's because the people who are coming to me are the ones who don't think that they can retire. They're the ones that are saying, "How can you do that? What's beyond retirement for me? I'm going to work forever because I don't have anything ready."
Matt Feret (16:56):
Yeah, that makes sense. So I mean, you said earlier in the show house sitting. Go. What is out there for people who are looking to do this and need an extra couple grand a month coming in or may to bolster retirement? What's out there? Go, I mean, I'm fascinated by this.
Jacquie Doucette (17:16):
Well, the first thing I should say is the majority of people who are doing house sitting internationally are not getting paid for it. It's not a paying gig. What you get is accommodation wherever you're going. And that's a big chunk of a travel cost is where am I going to stay? There are people who do get paid for it, and that's fine. I get paid for house sitting when I'm doing it locally. But in another country, you're there on a tourist visa, you're not supposed to be working, you're not supposed to be earning an income.
Matt Feret (17:52):
But you still get communication house maybe?
Jacquie Doucette (17:55):
Matt Feret (17:56):
All right. So let's go there first. Yeah, do that first, let's do this. How do you go through and in retirement, go house sit and either earn a living or not a living, but earn money or you get free room. Yeah. Talk about that.
Jacquie Doucette (18:13):
There are a number of platforms online where you can find people who are posting that they're looking for someone to come and sit in their house. Usually you're looking after pets. That's the majority of the house sits because they're going away and they don't want to put their pets in a kennel or they've got too many pets and they can't put them in a kennel. It would be just price prohibitive. So they put up their listing and they say, "Here's our house. Here's what you need to do." And people apply for that. And then you get interviewed through Zoom or through a phone call and the people decide who's going to come and look after their pets. And you go there, usually there's a little bit of an overlap so that you can meet the people and get the keys and get the lay of the land before they go away. And then they come back and you pass it off again. But sometimes you arrive and there's no turnover, no nothing. You're just there and the animals are there for you.
Matt Feret (19:13):
So what sites are this? Do you have any examples?
Jacquie Doucette (19:19):
Yeah. There's one called trustedhousesitters.com and it's worldwide. So you put in the area that you're interested in, you click a little button at the top and say, "I'm looking for house sets." You put in the area, you put in the dates that you're interested in or you just search and see what's available. And then they all come up and you can limit it to certain cities or to a whole country. You can do whatever you want.
Matt Feret (19:47):
And it's not necessarily just in Poughkeepsie, New York. I mean we're talking some pretty exotic locations maybe?
Jacquie Doucette (19:53):
Yeah, there are a few. Are some nice places. One of my friends or a couple of people, the ones that introduced me to house sitting actually are on their way to Malta this year.
Matt Feret (20:05):
Wow. That's not Poughkeepsie. By the way, for anybody listening. I like Poughkeepsie. It's a fun name to say, that's why I picked it. So house sitting and that's part of the travel piece. And there may or may not be money there, but let's say you've got somebody who's like, "Wow, the travel piece is nice, but I do need to make a little bit of money." What are some of the other pieces that, you mentioned you can live anywhere, work when you want. What are these freedom, earn some money when you want to. It's basically the, I guess the laptop and location free Uber. When I want to work or someone wants to work, they turn the Uber app on and they drive around and when they don't, they don't. What's that version in retirement or what are a couple of those?
Jacquie Doucette (20:55):
Well, a couple of them that I use regularly, one of them is proofreading and editing. There's a lot of different places where you can find work. It's not a great spot for starting off, but Upwork is a website that helps you find work, if you want to do low ball bids to get your foot in the door, you can usually get some good work from them. What I really like actually is a site called Cambly and you can go on there, you can register as a tutor on Cambly and just sit and converse with people over video chat who want to learn to speak English. They just want someone to help practice their English.
And you don't get big piles of money, but they pay you every week through PayPal. You get 10 to 12 bucks an hour, an hour for sitting in chatting to people. It's a little bit of money that comes in regularly and if you're in retirement, you've got lots of time perhaps to sit and do that thing. And there are certain times of day that are really, really in need of tutors because they're looking at people in Asia, which is opposite our time schedule a little bit. So it's a really simple way to do it. I've met a lot of interesting people that way.
Matt Feret (22:14):
What else? Any others that come to mind?
Jacquie Doucette (22:19):
Off the top of my head, those are the two that I use the most. Yeah. I can't think of another one right now. It might come to me.
Matt Feret (22:28):
No, that sounds good. Okay. So we were talking about retirement and you said 90% of the people were thinking of earning an additional amount of money. If it's not something that's online that's location specific or actually location generic, that's the phrase. If they're talking about the other 90% of the people that want to have some income during retirement, what's your approach there? If their version of retirement isn't house sitting or isn't going on Upwork, what journey do you take them through? If retire in place, is there a graduated plan from point A to point B? Where do you take those folks?
Jacquie Doucette (23:11):
I start out the same way, asking them how they envision their future life, where whether they're living, whether they're comfortable in their house, do they see themselves downsizing, that sort of thing. And I talk about what skills they've got, what have they learned through their working period, things that they enjoy doing that maybe they've never been paid for before. Thinking that being a mentor, teaching at a local university or community college, that sort of thing will bring in some money, allow them to keep their hand in whatever they're doing if they're interested in it, that sort of thing.
Matt Feret (23:51):
Nice. And what about the 10% of the people who are like, "I'm ready to go." What's your approach with them?
Jacquie Doucette (23:58):
Then we start to dream and I take them back in time when you were 10 years old and you didn't have to do anything. You ran out the door in the morning. What's the first thing you did? What did you think of? What did you want to do? And then when we move gradually age those dreams to something more age appropriate and we work along the path toward where those dreams could take them now.
Matt Feret (24:22):
Do you find most couples are supportive of each other's dreams or do you find that's a little bit harder work than you'd imagine?
Jacquie Doucette (24:33):
To be honest, I haven't had a lot of couples come to me together. So the people that I've talked to, they seem to be working on their own. So I don't know whether they've talked it over with their partner or whether they're just living their own dream.
Matt Feret (24:51):
That's interesting. Yeah, I don't know. So are you saying maybe they're single or they're... Yeah.
Jacquie Doucette (25:02):
Some of them are single definitely because we've gone through that portion. But some of them are couples, some of them have a partner, but they're just saying, "I'm retiring, and what am I going to do next? How am I going to make my way?" So that's one of the things that we talk about at the very beginning about who else is in your life and how do they fit into the picture. And that's the same, I mean for me and my husband, we talk about it all the time because he wants to keep working and I want to take off. So we have to sort that out.
Matt Feret (25:36):
How do you sort that out when someone wants to retire and the other one wants to keep working? How do you sort that out? How do you begin to talk about that?
Jacquie Doucette (25:47):
The first thing I think is to have a conversation together about how they see their future, whether they're happy with time alone, whether they want to spend all their time together. There are lots of couples where one of them likes to travel, and the other one doesn't, and that's perfectly fine as long as they're both happy with that, but they need to have that conversation together. That's not something that I can advise them on. All I can say is talk to each other and decide if you're not happy, something has to change, obviously.
Matt Feret (26:26):
So that's a great segue into my next question. What do people have to figure out for themselves before they approach someone like you. You just said, "Do you want to travel? Do you want to be a vagabond? Do you want to stay in the big house?" I mean there's family, maybe kids and grandkids. What are some of those things that people really need to think about as one of the couple is transitioning into more of a retirement phase?
Jacquie Doucette (26:54):
They have to think about how life is going to be for them as a couple, because if only one of them is transitioning, life is going to be different for both of them at home because one of them is going to be there all the time. Or if one of them has been there all the time and the other one is retiring, things are going to change. You're going to be together a whole lot more. So those are things that they need to talk about. How are they going to wrestle with you are and my space now, where it's always been my space before, now you're invading me. It's like you can have time in the living room and I'll go downstairs to the den or whatever, but they need to think about bigger picture than that.
They need to think about are they happy, are, what does retirement really mean? And that takes time and it's a deep question and if that when I say, "What does retirement mean to you?" Then we're not starting the process because they've got to say, "Retirement means I'm not working anymore or retirement means I'm going to go volunteer." Or just some idea of where to start. If they have absolutely no idea, then they start with the little checklist that I have on my website and sort out what's ready and what's not ready so that we know where to start.
Matt Feret (28:20):
You're going through those pieces and it strikes me, I mean it's a massive change to people's lives. I mean this is on akin to marriage, death and birth of children. I mean, this is not something to just passively do and do in a half an hour over coffee, is it?
Jacquie Doucette (28:42):
Not at all. And people don't seem to realize that retirement is in the top 10 list of big stressors in your life and most people just look at it as it's the end, but it's not an end. It's a beginning and you've got to take the time to acknowledge that something has ended, sort out how you're feeling about what has ended and then look forward to what the future has and it's a big transition.
Matt Feret (29:14):
Give me an example of someone or give me an example of a couple that have done it well?
Jacquie Doucette (29:26):
Okay. Actually I know a couple that has done it very well. They didn't retire at the same time, so the wife had a job, but she had a job that was fairly location independent, so she did it from home, but she could do it anywhere. And she finally decided she'd had enough of that, so she just stopped it and she started to do volunteering, visiting with the neighbors, that kind of stuff. The things that you do when you first have free time. Well, the husband continued to work and he had shift work, so he was working mornings, he was working evenings, back and forth all the time.
When he finally decided to retire, they did talk about it and they sorted out what they were planning to do and they both wanted to travel, which is good, and they decided that they loved their house. They wanted to do renovations, so they started doing renovations a little bit at a time because nobody wants to throw all the money at it all at once. They did some of that. I'm up in Canada, so they started doing the snowbird thing. They go down to Florida for a few months in the winter just to ease the burden of the snow.
This year actually they're spending four months, usually they do two, but they're going to do four months this time, which is exciting for both of them. But they've got three kids, they've got grandkids, they've got people all around, they don't want to go away, so they decided to renovate their house so that it's comfortable as they age, they're staying where they are and they've made their plans. So yeah, it worked out. It was easy for them, which is nice.
Matt Feret (31:08):
Sounds like they spent a lot of time there thinking about what exactly as a couple they wanted to do at both as a couple and individually.
Jacquie Doucette (31:16):
Yeah. They do. And each of them goes off. The fellow goes off with his brother and a few other friends every once in a while for canoe trip or that sort of thing, or a fishing trip and the wife goes off and goes kayaking with girlfriends. They have together things and they have apart things, which is very important.
Matt Feret (31:35):
It is. Do you have any examples of people that you've seen do it completely the wrong way?
Jacquie Doucette (31:44):
Other than me when I retired and went back to work? That was the wrong way.
Matt Feret (31:50):
Yeah. I was going to say there have to be people that you've worked with or come across that are either raised eyebrows or they end up doing things not the way that is optimal in your eyes or the wrong way. Have you run into this?
Jacquie Doucette (32:05):
Yeah, I've seen a few. I didn't work with them, but I've seen examples of people who have decided that it's time to go and I'm just done my job. I'm fed up and I'm walking away, and then after a month of calming down and coming back to sanity, they've realized that really wasn't such a bad thing after all. Having a job, having some continuity in my day, having a schedule, they float around doing nothing through the day, wandering up and down the streets. I've seen that. Some of them have gone back to work. Some of them have struggled to find work and they're not happy because they don't have something to guide their day.
Matt Feret (32:50):
They didn't find that meaning, is that what that is?
Jacquie Doucette (32:54):
And that's the biggest thing. Yeah. If you don't figure out what it is that you are meant to do. Maybe you're not meant to be a CEO of a company, that's fine. Maybe you're meant to be the little old lady who goes into the kindergarten class and reads to the kids every day. That's a wonderful thing to do in retirement. You can help all the kids learn how to read. There doesn't have to be big grand plans, but you need to have something that is your reason for getting up.
Matt Feret (33:31):
Talk to me about mental health and physical health and retirement. You mentioned that earlier on in the show when you were talking about your dad and it sounded like pseudo traditional retirement. And then I think we've all heard of the stories of five years and then things start to... There's this jumble of phrases you get when talking about this topic. You don't use it, you lose it. Got to keep your brain fresh, you have to, and all these kind of... You better exercise, all these, you shoulds and dos. What do you focus in on when we're talking about physical health and mental health? What are the key common denominators of success for those two things that you've found or that you coach?
Jacquie Doucette (34:18):
What I've seen as the people who are both physically and mentally active are the ones that are the happiest. The ones that have found something to do every day, something that gets them up and gets them moving for, I'm not going to give a prescribed period of time, but something that gets them up and out of the house and doing something every day as well as having something to keep their brain going, something to solve a problem. My dad did crossword puzzles and the Sudoku every single day. Kept himself thinking, that sort of thing. I don't think that you're going to have a long productive post-retirement life if you don't incorporate exercise and mental health. You've got to keep your brain going.
Matt Feret (35:07):
That's part of your coaching or your package is the mental and physical health and wellbeing?
Jacquie Doucette (35:14):
It is. We talk a lot about what are you actually going to do, not just where do you want to live on the beach under a tropical backdrop, what are you going to do when you're sitting there? Are you going to count greens of sand on the beach or are you actually going to be out being productive? You've got to do something that fulfills you.
Matt Feret (35:39):
Let's get to a practical or a tactical question I've had too. What do people do for insurance or health insurance or visas or are there any other practical considerations of retiring and being a sunbird or a snowbird or an international traveler? What are the other things that are very practical that you've brought into or that you can advise someone?
Jacquie Doucette (36:00):
Sure. If you're going to be doing the house sitting, I know a lot of people in the house sitting community have travel insurance because it covers losing your bags, which gets to be minimal. You learn to travel very lightly if you're doing a lot of traveling, but it also covers sicknesses while you're away, which is important. A lot of the places that you go that house sitters are looking for or homeowners are looking for house sitters in are places where the medical facilities are actually very good. I know one of my friends was in Mexico and she had a very serious accident, ended up with surgery and pins in her knees and all sorts of problems, but it was a fraction of what the cost would've been in the US because she was there and she got house calls from the doctor. The whole royal treatment, which is really nice without any insurance. It depends where you are, what medical considerations of your own that you have. There's lots of private insurance companies I know that will help you if you're traveling.
Matt Feret (37:21):
Finances, anything around that. I know you said you're not a financial planner and that's fine, but what are the pieces around financing your retirement that people need to think of? Do people overemphasize or overestimate how much they need or do they underestimate how much they need if they're trying to do this dreaming and trying to figure out what's next in their lives?
Jacquie Doucette (37:43):
I think a lot of people overestimate how much they're going to need because people are generally looking at things through the experience of their current life and how much it costs to have their house and go to work every day and feed the family and all that sort of thing. And when you retire, especially if you pick a life, say of traveling, of house sitting, that thing, or even just slow travel, moving around, picking Airbnbs and seeing the world that way. Your costs go down substantially because you've got no property taxes, you've got no home insurance, you've got no car to worry about. All of those things disappear, and in most of the places that people pick to travel, the cost of living is substantially less, which is nice.
But for people who want to stay home, your costs still go down. This is where the financial advisor is definitely your friend in terms of what are you going to need, how are you going to make those payments, that sort of thing. But now you don't have the same commuting costs, you don't have the same wardrobe costs. Maybe you're not eating out quite so much as you did when you had a job, so costs go down.
Matt Feret (39:05):
What do you find the people you work with most willing to part with in terms of budget or in terms of money to pay for their new lifestyle if they have to, and what are the things that just people hold onto like crazy that make you smile?
Jacquie Doucette (39:22):
Yeah, that's a tough one. People have creature comforts that they have a hard time letting go of there. Some things are important. I mean, a fast internet is something that everybody wants, but they don't need the latest and the greatest iPhone, for example, or smartphone. They could probably drop down a little bit and save some money on their plans, that sort of thing, but nobody wants to disconnect, so that's a big thing is that, and I guess it's reasonable to be concerned about that.
A lot of people are worried about for house sitting, for traveling, how the house is going to look, whether they're going to be as comfortable as at home or whether they're going to have the same facilities as they have at home. And that's something that you just have to learn to accept that if you go into Costa Rica or you go into Ecuador, things might not be the same. You're not going to have necessarily Walmart on every corner for all the things you want to buy.
Matt Feret (40:36):
In terms of that international travel for people thinking about spending either what you've done is the house sitting or even just spending some time. If you've never traveled overseas before, I've never done this for an extended period of time, what are some really easy gateway countries or gateway areas of the world that people might start to dip their toe into? I assume hiking the Andes is probably not the very first thing that you should do if you've never traveled outside of North America, for example. What are those gateway easy to pique your interest and try it out if you're not really convinced you want to move to the US Virgin Islands?
Jacquie Doucette (41:17):
Well, I know a lot of people really, really are in love with Southeast Asia. They like Thailand. They found the people really friendly, really easy to get around, really inexpensive so that you can stay and learn about the country without it costing you an arm and a leg. Takes a long time to get there from this side of the world, but that's a place that a lot of people go and a lot of people spend a lot of time there. So I know. I haven't been, I was supposed to go, but COVID stopped it. So that's on the little bucket list now. I know a lot of people have dipped their toe in Costa Rica as well because it's an easy place to get to. It's not too expensive. The climate is good. You can get a little bit of everything. I'm partial to Mexico, but that's just because that's where I started.
Matt Feret (42:17):
That was your gateway drug, so to speak.
Jacquie Doucette (42:22):
Yeah, that was it.
Matt Feret (42:23):
Any particular parts?
Jacquie Doucette (42:30):
I spent a lot of time just South of Guadalajara, so in the interior of Mexico and I really like it there. That was my very first sit, so I'm partial to that. But I've been up in the mountains a little bit and I've been to the area that most people go, the Cancun, Mayan, Riviera places. It's all nice. I love Mexico.
Matt Feret (42:54):
Do you have any advice for people listening in their forties and fifties? You said earlier on in the show, like start planning this stuff early. What would be your advice for people now my age or north of my age, not 60, not 65, but certainly not 20. Well, how do I prepare now at this stage and age? Do I need to really think about this stuff now? Do I need to plan for it? Do I need to save for it? And if not now, then when and what do I need to think about?
Jacquie Doucette (43:34):
Definitely doesn't hurt to start saving now. It's always a good idea to save if you can, I think. I think it's a good idea to start thinking about what it is you want to be doing. If your job that you're doing right now is not your dream job that you expect to do until the day you die, which I think 95% of the people can say it's not, start thinking about what it is you want to do because most people don't know the answer to that. When you say, "If you're not doing this job, what would you do?" Nobody can answer it.
So start thinking about that and start putting some real thought into how can I get to that place where I'm doing what I want to be doing? If you can think of even a list of five or six things that you would really like to be doing, then you can start planning for one of them and get yourself going in the right direction so that you're not stuck when you get to 55 or 60 going, "What am I going to do now," and have to make the leap into what is there?
Matt Feret (44:46):
Well, at least for me personally speaking. Yeah, sure. I would love to go do something I thought of when I was 10 or 12 or 15 and when I'm drifting off to sleep, I imagine myself doing it, but that's not going to pay the bills. When you've spent 20 or 30 or 40 years in a career, you've got this hopefully upward slope of income over the years that now you're a specialist, now you know a topic, you get paid for your expertise or you get paid for your labor, your skill, your highly honed skills at this point. So how do you balance that? Yeah, how do you balance that with those dreams?
Jacquie Doucette (45:24):
Well, and that's the reason I think that when you're 45 or so and you're thinking, I'm on that up upward trajectory, making the money, I'm becoming an expert, put that some of that away. Don't spend it all. Don't live way up here at the top of your means, live below it so that you can do that dream that you have in your head when you go to bed at night. Just hold onto that dream. I'm not saying you're necessarily going to do it, but hold onto the dreams of the things you wanted to do because that's what's going to keep your imagination going so that when you get to the point where you can pull the plug and start following your dreams, you'll have some.
Matt Feret (46:07):
All governmental benefits aside. Give it to me, what's the best age to retire?
Jacquie Doucette (46:17):
Matt Feret (46:23):
Jacquie Doucette (46:23):
Matt Feret (46:23):
Right now with a little planning. Is that right now with an asterisk?
Jacquie Doucette (46:25):
Yeah. I think the age to retire is the age when you are still excited about doing things when you get up every day because you don't want to retire and drop dead. You don't want to retire and have nothing to do. You want to be able to use the time and enjoy the time.
Matt Feret (46:46):
I like it. We've covered a lot. What questions did I not ask you that I should have?
Jacquie Doucette (47:01):
I don't know.
Matt Feret (47:04):
That's a good one? That's a good question.
Jacquie Doucette (47:05):
Yeah, that's a good question. I guess the only thing would be something like, does the plan ever fail?
Matt Feret (47:18):
Okay, good one.
Jacquie Doucette (47:19):
Somebody goes down that path.
Matt Feret (47:22):
Well, there you go. Answer that question. Does the plan ever fail? What happens if the plan fails? Let's say you go down that path, you take three steps, four steps down that path. You find yourself house sitting in Costa Rica, you're only making 10 bucks an hour on Upwork, and all of a sudden five years in, things aren't looking so good. What then?
Jacquie Doucette (47:43):
Then you start the process again. You sit down and you go through that checklist right from the start that I talked about, where you are, what you want, what you need, and how am I going to get there? You just rinse and repeat. You start all over, so it didn't work. I mean, that's the way life goes. It doesn't always go according to the plan.
Matt Feret (48:04):
Failure is an option. That's true in every capacity of life. The acceptance of failure and the acceptance of the chance that you might actually fail and it might not work out the way you think, but you got to try.
Jacquie Doucette (48:16):
No, exactly, and the only way you really fail is if you just give up when it happens. I mean, you just take the failing as experience and you start again knowing what you know, you move up to the next spot.
Matt Feret (48:29):
I like it. Thank you very much for your time today, Jacquie. Is there anything else that you want to cover that we didn't get to today?
Jacquie Doucette (48:37):
I don't think so. I think we covered everything.
Matt Feret (48:40):
How do people find you on the internet?
Jacquie Doucette (48:43):
My website is beyondretirement.ca, and that's the best way to get me.
Matt Feret (48:48):
Awesome. Thank you so much.
Jacquie Doucette (48:51):
I had a great time. Thanks very much, Matt.
Matt Feret (48:53):
Thanks, Jacquie. Make sure to hit The Matt Feret Show website for links and show notes. Until next time, to your wealth, wisdom, and wellness, I'm Matt Feret, and thanks for tuning in.
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