A Sham Retirement?

A short while ago I wrote a post about dealing with the humidity here, and afterwards I received this lovely comment: “I think you’re an idiot. You probably have the worst reasoning powers on the planet. Obviously retiring in Hawaii was a HUGE mistake but one that your stubborness would never admit to.”

The Occasional Nomads is not a retirement blog. Yes, we are retired but that’s not the focus of the blog. I don’t write about retirement or give advice about retirement or pretend to know a lot about retirement issues. There are other excellent blogs out there for that (such as Bob Lowry’s A Satisfying Retirement). Anything that relates to retirement on this blog is about our experience, and ours only.

The Occasional Nomads is also not about how to live in Hawai’i. Brett and I write about our life here, things we do here, about traveling and occasionally about Japan. That’s it. If we lived somewhere else we’d be writing about that place. Our experience here is ours, and really not transferable to anyone else. If readers find something on here that’s helpful or interesting, that’s great, but Hawai’i advice is not what the blog is all about.

We live on a fixed income these days. We have two (soon-to-be three) children attending college. And yes, the cost of living on Kaua’i is higher than many places back on the mainland (but not all: San Francisco, New York, Southern California, Seattle, etc. are much higher than here. Even Portland is getting close or exceeding the cost of living here in some areas.) But I’m a bit confused why or where anyone would have gotten the idea from this blog that we’re struggling or miserable. We’ve thrived here and are getting ready to make a big dream come true. We’re not going around the world next year because we have to leave Kaua’i, but because we want to travel the world and we can.

According to the commenter above though, why don’t we just admit to ourselves and our readers that our retirement to Hawai’i has actually been a failure and a sham?

Well, here’s why:

You don’t have to be rich to live in Hawaii, and we’re not rich. Still, our monthly expenses here are less than our monthly income. What we don’t spend each month we put into savings. We haven’t had to go back to work or even consider looking for work to supplement our income. I know this flies in the face of conventional wisdom about living in Hawai’i, but it is possible to do so affordably if you do some research before coming, plan carefully, and be willing to adjust your lifestyle.

Maybe this commenter thinks we’re deluding readers because we don’t publish our income and an itemized budget for how we spend it. However, our income and what we do with it are not really anyone else’s business. We don’t have to justify or explain our family’s finances, and especially not on a public blog. I don’t care if others do – that’s their choice. I’m happy to let readers know how we save for travel and what our financial goals are, but that’s as far as it goes.

Just like anyone else, retired or not, we make choices all the time about how to spend or not spend our money in ways that work for us. For example, we choose to go without air-conditioning here because we want to put more away for travel. Maybe having air-conditioning is of life-or-death importance to someone else, but we’re willing to go without for a few months and be temporarily uncomfortable in order to save more for something that’s important to us, something we want to do, and that we feel will be of greater benefit and happiness for us in the long run. We’re more than able to afford an air-conditioner or two, and pay a higher electric bill for running them, but we choose to direct our money elsewhere for reasons that make sense to us.

Everyone’s retirement is different. We all make choices throughout our lives, but those choices are unique to each person or family and their circumstances and preferences. Brett and I are happy and satisfied with the choices we’ve made and are making. We live a simple, comfortable life in one of the most beautiful places imaginable. We eat well, we’re healthy, and our children and grandchildren are healthy and happy too. We’ve been able to travel to the mainland or internationally at least once a year. We have all we need or want right now for a successful and satisfying retirement with no regrets, and we’re planning to go on the adventure of a lifetime next year. As far as I can tell, our retirement income and lifestyle are pretty much working fine for us, without any sort of struggle.

Is our life perfect, retired or otherwise? Of course not – no one’s is. But what you see here on The Occasional Nomads is who we are. And that’s no delusion. Or sham.

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47 thoughts on “A Sham Retirement?

  1. UnwrittenLifeBlog says:

    Holy moley, is your troll back?! Or did someone else post that comment?? What an unbelievable thing to say, besides the fact that in reading your blog, I see nothing but success in your retirement. Sure, you hate the humidity. But you don’t have to go to work in it, or even do anything you don’t want to do! I’m just astounded that people feel they can say things like that. You do you, and you do it well!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Yup, same one as before. Her comments go straight to the trash though – it actually takes me a while to see them.

      Our retirement is successful. But, it’s different from hers, not what she would do, etc. so therefore it’s a sham.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Catherine says:

    Gosh what a horrible thing to say, but you have replied to them beautifully and clearly. I for one enjoy reading your blog and have done so for quite some time. Though I have never left a reply before, this has made me wish to. It astounds me that people feel the need to comment so rudely to your post. . Keep up the good work, I am looking forward to hearing about your travels next year, this is something I would love to do, but alas it probably won’t happen any time soon.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      The comment left me speechless. There’s more to it than what I shared, and it was especially vile because she attributed emotions, feelings and reasonings to my children. It’s one thing to go after me, but don’t you dare involve my children! They have nothing to do with this.

      Thanks for your lovely comment and your support. We are very excited about our upcoming trip, and looking forward to blogging about it as we go!

      Like

  3. ash says:

    It was probably anonymous too! I complain about the weather where i live all the time. A common saying about Ireland is that “‘It’d be a lovely little country if we could only roof it’ It doesn’t mean it’s a mistake to continue living here because the good outweighs the bad. Anyway the comment sounds like it might have come from a previous troll and it’s clear how deluded that person is.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      The comment I referenced was published under a pseudonym (there is no anonymous option with WordPress), but the writing style, language, and accusations matched all her other previous comments to a “T,” so it wasn’t difficult figuring out who wrote it. Plus, it matched perfectly with what she was writing on her own blog (which I won’t dignify with a link).

      Like

  4. Denise Bowman-Arcure says:

    I have an idea who left that comment(as do you). You do spend a lot of time talking about how you don’t care for the Summer humidity there if you read back over your posts. I guess if one was to just cherry pick all those comments one would get the idea you are miserable 24/7. But “you know who” is just looking for fodder to dump on you.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      You are correct, Sluggy – I recognized the style and accusations immediately. You could practically picture the spittle flying from her lips as she wrote.

      And what’s the fun of having a blog if you can’t whine on them about things like the humidity?

      Like

  5. Chris N says:

    Good response to the Troll!! I never thought you were writing just about retirement but LIFE in Hawaii and how it is. It’s the same with my blog, I just write about my life and whatever.
    I enjoy your blog and think it’s one of the better ones I read.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Yes, this blog is about our life, which happens to exist in Hawai’i (previous blogs were about how we got here).

      Thanks for being a loyal reader. And I enjoy your blog too!

      Like

  6. Janette says:

    Wow! Talk about being self centered! That person chooses to try to make it about themselves because they desire something different then you and has no imagination!
    I have really enjoyed your blog. I “see” the trade offs. Your girls thrived, your walks on the beach have continued, you have become way more healthy (which I am not sure would have happened in a different place), you are closer to your grands and, so what about it being dang humid a few months a year? If you lived in AZ you would be indoors most of the summer. In New York, the winter would keep you in.
    To me, you are brave in your moves and willing to put yourself out there. Keep it up. You might want to publish her hate every once in a while so we can all giggle…..

    Like

    • Laura says:

      You hit the nail on the head – it is all about her. She is holding up her own retirement as the model, and anyone who is doing things differently, or not in awe, is to be scorned. You couldnt pay me enough money to live where she does.

      Living anywhere is about tradeoffs – no place is perfect, but the goal is to find a place that works best for you, and Kaua’i has been that place for us, humidity or no. I’ve lived in Arizona during the summer, and you’re right – we’d be stuck inside practically every day because of the heat (“but it’s a dry heat!” has no meaning when it’s 110 degrees outside).

      Like

  7. JJ says:

    I’ve never had the impression you were unhappy there or that your choice to live there has been a failure–just the opposite! You and Brett are rare in that you have goals and you figure out how to achieve them, instead of just dreaming about it like most people. I don’t see how someone could read the few somewhat negative comments you’ve made about the humidity and take that to mean that you hate living there. There are pros and cons to living anywhere, and Kauai has very few cons. I personally find it helpful because I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live there and appreciate the honesty!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      We’ve never once regretted out move here. We still pinch ourselves from time to time that we get to live in such a beautiful spot. The girls were initially unhappy with our move here, but have thrived. WenYu says now it was the best thing that could have happened for her, and YaYu has made tons of friends and had a successful high school career – she’s a big fish in a little pond here. Meiling went back to Oregon to keep her residency for college and because she missed her boyfriend, but they broke up less than a month after she got back. She loves coming home to Hawai’i for the holidays, and considers it her home now.

      There are pros and cons to living anywhere. Before we came here we researched different places thoroughly, and Kaua’i had almost everything we were looking for. The one negative was the high cost of living, but we planned carefully and it hasn’t been an issue for us.

      Like

    • Laura says:

      I mostly ignore this person – she really isn’t worth my time – but in this comment she involved my children (I didn’t share that part of what she wrote), and she wrote some ugly things on her own blog and on others. I felt a response in this case was necessary.

      Like

  8. Lizzie says:

    Take no notice. He is obviously compensating for some shortfall. You and your lovely family seem happy and well adjusted to me. Maybe he needs to just suck it up xx

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Some people just like to see others fail, or can’t accept that others are doing well. We are happy and well adjusted, and love our life here on Kaua’i.

      This person has held a grudge for a long time, especially when I confronted her ugly comments here a couple of years ago, and then banned her from commenting on the blog.

      Like

  9. Barb says:

    I suspect the person sending hateful mail is jealous of your life. I think it’s wonderful that you decide what you want to do and make it happen. Enjoy your trip around the world.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      I don’t know about jealous, but there’s something going on.

      We’ve always been goal-setters, and it’s worked well for us and helped us to accomplish much in life. Our years with the navy also gave us valuable skills for how to adapt and adjust to difficult and unknown circumstances.

      We can’t wait to go! Just 10 more months . . . .

      Like

  10. LIVINGRICHONTHECHEA says:

    There are troll everywhere unfortunately, people so bloody unhappy in their own lives they must criticize others. What I get from your blog after reading it for a few years is that you love where you live, live within your means and you don’t need millions of dollars to do it, even in Hawaii. I have no idea where that person thought you didn’t like living there. Every climate has the odd day of uncomfortable weather.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      I think you defined trolls perfectly – someone unhappy with their own life in some respect, and instead of thinking how to change or make it better, they attack others. We do love living here, and no you don’t need a million dollars to live here (well,you do if you want a beachfront house with a drop-dead view). There are plenty of locals and others living and working here who make less than we do – we’ve learned from them.

      Most of my issues with the humidity come from the fact that I’m post-menopausal. Brett and the girls deal with it just fine.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Tamara / My Retirement Project says:

    In that most us know who the hater is, I’m trying to find a bit of compassion for the emotional struggle she clearly must be contending with on a very frequent basis. That’s the only possible explanation for why she lashes out so frequently against so many bloggers, and has continued to do so over such a long period of time. I’m truly, truly sorry that you have now been scorched by her words, and hope sincerely you understand it’s not about you whatsoever. Not even for a smidgen of a moment is it about you. You are living a beautiful, exciting, diverse life, but more importantly, you are living an authentic life, designed by you, and filled with the love of your family. You are creating a legacy of love that will continue onward for years and years and years, and I for one, sincerely and deeply appreciate the clarity with which that comes through in your blog posts.

    I hope the individual who wrote this message to you, and then went on to write even more unkind words about you on her own blog, sees this, and realizes that at the end of the day her unkind words are really not what she should wish to be remembered by. I hope she gives thought to how much better her life could be if she focused on loving more and hating less. And lastly, I hope she removes her recent unkind post about your life, as a follow up to the unkind post she’s already removed about both you and another frugal blogger. I predict she’ll feel so, so much better if she does.

    Virtually hugs to you from expensive Southern California Laura . . . ha! 🙂

    Like

    • Laura says:

      I often feel compassion for this person, and agree she must struggle emotionally, but then she lashes out with no apparent provocation (like on Denise’s blog, Don’t Read This; It’s Boring) and compassion kind of falls to the wayside for a while. She chooses to write the ugly comments, or attack people. I always try to remember, as you said, that it’s always about her. What has angered me this time though, and partly drew this response, is that she has brought my children into it, both in her comments to me and on her blog, assigning them emotions and feelings, and noting that they are adopted. My children and how they joined our family have no part in this, and those remarks crossed a line for me.

      BTW, we considered retiring in Southern California (San Clemente, actually), but the California taxes on top of the cost of living nixed that. We have a less than minimal tax burden here in Hawai’i, thanks to where our retirement income sources, one of the things making retirement here affordable for us.

      Like

  12. Barbara Bomberger says:

    Beautiful post, but you don’t have to justify your blog to anyone, and neither do the rest of us. Tamara, you need to tell me where this person’s 9th or tenth blog life is. In general, I agree with Tamara that this person has not found her “retirement place” and or is simply miserable because her retirement is not the perect place she thought it would be. Which is true for many of us at times. Most of our blogs are about our own lives (the ups and often the downs) and not meant to be “hey, this is how you should retire, follow me”.

    I’ve lived in many places which were not perfect (the humidity and cost of Washington DC probably leaves your location somewhere in the wind) but were right at the time. Don’t let the trolls get you down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laura says:

      I’ve never felt that I had to justify the blog or our retirement to anyone. We’re happy, we’re where we want to be and can do what we want to do, and I like writing. I still consider it somewhat of a miracle that anyone finds what I write interesting.

      Again, this person crossed a line when she brought my children into it.

      We lived in southern Maryland for a couple of years, and my goodness you could cut the air with a knife during the summers the humidity was so bad. And Japan! What we get here is child’s play compared to the humidity there (and we had no A/C for a while). Even with dehumidifiers, every summer we would lose things in house to the mold, including shoes, backpacks, and one year our waffle iron! My problem with the humidity now is that I’m post-menopausal, and my body deals differently with heat and humidity than when I was younger. It’s unpleasant at times, but certainly not life-threatening.

      Like

  13. Marji Peterson says:

    I couldn’t believe that anyone would find anything negative about what you write. As someone who grew up on Kauai, I like it that you are so positive about life on Kauai. And I think that the fact your girls have been so accepted, and that you’ve made friends with people there (like at the farmer’s market) indicates that others have noticed your positive attitudes as well. You value the island for what it is, and are working to make it better (e.g. Brett’s work on hiking trails). Although you say that your blog is not about how to do retirement, or how to travel, or how to live frugally, I’m sure that many of your readers are gleaning ideas on all these areas. I know that I do. Keep up your fine writing, and ignore the negativity.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Well, I was kind of surprised too, but I’ve had to deal with this person before (she was banned from commenting – anything from her now goes directly into the trash).

      The girls were initially very unhappy about the move, but now love that we live here and YaYu especially has laid down strong roots in the community. All three are also thrilled about our upcoming trip, and our two older daughters are excited about joining us in Japan for a week while we’re there (hopefully YaYu will be able to come too).

      Kauai really is home for us now, but we love that there’s still so much for us to learn and discover, just about this small little island! We’ve never regretted our move here, not even for a moment, not even when the humidity has been at its worse. It’s why we’ve decided to store our items here on the island while we travel versus sending them back to the mainland.

      Like

  14. Vivian says:

    Bullies are pervasive in our society and many of them are more abusive because they consider the internet to be anonymous. The fact that she created a pseudonym to attack once again is very telling. I don’t know if Word Press has a filter to prevent comments for this person but you might ask. It sounds as though she is bullying many bloggers and there should be someway to end her attacks. Otherwise the best thing you can do is ignore her because she craves all the attention this gives her.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      You cannot comment anonymously on WordPress. You have to give your email, and I approve all commenters on this blog. Once you’ve been approved your comments will always go right through, but if you’ve been banned the comments go directly to the trash,. If a commenter/troll uses a pseudonym I will see it first and can decide whether to approve it or not. I agree about the pseudonym – very telling.

      I try to ignore her as much as possible.

      Like

  15. tpol1 says:

    Wow! What a terrible, arrogant way of insulting someone! It is probably a troll. I enjoy reading about your life and appreciate your sharing it with us.

    Like

  16. Karen says:

    I think I know the troll too. If it is the person I believe it is, she is psychotic and her blogs have shown it. I feel very sorry for her family having a loose cannon like that in their lives.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      I wouldn’t label her psychotic, but there’s something going on with someone who feels the need to lash out and attack people on the Internet without provocation. I honestly hope she can find some long-term peace and happiness in her life.

      Like

  17. Melissa says:

    Laura – I was afraid after she attacked sluggy she would move to you. I love your blog for what it is – YOU….

    I have not missed having her around. But I do hope she finds peace and leaves you alone.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      I think the saddest thing in all of this is that even though I did not mention her name, or link to her blog, so many readers knew exactly who wrote that comment to me. That is the online legacy she has created for herself, and I don’t know if she can ever overcome it and I find that very sad. Even if she never writes another negative thing online, it will take years to erase what she’s already written and overcome her reputation. IMO she owes several people a sincere apology, not once but many times over. And, I do hope she can start looking at the positive more than the negative, and find peace in her own life and retirement.

      Like

  18. Quesoit1 says:

    Wow. Looks like many of us can guess that it’s the same troll as before. What kind of human being would comment on someone’s children in that way? Maybe her life is miserable, or maybe she’s just a mean and spiteful person. Either way, her behavior is both pathetic and aggravating. I’m sorry you have to waste time and energy dealing with it.

    You have helped inspire me — and many others, I’m sure — to get the most out of my life, to find fulfillment in family and experiences rather than possessions and money, and to be open to and appreciate the world and all it has to offer. You build, you don’t tear down. Thanks for all you do, Laura!

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Thank you! Each of us gets to determine the path we want to take in life, and Brett and I are very happy with the one we’re on right now. We know that circumstances can change in a moment, but it’s important to acknowledge and take advantage of the blessings you’ve been given while you can.

      I agree that the saddest thing about all of this is that this person’s name is never mentioned, either in the post or the comments, and yet many know exactly who it is. Such a sad legacy to have created for yourself.

      Like

  19. Hawaii Planner says:

    As you know, I also know that blogger, and can handle things said about me. But, involving my kids? That crosses the line & is completely unacceptable. I try to have compassion, but it’s clear that the person needs help & should shut off the computer in the interim.

    Also, was in Singapore last week. It was lovely, but the humidity was worse than Hawaii, and made it clear that I could never, ever live there. I was at an OUTDOOR work event (in work clothes) for about 8 hours, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been so sweaty. I had to film a video, and after they’d clipped the mike inside my shirt, it slipped out due to all of my sweat. It was ever so glamorous! 😉

    On the other hand, love many things about Singapore. Our office space there is fabulous, & the food! Yum.

    Like

    • Laura says:

      Involving and referencing my children was the last straw. I am a big believer in giving people a second, or even a third chance, but she is beyond redemption at this point, at least for me.

      The Brett’s ship made a couple of port calls in Singapore, but it wasn’t a popular destination for the wives for some reason. I would love to go though, humidity or not, to eat! According to every book I’ve read, or show I’ve seen, the food there is FABULOUS!

      Like

  20. beautea97 says:

    Sheesh… some people! Perhaps the hater/s need to do something productive with their negativity like write a memoir… Haters gonna hate!

    Sounds like you handled the comments/situation well…

    Like

    • Laura says:

      I have other comments from this person. You’re right, haters are gonna hate. I don’t expect everyone to like or agree with me either, but you can at least be considerate when you come to my blog.

      Like

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