My Ideal Lifestyle Of Working And “Retiring” In Paris

What Does Your Retirement Look Like?

In Panama, I’m up by 5 a.m. every morning…

Here in Paris, I’ve been sleeping well past that usual waking hour… in bed some mornings as late at 6 or 6:30!

I’m able to do this in part because here in Paris I have no commute to the office.

I wake, make myself a cup of English Breakfast tea, then sit down at my laptop to work. I catch up on whatever has happened in Panama since I signed off the night before. It’s fun each morning to discover the progress made by my team on the other side of the Atlantic while I’ve been asleep.

Then I get to work on the day’s dispatches. I write until midday then break for lunch.

Walking city streets is my favorite pastime. Every day around noon, therefore, I take off walking, each day in a new direction. Sometimes I have errands to take care of along the way—a visit to the bank, to the dry cleaners, to the greengrocer’s, the cobbler, the hardware store…

All of these shops and services and, really, any other you could name or need is within a 15-minute walk of our apartment. In central Paris, you don’t have to go far for anything…

Including and especially a nice place to eat. We’re in Paris for nearly a month this summer. If we wanted, we could eat lunch at a different restaurant, café, or brasserie every day… though admittedly we’d have to walk longer than 15 minutes many days to accomplish that level of diversification.

Most days we’re happy to stick close to home, taking lunch in nearby bistros where the owners and the wait staff greet us like old friends.

Lunch break is sometimes three or four hours or longer, and, by the time I return to my laptop, the team in Panama is arriving at the office for the new work day.

Thanks to the time difference, I’m able to work five or six hours before the rest of the LIOS crew is even awake… and still enjoy a three-hour lunch!

They’ve got my responses to their questions from the evening before… they’ve got my copy… I’m happy to be able to say that, at this stage, I’m superfluous.

I make myself available on Skype but am able to take it easy during this window at the start of the day back in Panama. An hour or two later, around 5 or 6 p.m. Paris time, things heat up. I’m active online, reviewing planned mailings and participating in conference calls.

About 8 p.m., I sign off for the day. As, again, I have no commute, I’m done. That’s it.

I hit the streets of Paris once more, this time for dinner, with Lief, with friends, with business colleagues who happen to be in this part of the world while we’re in town.

I like to say that retiring overseas isn’t only for retirees. The day-to-day I’m enjoying in Paris this month demonstrates the point.

For me, this is what retirement looks like.

I don’t imagine ever being retired in a conventional sense. As long as I’m able to board a plane, I’ll keep moving around the world… and, as long as I can sit up at my laptop (and am fortunate enough to have folks like you interested in reading), I’ll keep writing about what I discover along the way.

Lief and I have been living outside the States for 18 years. However, we’ve been working and building businesses. Nothing about our lives overseas to this point has had anything to do with any retirement agenda.

We’re ready for that to change and are working harder than ever so that as soon as possible we can begin to flip the switch to our idea of retirement.

Don’t worry. We’re not going anywhere.

Well, in fact, we hope to go lots of places. What I mean to say is that we’re working toward the day we don’t have to jump out of bed at 5 a.m. every morning, fight traffic on the way to the office, then work heads down and all out for 10 or more hours straight before fighting traffic to return home so we can get back online and work another couple of hours before calling it a day… so we can get up the next morning and do it all over again…

I know you understand.

Our Live and Invest Overseas agenda for growth is ambitious. That won’t change. For us, retirement and business expansion aren’t mutually exclusive agendas.

For us, retirement is all about flexibility and having more control over our time day to day.

When our son Jackson graduates high school next year, that’s our goal—to better control our time. We hope to travel more and commute less.

We’ve been living and working overseas for 18 years. Starting next year, we hope to retire overseas… to begin living a lifestyle that for us qualifies as “retirement.”

What does your ideal retirement lifestyle look like?

Start there. Imagine that. Then identify the destination and the circumstances that will allow you to live that life as soon as possible.

This will be the focus of our discussions during this year’s Retire Overseas Conference taking place in Las Vegas Aug. 28–31. Don’t let the name fool you. We’ll be talking about retirement, for sure, but as part of a bigger-picture discussion to do with taking control of your time and your future, no matter what your age and no matter what your current financial circumstances.

Your life in retirement overseas can take any form you want it to take… and you can pull the trigger on it now or anytime you’d like, no matter how many birthdays you’ve got behind you.

Kathleen Peddicord