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Hanging out in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Hanging out in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Welcome to Go Curry Cracker!

We are Jeremy, Winnie, & Julian, a nomadic family who retired in 2012 to travel the world and start a family, all while still in our 30s.

On our blog we share how we were able to become financially and location independent at a relatively young age, the details of a life of full time travel and child rearing, and photos, stories, and cost of living for each country we visit. To get the whole story, you can start at the very first post. Or look through the entire list of posts and start wherever grabs your attention. For some ideas of where to start, here are a few of the more popular posts:

Our story

We had normal lives. We both grew up in lower income families. We used student loans to attend college. Money was a skill we had to learn later in life.

We did unconventional things while working, such as live in a small apartment in a walkable neighborhood instead of a house in the suburbs, using a bicycle and our own feet instead of owning a car, and making most of our meals in our own kitchen (even our own bread.) This allowed us save an increasing percentage of our income, more than 70% for about 10 years until we were able to live completely off income generated by our investments.

When we first retired, we had grand ambitions to tour all of Latin America, Europe, and Asia in one monumental journey, but then… … we realized, “What’s the rush?!”  We have 60 years of travel ahead of us.  There is no competition to check off a list of countries or destinations (although we’ve been to ~40 countries to date.)

So we have traveled (very) slowly, immersing ourselves in local language and culture, meeting interesting people, and having adventures. Definitely not a backpacker lifestyle, we’ve rented places with a private pool, dine in restaurants 2 or 3 times a day, and had great adventures such as swimming with whale sharks.

All of this luxurious living costs a whole lot less than you would think, which is why we share every penny we spend. When we decided we were ready to start a family, we used our location independence for Medical Tourism, undergoing IVF treatments at 80% off US prices. Our son is a big fan of traveling as well, and loves meeting new people, spending time on the beach, and exploring new cities. julian_beach_kohlantaThank you for stopping by. Also check out Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for fun day to day stuff.

Questions? Ask away.

Jeremy, Winnie & Julian

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166 Comments

  1. oys3099Olivia

    Hello again!

    I started my new job… and just starting putting money into my retirement account. I would like to know where I can learn more about how to withdraw money early when the time comes. I read a lot about ways to withdraw retirement funds early without penalty but am having trouble finding actual documentation.

    Thank you!
    Olivia

    Reply
  2. Frank

    Hey guys, love the site. I’m a 29 year old American, interested in eventually being financially independent so I can retire to a cheaper country to live/travel. I save about 40% currently and every year that goes up as I get a raise/bonuses. Can you give me any your advice on the cheapest countries in Europe or Asia to retire to? I’m hoping to just make money in America and spend it abroad. 🙂

    Reply
  3. Gabi

    I’m curious as to where you lived when you said you didn’t have a car and rode a bike and walked. Living in Orange County, CA I can’t even imagine that could actually be feasible.

    Reply
    • Go Curry Cracker

      I lived in Seattle. But I did the same when I lived in LA, where the weather is perfect for walking/biking.

      Living where walking and biking are easy, not just possible, is not an accident. It may require moving.

      Reply
  4. Cubs

    Love the site. I may have asked this before but I couldn’t find my comment in your posts. I am stuck in a rut where I dislike my business/job and my living expenses are high. Sloppy savings plans and tons of waste due to a busy lifestyle.
    My wife and I actually have a net worth around 2 million like you. My question is:

    How would you hand schooling if I chose to live a traveling retirement lifestyle with a 3 year old and 1 year old.

    Also have you thought about college costs for the kids, I’m sure you have. What would our spending rate be if we wanted to leave some money for the kids college? And maybe something for them in the form of inheritance?

    Reply
  5. Go Curry Cracker

    Home school.

    College is cheap when you plan 20 years in advance.

    Spend less than 4% of your invested net worth (the house doesn’t count) and the odds are high the portfolio will continue to grow.

    Reply
  6. Alicia

    Hello I just found your blog and I am very inspired! Traveling is all I have ever wanted to do! I am 21 years old living at home about to graduate with an associates degree debt free with around $5,000 in savings. I want to invest the money I have saved up, but don’t know where to start. I want the money to grow, and be able to retire in my 30s or 40s. What would you suggest?

    Reply
    • Go Curry Cracker

      Congrats on graduating debt free! Your timing couldn’t be better to be thinking about retirement, because you are about to experience a jump in income.

      The main thing is to focus on saving a high percentage of income. Don’t fall for the trap of lifestyle inflation. This is a decent start for a 10 year plan, and this is a good start for learning to invest.

      Reply
  7. NiKI

    I should be sleeping but instead I am dreaming of financial independence. I am a nomadic soul myself. I have done the travel Nursing thing and just recently got an even better situation, similar to travel Nursing situation. I am going to pay off my house this year.. that’s the goal. I am 32 and single. I want what ya’ll have. I love traveling, giving, and living life. Thanks for the inspiration. Any tips on lowering my taxable income? I have read a bunch and I plan on maxing out my 401K and Roth IRA. I could end up making anywhere from 100-150k this year. Any other tips…

    Reply
  8. Kaman

    Thank you for sharing all these. I love your blog 🙂

    Reply
  9. Robert

    I found your blog through a link from a jlcollinsnh.com article and love it! Seems right up my alley after a lot of different looks at different investment/wealth building strategies (entrepreneur, real estate, online passive income sources, etc).

    Single, male, almost 26 years old, good income (about 110k gross annual, but it’s a down year due to it being linked to oil and gas, so it’s usually higher), about 12k of debt from a loan and a credit card which I anticipate being rid of by July. My tragic misstep was buying a house last year tricking myself into it being an “investment” it feels more like an anchor even though I have a good interest rate (3.125 on a 15 year mortgage). Luckily it is brand new in a good gated community so I’m looking to lease it starting next month for a few years until the market here (Houston, Texas) makes me take a little less of a loss on it after building some equity at a discount for a year or two (I know I know, most of the mortgage is going to insurance, taxes, and interest, but still).

    I’m also blessed that my job is in shipping, so I typically work for three weeks straight, followed by three weeks completely off, which many consider semi-retirement already. While my house is leased and what few physical possessions I have are in storage (planning on selling my car and motorcycle, both of which I bought for cash money anyway, but still seem entangling due to the need for registration/inspections/maintenance) I’m planning on being fairly nomadic, having a PO box for any “important mail” (what self-respecting company can’t do everything through paperless email these days anyway?).

    My travels revolve about a destination list of UNESCO world heritage sites http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/ and I find that I can keep travel costs very low through hosteling or air bnb for a week or so at a time. The largest expense by far is airfare, what is your best piece of advice for someone looking to travel in 3 or 4 week chunks until I’ve reached my FI point (projected in my late 30s) and travel full time…or start a family and “settle down” who knows?

    Any thoughts or feedback from yourselves or other readers are very much appreciated, any pitfalls I can avoid along the way would be great!

    All the best!
    Rob

    Reply
    • Go Curry Cracker

      I’d work on flying for free. Pass as many of your expenses as possible through rewards credit cards.

      No need to settle down if you start a family. Our little guy just passed the 1-year mark and has been to 7 countries.

      Reply
  10. dailydealsjc1

    I just found your blog and am inspired! My husband and I have a desire to travel, and have an alternative lifestyle, but just clueless as to how to get there. =) He’s in a $15/hr FT job in the financial industry, and and I’m in a $12/hr 30 hr/week job. He’s almost done with his AA in business, and we’ve not taken on any debt in that area! We’re trying to figure out how to do the BA and afford that, and in what field and where…and it’s overwhelming! We rent, don’t have kids yet (really want to), and taking 1 college class at a time is taking us forever to get to the point of affording to have a baby.

    I’ve delved into some of the travel hacking, and we just took our first trip to Europe for almost free. Exciting stuff! We want to do more of that….but we don’t have much saved (even though we spend little and very frugally) or in a Roth. We’re in our late 20’s and just not sure where to begin…our lives have not had much financial help by parents and such, so we’re figuring this out on our own. It’s been slow going, but good.

    What would your tips be on where to start for the schooling/financial freedom? We love the area, have a good church, and family nearby, but I’d be ok renting someplace. Rent here is definitely climbing…Our car is old and needing replaced and public transport isn’t good/reliable…so you really have to have a car (both of us do for jobs in separate areas). We’re thinking an online school would be the only option due to work schedules, but figuring out how to do that, fix/buy a car, AND do some sort of investing….is seemingly impossible! Other than that, we thrift shop, don’t own a TV/have cable, and rarely go to the movies/pay for hotels/theme parks/do pay activities. Any advice would be amazing!

    Reply
    • Go Curry Cracker

      Hi dailydeal, apologies in advance, your question needs more time and thought than I have to give.

      A few things to consider though:
      – public transit is terrible everywhere, and yet millions of people use it daily, oblivious to the idea that you absolutely must have a car to get by. As in most things, attitude is probably more important than any other factor.
      – nobody needs a car to get to a $12/hr part time job. There are plenty of similar paying jobs within walking distance of where you live now. Or ride a bike or take public transit. See Jenny’s comment below, and look at the benefits as well as the hourly rate.
      – I had a 30 hr/week job while taking 18 credits in an engineering program. Working more hours is one way to bring in more income – watch the movie The Pursuit of Happyness with Will Smith, for a good example of how using public transit and working 80 hours a week can yield results. Use the resources you have available (youth, energy, desire.)
      – With combined income of $27/hour, your annual earnings are at the median income level for the US. If you aren’t saving anything with that level of income, your spending is probably higher than it needs to be.

      Good luck!

      Reply
      • dailydealsjc1

        I guess my comparison was public transit in Budapest and Vienna….which was AMAZING. Here…my husband took the bus the first year of living in Iowa, it’s very unreliable. And you’re stuck out in the snow at a very early time of morning. But, that may be what we have to do…

        My job is *almost* unnegotiable. It’s been a major blessing. It’s midday work, no weekends, casual, not retail, pays great benefits, and gives me about a month off in PTO each year, a week off in sick leave, and then normal holidays on top of that. I have a health condition that requires I miss a day each month, and they’ve been very understanding, given that I have to give them quite late notice. I haven’t found anything that compares. But a different job is something I’ve considered. My husband got this better job, and now the bus stop is nowhere near his work. It’s a pain, and we’d love to figure out something that would work to walk/bike/public transport to. Winter and lots of snow is a difficulty when biking/walking to work. We live in a VERY residential area and businesses are quite spread out…and just renewed our lease. :’\ But maybe moving is in the cards for next year to make all that easier!

        Thanks for the encouragement in the working arena. We definitely can explore those options more!

        We are saving, which I didn’t really clarify. However, it’s nowhere near as much as we’d like. We do have a charity donation (church) that we do, which takes some of that money, then we put some to various areas of our budget like medical/auto/gifts/saving/school/Roth IRA etc. I’m working on a side Etsy business, to hopefully start bringing in a little bit extra. We’ve wracked our brains for ages trying to figure out a means of a side gig…nothing yet for my husband. But we are continuing to try to be creative there!

        Thank you, Jenny, for your recommendation! We’ll definitely check it out!

        We just stumbled upon this blog from The Penny Hoarder, and both have read quite a few of your posts…and it’s very much given us a lot to think about! You pretty much changed our minds when it came to renting vs. buying! Now with all of these new ideas and dreams bouncing around our heads, we’re just trying to figure out step 1 and 2. 🙂 Keep doing what you’re doing! It’s encouraging and motivating. We are going to try to create a plan and see what areas we can tweak to save quicker. Examine what we’re doing right now and hopefully see some areas to change or improve in.

        One other question…do you see more benefits to your future for getting the engineering degree, other than helping you to save quicker to get you to the place you’re at now? We’ll be taking a closer look at higher-paying degrees in the near future…

        Reply
  11. Jenny

    I think an online education is a great start. I teach for ASU online and I would highly recommend their program. By the way, they have a partnership with Starbucks. Employees at Starbucks get either a free or highly discounted tuition. I would definitely check it out. I believe you only have to work part-time for the benefits, but double check.

    Reply
  12. Jules

    awesome blog! inspiring on many levels and in many directions!

    Reply
  13. soulrider

    Hi Jeremy,
    I was wondering if I can pick your brain!
    My mother is planning on moving to the US after she retires (currently she lives in South America, but because of many reasons she wants to spend her retirement here in the USA).
    I want to help her have the best financial situation possible. Her money is worth way less here than it is in her country, unfortunately.
    But this is what she will be dealing with:
    150K cash
    170K home in South america, available for sale if that’s the best option, vs renting it out for 600 dollars a month
    30k year pension
    What should she do with her money? Would you recommend investing the whole thing in a vanguard account, and pull 4% per year? That would give her 42,800 yearly income. I will be able to supplement that income by paying some of her expenses, such as rent or health insurance if necessary. If your recommendation is to invest, what portfolio allocation would you advise?
    BTW she will be 62 when the move occurs.
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  14. Blue Pine

    Hi, I stumbled across your site and I agree with most of your statements. I basically did the same thing as you about a decade ago but built it on different assumptions. You seem to have faith in the US Stock Market to generate your dividends. I di-vested from the US Stock Market about 10 years ago and bought a couple of multi-units and use this for passive income. Yes, I know the tax advantages are in your favor. Even though I agree if one is disciplined, by renting you can save a ton of money.. at least I did. However, I just didn’t like the fact I wasn’t in control of my living habitat. Therefore, I blended the concept of renting and wanting to control my living situation. I bought a couple of multi-units and my tenants pay my mortgage. So, I feel I have the best of both worlds where I live rent-free and mortgage-free but still own my property. Granted, I had to put 25% down on my property but the ROI was about 5 years and that has passed 5 years ago. Even though the stock market is outrageous and over-inflated, and you guys are making a great dividend, I found it hard to invest in US companies that treat their employees like slaves and would outsource their mother if they could. I don’t want to make a profit off of other US worker’s misery. So, I rent in a very hot rental market but I just keep my rates reasonable (probably 30% below rental market value) for the working class to be able to still live in the city. So, far, most of my tenants get it and great.

    I still work but only if I want to. Since I am single, I could have retired in my 30’s. I never found my soul mate to travel the world like you guys did so I work on and off on computer gigs where I take 11 months off or 3 months or 8 months off. However, I travel over the world and hike, take care of my properties, and gardens, volunteer on projects to save parks, green spaces, AT trail maintenance, etc. I like to still keep my head in the game even though I am considered an “old” consultant… it doesn’t matter because I am at my prime with my skill set mixing business skills with my technical skills.

    Consequently, I think what you are doing and explaining to Americans there is a world out there to explore and this is how you do it, is great.

    Keep Up the Good Blogging… 🙂

    Karen

    Reply
  15. Mun Yee

    Hi Jeremy and Winnie,

    Your story really inspires me! I am from Malaysia, age 22 now, just started working and in the mid of repaying a 3 yr education loan provided by my employer. Do you have any advice to this circumstances of financial planning? I am still quite lost and confused on what I can actually start praparing now for my future.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Go Curry Cracker

      There are some core principles to follow:
      – target saving 50% (or more) of after-tax income (while minimizing taxes)
      – invest those savings such that they grow faster than inflation (usually equities)

      Reply
  16. Lori

    Hi Jeremy. First thank you. For sharing. I have new lightbulbs go on all the time as I read your blogs and the comments exchanged. My curiosity is forever piquied. I look forward to a new kind of journey to getting to FI.

    One comment you made once has me stumped. You mentioned the last three years before you retired, you were contributing 100% of your income to your savings. I haven’t come across the story behind that in your blogs yet. I realize back then you were living a very low spend lifestyle, but how did you cover your basic living expenses?

    Reply
    • Go Curry Cracker

      Hi Lori, thank you kindly.

      Those last 3 years of work our dividend income was sufficiently high to pay all of our (fairly low) expenses. All of my paychecks could be sent straight to the brokerage account.

      Reply
  17. andres

    i enjoy reading the your stories, and i share a lot the similarities with you on attitudes toward personal finance. out of the millionaire friends of mine including myself all share two things in common i think. save like crazy, and invest like crazy. this is i think the easiest way to get to financial freedom. you don’t need rich parents, you don’t need to win the lottery. no one is born as a perfect saver or perfect investor. but with an open mind, and constant self education. you will get better at it. it’s very doable.

    Reply
  18. Charity

    Amazing blog!

    Have to admit feeling ridiculous anxiety reading because I have no idea what anything means.

    Do you have any references for finance noobs, such as myself, (the noob in this example went to school for music on a full ride and wound up being a waitress full time because she made no $$ as a musician) on what to read/where to start?

    Thank you regardless for sharing such wonderful stories and information.

    Reply
    • Go Curry Cracker

      Hi Charity. A great place to start is the book The Simple Path to Wealth. You can get it for free at the local library or on Amazon.

      Reply
  19. Savvy Newbie

    Hi Jeremy,

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    My husband and I, with our little one, will test the waters by staying in Asia for 3 months. I’m wondering if you have any advise on what could be a cost effective way of withdrawing funds there. We have CAD so we are thinking of using Amazon Chaze to convert it to USD since it will cost just 1%, then withdraw thru ATMs into local currency, which could be costly.

    I’d appreciate any advice.

    Reply
    • Go Curry Cracker

      It is best to avoid multiple currency conversions. We pay for everything on credit cards first, and just then use the ATM to get cash. ATM exchange rates are typically as good as credit cards. See this post for more.

      Reply
      • Savvy Newbie

        Thanks for your reply. I guess we are all set. Have packed all our stuff and just put it to storage so we don’t have to pay the whole rent.

        Reply
  20. Mr. Hammocker

    Meeting new people and learning new cultures sounds amazing. Visiting another country is life changing, especially if you can do it full time! Also, thanks for the great tips. I appreciate the advice with managing currency conversions.

    Reply
    • Go Curry Cracker

      Mr Pfau has a great number of articles stating the 4% rule will fail. In this particular example, my main take away is that if the country in which you are 100% invested loses a world war, you probably have bigger things to worry about.

      Reply
  21. Martina

    you mentioned in the ‘budets are sexy’ article that Winnie started working again….? so you are not completely retired anymore?

    Reply
    • Go Curry Cracker

      I did?

      Reply
      • Martina

        that was your quote: ‘… Pretty decent… Our household income this year will be around $110,000 between my wife’s new job and my online projects…’

        Reply
        • Go Curry Cracker

          Book maybe

          Reply

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