The Truth About Retirement’s “3-Legged Stool”

For decades, financial planners have used the analogy of the three-legged stool to illustrate the three principal sources of funds most of us will have available to support our retirements: Social Security, work-based pensions, and personal savings.

The basic strategy offered up by the financial industry to ensure we never run out of money can be described as follows: Before retirement save like crazy; work as long as we can to delay retirement; after retirement, slash spending.

At least that’s my takeaway from a recent Merrill Lynch study of the financial preparedness of various generations for retirement, from baby boomers to millennial. It references this classic three-legged stool, noting that almost no one gets a pension anymore. From the start the study observes:

“Preparing for and funding retirement is more than ever a personal responsibility, and many Americans are worried that a financially secure retirement may be out of reach.”

n other words, a secure financial retirement is in reach if only we take responsibility and save early and adequately. They then offer up this nugget from the survey results:

“While respondents report that they should be saving 25.3% of their income for retirement, in fact they are only saving 5.5%.”

The truth is that most of us don’t save enough because we have competing needs throughout life: pay off college debt, buy a home, raise children (increasingly including college), illness of a family member, loss of a job. The miracle is that we find a way to save even 5.5%.

There’s a reason financial planners pay so much attention to this particular leg of the stool: if we focus rigorously on saving, delay retirement, and cut spending to the bone thereafter, we will maximize our savings—and financial advisors make their money on how much of our money they are managing for how long.

I have nothing against financial advisors—on the contrary. If we have some savings and either lack the expertise to manage it or don’t want to take the time to do so, those are the folks we can turn to for this service.

Merrill Lynch’s study suggests that Social Security will provide an ever-decreasing share of retirement funding. After noting that the “Silent Generation” relies on their benefits for half or more of their income, they introduce this observation based on the survey:

“Each younger generation in turn anticipates less reliance on government programs and employer pensions, and more on personal sources.”

But this sentence is seriously misleading. Younger generations may “anticipate less reliance on government programs,” but that doesn’t make it so.

It’s no surprise people have low confidence in Social Security, given how politicians of both stripes keep shrieking that the program is going broke. But whenever I speak with audiences of all ages, I have no problem convincing (almost) all of them that the fix for any future shortfall is fairly painless and that in fact the benefit amounts get better and better for younger generations.

In other words, Social Security will be more and more the foundation of our retirements. This leg of retirement’s three-legged stool isn’t going anywhere.

Here’s a little-known fact about Social Security: not only will the benefits be there for future generations, but the benefit amounts will be substantially higher in constant dollars (income adjusted for inflation). Why? Because our benefits are based on average wages around the time we reach retirement age. Since average wages go up steadily over the decades, this results in higher benefits.

My father and I had roughly comparable lifetime earnings adjusted for inflation; my benefits will be over 50% higher than his were. In other words, benefits are roughly doubling over two generations. What was a more modest retirement benefit for my father will be a much more substantial one for me and even more so for my children.

Most financial advisors continue their mantra of work-save, work-save to accumulate enough savings for our retirement. While most of us put away some savings, it’s not nearly enough for our advisors.

There’s a better alternative that you are not likely to hear from many financial advisors: Find out where you might live in luxury and style on your age 70 Social Security benefit—the world is full of such magical locales where your U.S. dollars can go so much further—then find a mix of spending from your savings or other sources of income to support your lifestyle until you reach 70. That’s putting your savings to work for you, not your financial advisor.

The Retirement Strategy Financial Advisors Won’t Tell You About

Financial advisors will argue about how much income we will need in our retirement. It used to be that planners would say around 80% of our pre-retirement income. Why? We will no longer pay payroll taxes (8% to 9%) and we no longer need to be saving for retirement anymore (another 10% to 12%). Unless our income and assets are high in retirement—a happy worry—we probably won’t owe any income tax either.

Some advisors even suggest that we will need 100% or more of our pre-retirement income. Why the higher amount? Well, we want to enjoy our retirement and that means spending much more on travel, home improvements, special events—and when we get too old to partake of these, we’ll need much more for healthcare…

The thinking goes like this: subtract other sources of income—like Social Security and pensions—from our anticipated monthly retirement spending and the remainder is the amount we need to finance from our savings. And in case we live a very long time, we should have enough savings to cover that possibility as well. A common rule-of-thumb is that we should be able to withdraw about 4% from our savings each year with low risk of ever running out of money.

Do the math and the amount of required savings can be huge.

Consider this example. Gina wants to retire at 62. She could receive a Social Security benefit at that age of $1,500. She doesn’t have a pension. Her current income is $4,000 a month. If we follow the old rule which says she’ll need about 80% of her income in retirement, then she needs about $3,200 a month. Subtract Social Security and her shortfall is $1,700 a month, which will have to come from savings. We can use the 4% rule to approximate how much she will need: divide the annualized shortfall by 4% and the amount is $510,000.

Here’s the problem: Gina only has $300,000. If Gina is 50, she will need to save over $1,000 monthly (and hope for a good rate of return on her investments) to approach that goal. That’s 25% of her income.

Maybe she can scrimp and save to do it. But what if Gina is 62? Her financial advisor will suggest she keep working—otherwise she will have to drastically cut her spending to around $2,500 a month, around 60% of her pre-retirement spending. That assumes that she can keep working and won’t get laid off… It also assumes she wants to keep working.

She doesn’t.

One option almost never mentioned by financial advisors is to consider relocating someplace where fewer dollars can offer a top-shelf standard of living: that could be any one of dozens of places overseas—one or more of which could be perfect for Gina.

Here’s a better financial plan for Gina. Relocate to one of these countries now, where $2,000 will deliver a first-class lifestyle for a single person. She can live on her savings until age 70, when she will still have a bit over $100,000 left. Her benefit at 70 will be 76% greater: $2,640 per month, adjusted annually for inflation and guaranteed for life. She could take the extra $640 a month and replenish her savings in about 12 years. Or, she could just up her spending for an even more luxurious lifestyle. Or she could do something in between—she has options.

Bottom line: financial advisors want to see your savings grow and last and last. They make more money if you have more savings over a long period of time. They tend to steer us to work longer, live frugally, and grab Social Security and pensions first before touching savings. That’s not always in our best interest. Gina can live at a luxury standard of living right away and arrange to eventually have her spending fully covered by her guaranteed Social Security benefits. That works for Gina. It can probably work for you too.

Living My Passions in Costa Rica

“What a morning,” exclaims my friend Beth as we sit on outdoor swings, sipping smoothies at our favorite little café in Dominical. We’ve just finished a beach cleanup in collaboration with a reggae event that will be taking place here over the weekend.

This scene explains why I absolutely love living in this spot in Costa Rica. It’s like I get to live all my passions combined in a paradise that seems custom built for me. From the beach cleanups that I love—and which help to keep our beautiful oceans clean—to the upcoming reggae show tonight, to being able to share the experience with genuinely good people. The longer I live here and the more people I meet, the better and deeper my connection to my jungle home becomes.

Additionally, the reason I can even attend a beach cleanup at 8 a.m. on a Friday morning is because I own my own business and I can make my own work schedule. Living here has allowed me the freedom to find my niche in the tourism industry and make a living but also have the balance that I always craved in the U.S.

The Costa Ballena or South Pacific region of Costa Rica is a perfect fit for me. It has enough development and infrastructure that I can run my business online and there is easy access to banks and grocery stores for everyday needs. Yet it is close to the ocean and I can balance my work life with surfing and my passion for all things ocean and water related.

This area of Costa Rica offers the community feeling that I was always craving in the States. Here, I know my neighbors and I can walk to the little tienda to buy a couple of avocados for lunch (they cost about $1, but sometimes you can even be given some for free if your neighbors have a tree) and discuss the surf with friends that I bump into on the way over.

As a single woman, living abroad, I sometimes get the question “aren’t you ever lonely or bored?” “Heck no,” is my reply. I have way more friends and close connections here than I ever did in the U.S. People are not too busy to stop and talk to you and I know that if anything happens I would have several friends right there for me and I’d be happy to return the favor if they were ever in need.

For example, just this week alone, Monday and Tuesday afternoons I was out surfing glassy conditions with the local gang, Wednesday was pizza night with the neighbors after a morning workout with the lifeguards, Thursday was yoga up at a beautiful yoga retreat that my friends own, and Friday morning was the beach cleanup. This is a typical week here.

As I stopped at a neighboring beach this morning on my way home from the cleanup to watch the new swell arrive with big waves thundering to a close on the sand, I found myself feeling simply happy. I’m thankful every day for making the decision to move to Costa Rica.

Story narrated by By Tara Tiedemann.

Wintering on the French Riviera For $3000 a Month

French Riviera conjures up images of royal and ultra rich people in Nice, France – a place often considered synonymous with dazzling wealth and a lavish, champagne-soaked lifestyle. There’s good reason for this reputation. From the 19th century until about World War II, this was the legendary winter playground of well-to do expats. The likes of Hemingway, Picasso, and Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald cavorted here during the roaring ’20s. And it’s only about 30 minutes from the high-stakes gambling dens of Monte Carlo, made famous in James Bond films.

But despite its glamorous history and prime location on the French Riviera, Nice is an unexpectedly accessible and affordable town. I saw nearly as many young couples and families as retirees.

Ironically, you’ll probably get the best value out of Nice by following in the footsteps of those well-heeled expats of old and wintering there. Expect plenty of bright blue skies, glorious sunshine, temperatures in the low 50s F, and rents that can be half the cost of summer rates. In fact, you could winter in Nice for as little as $3,200 a month.

If you’re going to live in Nice for only a few months, it makes sense to live in the central parts of the city to make the most of your time. Central Nice neighborhoods are all close to the beach and offer a variety of shops, restaurants, cafés, museums, and movie theaters. It’s also easy (and cheap) to get around in central Nice, as the city is highly walkable and has an extensive tramway and bus system that only costs $11.20 for 10 tickets.

Naturally, being close to the beach and most major activities has its price, but it’s not nearly as high as you might think. In fact, glamorous Nice is less expensive and offers much better value than Paris. You can rent a small furnished apartment in a central location, often with all utilities included, for anywhere between $720 and $1,400 a month.

Once you’ve taken care of rent, most other details are gravy. Restaurant prices run the gamut, from swish five-star affairs to no-frills spots with great soul-filling traditional foods. During my visit, I had a delicious lunch at Chez René Socca, dining on socca, a kind of chickpea pancake, and fried zucchini beignets, with a glass of white wine. The total came to about $9.

In other places, a large Niçoise salad costs about $12 and aubergine farcie (eggplant stuffed with chopped meat and garlic), another local specialty, costs about $8. If you’re in the mood for a heartier meal, mid-range restaurants offer three-course set menus for anywhere from $20 to $45. (Try the romantic Côté Marais, where you can get a first-rate, three-course dinner for just $37—an amazing value.)

Of course, by having an apartment in Nice, you’ll save plenty by preparing your own meals. You may be justifiably tempted to shop at the legendary Cours Saleya, a jam-packed outdoor market offering a mouth-watering selection of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and other products. But many locals believe  that prices are inflated at this lovely but tourist-infused market. Costs are far more reasonable at the sprawling, mostly French Marché de la Libération (Liberation Market), only a few tram stops from Old Town.

Book Review: Mind Bending Epic Sci Fi Story The Three-Body Problem

Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem is stunning, elegant, epic, and hard core science fiction with mind boggling ideas like using the sun as a radio amplifier, unfolding 11-diemnsional photon into two dimensional circuit boards to etch communication bus to create an artificial intelligence chip,  using nano-technology filaments to cut a ship into thousand pieces, or the evolution of a distance alien civilization through multiple destruction caused by its three suns.

The story spans multiple decades and characters, zooming in on Ye Wenjie and Wang Miao, two scientists born decades apart. Wenjie is an astrophysicist with a haunted past; she’s the daughter of a physicist who was beaten to death by his students during the Cultural Revolution for daring to teach the “reactionary” idea of general relativity while she witnessed the madness helplessly.

Miao is a nano tech engineer drawn into a virtual-reality online video game called the Three Body that’s metaphysical and at the same time simulates the three-sun world of the alien civilization.

Either of these premises alone would make for a rich SF novel, but Cixin Liu is only getting warmed up. By the time the book hits its peak, it’s unveiled a conspiracy that spans solar systems — one that not only threatens to alter the human race, but the very building blocks of physics that we’ve evolved to understand.

The Three-Body Problem is hard SF, full of lengthy passages of technical exposition about everything from quantum mechanics to artificial intelligence. But Cixin Liu supports all of that braintwisting theory with empathetic characters and a strong action-thriller backbone. That’s a lot to set up. The story begins slowly  and it takes a while to untangle exactly who or what the focal points of the plot are supposed to be. Once it’s up and running, though, it’s gripping.

In the following volume he expands upon “dark forest” theory of alien invasion of the Earth. One might say it is China’s imperial history, the history of other expansive civilizations and the pre-history of the first contact of Neanderthals with modern humans.

He asks a classic sci fi question – if we ever detect a fist signal from an alien civilizations, can we hide our dark history to the distant civilization? How would Earth grapple with the bare facts of “first contact”? Will there be riots and chaos as portrayed in Hollywood movies?

How the World religions will react? It may be easy for Buddhists and Hindus with beliefs of grand and teeming universe of untold antiquity vibrating with living energies but Christianity will face the tougher challenge of explaining if Jesus salvation extends to distant planets.

Book Review: Abundance for all is within our Grasp

In Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler argue that, despite the problems that our technology has recently created (including dwindling resources and global warming), we needn’t discard our techno-optimism after all. Indeed, according to Diamandis, the world is on the precipice of another explosion in technology that will soon bring refuge from many of our current problems, and abundance to our doorstep.

Not content to let the goal or the timeline remain vague, Diamandis is happy to hang a more precise definition on each. When it comes to abundance, Diamandis defines it as a world of nine billion people with clean water, nutritious food, affordable housing, personalized education, top-tier medical care, and non-polluting, ubiquitous energy, and, to top it all off, the freedom to pursue their goals unhindered by political repression.

With regards to the timeline, Diamandis claims that it should be achievable in the next 10 to 25 years. In an attempt to convince us that this goal is achievable Diamandis take us through the latest technological developments (and those that will soon be coming down the pipe) in numerous fields such as water filtration and sanitation (including advancements in water desalination); food production (including vertical farming); education (including personalized education); energy (including solar, wind, nuclear and algal biofuel); healthcare (including stem cell therapy and organ creation)and many, many more.

According to Diamandis, the technological innovations mentioned above are being spurred on by 3 forces in particular these days that are likely to bring us to a state of abundance even quicker than we might otherwise expect, and one that extends to all parts of the world.

The 3 forces are, 1) the rise of the bottom billion which consists in the fact that the world poorest have recently begun plugging into the world economy in a very substantial way, both as a consumer and as a producer of goods (largely as a result of the communications revolution, and the fact that cell phones are now spreading even to the world poorest populations 2) the rising phenomenon of the techphilanthropists – a new breed of wealthy individuals who are more philanthropic than ever, and who are applying their efforts to global solutions (and particularly in the developing world); and 3) the rising phenomenon of DIY innovation which includes the ability of small organizations, and even individuals to make contributions even in the most advanced technological domains (such as computing, biotechnology, and even space travel.

With regards to this last force, part of Diamandis’ purpose here is to inspire the layperson to enter the fray with their own contributions towards abundance by way of joining one of the numerous open-source innovation projects available online, or throwing their hand into one of the many incentivized technological prizes in existence, or in some other manner of their own devising.

In this regard, the authors are very successful, as the work is both invigorating and inspiring, and I highly recommend it.

Island Living at its Finest on Mexico’s Isla Mujeres For $3000

With temperatures in the mid-80s F, habitually warm Caribbean waters on all sides, and a perpetual sea breeze accompanied by the trills of soaring sea birds, Mexico’s Isla Mujeres maintains a loyal complement of full-time residents and seasonal snowbirds. It’s no longer a hidden gem, but rather has grown into a mature destination where expats can enjoy an affordable island retirement in casual, Caribbean comfort.

A couple can live in grand style on Isla for $2,500 to $3,500 a month; this includes rent, utilities, dining out regularly, and a couple of trips to the mainland each month for major shopping.

Access to and from the island is provided by a fleet of modern, high-speed ferries that maintains a frequent schedule between several terminals in the mainland city of Cancún. The cost for a round-trip ticket is about $20 and it’s a comfortable 30-minute ride.

Isla (as the locals call it) is not a sandy, beachy island. Although the island’s north end does have a very nice beach of soft, white sand, Isla is a chunk of stone rising from the seabed, with a powerful surf and mostly rocky coastline. But, no worries—its proximity to Cancún and the Riviera Maya provides 80 miles of postcard-perfect, palm-lined, sugar-sand beaches for those who want to wiggle their toes in the sand.

For expats, Isla’s big appeal is its casual lifestyle, where shorts and beach shoes are the accepted attire for any function. It’s common for weddings to be officiated while bride and groom take their vows in shorts, tee shirts, and sandals.

I rented a home home. It is about 800 square feet and has two bedrooms, a modern bathroom, sitting area/living room, and a very functional kitchen. It is furnished and air conditioned and has a small fenced yard. I paid $800 a month, including all utilities.

“A bottle of local beer, Indio, is only about $1. And I can buy a whole chicken for about $3.30. A large bottle of Coke is 65 cents and a big loaf of bread is 75 cents,” says John.

Cost of living on Isla Mujeres varies, depending on your taste. People live entirely on a Social Security check of $1,700 a month, renting a small apartment for about $325 a month. One can live a comfortable life and also fly to the US for $300.

How I Broke Free Using 5 Lessons From The 4-Hour Work Week

In the summer of 2007 I read a review of a little known book (at that time) The 4-hour Work Week. I was fascinated with the core concept espoused in the book and ordered it through Amazon and read it in one seating.

Then came an opportunity for me to get an early retirement from my company where I was working for 10 years. I took the early retirement package.

I cashed on a few more opportunities that I was pursuing as an independent business operator and realized close to 300K in my checking account. I had a valuable skill set through an MS degree in Computer Science,  10 years of work experience and a few independent projects.

For the first time I realized that I could create salable assets using my skills. I truly realized financial freedom . I felt like, at last, I broke free from the chain that was holding me to a location and 9-5 jobs.

The book had profound impact on my lifestyle, I how I take jobs, residence, and work.  I will discuss a few brilliant lesson learned from the book if you ever want to break free from your routine life

1. The 80/20 Principle – 80% Output is the Result of 20% Input

I was a 6-Sigma black belt and I knew the principle of 80/20 or Pareto’s Principle. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, Vilfredo Pareto, the Italian economist concluded that 80% of the wealth and income was produced and possessed by 20% of the population.  But he also found the mathematical formula was applicable outside of economics as well. In fact, it could be found just about everywhere. For example,

  • 80% of Pareto’s garden peas were produced by 20% of the peapods he had planted.
  • 80% of company profits come from 20% of the products and customers.
  • 80% of your complaints come from 20% of your customers.

You could say 80% of the output is a result of 20% of the input.  Tim suggests that you can eliminate waste in your life by 80/20 ing everything.  I started doing at least once a month, preferable twice, to really see where I’m able to optimize my time, energy, money etc.  This is, by far, one of the best things to do to really discover where you should put your focus. I also realized that

1. Doing something unimportant does not make it important.

2. Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important. What you do is exponentially more important than how you do it. While efficiency is important, it is useless unless applied to the right things.

2. Deferred Life Plan is Bad Idea

Most people will work 40 years to get a nice retirement to live a dream life.  They will plan to defer whatever they want to a future when they don’t have to work for money anymore. This is normal. People have been doing this since the advent of white collar jobs.

For most people this is impossible unless you inherit your wealthy parents’ money  without participating in your father’s business.  For the first time in history Tim Ferriss showed us that it is possible to create cash without  consuming time (a muse). It was under my nose. I had a website that was making $40K a year (Classifieds For Free) and just sold a PPC arbitrage website for a nice chunk of money.

He further told us countless stories of how people have optimized their muse and outsource their day-to-day tasks in generating passive cash flow without  having to worry about money or job security. I was fully prepared to take the challenge that lied before me.

3. Cost of Inaction

What is costing you to quit your job, starting a business, traveling, getting healthy, or anything else, what are the costs of waiting?  I wanted to experience a hedonistic life style. I wanted to indulge in psychedelic and legal sexual pleasure without any constraints. Time is finite, and I was not guaranteed the next day. I was 44.

Tim says, “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.”

At the age of 44, two decades after I graduated from university, I realized that I have enough money and a valuable skill to fall back for launching my hedonistic life journey. The feeling was great and most liberating.

4. The Guilt of Non-Finishing

From childhood we are taught that we have to finish a task once we start. From dinner to music lessons, from art class to Karate lesson, we are told to finish what we have started. We don’t want to be quitter.

Tim challenges the idea of finishing everything. He said just because you start something, doesn’t automatically justify finishing it. As an example he aid if you bought a  $9 bags of popcorn and 64oz drinks in a movie theatre, you don’t have to finish it.  Its okay to stop something that is boring or a waste of time if it isn’t required as part of your job.

Tim says, “Lifestyle design is based on massive action— output. Increased output necessitates decreased input. Most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside of your influence.”

Enjoy the things that really matter to you. If you have passion for something, enjoy your passions. If you like to watch SciFi movies, don’t waste your time watching romance. If you like to play video game, don’t waste your time watching political debates.

5. Freedom Means Giving Up Control

I was a perfectionist and afraid to give up control when designing a software or system. I wanted to do every thing by myself. Being able to live in a way for the first few years due to the money I had in my banks, it was easy. However, after a few years when I started freelancing, I did not care to control software design and development process.

I set up systems to architect solutions and  outsource many aspects of design and development.  I was enjoying a 4-hour work week, leading a hedonistic lifestyle at the expense of some  one in India or Philippines working 40 or 60 hours to lead a normal lifestyle of a white collar worker.


Penang, Malaysia – Asian Retirement Paradise

I lived in Penang for two years. If there is one place to retire in Asia, Penang will be my first choice because it provides affordability, tropical sea beaches, top rated hospitals, and wonderful foods, western style shopping centers, and outdoor lifestyle.

One of the oldest outposts of the former British Empire, Penang delivers 110 square miles of tropical treasures. A lush, mountainous island oozing history and heritage, Victorians christened it “the Pearl of the Orient.” It lies anchored on the Spice Route, just off Malaysia’s west coast, a mere two-hour drive from the borders of southern Thailand.

Around 41% of the island’s 600,000 inhabitants are of Chinese descent. From the Snake Temple to moon cakes and elaborately decorated clan houses, their culture and traditions survive intact. As do those of Penang’s Malay and Indian communities. Many foreign retirees also opt for a new life on Penang, only a 50-minute flight from Kuala Lumpur. It’s also accessible by an eight-mile long road bridge and a ferry from the mainland that runs 24 hours a day. A second bridge was completed mid-2014 and a tunnel is planned for 2034.

George Town is Penang’s capital city. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008, it’s one of Asia’s most likable cities. Blending old and new, modern high-rises encircle streets packed with mansions, shop-houses, and Chinese clan houses.

There’s plenty in Penang for colonial history buffs and foodies too. Penang also delivers first-rate hospitals that offer unbelievable heath care at super reasonable prices. Just one of the reasons the island has two planeloads of medical tourists arriving every day, and when it only costs $20 to see a specialist you can understand why.

Western-style shopping is the norm, and good beaches are on your doorstep. A 60-cent bus ride takes you past upmarket Gurney Drive to Batu Ferringhi’s golden sands. Gurney Drive’s promenade is a favorite spot to catch well-to-do locals promenading at night and at weekends, and there are a few of the old grand mansions on view.

Penang is also terrific for an outdoor lifestyle. I can be at the beach within minutes of leaving my apartment or in the jungles hiking in the same amount of time and never see another soul for hours on end. When I want, I can cycle around the whole island in a day.

People from Penang are called Penangites and food is always on their mind. If they are eating breakfast they are thinking about lunch. If they are eating lunch they are thinking of an afternoon snack. You get the picture. There’s a dazzling array of stalls and restaurants selling delights such as charcoal-baked crabs, salt-baked shrimp, and Penang’s signature fried flat noodle dish, Char Koay Teow. It’s cooked using sweet dark soy sauce, bean sprouts, garlic, onions, Chinese sausages, prawns, chili, and squid. People drive from miles around just to sample it.

Penang reminds me of Malibu, California. Not because of the prices—in fact, far from it. But the road fronting this area is right on the ocean, just like Malibu. It’s a lovely, leafy, coastal area and one of the oldest neighborhoods on the island. There is a large retired and working expat population on the island, and there are a plethora of clubs, art galleries, museums and cafés to keep you occupied for a very long time. Throw into that mix dinner parties, golf and tennis days and beach BBQ’s and you get a good idea of how active the expat population is.

Essential Travel Tips For Solo Travelers For Fun On the Road

While traveling in a pair or groups is always fun, there is nothing more exciting than going on a solo vacation. It’s a feeling of freedom that gives you the desire to embrace the entire world at once. From my own experience, I have five suggestions that should help you make the most out of your solo trip.

1. Make a plan
Going on a trip alone doesn’t mean that you should go unprepared. On the contrary, you need to conduct thorough preparations in this situation. First of all, make a precise plan of transport and accommodation so you know where you’ll be staying each night and how to get there (to be safe, you may want to share this with someone back home). After that, you should organize your time abroad and make a schedule of all the places that you want to visit. However, I suggest you plan some unstructured time: don’t let your vacation turn into a race with your schedule and calendar.

2. Be careful at night
The biggest fear of single tourists is facing awkward or dangerous situations in unknown places, especially bearing in mind that women make up more than 60% of solo travelers (according to However, this should not be a problem if you pay attention to where you go out at night and avoid suspicious venues. When you enter a café or bar, go to the counter and connect with the staff. Bartenders and waiters keep an eye on the nearby customers and you will feel safe around them.

3. Meet the locals
One of the great benefits of traveling without a group of fellow tourists is that you’re free to meet the locals and learn about their culture and everyday habits. There are dozens of places where you can get acquainted with local residents—in the market place, sports events, bars, and restaurants, for example. But wherever you get in touch with the locals, be friendly and interested; try to find out more about them and their country. You’ll usually find your attitude returned in kind.

4. Walk a lot
The best way to discover new places is on foot, and as a solo traveler you’re free to let your feet take you where they will. When you wander the streets of the city or town you’re visiting, you will have more time to enjoy all those beautiful places around you and also to grab a quick bite somewhere or take a break in a cozy bar. Make your vacation more active with long walks and don’t waste too much time in hotels or tourist-focused restaurants.

5. Go easy with the luggage
It is crucial as a solo traveler that you plan your luggage properly. Don’t let your bags become a burden you have to lug around on your own. Bring a comfortable backpack or just one wheel-equipped suitcase and that’s it. This way, you’ll be able to move around quickly even if you need to keep all your luggage with you.

The best way to experience solo travel is to hit the road. A break free lifestyle makes it possible whenever you want. 9-5 life style chains you to place and restrains your freedom of movement.  You can start your solo travel of India with the following place Best Places Solo Travel In India