Almost three decades of retirement and we still have a great time on a boat ride across Lake Atitlan
Retirement is a great achievement, but it’s not static. It’s not like once you arrive you can forget about it and put it on auto-pilot. It’s an interactive manner of living that continues to respond to our input, the new skills we learn and how our goals modify. Hopefully we continue to grow and change, making our retirement sustainable and sweeter to live.
Below you will find three of our most effective lessons on how to retire early, enrich your life, and increase your enjoyment along your path in financial freedom.
Control housing costs and you can live anywhere
This is a well-kept secret of retirement. The cost of housing is one of the largest financial outlays in anyone’s household no matter what age you are, and if you modify the price you pay for your residence, you have the financial freedom to virtually afford living anywhere in the world.
In other words, if you could save tens of thousands of dollars a year on mortgage payments or rent, insurance, maintenance and repairs, how would that affect your life? What if you could live in Paris or on a Caribbean island for free? You can do that, if you house sit.
Fortunately, these days the number of housing options are vast. Depending on the style of retirement you would like to enjoy, you can live on a boat or snowbird to warmer climates for a season or two. Airbnb offers rooms or cottages for rent or you might downsize and live in an apartment or condo to lessen your monthly outlay for housing.
You could be here…
We often negotiate with a hotel for a monthly rate and enjoy great discounts. This allows us to stay in foreign countries at a reasonable price and still have all the amenities that hotels offer: maid service, Cable TV, WiFi, and convenient locations. And we don’t have to worry about repairing the swimming pool, the water pump or the roof.
Shared housing with others, living in community, or renting out a room or section of your own home are also opportunities to contain costs. RVing or living in an Active Adult Community or utilizing Workampers to allay the price you pay per month for lodging are enjoyable alternatives too.
Satisfying housing selections have never been more exciting and creative as they are today. Don’t box yourself in! Enjoy the world, meet new people, and take a leave of absence from your neighborhood, the familiar and your routine!
It’s a lifestyle, not a vacation
Keep things simple. Life has a way of becoming complicated. Once retired, you no longer need to live your life like a two week millionaire. You know, the way you might have lived while on vacation, picking out the best hotel rooms, eating at the best tourist restaurants, trying to pack years of adventure into a two week period before you return home, and purchasing tons of souvenirs for your friends and family.
Retirement is now a lifestyle and there is no push or rush to get it done by the end of the week and go back to work. Relax!
Retirement is a work in progress, and you’re in charge. While you may have done your homework on the retirement front, there’s still the chance that your dream lifestyle might need some tweaking. If you find that this is the case, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. You are the captain of your ship and can decide what to shift if something might fit better. Life is not motionless. Leave room for some serendipity.
Don’t take life so seriously, have fun with it! It’s later than you think! No matter where you are on the continuum of life, it’s later than you think. We can’t tell you how many friends we have lost over the years – those seemingly so young with lots of living yet to do! If you focus only on the future without a moment to enjoy the present, life can be unfulfilling.
Think outside the box
Traveling doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Cruises are great but for the price of the cruise you could stay a month or more in one of your bucket list locations. When rambling around, learn to use the Dollar’s strength to your advantage. If you have never been to Mexico it is on sale right now at about a 50% discount to what it cost a year ago. Australia, Vietnam, Canada, the Philippines, Eastern Europe, Panama and Thailand offer great values as well, so watch the exchange rates and plan accordingly.
In general, go slow and let events unfold and come to you. Sit in cafes and chat with locals to learn about the area and get suggestions on restaurants and rip-offs. It takes time to absorb a new culture so relax and let it happen. You will be rewarded for this.
Mexico is a GREAT Value
Another way to save money that you can use for fun and adventure, is to eat one meal a day in your hotel room, and we are not talking about room service. We prefer to eat a simple protein-filled breakfast as we like to leisurely move through the morning. Then we pack a water bottle in our day bags and perhaps a healthy snack and then we hit the streets of the town we are visiting, take a bus, or even a boat to check out what’s going on.
Arrange to volunteer. This is one of the most rewarding things a retiree can do in their new life. People everywhere need mentors, or perhaps they need the skill you can provide, whether it’s dentistry, teaching English, helping in an orphanage or local prison, teaching math or science. Utilize your time helping with clean water projects in developing countries, or use your musical skill to bring live music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities. Work at a food bank or rescue animals, help our veterans with PTSD or join the Peace Corps.
Now is the time to re-describe who you are, what you want to accomplish, and what you want to do with your next decades. You have so much to give, so many skills that you have honed over the years. People everywhere will benefit from you just being you and giving of what you know. The fact that you now have the time, the money and the ability to be creative with your life is a powerful combination.
The future is yours! Make the most of it!
Want to learn more about financial independence and traveling long-term? Click here to read our other amazing posts from Retire Early Lifestyle!
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.