The day my grandpa turned 62, he retired and put the family house on the market. That fall, he and my grandma, flush from the sale of their house and a good retirement that they had pinched pennies to contribute to for over 40 years, bought a used RV and hit the road.
They traveled through many warm weather states including California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Florida before deciding to winter in Florida every year. In the summer, they drove their RV up and parked it beside our house and lived there all summer.
I loved having them near us for 6 months of the year. What I didn’t realize is that they were cutting edge in the way they downsized their lives and stretched their retirement funds. My grandpa lived to 88 and my grandma to 90, and they still had money leftover for a small inheritance for their 9 kids.
More and more retirees are taking the path my grandparents did. Pursuing alternative retirements can keep more money in your pocket.
Here are some options retirees might want to consider:
1. Join NOMADS. NOMADS stands for Nomads on a Mission Active in Divine Service. Retirees show up in their own RVs to volunteer their services. In return, they ask for a place to park their RV for free and the materials to complete the service project. Dan and Virgie Brown, a couple in their mid-sixties have “helped fix up a small church in Texas, helped families rebuild after Hurricane Ike and made home repairs for needy families in Florida” (CNN Money).
NOMADS has over 1,000 members throughout the United States.
2. Volunteer at National Parks. Some retirees choose to volunteer at national parks in exchange for free room and board. Neil Adams, 69, has been volunteering at national parks for the last eight years. “For around six years, he went on a series of roughly three-month volunteer stints at national parks across the country, ranging from the Grand Canyon to Yellowstone. He’d greet park visitors one day and assist with traffic jams caused by wild animals the next. In his spare time, he would visit other sites within an easy drive” (CNN Money).
3. Live with family. Another option for retirees who get along with their children and want a more settled lifestyle is to sell their own home and move in with one of their children and her family. While this has many benefits including helping to care for the grandchildren, being active in raising the grandchildren, and avoiding loneliness, this arrangement is not for everyone.
Retirement can be a wonderful time to explore the world and do the things you always wanted to but didn’t have the time or freedom to do. However, traditional retirement filled with travel and fun outings with friends and family can be expensive. If you don’t have a large retirement or you just want to conserve costs, choosing one of these three options can be a great way to live the life you’d like all while saving money.
Do you see yourself choosing this type of lifestyle in retirement?