It may always sound like a good thing to retire young, however, my wife and I have ran into issues that we did not necessarily expect to have when we first embarked on this.
My wife and I, before we retired, were both workaholics in our careers, and because for this, we were given the opportunity to retire at a young age (early 40’s). We spent many months planning this move in our life but we now have discovered that there are somethings you just cannot prepare for in retirement and some of them never would have occurred to us to be issues.
First I need to explain to you a little about the life style my wife and I decided to undertake in retirement. Neither one of us could decide exactly where we wanted to spend our retirement years, so we decided that we would sell everything we had and travel the country in a motorhome. This allowed us the freedom we wanted to see things, visit all the places we have always wanted to and possibly find that perfect little community we were looking for.
Now lets look at some of the unforeseen situations that have been caused by retiring young.
Believe it or not, this is the number one issue my wife and I have found ourselves experiencing and causes the most issues. We thought at first that there are so many things to do and see, but there still is only so much you can do. We are only a couple years into this new life or ours and we already find ourselves at times bored. Since we were both Workaholics we were not mentally prepares to slow down so much and really have nothing forcing you to even get out of bed on a daily basis. We think to ourselves, we have another 30 to 40 years of this life styles so there is plenty of time to do things and there is always a tomorrow. We feel if we were later in life then we might feel different because of the limited number of years remaining that we could possibly get around easily and see things.
To help with this issue in our life right now, we have considered doing more work kamping at the places we travel. If you are interested click work kamping to learn more. This at least gives us something to do a couple days a week and something to look forward to at times. If we get tired of that, we may be forces to go get part time jobs at the different locations just to help pass the time at least a couple days a week.
This issue has just started to creep into our lives and we are not too excited about it. Since our new lifestyle has been to travel the country in a motorhome, this is more of a lifestyle by the older generation of people and thus couples that are much older than Mary and I. First let me say, everyone we have met has been wonderful to us and has made us feel right at home and only a couple have ever been resentful to us because we did not have to work till we were 60 to enjoy this life style.
Most of our new friends, due to this lifestyle, are in their 60’s and 70’s and thus we have started to experience the issue of losing some good friends due to health and age. We have actually started to think that baring anything drastic happening to us, we will most likely loose every one of our friends because of the age differences. As you can see this would not have been an issue if we would have retired later in life.
Even if you choose a different lifestyle than my wife and I did, you will most likely still find that many of your new friends will be older. Most people your own age will still be working their own carriers as they are not retired yet.
Not all things are negative about retiring young though, there are still some excellent benefits to it.
1) You are more physically able to do a lot of things still in life that you always wanted to. We chose to take up Scuba Diving and we have enjoyed diving at all the different places we have traveled to.
2) One of the biggest pluses to me has been I can spend the winters down south, as I hope to never have to shovel another snowflake as long as I live.
3) We have actually been able to get healthier. Not only do we have a lot more time to take care of ourselves properly, with both eating right and exercising, but we also do not have all the stress that is caused by having careers.
4) We also get to travel more, in fact as I write this article we are enjoying the country of Aruba, where there is plenty of sun and scuba diving to enjoy.
In closing I still am very glad my wife and I decided to retire young. There are by far many more positive things that we have experienced than negative. However, realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side of things, as every path you take in life will have its ups and downs and you just need to be prepared for whatever life brings your way in every decision you chose to make.
When my wife and I decided to retire we figured one day we would eventually go back to work at sometime due to our young age. Becoming a Work Kamper and being able to still stay at various camping locations made Work Kamping a perfect fit for us.
Work Kamping is a means of working at a campground for a certain amount of hours in exchange for your RV camp site and other benefits. Benefits that come with Work Kamping varies from location to location. On average you will work 20 to 25 hours a week in return for you site. This is a combination of you and your wife or just one person. Most will also pay a slight gratuity for hours that are worked over there minimum if you want to work more. Most will also ask that you contract with them for at least a 90 day period if not more.
My wife find that the two of us only work 2 days a week and that is enough to give us the site. Paying for the site gives us the added income for traveling due to your RV site is usually one of the most expensive costs associated with living in a RV. The two days a week is easy and it helps break up the week and actually gives you something to look forward to at times. Yet two days aren’t enough to make us feel like we are still working at a Job and we can still see the sites when we want to.
Work Kamping duties can include many things. Most common are reservations, house cleaning, and basic maintenance on the grounds. Again this can vary greatly depending on locations. In fact, at some state parks you will sit there and collect admission fees from guest and pass out information to vistitors. When you apply for a Work Kampers position, you need to make sure what the duties involved are something you are willing to do and the benfits fit your needs.
There are many different locations that offer Work Kamping duties. Some of these, many people may not have thought of:
Almost all Camp Grounds
State and National Forest
State and National Parks
Corp of Engineers
Fish and Game
The list can go on and on. There is a company designed around helping Work Kampers find jobs and will actually email you daily on new openings that you may be interested in. You can find them at:
Companies will post there openings with them and you can read the openings and apply. Some jobs fill very quickly so you may find you need to apply almost a year in advance at popular locations. So you will need to plan your travels if you want to go from place to place throughout the year.
Some of the things you will need to get together before you start applying for these positions. Most will want some kind of Resume’. This is not the same kind you had when you were in the work force, but more of a brief description about yourself and the duties you are able to perform. You can have both you and your wife on the same resume’ if both are applying. Any hobbies you have can also be helpful. They really aren’t concern with your schooling you attended but more of what you are able to offer them, so be thinking of what kind of job you are applying for. Some even want a picture of you and your rig. I haven’t been able to narrow this one down as to why, but I do make sure I have it available for them if asked.
In closing, I will have to say that becoming a Work Kamper has been very enjoyable for my wife and I and we love doing it. It allows us to visit the locations in the US that we want to and save money at the same time. This added benefit has greatly reduced our costs in retirement and allowed us to travel more.
I have been asked many times, how was it possible for my wife and I to retire at the young age of 44? I am here to tell you, it’s much easier than you think, even in these trying economic times, if you have a realistic goal of what you want to do in retirement.
The first and foremost important thing to consider is the kind of lifestyle you want to live and what it is you want to do in your retirement years. Now my wife and I’s life style may not be for everyone, especially since we went from both having full time jobs and living in a 2500 square foot home to a 400 square foot motorhome, but some of this stuff can be applied to living any kind of lifestyle you wish in retirement if you plan and think it all through completely.
Travel: Traveling this country and seeing the wonderful sights it has to offer was our foremost thought when we decided to retire. You don’t have to get on a plane and travel over the oceans to see all the fascinating things right in your own back yard. Many people spend their whole life working and never travel more than a couple hundred miles from where they live. That means no matter what country you live in, you have most likely not even scratched the surface of all the wonderful things to see. If you don’t go see it soon some of it may be gone before you know it, especially with the way the world is growing and changing daily.
Work Kamping: Work Kamping is one great way of killing two birds with one stone. It allows you to stay at various locations throughout the country for free in exchange for an average of 20 hours of work a week doing odd jobs around the area. You can work camp in locations such as State and Federal Parks, Even some amusement parks offer work campers jobs in exchange for rent. I bet even your local camp ground down the street has work camping jobs if you give them a call. I have stayed in many parks and camp grounds around the country and I can’t remember even one that didn’t offer some kind of work camping duties. The 20 hours a week is also just enough for us to both save money but have something to do to help pass the time. Going from full time jobs to nothing is a lot harder than one would think.
State or Residence: One of the most critical things to consider when retiring, besides if you have enough money is what state or area to call home. Many people want to stay where they grew up or near their children. There is nothing wrong with any of this but doing this may mean you have to work longer and there is nothing wrong with that either. My wife and I decided to change states but just travel back to see our children. Since we are retired there is nothing stopping us from going back home during the summer months and just work camping around our children. However, this still leaves us the winter months when I want to be down south, out of the snow, to travel. Many states offer different tax breaks to people. Some have no state income tax and some just don’t tax pensions or capital gains. Depending on your situation you will need to sit down and give this one a long thought. Might be wise to talk to an accountant to assist you with your personal situation and help you make a wise choice. Just keep in mind that having to pay state income tax in any area just means more of a burden on your retirement savings that you will need to account for in the decision Its quit a feeling to just let go of everything and feel free and not tied down anymore.
Selling your home and possessions: If you decided to move into a smaller place or just get up and do what my wife and I did and that is travel. The hardest decisions to make are what possessions you own are important to you. My wife as an example kept all the photo albums and such but got rid of everything else. If nothing else, our daughter sure has a nice looking apartment and is completely furnished now. We decided to get rid of our home because of the taxes and upkeep was more than we wanted to deal with. At the most if we are going to stay somewhere we will rent. This allows us to still continue to travel and not have to worry about someone taking care of the lawn or shoveling the snow. No Painting and upkeep needed. Also in an apartment our utility bills would be much less than in a home.
Money and Budget: As you can see the life style my wife I have chosen for us is not for everyone. However, it is what we wanted and because of that we were able to retire with a lot less money than you may think. If you look at just the money side of retirement, at the basic interest rate of 7% on say, $500,000 that comes out to $35,000 a year in interest and that is before you touch any principal. You tie that to living in a state with no income tax, low sales tax, and work camping when we travel to reduce rent costs, you can live very comfortable with very little. Another thing we do to allow us to take cruises periodically is we use our credit cards for all daily expenses. Then just take our money and pay it off at the end of each month. This allows us to generate points or rewards that by the end of the year can put my wife and I on a very nice cruise for very little cost.
Expenses: Some of the most common expenses you will have in retirement that many don’t always think about are; Taxes, Food, Gas, Medical Premium, Prescriptions, Cellular Phone Bill, Rent/Utilities, Insurance, Dining Out, Clothes, and gifts for your children. There are others but this is some of the most common that every retired person will have. All of retirement planning is trying to find ways to minimize this list and what items you do have on it keeping their costs down as much as possible.
In closing, there are many other ways to reduce you costs that will allow you to retire young and with a lot less than you think. Whatever your plans are the most important thing to do is the plan early and when the time comes to enjoy it to its fullest.