Many temporary strategies require good health, so they’re more likely to work in the first decade of retirement than the last.
Lots of us hope to travel in retirement and envision a sequence of cruises, rented vacation condos and tours. But it is far, far cheaper to throw a bike or kayak on the roof of the car and some camping equipment in the trunk. To keep those expensive plans alive, you could consider spending a few years with low-cost alternatives such as seeing America’s rails-to-trails network, national parks and rivers.
Moving to a trailer park may not be an appealing money saver, but attaching a small camping trailer on the back of the car can be an equally low-cost but more adventurous way to enjoy part of your retirement. You could rent out your home while you spend a year or two on the road, avoiding a dip into your nest egg and perhaps even adding to it if the rent exceeds your costs.
If that doesn’t suit you, think about buying a little place in the hinterlands, where real estate is cheap and taxes are low. Live there for a few years and move back to the pricier city or suburbs after you’ve had your fill of country life and allowed your retirement funds to grow.
Some new retirees have even shored up their finances by spending two years in the Peace Corps. The lifestyle is not lavish, but it’s interesting. And your low-cost way of life will earn admiration from friends and family rather than pity.
Whether you’ll need a temporary cost-reduction strategy or not, the key is to be in a position to employ one if necessary. That means minimizing your long-term financial obligations – those big mortgages and so on. As in business, the winners will be retirees who can adjust nimbly as conditions change, leaving plenty of money for the later years when the cheaper options are no longer as practical.
Luckily for retirees living on a fixed income, there are a lot of discounts that are only open to seniors. Here are 13 of our favorites.