Some people know what they want out of life at every step of the way, they plan which college they will attend, which course they will study, what line of work they’re going to go into, when they’ll marry, where they’ll live and how their entire life will be played out, even determining how and where they will live in retirement. And then there are the rest of us!
Some of us may have had firm plans or a few dreams once upon a time, but life often comes along and gets in the way. There’s a very, very old joke that goes something like this: “how do you make God laugh? Tell him your plans!” So, if you’re a little less well organised, if God has laughed at your plans, if you’re still wondering when and how you’ll retire, what you’ll live on and what you want to get out of retirement, welcome to this report into the concept of nomadic retirement.
Nomadic retirement is retiring but putting down very few – if any – firm roots. It has pros and cons and if you’re not 100% sure about what you want to do once you start receiving you social security check, read on to discover the delights of this way of life and to see whether it is right for you. Even if you’re not ready to become a fully blown nomad, there are ways you can adapt the best bits of this alternative way of life to perhaps suit your own retirement plans.
Nomadic Retirement – What’s So Good About This Way of Life?
Nomadic retirement is wonderful for people who want to have no fixed abode. If you don’t want the burden of a property hanging round your neck, if you don’t want all your retirement savings tied up in an immovable object and you instead want to travel around and see more of the world, this way of life will be right up your street.
You can sell your home and buy an RV or a boat, you can travel the world or sail the seven seas. Alternatively you could choose to rent a home in a given destination for a few months, before moving on and renting elsewhere and getting to know a different country or a different part of a country.
As a nomadic retiree you certainly don’t need to afford a permanent home – which can take a massive financial burden off many people at a time in their lives when money is perhaps a pressing concern. In fact, you can perhaps earn a little extra cash to supplement any pension you have when you take a nomadic approach to retirement.
You can choose where you go depending on the season, and you can choose based on what seasonal work might be available to you. In other words, as a nomadic retiree you can go where the work is and earn a few extra dollars to put a bit more gas in your RV tank, or to buy a plane ticket to the next location. From fruit picking to grape crushing, from olive harvesting to chalet jobs, you can choose what you want to do when, and just turn up in the right place at the right time to secure short-term employment.
There is something hugely liberating about having no fixed bills to pay, no fixed community to become a part of – it’s a lifestyle that suits those who have itchy feet or who have always wanted to be so free that they can call the shots every single day.
Nomadic Retirement – It’s Not Right for Everyone!
Of course, nomadic retirement may not be ideal if you have family and friends living in one place. You may miss seeing your children have their own children, you may miss out on being part of the formative years of your grandchildren, and you may simply not be able to live without your friends.
If you have no fixed abode you have no home, no address – some people find it difficult to feel comfortable living in this way. Others struggle to come to terms with the concept of living in an RV 24/7, or on a boat…and it can get tiresome having to pack up and head out and find a new home every few days, weeks or months.
Anyone with healthcare concerns will really struggle to get insurance to cover this way of life – others will perhaps find it difficult getting continuity of care or the support they may need for any condition or medical issues they have. These are just some of the reasons why nomadic retirement is not right for everyone.
Alternatives to the Extreme Nomad
You don’t have to take a full on nomadic approach to retirement to benefit from many of the above listed pros however, and in adapting your retirement path to suit your own desires you can also avoid many of the cons detailed so far.
We’ve all heard of Snow Birds right? Those people who head south in the winter months to soak up some much needed sun? Well, this is a concept that developed in North America, particularly Canada, and which is now catching on all over the world.
Some people who live in nations where the winter months are extremely cold may own or rent a second home in a warmer country, where they can while away the winter months whilst basking in perpetual sunshine! These people are temporary nomads if you like!
You too could take this approach to a nomadic retirement – even if you don’t mind the winter or you don’t live in a part of the world where it gets excessively cold. Instead, perhaps you could spend a chunk of your year living ‘at home’ and enjoying your family, friends and community. You could then choose to dedicate a smaller amount of your time to traveling about, seeing more of the world, exploring the high seas or the back roads and freeing your inner nomad.
The Best Things About Being Retired…
As a retiree you can legitimately shed many of the ties that bind – you are no longer committed to an employer and a job, you’re perhaps no longer tied to your mortgage. This can free you up to live the life you want to live in retirement.
For those who want to travel, have adventures and make the very most of this freedom there is a nomadic existence waiting for you. For others who just want to have the chance to utilise their time for maximum pleasure whilst remaining in close contact with home, there’s the opportunity to adapt the Snow Bird model and concept to suit your commitments and your dreams.
The Private Thinking Nomad
Finally, anyone who’s concerned that Big Brother is watching us all a little too closely these days and has too great a vested interest in our every day affairs may choose to think like a nomad in retirement. From legitimately avoiding taxes by taking on citizenship elsewhere or never being in one place long enough to qualify as a resident, to having no fixed abode to be judged by or tied to, nomadic retirees are private thinking, perpetually travelling PTs. They can shake off some of society’s less pleasant traits such as the snooping nature of CCTV in every town in America and the UK, they can drop off certain radars and have a more private and free existence as a result.
Some say that if you have nothing to hide you need not fear Big Brother – others feel that their privacy and right to personal freedom are being eroded by the constantly advancing interventions into our private lives by the likes of the government. If you fall into this camp you may well wish to explore the reality of a nomadic retirement in a bid to retain your freedom and your discretion.
About the author: Susan Beverley is a writer and editor for Escape From America Magazine and also writes for and maintains Expat Daily News – the expat news blog for EscapeArtist.com. She traveled extensively before becoming an expat herself having found a place to call home in South America where she has lived since 2005. She understands the concerns, needs and difficulties that expats face from first-hand experience and is dedicated to supporting and encouraging anyone who is looking for a new nation to call home. [ send her an email ]