Who says aging in place is the way to go? While it continues to be a trend among seniors, there's another group of trendsetters who balk at the thought of staying in one spot. Reuters calls these modern wanderers "rambling retirees," describing a group of retirees who have opted to trade their homes for boats and RVs in order to set out on the adventure of a lifetime.
Many of these adventurous souls grew up during the 60's and 70's, when "couchsurfing" was an expected effect of late nights of partying and stopping by an old friend's place on the way to a new and exciting life in another city. The freedom retirement offers has enabled them to revisit their wandering years, travel new and exciting places, rekindle long-lost friendships and see the World.
Barbara Miller Elegbede is a 68-year-old retired teacher who attended college in San Francisco, living in an apartment just down the block from Janis Joplin. Today, she has added living in Africa, living in caves in Greece and hitchhiking all across the Globe to her list of accomplishments, with plans to spend two to three months in India next year.
Technology makes the road-warrior lifestyle possible
Wireless technology has made this adventurous lifestyle possible for many, including Ian Morton, a 51-year-old semi-retiree who lives half the year in a houseboat near Montreal. The Internet makes it possible for Morton to telecommute and maintain contact with his employer while he travels. Instant communication with friends and family can make the pain of separation more bearable, also.
How can you afford it?
It may seem like a major expense. But living in an RV can be more affordable than maintaining a large family home, according to Samantha Dunn, a journalist who has written about RV retirement for Next Avenue. When you factor in items like upkeep and taxes on a family home, a $100,000 RV seems like a wise option, Dunn tells Reuters.
RVs range significantly in price, and fuel costs don't seem to be a deterrent, based on estimates from Escapees RV Club and the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association. Both point to figures above 25,000 for the number of retirees living in RVs full-time.
Houseboats can also be considerably more affordable than a large family home, especially if your taste is modest. Houseboats range from $50,000 to $250,000, Reuters estimates, for a used boat able to accommodate a couple with room for occasional guests. New houseboats range between $200,000 and $1 million. There are also upkeep costs, which can be up to $25,000 annually. However, Morton claims he's saving thousands of dollars each year by living on the water.
John Graves, editor of the Retirement Journal and author of the retirement financing book "The 7% Solution," says he saved about $36,000 a year throughout a 10-year span he spent living on the road, traveling to an impressive 80 different countries. Graves used his money wisely, however, buying food from street vendors, bartering and living a simplified lifestyle.
Whatever lifestyle you choose, make sure it suits your personal preferences. If there's one clear trend among today's retirees, it's that there are no trends and no limits to what you can shape your golden years out to be.