Anyone planning this type of retirement?

I thought this was a great article. I expect to do something similar (if I ever retire) - keep a small home base but spend upwards of 1/2 the year on the road, as long as our health allows it. ___________________________________ __________________________________ How one couple walked away from all they owned and are putting down new roots around the world.
Vote: Moving after retirement? Why? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443720204578004131575356160.html?mod=djemPJ_t

Posted by Toni
Charlotte, NC, USA
2846 posts

Haven't read the article yet. But we've talked of wanting to be able to travel about 4-6 weeks out of every 8 or 10. Bit of a pipe dream right now with family health issues. But still a dream.

Posted by Robin Z
Troy, Oh, USA
1634 posts

I agree with you, a great article. We love to travel and hopefully we will be able to travel more once my husband retires, but not sure about being away most of the year. I would miss our beautiful granddaughter too much.

Posted by Lola
Seattle, WA
5444 posts

We will travel 3 or 4 months a year after we retire next year, starting with a month in a Venice apartment we have already reserved. But more than that would be too much time away from our kids and grandchildren, as well as friends. And my husband is strongly opposed to the thought of selling our home. We like having a place our adult children like to come to visit, with their kids. So the total vagabond thing is not for us.

Posted by James
Frisco
1799 posts

Yes, sort of.
I compared the cost of staying in the US with moving to a "socially similar" equivalent in Budapest and came up with a savings of about $14,000.00 per year in Budapest. The big differences were no property taxes and no automobile. The $14,000.00 will pay for a couple of trips to see the kids each year and do some traveling in Europe. Will I do it? I have 10 years to decide. In the mean time I have purchased the property and make a little income renting it to tourists.

Posted by Will
Columbia, SC
315 posts

One thing that struck me is that they have an income of $6k a month, plus a "small pension," and they also draw Social Security. Of course, I know virtually all seniors receive SS regardless of income. Still, not sure we need to keep giving public money to people who are already quite "secure." Regards, a young person.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2155 posts

Umm...maybe it's because they paid into the program their entire working lives? Just a guess.

Posted by Deb
Sioux Falls, SD
98 posts

Another option: I knew a couple who were both teachers. They did a stint in the Peace Corps upon retirement. Loved it! Said it was the best thing they ever did. Came back after 2 years in Africa and ended up doing 2 more years (I think in central america).

Posted by Will
Columbia, SC
315 posts

This is probably not the place for public policy discussions now that I think about it. Don't want it to get uncivil up in here. Proceed with the travel talk.

Posted by Grier
Carmel, IN
1056 posts

Yes, I would love to do this for a few years when I retire. I had already thought of selling almost everything and putting what's left in storage to minimize expenses. Thanks for posting, I will follow their blog.

Posted by Connie
Everett, WA
827 posts

No. I am hopeful that I will have grandchildren by then and I want to be part of their everyday lives. Both my children have bought homes close to us, and I am looking forward to that phase of my life. My husband and I are doing "life" a little differently. We have been able to take extended periods of time off work now (up to 5 weeks) and have made 5 trips to Europe and many trips here in the US and Canada. We hope to continue to travel 7-10 weeks a year in retirement(we give up a lot of other "luxuries" to make that happen), but I miss my home and children after 5 weeks. As we near retirement, the idea of traveling "with a purpose" becomes more enticing. Some friends of ours started an orphanage in Haiti and are moving there in 2013. The idea of traveling there to help out is appealing. My husband also has been to Africa to work on building projects and that has appeal as well. In all honesty, I do not anticipate having 6,000 a month (plus Social Security, etc) to spend in retirement. A more simple lifestyle will be in order for me. However, we are good savers and have no problem living on a budget, so we will find funds for the things that are important to us. I wish these folks had addressed what provisions they have made for when their health does begin to impact their traveling (although with their income they will be fine) My parents are in their 80's. Some of their friends "sold it all and took to the road" in their 60's and now are facing some hard decisions and problems as they have health issues My parent's still spend 6 months in the warm south, but they are nearing the age where it is becoming too difficult and they will be giving it up. I am glad they kept their home here and the decisions they made 20 years ago give them many options now.

Posted by Laurie Beth
Was MN, now TX
638 posts

Thanks so much for sharing this link. I am hooked. It sounds perfect for me although I'd like to find a similar blog from someone who doesn't have a companion to share the experience with. I bet it can get lonely trying to do this on your own. However, I now have something to plan for!

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1410 posts

I'm doing this now. Just retired and am spending the year in France. I like it here a lot. But I'll return to the US early next year, establish a basic base and then take shorter trips to Europe and elsewhere, see how that works out. Who knows where I will ultimately end up living. I love traveling and think I will enjoy a nomadic life.

Posted by Andy
San Luis Obispo, CA, United States
19 posts

Nice article! Other fulltime options. Check "Escapees RV Club" home office Texas,free blog area to ask questions. Publish a monthly magazine. Lots of full timers with RV's. A number of subgroups in the organization, such as boondockers (you can come and go as you wish) many of whom full time and often camp on public land with minimum costs, winter in Arizona area, summer New Mexico & Pacific NW, in Death Valley for Thanksgiving, another group located in southeast.
Their magazine had a feature within the past two years about owning an RV and touring in Europe. The E.U. Schengen country visa limits non EU citizens to 90 days at a time; then move to a non EU country until eligible to return. Check with first country you enter for requirements to extend stay. To own an RV now is more difficult with resident address and insurance requirements but still possible. There are companies who will buy and hold ownership papers, providing their address as the owner of your RV. We visited this company in Amsterdam Netherlands, Brentworth and Wooten (not sure of spelling) will do this kind of business. They also rent RV's. Singles question, A number of singles in the Escapees club and in the Boondocker subgroup, many of whom are full timers, the unofficial head of the Western group is a single, Trish Masters. Friends owned and fulltimed Europe for 10 years before Schengen Treaty,short time 6 months/long time 10 months, stored RV in England when in US. For Western US-Canada-Mexico RV travel check Mike and Terry Church @ Rollinghomes.com, full timers who write touring books, we've enjoyed doing some of their planned NW trips and following their tips.

Posted by Barry
San Diego, CA
587 posts

Laurie, you touched on a very important aspect of this lifestyle, that is for a single it would probably get lonely for them after a while. To be in a foreign city for a month or so is exciting on the surface but if you don't have close friends nearby or you can't call them on a moments notice to plan something for the day after a while one would become to feel isolated, one can only go to the museums so many times. This subject is touched on in a similar way to a post that is up at this time on the board, that is the one about moving to Europe, whereas the spouse that is working will have a full life of working, meeting coworkers and a family at home whereas the spouse at home will probably start to feel lonely, the people that responded to that post gave some great and very candid responses and really brought to light what it is like. What that reminded me was something I learned many years ago, when we meet people and find out what they do for a living sometimes it sounds exciting and maybe a bit mysterious, but in reality it's just a job, practically every job has it's good moments but they all have their down side too, that's the side that people don't see or think about. I retired from the fire dept, we had many great days and handled incidents that turned out well, but there were also days I want to forget, even though we put forth our best efffort things didn't turn out well. My point being yes it does sound exciting to live everyday somewhere exotic but at some point does it just become living. I think for a single the Peace Corp might be the way to go, though working it will fulfill your life with a purpose and give you the opportunity to live in another culture.

Posted by Carroll
Pittsburgh, PA, USA
1349 posts

I loved this article and thought it was a cool idea. However, I would never do it. I would miss my kids too much. Also, I could not give up my house (or having a home base). As much as I love to travel, I also love to be home. I would love to take two overseas trips a year when I retire, maybe a month each. Also a few shorter trips in the US. Who knows if it will all work out, but that's my dream.

Posted by Karen
Santa Rosa, CA
611 posts

Great article. I'm handing the computer to my husband to read. Our goal is to retire in about 8 years, at 63. We've recently talked about spending 3 months in Europe, 3 months in Costa Rica, and 6 months in either California or elsewhere in the US. We live for our vacations and 2 weeks at a time is not enough. So rather thought provoking to travel year round for a while. Great to see it can be done for around $6-7K per month. We don't have kids, so do not have the family ties one would with kids. Something we'd consider!

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7827 posts

I would never do it, but it sounds fun for some. I live in such an amazingly beautiful place, people come here for holidays,, but we do plan on taking longer trips more often in the future. I also like to see my kids etc. As for Will comment, I agree with him. Frankly I don't care if a person has paid in all their lives, I have paid UIC( unemployment insurance) all my life and never collected and don't intend to.. I haven't needed it, and I don't forsee needing it, I would rather see the money go to the working family man whos been laid off and has kids to feed.. just me ..

Posted by Roberto
Fremont, CA, USA
3342 posts

I worked in healthcare all my life (first health insurance, Medicare and now hospital administration). Due to US Federal budget constraints the Medicare program has been already targeted for major cuts which will certainly result in major higher out of pocket expenses for seniors. Some changes in the program are taking effect this year and next. In the future things will probably get worse rather than better, since our system is very wasteful and we can't control rising costs in America. I'm thinking of taking advantage of my dual citizenship to retire in Italy and take advantage of their healthcare system. I can't afford to risk all my life savings to meet future major out of pocket medical expenses when I'm retired and on a fixed income. I know how much hospital procedures cost (to the penny in fact) and few will be in the position to pay without adequate health coverage. Europeans have a better handle on how to control costs, therefore I don't expect they'll gut their healthcare system. I deal with their system occasionally with my elderly relatives there and it's rather decent. Knowing you are not going to lose everything you saved if you get sick is a big peace of mind to have when you are old.

Posted by Deb
Sioux Falls, SD
98 posts

Andy talks about the RV owners. In the summer in western South Dakota (where most of the big tourist attractions in the state are), you will find quite a few retirees in RVs. What a lot of them do, is take a summer job in one of the summer tourist places and live in their RV. A lot of them man the information offices or act as guides at attractions. I met one couple who works or volunteers in a different state or federal park every summer and live in their RV for the summer; then they head home to South Carolina for the winter. No, it's not Europe, but it is something different to do with retirement.

Posted by Lo
Tucson
648 posts

I loved the article. When my husband and I retired in 2004, he at the age of 55 and me at the age of 58, I wanted to do something like that. In fact I did something just like that when I was 30. But he has an obsession with sports car racing that requires us to have a home base with a shop slightly larger than our house. We chose Tucson, AZ for that home base. He spends 2-4 months a year racing in the Pacific Northwest. We spend one month a year traveling out of the US. Almost the minute we get home, I'm planning for the next trip. If he didn't race and we didn't own a house, I would prefer doing exactly what the couple in the article does. We have 5 kids. The grandkid count is now up to 13. The retirement classes we attended advised us not to base where we live on where our kids are. When we moved to Tucson, the five families were in HI, WA, UT and ID. Now they are in UT and WA, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? We see each other about as often as we did when we lived near Seattle. Yes, we did retire early compared to most. I have serious health issues that made me want to avoid dying at my desk, and my husband was ready to leave the company where he had spent half of his life. My health issues continue, and he has developed some, but we have had 8 wonderful years of retirement so far. On a very modest budget, we have been able to do all the things we want to do within reason. We know health issues will prevent that in the future, but not yet. Yes, we moved after retirement, but not as far as I would like to have done. The why is that we wanted a place as different from the Seattle area as we could find. If it had been totally up to me, we might have a home base, but the currency would be in euros.

Posted by Ceidleh
Boston, MA, United States
1176 posts

Why begrudge this couple for having $6,000 a month plus Social Security and a small pension? While their health is good now at 70 years of age, unless they figure out a way to permanently stay in Europe and milk that healthcare system, in about 10 years one of them will inevitably break a hip or have some serious medical issue that will require them to move back to the United States to live out the remainder of their days in Assisted Living or, worse, a nursing home. At least in this part of the U.S., the average cost right now for Assisted Living is about $5,000 a month (not including all the necessary "extras" like expensive prescription meds) for a "home" that measures about 300 square feet - and if you are on private pay for a nursing home because you exceed the income limits to apply for Medicaid, that monthly cost goes up to about $10,000 per month for an even smaller room you now share with a total stranger divided by only a curtain. So you see, these people are already learning how to live in less space having unloaded their 2500 sf California home. Here's hoping they enjoy their Paris apartments and Trans-Atlantic repositioning cruises now while they can, and that they purchased Long Term Care Insurance plans for themselves years ago that will help cushion the blow when that day arrives that they really need it. As for me, after all the Baby Boomers bleed the Social Security pool dry, I'm thinking I will go violate that Schengen rule by staying in Paris way beyond the 90 days couch surfing and turning to a life of Freeganism by dumpster diving for day-old pain au chocolate from Spring through Fall, then move on to Thailand or Tahiti once it gets too cold in Europe. Maybe my 401k and IRA contributions will be enough to cover my passage on some repositioning cruises until I break a hip playing shuffleboard on the Lido Deck.

Posted by JustTravel
San Francisco/Venezia
251 posts

We are both retired now. In the last couple of years, we are at home in San Francisco for nine months and Venice for three months. If I have my way I would like to add another three months away from San Francisco. Currently in Venezia!

Posted by Jesse
Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
171 posts

Yes, this is definitely what we intend to do. My husband sent the link to me as soon as he saw the story, because it was what we have been talking about. Of course still have another 20 or so years to go.

Posted by Jaye
Dallas, OR, USA
99 posts

Hi Brad!
Thanks so much for sharing this link, what a fascinating article! I am now in the process of reading her blog posts, love it! As for me, as much as I love to travel, I also love coming home - I need my "nest". My husband and I have dreamed of moving to Europe for a couple of years and then coming back home. Maybe have a small home base rental apt. in Germany or Netherlands and travel to our heart's content - we are both retired. Only thing about this dream is we have two little doxies who we cannot be without for that long and we would have to sell our place here. Not quite ready for that yet but I really like the idea of downsizing, just having a smaller nest here, and travel more often. Love to dream......

Posted by Sarah
United States
162 posts

I'm researching doing just that. I'm a single, and my children's home cities don't have any appeal for me. I just sold a house that had to go - far too big, unless you feel like having company all the time, and decided to close my practice, at least for now. My late husband and I had a US destination for retirement in mind, but he didn't make it. I decided that it might be boring and lonely anywhere I wanted to build a life, but learning to do things differently in another country would force interaction and keep my mind going. Italy seems so welcoming to me. However, it's really hard to try to find a gym in any town I look at. I'm just window shopping, but my wish list includes being able to walk to essential shops, a spot for a garden patch or pots, and a gym. Walking is not a substitute, unfortunately. I don't want the suburbs, so the gyms at the malls won't work (also, that's a singles scene for 20 somethings). If there is anyone in Italy or rural France who has an idea of how to find gyms in smaller towns (doubtful) or a way to investigate bus lines, I'd love to see your thoughts. I don't feel sure enough yet to contact a real estate agent in good faith, but I could use some help at this research stage.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3509 posts

Not quite my life, but I do like mine better. First let me bless FDR for social security - that's most of my travel money. Maybe it's not fair, and maybe it will change, but for now, I feel lucky to have it. At some point, either my health or my finances will stop me from traveling, but in the meantime I'm doing as much as I can. Even if I could manage financially by selling my apartment and roaming the globe, psychologically, I couldn't give up the security of my little bit of real estate to live in - or to convert to assisted living (always a possibility, sigh). Much as I love to travel, I love coming home to "my space" and seeing my friends and doing other things I enjoy. It has been annoying this month, since I'm back in the country and so many of my friends are abroad and the academic year hasn't started yet. Being single, the idea of living for several weeks in one place sounds pretty lonely - how does one get invited to a cocktail party in Florence anyway? I find the faster-paced travel style tiring after awhile and I'm happy to get on a plane and go home to rest - and get back to planning the next trip/s. That's the other thing, planning takes a lot of time.

Posted by Swan
Napa, CA
2858 posts

Recently I read a book about a retired couple who spent a couple of years traveling by canal boat from the Cotswolds to Carcassonne. They took a long break in the winter. It was interesting as an adventurous way to travel in retirement. I have considered, briefly, the fulltime RV life. I know people who do this. It is not for me. I like RVing as a change-of-pace, but like even more having my home base to return to. Likewise, fulltime life in Europe is not for me. Being an outsider has novelty value and is stimulating, educational, and even fun. But, I want to spend most of my time where I can speak my native language and don't have to figure out everything. Thanks to Medicare, Social Security, Ira accounts built up while working, and my own good health, I can afford to travel. And I do. It's important to plan for retirement, but planning is one thing. The reality often is different due to changing priorities or unexpected health problems.

Posted by stephen
Greeley, co, usa
245 posts

I just happened to be flying the day the Journal article was published and I picked up a copy to read on the plane. I would love to do this but I'm afraid the wife needs to have a house to feel secure. My sister liked the idea but her husband won't go away for more than a week because he misses the dog. It would be good to do a good test run before making the break complete. I worked with a woman who had planned for years to sail the world for the rest of her life with her boyfriend. They had at least 3 vacations with 'bare boat charters' and thought they were ready. They sailed weekends for a year out of San Diego. The big day finally arrived and they were off! They hit a bad storm the first week and the whole plan was abandoned!

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
1972 posts

With the cost of energy and other expenses in Europe so high, life in the EU is far, far more difficult than in the States. I would find it difficult to live on the $6K budget the couple in this article intend to spendwhen there are some trips home to see "the kids." (I spent $9.51 per U.S. gallon of gasoline in Italy 4/12.) We retired young, but suddenly had two little grandchildren to "raise." Our daughter's too needy to leave for more than 2 weeks. Few retirees can break all the strings from their families and get away from home permanently. We just accept our fate, and travel on two good vacations per year. This year, it was London/Italy for 2 weeks and a 1 week cruise to the South Caribbean out of New Orleans. We also have an RV in the mountains to visit for 4-5 days at a time and a second home across town on the River. Nothing is wrong with our lives.