Is your retirement savings less than you would like it to be? Maybe another $24,000 dollars socked away would make you feel a little more secure. Do you love other cultures and traveling to other countries? Are you a helper? Do you have sincere desire to make the world a better place? If you answered yes to those questions, then I think this idea might be perfect for you!
An Idea Is Born
I lay in bed trying to fall asleep as wonderings of my retirement years dance in my head. What will I do? How do I build my savings so that I feel more secure? At this rate I won’t be able to stay in my home and will have to move, but where will I go? Can I downsize and cut costs by maybe living in a park model or RV or a 55+ community somewhere warm? Am I ever going to be able to travel outside the country again? Oh, I so love traveling! Maybe I could become an expat and live in a country where my money goes farther. On and on the thoughts circle in my head, until – flash! – the light bulb switches on and a new idea is born.
Now, let me preface this by saying that this idea is not for everyone. If you don’t like helping people, or traveling to another country, or saving money, then this might not be your cup of tea, but keep an open mind and see if the seed that is planted begins to sprout.
I have spent most of my life working to pay my bills, like most people, and I envision myself not working during my retirement years. That would be my ideal vision of my post-work era. A good number of my jobs have been in the non-profit sector where I have gotten a great deal of personal satisfaction knowing that in some small way I was making a difference. In my retirement, I hope to continue to be able to do the same.
Before I share my – flash! – idea, let’s consider a few questions.
Question 1. Would you like to have another $24K in your savings?
I can’t imagine anyone saying no to this question. Like many others, my retirement savings took a hit a few years back when the market took a nose dive and I am rebuilding, so I am open to considering all types of options to increase my nest egg. “From humming bird egg to ostrich egg,” is my retirement mantra!
Imagine living in another country, maybe in Africa, Asia, or Central or South America. Maybe it is a country that calls to you on a deep level, one that you have always want to travel to. Or maybe the country you dream of is one where you would like to setup housekeeping during your retirement, but you don’t know the culture yet and haven’t had a chance to visit. I have always had an affinity to Central and South America. I think I might choose Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, or maybe even Chile. What country would you choose?
Question 3. When you retire, will you have the freedom, the desire, or the need to move?
Can you free yourself up from the housing ties that bind you? Are you going to have a housing transition when you retire?
I realize that am going to have to sell my house when I retire, because my incoming won’t cover the outgoing. I am going to enjoy my house for the next 8.2 years, and then my options will be wide open. Are you planning on downsizing to smaller place? Maybe you think about moving to a 55+ community in the land of the sun or buying an RV and heading down the road to destinations unknown? If you are going have a “transition” period between the life you lead now and the life you will be leading after retirement, then this idea just might be for you.
Retirement is a time to live the life you have always dreamed of. For some, that means having the adventures you have only read about in books or seen in movies. The exciting thing about retiring is that you can now create the life you want, including the adventures of your dreams.
Question 5. Can you commit 2 years of your life to having the experience of a lifetime, while making a positive difference in the world at the same time?
If you could volunteer, save $1000 a month of your social security income, and have an international experience in the country of your choice, would you do it? That would be a $24,000 increase to your nest egg in only 2 years. Tell me, you aren’t just a little intrigued right now?
So, Here Is The – Flash! – Idea
Join an organization for a 2 year commitment, while volunteering and living in another country, and save money in the process.
First, you will need to figure out how to detangle yourself from as many bills as you can before you go. Sell your house, rent it out to someone you trust, or plan the timing so your volunteering commitment coincides with the end of your lease. You now have the essential cost savings plan in place.
Now, join the Peace Corps! Yes, the Peace Corps. It’s not just for young adults anymore. More and more retirees, couples (straight and same-sex) and singles, are joining the Peace Corps well into their retirement years… their 60s…70s and even 80s! The application process has been simplified and the wait time for acceptance has been shortened to about 6 months. You can pick the country you would like to serve in from a list on their website, as well as the kind of service you are interested in doing. You choose!
For the 2 years that you are living in a land that you have dreamt of, while providing service to the community, you are not paying any rent, mortgage or utilities back home. The money you would have spent from your social security check toward those expenses can now be dropped directly into your retirement savings! Estimate a $1000 a month savings (yes, probably on the low side for some) for 2 years and wha-lah, your savings will have a $24,000 boost. Oh, and did I mention that they pay returning volunteers a readjustment allowance of a little over $7000? Add in 48 days of vacation, full medical and dental, family leave in emergencies, travel to and from the country, training and more, and you have a perfect package for overseas volunteering. What are the Benefits?
Beyond the financial benefit, I think the most important consideration in this equation is, do you want to be of service on a global scale? Do you want to give back and make a difference in another culture? If you do, then the financial increase to your retirement nest egg is only a small bonus. The biggest bonus is how much the experience will fill your heart and the hearts of those you encounter. It’s overall a win-win, wouldn’t you say?
Would you consider volunteering outside of the country when you retire? Where would you like to go? Your comments, as always, are welcome below.
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