This is a post from Mario Vitanelli, a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in international politics and finance, retirement and investment. His areas of expertise include European, Asian and Latin/South American economic policy and QROPS pension scheme. When away from his keyboard, he enjoys photography and appreciates the rest of the Vitanelli family’s endless patience with his football dependence.
Let me know if you would like to guest post on RFI.
So here you are- you’ve made it to your retirement. Now that you’re here, the last thing you want to do is spend the late-summer through autumn years worrying about money, pinching pennies or missing out on that stuff you’d planned on for years- traveling, buying a boat, RVing, whatever. In service of keeping the wolves (and maybe boredom) from the door, consider the following money-saving/making options.
Take Advantage of your Situation
This is the biggest single piece of advice you should take into consideration. So what’s your situation, what’s happening in your favor and how can you take advantage of that? Well, everyone’s retirement is going to be uniquely theirs and everyone’s retirement is going to have a few things in common.
Take stock of what you have that’s uniquely yours. For instance, one of my specialties is the management of Qualified Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes (QROPS) for British expatriates. Basically, a QROPS is a pension investment program for Brits who retire somewhere off their island. The situation of the average British retiree can be used as an example. For a great number of pensioners the idea of expatriating to some foreign clime never crosses their mind, largely because of economic considerations. Moving overseas is something rich people do.
However, there is a whole world (almost literally) of places with a lower cost of living than the United States and Britain. Many of them sun-drenched paradises. Said Brit could retire to Barbados or Morocco or wherever, live far more cheaply than they would in Britain and put their pension in a QROPS where it would be taxed at a lower-than-British rate and could be invested in just about whatever they wanted to invest in.
In broad strokes, the same goes for American retirees- if you’re thinking thriftily about moving from Fargo to Phoenix because you love warm weather and hate February’s heat bill, consider going further south to Central or South America. Why not Thailand? If that sort of thing sounds a little too exotic, consider your other attributes and options- are you a vet or ex-military? There are any number of great economic programs and concessions for vets that are unavailable to the average person. Have you surfed the net for the local businesses that give senior discounts? Have you checked with your insurance provider (or other ones) to see about preferential senior packages?
Getting a (Great) Job
Earlier I mentioned that retirees all have circumstances that are uniquely theirs and some that all (or most) have in common. Well, perhaps the most important of those commonalities are:
1. You have time on your hands.
2. You have age and wisdom.
3. You have age and the assumption of wisdom that comes with it.
With that time on your hands use your wisdom to consider your previous employment and hobbies. Were you a mechanic? How about putting an ad out (on Craigslist maybe) offering your skills at a low price. What about using that car knowledge to flip cars? Not like The Incredible Hulk would or anything but scan the local used lots, driveways and classifieds for fixer-upper classics you could buy for a little, fix up, and sell for more. If you’re one of those much-needed handyman (or woman) types who can put a washing machine back together with no pieces left over, rebuild a carburetor, build a fence and seamlessly patch drywall, put up some ads and put down some shoe-leather, letting neighbors know that your services are available.
If you know your local rills, runs, rivers and reservoirs like the back of a brook trout, how about looking into some guiding? Perhaps you have forgotten more about the history of The Bowery in New York or Highgate Cemetery in London than most history profs ever knew- fisherman aren’t the only ones looking for guides.
Apply to a local sporting goods store and get paid to lie about fish you’ve landed all day. If you’re crafty, hawk your wares on Etsy, eBay, etc. If you wrote for a corporation’s newsletter but always dreamed of reviewing books, search the net for sites paying for book reviews or start your own book blog. If you’ve got a general eye for quality, thrift, sales and/or fashion, stroll the local thrift stores, pawn shops and secondhand haunts for hidden treasure to sell over the computer. Specialized knowledge can also be parlayed into knowledge as a consultant.
You get the picture- identify what you love and what you’re good at and take advantage of that monetarily. Consider the specifics of your situation and then scour the peaks and valleys of the internet, and your well-filled memory banks, for ways in which that can fill your coffers. In my experience, doing any of the above isn’t just a clever way to make money, it’s a great way to spend time. Good luck and many happy returns (on your investments).