Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen many of my friends hit retirement age only to discover that their retirement nest egg had disappeared overnight in the wake of our tumultuous economy. Without money or some means of financial support, taking a full retirement for these people is simply not possible.
There is a way however to close the money gap between your social security check and what it takes to stay afloat financially during your retirement years. It starts with living frugally and taking on a low-key job that provides free housing with a stipend for groceries. Here are five ways that some of my enterprising friends were able to retire with no money, and see the world in the process.
Caretaker. Homes near popular ski resorts sit vacant for eight months of the year, while summer homes are usually empty from September to May. These lovely homes are often watched by on-site caretakers who live on the property for free in exchange for their service. Most caretaking jobs are found through word of mouth; caretaker-jobs.com is one site you can also check that matches potential caretakers with empty homes and ranches.
US Forest Service fire lookout. Fire lookouts are popular voluntary positions usually staffed by college students or retirees. Training is provided, housing and utilities are free, and volunteers receive a monthly stipend for groceries. Lookouts are usually staffed between June and October. For more information about fire lookout or other US Forest Service volunteer/part time job opportunities, check firelookout.org or USForest job postings page.
Camp host. Most state campgrounds have a permanent resident on site to answer questions and keep things tidy. These people are “camp hosts” and are in charge of maintaining the campground. Camp fees are waived for the hosts, plus most receive a stipend of $500-$800 a month. For more information about becoming a camp host, visit the web site of your State Park system or register with a place like camphost.org.
Peace Corps is a globally recognized organization that sends volunteers around the world to help in the areas of education, poverty, environmental preservation, information technology and youth development. For retirees without an income, the Peace Corps is a fabulous opportunity for to see the world while helping others. For more information about the Peace Corps, this link will bring you to their website.
Travel Guide or Excursion Guide. One of my uncles had the best job for a retiree ever, that of an international travel guide. He and my aunt would accompany travel groups around the world in exchange for free airfare, free accommodations, and a nice little stipend on the side. Travel guide jobs require a thorough knowledge of the country you are traveling and the ability to direct large groups of people, but can be a wonderful way to see the world while getting paid to do it. For more information about a job as a travel guide, jobmonkey.com is one site worth checking out.