No Savings, No Worries: How to Retire Without Money

Steve McDonald By Steve McDonald
Bond Strategist

Two-Minute

Almost 42% of boomers haven’t started saving for retirement, so this seems like a good time to reintroduce an idea from almost 60 years ago…

How to retire without money.

The “no money” concept was published in a book by the same name that had some interesting and timely ideas, especially considering the retirement mess boomers are in now.

The first part of the “no money” retirement plan involves understanding that retirement isn’t a complete withdrawal from the world. Isolation and living on the couch are nothing more than a well-planned disappointment.

You have to do something besides hang around the house, so you might as well generate some cash while you’re at it. And no, being a greeter at Walmart isn’t the only thing available to us.

Use your imagination!

There’s a guy down here in Florida who paints only interior rooms. No high ladder work and no heavy lifting. He’s cheap and good, and all of his customers know he works on his own schedule.

He averages $150 per day when he chooses to work, and it’s all light duty.

The second part of this retirement plan is choosing where to live, which makes a big difference.

Several of my friends left northeast states in self-defense. How anyone can pay the state income and property taxes up there is beyond me.

Look around: There are a lot of states with lower housing prices and taxes (for a higher quality of life) where your dollar will go a lot further.

Next, train yourself to see saving as more satisfying than spending.

One year of stashing away as much cash as you can by eliminating all but essential spending (i.e., food, housing and medical costs) can be amazingly rewarding.

Stop eating out, sell your big place, pocket the cash, and get a small apartment or condo. Stop buying stuff online, and make saving your only priority for at least one year. Any amount you can put away will be a big help.

But be forewarned: Having money pile up in your account is addictive. Once you get the cash bug, you can’t stop.

Finally, dump the debt.

Yes, I know that’s easier said than done, but the less debt you carry into retirement, the better. Reducing it has to be a priority.

Retiring without money is no one’s first choice, but there are things you can do to make it a lot more livable. And a year of no spending (except on essentials) is usually a good start.

After all, we’re looking at 20 to 30 years of unemployment, so any changes you can make now will be a big help down the road.

Good investing,

Steve