Most retirement strategies focus on “wealth creation” or providing you with enough cash to maintain your pre-retirement extravagant lifestyle. This is not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but it is worth knowing that there is a better way – with self sufficiency as a retirement strategy
Complete self sufficiency is difficult if to impossible to achieve, even if you do have abundant land, and are prepared to work damned hard! But a measure of self sufficiency is open to anyone who is interested and has some resources behind them. How self sufficient you aim for will depend on your means, abilities and the level of comfort/lifestyle you desire. It is my retirement strategy of choice but I have no intention of working my bum off after I retire, but having some fun being able to thumb my nose (to a certain extent) at the system.
If you do choose self sufficiency as your retirement strategy it is as much about reducing your outgo as maximizing your income. Every dollar that you earn, you pay tax on, and the rate varies on the country and your income, but every dollar that you save, you keep 100%. My parents-in-law retired some 15 years ago when interest rates were 18%, but now they are 5% and they are finding that they have much less to live on. By maximizing your self reliance, you are insulating yourself to a greater or lesser extent from the external forces over which you have no control, but can have a dramatic effect on your lifestyle.
There are other benefits from the self sufficient lifestyle –
- Boredom is NOT an issue.
- Improved health due to improved diet (if you grow your own you eat it fresh an know what goes into it!)
- Improved health due to continued exercise – admittedly there will be as much or as little of his as you want, but generally gardening, cooking, power generation, working with animals etc. carried more exercise with it than crashing out in front of the footy on TV.
- Reduced exposure to strikes, terrorist actions, inflation, and big picture nasties like bird flue or peak oil.
- Increased sustainability/ reduced environmental footprint (you are more “green”).
A lot of the stuff involved in Self sufficiency is not for the “Compleat Idiot”, you do need to know stuff. To generate power you need to be able to set up solar panels or a wind generator, manage batteries and regulate your demand so that it dos not outstrip your supply. It requires more knowledge and experience than what is required to plug in to the reticulated electricity supply and turn on a switch, but the rewards are there and not only monetary ones. There is also a considerable degree of satisfaction to be had by being able to provide for yourself at this basic food-and-shelter level. So…………. as with any retirement strategy, the time to start your preparations is now!
When you start looking at being self sufficient you start consideration of the basics like food, water energy and “other fun bits!”. There are plenty of other articles that talk about maximizing your income, so I will focus more on minimising your outgo, but in an article of this size all I can provide is an overview, hopefully motivating you to look further into some of the subjects discussed.