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The 10 Best Retirement Plans

Dr. Penny Pincher founded the popular personal finance blog Penny Pincher Journal in 2013 and has published two books about saving money.

The best retirement plan for you depends on your interests, activity level, and financial resources. It is one that you can afford and that provides a lifestyle that keeps you engaged with the world in a setting that is comfortable for you. There are some interesting possibilities to take advantage of after retirement. You don't need to settle for a plan—you can choose the best features of these ideas and make one that best suits you.

Retirement is a great opportunity to take time to deeply explore topics you are interested in. You can do this through self-study, informal internet courses, or classes at community colleges. If you are committed to an area of interest, consider pursuing graduate work at a university.

1. Go Back to School

Retirement is a great time to take courses in topics that interest you. There is a range of options with varying levels of commitment required. You can take free online courses (Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs), you can sign up for classes at community college, or you can enroll part-time or full-time at a college or university. Going back to school in retirement is a great opportunity to continue learning and meeting new people. Since your career days or over, you have the freedom to focus on topics that interest you.

Even if you are not interested in taking courses, going back to school may still be a good plan. Move to a college town. College towns have nice atmospheres and may have excellent hospitals and medical facilities associated with the local university. Real estate investments in college towns are often protected from some of the typical real estate market ups and downs. Even if you're not in school, you can participate in the academic, athletic, and social events in a college town.

A Travel Trailer—One of Many Options for Full-Time RVing

A Travel Trailer—One of Many Options for Full-Time RVing

2. Live in an RV

Sell your house, buy a motorhome or travel trailer, and hit the road! Your new home will be your recreational vehicle (RV). You can stay at campgrounds or RV parks and are free to move whenever you wish. You can also drive your RV and park it at friends' and relatives' houses. Modern RV's have bedrooms, bathrooms, and showers, and some even have washers and dryers onboard. You'll need to sell or store most of your belongings since an RV will have less space than a house. If you get a motorhome, you can tow a car to drive when you reach your destination. If you go with a travel trailer, you can unhitch the trailer and drive your pickup truck at your destination.

Cost considerations: RVs use a lot of gas—you can expect to get about eight miles per gallon driving an RV. Also, the cost of a campsite at an RV resort can be about $30 per night. The cost of a new motorhome starts at about $50,000 depending on the type of RV and features that you want. You can get a new trailer for about $20,000, but you will need a pickup truck to tow the trailer.

Long-stay hotels offer meals and other perks.

Long-stay hotels offer meals and other perks.

3. Live in a Hotel

Sell or store almost all of your belongings except for a couple of suitcases. Now hit the road and stay in hotels. This lifestyle is similar to Jack Reacher in Lee Child's books. A vehicle is optional for this retirement plan—ou can take busses or airplanes from one city to the next. Living in hotels will be a low-maintenance lifestyle, and you can focus on reading, working out, and exploring the city that you are visiting. You can get long-term rates at many hotels and stay for a month at a time. Most hotels include complimentary breakfast, and some, such as Homewood Suites, offer dinner every night as well.

4. Move Somewhere Warm

Sell your house and move somewhere warm. Since you are retired and no longer need to work, you can look for real estate markets where you can get a good deal—Las Vegas and many areas in Texas are currently markets with great deals for buyers of residential housing. You can find bargain areas where you can get a lot of square footage and amenities for your money. Ideally, you'll want to find a neighborhood where you can walk or ride your bike to stores from your house to help you stay active.

One downside of this retirement plan is that you may move to a city where you will not have any friends or family. You can get involved with a church or other organization to meet people. Since you are retired, you will have time to visit friends and family in other cities. Get familiar with electronic communication and social networking to stay in touch with old friends.

Consider adventure jobs like transporting dogs on cross-country moves.

Consider adventure jobs like transporting dogs on cross-country moves.

5. Find an Adventure Job

You can find jobs to take advantage of your flexible schedule in retirement. For example, some people will hire someone to drive their dogs on long-distance moves. You drive to the house the owner is moving out of, pick up the dogs, and drive cross-country with them, staying at hotels along the way. This is a good way to travel at someone else's expense if you like dogs.

You can also find opportunities to deliver RVs or vehicles. This is increasing in demand due to internet purchases of RVs and vehicles. You travel to the location of the vehicle or RV that was purchased, drive it for delivery to the buyer, then return home. This is another opportunity to travel at someone else's expense.

6. Live Abroad

You can move abroad to find lower expenses and adventure. Some popular retirement destinations abroad are Vietnam and Cost Rica. You will want to check out the ex-patriot community and also the availability of high-quality medical care in your intended destination. You may not be able to see your friends and family very often if you move abroad. Living in a different culture can be stimulating and provide lots of opportunities to try new things and live an adventure every day. There are also potential savings benefits to living abroad that can make your retirement dollars last longer.

7. Downsize and Move Downtown

Sell your house and most of your belongings and move to an apartment downtown in a big city. You'll have the convenience of living near big city attractions such as sports venues, museums, and arts facilities. Transportation is readily available, so you won't need to drive anymore. Moving to an apartment will mean that you no longer need to do as many chores and yard work tasks to maintain a house and yard. Housing prices vary a lot, and you'll want to see how close you can live to the action without paying a huge price.

Shelter in place—buy your current home and retire there.

Shelter in place—buy your current home and retire there.

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8. Stay in Your Current Place

This one is pretty boring, but you might like it. Pay off your current house and stay there in retirement. Since you are familiar with the area and local employers, you may be able to continue working part-time in retirement. You already have connections to the community and neighborhood. You can stay in a familiar place. You'll just have more free time after you retire. The weather may not be ideal in your current location, but you are used to it. You can avoid the stress and hassle of packing and moving by retiring in place. You can take vacations during retirement to visit other places with your old house still being your home.

9. Rent a House

Sell your house and rent a house instead. This plan works best if you sell most of your unnecessary belongings so you can move easily. This plan allows you to try suburban living in different cities and neighborhoods as you choose. Since you are renting, someone else will take care of the maintenance for you. You can try different styles of houses and different neighborhoods, moving whenever you wish. This plan allows you to select houses that already have accessible features rather than remodeling your existing house as you grow older.

Permanent Vacation Retirement Plan—All Vacation All the Time!

Permanent Vacation Retirement Plan—All Vacation All the Time!

10. Permanent Vacation

Go on one cruise after another. Stay in hotels when you are not cruising. Another option is to buy a houseboat and live on a boat full-time. You could also get a tent and live in campgrounds. Travel from one city to the next following your favorite baseball team or visiting famous museums. The permanent vacation retirement plan is to be on vacation all the time with no regular residence. One downside of this plan is that it can be expensive, so you'll need to have a decent amount of retirement savings for this plan to be viable for very long.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Dr Penny Pincher


Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on February 10, 2015:

Annuity Direct, sometimes I think just relaxing, reading, and working on small projects at home is a pretty good thing to do... but not as exciting as a permanent vacation.

Anne Morrison on February 10, 2015:

Permanent vacation sure sounds nice! But all that traveling can be exhausting as well.

Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on June 24, 2013:

Thanks agvulpes, I think it would be fun to try several of these retirement plans as well.

Peter from Australia on June 24, 2013:

Some great ideas for retirement and we are enjoying a combination of some of them. It's a great time to be alive. Come to think of it any time is great to be alive lol

Dr Penny Pincher (author) from Iowa, USA on June 10, 2013:

kidscrafts- I have cats too, and I agree they are a problem! Pets are actually an important consideration for retirement planning. Thanks for your comment!

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on June 10, 2013:

I like your last point and no 1 point the best :-) My only problem.... my cats! Thanks for sharing all those suggestions!

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