A Retirement Strategy

IMG_2325Most retirement strategies focus on ‘wealth creation’ or providing enough money to maintain a pre-retirement extravagant lifestyle. But there is another way to approach retirement. It’s called Simple Living – Self-Sufficiency – Natural Living, and is simply a sustainable and maintainable Lifestyle; a very rewarding and fulfilling way of Life. Choosing to live sustainably as a retirement strategy is more about reducing outgoings than maximizing income. Our societal desire for more, more, more, sometimes seems insatiable and is not maintainable or sustainable for a lot of people or the planet. In this time of uncertainty and instability – politically, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally – self-sufficiency as opposed to dependence is a safer, more empowering option. NB even money is dependent on the political, economic and societal systems maintaining their equilibrium.

Often when people hear about living simply sustainably, they can become quite defensive, wanting to protect their material world. After all lots of people have worked hard to get the stuff they have. But is consumerism really that rewarding? Remember the feeling an hour, a day or a week after you buy something, remember the low after the high of purchasing has worn off.  Remember the unfulfilled desire nudging you to go out and shop some more to feel better again, creating a never-ending cycle of never quite having bought enough.  And then there is the increasing debt and long work hours often needed to purchase and maintain the stuff which was supposed to bring us happiness and fulfillment. This whole cycle has a way of trapping us.

Simple Living

You can stay on this treadmill or you can plan to take care of yourself in retirement, not just in monetary ways but by physically taking care of your own needs as well. There is a power in self-sufficiency and the knowledge that you can take care of yourself, without being reliant on our increasingly unreliable and uncertain societal norms.

Now is the time to start, to prepare. Start growing your own food, build a compost bin or a worm farm, cook your meals from scratch (apart from anything else, at least then you know what is in them!), make your own cleaning products (and save a heap of money), learn about simple personal healthcare (to focus on wellness rather than sickness), start de-cluttering and selling what you no longer Need, to name a few places to start. If you do have extra money to spend, invest in things that can reduce your need for money in the future; ie equipment or tools to help you make things you might need or need to fix, plant fruit and nut trees, buy books that teach you how to do things yourself, invest in water tanks, a first aid kit, solar panels, chickens, or whatever feels right for you.

As much as I would like to say that money does not matter, in the here and now, money is the currency of our culture. A certain amount is required for most of us to buy the things we can’t produce ourselves and to pay fees and taxes. It is how our society operates. But we can maximize a healthier, more simply natural and sustainable lifestyle to minimize need for income.

I have chosen the Simply Natural approach as my retirement plan.  Actually, I think I have been semi-retired my whole life, with my lifestyle values and choices. I have found that a simple life has real meaning, some hard work at times, but is so naturally rewarding and fulfilling I can’t imagine living any other way. I find myself watching virtually no TV, as I much prefer to spend the time learning, relearning and researching better, healthier ways of doing things and living my life. It is so empowering and rewarding to be able to produce and create a healthy and natural way of living for yourself and your family.

Simplicity is the ultimate Sophistication

We have mostly forgotten how to live simply. The simple life of making things together, growing food together, cooking together, sharing and most of all having fun together, which is really the simple home truth that people caught in the regular consumer culture just don’t seem to realize. Joining together and sharing with friends, family and neighbours in a common bond, like we used to in days now mostly gone by, feeds the body, mind and soul. Living simply, and with integrity, like our grandparents or great grandparents, is what a full life was, and still is, all about.

A culture that is hooked on the belief that money is the answer to life’s questions and problems, is not the culture that can or even has any desire to look for something with more wholesome meaning, other than continual economic growth, market forces, consumerism, production for profit, and affluence. A consumer society cannot be reformed to make it sustainable or maintainable; it must be largely replaced by a society with fundamentally different belief values.

The essential aim is not to fight against consumer-capitalist society, but to build an alternative to it. This can’t be achieved from the top, either by governments, green parties or revolutions. This can only be a grassroots transition led by ordinary people, working out how they can find a “Better Way” of viewing Life’s Value. A movement where grassroots people move away from our societal norms and retire or semi retire to implement their “Better Way of Living”.

What do you value?   What does retirement mean to you?

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Untitled-2Shared on:  Small Footprint Fridays, Old-Fashioned Friday, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Natural Living Monday

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18 thoughts on “A Retirement Strategy

  1. Interesting post – However, I think it is important to think about things in balance. What if you were to become disabled or injured in your 60s or 70s and unable to do physical activities like gardening, composting and cooking? It’s nice to have a retirement nest egg that is available for those “what ifs” in life.

  2. I have been practicing voluntary simplicity since the 90’s the best way our family could, but I have been thinking about how one should approach the later years…it is crazy the amount of money they seem to feel a person needs…I really enjoyed reading your post. I found it as I was searching about more ways to live simply at this season on our lives…my husband and I just helped our 3 children with college educations, and the last one is off to graduate school ( paid for since it is in the science field), and we are looking at our time now as empty nesters and how we want to approach our new life….I have been growing food for health reasons for the past 10 yrs, but we do live in an urban area…I look forward to reading more of what you have to say:-)…nice to find someone that feels what the world is doing is not the norm for us all….robbie

  3. We don’t know that we will ever retire:-) My husband is 57 and our youngest is 9! I have some health problems that make us question how our future will unfold. We need to be smart about saving some for the future , but at the same time , giving up “stuff” and taking a simple approach to life now will help anyone achieve the goal of living well in their retirement years. Thank you for writing, I shared on FB as I don’t think enough folks here the message of simple living–especially after Christmas!

    • Hi Suzanne, Thank you for your support and sharing on facebook. I think simply natural living is the way of our future. By living smarter Now, we can live in a semi retired state Now, and on into our older years. Here in Australia the ‘retirement age’ has been increased again and is now 67yrs. . . .

  4. Pingback: Old-Fashioned Friday #49 - Our Heritage of Health

  5. Thank you for such a wonderful article!! I quit my part time job this past summer when my husband starting working a lot of loonng hours and it was actually better for me when he started paying me to do so. (I was only working about 6 -7 hours/ week). Now, I have time to maintain the gardening, canning, making more of what we eat from scratch. Retire?? from what living? as a friend once told me; I agree and I just turned 50.

  6. What an beautiful post. No you should do__, and should never__ but rather slow it down & examine what you really want/need for today & the future. All I can think to add is this thought. Some people are so poor, all they have is money.

  7. This post speaks to my heart and I’m sharing it on my Farming in My Fifties Facebook page. It is a perfect fit:)

  8. I’m 39 and plan on retiring at 60. I realized that in volunteering with seniors I saw the same pattern over and over again. Married couple together 50 plus years. Husband dies. Wife is left with 1500 plus sq ft home full of a lifetime of stuff ( junk!). Kids that don’t want the junk. And much anger at having to sort, pitch and haul away stuff. My own grandparents house was a nightmare. It took me two months of every weekend dealing with the house to get it ready for sale. You were most likely born in 10×10 room and you’ll probably go that way too whether you live to old age or not. So I sold and gave away lots of stuff. I now live in a 500 sq foot studio apartment. I have one great room that is 16×18, a rather large bathroom and a 3×5 kitchen. I love it and really wish I had done this years ago. I am still pitching and purging despite not owning a TV for the last two years. I recently watched 12 years a Slave online and before I watched the movie I asked myself was that movie worth 116 minutes of my time. In my new lifestyle I can really see me living even more simply. I plan on moving into a retirement assisted living before it’s time. Before that happens, I hope to downsize futher before and at retirement and find another retired lady to share living expenses with. It would be nice at that age to have someone else to share expenses, car, doctor visits and etc. I knew two seniors who made this agreement when before they became widows. They lived together and shared expenses for 7 years before one of them passed. They had a tiny two bed home, one car and very little material goods. They had a rich life of volunteering as assistant teachers. They each had a small (not out of control) hobby that was contained in each of their bedrooms. They are by far my greatest inspiration.

  9. We are planning to retire and live the simple life we are longing for – stars and birds for entertainment, growing our own food and as much as possible at 60 and 70, living a sustainable life. We long to leave this stressful life that is destroying our health and return to a meaningful life on our land…of course…just making that first step to create a structure to live in as we age is not easy… It is so inspirational to have others who are encouraging rather than scoffing at us!

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