How to Live Economically in Retirement

How encouraging this video is to those of us who won’t be retiring on a huge pension. Note how relaxed this man is and how he ended up doing this: sounds like it was for the joy of it, not because he’s financially limited. I love how he emphasizes the convenience of living like this. After all, a lack of housework, fewer things to repair and lower costs are all benefits of this way of living. What a great video!



Van Dwellers on the Rise

In typical Daily Mail fashion, this article about a gathering of van dwellers includes a misleading headline and quite a few photos.

The insinuation is that a bunch of hippies that live in their vans formed a town in Oregon recently. The reality is that this was a weekend gathering, not the creation of permanent parking spots for a large number of people who live in their RVs.

That said, an increasing number of people in the U.S. are finding that they prefer living in a van or RV to spending their lives on the merry-go-round of working full-time for stagnating wages while trying to afford increasingly unaffordable housing. Some young people have decided that’s not the life they want, while some older people can no longer make the math work, especially if they can only find part-time jobs in their forced semi-retirement.

The result is a large and growing number of people who live in their vans. Some of them may have been at this gathering, but according to a couple of commenters on the article, many of those who were at this event just like to camp in their RVs on the weekends, and enjoy getting together with others who feel the same way.

Regardless, an increasing number of people have given up on renting or buying housing, and are living in their vans full-time. Some of these vans are quite nice; others not so much. Anyone who decides to do this will have to downsize by giving up most of their possessions after choosing which few are essential to daily living. This trend is no accident; until stagnating wages go up, bloated housing costs go down, or (ideally) both things happen, we will continue to see an increase in van dwellers.


Trading a Big House for a Tiny House

This story about a company in Missouri that builds tiny houses has an interesting lede: a family is selling their big house and moving into a tiny house even though they can afford the big house. The reason? The big house eats up so much money that they haven’t been able to go on a vacation in seven years. They’ve decided to live debt-free and be able make memories instead of spending all their cash on a big, impressive home.

I get it. I used to live in a big house. It was a great place to raise our large family, but it cost a lot in upkeep, utilities and (especially) property taxes. So I understand where the woman in the article is coming from. I imagine that no matter how much you love your house, when it begins to keep you from doing other things you want to do, you start to fall out of love with it.

I suspect this woman may find her new digs to be a little constrained. She might be better off buying something a bit larger than a tiny house, but more affordable than her current large home. In any case, we’re seeing more and more of this sort of thing as people try to stay afloat financially and enjoy life at the same time.

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Clutter as a Protective Device

When someone has too much clutter, they need to consider why they keep so much stuff when it bothers them.

Usually, the clutter is protecting them from something. It may be keeping them from having to make decisions. As long as you ignore all your clutter, you don’t have to decide what to do with it all. Many people with too much clutter are also perfectionists; they think that their stuff needs to go to just the right places. The thought of making all those decisions of where to send each thing becomes overwhelming, so it’s easier to just postpone the whole effort and keep tripping on the clutter.

Another thought: your clutter might be a distraction from yourself. If you didn’t have all these someday projects lying around, you might have to focus on yourself and your life instead of all that other stuff waiting for you to do something with it.

Or perhaps the clutter serves as a buffer between you and the outside world. You keep people out because you don’t want them to see what a mess you live in. It’s a handy dandy excuse for not having people over.

There may be other reasons, but one thing is for sure: the clutter is serving some kind of purpose for you. Otherwise you would get rid of it, since it bothers you. Figure out why you keep it, and you’ll be one step closer to getting rid of it.