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Lock and Leave – A New Retirement Lifestyle

Updated: Jan 16, 2019

Something Dan said in his last blog post caught my attention, and I’d like to explore it further here. His exact comment was: “Would you like to lock up and travel more?”

It is old news that baby boomers are retiring in droves. And it is no surprise that, after a lifetime slaving away for “the man”, most of them are ready to enjoy life. One of the most frequently expressed intentions among this group is the wish to travel.

I have been on the road a fair amount over the past two years and have met lots of retired folks who are doing just that. It is interesting to see the approaches they have chosen to create their new lifestyles. Some retirees choose to downsize their primary residence to facilitate lengthy absences as life becomes simpler and more carefree.

Grand Caribe Resort, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Julie and Mike are nearing retirement from their busy careers in Chicago. They have purchased a condo in a beach resort community on Ambergris Caye, Belize. Julie and Mike plan to spend six months there then return to Chicago for the remainder of the year. They intend to sell their large family home as soon as they achieve empty-nest-hood and purchase a smaller property that can easily and securely be left for extended periods of time. They plan to offer their resort condo as a short-term holiday rental when they are not using it, providing some additional cash flow to their retirement income.

San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize

Carolyn, a retired schoolteacher from Michigan, is also currently living in a condo in Belize. She and her husband decided that when they retire, they would travel the world and see as much as their budget would allow. They realized that they needed to maintain a “base of operations”, a place to stop off and do laundry and to keep the belongings they choose not to get rid of. It needed to have an airport with good connections to launch their journeys and have better weather than they were accustomed to (especially during the winter). After selling the big home and spending several glorious years in Belize, they couldn’t be happier with their lifestyle choice. Locking the condo door and leaving without a care in the world, whether to go “home” to see grandchildren, or for a long gallivant around Europe is exactly what they envisioned doing during their “twilight years”.

Herman and Ida

We met Herman and Ida while traveling through Columbia, on a walking tour of Medellin. They had what many would consider the perfect lifestyle. They maintain two residences, both lock-and-leave condos. One was located in New York City and the other in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Herb estimates that they spend about four months a year in each. The other four months are devoted to travel. They start with a general idea of where they want to explore, but the day-to-day itinerary is flexible. Footloose and fancy free, they make it up as they go along, ruled simply by serendipity.

Although I haven’t personally met any of them, I have read tales of permanent nomads, people who sell their homes and the bulk of their possessions to take up life on the road. These travelers find that, with no expenses for a house, yard, car, orthodontist, and so on, they can stretch their dollars very far indeed. Many of them have this lifestyle down to an art form. They balance their stays in more expensive locales (think Paris) with time in inexpensive ones (think Thailand or the Philippines). This may be a bit extreme for most of us, but I admire the heck out of them.

It has been said that those who use their money to buy experiences are happier than those who use their money to buy things. Retirees are clearly embracing that philosophy with both arms. What might your own retirement look like? Downsizing to a lock-and-leave townhouse or condo could be just the ticket to a fun and carefree lifestyle as a world traveler.

Owning a smaller and simpler home might provide the needed funds to purchase a condo in a location you’ve always wanted to spend time, be it the beach, the mountains, or even overseas. Give us a call…we can help.

Courtesy of Linda Humphrey

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