Retirement Planning - Saving enough is not the only option

The number one problem in this world as far as we, as individuals looking to retire, should be concerned with is the amount of debt we are carrying. The more debt equals a higher degree of slavery. In order to retire, it is not so important to save enough money as it is to remove the need for money from your life. In other words, a good retirement plan is to be debt free when you retire regardless of how much money you may or may not have saved. Mortgages, car loans, high interest credit cards, all must be eliminated before you retire if you want to be truly secure in your retirement years. It is pretty easy to see why these things need to be eliminated before retirement. Retirement does not pay as well as working does, I think that one should expect a 2/3 reduction in their monthly household income as soon as they retire. Your lifestyle had better be able to handle this impact dont you think? Preferrably with a minimum amount of discomfort to you and your household. I would classify owning your own property mortgage free (because you own nothing as long as you owe a mortgage) as probably the single biggest piece of a secure retirement package you could have, followed closely by the elimination of all high interest debt, credits cards, lines of credit, etc.

We have covered the debt that most of us are familiar with but what about the debt that you may or may not even consider debt? I am of course referring to those recurring fees that we all have to pay in order to survive in the modern world. Things like electricity and water, heat, rent for those who do not own property, etc.

I cannot offer any suggestions to cover off the rent payment except to buy property. As long as you are renting you are living at the whim of the property owner, as long as you have a mortgage you live at the whim of the banks, owning your own chunk of the earth is more important to your retirement than saving any amount of money will be.

The other recurring fees can be easily eliminated if you live in a free country where you are allowed to pursue your own initiatives. Canada and the US are still such places although, in my opinion, many attempts to curtail our freedoms have been tried in the last 10 to 15 years and we must constantly be vigilant. Many, many cities and towns in this country of Canada and indeed around the world will not allow you to do what I am about to suggest so now would be a good time to remind you, the reader, of the benefit to owning rural property outside the jurisdictions of any municipality. This frees you to use your own initiatives in order to eliminate these recurring fees.

Electricity, electricity is the easiest thing in the world to generate yourself. Windmills can be made from items kicking around your junk closets and garages and sheds. Solar panels are relatively inexpensive to buy and easy to configure and the technology in this area is improving all the time. Not only would you eliminate the need to pay a electricity bill on a month to month basis but you may even be able to turn a little bit of a profit by selling your excess electricity back to the power company. How much do you spend on electricity month to month? Imagine if that total became $0.00. Or, better still, what if that monthly bill turned into a monthly check? Cities and towns will not allow you to live off their power grid for the most part.

As an added bonus, this approach to generating your own power is totally green. Consuming electricity does not generate green house gases, producing electricity does. All the power you will be consuming is 100% green power in the form of solar and wind, your carbon footprint is now almost 0.

Water, well you can always dig a well. (no pun intended) The trick here is to check your local taxation laws at the rural or county levels. Some counties in the United States for example will tax you extra if you have your own well. In my opinion, it is best to find someone who will drill for cash only and forget the paperwork. That way you have a well that no one knows you have and so you can avoid the tax. If your conscience is tingling at this approach then ask yourself if it is fair to tax you extra because you dug a well on your own private property and no longer have to pay a water bill, because THAT is the sole purpose of such taxes, to discourage self-reliance.

Heat is a little more costly to handle in a self-reliant and expense free manner. If you generate enough electricity then you can use the excess to heat your home and kill two birds with one stone so to speak but generating enough for the added burden of heating the home as well as all your other electrical needs will increase the initial costs of setting up your own electrical grid considerably and leave you in a bad spot if you should suffer a grid failure in winter (at least in Canada).

If you have the money and the space geo-thermal heating is an excellent solution to this problem as this technology uses the Earths natural internal heat to heat your house. It requires a very large yard to setup and you will have to redo your landscaping once the installation is done, but it is well worth it as geothermal energy is free.

So, we have eliminated the mortgages, car loans, credit cards, lines of credit, electricity, water and now the heating bills. So what else do we need money for? Food. This is easy even if you have a relatively small yard. Growing a vegetable garden is not only far healthier in the long run than even buying fresh vegetables from a market is, but it also very relaxing work for the most part and it will take a large chunk out of your food expense. Take some time to learn how to preserve your vegetables for longer shelf-life and storage capabilities. If you live in a rural area then try to locate the local beef farmers and see if you can buy beef and other meats directly from him rather than in the supermarkets. Basically, try to keep your food sources as local as you can. This will lessen your expenses. The average distance a meal purchased in the supermarket has traveled before it reaches your table is 1500 miles. How can anything be called fresh after that? Healthier and cheaper and requires a fraction of the money.

Unless you are interested in becoming a HAM radio operator and all your family members are also HAM radio operators then getting rid of your phone bill is going to be a little trickier. I would try to get a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone. It is far cheaper to pay a internet bill than a phone bill especially in Canada where most of the provincial phone companies operate in a monopolistic marketplace (ie: they are the only choice) For maximum thrift I would also do away with any and all cable TV subscriptions as these are a waste of money and any television show you can think of is available for viewing free on the internet at any point after its initial release date, same with movies and all major media news outlets are also on the internet. Internet service is relatively cheap in comparison to digital cable and phone subscriptions.

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