The first column I ever wrote for The Coast News was about trying to figure out a place to retire as cheaply as possible.Like so many of you out there, my investments were all in the wrong place when the recession hit. In the stock market, I had put my faith in companies that crumpled like a cheap suit when times got hard. In real estate I had homes that quickly became underwater and worse yet, I was invested in developable land for housing subdivisions. The recession reduced me from safe equity and retirement to debt and worry.
I put a two-year plan into place when I turned 60 and began liquidating what wasn’t necessary anymore. I paid off debt and paid for a used car that runs great but is free and clear and insurance is low. I had to get myself into a position to live as cheaply as possible yet still enjoy life and all the goodness that is included. At 62, going on 63, I just didn’t have the energy to go back out there and fight the wars to rebuild a lifetime of security that vanished into thin air.
My brother works for Princess Cruises. Princess no longer travels to Mexico anymore, which is strange considering Disney Cruise Line does. Go figure. I bring that up because in the year 2000 I began taking one or two trips down to Puerto Vallarta, as well as Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, each year.
I really fell in love with Puerto Vallarta. I found that you can buy something down there as cheap as $50,000 or as high as $10 million. There is a lot of variety in between. I bought an oceanfront condo that costs me $450 per month for everything. That includes water, electricity, security, television, parking and all the amenities of the Holiday Inn complex.
It doesn’t take much renting out of my condo to allow me to live basically for free when I am there. So that was one way of living in a great place for basically peanuts.
I also worked it out with my kids to let me stay with them while here. I really don’t, because like most parents with grown up kids, we still want our freedom and don’t want to impose.
I’ve been creative in my living accommodations and have figured out how to live basically for free. I cancelled my health insurance when I watched person after person with great retirement savings have it all taken away when they became afflicted with catastrophic illness. Insurance doesn’t pay 100 perent, period. So I see people wiped out anyway when they get sick.
I said forget it. I’m not going to pay $650 per month for insurance. When I go to the doctor I pay cash and my doctor gladly gives me anywhere from 40 to 60 perent off for paying cash the day of the visit.
I love to play golf but that can be expensive. So I joined Shadowridge Country Club under a sponsorship from a friend and member. That allows me to play unlimited golf for $306 per month. Keep in mind if I’m not a member and want to play there it costs $85 per round. Now I can play every day for peanuts and I walk. That means I walk almost six miles every day or three miles if I only play nine holes.
The point is that you baby boomers can find a way to retire on your social security and still live a good life. Hopefully you didn’t lose everything like I did but even though I did I can’t remember a time in my life when I was this stress free. We find a way to find our peace when we have to.
Don’t continue to live in fear and stress. Find a way to go enjoy your twilight years because as I’ve said before, God only gives us one day. We never know when the last one comes. Now go plan your peace!