If you’ve decided that you want to create a mobile semi-retirement lifestyle for yourself, this post will address some of the steps you need to take to get started. You may have additional steps to add for your own particular life situation, but these steps will serve as a starting point for your journey.
Imagine your ideal lifestyle
Take a few days to think about what you’d like your new lifestyle to be like, what activities you’d like to be able to do more of, what things you never want to do again, and what things you’ve dreamed of doing but have never had the time or opportunity to do. If you are single person, this will be easier as you have only yourself to be honest with. If you are a couple you will need to discuss your ideal lifestyle with your spouse to determine what dreams and goals you both have in common. Couples who have been together a long time and who have traveled together on longer trips will have an easier time imagining a mobile lifestyle and how well they would do together. Couples who haven’t traveled much on longer trips, particularly to foreign destinations where language and culture place additional stress on their travel experiences, may have a harder time envisioning what they want. We suggest that those couples take one or two trial trips to see if they really enjoy the mobile lifestyle before diving into the deep end. See this post for more information.
Evaluate your work skills
Read over the articles on this website about working in semi-retirement. If you already have a clear idea what activities you could do to supplement your income to an acceptable level, then move on to the next step. If you have 9-to-5 job skills that are transferable to a self-employed business, but you have to do the work to make that happen, then write down the steps you need to take to get there. If you decide that your current skills are not a good fit for a mobile semi-retirement lifestyle, explore developing some new skills that you might be able to master without too much time or investment that will work better. Refer to this post for more information.
Evaluate your financial resources
How do you determine whether you have the financial resources to consider semi-retirement? Part of the answer to this question depends on your tolerance for risk. Another part of the answer depends on your level of frugality and your ability to live on less money. Another part depends on how much you think you can earn from your semi-retirement work. We recommend that you take the time to sit down and prepare a realistic budget for your proposed semi-retirement lifestyle, which includes your new additional travel costs as well as reductions in costs due to changes you plan to make in your lifestyle. Then look at your current financial resources and see how well your budget fits your projected income. Refer to this post on how we estimate our budget to take into account travel costs and well as savings from being away from home.
Plan and start your new business enterprise
If you are planning to start a new business entity (sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, or whatever) in order to make use of financial or legal advantages that such an entity will provide you, then you will need to do some ground work to get all the pieces set up. We created a partnership for our new business, registered our business name, and set up a business checking account to keep our business-related financial transactions separate from our personal finances. We also got a business credit card which we use for business purchases. If you are setting up a more complicated business entity, such as an LLC or S-Corp, you will probably need to get a lawyer and accountant to help you prepare you initial documentation. As with any small business, you should put together a business plan, if only to get the details about how you will launch and run your business clear in your mind from the beginning. We prepared a business plan before we did anything else and it helped clarify our goals and the steps we needed to take to set up our business. Once you have your business plan prepared you can start working on all the details you need to accomplish to get your business up and running. How long that will take depends on how much you need to accomplish and what time and resources you have available to work on it.
Evaluate your health, fitness, and medical needs
It’s easy to live a sedentary lifestyle when you are at home with your creature comforts surrounding you, and you can do the same on the road if you wish to. For some people the ideal lifestyle is sitting on a beach somewhere sipping cocktails. If that’s the case for you, then you probably don’t need to do much to get yourself into shape for traveling. However, if you desire a more active lifestyle or you have health issues that will make traveling more difficult, you should take some time to evaluate your level of health and fitness. You may be traveling without a car, which means a lot more walking to local shops, restaurants, buses, etc. You will be carrying luggage every time you change locations. The climate in the country or the elevation may put additional stress on your body. Take some time to evaluate your physical health and if you find you need to put in some work to lose weight or get more fit before you start your travels, make a fitness plan and start working on it right away. If you have medical needs requiring special medical equipment, prescriptions, or occasional treatments, you will need to evaluate you destinations more carefully to make sure that everything you need will be available to you. See this post for more information.
Plan your first trip
It’s a great motivator to begin evaluating potential destinations and planning your first trip. Look at this post to get some ideas about how to choose a destination that will make for a first successful journey. This post talks about how to save money on travel and travel cheaply.
Get equipped for travel
If you haven’t traveled on longer trips, you may need to acquire some new travel gear. We have prepared a list of the items that we would take on a long trip of several months duration, located here.
Prepare your home and affairs for your absence
If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time, you need to plan how to make sure that your home and belongings stay safe and secure while you are away, and also how to take care of things like mail, utilities, paying bills, suspending services you won’t use while you are gone. Refer to this post for recommendations on securing your home.