A mobile semi-retirement lifestyle is one in which you spend a certain amount of time living away from your home base and which includes doing some sort of productive work to help support yourself. How much or how little of either depends on your needs and desires.
You could be mobile for as little as two months per year, or half the year, or you could be fully mobile with your home base being wherever you are at the moment. It could also mean being fully mobile for one or more years and then returning home and not being mobile for one or more years, possibly repeating the process many times. The way in which you choose to be mobile depends on several things, such as what you are doing to earn money, whether you will rent or sublet your house or apartment while you are gone, whether you have children you want to be near for some of the year, and so on. The amount of work you do is also depends on your specific income requirements. If you have enough retirement funds to fully support a non-working retirement you may want your semi-retirement lifestyle to include only hobbies or volunteer work. For many, however, semi-retirement means finding part-time work that can be used to provide funds to support a more enjoyable lifestyle without fully retiring.
Is being mobile necessary?
No, it’s not. You could choose to pursue semi-retirement while staying in your same house or apartment and going nowhere. However, we focus on mobile semi-retirement on our website because it is the lifestyle we choose to pursue. We like to travel and explore different places and cultures. When we were younger, before we had kids to raise, we traveled a lot, and much of our travel was in places where it is significantly cheaper to live than in our home countries. We discovered, as many others have, that it’s possible to live at the same comfort level as we do at home in some countries on much less money. If you live a significant portion of each year in countries which a much lower cost of living then mobility can allow you to have a better (more affluent) lifestyle on less money. Or it could allow you to retire earlier, or, at all, in some cases. We have heard or read many stories from people who have been able to retire only because moving to a cheaper country allowed them to live on much less money than they needed to retire in their home countries. In their home countries, retirement would simply have been too expensive.
Mobile Semi-retirement is not the same as Semi-retirement
There are plenty of semi-retired people who are just working fewer hours per week doing the same job they were previously doing full-time.
Ideally semi-retirement means creating a work situation that involves doing things you would love to be doing in your spare time anyway and trying to figure out a way to make money from them. Granted, we probably wouldn’t have thought of developing websites in our spare time if we were fully retired, but it’s an activity the involves doing a lot of the things we liked doing anyway, such as traveling, photography, writing, and messing with computers.
Alternatively, if you’ve got a skill where you can get a big payoff for working a boring job for a short amount of time and then live off that money for a much longer time, that can work also.
Part-time work is just work that you do for fewer hours than a full-time job (i.e. 40 hours per week usually). It doesn’t imply that you like what you are doing or that the work gives you any satisfaction other than a paycheck. Part-time work may or may not allow you to travel away from your home base or provide the flexibility you need to pursue your hobbies or interests to the level you desire. Semi-retirement implies that the work you are doing fits neatly into your lifestyle and allows you significant time and scheduling freedom to pursue leisure activities, hobbies, physical activities, obsessions, and whatever you would normally be doing if you could choose to do whatever you want with your time. Semi-retirement activities often will be activities that you would choose to be doing anyway, not just activities that you only do so that you can make money. Often, semi-retirement activities start as hobbies that can be monetized. For example, you may love to travel and be an avid amateur photographer and you have skills at writing. You could create a semi-retirement career as a travel writer and photographer.
This is not to say that semi-retirement will not require compromises and sometimes doing work that you would really rather not be doing, but the goal is to mainly be doing things you love and would want to be doing anyway, or at least doing work that gives you a lot more time and freedom to the things you would like to be doing if you were fully retired.
Semi-retirement is better than full retirement
We personally, don’t like the idea of full retirement. We have both spent time doing “aimless” travel…travel with no purpose other than to visit countries as a tourist, and, to be honest, months of traveling aimlessly can get boring. We like to get up each day with something purposeful to do. Many retirees who stop working and have nothing to do but sit around the house find themselves getting depressed and feeling useless. We think the solution is to live as a semi-retiree for as long as your mind and body will let you.