In today’s economy, many retirees are facing challenges they never anticipated. With the significant downswings in the stock market, many retirement “nest eggs” are dwindling. As people retire earlier and live longer, there is a legitimate fear that what was considered sufficient to provide a comfortable retirement lifestyle for decades may now have much less sustainability.
So what is the answer? Most retirees have no desire to return to work. In fact, many have big plans travel, taking on new hobbies, visiting the grandchildren, family and long-lost friends and more. Now, those activities may seem to be out of reach financially and sitting at home staring at the television or looking out the window doesn’t sound like a viable option for the “Golden Years.”
There is an option for retirees and it is called Workamping, a job or volunteer position that is performed while living in a recreational vehicle (RV). Thousands of people are Workamping from coast to coast and throughout North America. They are, in essence, getting paid to travel. Retired attorneys are serving meals at an employee cafeteria in Yellowstone National Park. A retired virologist has stirred kettle corn in an amusement park in Iowa and worked at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival in Florida. A former minister repaired and rented canoes and kayaks in Bar Harbor, Maine, and then packed Christmas orders at a distribution warehouse for amazon.com in Coffeyville, Kansas. A retired schoolteacher served meals to campers at a summer opera camp in the Arkansas Ozarks, while another couple drove a shuttle bus in the Grand Canyon.
Workamping opportunities afford retirees the option to choose assignments in locations throughout America. They can work part-time (20 hours a week or less) or full-time (40 hours and more). Compensation varies, but can include a full hookup site (water, sewer, electricity and sometimes cable TV and Internet connections), and often salary or hourly wages. Some jobs include meals, uniforms, training, and tickets to area attractions. Many retirees figure out where they want to go, who and what they wish to visit, and then choose Workamping assignments in that particular area of the country. They may choose to work in an amusement park near where their grandchildren live and invite them to visit the park on the grandparents’ days off. They may wish to work hard for half the year at a job with good hourly wages or salary, then “play” the rest of the time.
Some retirees have a “bucket list,” of places to see and things to do. Workamping can pay for the gas and other expenses to get them to and from these locations and maybe even pocket change while there. Imagine spending a month delivering evening firewood at a state park on the Oregon coast and taking short daytrips to area attractions. On your days off, you can venture even further to explore historic lighthouses, museums, and more. Want to see the Grand Canyon? Why not Workamp there and really explore the area in your free time, knowing you earned your room and board, so to speak.
Don’t have an RV? Some Workamping positions provide housing. Additionally, bargains abound now on recreational vehicles. A little capital outlay on the front end for a modest rig to take you Workamping could result in major savings long-term.
Workamping is not for everyone, but it does represent a viable option for many retirees who would rather not tap into their investments or shelve their retirement dreams. And besides, Workamping can be fun! Meeting new people, seeing new places, even learn new skills or utilizing old ones – and getting paid for it what could be better?! For many, reaching the “end of the line” before the “end of your rope” may represent some challenges in the years ahead, but Workamping could be a valuable component to making your money last in retirement. And it could be a whole lot more interesting than staying home!