How to Retire On Less: 6 Alternative Lifestyles

With the decline of the economy and retirement funds seeing dramatic losses in the past few years, more employees are realizing that traditional retirement might not be possible for them. If you are approaching retirement age and either not willing or not able to quit your job just yet, then here are five alternatives to the conventional ideas about retirement.

Extended Leave

Many people will work grueling hours in the hopes that eventually they can travel and relax in retirement. A struggling economy has made that option less viable for many workers. Taking an extended leave from your job can give you a much-needed break, but does not require the savings commitment that you need if you choose to retire instead.


While opportunities to take a sabbatical have become increasingly rare in many fields, other employers are seeing the benefit of offering a year off to employees so that they can pursue other interests. Many employers offer these as unpaid leave. Taking an entire year off can offer you the opportunity to explore hobbies and interests or engage in volunteer work that you may not have had the time to pursue while working.

Starting Your Own Business

The idea of decades of retirement can be daunting to those who enjoy the structure and routine of work. If you want to spend more time traveling or with the grandkids, but aren’t ready to stop working altogether, you could consider using a portion of your current retirement savings to open a business. You get all the challenges of work, but in an environment over which you have more control.

Second Career

Once you start nearing retirement age, changing careers or going back to school to earn a different degree can seem too risky. Rather than retire, many workers are opting to use their retirement savings to continue their education or change careers instead.

Focused Break

If you have always wanted to write a novel or volunteer for a specific project, taking a long-term leave to pursue these goals can offer you the incentive to save without the pressure of having to try to plan for up to thirty years of living expenses. Taking off six months off to do the things that you promised to complete when you retire can offer you all the benefits of retirement without the commitment.


Many locations throughout the world offer reduced living costs if you don’t mind a change in surroundings. Most offer mild climates as well. Places like Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines can be perfect for the adventurous retiree who wants to live on less. Costa Rica and Belize can be placed to live the dream as well. The downside is that you will be further from family and will have to rely on internet connections to see those you love. But at less than $500 a month to live, it might be worth it. You can also continue to earn a living by working via the web if you have any Web marketing or writing skills. You could also work as a virtual assistant for many different types of online professionals.

Increasing lifespans and an unstable economy have made many workers search for different means to achieve their retirement goals. Looking into alternatives can allow you to live your dreams now, instead of waiting for a retirement that may never come.

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