Archive for Working//volunteering

Budgeting for life on the road

Be realistic in your expectations

Are you in the category that you’ll need to earn money to live the full-time RV lifestyle? If so, you may need to add a dose of reality to your expectations. In an article at the author cited a new study from the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement titled “New Expectations, New Rewards: Work in Retirement for Middle-Income Boomers.” It found “that although 60 percent of boomers are planning on that after-retirement job, and more than half of nonretirees say they’re willing to take a pay cut to have it, their expectations are too high.” While finding a job was easy, more than half are making considerably less per hour than they did before retirement.

Nonetheless, there are many options for working on the road and some people do make a decent living. You do, in some cases, get a free or reduced-cost RV site. Some employers pay more or you may be able to have a business, especially with the availability of Internet connectivity now. However, most jobs – especially those in RV parks – pay less than minimum wage and may require a number of working hours for your site. If you need income, you’ll need to look for those jobs that pay more or create moneymaking opportunities. There are also ways to reduce your expenses while RVing.

Workamper News is a membership site that has both a bimonthly e-magazine and daily hotline ads plus tons of resources for the RVer who wants to get into Workamping or working on the road. Workamper News also has a number of webinars on both working on the road and saving money as you travel that I offered through Workamper plus articles that I’ve written on those topics.

If you are determined, you can do it. Just go into Workamping and RVing with your eyes open. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

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Painting Dead Horse State Park“It seems that staying active in retirement is an important part of maintaining one’s cognitive abilities…” according to Susan Rohwedder, Associate Director of the RAND Center for the Study of Aging. In an article, “Mental Retirement” in The Journal of Economic Perspectives, she and co-author Robert J Willis found that “nations with an earlier retirement age saw the most rapid declines in fluid intelligence.”

Retiring to an RV is a way to stay engaged with life. You are using your brain, for one. Planning your journeys, picking routes and places to stop plus seeing new sights is all stimulating. Many RVers get involved with one club or another, participating in activities and expanding their “community.” Others work or volunteer. Hobbies can also be a way to use your brain.

Retire to an RV – not the couch! Jaimie Hall Bruzenak


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Volunteering at Big Bend National Park

Volunteering at Big Bend National Park

Volunteering on the road can be good for RVers. It’s a way to have structure but not as much as a “real” job. It can be satisfying and a way to give back. And, some volunteer assignments include a free RV site so help the budget and provide a place to stay when in an area.

In a  Forbes article, “What You Need To Know About Volunteering During Retirement” by Robert Laura, the author mentions a few points that should be considered by RVers. One point is “Set realistic expectations for your role with the organization.” He suggests you ask about an exit strategy in the event it doesn’t work out. The best advice, though, is to be realistic. Volunteer organizations are not perfect. They are usually run on tight budgets. There may be personality issues or deficiencies.

Knowing, that even if it isn’t perfect, you are contributing in some way, that it is serving as a means to an end and that it’s not a career can help you get through any rough spots and feel good about what you are doing. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

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Class C The idea of living full-time in an RV seems to have captured the attention of journalists. I came across a couple of articles that might be of interest if you are considering RV retirement.

In “What is it like to live in an RV full time?” Chris Neiger, at, gives a glimpse of five different full-time RVers living the RV lifestyle. One woman works on the road, another RVer is actually a family of six and another is a family of five where the husband works remotely from his RV. Maybe one of those five matches what you envision.

In “These RV-riding retirees will make you incredibly jealous of their life on the road,” at Yahoo Finance, the focus is more in depth on one couple, Carroll and Basil Melnyk. They have traveled to all 50 states, living on a fixed income, the bulk of which consists of Carroll’s pension and both of their Social Security benefits. They keep their IRA and 401(k) savings on hand for the years when they won’t be able to manage year-round travel any longer. They typically spend $2,000 to $2,800 a month. Most years fuel takes between 8-10% of their budget though they have spent as much as 20%. (This should be a good year for them.) They now spend winters in Tucson but take other trips, including an international one each year. They have purchased a condo in Ruidoso, NM for when they settle down. Read the article to get some tips on how they save money.  Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

Volunteering for the National Park Service

Volunteering for the National Park Service

An interesting article, “4 Reasons to Ease Into Retirement – and 4 Paths to Take,” in, suggests that some people will want to transition into retirement by staying active through working or volunteering. There are four main reasons why people continue to work including needing or wanting some income and a desire to try something different. The four paths suggests several different ways to stay engaged. It does not include Workamping.

Workamping – or volunteering – could satisfy an urge to work and stay busy, plus help in the income aspect. Many volunteer positions do include an RV site, which would help the budget and stretch your retirement funds and many Workamping opportunities include a free or low-cost site.

Take a look at the article and see if these reasons might prompt you to consider combining work with RV travel. There are many ways to put a working RV retirement together. I suggest subscribing to Workamper News. Also, check out Margo Armstrong’s ebooks at Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

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When I mention Workamping or working while traveling, many RVers react as if I am proposing something evil. “Been there, done that.” “Work is a four-letter word.” From their reaction, I think some are going to hold up a cross like they are keeping a vampire at bay!

Yet, recently a number of articles and studies have strongly suggested that work during retirement is a good thing, not an awful thing. Here in the Motley Fool, “Why You Should Consider Working in Retirement,” offers two reasons. One, it’s good for your wallet. Two, it keeps your brain at a higher level of functioning and helps you stay youthful. With people living longer and longer, who wouldn’t want that?

Workamper News offers myriads of ads for Workampers from assignments that require doing only a few hours of work a week in exchange for a site, to full-time work earning decent money (and working harder). Volunteering for public agencies or charities can also provide the same benefits, particularly if you receive an RV site in exchange for your hours.

When you first hit the road, you may want to take it easy and see some of those places you’ve longed to see. At some point, though, if you stay on the road, working or volunteering can add to your travels. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

Whether by choice or because of circumstances, early retirement poses some challenges. This article, “Want To Retire Early? 5 Challenges To Overcome” by Erik Carter at Forbes, looks at the financial aspects. Primary is that you must save more and earlier. Even if you did, you won’t have access to retirement funds without penalty until later and spending too much too early can affect how long your funds last.

Retiring to an RV can be a cheaper way to live but still things happen like repairs or replacement of your RV. And you need to consider what you will do if you decide to get off the road. In our book, Retire to an RV: The Roadmap to Affordable Retirement, we discuss some low-cost options. And, many early retirees, as well as those who retire at full retirement age, choose to work or volunteer to minimize the amounts they withdraw from their other sources of money. And there are many options there too.

Don’t let these articles scare you. Take any advice that seems to apply or you can implement. If you have lost a job and have few prospects of one that pays the same, you won’t have the option to save more no matter where you live. Deal with it in a rational way in the best way you can. Retiring to an RV could allow you to travel, have adventures on your bucket list in spite of a reduce income. It’s something to consider! Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

Lyle Ruterbories is 93 years old and thinking of retiring from his seasonal ranger position that he has held at Glacier National Park for 20 years! According to the Spokesman-Review, he was a volunteer campground host prior to that with his wife of 65 years. Now that is inspiring!

The rangers at Glacier praised his hard work. It just goes to show you that even at an advanced age, you can contribute valuable service. Ruterbories has done a lot of travel but isn’t finished with that yet. He has plans for more.

Hats off to Lyle Ruterbories! Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

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A article notes that while many people plan to work after retirement, only a small percentage to. Between 60 and 80 percent say they will work but only about 18 percent actually do. The main reasons are age discrimination or health reasons. RETIRE_TO_AN_RV_prt_250 x157

If you will need more money, financial planners and life coaches offer advice to ease the transition. Plan ahead. If you’ll need new skills, you’ll have time to acquire them. Develop a hobby into something that makes money. Again, getting started before retirement is key. Another option is to stay in your old job longer and perhaps at reduced capacity; it’s easier than finding a new employer. And, lastly, be prepared to earn less money.

Retiring to an RV could be a good solution. Most jobs on the road are for less pay but you can also reduce your expenses plus control your expenses in several areas. Even volunteering will usually get you a free RV site and maybe free propane or other perks. Many Workamping jobs come with a site though you may need to work some hours in exchange for it.

You can find out more about the RV lifestyle and reducing your spending in Retire to an RV The Roadmap to Affordable Retirement. Jaimie Hall Bruzenak

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In a blog, Dennis Miller cites the Allianz survey that found that 61 percent of adults 45-75 feared running out of money in retirement more than dying. Dennis comments:

Support Your RV Lifestyle!

Support Your RV Lifestyle!

“My real problem with the Allianz survey is that I want to live until I die. I want to enjoy life while I’m here. I worked my tail off for many years to accumulate a nice nest egg. I’ve earned more than a few low-stress, worry-free golden years.”

Miller goes on to say, that a post-retirement job just might be in your future. It could be fun – or at least laid back – and help alleviate financial worries. He lists several criteria.

Retiring to an RV can not only reduce your outflow of cash, but can provide interesting and fun jobs or volunteer gigs to do as you travel. RVers work at Disney World, Adventureland, Dollywood and other parks as well as work or volunteer at national parks, in RV parks and so many more. You can get more information in Support Your RV Lifestyle!

Enjoy your golden years! Jaimie Hall Bruzenak