Some people plan to travel when they retire; others hope to relax as much as possible. Some, however, plan to spend their retirement moving to a new, larger home that allows them to run a working homestead with plenty of room for their extended family and plenty of work to fill their retirement years.
Maybe you dream of owning your own greenhouse, or you want to raise chickens, or perhaps a U-pick farm fuels your fantasies. Whatever direction you choose, get there smoothly with these tips:
Understand the Demands of Homesteading
If you're considering the idea of homesteading retirement, it's helpful to understand what is meant by homesteading. Generally, this means reducing your reliance on outside resources and producing your own food. It's a pretty big undertaking, but one that has many benefits. Be sure to study the pros and cons, such as the regular physical exercise you'll enjoy or the demands on your health if you have existing issues. As Mother Earth News points out, there are many ways you can circumvent certain physical demands as age takes a toll, but it’s an active lifestyle no matter how you slice it.
Decide How Much Work You Can Do
Your next step is deciding just how much work you want to handle on your homestead. For example, you may want to raise animals and farm to sustain yourself without a lot of outside purchases. Determine your homestead goals; maybe you envision yourself spending a few hours a day in the garden and a greenhouse. Determine how expansive you want your homestead, so you know how much land you need to buy.
Find a Home With the Right Amount of Land
The good news is that you don't have to find a larger home with a lot of acreage to homestead successfully. Instead, list and prioritize what you want from your new home. The features at the top of your list will help you decide whether a particular house is appropriate:
Guestrooms and playrooms for family members:
• Room for a greenhouse
• A workshop for repairs or crafting
• Room to entertain
• Space to run a home business
• Land for farming or just enough for chickens
•If agritourism is a goal, plan enough room for your customers to park and visit
Additionally, consider, again, how much work you can handle. Based on the decisions from your previous step, it may be more reasonable to plant a garden that provides just enough produce for you than to plan a larger farm with a lot of extra responsibilities.
Get Rid of Debt Without Cutting Into Your Savings
SFGate explains that as a senior, purchasing a home on a fixed income can be a challenge, but it’s helpful if you work with a lender who will “gross-up” your income.
Another challenge to finding an affordable home occurs when you have debt that built up over the years. The best way to get into a bigger home with some land is to get rid of as much debt as you can. You may find that it's possible to get assistance from your state through programs with debt relief specialists. If you're close to retirement, you may want the quickest route to paying off your debts. With that understanding, you must carefully determine how you can pay off debts without drastically reducing your savings, so look for practical solutions that fit your circumstances.
Research and Develop New Skills
If you haven't cared for animals or grown your own produce in the past, it's a good idea to learn as many homesteading skills as possible before getting started. Reach out to other homesteading couples who are familiar with common tasks, such as gardening in your climate, raising chickens for eggs, and chopping firewood.
Homesteading may not be everyone's retirement dream, but it can be a fulfilling and meaningful way to spend your retirement years. As you provide for yourself and meet the daily responsibilities of this life, you may feel more empowered than ever before.
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