Retired with a Mortgage! Travel?

Old Dec 31st, 2007, 01:58 PM
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Being a retired person, I cannot really believe in having a large mortgage unless you have a very good retirement income, say $50,00/60,000. Our insurance cost are over $1500. per month, property tax, upkeep and just your regular daily expenses run another $2,000/2,500. So my point is this, with a mortgage payment of say $2,000 per month I just don't think is is very smart to incur additional expenses by traveling. Me, I would work to pay off my house, then travel.
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Old Dec 31st, 2007, 04:50 PM
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Obviously it wouldn't make sense to move to something that costs almost the same price. But if you're in a 4 bedroom house now and move to a modest 1 or 2 bedroom condo or townhouse your costs (even with common charges) should be significantly less. If sale isn't an option what about renting out the house to cover the mortgage and pay a much lower rent on a small apartment?

If that doesn't pull you even I would try to find free lance consulting work in the fields you were already in. Even if you work only 2/3 of the year it will give you substantial income to travel at least part of the time.
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Old Dec 31st, 2007, 07:13 PM
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Of course, it's all about priorties. Sure, you must make your mortgage payments, but can you cut back on other non-necessities to be able to make the trip?

No one knows what the future holds and yes, travel should be done when health is on your side. My husband lost both legs in an accident a few years ago. Travel, for him, is nearly impossible. Especially to Europe where it is not nearly as accessible as it is in the U.S.

My husband had a Ferrari that he had to sell after his accident (a manual transmission that could not be fitted with hand controls). He cherished the car, drove it little, and polished it a lot. I remember his saying "if I had it to do over, I would have have driven the crap out of that car". Fortunately, he has bought another Ferrari that has paddle controls that is fitted with hand controls.

The moral of my story is: "Life is a Ferrari. Drive the crap out of it".
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Old Dec 31st, 2007, 08:01 PM
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Cut your expenses. Move to Mexico.
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Old Jan 1st, 2008, 07:21 AM
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I like your motto, dherron. Unfortunately I think my upbringing by two children of the Great Depression would prevent me from living it out, but I like it.

My parents lived very frugally and never traveled much while we were growing up. Later on, thanks to careful planning and good luck, they were able to see the world without us -- they used to joke that they were spending our inheritance, to which we would always say "good!"

But I know my mom would have loved for us to have a few family trips that never happened -- by the time they felt comfortable spending the money, life and careers and grandchildren made things much more complicated. And now they can no longer get around like they used to.

We are willing to extend ourselves a little to travel now -- not as much as I would like, but as much as we can reasonably pay off -- while our kids are at home and we can have memories to share later.

Princess, maybe a part-time job that goes into a travel fund is the solution. If good health is on your side enough to travel, then it should also be enough to let you bring in a little extra income that you earmark for your next trip.
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Old Jan 1st, 2008, 08:40 PM
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Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. I believe that a part-time job may be the answer for my husband when he is ready. However, considering that he has worked for close to 50 years, he deserves a little rest.

Later, when it's my turn to retire, I'm guessing I'll try for a part-time job also!
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Old Jan 1st, 2008, 11:34 PM
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Good luck Princess, in balancing all your financial needs and wants.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 03:14 AM
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I just wanted to mention that traveling does not really cost that much, it is buying "stuff" & maintaining all the "stuff" that eats up all the money and freedom to life.

Anyone who really wants to travel can and in a way that does not endanger their future. If traveling is important to you before you get too old, you might want to think about changing your lifestyle in order to do that.

Slow travel is much cheaper and more rewarding than fast travel. I highly recommend Rolf Potts book to open your mind some & here is a good article from him on saving money while traveling slow:

Here is a retired couple ( they were frugal and smart and retired 18 years ago in their 30's to travel the world) who travel & enjoy their inexpensive home in the U.S. on 24,000 total expenditures a year.

( They have lots of great ideas on how to live large on less & travel).

We also live a luxurious life of travel on 25 thousand a year for a family of three ( most of it in Europe so far). It is actually cheaper for us to travel the world than live at home. MUCH cheaper. I list a family of 4 who traveled the world for 4 years on 1500 euros a month including all expenses.

I know people who need less luxury who travel on much less. Some stop and work a little as they go teaching English, working on the internet or other ways. If there is a will, there is always a way...without endangering yourself or going into debt.

We can all do anything in life that we put our minds to and do the work required. Usually we can not do everything though at once, so one has to look at priorities.

Here are some more hints and ideas:

If I were you, i would get rid of that "substantial mortgage" as it sounds like it does seriously cut into your freedom. I bet you can also come up with a bunch of money if you start selling some of your "stuff" that is sitting around taking up space and no longer used. Many people have used that method to help finance travel.

Debt is just not a good idea in retirement:

You are not alone, because sadly too many Americans have too much debt and not enough savings:

Foreclosures are alarmingly up and rising. The falling dollar is not only bad for Europe travel, it also hurts retired folks & it looks like stagflation will continue and get worse. Notice the price of oil and food lately?? We have not heard the end of the plunging dollar & credit crunch and more banks and pension funds will be lost.

Do find ways to travel if it is important to you, but don't go into debt to do it.

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Old Jan 2nd, 2008, 03:59 AM
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"Is it only my husband and I who still have a substantial mortgage left on our house at retirement?"

To answer the only question you you aren't the only ones.

Have you ever thought of downscaling some of your travel?

Do you have to stay in higher starred establishments?

Can you travel using only public transport?

Do you have to travel at peak times?

Are you willing to consider possibly lower cost group travel?

Frankly, you can be as "free" to do whatever you want depending on what your priorities are and ultimately it is up to you.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 07:09 AM
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Thanks for a great post. I'm going to cut and paste and print it as a reminder.

Among the many points you make, I think you're right on about "stuff" -- buying stuff, maintaining stuff. I have that problem and am working on changing it.

On another note, to the OP, have you considered going somewhere other than Europe? It's a big world and there are countries where the dollar goes further than in Europe.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 08:13 AM
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Princess, I am sure you are not alone! Too many people do not save enough and remortgage their homes too often for just the reasons you cite.
We just downsized to a home less than half of what we had. Granted, it was a very large house, over 5000 square feet and we still have 2500. But, yesterday when I got the utility bill and we only spent $100 last month to heat our new older home I could have jumped for joy! We spent almost 5000$ a year to heat that last huge house. The savings on just this expense is a trip to Italy. But, to go farther, the larger the home, the greater the upkeep, the greater the taxes (usually), the greater to heat or cool (usually) and so on. And, it costs more to fill up. Just ask me how much furniture I have from the downsizing!
I think, from the sale of all the excess, I could gather at least twenty thousand dollars. With very careful planning, traveling off season, renting apartments rather than hotels, staying in a city centre and using public transportation, one can stretch those travel dollars.
Travel has always been one of the reasons I worked. I don't have a lot of clothes, don't desire to eat out as I love to cook. We don't go to the casinos nor even do a lot of theatre here as we prefer to see these events while abroad. And, we can get a ticket to these events for about 1/5th of the cost here in New York.
Some of my favorite trips were in times with less money in an apartment, cooking with local goods, and so on.
I wish you all good luck and hope that you can find ways to travel.
One of the things my wise friend told me once was, "While on this earth we only rent" meaning we never really own anything, we just use it while here. So, why kill ourselves to own or even rent stuff? I'd much rather have an experience!
Best wishes!
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 08:53 AM
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I also suggest that you keep working and pay off your debt. If you are healthy enough to want to travel that much, I am sure there is some kind of work that you can do. Keep paying off your debt, don't spend too much on anything else, and spend any savings on travel that you can afford.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 02:34 PM
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<<I also suggest that you keep working and pay off your debt. If you are healthy enough to want to travel that much, I am sure there is some kind of work that you can do.>>

She is working. The OP responded that her husband is retired but she is not.

From her post: "Later, when it's my turn to retire, I'm guessing I'll try for a part-time job also!"

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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 04:03 PM
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This is an excellent post, chock full of ideas for Princess and everyone in similar situations. My two cents were:

>Can you rent out your home for your mortgage payment, while you live/travel abroad?
>Can you use your past work experiences to get paid to travel (lead tour groups, do presentations on specific travel subjects on cruise ships, etc?)
>Make a goal of visiting in 2009 or 2010--get a side job and save, save, save for a trip?
>Consider visiting closer locales like Montreal or Quebec for the European flavor?
>Host an exchange student from your favorite country and develop a relationship. Maybe later in the future you can visit your student in their home country and they can "host" you for a few days.

I agree you need to travel when you can, but you have an additional set of circumstances you need dealing with. It will take a great deal of planning and creative thinking to manage your debt and also feed your need for traveling. Good luck.

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Old Jan 3rd, 2008, 04:20 PM
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I know this post is in the Europe forum, but perhaps you can try traveling to cheaper places?

I can bring in very nice vacations in both Mexico or Hawaii for an extremely reasonable overall cost.
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