With only $750 a month in Social Security and $165,000 in an IRA, Dottie has to work, according to the AARP story. Her previous work schedule represented another of my nightmares: namely, that as a senior citizen, I would have to work around the clock in a series of low-paying, under-performing jobs that would make me feel like a hamster on a wheel: Spinning for a small stipend and getting nowhere fast!
Consider the evidence: Prior to adopting a gypsy life, Dottie earned $12,000 working these part-time gigs:
- flu clinic administrator
- tv commercial actress (Hey, she was even in movie Prince of Tides from 1991)
- Kelly Service Temp
She slaved away at those jobs and owned a condo in Atlanta. Then she purchased an RV and became a gypsy...just traveling and driving to where the best jobs were anywhere in the country. In 2006, for instance, while she was temping, a company offered her a staff position. The catch: The job was in the state of Washington. No problem! With an RV, financed for $323 a month, she's very mobile.
"I guess I am just a gypsy at heart," she told AARP.
I have my own version of the retired gypsy fantasy. Here's my version:
- Writers Colonies. There are assorted writers colonies around the country where you can live free, cheap or even receive a paid stipend or a grant. It's like applying for college and if your application is accepted, you receive a room, an apartment or a studio. Poets & Writers magazine, a great source for writers, features these programs. Many of the colonies are year-round and I've read about a few writers who just travel from colony to colony, living almost rent-free. Here's a link to grants, conference and other resources for writers.
- Speakers Tour: With friends and family all over the country and even abroad, I could travel around, give speeches and collect stipends. I'd shill myself for a gypsy life like that.
- Writer-in-Residence/Expert-in-Residence: Disney World, colleges, community centers all have various adult learning programs. These programs work with a staff of specialists in many fields. The Disney Institute and the Disney cruises seek out experts in different fields. Likewise, I have friends who have traded their areas of expertise for hotel stays and cruise ship trips.
- Live on a Cruise Ship: That's another fantasy of mine: Every Monday in Nassau, Tuesdays in St. Bart or some other island. I could work in a casino, the coffee bar or teach some kind of craft program. I could really live on Paradise Island.
- Craft shows: One of my best, best friends from childhood makes a comfortable living selling hand-made art at craft shows around the country.
Meanwhile, it's never to late to save, but there are a few helpful tips for those of us playing catch-up. While visiting my parents, I found a copy of AARP magazine which had some great tips for late-starters in the savings game. Basically, the article (from the Sept./Oct 2007 edition) featured several individuals (ages 50-60) who had not saved too much in the past. I'm writing a series of posts based on the strategies featured in the magazine.
Here's Part 1 of this series.Top Tip: No more recreational shopping at the mall!
Part 2: Tapping a Side Business for Savings: Late Bloomers... Top Tip: Develop a small business for extra income.Part 3: 10 Reasons Why I'll Work at Starbucks: Late Bloome...
The Frugal Duchess Booktique
The Frugal Duchess of Beauty Store
Book Shop of Fear
The Poetry & Drama Queen
Frugal Jazz & Blues
Frugal Comic Book Connection