Wondering if you can even afford retirement is a questions millions of 40 or 50 something Americans ponder every year. Prepping will prepare you not just to survive a SHTF scenario, but equip you to both survive and thrive during your retirement years.
Middle age preppers might feel forced between spending their hard-earned dollars on vital survival needs and tucking more money away into a retirement nest egg – but they shouldn’t.
There is truly enough common ground between both your preparedness and retirement goals that investing in one will not shortchange the other. While retirement is something to look forward to, and a TEOTWAWKI disaster is not, you can complement your non-work years by remaining doggedly focused on your survival plans… and be better off for it.
Being a prepper means you are constantly honing your skills and spending time learning new ones. These activities keep both your mind and your body quite active.
Far too often, people immediately slow down when they retire – and that is not good from either a physical or mental health standpoint. Living in a state of inertia, especially when devoid of enough mental stimulation to keep your mind active on a daily basis, will age quickly.
Dedicated preppers do not possess either the time or the inclination to twiddle their thumbs while sitting on the couch staring at the television set for hours on end. When a routine you have engaged in weekly for 20 to 40 years comes to a swift end, you must have a plan to fill those hours.
Most retirees plan to spend more time with the grandkids, do crafts, play golf, catch up on their reading etc. These are are fabulous ways to spend your time, but the plain simple truth is – unless you become a full-time babysitter, there will still be many hours left to fill.
A prepper retiree has a distinct advantage over conventional retirees. He or she will be able to spend more time gardening, canning, dehydrating, taking target practice, making homemade arrows and bows out of PVC pipe, reloading spent ammo, taking advanced first aid classes… I could go on and on and on but I think you get the point.
Buy (or Retrofit) a Retirement Home
Downsizing living space is another component retirement activity. This change in living arrangement is not only perfect for preppers, but can further enhance survival goals.
The money made from selling a large home that once housed a growing family or an expensive address in an upscale suburb or urban area, can be used to purchase a smaller home on a larger plot of land – or even invest on a quarter acre; that’s enough space for a couple to cultivate a sustainable survival homestead.
Buying a little cabin in the woods allows you to both have what many folks would consider a vacation home, and to live debt free – conserving as much of your retirement savings/income, as possible.
If you don’t want to move out of your home because it is located near your adult children, doctors, etc., you could borrow from the equity in your home to turn into in a more fortified, energy independent, and sustainable homestead.
Whichever route you choose to take in regards to your retirement living situation, you will become more prepared for a SHTF event.
Preppers are naturally inclined not to waste anything that can possibly be repurposed. This valuable habit can also help you save money once you retire – when your disposable income is reduced and even a small unexpected expense could wreak havoc in your monthly budget.
Learning how to repair any number of items in your home or garage will be both a great retirement money saver, and a preparedness skill enhanced. When the SHTF and when you are on a fixed income, knowing how to repair a chair leg, fix a mechanical problem.
A retired prepper can also use the many hours on his or her hands to teach or improve the skills of younger members or the family or mutual assistance group.
As a frugal retired prepper you will know to save the broken leg from a wood chair if it can’t be fix to use as kindling. A broken stove that cannot be fixed could find new life when its sheet metal, racks, and wiring are harvested.
Not only will the money you save living a waste not want not life now as a working prepper save you money to put back for retirement, it will also solidify your frugal habits to help you continue to save money once you are no longer a part of the workforce.
The more groceries you grow and preserve now, the more food you will have to eat not only when the SHTF, but if money runs too tight on occasion when you are living on a fixed income.
The gardening and livestock raising you are doing now will be the foundation for an even broader food cultivation routine once you are retired, and can devote more time to such essential preparedness efforts.
Even if you cannot physically expand your growing plot now, before you retire and move onto a larger plot of land, you can attempt to grow vertically or in containers – or simply cultivate herbs in a windowsill and take a gardening class to better prepare yourself for the time when you can expand.
As the saying goes, knowledge is power – in the case of prepping future retirees, it can save you money…and one day might save your life.
The more we age, the higher the chance that we or someone we love will be taking prescription medication on a regular basis and/or be treated for a chronic problem.
Growing your own apothecary (or pharmacy, if you prefer that term) should already be part of your survival plan and prepping routine.
Preppers should learn how to grow their own medicines, and even more specifically how to find natural treatments to replace (as much as is feasible) manufactured pills they are now taking..or might need to take based upon family history.
The knowledge and stockpile you will amass during regular prepping activities will help you both save money and survive if the SHTF after your retire.
Do not become one of those preppers that thinks prepping is only for apocalyptic long-term disasters. Sure, that is what we are all spending our time and money to help ensure we and our loved ones can survive, but that should never be the sole goal.
Prepping is a lifestyle choice. What we do each day now trains our bodies, our minds so we possess the overall ability to survive what may come on any given day – large or small.
Living your life frugally and focused on what truly matters will benefit you and yours now, while you are still a wage earner and in the years ahead when you are cashing pension checks – and spending your days growing food, learning, and teaching those you care about how to better prepare themselves for any type of rocky road they will find themselves on.
Tara Dodrill is a homesteading and survival journalist and author. She lives on a small ranch with her family in Appalachia. She has been both a host and frequent guest on preparedness radio shows. In addition to the publication of her first book, ‘Power Grid Down: How to Prepare, Survive, and Thrive after the Lights go Out’, Dodrill also travels to offer prepping tips and hands-on training and survival camps and expos.