Janet Campbell from Elderspark.com reached out to write another post. I said sure. Here’s what she wrote . . .
When it comes to types of retirement, there are few that offer as much self-sufficiency and personal satisfaction as homesteading. This is a style of retirement built around hard work, cost-saving, and the pride of a day well spent. However, it’s not for everyone. Here’s a quick look at some of the pros and cons of homesteading, as well as some tips that I’m happy to share with Teacher, Speaker, and Author Rinda Beach. I hope they help you find your perfect place.
Part 1 - What Is Homesteading?
“Homesteading” is a broad term, but in general, it’s a lifestyle in which people try to live more sustainably by “living off the land,” so to speak. Homesteaders may grow their own fruits or vegetables, raise meat, grow crops to make fabric for clothing, or a combination of these practices. In addition to benefiting from their own hard work, many also sell their homegrown fare in their local community via farmers markets or mom-and-pop shops.
People of all ages can homestead. Seniors can certainly pursue this lifestyle post-retirement, but as we discuss below, those with physical disabilities or mobility issues are wise to be selective about homesteading hobbies that accommodate their needs. For example, rather than growing potatoes in the ground (which are heavy and require a lot of physical labor to tend to), planting lightweight lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes in raised containers might be a better option for older adults.
Part 2 - Benefits of Homesteading
There are a ton of wonderful pros to homesteading for retirees. The first is that, when you’re homesteading, you can make a fixed income stretch a lot further. The food you produce on your land substantially cuts down your grocery bill, meaning you have more money to go toward other costs.
Moreover, if you really get a knack for it, you can look into selling goods you’ve grown or made. If you go this route, however, be sure to check out whether or not you need to register as an LLC. This designation offers some legal protections that make good sense for anyone running a business out of their home. Turning your homestead into an income source can put you in an even better financial position.
Another great benefit of homesteading is that it’s a very physically active form of retirement. It’s easy to grow sedentary when you’re done working, but it’s terrible for your body and your mind. Staying active keeps you strong and sharp, helping you stay healthier for longer. Since homesteading is, by its very nature, a physically demanding lifestyle, you’ll be certain to get plenty of healthy exercise and fresh air.
Part 3 – Cons of Homesteading
Despite its myriad benefits, homesteading still isn’t for everyone. Take the physical activity element mentioned above. Although it’s great to have the opportunity to stay physically active, it can be unsustainable. If you already have mobility loss, for example, a homesteading situation can be impossible to maintain. Now, you can often mitigate this by planning a smaller garden or limiting your planned production, but it’s important to recognize the physical commitment from the start.
It’s also a big commitment and can preclude some other retirement aspirations. It’s difficult to travel while homesteading since you must find someone to care for your crops (and animals, if you have them) while you’re away. Many hobbies are also difficult to juggle along with the demanding schedule homesteading often requires. This isn’t to say homesteading will occupy all of your time, but recognizing the demands before you get started can help you figure out if it’s a good fit.
Part 4 – Finding a Homesteading Property
When it comes to finding your perfect property, keep an open mind. Many people assume homesteading can only happen in rural areas, but it’s far from the truth. There’s a ton of technology out there that makes homesteading accessible for people in suburban and even urban areas. That said, you should always check zoning laws before you commit to make sure the features you’d like to have are allowed at that address.
You should also take time to think about your overall ideal lifestyle and the kind of spaces you’ll need to achieve it. For example, if you think you’d like to make (and perhaps, sell) your own jam, you’ll want a spacious kitchen with plenty of room for canning, as well as a pantry you can use to store your products. Consider any workshops, guest rooms, and other features you’d need and like to have to be able to achieve the homestead retirement that’s right for you.
Though it’s not for everyone, homesteading is a wonderful form of retirement. Do the research to figure out if it’s right for you and, if so, invest in the perfect property to achieve the golden years you’re dreaming of.
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