We know Boomers are rethinking retirement housing along with every other aspect of aging, and that society is scrambling to innovate to meet their evolving needs. Yet for some people, even innovative concepts such as a collaborative senior co-housing village may be too tame.
Some adventuresome Boomers and those a shade ahead of them in years are choosing to take to the road: not simply to travel as “snowbirds” or full-time RV’ers enjoying the freedom of their golden years, but as purposefully engaged travelers seeking to give back in service. And when they do, a reverse mortgage may be exactly what fuels the dream — and ensures a welcoming nest for their return.
Consider 73-year-old Barbara Traynor. A single mother of three, Traynor retired from her administrative position in 2005 with little in the way of retirement savings. Burt she was driven to make a difference, literally. Her volunteer stints have included assisting at an Alaskan college, providing tourist information at a visitors’ center in Alabama, and working with families in Arkansas at Heifer Ranch, an educational center for the nonprofit Heifer International. She enjoys the cross-country travel she’s dreamed of, receives room and board as a volunteer, and often stays with friends she’s met over the years en route.
One popular organization welcoming adults of all faiths is NOMADS, a global ministry akin to Habitat for Humanity that helps people rebuild after natural disasters. Seniors volunteer their time and help, asking only for a place to park their RVs while they serve. Dan Brown, 65, and his wife Virgie have taken part in more than 20 service projects over the past five years.
Another resource for mobile volunteers of all ages is Volunteer.gov.
Boomers who are considering relocating and exploring other potential places to stay while on the road may want to bear in mind the tax benefits some states offer.
Regardless of how or where they choose to volunteer in retirement, one truth is steadfast: with a reverse mortgage in place, older adults in good health who yearn to both travel and give back without breaking the bank can live nomadically, help others, save money, see the country, and still have a wonderful home waiting for them when they take a well deserved break from their travels.