Posted by Dave on September 14, 2011
This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I have previously written of my desire to live in a Tiny House, something which my wife was not in favour of at all (I believe she mentioned I could live there by myself, but she had no interest in living in a little wooden box). In the past little while, we have again discussed alternative living situations that could work when we reach retirement age. Two living situations that she found suitable were somewhat surprising, since I think size-wise, they are smaller than the Tiny House that was previously kyboshed.
The first option came from reading the blog To Simplify– where the author, Glenn writes as he tours around the US in his camper-van with his cat. I love this guy’s stories, and became totally enamoured with the van-living lifestyle. The benefit of living in a van (from what I can see) is the ability to move around, and move someplace warm in the winter. My wife and I are not terribly attached to snow, and the ability to get away from it is a huge sell. Additionally, the ability to move around for part of the year is a huge sell – we would be able to have many different views to wake up to, different people to meet, and as an added bonus (for me, not so much my wife) year-round golf to be played.
For the rest of the year, my wife has agreed to (mainly on aesthetics and the “cool” factor) live in what boils down to a Hobbit-Hole (A nice example of this can be found here. This type of house would be fairly comfortable to live in for 8 or 9 months of the year. This type of house is cheap to build (depending on the type of house, they can be built between $10 and $25 per square foot). Besides being fairly (or ridiculously) cheap to build – they are low impact environmentally speaking (made mainly of dirt and wood) and easy to repair. Because of the small size of the house and increasingly better technology, I’m hoping that living off the grid will be easier and cheaper to do by the time I reach retirement age, making location of the land much less of a factor.
I was surprised that my wife has agreed (for now, our projected retirement age is around 14 years away) to these “alternative” types of living, as both are either smaller or the same size as the Tiny House that was previously rejected. With less space, we’ll have to get rid of most of our stuff (the square footage of the van is smaller than the king-sized bed we sleep in right now) which I am all for.
Cost-wise, I’m not sure how much different owning a touring van and a plot of land somewhere compares to my current situation, but I figure that if I sold my home, land can be had cheap depending on where it is, and a touring van can be found for a very reasonable price (and converted to a cheaper source of fuel if necessary)
What’s your idea of alternative housing? Would you live in a dirt house, or a van?