This is the second in a series of four blog posts on how I would structure my life if I had X number of dollars. For me retirement is all about enjoying traveling. So, I won’t leave that out of my plans, even with limited funds. I will walk you through my mindset on how I would travel, be free, and make some supplemental money along the way.

In the first blog we discussed how I would live on $100,000. This time we will discuss $50,000, and I’ll continue to shrink it down and make it harder – $25,000 and $10,000 in the next two blogs.

Here are the parameters, rules, and assumptions

  • Besides the money, the only thing I have in this scenario is my 2001 Lexus Lx470 which has 283,000 miles on it. I recently purchased it for $4,000. (I’m not much on spending money on cars these days. Matter of fact, the most I have spent on a car in the past 9 years is $6,500.)
  • I have sold all of my possessions for $1 and I’m starting out with an empty slate.
  • My skillset is that of a financial advisor. I have some computer skills and of course I have written a book. I have very basic electrician and plumbing skills. I have zero construction and carpentry experience. (I’ve always joked that I’m good at carrying heavy objects and demolition.) So I’ll have to stay within my skillset which is understanding the game of money.
  • This is just a fun exercise on how I would do it. Your way might be very different. With two teenagers still at home, I still have two years before I can take off and roam around. Plus, I have my long-time girlfriend, Deb, who I could never leave behind, and she’d be with me.

How would I structure my early retirement if I had $50,000 to my name?

I’ve reduced my social security due to not paying much into it from age 49 to age 62. My pension got cut in half due to a divorce. So for the next 13 years, I need to generate a supplemental income stream to supplement the 50K to get me to age 62.

I’ve always loved driving and listening to music. For me, it’s very relaxing although for others I know it can be nerve wracking. Here’s what I’d do if I wanted to travel the US and make money along the way. First of all, I’d sell my car and buy a used sprinter van. I came across a 2008 3500 dodge sprinter van, with 104,612 miles on it for sale for $17,995 on craigslist. I’d purchase this van and start expediting across the US. Now if I can sell my car for $4000 and purchase the van for $17,300, then I would have $36,700 left over as my emergency fund. How to Retire on 50K

Expediting is delivering products and goods across the country that are normally time sensitive or fragile. It could be a machine part, medical supplies or pretty much anything that needs special handling. You normally work with an expediting company that dispatches you out jobs or you can be independent where you bid on jobs. The way it works is you might be dispatched to Dallas, Texas to pick up cargo that is bound for Los Angeles. Once you deliver the cargo to LA, you then might be dispatched to pick up a package there and deliver that cargo to Chicago.

What do you get paid to expedite?

From what I can tell, this varies a good bit. One week you might make well over $1,000 and some weeks less. This is dependent on what jobs you get dispatched as well as what locations you are working out of. Some jobs might pay you .75 a mile where others might pay you $1.50. If you are on the road 24/7, like I would be, then you have the opportunity to make more compared to someone that needs to be home every night or every weekend.

For this example, let’s say that an average week I’d earn $850 which is $44,200 a year.

Here are a few links to expediting sites that have job offerings and more information about the business.

Expeditors can use tractor trailers, box trucks, sprinter and cargo vans. For my purposes, I’d use a sprinter van as mentioned earlier.

What I like about expediting

I really like the ability to see the all corners of the country with the potential to be able to occasionally stay a day or two in an area to explore. You do have some control over your schedule. Depending on how much money you need to make, you might work four or five days a week or if you’re really eager, you could work all week. If you’re working as an independent expeditor, you can control your own schedule which can allow you more time to explore the country.

It’s the part time income that travels with you.

My budget

Cell phone: $20 (I’ve joked with my kids for a few years that I was going back to a flip phone. Now is my chance.)

Health Insurance: $460 (I have a grandfathered in BCBS plan which I’m sure I will lose the grandfathered status soon. This is my current plan, but I’ll be switching to a high deductible plan in the future.)

Food: $375

Fuel: $500 (It could be more or less depending on jobs. The 2008 dodge sprinter is a diesel that averages around 15 mpg.)

Maintenance: $200 (This is money set aside for oil changes, tires and repairs.)

Miscellaneous: $200

Total: $1,755 in expenses each month

The Setup

Personally, yes, I would sleep in the van. That’s just how I am. I’d take the front portion of the cargo area and put in a bed and small refrigerator. Because there are thousands of dodge sprinter vans on the road, it would be easy to blend in and stealth camp in cities.

If I wanted to mix it up, I could grab a room at a value hotel for $59 and get a hot breakfast the next morning. Many value hotels offer their lowest rate on the afternoon of checkin because they know they have little chance of selling the rooms out with no time left in the day.

How far will my $50,000 go?

If I can earn $44,200 or $3,683.33 a month, then I’ll more than cover my $1,755 monthly budget and be in a position to save money. I’ll have taxes to pay and there is always the probably healthcare insurance increase. However, this should give me enough to cover my expenses, see the country and get a little play time in the mix. The only con is I’d have to learn how to slow down because I drive like a bat out of hell.

Now this seems like a full-time job and it can be if you want it. There are ways to structure it to give you more freedom depending on how much time off you need. For me, having the ability to be in San Diego for a day or two and then heading off to Seattle for a day and then heading somewhere else fits my personality of often changing the view of my windshield.

Don’t forget this wouldn’t be a permanent thing. Not only could I decide to come on or off the road and take breaks, I’d only need the extra income stream to get me to age 62 (I’m 49 years old now) when I could turn on my social security early and receive approximately $1600 a month in benefits. I also have a pension that I can start three years later at age 65 for another $1400 a month.

If you’re not familiar with it, take a look at cargo expediting. It might hold the keys to your freedom.

Stay tuned for the next in the series of “How would I do it” when I discuss how I would live off of a total of $25,000.

Live free my friends