Are you living on capped income in retirement? The negative of being a retiree is that unless you are working, there are no more inflation-beating salary increases or bonuses, to help you catch up on your debt.  Whatever increase you require, reduces your retirement savings.  Does this ring alarm bells for you?

I have been battling recently to secure a constant flow of income to supplement my retirement income, and am really feeling the pinch as costs rise consistently.  The petrol price hike, electricity, provision of water, municipal rates and taxes.  Those are the inevitable, but then there are the food price increases – in Cape Town, we are really feeling these with fresh produce, because of our recent drought.  There is so much paring of the budget that one can do before compromises in lifestyle become necessary.

This has encouraged me to start brainstorming out of the box.

The thought that keeps comes up in my mind is that moving out of the city would solve many of these rising costs.   Agricultural rates and taxes are significantly less and many of the services that we are forced to pay in the city are non-existent or cheaper. It galls me to pay R120 per month to have 4 shopping bags of refuse collected at my door.   Because I recycle avidly and have my own worm farm, my refuse is minimal.  And then if one had space you could grow your own vegetables – organic to boot!  Living off the grid is pricey in terms of set-up, but thereafter, the day to day costs are minimal.

The significant one for me is electricity!  In South Africa the one thing we do NOT lack is sunshine and in the Cape, we are not short on wind either.  I would happily go off grid if I had the space to do it.  It is much easier if you build from scratch with renewable energy than if you try to modify a home that is purpose-built for electricity delivered routinely.  I remember going on holiday as a child, to places where we had paraffin lamps and candles after dark and I would have no problem returning to that.  (Perhaps my memories have a romanticized hue!)  With modern-day head torches, one can easily do things after dark, where stronger light is required! In Sunny SA we have had plenty of time to acclimatize, thanks to enforced load-shedding as the supply of state-owned electricity generation becomes more and more inefficient!

I know that for many this solution would be a nightmare – but having grown up on a farm myself, I have some understanding of the nature of the work required as well as the sense of peace (isolation for some) that comes with living in more remote areas!  I suppose I have a yearning to live by the seasons and the diurnal cycle without all the modern day disruptive technology.

The TWO pieces of technology that I would take with me from the 21st Century, however, are the internet and my smartphone!!!!  Connection to the world out there would be essential for me.

Can I have my cake and also get to eat it?  What do you think?  Would this solution make life easier or would it complicate things?  I would love to hear your opinion.