As these older Americans approach the age when they can collect Social Security, it is likely many of them will continue to work in low-paying, temporary jobs in order to supplement their benefits. Most of them do not have home equity, retirement savings, pensions or other assets which they can use to supplement their Social Security as they age. However, even though their situation is difficult, at least many of these people have found a way to survive in their own RV, travel trailer or camper. If you are struggling to get by, one of the suggestions listed below may help you or someone you know survive, as well.
Financial Survival in an RV or Camper
If you are considering living in an RV or a similar vehicle in order to survive, or even if you just want to live a nomadic life during retirement, there are companies which will hire you and, in many cases, provide a free place for you to park your RV. In some cases, the hours are long and the work is hard. In other cases, you can have fun by volunteering or working part-time in a national park in exchange for free camper parking. If you are looking for a way to survive financially in your RV until you can begin to collect your Social Security (or even after you are collecting your benefits), one of these jobs might help you bridge the financial gap.
Workamper.com: This website can connect you with a wide variety of jobs which are available to people who are willing to travel to different locations for work. They have jobs available in all 50 states, so you may not have to move very far in order to be hired for a job as a campground host, RV Park groundskeeper, campground maintenance worker, housekeeper, or doing office work and making reservations for campgrounds and RV Parks. Both part-time and full-time jobs are available.
AGS Guest Services Guides: Get paid to travel and earn a living. You are not stuck living in one campground. Whenever you change assignments, you have the opportunity to travel the country and do a little sightseeing along the way.
U.S. Forest Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Army Corp of Engineers: If all you need is a free place to park your RV and you are willing to do volunteer work in exchange for your RV parking, then volunteering for one of these agencies could be fun and rewarding. You may work in daily operations, camp hosting, or maintenance at one of our majestic national parks. In addition to free RV parking, you may eventually find a paid position as well, especially after you have gained experience as a volunteer. These positions may be the perfect gig for someone who loves the great outdoors. You may also find similar opportunities in the state parks in your area, so be sure to contact the state department of recreation in the state which interests you.
Amazon CamperForce: According to an article on MarketWatch titled "Many Older Americans are Living a Desperate, Nomadic Life," Amazon hires "seasonal employees who can walk the equivalent of 15 miles a day during Christmas season pulling items off warehouse shelves." The article goes on to describe harsh working and living conditions, saying the workers return "to frigid campgrounds at night. Living on less than $1,000 a month, in certain cases, some (of the campgrounds) have no hot showers." These are not easy jobs. However, if you are in good health and you are looking for a free place to legally park your camper and earn an hourly wage, you may want to apply for one of these temporary Amazon CamperForce positions.
Life in free Safe Parking Lots: This may not seem very romantic, but there are communities which provide free overnight parking for low-income people who are living in their vehicles. These arrangements are called Safe Parking programs. In an L.A. Times article titled "Living in a Parking Lot Amid Santa Barbara's Wealth is a Kind of Middle-Class Homelessness," this lifestyle is becoming more common in expensive areas, such as you might find in parts of California. Under the program, people are allowed to sleep overnight in the parking lots of churches, nonprofits and government offices, as long as they do not arrive until after 7 pm and will leave early in the morning, often by 6 am.
Why do people stay in these expensive communities? Often they feel connected to the community because of other family members and relationships, or they have low-paying jobs which provide them with a basic income. If you are interested in seeing if there is a Safe Parking program in your area, call the local police department and ask if there is a safe place where you can park and sleep in your vehicle overnight.
In one story I saw on our local California news station, they reported how one woman was working in Santa Barbara, but could not afford to rent an apartment there. She slept each night in her car in a Safe Parking Lot. In her case, she could still afford the monthly dues to be a member of a local gym where she would go each morning, work out, shower, dress and apply her makeup. No one she worked with knew she was living in her car.
Other Types of Jobs for People Traveling and/or Living in an RV: With a little creativity, there are other types of jobs for people who want to travel or live in an RV, although in some cases you may need to be able to promote yourself, either in person or on the internet. Among the types of jobs you might consider are: festival and amusement park workers, artists, musicians, other types of entertainers, tattoo artists, photographers, tour guides, tax preparers, farm workers, temp workers and those who are interested in teaching English as a second language (for those who would like to live for awhile in other countries.)
For more ideas on where to retire, financial survival, Social Security, Medicare, common health problems and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.
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