Cars seem to be the ultimate symbol of freedom and many retirees loathe the day when they’ll be “forced” to give up their car. If you shudder at the thought of being forced to give up your car, consider this option: give it up now—voluntarily, and early!
“Are you kidding?” you may be thinking. No way: giving up your car might be the smartest move you make in retirement if you’ve done some research, perhaps made some lifestyle moves, and given it a “trial run”. A different kind of freedom is in store for you.
First, if you are part of a two-person, two-car household, selling the second car can save money on gas, insurance, and maintenance costs. This won’t render your household “car free”, but can significantly add money to your living expenses budget.
If you are planning to downsize in your retirement years, consider moving to a mixed-use neighborhood. Mixed use, older neighborhoods tend to offer more walkable access to many conveniences. Don’t assume you have to move the “big city” to find this, either. Small cities, aka “micropolitans” and rural downtowns also offer walkable, urban amenities.
Investigate your access to public transit, too. Public transit (buses, trolleys, subways, trains) are experiencing increased ridership thanks to relatively inexpensive costs associated with using it. These options are growing safer and cleaner, too. Don’t assume only “some” people use public transit: more people from all social backgrounds are beginning to value their convenience and use their services.
If public transportation is not appealing there are other ways you can go car-free, too. Renting a vehicle as needed is always an option. So is becoming a member of a car-sharing service, such as ZipCar. More exciting, social networking and peer-to-peer technology makes it easier to share vehicles with your neighbor or circle of friends. Check out services such as Getaround, RelayRides, or Spride to rent a car for a limited time from a friend, neighbor, or nearby, pre-approved stranger.
Don’t forget the “old fashioned” transportation options of walking and bike-riding, either! Both offer exercise and a way to incorporate fitness into your everyday life. The monetary and health benefits of giving up your car early might be just the incentive to do so today.