What is a Self-Reliant Retiree?

Self-Reliant Retiree-Rebel Retirement

One of the biggest mistakes couples make when they are considering retirement is that they do what’s popular instead of being self-reliant. They conform to what financial planners, friends, in-laws, and even Millennial bloggers say they should do.

Most of what these know-it-all-do-gooders say is “work until you no longer can, or have a million dollars in the bank”, whichever comes first. Sadly, many people who could be enjoying their retirement will listen to this advice, continue working, and will be dead or disabled before they reach the million-dollar mark.

I did a Google search “when should I retire”? The search returned about 100,000,000 results.  Most of the top posts were from sources like Bankrate or Investopedia.

retirement savings -rebel retirement


Unless you are a millionaire or independently wealthy, these articles paint a less than rosy picture of retirement.

Most of the articles are advertisements by companies using scare tactics in order to influence you to invest your money with them.

Ponder that statement for a moment “…advertisements by companies using scare tactics…”

First – Become fully aware that these companies are in business to make money.

Second – Consider that they would be out of business if you decided to use your money, become self-reliant, and invest in yourself.

What it all boils down to is that financial planners ultimately don’t have your best interest at heart. If your stocks take a plunge, most of what is offered is only an apology.

You and your spouse are the only ones who genuinely care about your retirement future.

Therefore, placing a disproportionate amount of trust in an investment banker whose main purpose is to put money into his own pocket is unwise.

In my view, you are better off managing your own retirement objectives.

In order to achieve the peace and happiness you desire in retirement, and not be in a constant state of anxiety about money, let self-reliance be your guide.

Let’s explore what that means, and brainstorm some ideas on how to achieve it.

What is a self-reliant retiree?


You will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


Fundamentally, self-reliance is a mindset.

Self-reliant retirees believe in themselves. They are independent thinkers who trust their own judgment. They are non-conformists and have the ability to go against the status quo.

Rather than concerning themselves with what others are doing, they are confident in making decisions that others would consider unpopular.

Whether deciding to retire in place or sell their house in the suburbs to live in a cabin in the woods, they depend on their own powers and resources to create the retirement of their dreams.

Their many varied experiences have taught them to weigh all sides before making a decision.  Then, after careful thought, they listen to their inner voice and wisdom to propel them to make the choice that is right for them.

They are not afraid to move forward to a productive and fulfilling retirement even if it looks scary to their friends.

Self-reliant retirees may have plenty of money, or very little. Essentially, they know that security comes from within – it does not come from a bank account.

What a self-reliant retiree is not.

⇒Self-reliant retirees are not preppers, survivalists, or couples living off-the-grid.

All of the above people may be self-reliant.

However, as a self-reliant retiree, you don’t need to have years’ worth of storable food, an arsenal of guns, or live without electricity.

You prepare for your future, but use outside resources to provide you with certain amenities. You chart your own retirement course while living within your means.

To clarify, you don’t need to do anything wacky, or particularly extraordinary.

For example, a self-reliant couple may have a vegetable garden to help stretch their food budget, but would not have a farm, unless they wanted one.

⇒Self-reliant retirees are not anti-social.

Because they are not choosing the typical course of action as other retirees, it doesn’t mean that they don’t like people. In order to have achieved a self-reliant mindset, they have considered the advice and recommendations of others.

However, they depend on their own experience and good judgment in making decisions.

⇒Self-reliant retirees are not followers.

Self-reliant couples don’t follow the crowd. They reason situations for themselves and rely on a higher power, or their higher selves to know what path is best for them.

Self-reliant retirees are not necessarily people who don’t work.

Sure, that may be the goal of the self-reliant retiree, but working a part-time job to supplement a Social Security check, or starting a small business to boost retirement savings is not unheard of.

Read: Yes! Retire at 62 and Work Part-Time in Retirement

Next, I’ll discuss steps you can take if you want to free yourself from the system and lead a life of abundance without worrying about the money.


4 steps to become a self-reliant retiree.


… if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” Henry David Thoreau


1. Don’t let money get in the way of your decision-making.

Yes, we all need money to pay the bills, but my experience has taught me that money comes and goes over the course of a lifetime. And whether you believe in a higher power or not, my grandmother’s expression “The Lord provides” rings true.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about how to earn money and what skills you have that could provide you with an income. The point is to do something that is on your terms.

The only way you will experience exponential growth is to take matters into your own hands.

You deserve success and freedom.

It’s never too late for a self-reliant retiree to start an online business, or find a means of passive income!

2. If you have debt reduce it, and get rid of it altogether.

It’s a wonderful feeling to pay off credit cards and live on a cash basis. Rebel Retiree and I live on a cash basis and buy only what we can afford.

Although, that doesn’t mean we don’t use cards to postpone payment.

I use American Express for the perks and to delay payment for 30 days. In addition to the cashback that I earn,  this method of delaying payment is based on the principle of not shelling out money until you have to.

However, each month I pay the outstanding balance when due because I do not want to incur interest charges. That would not be the definition of debt-free.

Read: What is it Like to be Debt Free? 8 Traits of a Debt-Free Retiree

3. Consider what you really value.

Perhaps you’ve done this exercise with your children when they were younger. I know I have.

It’s a real eye-opener when you discover how much money you spend on items that are unnecessary. For an example of this, read Rebel Retiree’s article “How to Keep Your Vices and Still Retire”.

Think about subscription fees, eating out, gym rates, and more. There are many ways to cut back and still live a life of abundance.

4. Take care of your health.

Studies have shown a strong connection between the way you think and how your body feels. Self-reliant retirees strive for optimal health through good choices and positive thinking.

Read: Countdown to a Healthier Retirement [10 Positive Healthstyle Choices]


Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you cannot retire because of what other people are telling you to do. If you haven’t already, develop a self-reliant mindset. Make your own decisions based on your personal experience. Determine how you can support yourself without relying on the system.

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What are your plans for becoming a self-reliant retiree? Please feel free to comment below! And before you go, please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter, and like us on Facebook!

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2 thoughts on “What is a Self-Reliant Retiree?

  1. Lauren says:

    I enjoyed this article after just finding your site, and I like the “think for yourself” aspect and ideas.
    I was born in 1956 and call my lifestyle the Twifties Lifestyle, we being the fun lively, life-loving people over 50. I love yoga too!
    I have not retired. I am an entrepreneur, with multiple gigs, and I travel a lot! As you say, not what the “establishment” recommends.
    But we are having a helluva good time! No regrets!
    Lauren, Twifties

    • Yoga Woman says:

      Hi Lauren! I’m so happy to meet you! I’m glad you enjoyed my “Self-Reliant” article and left a comment to share your thoughts. I love your positive Twifties Lifestyle message and your zest for life. You are an amazing woman! Becoming a ski bum at 61? I love it! It sounds like you and I have a good deal in common.
      ~Marlene, Yoga Woman

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