The digital nomad lifestyle has become increasingly popular in recent years, attracting individuals from all walks of life and age groups who seek the freedom to work remotely while exploring new destinations. But what about those who are 50 and older? Is it too late for them to embrace this way of life, and what unique challenges might they face?
In this article, I’ll dive into three key aspects that older digital nomads should consider before embarking on this new journey: Budget, Health, and Work. I’ve gathered some of the most asked questions that older digital-nomads-to-be often have, and tried my best to answer them based on my experience. These questions range from budgeting and financial planning to maintaining health and wellness, to the work-related aspects of becoming a digital nomad, including finding remote work opportunities, managing time zones, and adapting to different cultures.
Whether you’re considering a temporary change or a long-term lifestyle shift to save for retirement (or even semi-retirement), this post will help you navigate the world of digital nomadism with confidence, proving that age is just a number when it comes to pursuing your dreams!
It’s not uncommon to embrace digital nomadism for money-saving purposes. For Americans in particular, huge savings can come from living abroad. Whether it’s to retire or to reach retirement quicker, it can be very advantageous to go this route. To dive deeper into why this is, we’ll look at budget-oriented questions you might have as someone that’s an aspiring older digital nomad.
Will I be able to maintain my current income level while working remotely as a digital nomad?
To follow up on my comments above, I would say that it’s very possible to maintain your current income level as a digital nomad, but you have to be very conscious of your budget, even to the degree that you choose where you travel based on your budget. The income level that you can maintain will depend on your skills and experience, the type of work you do, and the rates that you charge. That said, even on a very low income of $35,000 per year, you can have a great life in places like Vietnam, the Philippines, Belize, or Thailand. On the flip side, you would have a very hard time making that income work if you wanted to travel to several European countries like France or England.
Of course, if you’re making $80,000 instead, you’ll have a lot more options open to you that will be just as easy from a budget standpoint. It all comes down to how much you want to save, and what your long-term goals are. But yes, since you’re working remotely there’s no reason why you can’t keep your current level of income, you’ll just need to be mindful of where you’re travelling.
What are the best destinations that are safe, affordable, and have a good infrastructure for older individuals?
There are many great destinations for digital nomads that are safe, affordable, and have a good infrastructure for older individuals. Some of the top destinations include:
- Portugal: Portugal is known for its mild climate, beautiful beaches, and affordable cost of living. It’s not expensive but would probably fall more in the middle of the pack in terms of affordability. It has gotten very popular in recent years for digital nomads, so there’s a large expat community.
- Thailand: Thailand is a popular destination for digital nomads due to its low cost of living, delicious food, and beautiful scenery. It’s typically a staple on many nomadic lists for these reasons.
- Mexico: Mexico is a popular destination for digital nomads due to its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and affordable cost of living. The country also has a good infrastructure for remote workers, with many coworking spaces and fast internet available.
What are the legal and financial considerations I should be aware of?
When it comes to legal and financial considerations, there are several things that you should be aware of as a digital nomad. One of the most important considerations is taxes, as you may be subject to taxes in multiple countries. It’s important to research the tax laws in the countries that you’ll be visiting and determine if you’ll need to file taxes in those countries.
Another consideration is visas and residency requirements. Some countries require a visa or permit to stay for an extended period, while others allow visa-free travel for a certain amount of time. It’s important to research the visa and residency requirements for the countries that you’ll be visiting and make sure that you’re in compliance.
Finally, it’s important to have a solid financial plan in place. This may include setting up a bank account in your home country, using international money transfer services, and budgeting carefully to ensure that you have enough money to cover your expenses.
How can I effectively manage my finances while living and working in different countries?
Managing your finances as a digital nomad can be challenging, but there are several strategies that can help. One of the most important strategies is to create a budget and stick to it. This may include tracking your expenses, setting a limit on how much you’ll spend each month, and finding ways to save money, such as cooking at home instead of eating out.
Another strategy is to use international banking services, which can help you save money on currency exchange fees and other transaction fees. You can also consider using a prepaid debit card or a travel credit card, which may offer perks such as no foreign transaction fees.
Finally, it’s important to plan ahead for currency exchanges. It’s a good idea to research the exchange rates in the countries that you’ll be visiting and plan your budget accordingly. You can also use apps or websites to monitor currency exchange rates and find the best time to exchange money.
Getting older is no joke. I think I wake up feeling sore from something new hurting every morning (and I’m not even 40 yet!). Travelling is serious business too. Between long layovers, and sleeping in the airport, all while trying to get work done…it can be tiring, to say the least. Keeping yourself physically and emotionally healthy is far more important than you think, especially when you’re living a life that’s always in flux one way or another. Let’s explore this more:
How can I ensure access to quality healthcare and insurance while travelling and living abroad?
As an older digital nomad, it’s crucial to have access to quality healthcare and insurance, regardless of where you are in the world. Fortunately for the Americans out there, our healthcare and insurance system is poor, so most places that you go in the world will be a step up! 🙂
You’ll want to make one of your first steps to research healthcare options in the countries you plan to visit. You can start by checking if the country you’re visiting has a public healthcare system or if you need to purchase private insurance. Private insurance can be costly, so you should research various insurance options to find a plan that fits your budget.
Another option is to look into global health insurance plans. These plans provide coverage in multiple countries and may include emergency medical evacuation. It’s important to read the fine print of any insurance policy and understand what’s covered and what’s not. It’s also recommended to have a plan for emergencies, such as carrying a first-aid kit and having a list of emergency contact numbers handy (especially if you’re in a non-English speaking country!).
What strategies can I employ to maintain a work-life balance and prevent burnout while working remotely and travelling?
Maintaining a work-life balance is essential for avoiding burnout and maintaining productivity. One strategy is to set boundaries and create a routine. For example, you can set specific work hours and stick to them, creating a routine that allows you to focus on work during work hours and enjoy your travels during your free time. It’s also important to take breaks throughout the day and take time to explore your surroundings.
Another important strategy is to prioritize self-care. This includes getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising regularly. I’d also suggest limiting alcohol when able. It can be a really huge drain on you the day after, and can impact how you feel for long periods of time. I always feel worse when I’m travelling and drinking. It’s rarely worth it. Instead, focusing on activities that bring you joy and fulfillment can also help you stay motivated and avoid burnout.
How can I maintain strong relationships with my family and friends while living a digital nomad lifestyle?
If you’re a senior digital nomad, it’s likely that you have kids, maybe even grandkids. If this is the case, you might worry about missing them. Living a digital nomad lifestyle has its isolating moments, no doubt. However, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your relationships. Scheduling regular check-ins with family and friends through video calls, emails, or social media can make a huge difference. This can help you stay connected and maintain a sense of community. Even if you were in the same town as them, you would still have to put in the work to keep up those relationships.
It’s also important to make time for visits back home. Plan your travels around important events, such as holidays or special occasions, and make an effort to spend quality time with your loved ones. Finally, consider joining digital nomad communities where you can connect with like-minded individuals and build new relationships.
How can I ensure my personal safety while living and working in different locations around the world?
Personal safety and security are critical when living a digital nomad lifestyle. One strategy is to research the safety of the countries and cities you plan to visit. Familiarize yourself with local customs, laws, and safety tips, and always be aware of your surroundings.
Consider investing in a reliable VPN and anti-virus software to protect your online privacy and security. It’s also recommended to have a backup plan in case of emergencies, such as keeping a copy of important documents in a secure location or having an emergency contact back home.
Finally, trust your instincts. If something feels unsafe or uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to remove yourself from the situation. It’s also a good idea to have a basic understanding of self-defense techniques, such as taking a self-defense class or carrying a personal alarm.
More than likely you will be working while you’re abroad, which brings up a wealth of concerns and questions if you’re new to remote work. This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but here are some of the most common questions that I hear from older individuals that want to start working from the road.
Is it too late for me to start a digital nomad lifestyle at my age?
The short answer is no, it’s not too late to start a digital nomad lifestyle at any age. In fact, many digital nomads are over the age of 40 and have thriving careers and businesses.
There are several reasons why starting a digital nomad lifestyle later in life can be advantageous. For one, older individuals often have a wealth of experience and skills that can be applied to remote work opportunities. This can include specialized knowledge, management experience, or valuable industry connections. All of which are super helpful as an older digital nomad, and not necessarily things that a younger counterpart would have.
Additionally, older individuals may have a stronger sense of self and a clearer understanding of what they want to achieve through a digital nomad lifestyle. This can lead to greater focus and motivation, which can be invaluable in a remote work environment.
It’s important to remember that age is just a number and should not be a limiting factor in pursuing a digital nomad lifestyle. With the right mindset, preparation, and dedication, anyone can succeed as a digital nomad regardless of their age.
What types of remote work opportunities are available for someone with my skillset and experience?
The great thing about the digital nomad lifestyle is that there are remote work opportunities available in almost every industry. Some common options include freelance writing, graphic design, web development, virtual assistance, and online teaching. It’s important to assess your skills and experience and look for opportunities that align with your strengths and interests. You can start by searching for remote work job boards, freelancing platforms, or networking with other digital nomads.
How can I find a community of digital nomads within my age group to connect with and learn from?
One of the best ways to connect with other digital nomads within your age group is to join digital nomad communities or attend digital nomad conferences. There are numerous online communities that cater to digital nomads of all ages, such as Facebook groups or Reddit threads. You can also attend conferences or meetups to connect with like-minded individuals and learn from their experiences.
How do I handle time zone differences when working with clients or colleagues in different parts of the world?
Handling time zone differences can be a challenge, but there are ways to make it work. One strategy is to establish clear communication expectations with your clients or colleagues. For example, you can establish specific times for meetings or deadlines that take into account the time zone differences.
Another strategy is to use tools that can help you manage your time more effectively, such as time zone converters or scheduling apps. These tools can help you stay organized and avoid confusion (or worse, arguments!) when working with clients or colleagues in different parts of the world.
It’s crucial to remember that older digital nomads are trailblazers in their own right, breaking stereotypes and redefining the boundaries of what it means to be a remote worker. Your age brings a unique perspective, a wealth of life experiences, and a depth of wisdom that sets you apart in the world of digital nomadism.
The world is your canvas, and you hold the brush to paint the masterpiece that is your digital nomad journey. Embrace the adventure, cherish the connections you make, and let the stories you create serve as an inspiration for others. In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” So, keep playing, keep exploring, and keep thriving as an older digital nomad.
Jared has worked remotely for 15 years in various marketing capacities, and has managed hundreds of marketing campaigns along the way. He has held freelance, agency, and in-house positions for companies large and small.