As a successful early retiree points out, sometimes it may not be simply money keeping you from accomplishing your dreams:
Retirement forces you to stop thinking that it is your job that holds you back. For most people the depressing truth is that they aren’t that organized, disciplined, or motivated.
Many people have a list of 101 Things To Do Before I Die, also more recently known as a Bucket List. Much of my list includes travel, but I wanted to narrow it down to things that I could work on over weekends and cost less than $500. I should be able to accomplish these things without achieving financial independence.
Get Certified to Scuba Dive: $300
My sister recently got certified to scuba dive. The cost was between $300 and $400. This includes classroom materials (book/DVD), equipment rental, two pool sessions, and two ocean dives. You must supply your mask, snorkel, fins, and boots. Now, the trip to the Great Barrier Reef is gonna cost me…
There is usually a skydiving place near most metro areas, although for obvious reasons it tends to be a drive. It costs around $200 for a single tandem-jump, and an additional $100 for a video of the jump (another person has to jump and film you). You pretty much just show up, watch a short video, and go for it. I’ve actually done this one already (photo credit, not me). I must say, if you are so inclined, it is quite a memorable experience. Remembering the feeling makes me want to do the rest of these items!
Fly an Airplane: $75+
Chances are you have a non-commercial airfield near you as well. Just look up “flying lessons + your city”, and many places will offer an introductory lesson for $50 to $100. During the lesson, the pilot will let you “fly” the airplane for a bit. Of course, if you have a pilot friend, they could take you up as well for free. My wife got to do this recently, it sounded awesome.
Learn a Foreign Language: Free to $$$
I would imagine the cheapest way to learn a language would probably be to check out some language books and tapes from your local library. After that, you’ll need to find some native speakers to practice conversing with and correct your pronunciation. I remember while in college you could setup lunches with international students. You have lunch together, and might spend 30 minutes speaking Spanish only, and then 30 minutes speaking English with them. For more money, you can always get a more refined computer-based course or go to an official language school.
Finish a Marathon: Free to $$$
The idea of running a marathon has always been appealing to me due to the sheer simplicity and purity of the accomplishment. There are many free online resources on how to train for your first marathon. I have tried none of them. 😉 The time needed to train would vary widely based on your current abilities. I bet I’d need at least 6 months. As for costs, I’ve been told to eventually buy a proper pair of running shoes, which you only use for running.