Feature Story

The traveler’s guide to retirement

By Jenna Seng

October 9, 2019

“Retirement in America comes down to the haves and the have nots,” said 63-year-old Richard Seng, a man who once lived in fear of his retirement, but now, thanks to the development of his YouTube channel, has found himself on a journey of exploring what retirement can be like around the world, and has opened up more possibilities than he ever thought imaginable.

One of the biggest trends amongst millennials over the last 10-15 years has been finding ways to make money without actually working that hard or having to adhere to a 9-5 job. Becoming a “YouTuber” has made this a reality for many. Making YouTube videos about lifestyle, tips and tricks, cooking, you name it, and there is probably someone filming themselves in their bedroom right now giving their hot take on it.

Seng is certainly no millennial YouTube star, but he surely has made a splash. With some influence from his wife and kids, Seng was dragged along on some overseas vacations where he realized his new hobby of YouTube could come in handy. Seng began making travel Youtube videos, and when he found himself looking for a niche, he started focusing the travel videos on the best places to live when retiring. Most recently Seng started a new segment where he interviews people both old and young and people from local Vancouver, Washington to those who have chosen Costa Rica as their retirement home. Seng’s hobby of YouTube has allowed him to connect with an international community as he seeks out where to set up camp for the next stage of his life.

Seng’s YouTube channel initially began as a daily stock report update in 2013 under the title “Wisdom Investor.” He has not always been so open minded when it comes to travel and living outside of the United States. Born in 1956 and raised in Oklahoma in a Christian home, Seng would classify himself as a very conservative man, a couple of years ago when speaking with Seng he might have talked boastfully about America being the greatest country in the world, and had very little understanding of his daughter’s dreams of moving to Mexico. Seng said, “It wasn’t until my daughter studied abroad in Mexico that I ever gave thought to what might be across the border.”

Most recently Seng and his wife Sally traveled to Curacao, Costa Rica, Mexico City, Guadalajara, Lake Ajijic, and now in one week the couple will venture down to Puerto Escondido, Mexico to see if that will be their new home next summer. Now with Seng’s YouTube channel up and running with about 5.3k subscribers Seng has made some “ex pat” acquaintances online that await to be interviewed for his channel segment “Wisdom Investor Travels.”

Upon speaking with Seng’s wife Sally about her thoughts of uprooting for retirement out of the country, she said: “Well, my first thought when Richard proposed the idea of maybe moving to Mexico or South America was ‘no hablo español’ how am I going to have any friends?” One thing that began to ease her mind about this was that the couple began doing Richard’s retirement and travel based “vlogs”, or video blogs, on his channel together. “I was able to see other couples reaching out saying ‘Hey we live in Puerto Escondido we’d love to meet up once you’re here’…I’ve begun to learn Spanish now, and my mind is opening a bit more,” Sally said.

After six years on YouTube Seng has begun to start figuring it out “I’m no YouTtube famous star, but I’ve been making at least an extra $500 per month with my channel.” Seng shared when asked about his success on YouTube. “It has been something where I am able to be creative and knowledgeable about something, share that creativity and knowledge with others, and now with the interviews I’m letting the people have a voice as well.”

Retirement is something that can be scary, Seng said. Ohio Sen. Rob Portman writes in The Wall Street Journal that 10,000 people retire every day in America, and Seng says “they’re all just trying to figure it out.” Seng has taken a major life change and allowed it to give him a new hobby and a new kind of voice. Seng is using this part of his life as a way to explore the endless possibilities of where to live and inform others by sharing with viewers his wife and his journey as they seek out a new home and evaluate their expenses.

The couple has not settled on a location yet, but they are both now taking Spanish lessons and are leaning towards Mexico. Seng wants to remind us all to “like and subscribe” and to get out there and travel.

DISCLAIMER: for student purposes only.