You’re never too young to retire

You’re never too young to retire

Why do we work our butts off for 40 yrs straight to enjoy just one retirement? Doesn’t it make more sense to enjoy some of your retirement time when you are younger and generally more healthy? Similar to career breaks, mini-retirements are generally longer and will often be spent doing interesting things such as learning new skills, volunteering or simply living in a new country.

There are many ways of spending your mini-retirement, some of which may even uncover an economic alternative to returning to life as a stressed out rodent.

mini retirements

Mini-retirements may only last a few months but are more likely to span a couple of years. Shorter periods tend to be career breaks.

So how do you fill in your days when you are retired?

One area is to learn new skills. in fact thats pretty much what I did back in 2005. My online marketing skills were pretty raw back in the day but by embarking on a mini retirement meant that I could teach myself the skills to ensure I would not have to go back to working for other people.

A classic is to learn a language. Why not take off to a French speaking part of Africa or Latin America and live like a local and end up talking like a local. Having a second language is huge asset in this globalized world now.

Language learning can be combined with teaching English which again can equip you with new skills that will be useful back home.

Mini retirements can also be cheap. You don’t have to live in a hotel if you plan on spending three months in Buenos Aires learning Spanish. There are plenty of apartments which can be very affordable in cheaper countries and it’s even possible to have a more expensive lifestyle than you would expect at home.

Volunteering is another way to take a mini retirement providing you avoid the many companies offering short term volunteering holidays. Some volunteer posts will even pay for your food and lodging too. A good place to look at volunteering is idealist.

Finance is obviously an issue and mini retirements do need to be financed. I financed mine by working online in affiliate marketing making a modest amount and choosing to live in places with low cost of living.

Mini retirements do not need to eat too much into your savings though. Consider the money you would save by temporarily cutting your ties with your home country. No rent to pay, no council taxes, no car to run…If you own a house then why not rent it out for one year?

Doesn’t it make more sense to enjoy some of your retirement time when you are young and healthy?

The concept of the mini retirement might be new now but I predict the next generation will be taking them regularly.

Check out the book below for more on mini-retirements…

If you are interested then check out travel insurance for australia and NZ website.

Some online discussions about mini retirements

In theory it sounds great. But I’ve never had that easy a time finding jobs. I don’t network or interview well which seem to be far more important than work ethic or skills. So I don’t think I’d be willing to leave a job without another lined up already. If I thought I could get away with it though it would be a great way to do some leisurely travel on the cheap (time constraints usually drive up costs significantly).
level 2
AsSubtleAsABrick
13 points ·
3 months ago

I don’t network or interview well which seem to be far more important than work ethic or skills.

Tell me about it. Maybe people can see through my to my negative attitude (I hate just about everything to do with the corporate life). Sad part is I am definitely part of the 10% that does 90% of the work.. Get the top rating every year and steady promotions and raises, but have no idea how to convince a stranger I know what I am doing (or if I don’t that I can figure it out quickly).
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level 2
saltyhasp
2 points ·
3 months ago

The other thing… if your building a career, you can’t really do that. If switching jobs, you have to have the new job lined up before giving notice at the existing one. If working for a company, …, no way they will give you that time off. Maybe some exceptions… but generally no. So not smartest plan unless you work in a field that people do a lot of job changes and you don’t need the negotiating leverage a current job gives you.

As far as liking the idea though… of course… it has it’s merits… but also huge issues.
level 1
swimbikerun91
41 points ·
3 months ago

I’m a fan of the idea. Taking a year off at 25 is going to have a substantially larger impact than at say 40 though. It’s all going to come down to personal priorities and balance.

What’s worked well for me has been switching jobs every 1-2yrs and taking a 2-3wk break in between. It’s a nice way to bake in an extended vacation without any work hanging over your head, but also not so long that it has any major impact on FIRE goals
level 2
FucktusAhUm
22 points ·
3 months ago

I hope you mean 2-3 months not 2-3 weeks.
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level 1
WE_FAM_NOW
18 points ·
3 months ago

I did this in my late 20’s and moved to Spain for a couple of years. My finances took a back seat, but the experience I had of living abroad and traveling extensively is something that I carry with me everyday. I went from doing the whole 9-5 thing to traveling almost every weekend to a new destination, and working only about 15-20 hours a week teaching English. We could’ve probably bought a house in SoCal in a down 2008-2009 market and reaped the benefits, but I do not regret what I did one bit. As a matter of fact, now that we have 2 young kids, and even though we make about 240k a year, the plan is to once again move to Spain. This time around my programmer wife will keep her income and I’ll teach again. We’re planning on selling the house and investing the proceeds from the sale, which, with a little luck, will be about 220k. With our 401ks and Roths, we’ll have about 550-560k in investments. We’d like to stay in Europe as long as possible, but when we’d move back, we’d move to a lower cost of living situation (I’m thinking Denver) and use some of the money for a nice downpayment on a house, which would result in a lower mortgage payment. Typing this out makes me feel great, as if all goes well, we’ll be able to spend lots more time with our young kids, enjoy travel at the leisurely pace we do, have the energy to do adventurous things, and still have a good amount of money to regain our foothold in the US if we want to.
level 2
IAmBlakeM
2 points ·
3 months ago

My wife and I are in a very similar position. We both lived abroad in our early 20s, now we have two young kids, $250k combined income (though we’re in a LCOL flyover state), and have considered moving to Spain for a year or two in a few years. We have about $220k in equity in our house and $550k in investments right now, plus a paid off rental generating $1k/month, and our plan would be to use the home equity to pay for the trip itself, plus give us a significant cushion to rejoin the workforce once we get back. Nice to see people with similar plans, because it’s not been a very popular idea among our friends and families (why would you leave such good jobs? why move away from your family? etc etc).

Have you looked at Frugal Vagabond’s website? I have no affiliations with it whatsoever, but he and his wife did this with their young kid, and there’s lots of useful info there about the visa process, etc.
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level 2
JBuck25
21M, College Student, 1.1% FI
3 points ·
3 months ago

Did a study abroad in Italy two summers ago and it made me want to travel even more. Congrats on your situation! Hope it goes well and thanks for sharing!
level 2
attorneyevolved
1 point ·
3 months ago

good plan I think!
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level 2
EclecticFella
1 point ·
3 months ago

How much does the part time English teacher gig pay?
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level 1
thrifty-b
12 points ·
3 months ago

I think there’s a trade off to be considered here:

A mini retirement every 5 or so years will be great to not get burnt out and to enjoy life while you’re young. On the downside it means not getting promotions as easily, not getting salary increases as often and taking longer to build significant wealth. In the end it will take much longer to reach FI.

On the other hand not taking mini retirements means a higher risk of getting burnt out and working your life away. On the positive side you’ll grow your wealth much faster and reach FI earlier (at which point you could retire, work part time or take long mini retirements etc).

Like so many things related to FI, there’s no right answer,…just what makes sense for you.
level 2
cautious_fire
3 points ·
3 months ago

I agree, it’s very personal and difficult to know up-front. Sometimes life takes unplanned turns, which can be any number of things: your own heath, that of a family member, burnout, tragedies, etc., or just the birth of a child and wanting to spend time with them.

My opinion is that the average person needs to take more time off than they do — or are permitted to based on how ingrained work culture is in our society. Especially American society, where available PTO can be very limited and it’s looked down upon if you actually take it in decent-sized chunks and don’t constantly keep on email, etc.

There are a few options to make it work:

Get good at selling yourself and do contract work, where you can stop for a reasonable amount of time and mostly pick back up where you left off

Become a teacher/professor where you can take a decent chunk of the summer off

Marry someone who’s independently wealthy

Become a beach bum or similar (not usually practical or desirable)

Work towards FI(RE)

I’m on my second “mini retirement”, with the first a few years ago for about a year, and the second one now.

This short TEDx video is worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSHNDyinZSQ

Lots of it is redundant for folks here, but I could relate. Why have all of your “time rich” life when you may be too old to enjoy it as much as you could have in your 30’s or 40’s?

For most of us, I think pursuing FI is the best tool to enable these mini retirements even if it postpones actual retirement.

The biggest risk is that some industries (e.g. software) can be finicky when it comes to this kind of time off, especially as you get older. A person in their 40’s with multiple career gaps? Yikes! I personally worry even though I’m more prepared than a lot of people, but then I take a step back and look at the trade-offs.
level 2
epsilon246
1 point ·
3 months ago

I wonder if it really does impact salary increases and promotions. Everyone promises promotions, but in my experience they’re pretty randomly distributed, even if you kill yourself. No shortage of loyal employees who work late and go a decade without any reward.

On the flip side, I can’t even think of many anecdotes of folks going the sabbatical route. Just daydreams. Would be nice to see data.