Why Wait to Retire When You Are 65? Try a Mini-Retirement Instead!
Should I Quit My Job? So many of us have asked ourselves this question over the years. Conventional wisdom says never to quit your job without having something else lined up or without having some sort of game plan in place. There is much truth in this and it is often the best course of action. But today I want to bring up the concept of Mini-Retirements.
Have you ever thought of taking a Mini-Retirement from the working world? Not a retirement when you are done with your work career but right during your prime years? Not everyone can be in a place to take this step but with a little discipline, financial planning, and constitutional fortitude, this dream can become a welcome reality.
Living the Normal Life
The steps in a normal life go something like this:
- You are born
- You go to High School/Primary School
- Then you graduate college/trade
- Get a job
- Work 30-40 years – perhaps at the same company, perhaps at a few different companies –
- Build up a 401k and buy a few things along the way
- Formally announce your retirement
- Live off whatever you were able save away during your working years
- You pass away.
Don’t get me wrong, this can be a great life, especially if you are passionate about your work and are engaged on a daily basis. More and more however, it is becoming apparent to me that the classical retirement strategy is flawed thinking.
Embarking On A Mini-Retirement
Why spend arguably the best years of your life working so that you can one day retire when you are old and have a harder time traveling and living in general? Even if you really enjoy what you do for a living, why not take a bit of time off while you are young to explore and discover this small pale blue dot to which we belong? Enter the concept of Mini-Retirements (special thanks to Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich for turning me onto this idea).
Have you ever thought of taking an extended vacation or sabbatical to some unknown region where no one can find you except the dog you brought along as a travel companion? Ok, maybe we don’t all think about that on a daily basis but I am certain that a good amount of us envision the day where we can be lying on a beach, disconnected from everything and soaking up the good sun. The only problem with most people’s dreams is that it happens when they are 65 ½ years old and some of the best years of their life have been spent in an office.
I have personally found that for myself the typical 9-5pm office environment is a stifling experience. There is so much to explore and experience in the world that to limit myself to one small space seems like a slap in the face to the gift of life.
So I am officially on board with the idea of mini-retirements. The question of “Should I Quit My Job?” has become less of a question and more of a reality. In fact, I resigned from my job in May 2018 to take some time off and have a little mini-retirement from the working world. Now, there were other rationale that went into the decision but the fact that I was in a position to enjoy a mini-retirement is fantastic.
So what am I doing with my mini-retirement:
- Helping coach a boy’s basketball team
- Biking, running, and working out a lot more than usual
- Learning SQL databases
- Completing another MBA class
- Fixing up and Selling my house to cash out on the equity balance
- Laying the foundations for my consulting business
- Resting and Recovering from 10 yrs spent working in a high stress environment
- Reflecting on where I want to move forward on my new path
I’m super excited to be in this position. I feel like I am finally in a place where I can begin to seek after those dreams I have been chasing for so long. I am taking a good amount of time to make sure I do things the right way- my way- and that any future career that I undertake is because it is enveloped in a passion point.
What I Find Appealing Doing Mini-Retirement
So how did I get to the point of doing a mini-retirement?
1. Achieved a Balanced Mind
It took me nearly two years to get to the point of being able to resign from my job and embark on a mini retirement. I somewhat enjoyed what I did as a Credit Manager but at the end of the day, I did not feel very proud to be working in the profession which constantly called on me to ‘be the bad guy’ in the business relationship with our customers. Instead I feel like my skill set is better geared towards a life of helping to grow and build relationships and businesses, which is something I choose to focus on in my current career path. The hardest part of the transition was going from the idea that “I’m comfortable here but not fulfilled” no longer worked for me. Instead I now seek “I’m being challenged every day and I am proud of and enjoy what I do.” This is where the strength in my working life comes from.
2. Set a List of Reasons Why
I constantly developed, wrote, and rewrote my reasons for staying and my reasons for leaving. The main reasons for staying: money and benefits. The main reasons for leaving: lacking growth, both personally and professionally. At the end of the day, I figured I could get benefits and money from anywhere I worked – why be miserable or unfulfilled in the process? When I really took this to heart, the decision became a no brainer.
3. Made a Pros/Cons List and Reviewed the List Daily
In unison with the ‘reasons why’ listed above, I created a pro/cons list for staying and leaving. It was interesting to set this list down on paper and to continue to rework it. The pros of staying again came down to money and benefits; the cons being lack of fulfillment and growth. What was different in this list is that I made the pros/cons of leaving too. The cons: limited income, walking away from a good paying and secure profession. The pros: higher self-worth due to being in my energy field, trying for things I’ve always wanted to pursue – life of entrepreneurship, new career path, etc. At the end of the day I asked myself, “if I don’t do it now, when will I do it?”
4. Set a Firm Date
I am finding that goals without actionable steps or deadlines are just wishes. So for the transition period I sat down, analyzed when I would feel comfortable leaving and came up with the month of May 2018. I did this about a year in advance, still working hard at my job but knowing that I was building towards something new. As May 2018 approached, I found myself wavering still but that is when reviewing my lists of whys as well as the pros/cons list came in very handy.
5. Built an Emergency Savings
This was a big key in my growing comfort of making the change. I spent the past year or so before leaving beefing up my emergency fund. I always knew I wanted to strike out on my own but when I had a conversation with my boss about my future at the company about a year ago, I knew it was time to begin planning. So I put my head down and went to work as a professional. All along I had a date, time, and dollar amount in time for when I would pull the trigger. That day came in May 2018.
6. Developed an Idea of What Was Next
Even though many people would describe quitting one job without having another job lined up as rather brash, I had a general idea of what I wanted to do. I have always loved writing, so beginning MoneyByRamey.com was a no brainer for me. In fact, I had started to lay the groundwork for the site in May 2017. However, I have also really enjoyed working with small and medium sized businesses to help grow and improve operations, so the idea of beginning my own consulting business has always been appealing to me. So when I began to get serious about resigning from my job, I started to get serious about what I would do next. I also had the knowledge that I would be selling my house for a tidy profit and that if this plan didn’t work out, May 2018 is currently a great environment to fin d a new job if needed, so I knew something good would come along quick.
7. Began to Learn New Skills
I knew that this change would require me to learn new skills as the same level of thinking will always keep me in the same position in life. So therefore I started to think about what I would need to learn and where I would need to grow to get where I want to be in life. Currently I have been making good progress towards my MBA and I have been learning SQL on the side. I have also been reading books on sales and marketing in my free time. I also have plans to work towards my Chartered Financial Analyst designation or perhaps a Certified Public Accountant designation.
8. Took the Plunge
Lastly, I resigned and embarked on a mini-retirement. This was a bittersweet time in my life as I was leaving a comfortable, well paying job, at a good company with good people. But seemingly for the one millionth time I asked myself, “If not now, when?” It was then that I realized the time was now.
Overall I have been through so much this past month that the growth has been stupendous. I have been taking some time for myself, working on MoneyByRamey.com (which is a joy, so not really work in my mind) and laying the groundwork for my consulting business.
Understanding The Challenges of Mini-Retirement
However, while this mini-retirement has been very rewarding and needed in many ways, it has not been without its challenges. So what have been the challenges of this change?
1. Lack of Structure
I have found that the lack of structure has been the most challenging aspect of being an entrepreneur. On a daily basis, I call the shots on what I think will make me successful. Rarely does an immediate gauge of if I am right or wrong exist. There has been some floundering, which I can see is a natural progression of the current process to where I want to be, going from a ‘defined’ to an ‘undefined’ daily work load.
2. Tapping into a New Skill Set has been Hard
I am re-learning a skill set that I have not used for a while: the art of drumming up business. I used to work for a new business development team and our job was to develop mailing lists in targeted industries, mail out letters, then follow up with calls. I became pretty good at working my system. In my recent job of 10 years, I was on the phone quite a bit, but not a ‘drumming up business’ capacity so this skill set as atrophied some. Now it’s time to get back on this horse.
3. No one is telling me the next steps forward
I do not know whether the steps I am implementing today will be successful tomorrow. I have to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to success. Being somewhat of a perfectionist that is hell bent on avoiding mistakes and failures, I am going through some emotional turmoil in this process. But this is right where I want to be and a large part of why I took on this project.
4. Unforeseen Expenditures and Lack of Steady Income
I own a home and homes can be very expensive. Case in point: I have a roof leak and need to get a roof replacement, cabinet fixed and the house tidied up for sale. All of this will cost me close to $10k. Not an easy thing to stomach when you have a lack of steady income. For me though, it is just the universe sending me another sign of the next step in my life: time to sell this house and move onward to what is next.
5. Time Management
I have found that people think that I have all this free time now. This is not the worst thing that happens but it can be somewhat annoying. Some days I work even harder than I did at my old job because I am laying the foundations for what will come. But I still have a few friends and family members that think I am living it up all day long not doing a whole lot. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not living a life of constant work, but it’s not all constant relaxation either. I have seen the need to lay down rules and make sure I take enough time for working on myself and my entrepreneurial vision on a daily basis.
Overall the plunge into a mini-retirement and ultimately a life of entrepreneurship has been well worth the reward. I am learning more and more each day and the goal is that my solid efforts towards building my business will result in profitability and gains for years to come!
Will you be taking a Mini-Retirement? Why or why not?
As always, Upwards and Onward towards Financial Freedom!
Disclaimer: (1) All the information above is not a recommendation for or against any investment vehicle or money management strategy. It should not be construed as advice and each individual that invests needs to take up any decision with the utmost care and diligence. Please seek the advice of a competent business professional before making any financial decision.
(2) This website may contain affiliate links. My goal is to continue to provide you free content and to do so, I may market affiliates from time-to-time. I would appreciate you supporting the sponsors of MoneyByRamey.com as they keep me in business!
Great read. I like where you are coming from and how you embrace the challenge of doing your own thing.
Regarding the not so steady income, I somehow get it as I’ve experienced a lot of that during my own non job lifestyle. I reckon it would prepare me for my very own business venture one day.
Yes, I know you have been on a mini-vacation for quite a while, so it is definitely interesting to hear from someone who has ‘lived the journey’ so to speak. I agree that the art of hustling and earning a dollar is a needed skill for any business owner. Thank you for stopping by! -Matt