July 10, 2012, 6:03 am

What if My Life Would be a Mini Retirement?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Financial Planning
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I’m writing this post while still on vacation, but something just struck me and I need to share it with you…

 

Not so long ago, I was sitting on a nice balcony, glass of wine in hand, talking with my wife about how great our life is; we are young, healthy and have awesome kids and great friends to share our happiness with. We were at the vacation property we rented, right after all our friends left after a great weekend where we had fun, ate well and laughed a lot. This is when my wife looked at me and said:

 

“Why don’t we go home early?”

 

And she laughed.

 

That question was a half joke half statement. We are living a great life at home, why would we want to rent a vacation property for a week? This is when I start thinking about mini retirement.

 

Do You Believe in Mini Retirement?

 

If you have read The Four Hour Work Week you probably remember Tim Ferris’ mini retirement. In his book, he suggested that we should enjoy life right now through mini retirement (6 to 12 months trips) instead of working all your life and “pulling out the plug” at 65.

 

This is surely an appealing concept since we would all love to learn to work just enough to go to our next mini retirement and enjoy life most of the time. Unfortunately, after we dream a bit, reality is waiting at the corner to slap us in the face so we realize that our day job doesn’t let us do this (thanx to the Dream Crashers!). It’s also very hard to picture a family of 5 in mini retirement as the whole process described in his book looks like an individual goal. I’m not saying you can’t do it, just saying that things get a little bit more difficult when you crunch your dream with reality.

 

This is why I had in mind to retire early. My worst case scenario includes a complete retirement at 55. But I’d like to retire much younger than that. Here again, you can tell me it will get harder when I try to match my fairy tale with reality!

 

If Retirement Is Far Away And Mini Retirement Is Nearly Impossible – What’s Left?

 

This is when I came with a new idea: why not transform my whole life into a mini retirement?

 

And this is when I noticed that I’m almost there already!

 

  1. I work 4 days a week at a job that I love
  2. I benefit from passive income
  3. My wife stays at home which definitely increases our level of happiness
  4. I enjoy a nice 6 figure income and don’t lack for anything
  5. I live in a nice house with enough land to enjoy privacy when I’m on my patio!

 

You work all your life to finally stop when you are dead tired and hope to live healthy for a dozen years before slowing down for good (do you know a lot of marathon runners at the age of 77?). But I found that there is another option: you could start enjoying your life right now and never have to wait until you’re retired.

 

Since I still can’t do an early retirement extreme, I have to focus on something else. The concept of enjoying my life right away is similar to a mini retirement. The only difference is that I need to reduce the word “mini” to “teenie weenie” and take three days off in a row each week instead of 6 to 12 months like Tim suggests. Since I work four days a week already, it’s not impossible to achieve. On my “work week day off” I usually do some blogging (for about six hours). I actually enjoy this time alone in my basement and would probably continue to do it anyways if I was going to retire.

 

Then, what I need to have is a list of things I normally do on vacation or that I would do if I was retired. When you think about it, things shouldn’t be that different once you are retired. But have you noticed that you may do things you never do while you are on vacation? For example, I never read a book during the year. The only time I read books is when I’m on vacation. However, I spend countless evenings at watching mediocre programs on TV once the kids are asleep. I’m starting this very week to read once a week in order to enjoy more books from now on!

 

I recently came back from a soccer tournament where I was coaching. This was such a fulfilling experience that I thought I should do more of this during my time off. I don’t need to wait until I’m retired to get involved in my community, I just have to use my “boring” evenings and transform them into mini-retirement as well!

 

How many times do you do something that bores you to the bones but still do it anyhow? I think that retiring is synonymous with doing what you like. But if you don’t do it while you work, why would you start when you retire? I think this is something to think about 😉

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Comments

Nice post! I agree that working for what seems to be forever only to supposedly live about 12 more years when you are too old to do anything just doesn’t seem fun. If I could get my job to allow me to work 4 days that would be perfect. I enjoy my work but the extra day off would just be great. Seems like a lot of the couple I know who have SAHM say that their relationship is really going great. Of course there are the occasional ones who miss work.

Mini Retirement or teenie weenie, no matter they all sound better than retirement at 70+.

I have done one mini-retirement. For three months, traveling throughout Latin America. Spent a month in Peru, three weeks in Argentina, and 1+ weeks in other countries. I blogged about it, and at the end, many of my friends who never heard of Tim Ferriss said, “I need a mini-retirement.”

The point of it is to be able to do nothing–I laid on a hammock and made friends with a rooster for two days–and also to reevaluate your life. For me, that turned into, “What do I want to do next?” I chose a new direction, and in the first year of it, earned more money than I had ever earned in a year before.

I have my sights set on my next mini-retirement–southeast asia for 6 months in 2014–but we’ll see how circumstances play out.

ps – hope you’re enjoying your vacation. It sounds nice.

A mini-retirement or early retirement is great! I was able to achieve financial freedom at 38 years old. It is the best time to enjoy life! It also is very liberating. It changed my outlook about worl.

Krantcents, I would like to ask you some questions. 🙂

What was your investment vehicle, and how rich of a lifestyle are you able to afford? Do you have to be creepy lumberjack mountain man in a 1-room shack in Wyoming.

I am very close to being able to do the same myself, but I would have to move to cheaper digs to do so.

If you aren’t enjoying your free time while working then not working will give you even more downtime that you probably wont enjoy… good point. I think we need to focus on making our whole lives great and not just dream of retiring.

Jason, I announced my on my site today after 13 years of work. It took a lot of discipline saving 50-75% of my after tax income a year for that long, but I highly recommend it!

To be able to do whatever you want, whenever you want by the time you’re in your mid 30’s, and still have your knees is a wonderful experience.

San Francisco is one of the most expensive places in the world, and to your question to KrantCents, one doesn’t have to be a creepy mountain man to retire early 🙂

It’s about choices. Do you want to have a million or millions in the bank or not? I think having loads of fun and spending all ones money is also a fun choice too!

Sam

I think you hit one important point in that you must focus your time on activities/hobbies/work that you love. If you don’t everything can be a drag.

I have had all the points you mentioned for many years now except 4 day week but I get a lot of vacations. What would be sweeter is to have the kids grown up – I am half way there.

Be careful with retirement – my dad retired at 45 and he was bored. I was 10 then and I spent 4 years playing golf all summers with him. Retirement is more time to do what you like and you need a fair bit to fill your day/week/year.

Sam/FS: Congrats. I’ll post on your blog as well but want to acknowledge it here as well. Congratulations for sticking with it.

Welcome to the rest of your life…it’s going to be great. I keep saying this to people: don’t wait until your retired to do anything start NOW!

Converting those ‘ok TV’ hours into something more meaningful will go a long way to your goal of living a great life. I know I deeply love my 90% working time and even if I stopped doing the School Board work I don’t think I’m ever going back to full time again.

Best of luck on your new life.

Tim

I liked this — be happy with what you have, and maximize your happiness now, when you and your babies are young. Wonderfully said.

by: The Financial Blogger | July 10th, 2012 (7:55 pm)

@Financial Samurai,

Sam, wait. you are telling me that you are worth roughly 8 to 10M$ (just with the interest and dividend you said you earn in one of your post, you need 5M$ invested) and you are only 35?

I would be thrilled to read about your whole story with detail (you could do a chronology of your income as I did, I’m sure yours will be more interesting than mine!).

@Mike – I hope you enjoy the book! Your calculations are too high, but definitely in the right direction.

I don’t want to share my income b/c it is too “in your face”. Besides, you’ll shoot me down and give me flack for my “How To Retire Early And Never Work Again” article, so why bother?

I’d rather blend in with everybody.

@Sam,

I understand your point but I was curious to know what you did with your money for 13 years in order to grow it so fast. I get the point of saving 75% of your after tax income. But in order to reach 5M$ in 13 years, you need to save 200K per year at 10% return. Assuming that you probably did not start making 250k-300K the very first year, your investment return has to be over 10% to reach that number in 13 years. This is even more impressive. I’m sure there is enough stuff to right a Best Seller out of your story!

@Mike,

You are definitely in the right direction now! I’m confident you will find ways to raise your income, save aggressively, and build your empire even bigger to get to the point of self sustainability. You can do it!

Thanks for all the support!

Best,

Sam

You are doing great! I would love to get to where you are someday. You are enjoying life and have a great family to share it with. What more can you ask for.

[…] The Financial Blogger brought up a very interesting point this week with the question, What if My Life Would be a Mini Retirement? […]

@Retirebyforty,

Yeah, my family is definitely worth a lot more than any great job I could have done if I had worked 60 hours a week to get a huge career!

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