Mini retirement. What is it? The intended purpose of a mini retirement is to take the 20 to 30 years of expected retirement and divvy that precious time across the decades of your life prior to normal retirement age. This isn’t a widely known practice, but thanks to Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, it’s beginning to gain some real traction among the workforce.
A sabbatical is a term many of us know and romanticize — a goal we plan to achieve once prior to official retirement. A sabbatical is not a mini retirement. Mini retirements are to be used in a recurring fashion throughout your life from your 20s through your 70s. And if you structure them the same way Ferriss does, you’ll be taking a mini retirement every year.
Is this concept blowing your mind a bit? Follow along to see how mini retirements are way better than the conventional retirement we’ve come to know.
Get out of the rat race
You might not realize you’re caught in the rat race. The exhausting, repetitious routine of working more to earn more so you can have more isn’t serving most Americans. A recent study reported over half of the American workers aren’t using all of their earned vacation time. This need for constant work comes from the fear of everything falling apart while taking much-needed time away.
With mini retirements, Ferriss highlights a little something called “the art of letting bad things happen,” which simply means the world isn’t going to end by you disconnecting to enjoy your life. Sure, a couple of things might fall through the cracks. But the train will keep on moving down the track without you hovering over it.
Next: The health reasons alone are a great reason to get on board.
Your health will thank you
At this point, it is common knowledge that stress will lead to sickness. A couple of years ago, Harvard Medical School conducted a study on over 500,000 people and found those who worked 55 hours or more per week were 33% more likely to have a stroke and 13% more likely to have a heart attack. The long-term burnout is a real thing. Stepping away for your health is far more important than putting yourself at risk for a host of illnesses.
Next: Take a step back and take another look at your path.
Re-evaluate your path
Many of us fall victim to grinding through the work day for a job we don’t enjoy at all. When Ric Kelly approached his boss to let him know he would be resigning from his job for his first mini retirement, his boss was certain Kelly must be having a mid-life crisis. Not the case. Kelly was consciously choosing to sever his current career path in hopes of finding his passion. This reprieve offered him the opportunity to check in with himself. Kelly is now back to work, doing something he loves: owning and operating a leadership consulting company. He works half of the year and then heads out on a new adventure where he works remotely and enjoys life to the fullest.
Next: Don’t put off being happy.
Enjoy every decade of your life
Take the trip to Thailand now. Don’t wait until you’re 65 to travel through South America. At the end of the day, you aren’t guaranteed to live that long, and chances are once you’ve reached the age of conventional retirement you will no longer be able to travel to France and submerge yourself into learning French. You’re not likely to feel spry enough to trek to Macchu Picchu or summit Kilimanjaro. Take the time now.
Next: Your brain will be better off.
Have you ever heard the phrase: “When you quit you die”? Mini retirements hinge on the idea that we are all better and sharper if we continue to work well into old(er) age. With the impacts retirement can have on your mental health, it’s more important than ever to keep the wheels turning. A study recently noted that putting off retirement for longer can prevent dementia and associated diseases, such as Alzheimer’s. That’s good news for everyone.
Next: Don’t forget about the money benefits.
Your overall financial balance
One of most common concerns when it comes to mini retirements is about the financial risk. What about my mortgage? To take a mini retirement, you have to get really good at saving. Saving for a mini retirement is the same as saving for any other big-ticket item, such as a car or lavish vacation. You can rent out or sublet your home. What’s even cooler is trying a home exchange. You can live much cheaper outside the U.S. For the cost of renting a hotel room for a week, you can hop on Airbnb and find an apartment for a month.
Next: You probably have career goals to accomplish, right?
You won’t miss out on your career goals
The fear of not getting that promotion or climbing your way to the top of the corporate ladder is the reason so many of us refuse vacation time, let alone a mini retirement. What if you don’t become the CEO? One of the numerous benefits of taking these reprieves is you’re enabled to re-evaluate your goals, figure out what’s really important to you, and then find a path that supports those goals.
Good help is hard to find, and you might think an employer won’t want to hire you because you’ll quit after few years for your next mini retirement. Guess what: Everyone quits after a few years. It’s rare to find someone in the workforce who sticks with one job forever.
Next: You have more control.
Mini retirement can be anything you want
Let’s face it: Not everyone has been bitten by the travel bug, and that’s OK. Maybe you aren’t on a quest to see every inch of the world. Instead, you can make your mini retirement more about volunteering within your local community, spending much-needed quality time with your family and friends, or honing in on your hobbies that have taken a back seat for so many years. At a certain point, your health and happiness hold far more value than working yourself to death.