The Value of a “Mini Retirement”

For some people, early retirement just isn’t feasible. Whether it’s not having enough saved up or not being ready to end your career, some people prefer mini-retirements rather than retiring early. A mini retirement is  a series of meaningful respites throughout your life in which you take a break from your career, rather than taking one final retirement at the end. Most mini retirements involve traveling on a vacation for around 1 to 6 months before returning home. However, a mini-retirement could be whatever you want it to be as long as you have the savings to get there. Listed below are examples from mini-retirees who share why they took a break from work, how they saved for it, and how they are spending their time.

Mark and Amanda Tew spent six years paying off debt, living frugally, and saving $30,000 to live in Nicaragua for a year — and they didn’t miss out on anything at home while they were away.

Throughout this six years, Mark and Amanda a couple of side hustles, followed a financial plan, and constantly kept track of their budget. This helped them pay off their debt, build an emergency fund, and save the $30,000 for their trip to Nicaragua.

“Waiting until I’m 65 when I’m likely less able or healthy enough to do the things I’ve always wanted to do doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Tew told Business Insider. “Since I’m not retiring early any time soon, a mini-retirement seemed like a great way to spend quality time and have a great new experience as a family.”

Dinah Chutz spent seven months hustling hard at work, saving $14,000 to travel around New Zealand and Asia. She feels even more productive than if she were working a full-time corporate job.

After moving from San Diego to New Zealand, Chutz worked overtime at her full time jobs and picked up a couple of freelance gigs, and saved up $14,000. She then bought a small van that she lived in so that she could travel without having to pay for home expenses for 12 to 18 months.

“My mini-retirement is about slowing down, experiencing the world, getting to know myself and finding what I love while I’m still young,” she said. “My days are spent discovering hidden beaches, browsing local farmer’s markets, diving for abalone, making jewelry, playing way too much chess and photographing the sunset. I plan on taking my retirement back through Asia and onto India towards the end of the year.”

Jillian Johnsrud is on her fifth mini-retirement, traveling through national parks with her family. She’s been able to afford so many in part due to passive income from buying and renovating homes with her husband.

Jillian and her husband, Adam, opted for mini-retirements because they didn’t want to miss out on certain experiences until their sixties. Jillian has had five mini-retirements already that have ranged anywhere from a month to two and a half years.

“Mini-retirements are perfect for capturing those experiences that might otherwise pass you by,” Johnsrud told Business Insider. “They are also a great solution for people who want to investigate what to do as a second career or scale up a business they have started on the side but need more time and attention to grow into a full income.”

Jillian and Adam paid off $55,000 that they had in debt, saved up their first $100,000, and are currently traveling for 10 weeks to 10 national parks with their five children. Jillian also stated that, “After this one, the goal is to design a life we would never want to retire from because it’s such a great fit for our lifestyle. Having a few months off a year and a modest work schedule seems about perfect for us in this season of life.”

Mini-retirements can potentially be more valuable to some people compared to working full time until retirement. People that prefer mini-retirements want to have the opportunity of having certain experiences before they reach their sixties. Also, a lot of people like to go on family vacations with their children while they are still young. Some people may also just need these mini-retirements in order to relieve some stress and take a well needed break from work. Mini-retirements could be very rewarding, and if you plan and save up enough, it is highly recommended that you try it out for yourself!

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