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General Discussion => Post-FIRE => Topic started by: capoevename on June 30, 2016, 02:20:26 PM

Title: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: capoevename on June 30, 2016, 02:20:26 PM
Has anyone tried serial mini retirements (2-6 months off work every year or 2 of regular work)?

Me and my GF are 26 years old and have a ~250K stash. Jointly, we spend 50K per year and make 140K post tax. We are investing/saving so that

Would it be a bad move to take time off work several times before having enough money saved up to provide for us off 4%? I don't plan on actually using capital off the investments. I plan on accumulating the money in a savings account a couple of months before taking time off.

The way I see it, it would only delay total financial freedom, something I don't mind since I plan to keep working.

Please let me know if anyone has had any experience with this, or knows any "gotchas". Thank you.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: steveo on June 30, 2016, 04:03:29 PM
I definitely haven't done it and I won't be doing it but I think it's a good idea if you can pull it off. I'd be too concerned about getting another job after not working for a period of time.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: capoevename on June 30, 2016, 04:51:20 PM
I assume many employers would be OK with a 3-6 months unpaid leave of absence. Otherwise, I think it would not be too hard for us to find a job in the coming years; I'm a software engineer (and it's what I love to do, so I'm pretty good at it, and it's easy to find software jobs right now) and my GF is an electrical engineer.

I'm trying to workout the math as to when it is prudent to take the mini retirements, but at this point I think it would just delay the amount of time it would take us to be fully FI, and nothing else.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Mrs. Pomodoro on June 30, 2016, 05:10:43 PM
I really like that idea and I've been looking into it. Am going to do something similar hopefully next year, though I've been working for 16 years now (eek!) and we're very close to the finish line depending on where we will live next so it might just turn into real FIRE for me. livingafi has a great post that explains the financial impact of a gap year very well:

https://livingafi.com/2015/08/04/taking-a-gap-year/

There's also a podcast I really enjoyed on this topic:

http://www.goodlifeproject.com/karan-bajaj/?t=radio

This guy takes a year off after working for 4 years, and he's done it 3 times so far in between corporate jobs. I kinda wish I did that when I was younger (like, in your age. ;) I think that'll help me to be less burnt out and more enthusiastic with my job. It's harder to pull off with mortgage and kid(s), but not impossible, at least that's what I'm telling myself. Some benefits I can think of taking a year off after 4 years instead of a few months after 2 years are: you will be more established in a career before you take off, whatever career means to you; and you will enjoy longer breaks.

Where I work I haven't heard many cases of unpaid leave for 3 to 6 months that are approved. They do need to hold the position for you, most of the time unable to get extra help while you are away. But since you're in software, it shouldn't be too hard to find another job.

Hope you find what works best. Good luck!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: CanuckExpat on June 30, 2016, 09:21:39 PM
Assuming income stays proportionally the same, one choice can save you a lot of taxes:
I.e. Work 6 months on, 6 off over two years for 50k/year
100k /year

If you are higher income, think it might be even better
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: deborah on June 30, 2016, 10:23:18 PM
Where I used to work it was pretty easy to do this. Australia has 4 weeks paid annual leave each year. Some workplaces allow you to take off leave at half pay - effectively giving you 8 weeks leave a year. Many government workplaces also allowed you to have prepaid leave - you could nominate that you would take and extra 1 to 4 weeks holiday in a year, and your pay would be reduced to give you that extra leave.

One of the guys I worked with took 8 weeks off every year using prepaid leave.

But it gets better. In Australia if you have worked for a company for a certain period of time (usually 10 years, but there are some places where it is only 5), you get three months long service leave, and after that you get an extra two weeks every year. So anyone who has worked for a company for long enough gets at least 6 weeks annual leave a year. Everywhere I worked, people could take long service leave at half pay, so you often find people taking a year off when they are about 30.

So obviously you should move to Australia.

During my career I had several three month holidays.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on July 01, 2016, 06:35:33 AM
I never did this, but if I had to do it over again, I would do it that way.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: citizen24128 on July 01, 2016, 08:00:13 AM
I have done what you're considering, and it was awesome! In 2005 I took six months of unpaid leave to travel, and I did it again in 2008. In each case, I asked for a leave of absence from my job (software company). I was prepared to quit if my company did not approve my leave of absence, but they okayed it each time and my job was waiting for me when I returned from traveling.

I am still a few years away from being financially independent, but I have zero regrets about taking big chunks of time away from work as a younger person. The experiences I had were very meaningful to me, and have shaped how I approach the rest of my life.

(Caveats: I spent very little money while I was on leave, and I was mentally/financially prepared for something to go wrong that would leave me unemployed for longer than I planned.)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Slee_stack on July 01, 2016, 08:10:37 AM
If the situation allows, it sounds like a decent plan.

All else equal, if you have many leaves between work assignments, you will be a less desirable candidate to hire then someone else.  It would be akin to frequent job jumping.  Employers tend not to like people they can't trust to stick around for awhile.

If you market yourself more as a consultant, you probably won't have the issues though.

Otherwise, if you are looking at finding an employer that's good with a 2+ month leave every year, you are just severely limiting your pool of them from which to pick.  Those kinds of leaves are not too common in most industries.  It really comes down to demand and how desperate employers are for your particular talents.

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Northwestie on July 01, 2016, 09:19:10 AM
I've taken several breaks of several months each to climb/trek in Europe and South America.  Each time it worked out just well and I came back to the same employer.  The last time I did this I knew I would be looking for a new position in the near future.  I was ready for them to say no - you can't take off three months - and I was ready to just resign.   But they really didn't hesitate.

In these cases I think you have to judge what your true value is to your employer, can you tie things up sufficiently so delegation is not a mess, and ultimately, if it doesn't work out, are you confident you can get a job in your field where you want to live.  My answer was yes to all.

Three months to a year off seems a good way to break up the routine and clear out the cobwebs.  Especially if you generally enjoy your work but would appreciate a longer break.  cheers.

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: capoevename on July 01, 2016, 02:45:37 PM
Thanks a lot for your words guys. livingafi's post was very helpful too. I was mostly worried on how this was going to affect FI, but the trade off is worth it for me. I'm pretty sure I'm going to try it out in the next couple of years.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: cacaoheart on July 01, 2016, 04:09:57 PM
I'm a new nurse and see myself doing what you mention after building savings to about the amount you currently have, potentially switching to travel nursing in about 5 years so I can take on a ~13 week travel assignment then be off until I'm ready to take on another assignment. If/when I want something less intense/more rooted, I could switch to local float/part time positions.

My view is that rather than trying to save enough to then not have to work at all, it's doable to save a certain amount then work enough to cover expenses and let that amount compound for several years before drawing on it, and then you may never need to work full time again.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAGuy on July 01, 2016, 07:15:40 PM
I'm trying to transition to this as well. But first I need to sell my place, and it just fell out of escrow. Sigh, I've seen some fantastic gains in real estate, but man is it a pain in the ass to buy and sell it.

Anyways, I'll invest the proceeds of the sale and along with my other investments I plan to live and travel abroad half the year. Then I'm going to work as a traveling healthcare professional (like a nurse, but I'll be in the lab). There's always a lot of work available for what I do, but right now I'm hearing from recruiters for traveling positions several times a week. Combination of low employment, retiring baby boomers, aging workforce, and more people with health insurance through the ACA I guess. Add in that gig, freelance, and contract work seems to be the wave of the future and they're all meeting up in my profession. Instead of fighting it, I'll make it work for me.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on July 02, 2016, 02:50:02 AM
Would really depend on the numbers. Would I have to do that for two decades to be free? Or could I just work the job I love for another year or two instead, burning up time off and enjoying local attractions.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: capoevename on July 02, 2016, 01:44:18 PM
Mouse, check out the post that Mrs. Pomodoro linked to. It goes over the numbers. Pretty much, it increases FI date roughly by the same time you take off.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Aussiegirl on July 02, 2016, 04:33:32 PM
I took a year off a few years ago as a mini retirement. It was fantastic!  So many great things came out of that year off, I would recommend it to any-one.  I am just waiting for my DH to get his long service leave (which he can take along with his annual leave all at half pay which Deborah says - which will equate to half a year off, and if I'm not already FIRE at that point, I'll be FIRE'ing and we'll take another mini retirement.     If you think you can get another job after you are done your mini retirement - DO IT!!

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: thedayisbrave on July 02, 2016, 04:53:25 PM
I like the idea of this.  I'm kind of having to do it by default based on my career, so I'm not complaining.  Working as a real estate agent means I hustle for 6 months (spring-summer) and have another 5 or 6 months of slower business (fall-winter).  This year I plan on using that down time to work on another of my businesses, but I enjoy it all, so it's not too bad.  But it's nice to have that option. 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on July 02, 2016, 05:19:55 PM
Mouse, check out the post that Mrs. Pomodoro linked to. It goes over the numbers. Pretty much, it increases FI date roughly by the same time you take off.

Thank you. I will check them out!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: steveo on July 02, 2016, 05:39:10 PM
Where I used to work it was pretty easy to do this. Australia has 4 weeks paid annual leave each year. Some workplaces allow you to take off leave at half pay - effectively giving you 8 weeks leave a year. Many government workplaces also allowed you to have prepaid leave - you could nominate that you would take and extra 1 to 4 weeks holiday in a year, and your pay would be reduced to give you that extra leave.

One of the guys I worked with took 8 weeks off every year using prepaid leave.

But it gets better. In Australia if you have worked for a company for a certain period of time (usually 10 years, but there are some places where it is only 5), you get three months long service leave, and after that you get an extra two weeks every year. So anyone who has worked for a company for long enough gets at least 6 weeks annual leave a year. Everywhere I worked, people could take long service leave at half pay, so you often find people taking a year off when they are about 30.

So obviously you should move to Australia.

During my career I had several three month holidays.

I'm Australian and this is all true but there is more to it. Our house prices are crazy. We've just paid off our house and it will be 5 years until retirement now but geez paying off that massive mortgage was hard. House prices have also gone up a lot since we bought. We paid $770k about 6 years ago. I think it's now worth close to $1.5 million.

I have close to 6 months long service leave available to me now. I intend though to take a year off half pay and then not go back to work. So it's a buffer for when I retire.

Geez I'm getting sick of work though. I work one day a week from home and sometimes two days per week although that is just me not turning up and typically no one says anything. The other 3 days I tend to work one full day and the other 2 about 6 hours. I just struggle turning up regularly. I think I'm just over it.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on July 03, 2016, 04:30:07 PM
I am going to try this in the next few months. From January to March next year I am planning a 3 month break. It is a little different than what everyone here is describing because I own my of business. But, I'm taking steps now to set things up so I can be gone.

To the poster who said you pray it's possible with a family, I'm going to find out. We are a family of five! Three kids under 5 years  old.

So, it seems to me that taking breaks throughout your career is entirely possible. You are already at $250k while 26 years old. If I were you, I'd do what you want and enjoy the ride.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: dess1313 on July 05, 2016, 08:17:26 AM
Australia sounds like it has some awesome vacation policies compared to here!
What some here do is work part time.  it gives them easier stretches to take off, and more time off when they do have it.  We can trade shifts so we shuffle things around to get 2 weeks or a month off if we plan ahead.  it gets easier as you move to lower part time positions because you have more time off to use
I would give it a try if you can without creating a lot of hard ship at work, the time off is amazing to try new things.  even 2 weeks feels like paradise sometimes
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Mola on July 07, 2016, 01:22:32 PM
I have started doing this. I work contracts and when one is over I take some time off to do stuff. So far I have only had one such intermission though so I can't say what it does long term. I am also further along in my "career" so time off doesn't hurt as much as when you're resume is new.

As a software engineer you should definitely be able to pull it off. I work in IT, though not a developer, and a healthy portion of developers I interview have breaks in employment. It doesn't even register as a thing to worry about. It is even easier if you are a developer in a niche. For example, a developer for EPIC, Salesforce, Pegasystems, etc. Applications that have their own development niche with never enough people to fill all the positions out there. Just keep up your skills and don't let yourself be the guy still looking for Fortran jobs.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: deborah on July 08, 2016, 01:56:26 AM
Just keep up your skills and don't let yourself be the guy still looking for Fortran jobs.
I once worked with a guy who specialised on being trailing edge rather than leading edge. Quite often it is very difficult for IT employers to get people who have skills that are past their use by date. Both trailing edge and leading edge tend to get paid a premium. However, if you specialise in trailing edge technology you probably couldn't afford to take mini retirements in case you become a dinosaur!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: MasterStache on July 08, 2016, 04:01:25 PM
I am actually in the middle of a 3 month hiatus from work. I figure it is probably setting my FI date back by about 6 months (Still less than 5 years away). I was hesitant to ask my employer, for fear of saying no, but they seemed perfectly ok with it. My co-workers were in shock, probably because most live paycheck to paycheck and couldn't afford it.

It's weird for me because I am still working my butt off on renovations around the house. So it's like I took time off from work, to work, but at least it is something I love doing.  I am getting a ton done though. I would estimate working a full time job would take me about 2 years to do what I will have accomplished in 3 months on the house. 

I don't consider it a mini-retirement because I wouldn't be spending this much money and time on home renovations. I would certainly be relaxing and travelling more. We also managed to find my wife a Prius (she was driving one of those giant gas guzzling recliners). And when I go back to work the kids will both be in school full time, so no daycare expenses. I figure with the car situation squared away, major home renovations out of the way, and no daycare to worry about anymore, once I start back to work our savings rate will increase to around 60-70%.

As far as the hiatus is concerned, absolutely no regrets (admittedly I do cringe from time to time at the amount of money we are spending on home renovations). Oh and my wife and I leave for Cancun in about 3 weeks. Paid fully through credit card rewards.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: waltworks on July 10, 2016, 07:59:46 PM
I think in some ways, many people "retire" in their 20s before going "back" to work. There are less charitable ways to talk about that lifestyle, of course... :)

In my case, I rode my bike a lot and went to grad school part time. Annual earnings: about $18k. Tons of free time and a flexible schedule: priceless.

You're in great shape to do whatever you want. Do it.

-Walt
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: fatcow240 on July 11, 2016, 12:02:58 PM
This is something I want to try.  I have asked around at work, but so far the answer is no to sabbaticals.  I will probably hang out a little longer to get closer to the 4% SWR/FU money.  This will give me the leverage to give an ultimatum.  I am also in a similar field, Computer Science.  I have been mostly working as a Software Engineer.  Have you looked into contracted work.  My thinking is that I could be picky about the work and just pull in $20k-$30k and let the stache grow on its own.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on July 11, 2016, 12:25:38 PM
I think in some ways, many people "retire" in their 20s before going "back" to work. There are less charitable ways to talk about that lifestyle, of course... :)

In my case, I rode my bike a lot and went to grad school part time. Annual earnings: about $18k. Tons of free time and a flexible schedule: priceless.

You're in great shape to do whatever you want. Do it.

-Walt

Nice. Sounds enjoyable. How much did that set your FIRE date back?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: waltworks on July 11, 2016, 01:06:57 PM
I think in some ways, many people "retire" in their 20s before going "back" to work. There are less charitable ways to talk about that lifestyle, of course... :)

In my case, I rode my bike a lot and went to grad school part time. Annual earnings: about $18k. Tons of free time and a flexible schedule: priceless.

You're in great shape to do whatever you want. Do it.

-Walt

Nice. Sounds enjoyable. How much did that set your FIRE date back?

I guess it depends. I was "retired" for a decade in the prime of my life. No way in hell would I change that. I pursued goals I could never do again (attempting to be a professional athlete) and I knew full well that I'd not make much/any money.

The thing is, money is easy to make (at least given all the genetic/geographical advantages most of us were born with), and if you don't care about possessions too much, it's hard to spend. So to me, there was no rush to make a ton of money in my 20s. So I don't care if I'm FIRE 10 years later than I could have been. The total enjoyment of my life is the goal, and I thought at the time (and still do) that taking my 20s off from "real" work was a good move. Eudaemonia!

It's been about 10 years since I started making halfway decent (ie, mid/high 5 figures) money. I'd be FIRE right now if I didn't have such expensive taste in locations to live (ie, ski resorts). But that's another choice that increases my happiness. So things worked out fine, IMO.

-Walt
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FrugalFred on July 14, 2016, 06:57:27 AM
I did it last year, I took 8 months off because I was basically exhausted.
And I have to be honest, it was the best decision I've ever made. Granted, it was a bit different then normal people because I could keep on paying myself a wage (I have my own company in which I built quite a large cash buffer specifically to provide me with the freedom to sometimes just say f* it) so I didn't have to worry about my mortgage or anything.
It was awesome, even though I didn't do anything exotic like backpack across the himalaya or whatever you should be doing these days but I finally got to unwind, exercise again, and read a LOT of books.
I'll be doing it again in a year or two, I'm sure. :-)

Looking at your age and the stache you have already I'd say go for it :-)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: pdxmonkey on July 14, 2016, 10:28:20 PM
Has anyone tried serial mini retirements (2-6 months off work every year or 2 of regular work)?

Me and my GF are 26 years old and have a ~250K stash. Jointly, we spend 50K per year and make 140K post tax. We are investing/saving so that
  • She can stop working when we have kids, hopefully between 30 and 35.
  • Have the freedom to base work around my life, not the other way around.
  • Take mini retirements from work before we have kids to travel.
  • Take mini retirements from work after we have kids.

Would it be a bad move to take time off work several times before having enough money saved up to provide for us off 4%? I don't plan on actually using capital off the investments. I plan on accumulating the money in a savings account a couple of months before taking time off.

The way I see it, it would only delay total financial freedom, something I don't mind since I plan to keep working.

Please let me know if anyone has had any experience with this, or knows any "gotchas". Thank you.

I would like to do it, it sounds like an awesome plan, but The Robots are coming. I think the economy will look very different in 10 years. We are likely nearing the end of the current bull market as well. People are going to be nervous just because it's the second longest ever. They will be asking questions like "Can it last?" Until I'm much closer to FIRE I wouldn't want to purposely take a "mini retirement" with the risk that it might be during the time shit hits the fan and having a tough time getting a job again after my "mini retirement" was supposed to be over.

What do your debts look like. No debts? I assume the 50k spend is including housing. Renting or mortgage?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on July 15, 2016, 12:36:34 AM
Has anyone tried serial mini retirements (2-6 months off work every year or 2 of regular work)?

2 months off work every year or two sounds quite easily doable, as long as your workplace is cool with that. 6 months off work every year or two on a recurring basis, on the other hand, might be pretty difficult, unless you work in a field that is tolerant/accepting of this e.g. has a high staff turnover rate anyway.

My partner and I took several months off to travel a couple of years ago. It was awesome. Hoping to do that again, maybe in another couple of years from now. :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on July 15, 2016, 06:49:11 AM
I did it last year, I took 8 months off because I was basically exhausted.
And I have to be honest, it was the best decision I've ever made. Granted, it was a bit different then normal people because I could keep on paying myself a wage (I have my own company in which I built quite a large cash buffer specifically to provide me with the freedom to sometimes just say f* it) so I didn't have to worry about my mortgage or anything.
It was awesome, even though I didn't do anything exotic like backpack across the himalaya or whatever you should be doing these days but I finally got to unwind, exercise again, and read a LOT of books.
I'll be doing it again in a year or two, I'm sure. :-)

Looking at your age and the stache you have already I'd say go for it :-)

FrugalFred - What kind of business do you own? I am hoping to take three months away from my business this winter. I think it will be fine, but I'm pondering how it will affect my referral streams, my office systems, who will do payroll for my employees stuff like that. Did any of that apply to you leaving your business?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: waltworks on July 15, 2016, 12:54:31 PM
I would like to do it, it sounds like an awesome plan, but The Robots are coming. I think the economy will look very different in 10 years. We are likely nearing the end of the current bull market as well. People are going to be nervous just because it's the second longest ever. They will be asking questions like "Can it last?" Until I'm much closer to FIRE I wouldn't want to purposely take a "mini retirement" with the risk that it might be during the time shit hits the fan and having a tough time getting a job again after my "mini retirement" was supposed to be over.

I feel really sorry for you, because with this sort of outlook, you will *never* quit working.

Seriously, what's the point of living in fear? OP is not proposing to drop out and head to Vegas with his life savings. He's proposing to *enjoy his life* while still making/saving loads of money.

-W
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: capoevename on July 15, 2016, 03:09:09 PM
Has anyone tried serial mini retirements (2-6 months off work every year or 2 of regular work)?

Me and my GF are 26 years old and have a ~250K stash. Jointly, we spend 50K per year and make 140K post tax. We are investing/saving so that
  • She can stop working when we have kids, hopefully between 30 and 35.
  • Have the freedom to base work around my life, not the other way around.
  • Take mini retirements from work before we have kids to travel.
  • Take mini retirements from work after we have kids.

Would it be a bad move to take time off work several times before having enough money saved up to provide for us off 4%? I don't plan on actually using capital off the investments. I plan on accumulating the money in a savings account a couple of months before taking time off.

The way I see it, it would only delay total financial freedom, something I don't mind since I plan to keep working.

Please let me know if anyone has had any experience with this, or knows any "gotchas". Thank you.

I would like to do it, it sounds like an awesome plan, but The Robots are coming. I think the economy will look very different in 10 years. We are likely nearing the end of the current bull market as well. People are going to be nervous just because it's the second longest ever. They will be asking questions like "Can it last?" Until I'm much closer to FIRE I wouldn't want to purposely take a "mini retirement" with the risk that it might be during the time shit hits the fan and having a tough time getting a job again after my "mini retirement" was supposed to be over.

What do your debts look like. No debts? I assume the 50k spend is including housing. Renting or mortgage?
No debt and I suppose that's possible. I'm leading more towards an unpaid leave for a couple of months. That would keep our jobs waiting for us when we get back.

Thanks for all the replies. I got what I wanted: a few more opinions on the matter and to bounce off ideas. I'm gonna keep stashing for the now and jump to this before having babies (hopefully).
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: pdxmonkey on July 15, 2016, 03:26:45 PM
I would like to do it, it sounds like an awesome plan, but The Robots are coming. I think the economy will look very different in 10 years. We are likely nearing the end of the current bull market as well. People are going to be nervous just because it's the second longest ever. They will be asking questions like "Can it last?" Until I'm much closer to FIRE I wouldn't want to purposely take a "mini retirement" with the risk that it might be during the time shit hits the fan and having a tough time getting a job again after my "mini retirement" was supposed to be over.

I feel really sorry for you, because with this sort of outlook, you will *never* quit working.

Seriously, what's the point of living in fear? OP is not proposing to drop out and head to Vegas with his life savings. He's proposing to *enjoy his life* while still making/saving loads of money.

-W
eh? I don't see why I won't ever be able to retire. SWR accounts for downturns after retirement so I don't really care about what the economy does after that. I care about keeping my stash compounding and not having to spend it down prior to retirement. If my goal were 4% swr and I was already at 3% and could cut to live on that while unexpectedly out for longer than planned trying to get back into a down job market...great I can take mini retirements. If I'm at only 1or 2%? Not gonna do it. The first one or 2% are the hardest to get and the easiest to lose.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: waltworks on July 15, 2016, 03:34:46 PM
I would like to do it, it sounds like an awesome plan, but The Robots are coming. I think the economy will look very different in 10 years. We are likely nearing the end of the current bull market as well. People are going to be nervous just because it's the second longest ever. They will be asking questions like "Can it last?" Until I'm much closer to FIRE I wouldn't want to purposely take a "mini retirement" with the risk that it might be during the time shit hits the fan and having a tough time getting a job again after my "mini retirement" was supposed to be over.

I feel really sorry for you, because with this sort of outlook, you will *never* quit working.

Seriously, what's the point of living in fear? OP is not proposing to drop out and head to Vegas with his life savings. He's proposing to *enjoy his life* while still making/saving loads of money.

-W
eh? I don't see why I won't ever be able to retire. SWR accounts for downturns after retirement so I don't really care about what the economy does after that. I care about keeping my stash compounding and not having to spend it down prior to retirement. If my goal were 4% swr and I was already at 3% and could cut to live on that while unexpectedly out for longer than planned trying to get back into a down job market...great I can take mini retirements. If I'm at only 1or 2%? Not gonna do it. The first one or 2% are the hardest to get and the easiest to lose.

Let me rephrase. Looking at it holistically, you want to maximize the enjoyment of your life. Not working too much (especially when you're young) is a big component of that for many people. Racing to some arbitrary finish line is fine if that's what makes you happy, but if you don't spend much money, you don't need to freak out about taking time off.

-Walt
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FrugalFred on July 18, 2016, 01:49:09 AM


FrugalFred - What kind of business do you own? I am hoping to take three months away from my business this winter. I think it will be fine, but I'm pondering how it will affect my referral streams, my office systems, who will do payroll for my employees stuff like that. Did any of that apply to you leaving your business?
[/quote]

I have a small consulting business which is focused on a very specific niche. This is also the reason why it was possible, it's quite easy to find clients and they don't really care whether or not I'm there all the time.
Although I was worried the place would fall apart without me, which of course it didn't.

For the admin stuff/payroll I prepared this with an employee I can trust 100% plus I created a seperate bankaccount which she can access, at the end of the month I'd get an overview in Excel (how much money she'd need for payroll/suppliers/whatever) and I'd briefly glance over it and transfer the money.
Worked so great we still do it like that actually. I only have to do one payment each month and all the rest goes automatically (but of course I still check and my accountant also double-checks to make sure there's nothing fishy going on ;-))
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: bacchi on July 18, 2016, 11:03:15 AM
I recently had a recruiter ask, "How often do you take extended leave?" It was for a 6 month contract so any leave wouldn't interfere but it concerned the hiring manager. It's not all peaches and gravy.

That's at the end of a long and undistinguished career of avoiding responsibility and full-time work.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on July 18, 2016, 11:06:36 AM
That's at the end of a long and undistinguished career of avoiding responsibility and full-time work.

I like this. :) I think it would look great engraved on a watch when one retires.  I worked very hard for a few years because I felt that I should be 'doing more' or 'getting further ahead' in my career. Turns out responsibility and work don't fit my personality so well.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Longwaytogo on July 25, 2016, 07:13:21 AM
I never did this, but if I had to do it over again, I would do it that way.

I think I remember  you saying you/wife worked most summers via. Summer School,tutoring, furthering your education, etc. Plus of course you had real  estate stuff going on.

My question is - Had you done nothing (work related) in the Summers would you have considered those "mini-retirements" or would that be too short?

Just curious, for those on thread who don't know me my wife is a teacher and I'm sort of self employed and hope to join her in Summers off in 3-5 years after clearing up some debt.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on July 25, 2016, 06:32:14 PM
I never did this, but if I had to do it over again, I would do it that way.

I think I remember  you saying you/wife worked most summers via. Summer School,tutoring, furthering your education, etc. Plus of course you had real  estate stuff going on.

My question is - Had you done nothing (work related) in the Summers would you have considered those "mini-retirements" or would that be too short?

Just curious, for those on thread who don't know me my wife is a teacher and I'm sort of self employed and hope to join her in Summers off in 3-5 years after clearing up some debt.

Two months is nothing.  That's barely enough time to decompress.  We did a backpacking through Europe trip one summer, and that was great, but not like a retirement (even a mini-one).

I think I'd take 1-2 year sabbaticals, personally.

The wife and I just hit a year, approximately, and we discussed how we weren't quite ready to go back, though we could if we had to (e.g. if we had only saved up enough to take a year off, instead of being FI), but that in another year, we'd totally be energized and ready to work again, if we were planning on it.

I mean, sure, two months is better than the lousy two weeks most people get.  But we can spend a month or two just in a single town.  Having two months off to relax and vacation and decompress is quite a bit different than a retirement where you aren't just temporarily doing it, but you're living it.

IDK, it's hard to explain.  You'll see what I mean though, when you do fully FIRE and spend all your time with the wife/kids/stuff you want to do.  :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Longwaytogo on July 25, 2016, 09:13:27 PM
I never did this, but if I had to do it over again, I would do it that way.

I think I remember  you saying you/wife worked most summers via. Summer School,tutoring, furthering your education, etc. Plus of course you had real  estate stuff going on.

My question is - Had you done nothing (work related) in the Summers would you have considered those "mini-retirements" or would that be too short?

Just curious, for those on thread who don't know me my wife is a teacher and I'm sort of self employed and hope to join her in Summers off in 3-5 years after clearing up some debt.

Two months is nothing.  That's barely enough time to decompress.  We did a backpacking through Europe trip one summer, and that was great, but not like a retirement (even a mini-one).

I think I'd take 1-2 year sabbaticals, personally.

The wife and I just hit a year, approximately, and we discussed how we weren't quite ready to go back, though we could if we had to (e.g. if we had only saved up enough to take a year off, instead of being FI), but that in another year, we'd totally be energized and ready to work again, if we were planning on it.

I mean, sure, two months is better than the lousy two weeks most people get.  But we can spend a month or two just in a single town.  Having two months off to relax and vacation and decompress is quite a bit different than a retirement where you aren't just temporarily doing it, but you're living it.

IDK, it's hard to explain.  You'll see what I mean though, when you do fully FIRE and spend all your time with the wife/kids/stuff you want to do.  :)

Your answer was exactly what I'd guessed. That you would consider 2 months too short.

Still, as you say better than the BS most people get (especially Americans). If you combine say an 8 week Summer with a week at Xmas and another at Easter your ending up with close to a full 50 week year off every 5 years. And if you have kids not only do you get to spend Summers with them but save untold money on Summer camps/daycare.

Anyway, cool thanks for the answer.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAL on July 25, 2016, 11:31:17 PM
DH took a year off August 2015 till today.  He started his new job/new career and is heaven.  He took off a year for multiple reasons.  He wanted to switch careers.  He felt he was missing out on everything I got to experience with the kids being SAHM.  We wanted to move.  We weren't like you and your GF we spent our 20s being poor academics.  When we started making money we saved for about a decade and had two kids and went to 1 income. 

For all the reasons I mentioned DH felt his career path wasn't the right fit anymore.  So he switched, turns out he's make more money than he used to and he was making quite a bit before.  Are we FI?  Not quite, but that's because we're spendypants.  But with this year off DH is more MOTIVATED than ever to get back to the grind (he can't imagine staying at home with the kids).  He's not interested in retiring early and now with a career he loves he's less inclined.

Instead he just likes having flexibility to quit and work when he feels.  Our FIRE date?  No plans.  But I always modeled we'd have enough by 42 and it's still likely if not sooner since he's making a ridiculous salary now.  We just never scaled our lifestyle up much from grad school
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on July 26, 2016, 04:27:29 AM
I'll agree with the above. It took me several months of retirement to really feel 'free.'  There's a 'how long to decompress' thread that covers this topic pretty well.  A month or two is just a taste of the freedom you'll have when you're retired, and the knowledge that each day brings you closer to going back to work probably has a profound effect on the enjoyment of that time.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on July 27, 2016, 06:37:39 AM
I just booked my living arrangements for a 12 week sabbatical in Mexico December to March 2016-2017. I'll tell you all if it was too short in March. :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on July 27, 2016, 06:38:56 AM
I just booked my living arrangements for a 12 week sabbatical in Mexico December to March 2016-2017. I'll tell you all if it was too short in March. :)

Nice, congrats.  :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on July 27, 2016, 12:28:29 PM
I just booked my living arrangements for a 12 week sabbatical in Mexico December to March 2016-2017. I'll tell you all if it was too short in March. :)

Super awesome! Very excited to know how it goes.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: capoevename on July 27, 2016, 05:05:39 PM
I just booked my living arrangements for a 12 week sabbatical in Mexico December to March 2016-2017. I'll tell you all if it was too short in March. :)
That's great to know! Thank you for thinking of sharing here :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on July 28, 2016, 10:27:58 AM
All of this. I've taken short sabbaticals (month or 2) and long sabbaticals (couple of years with last one planned for 5 years) and FIRE is a whole different animal.

Knowing you never have to work again, unless you want to,  and that every single moment of the rest of your life you are free to do exactly want you want (more or less) is a very different feeling from knowing that you'll "have to" go back to work after your sabbatical ends. That doesn't mean long sabbaticals aren't great - they are and what I was doing myself but found FI along the way - but just a different mind set.

This is one of the reasons I love visiting this forum. It reminds me to never take the feeling of FIRE for granted, which can be easy to do when you wake up every day free to do whatever you wish.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Libertea on August 13, 2016, 04:59:38 PM
OP, I am going to be trying out this strategy as well.  Quitting my job in March, will be spending two months abroad in April/May, then starting training for new job (semi-retirement job that I anticipate working at PT) in June.

Regarding mindset, I've thought a lot about this, because one of the issues I'm concerned about is what to do with myself during retirement.  I find that I get restless and bored after a couple of weeks with "nothing" to do.  I like setting goals for myself and pushing myself to achieve them (which no doubt is why I'm going to be able to achieve FI in the first place).  I've realized that what I really want is not to stop working altogether, but rather to work on my own terms, doing what I want, when I want.  And for sure not having to ask "permission" from some boss to take a measly two week vacation.  Heh.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: kenaces on August 13, 2016, 06:55:06 PM
Interesting thoughts - thanks

I have had many mini-retirements.  Typically I will work(play poker) for 2-6 months and then take some time off.  Sometimes only a week other times a few months, other time I keep working but way less hours.  This has worked fine for me and I am on track to FIRE in maybe 15 years with no major changes. 

Now that I am hanging in these forums I am feeling the pull to step it up and shoot for more work now, better savings plans so I can get to that I am totally done and FIRE feeling faster.  But I still feel a bit conflicted about working hard now vs working easy for longer?

How do you guys/gals find a balance between chasing FI and enjoying life now?  I know they aren't mutual exclusive but I have a hard time really evaluating all the trade offs - thought?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Libertea on August 13, 2016, 07:33:47 PM
How do you guys/gals find a balance between chasing FI and enjoying life now?  I know they aren't mutual exclusive but I have a hard time really evaluating all the trade offs - thought?
It's a tough question for me too, because I am currently working one of those hard core, invades its tentacles into every aspect of your life, kind of professional jobs.  It's incredibly stressful, and there's no doubt in my mind that it's shortening my lifespan (not to mention detracting from my enjoyment of life).  It's not a horribly hostile work environment or anything like that.  I just have other places I'd rather be and other things I'd rather do.  On the other hand, the salary is high enough that it feels like I've won the lotto every two weeks when I get paid, and it's allowing me to save ~$13,000 per month on top of my living expenses of ~$2500 per month.

I calculated that spending two more years with my current employer would allow me to reach my heavily inflated FIRE number by mid-2018 and almost certainly never have to work again.  I initially planned to do that.  But the job has gotten steadily more intolerable for various reasons, and I've decided that spending two more years at it is simply not something I can stomach doing.  So I'm compromising and quitting in March.  For the next seven months until I quit, I am going to go balls to the wall.  Then I am going to take three months completely off to travel/decompress, and then I'm going to work at a markedly reduced schedule for the rest of my work life expectancy. 

I conservatively estimate that I will be about $70,000 short of bare minimum FI (BMFI) in seven months when I quit.  This is based upon my savings rate alone and assumes no market gains or dividends.  I expect to reach BMFI by the end of next year, albeit at a reduced savings rate/longer time span since I won't be earning/saving nearly as much once I quit this job.  I should reach my inflated FIRE number by the end of 2019 or early 2020, and so I am planning to work PT at least until then.

Not sure if this helps you at all, but at least it gives you an example of how someone else went through the thought process and made the trade offs of time versus money.  On a more philosophical level, I keep thinking about the expression you hear people using when they talk about deploying the military: freedom isn't free.  And that's how I look at the next seven months, as payment for my freedom for the rest of my life.  It's going to be a sucky seven months, but on the bright side, unlike if I were deployed, no one will be shooting at me.  And I've made myself a solemn promise that I'm never going to delay gratification to this level of extreme again.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on January 23, 2017, 09:41:42 PM
It's a tough question for me too, because I am currently working one of those hard core, invades its tentacles into every aspect of your life, kind of professional jobs.  It's incredibly stressful, and there's no doubt in my mind that it's shortening my lifespan (not to mention detracting from my enjoyment of life).  It's not a horribly hostile work environment or anything like that.  I just have other places I'd rather be and other things I'd rather do.  On the other hand, the salary is high enough that it feels like I've won the lotto every two weeks when I get paid, and it's allowing me to save ~$13,000 per month on top of my living expenses of ~$2500 per month.

I calculated that spending two more years with my current employer would allow me to reach my heavily inflated FIRE number by mid-2018 and almost certainly never have to work again.  I initially planned to do that.  But the job has gotten steadily more intolerable for various reasons, and I've decided that spending two more years at it is simply not something I can stomach doing.  So I'm compromising and quitting in March.  For the next seven months until I quit, I am going to go balls to the wall.  Then I am going to take three months completely off to travel/decompress, and then I'm going to work at a markedly reduced schedule for the rest of my work life expectancy. 

I conservatively estimate that I will be about $70,000 short of bare minimum FI (BMFI) in seven months when I quit.  This is based upon my savings rate alone and assumes no market gains or dividends.  I expect to reach BMFI by the end of next year, albeit at a reduced savings rate/longer time span since I won't be earning/saving nearly as much once I quit this job.  I should reach my inflated FIRE number by the end of 2019 or early 2020, and so I am planning to work PT at least until then.

Not sure if this helps you at all, but at least it gives you an example of how someone else went through the thought process and made the trade offs of time versus money.  On a more philosophical level, I keep thinking about the expression you hear people using when they talk about deploying the military: freedom isn't free.  And that's how I look at the next seven months, as payment for my freedom for the rest of my life.  It's going to be a sucky seven months, but on the bright side, unlike if I were deployed, no one will be shooting at me.  And I've made myself a solemn promise that I'm never going to delay gratification to this level of extreme again.

Libertea, we are so similar! I have roughly the same savings rate and expenses, and feelings about my job (it's not awful by any means, but I know it could be so much better).

One thing about your math though... AFAICT you were (at the time of your post) about 1 year to bare minimum FI. Add 1 year to that and you'd be at your "heavily inflated" FIRE number. This means your bare minimum and heavily inflated numbers are only $150k apart. How can that be?

My bare minimum is around $400k, my comfortable number would be $1m and heavily inflated would be something like $1.5-2m. I find there's so much uncertainy since I haven't lived that life before: not sure how much I'll want to spend, not sure what I'll even be doing (I have plans, but realistically they might change 2-3 years down the road) or where I'll live, not sure if I'll be earning PT, or going back to work, or if I'll get bored of traveling, getting married/kids, getting sick, wanting to start a business, etc. E.g. I currently spend very little, but I'm in "monk mode" with work, and I know with FIRE I'll get much more social, which is one of my reasons to FIRE in the first place, and I suspect outings may get expensive, or less, but again, I have no real idea. That makes it so hard to decide if I should tough it out 1, 2, or 3 years, which would literally bring me from 500k to 1m savings, but is starting to bring me down, and might just be uncessary if I'm going back to work in 5 years anyway (hence my interest mini-retirement).

Let me guess, are you one of engineer/lawyer/cpa and is your PT job plan to be a yoga teacher? ;)

OP, I am going to be trying out this strategy as well.  Quitting my job in March, will be spending two months abroad in April/May, then starting training for new job (semi-retirement job that I anticipate working at PT) in June.

Regarding mindset, I've thought a lot about this, because one of the issues I'm concerned about is what to do with myself during retirement.  I find that I get restless and bored after a couple of weeks with "nothing" to do.  I like setting goals for myself and pushing myself to achieve them (which no doubt is why I'm going to be able to achieve FI in the first place).  I've realized that what I really want is not to stop working altogether, but rather to work on my own terms, doing what I want, when I want.  And for sure not having to ask "permission" from some boss to take a measly two week vacation.  Heh.

I completely agree about working on your terms on goals that matter to you. But I think it's not necessary or beneficial to plan these goals too much in advance while still working. I suspect once you FIRE and decompress for 2-3 months, your goals will become clear to you and may differ from the preconieved plan you had before, so it's good to keep flexibility. But I'm sure you knew that.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on January 23, 2017, 11:42:40 PM
So I'm compromising and quitting in March.  For the next seven months until I quit, I am going to go balls to the wall.  Then I am going to take three months completely off to travel/decompress, and then I'm going to work at a markedly reduced schedule for the rest of my work life expectancy. 

It's been 5 months since you posted this... still the plan?  Any changes?

One thing about your math though... AFAICT you were (at the time of your post) about 1 year to bare minimum FI. Add 1 year to that and you'd be at your "heavily inflated" FIRE number. This means your bare minimum and heavily inflated numbers are only $150k apart. How can that be?

My bare minimum is around $400k, my comfortable number would be $1m and heavily inflated would be something like $1.5-2m.

Good question!  Curious about that too.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Libertea on January 24, 2017, 01:25:28 PM
Haha, ok, so updates.

A couple of weeks after that post gerardc quoted, I had my final straw moment and turned in my resignation.  (It has a good FU story with it that I may eventually post on the appropriate thread, but not right now.)  I gave four months notice, meaning that I left Well Paying But Super Stressful Job at the end of the year (now a little over three weeks ago).  At that time, I had saved about $525k. 

My bare minimum FIRE number was $625k, which is 25x a spending level of $25k/year.  However, I have a few other "luxury" expenses, including paying for my niece's and nephew's college funds, wanting to travel more, and self-insuring for LTC.  Therefore, I budgeted to have 25x $30k/year, which is $750k, as my "full FI" number, plus an additional $50k for LTC self-insurance, bringing my grand padded total to $800k.  So yes, it is indeed about $150k (actually $175k) more, an amount which would have taken me just over one additional year of working at my prior job to have saved.  However, in addition, these amounts were in 2015 dollars, and I am assuming a 3.5% inflation rate, which means that as of the end of last year (2016), I'd actually have needed $828k, and as of the end of this year, I'd need about $857k. 

I'm now almost a month into a six month sabbatical, after which I will begin working PT and doing a paid internship to train for a possible new semi-retirement career.  The pay is high enough to cover my expenses, but obviously nowhere close to what I was making before.  However, even with the drastically decreased income (this year, I expect to earn about 1/4 of what I earned last year), I am only delaying reaching my full, padded FI by about 2 years (so will likely get there in 2020 now).  And I still expect to reach bare minimum FI early next year or possibly even by the end of this year.

Regarding your concerns about whether your life will change drastically after FI, in my case, I am relatively confident that mine won't.  I am already middle aged (early 40s), unmarried, with no plans to have my own children, and have a pretty good idea of what I'd like to be doing with my time.  I readily concede that I might feel differently if I were still in my 30s or especially in my 20s though, so gerardc's points are well taken and well worth considering, especially for younger retirees.

Hopefully this clarifies for those who are interested.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on January 24, 2017, 02:47:28 PM
Thanks for the update, LiberT!  Hope you post the FU story some day.  :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on January 24, 2017, 08:55:45 PM
Thanks for the update Libertea!

We're even at the same stash amount (I'm at ~$520k). It's only a little disheartening to have worked hard to build a career while earning relatively little from 20 to 28, and now being able to easily fly from 520 to 700 in a year, then 900 a year later, which is a lot in relative terms, but then just quitting...

Whenever you're undecided between two things, a good answer is often in the middle (say, OMY for me). If you see life as a series of probabilistic events, you can hedge your bets by picking a middle ground. E.g. there's a fair chance I'll go back to work for at least 1-2 years in 10 years; a good chance I'll have good PT income (say $10-30k/year); some chance the stock market won't crash that hard; some chance that I'll want MORE money/safety; some chance that I'm overshooting my target. I suspect the neural networks in your brain are quite good at making sense of all these probabilities and coming up with a decision. Exact calculations are (kind of) hopeless. You just pick something reasonable then don't look back.

* One tiny detail: Isn't it disadvantageous to quit end of year? I'd just try to quit in the spring so that I can benefit from a year more of 401k deductions + company match, roth mega back door (putting all my paycheck in there until they're maxed out) and paying low taxes that year.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on January 24, 2017, 09:01:37 PM
We're even at the same stash amount (I'm at ~$520k). It's only a little disheartening to have worked hard to build a career while earning relatively little from 20 to 28, and now being able to easily fly from 520 to 700 in a year, then 900 a year later, which is a lot in relative terms, but then just quitting...

The earlier the better (for the most part).  I don't see the early years as slow, but the later ones as fast.  They fly you to ER.  Not disheartening then, but exciting.  :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on January 24, 2017, 09:27:04 PM
Yeah I don't know, there's kind of an opportunity cost to finally being in a good position to make money. That's like being thirsty in a desert, finding a well, drinking 3-4 sips then being on your way, thinking "that's all I need". Maybe it'd have been nice to fill up the tank while you were there.

The question is really more how much is enough, and how much is too much, and I find that pretty hard to answer.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on January 24, 2017, 10:53:09 PM
Yeah I don't know, there's kind of an opportunity cost to finally being in a good position to make money. That's like being thirsty in a desert, finding a well, drinking 3-4 sips then being on your way, thinking "that's all I need". Maybe it'd have been nice to fill up the tank while you were there.

The question is really more how much is enough, and how much is too much, and I find that pretty hard to answer.

Poor analogy, because with the well you'll absolutely definitely need more.  Once you have enough, you don't need any more.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on January 24, 2017, 11:23:43 PM
Nah, you won't need more water if you carry enough and you only drink 4% of your tank each year
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on January 24, 2017, 11:28:07 PM

The question is really more how much is enough, and how much is too much, and I find that pretty hard to answer.

That is the right question. It is indeed hard to answer, but I think many would find the answer surprisingly low. I know I did.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on January 24, 2017, 11:29:12 PM
Thanks for the update Libertea!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on January 25, 2017, 12:10:32 AM
Nah, you won't need more water if you carry enough and you only drink 4% of your tank each year

Sure, if the tank refills itself, and you can stop and add more water at any time.  ;)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on January 25, 2017, 01:08:44 PM
Hey guys - I don't know if you cared for an update from me, but I thought I'd share anyway.

I am in week 5 of an 11 week sabbatical. What I have concluded (so far) is that "retiring" is an interesting concept, especially for a 32 year old. It is very flexible, despite what the IRP says.

Respectfully to arebelspy and gocurrycracker, I don't really want to travel non-stop. Especially with my family of 5. In week 5 of my vacation (in Mexico and I am from the US) I miss my family and the stability of home. I like being gone in the dead of winter and could imagine regular, longer than normal vacations annually all over the world. But, not really much longer than 4-6 weeks I think. It will get harder when my kids get older, are in higher grades and have friends and activities.

Also, I don't think I like the MMM totally unplug "retire." I'm a little different because I own my own business. So, I can adjust hours, tasks, vision for the business, really everything. Unlike a big business or government person, I have already designed a business and daily routine that fits me and I can change it whenever I like. Being way past FU money and nearly FI allows me to jettison anyone I don't like as well. So, what exactly would I be unplugging from and to?  I already mosey into work at 9:00, go to the gym at 12 and leave at 4:30. I can go on vacations whenever I want. I have hired people I like with complimentary skills so I don't have to do things I deem hard/unnatural. Indeed, why would I give this up? I've decided I will not give it up. Especially to please the IRP! Haha :)

The even more interesting point is kind of related to libertea's post. You don't need a FI point that makes your entire life totally livable on passive income if you are going to continue to earn money. So, I am currently at 525 NW. That covers approximately 50% of my families living expenses. But, what about if I keep working? I mean, if my "retirement" is just me continuing to work as I do now and I currently make 200k+ then doesn't that qualify as FI. That means I am using about 25k of my 200k income to live a life I have intentionally designed to be exactly as I want it. There is no withdrawal in the forecast. It appears I'll be like MMM giving away gobs of money in the near future. Anyway, money is now officially "not a problem." I'm calling it FI no matter what anyone else calls it.

Anyway, this vacation has confirmed that mini-sabaticals of 4-6 weeks every winter and maybe another vacation for a week or two is about right. I'm not going to quit working (for the foreseeable future). So, I'm just going to ride of into the sunset living the good life. I think this is full-SWAMI.

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on January 25, 2017, 01:34:41 PM
Full SWAMI it is then!  FI, but not ER'd, is the ideal for many in your situation.

I get why you wouldn't want to travel, or fully unplug.  I personally don't get why you'd want to work so much with 3 kids and a wife at home (or at school part of the day, sure). 

But going in late and leaving early means you only miss a few hours (and some school related stuff, though maybe you take off for that), so not a big deal, and certainly missing way less than most.  If that's what floats your boat, more power to you!

Congratulations on your success!  :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on January 25, 2017, 07:16:33 PM
Arebelspy: If you don't understand why 35 hours a week away from 3 kids sounds just right, you don't have three kids! Ha, I'm just kidding, but seriously. :)

I also thought this thread was interesting bc all three of us thinking about mini-sabbiticals, RE and "what it all means" are at basically the same net worth: 525k. Maybe this is the level you start thinking, "Holy shit, that is a lot of money." You can see the finish line, the previously distant goal and start thinking new thoughts. Asking what can I really do/not do with that kind of cash piling up.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on January 26, 2017, 01:05:20 AM


Arebelspy: If you don't understand why 35 hours a week away from 3 kids sounds just right, you don't have three kids! Ha, I'm just kidding, but seriously. :)

Haha, touche.

I think CanuckExPat has mentioned similar things in his recently FIREd journal (how he misses day care).
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: MasterStache on January 26, 2017, 05:22:58 AM
Excellent updates! I enjoy reading stories/experiences of everyone else. 500K+ is my target number for full FI (while the wife continues to work). I'll be switching to PT work before that though, sometime this year. 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Libertea on January 26, 2017, 11:12:43 AM
I also thought this thread was interesting bc all three of us thinking about mini-sabbiticals, RE and "what it all means" are at basically the same net worth: 525k. Maybe this is the level you start thinking, "Holy shit, that is a lot of money." You can see the finish line, the previously distant goal and start thinking new thoughts. Asking what can I really do/not do with that kind of cash piling up.
I'm thinking about how significant being at a half million dollars NW is for beginning to ponder semi-retirement or otherwise changing one's work life.  I think there is some truth to what you're saying.  I realized that at this point, I could stop saving for retirement at traditional age (which would be at 67 for a Gen Xer like myself).  Even at an extremely conservative 3.5% return, my money would more than double during the next 25 years, leaving me a millionaire.  This is also assuming that I never added another dollar of savings to my stash and never received a dime from SS (neither of which is a good assumption at all). 

So then the question becomes, ok, what do I want more: to reach FI (with or without the RE) as quickly as possible?  Or to start engineering more quality of life changes into my life right now, while still continuing to work (at a decreased level) to cover my current living expenses and add a bit more to my stash, albeit much more slowly?  For me, I had grown to dislike my last job enough that it seemed like a no-brainer.  What was the point of killing myself balls to the wall (or ovaries to the wall in my case?) for two more years with an endpoint of not ever working again?  I don't dislike WORKING per se.  I disliked THAT PARTICULAR JOB.  There's a big difference!  And I also wanted to work fewer hours, but again, FEWER hours doesn't automatically mean NO hours.  So while I understand that many people prefer to not work at all and go straight for FIRE, I decided that I'd rather glide along for a while, enjoying life now and working fewer hours at something that's more lifestyle-oriented and that I enjoy doing.  Because if I end up doing something that I enjoy so much that I don't want to ever completely retire from it, that seems like a pretty awesome way to live my life.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on January 26, 2017, 08:11:48 PM
Yeah, I think $500k is a good amount if you just want a short break then plan to keep working regularly, maybe downshifting a bit. If you want a bigger downshift, like not working for 1-2 years, but are open to PT work in the future, a business or maybe going back to work FT down the line, $700k is plenty, for sure.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: pdxmonkey on January 26, 2017, 09:30:33 PM
I think 500k net worth is a bare minimum Fi number for a "well I'll never be homeless" lifestyle if you are not in a HCOL area. Here in Portland I'm somewhere in the 625-650 range and 750k seems about where I'll be having these thoughts. Move to an area where housing is 100-150k instead of 350-400k and the non housing portion of the net worth looks pretty much the same.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: CanuckExpat on January 26, 2017, 10:21:07 PM


Arebelspy: If you don't understand why 35 hours a week away from 3 kids sounds just right, you don't have three kids! Ha, I'm just kidding, but seriously. :)

Haha, touche.

I think CanuckExPat has mentioned similar things in his recently FIREd journal (how he misses day care).

Yup only one (and a half?) and I totally understand where he is coming from!

Kiddo also loved daycare.. I can see why he would, it's like an all inclusive retreat for kids. Except they are wired enough they don't need to get drunk
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: spokey doke on January 27, 2017, 09:00:14 AM
I never did this, but if I had to do it over again, I would do it that way.

I think I remember  you saying you/wife worked most summers via. Summer School,tutoring, furthering your education, etc. Plus of course you had real  estate stuff going on.

My question is - Had you done nothing (work related) in the Summers would you have considered those "mini-retirements" or would that be too short?

Just curious, for those on thread who don't know me my wife is a teacher and I'm sort of self employed and hope to join her in Summers off in 3-5 years after clearing up some debt.

Two months is nothing.  That's barely enough time to decompress.  We did a backpacking through Europe trip one summer, and that was great, but not like a retirement (even a mini-one).

I think I'd take 1-2 year sabbaticals, personally.

The wife and I just hit a year, approximately, and we discussed how we weren't quite ready to go back, though we could if we had to (e.g. if we had only saved up enough to take a year off, instead of being FI), but that in another year, we'd totally be energized and ready to work again, if we were planning on it.

I mean, sure, two months is better than the lousy two weeks most people get.  But we can spend a month or two just in a single town.  Having two months off to relax and vacation and decompress is quite a bit different than a retirement where you aren't just temporarily doing it, but you're living it.

IDK, it's hard to explain.  You'll see what I mean though, when you do fully FIRE and spend all your time with the wife/kids/stuff you want to do.  :)
All of this. I've taken short sabbaticals (month or 2) and long sabbaticals (couple of years with last one planned for 5 years) and FIRE is a whole different animal.

Knowing you never have to work again, unless you want to,  and that every single moment of the rest of your life you are free to do exactly want you want (more or less) is a very different feeling from knowing that you'll "have to" go back to work after your sabbatical ends. That doesn't mean long sabbaticals aren't great - they are and what I was doing myself but found FI along the way - but just a different mind set.

Yes, more time and time that is more free of the need to work is better, but taking what advantage you can of your situation makes a lot of sense.

I had a number of 'sabbaticals' in my 20's that were priceless - a year or two between degrees with intermittent low key work and tons of time. Every couple of years, I got restless or thought the grass was green in school or out of school and enjoyed being able to shift gears.

I had a genuine academic sabbatical that was pretty amazing too in the middle of my last career.  But while I was able to return after over a year away with more energy, it mostly made me realize that I didn't like my job that much.

I'm pseudo-retired now and enjoying taking each day as it comes, even though I'm putting in lots of time starting a business, but would really love to get to the full-on, no strings, where do you want to go today? stage.

My only caution is that during the time off, you may develop all sorts of ideas/interests/plans that are at odds with your current vision of returning to your engineering gig...but it should be exciting either way
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: MasterStache on January 27, 2017, 11:01:04 AM
I think 500k net worth is a bare minimum Fi number for a "well I'll never be homeless" lifestyle if you are not in a HCOL area. Here in Portland I'm somewhere in the 625-650 range and 750k seems about where I'll be having these thoughts. Move to an area where housing is 100-150k instead of 350-400k and the non housing portion of the net worth looks pretty much the same.

Yeah the HCOL area does hamper your FI a bit. Although we live in a HCOL and found a house for 150K (might as well have been a foreclosure). We got lucky.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on January 27, 2017, 09:29:23 PM
I also thought this thread was interesting bc all three of us thinking about mini-sabbiticals, RE and "what it all means" are at basically the same net worth: 525k. Maybe this is the level you start thinking, "Holy shit, that is a lot of money." You can see the finish line, the previously distant goal and start thinking new thoughts. Asking what can I really do/not do with that kind of cash piling up.
I'm thinking about how significant being at a half million dollars NW is for beginning to ponder semi-retirement or otherwise changing one's work life.  I think there is some truth to what you're saying.  I realized that at this point, I could stop saving for retirement at traditional age (which would be at 67 for a Gen Xer like myself).  Even at an extremely conservative 3.5% return, my money would more than double during the next 25 years, leaving me a millionaire.  This is also assuming that I never added another dollar of savings to my stash and never received a dime from SS (neither of which is a good assumption at all). 

So then the question becomes, ok, what do I want more: to reach FI (with or without the RE) as quickly as possible?  Or to start engineering more quality of life changes into my life right now, while still continuing to work (at a decreased level) to cover my current living expenses and add a bit more to my stash, albeit much more slowly?  For me, I had grown to dislike my last job enough that it seemed like a no-brainer.  What was the point of killing myself balls to the wall (or ovaries to the wall in my case?) for two more years with an endpoint of not ever working again?  I don't dislike WORKING per se.  I disliked THAT PARTICULAR JOB.  There's a big difference!  And I also wanted to work fewer hours, but again, FEWER hours doesn't automatically mean NO hours.  So while I understand that many people prefer to not work at all and go straight for FIRE, I decided that I'd rather glide along for a while, enjoying life now and working fewer hours at something that's more lifestyle-oriented and that I enjoy doing.  Because if I end up doing something that I enjoy so much that I don't want to ever completely retire from it, that seems like a pretty awesome way to live my life.

Libertea: I had the exact same thought process. It's like you just typed out of my brain.

I had the additional thought that if any of those highly conservative assumptions (no additional money saved, no SS, low returns, etcetera) are wrong then I have, in fact, already probably over saved and will actually end up ridiculously wealthy.

In my personal situation, I have all that flexibility and still maintain a high income so WTF. I'll just end up giving it away. Why stress about an imaginary FIRE'd finish line to create passive income under conservative assumptions that actually won't ever be used because I am just going to continue with the exact same life which includes earning lots of money? It just didn't make sense. But, it took a lot of mental and emotional effort to come to that conclusion.

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: nara on January 27, 2017, 09:50:32 PM
We've done this many times in our lives. My husband and I quit our jobs and signed a contract to teach English in South Korea for a year. We volunteered on a farm in Florida for a month before we left, we traveled a lot during school breaks while in Korea, and then we took 6 months off to travel Asia after our contract ended. We came home with about $10k in savings.

After we came back to the US we moved across the country and worked for a couple years and then I lost my job. I took that as an opportunity to start to build my own business and took off several months to do that. We both then worked as independent contractors part-time for several years. We had about a 15-20 hour work week. It felt like retirement to us.

Now we have grown a pretty successful business with several full-time employees and often work a typical 40+ hour work week. We are missing the more leisurely lifestyle we had, but enjoy our work and know that despite being able to maintain our lifestyles during those leisurely years we had no real future savings and would have had to work indefinitely. I think semi-retirement is great as long as you are still saving and still on target.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAGuy on January 27, 2017, 10:58:11 PM
So I've basically done this and here's my story.

My NW is pretty similar to what folks here are listing. I sold my condo in LA back in October and all told my NW after investing the proceeds and enjoying the Trump rally is just north of 600k now. Like others here, once my NW started going over 500k I really started to realize that the biggest variable in when I could call it quits was starting to become market variance and not how much I could contribute. As such, I started to think of ways that I could just defray draw down of my stash while I let it do its thing.

So, after I sold everything I hit the road for a few months. Wanted a proper Spanish immersion, so I mostly just hung out in Medellin, Colombia the whole time. Just this week, I've returned to work for 6 months as a contract healthcare worker (like a traveling nurse, but my profession is in the laboratory). It was super easy to get a contract lined up for the exact date I wanted as well as favorable hours. Lot of desperate laboratories out there. So, now I'll be working for a few months until the end of July when I'll head out again.

Boredom: yeah, I got bored down in Medellin sometimes, despite making quite a few friends and having an all around good time. Now that I'm back to work this week, I'm already bored out of my mind doing that. I'll take the boredom that comes with not working far more than the boredom that comes with working.

Sword of Damocles: this in my view is the biggest problem with semi RE. No matter how much time you've got off, it's always gnawing in the back of your mind that you've got to go back "soon". This is true for a 2 week vacation. And it was true for my roughly 4 months off. I'm sure it'll be true for my 6 month off stint coming up as well. There's only one way to escape that feeling for good I'm thinking: retire for good...forever. The reverse is also a pain: see the other thread on this forum about surviving the last 6 months before FIRE. I'm going to have to deal with that every year. I'm already on the countdown: 1 week down, 25 to go.

Finances: working part time with a large taxable account (from condo sale) to live off of if necessary is a nice place to be in. My taxes will be super low...I'll dump what I make from working into my retirement accounts. The contract work covers my housing as well as paying $260 a week for expenses, tax free. The one thing that is super expensive is having to go around setting up my life again on arrival back in the US. Living abroad for even a few months makes you realize how ridiculously expensive things are here. Abroad, I walk into a 7-11 and walk out with a SIM card and a month of data for $15. Here, you'll be lucky to get it for $40. And you'll have to put up with people trying to sell you Direct TV and Virtual Reality goggles for your phone, "Sir, I think these would really benefit you in your travels!" Transportation is horribly expensive in the US as well. Yeah, I'm doing the bike thing and all that, but I don't want to deal with even a beater old car to own for only 6 months. Long term car rentals are laugh out loud expensive (starting at like $900 a month and God knows what hidden taxes and fees are also added) - somebody really needs to start a "rent-a-beater" car rental company. Basically, I'm looking at a couple of hundred a month in Uber charges. Still, I'm getting well compensated for it, so whatevs, but the second I'm not working, is the second I'm out of this place again. Still, the LCOL parts of the world are seriously inexpensive; that part ain't a joke. I could not see how one could spend over $2000 a month living in a place like Colombia.

Loneliness: this isn't really applicable to this topic, but I'm going to go ahead and include it here since there's a couple threads in this forum right now that are covering similar ground. This is definitely going to be an issue during my work phase. Fellow Americans think you're weird if you're in your 40's and you don't have a wife and a couple of kids and a miserable job. I'm pretty sure they think the main focus of my travels is so I can have sex with children and engage in liberal drug use. However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.

Do I regret pulling out when I did? Nope, not at all. Like others here, I needed a change...badly. Being back at a job and my attitude is much improved. I mean, I'd still rather not be working, but it's certainly not the soul crushing horror show it was. I don't think it'll even make any difference one way or the other as to my final FIRE date either. I'm still looking at 2 to 5 more years of work, depending on market returns. Basically the same situation I was in before.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on January 27, 2017, 11:23:38 PM
That's an awesome story, LAG!  Thanks for sharing!  :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on January 27, 2017, 11:34:31 PM
. However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.

This was always my favorite part of travelling. There are so many people out there living non-traditional lifestyles. It's really freeing to find the amount of good friends one can make in a strange country that they barely know. And this happens all over the world. While air BnB'ing across the planet is ok, some times the old ways are still the best ways, as far as meeting new people and experiencing things one might not if they only traveled to  and from tourist traps from their rented house.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on January 28, 2017, 12:45:06 AM
LAGuy, I really identify with your post. Glad to see you still enjoy your travel at 42, and it's not too late...

A couple points:

I don't think it'll even make any difference one way or the other as to my final FIRE date either. I'm still looking at 2 to 5 more years of work, depending on market returns. Basically the same situation I was in before.
Well, with your 600k and living @ 2k / month in Colombia, you're exactly at 4% SWR, so that's not surprising. That blog post from livingafi showed a slight delay in overall work years, but that's only if your currently stash puts you above say 5%. If you're even lower say at 3%, a mini-retirement will actually decrease your total work years! (if you temporarily reduce your expenses)


However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.
That's one of the main reason if want to FIRE. I get very withdrawn, or very social depending on the envrionment. I find the american culture and corporate envrionment is not very conducive to having an interesting social life. There's just no sense of community, no fun events happening. Some people try to organize things, but the spirit just isn't there, I find. Maybe people are just too over worked and focused on individual pursuits, I don't know, but that makes life a nightmare.


Sword of Damocles: this in my view is the biggest problem with semi RE. No matter how much time you've got off, it's always gnawing in the back of your mind that you've got to go back "soon". This is true for a 2 week vacation. And it was true for my roughly 4 months off. I'm sure it'll be true for my 6 month off stint coming up as well. There's only one way to escape that feeling for good I'm thinking: retire for good...forever. The reverse is also a pain: see the other thread on this forum about surviving the last 6 months before FIRE. I'm going to have to deal with that every year. I'm already on the countdown: 1 week down, 25 to go.

Agree, but that only affects those mini-retirements. That's basically the reason I haven't gone forward with those 1-6 months breaks. I figure with so short a break, you have barely started it that you already need to start figuring out logistics for coming back. You'd need a good buffer of 1-2 years at least, IMO. The first 2-3 months you decompress, then if you want to start an open-ended project that requires to move or other committment, you're free to pursue it. Even a 6 month "deadline" would seriously put a dent in your perceived freedom.

I see FIRE as mostly a way to try out your life in ways that are not guaranteed to earn a (livable) income, like acting or music, or starting a business. You get the safety net of your stash plus the thriving factor of these bigger goals. You don't really get that by taking a short break, IMO, although I'm sure that feels good too.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAGuy on January 28, 2017, 11:51:03 AM
LAGuy, I really identify with your post. Glad to see you still enjoy your travel at 42, and it's not too late...

Hahaha! Yup, even at the ripe old age of 42 I still manage to get around. Thank God for priority boarding for us old people!

This was always my favorite part of travelling. There are so many people out there living non-traditional lifestyles. It's really freeing to find the amount of good friends one can make in a strange country that they barely know. And this happens all over the world. While air BnB'ing across the planet is ok, some times the old ways are still the best ways, as far as meeting new people and experiencing things one might not if they only traveled to  and from tourist traps from their rented house.

I did Air BnB in Medellin. Worked out well, I had an awesome place! I do agree that you need some purpose to get out and meet people, though. For me, my circle of friends were fellow language students. I think if you're just living cheap in a foreign land with no purpose you're going to get bored and lonely pretty quick.

Agree, but that only affects those mini-retirements. That's basically the reason I haven't gone forward with those 1-6 months breaks. I figure with so short a break, you have barely started it that you already need to start figuring out logistics for coming back. You'd need a good buffer of 1-2 years at least, IMO. The first 2-3 months you decompress, then if you want to start an open-ended project that requires to move or other committment, you're free to pursue it. Even a 6 month "deadline" would seriously put a dent in your perceived freedom.

I think worrying about having to put up with logistics isn't really an issue to worry about. First, the more you do it the better you get at it. I'm usually up and running in under 48 hours just about anywhere I go these days (phone, metro card, bike, place). It just comes down to how simply you can live your life. Ironically, the biggest hassle is getting things sorted here in the good old USA, "I assume you'll be wanting the Triple Play Pack with that, sir?" Second, this is the life I signed up for. We all have logistics to deal with in our lives no matter how we choose to live; sure, there's costs involved with moving around, but they're planned for "sunk costs".

Is 1 to 2 years a sufficient break where 6 months is not? Not sure I'm prepared to say that. There's issues with longer breaks too that are going to be gnawing at you. Will your skills still be up to date when you're ready to return? That was my biggest concern when considering longer term breaks. I mean I could take 10 years off if I wanted to, but would I be willing and able to return then? Working part of the year, every year, is also a pretty sweet deal from a tax perspective as well. You can take advantage of the juicy end of the progressive tax scale, still have retirement account contribution access as well as get another year on your SS contributions for whatever that's worth to you. On the downside, for now at least, you'll be required to carry ACA insurance even while abroad. Incidentally, this is probably the number reason I haven't chose to work only 3 months and travel for 9...it's not worth coming back here to work for just 3 months what with travel costs and needing to carry ACA if you're in country for more than 30 days.

At the end of the day, it's just another way to live your life. I don't anticipate living like this forever. I'll want to settle down somewhere longer term eventually, but that will also probably be the day I quit working for good as well. Or I could decide to work full time again, it's not like the decision to semi RE is permanent.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on January 28, 2017, 01:08:06 PM
Now to find the employer that lets you work a month, take a 11 month sabbatical, and repeat.

;)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Libertea on January 28, 2017, 03:43:43 PM
Now to find the employer that lets you work a month, take a 11 month sabbatical, and repeat.

;)
There is such an employer.  It's called "Self." :-D
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on January 28, 2017, 04:01:04 PM
Now to find the employer that lets you work a month, take a 11 month sabbatical, and repeat.

;)
There is such an employer.  It's called "Self." :-D

That sounds like a pretty grueling work schedule. I think I'd rather have more free time.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on January 28, 2017, 04:14:32 PM
This thread is awesome, thank you for sharing everyone.

I originally planned to work till 40 and hit my $1M full FIRE #. Then realized I could cut expenses and get to $600k by age 35.

I have a feeling once I crack the $400-500k mark I will be looking to do this type of arrangement.....$18-20k/yr is enough to live comfortably in most LCOL/MCOL areas, and many countries.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on January 28, 2017, 07:35:56 PM
This is a fabulous thread, I cant beleive I hadn't read it before!

@libertea, glad your are enjoying yourself!  dont forget good 'ole classical_liberal while he is slaving  away with the crazies!
However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.

That's one of the main reason if want to FIRE. I get very withdrawn, or very social depending on the envrionment. I find the american culture and corporate envrionment is not very conducive to having an interesting social life. There's just no sense of community, no fun events happening. Some people try to organize things, but the spirit just isn't there, I find. Maybe people are just too over worked and focused on individual pursuits, I don't know, but that makes life a nightmare.

^^^ I get this!

@LAguy, I remember you posting when you were first thinking about travel work, I hadn't realized you were this far into your game plan!  Super awesome!

I don't have quite the assets you do, but I've been seriously contemplating cutting down. 2, 3-mo contracts a year would be the plan because if I cut back less, I just don't see the big advantage. I'd still have a very positive savings rate, so finances aren't too big a concern, but this has me a bit worried.
Sword of Damocles: this in my view is the biggest problem with semi RE. No matter how much time you've got off, it's always gnawing in the back of your mind that you've got to go back "soon". This is true for a 2 week vacation. And it was true for my roughly 4 months off. I'm sure it'll be true for my 6 month off stint coming up as well. There's only one way to escape that feeling for good I'm thinking: retire for good...forever. The reverse is also a pain: see the other thread on this forum about surviving the last 6 months before FIRE. I'm going to have to deal with that every year. I'm already on the countdown: 1 week down, 25 to go.

I'm totally that guy. Letting some distant thought of going back to work months down the road ruin my day, worrying about the next assignment sucking or some such BS.  Would you care to elaborate?  How much did it impact your daily life and how did you cope with this?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAGuy on January 28, 2017, 09:30:11 PM
This is a fabulous thread, I cant beleive I hadn't read it before!

@libertea, glad your are enjoying yourself!  dont forget good 'ole classical_liberal while he is slaving  away with the crazies!
However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.

That's one of the main reason if want to FIRE. I get very withdrawn, or very social depending on the envrionment. I find the american culture and corporate envrionment is not very conducive to having an interesting social life. There's just no sense of community, no fun events happening. Some people try to organize things, but the spirit just isn't there, I find. Maybe people are just too over worked and focused on individual pursuits, I don't know, but that makes life a nightmare.

^^^ I get this!

@LAguy, I remember you posting when you were first thinking about travel work, I hadn't realized you were this far into your game plan!  Super awesome!

I don't have quite the assets you do, but I've been seriously contemplating cutting down. 2, 3-mo contracts a year would be the plan because if I cut back less, I just don't see the big advantage. I'd still have a very positive savings rate, so finances aren't too big a concern, but this has me a bit worried.
Sword of Damocles: this in my view is the biggest problem with semi RE. No matter how much time you've got off, it's always gnawing in the back of your mind that you've got to go back "soon". This is true for a 2 week vacation. And it was true for my roughly 4 months off. I'm sure it'll be true for my 6 month off stint coming up as well. There's only one way to escape that feeling for good I'm thinking: retire for good...forever. The reverse is also a pain: see the other thread on this forum about surviving the last 6 months before FIRE. I'm going to have to deal with that every year. I'm already on the countdown: 1 week down, 25 to go.

I'm totally that guy. Letting some distant thought of going back to work months down the road ruin my day, worrying about the next assignment sucking or some such BS.  Would you care to elaborate?  How much did it impact your daily life and how did you cope with this?

Yeah, that was quite the rollercoaster getting to where I am now, haha! Like others here I finally said, "Fuck this I can't deal anymore." Called my Realtor and told him my number. A number I was sure was going to be too high. But we got pretty darn close to it in the end. Of course, it took one failed escrow at the last minute followed by a layoff from my shit job that I had been expecting to come any day for the past several years (probably requesting a severance package days before the failed escrow was due to close had something to do with that, hehe). But despite the ride, everything has basically fallen into place they way I hoped it would.

Do you do contract work full time? Personally I don't see how you can NOT take breaks. Or at least return home to work there part of the year. The place the agency has me set up in is nice enough, but it's not exactly "homey". My AirBnB in Medellin was way more like a home than this soulless apartment with rented furniture is.

I coped with the idea of going back to work by kind of being a slug and doing absolutely nothing quite a bit of my time for about the last month. I'd say it impacted my state of mind quite a bit because I had this constant feeling that I needed more "downtime". I'm not particularly guilty about it, because doing nothing was frankly part of the plan especially considering before arriving in Medellin, I basically sold my place, crashed at my brothers for 2 days, then got on a plane and started 4 hours a day of Spanish lessons a few days later. That was all a bit much. But in the future, I'm going to have to be a bit more deliberate in what I'm going to do with my time. I don't want to just spend 6 months dreading going back to work and compensating by sitting around playing video games and watching movies.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on January 28, 2017, 09:55:29 PM
@LAguy

Yes, I contract full-time.  I dont really have a home, family is scattered and not too close (emotionally and geographically).  For awhile I was keeping an apartment, but it became more of a hassle than it's worth & a waste of money.  I guess "home" is my 10X10 storage locker? or maybe my UPS mailing address?   

Housing depends on where I go, some places I can bank some of the per diem thanks to low priced local rentals.  Basically, I fit everything I need in my car, but have been considering an upgrade to an Astrovan/Safari, as I could fit a bed and a couple of small pieces of furniture.  Then, I could look at nonfurnished rentals & potentially bank more from the per diems. I've been at my current contract for almost 9 months (originally it was only going to be 3 mos) and have been living in an extended stay hotel (bad area for prices on short term stay).  It's actually pretty cool, like a studio apartment with quite a few other travelers staying here. 

I really haven't been taking more than a couple weeks between contracts.  I'm probably just trying to avoid sitting around all day playing video games & watching movies.  Ha!   I'm planning a month after this assignment, to test the waters a bit, but I think 6 months would be much more productive from a relaxation and slow travel standpoint.  I guess I won't know until I try?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on January 28, 2017, 10:06:14 PM
This is a fabulous thread, I cant beleive I hadn't read it before!

@libertea, glad your are enjoying yourself!  dont forget good 'ole classical_liberal while he is slaving  away with the crazies!
However, on the road it's a totally different story. Finally (finally!) I was meeting a lot of people (fellow travelers) with a similar world view to my own. Yeah, most of them weren't all rolling a stash like I (or those of us here) have. But not all of them were just dirty backpackers looking to score cheap coke. In just a few months in Colombia I made a number of really good friends...more than I have since my college years for sure.

That's one of the main reason if want to FIRE. I get very withdrawn, or very social depending on the envrionment. I find the american culture and corporate envrionment is not very conducive to having an interesting social life. There's just no sense of community, no fun events happening. Some people try to organize things, but the spirit just isn't there, I find. Maybe people are just too over worked and focused on individual pursuits, I don't know, but that makes life a nightmare.

^^^ I get this!

@LAguy, I remember you posting when you were first thinking about travel work, I hadn't realized you were this far into your game plan!  Super awesome!

I don't have quite the assets you do, but I've been seriously contemplating cutting down. 2, 3-mo contracts a year would be the plan because if I cut back less, I just don't see the big advantage. I'd still have a very positive savings rate, so finances aren't too big a concern, but this has me a bit worried.
Sword of Damocles: this in my view is the biggest problem with semi RE. No matter how much time you've got off, it's always gnawing in the back of your mind that you've got to go back "soon". This is true for a 2 week vacation. And it was true for my roughly 4 months off. I'm sure it'll be true for my 6 month off stint coming up as well. There's only one way to escape that feeling for good I'm thinking: retire for good...forever. The reverse is also a pain: see the other thread on this forum about surviving the last 6 months before FIRE. I'm going to have to deal with that every year. I'm already on the countdown: 1 week down, 25 to go.

I'm totally that guy. Letting some distant thought of going back to work months down the road ruin my day, worrying about the next assignment sucking or some such BS.  Would you care to elaborate?  How much did it impact your daily life and how did you cope with this?

I coped with the idea of going back to work by kind of being a slug and doing absolutely nothing quite a bit of my time for about the last month. I'd say it impacted my state of mind quite a bit because I had this constant feeling that I needed more "downtime". I'm not particularly guilty about it, because doing nothing was frankly part of the plan especially considering before arriving in Medellin, I basically sold my place, crashed at my brothers for 2 days, then got on a plane and started 4 hours a day of Spanish lessons a few days later. That was all a bit much. But in the future, I'm going to have to be a bit more deliberate in what I'm going to do with my time. I don't want to just spend 6 months dreading going back to work and compensating by sitting around playing video games and watching movies.

What I have found is that I have to create a daily routine no matter where I am. As I've learned more about myself and how to engineer happiness into my life, I see it almost like "Groundhog Day." I have a baseline day of getting up at a certain time, coffee, reading...whatever. Then I add or subtract things to that routine to engineer it into the ideal routine. Of course, being flexible with it to do unexpected things is always possible. But I weigh those unexpected things relative to an awesome (but routine) day - does it make it better or worse? But, doing this - no matter where I am - is what ultimately makes me happier.

If I don't have a basic routine and start tweaking it to make it better - I feel aimless and anxious. Maybe it could help you avoid thinking about potentialities six months in the future and enjoy your present moment.

This is why I am going to keep with my SWAMI status. It already includes a routine I designed and can change at will. When my routine is mundane, a sabbatical will be planned to mix it up and add a little spice to life.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Libertea on January 29, 2017, 06:47:37 AM
That's a great point about having a daily routine, FIREby35.  I have been doing the same thing for the last month.  It took me a few weeks to re-adapt from being awake nights and sleeping days (like I'd annoyingly wake up at 2 or 3 AM and not be able to go back to sleep), but for the last week or so, that hasn't been happening any more.  I go to bed around midnight and get up at 8AM like a "normal" diurnal human being. :-p

CL, you know I thought you were crazy for wintering over there in the first place.  I think my goal in life is to "retire" to being a snowbird. :-D. But seriously, if you love it there (and I know you met someone special, so that changes the calculation too), then that has to count for a lot.  And you know you can leave any time.  I agree with LAguy that you should consider taking longer between this contract and your next.  Even a month may not be long enough; I can't believe January is almost over already.  I feel like even the six months I'm taking off is going to just fly by....

Gerardc, you don't have to wait until FIRE to develop a more interesting social life.  I'm more of an introvert, so I don't participate in a ton of organized activities.  But one thing that really helps me meet people when I move to a new area is to join meetups or other groups for activities I like.  I've been in my current location for one week, but I've already joined a book club here and attended one meeting, for example.  I'm also doing a half marathon in a few weeks, and I've met some acquaintances at the gym.  And of course I see my family quite a bit since they all live around here too.  Maybe you could pick something you like to do and see if there's a local meetup group or club in your area?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on January 29, 2017, 09:19:44 AM
@FIREby35
Good advice with the routine.  You make a good point, having some routine makes anyplace feel like home.  I guess I dont know what it'll be like when I have more or total freedom of time, I can see how routine needs to be in place to stay motivated.  OTOH, I have found that my life is much more interesting (maybe stressful too) when I mix things up.  Maybe the key is balance... Is it possibly my mother was right afterall?

@libertea
A half marathon will be an impressive accomplishment! Time is flying by because we are getting old!  Unfortunately things with Midwestern sort-of coworker are not going to be long term.  We enjoy each other for now, but she is well aware I'm not spending the rest of my life in the frozen tundra & she is pretty attached to the area.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Libertea on January 29, 2017, 10:59:54 AM
Oh, this isn't my first half (though it's the first time I've done this particular race), and I've done a couple of full marathons too.  But I'm a slow runner, so that's the biggest reason why I stopped; it takes me over five hours to finish a marathon.  I kept doing halfs though, which take me from 2-2.5 hours.  I like that distance; it's long enough to feel like I got a good workout, but not so long that my life starts to revolve around training for it.  (Even though I have the time to train for a full marathon now that I'm not working, I don't really WANT to spend 6-7 hours doing a long run every other week for several months!)

I was telling someone else that I'm not particularly athletic (was always the 90 pound weakling type as a kid).  But people THINK I'm "athletic" now because I'm in my 40s and still work out pretty much daily, which is not the norm in our society.  But it's not that I'm so athletic; it's that so many other middle aged people are totally out of shape. ;-P

Sorry that things probably won't work out for LT with your coworker; what happened with the woman of mystery?  :-D
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on January 29, 2017, 11:43:27 AM
I was telling someone else that I'm not particularly athletic (was always the 90 pound weakling type as a kid).  But people THINK I'm "athletic" now because I'm in my 40s and still work out pretty much daily, which is not the norm in our society.  But it's not that I'm so athletic; it's that so many other middle aged people are totally out of shape. ;-P

Maybe I'm just overly impressed with runners because I dislike that activity to such a high degree.  I would argue though,  anyone capable of running a half marathon is in pretty good shape for any age, give yourself some props!  You are certainly right about societies health expectations for people our age.  I've allowed myself to become super overweight, BMI about 28, since travel work started two years ago.  When I'm at a healthy 10-12% body fat my BMI sits at about 24 as I always tend to maintain a basic level of fitness through strength training.  A couple months ago, I decided to start counting calories and gave up sugary snacks; my coworkers thought I was nuts... none of them thought I was overweight.  Just goes to show, even in healthcare, overweight has become the norm.

Sorry that things probably won't work out for LT with your coworker; what happened with the woman of mystery?  :-D
It is too bad, but she just isn't adventurous enough for me & I think she really wants to have a family. IWOM is fun, but it turns out she just got out of a bad marriage.  I was just some dude for a short fling, which was OK by me. High maintenance women like her can be dangerous to fall for!

Where are you staying during your time off, did you move yet?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Libertea on January 29, 2017, 12:28:21 PM
I wouldn't say I love running exactly, but I've come to enjoy various aspects of it, including the sense of accomplishment and the ability to listen to my favorite podcasts or music guilt-free for several hours per week (not to mention the ability to cheat on my diet a bit!)

You're right about the new norm in BMI.  It's not surprising that overweight seems "normal" to us now given that 2/3 of the country's population is overweight or obese.  And of course the Midwest and South are the worst regions of the country for this, so you're right there in the thick of things.  Good for you for not letting other people pressure you into eating so much junk.

Yes, I've started my travels.  I'll keep you posted if you're interested. :-D

And, so as not to derail this thread too much further, I was telling someone this privately, so I'll post it publically as well: I don't think six months is too short of a time to take off.  But maybe my situation is a bit different than gerardc's, for two reasons.  First, I'm starting a new semi-retirement career that I'm excited about.  And second, I'm giving that new career a six month trial period as well.  If I decide at the end of this year that I dislike it, I'm going to quit and do something else.  So it's more like I'm taking six months off, then working six months, which is all I've committed to in my head.  Of course, I could end up like CL and just love the new job so much that I'll want to keep doing it, and I do expect that I'll at least stay for two years.  But we'll see.  I'm ok with it if I end up not liking it and want to leave early.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on January 29, 2017, 04:58:39 PM
Gerardc, you don't have to wait until FIRE to develop a more interesting social life.  I'm more of an introvert, so I don't participate in a ton of organized activities.  But one thing that really helps me meet people when I move to a new area is to join meetups or other groups for activities I like.  I've been in my current location for one week, but I've already joined a book club here and attended one meeting, for example.  I'm also doing a half marathon in a few weeks, and I've met some acquaintances at the gym.  And of course I see my family quite a bit since they all live around here too.  Maybe you could pick something you like to do and see if there's a local meetup group or club in your area?

Yeah, I'm doing that in the meantime to mitigate the damage (dancing, crossfit, clubs), but I don't have much energy for it after work. I'm more of a "go all in" time of person, I have a hard time to multi task with my goals/activities. Since I can't put much effort into it, I get little reward and it sucks compared to what I was achieving in the past, when I had more time, if that makes sense.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on January 29, 2017, 07:41:39 PM
Sorry that things probably won't work out for LT with your coworker; what happened with the woman of mystery?  :-D
It is too bad, but she just isn't adventurous enough for me & I think she really wants to have a family. IWOM is fun, but it turns out she just got out of a bad marriage.  I was just some dude for a short fling, which was OK by me. High maintenance women like her can be dangerous to fall for!

I was waiting for an update on this story! Finally!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: tigerfoot on February 26, 2017, 01:25:46 AM
Sounds good


 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: amyable on February 26, 2017, 05:53:59 AM
I never did this, but if I had to do it over again, I would do it that way.

I think I remember  you saying you/wife worked most summers via. Summer School,tutoring, furthering your education, etc. Plus of course you had real  estate stuff going on.

My question is - Had you done nothing (work related) in the Summers would you have considered those "mini-retirements" or would that be too short?

Just curious, for those on thread who don't know me my wife is a teacher and I'm sort of self employed and hope to join her in Summers off in 3-5 years after clearing up some debt.

Two months is nothing.  That's barely enough time to decompress.  We did a backpacking through Europe trip one summer, and that was great, but not like a retirement (even a mini-one).

I think I'd take 1-2 year sabbaticals, personally.

The wife and I just hit a year, approximately, and we discussed how we weren't quite ready to go back, though we could if we had to (e.g. if we had only saved up enough to take a year off, instead of being FI), but that in another year, we'd totally be energized and ready to work again, if we were planning on it.

I mean, sure, two months is better than the lousy two weeks most people get.  But we can spend a month or two just in a single town.  Having two months off to relax and vacation and decompress is quite a bit different than a retirement where you aren't just temporarily doing it, but you're living it.

IDK, it's hard to explain.  You'll see what I mean though, when you do fully FIRE and spend all your time with the wife/kids/stuff you want to do.  :)

My husband teaches, and I'm a school counselor but would like to get back to teaching after we save more, and I think this is what we're planning on doing.  We're both certified in high shortage teaching areas, and we live in a area where we can get a teaching job anytime we want, no problem.  I'd love to teach for 2-3 years and then take a year off.  I love working in education, and I really don't think I could RE full time, but having a year off every few years would be a good balance for me.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on February 26, 2017, 06:21:02 AM
http://earlyretirementextreme.com/what-should-my-savings-rate-b.html

Quote
If you save 5% if your income, you can take 1 year off every time you work 19 years.
If you save 10% of your income, you can take 1 year off every time you work 9 years.
If you save 20% of your income, you can take 1 year off every time you work 4 years.
If you save 30% of your income, you can take 1 year off every time you work 2 years and 4 months.
If you save 40% of your income, you can take 1 year off every time you work 1 years and 6 months.
If you save 50% of your income, you can take 1 year off every time you work 1 year.
If you save 60% of your income, you can take 1 year and 6 months off every time you work 1 year.
If you save 70% of your income, you can take 2 years and 4 months off every time you work 1 year.
If you save 80% of your income, you can take 4 years off every time you work 1 year.
If you save 90% of your income, you can take 9 years off every time you work 1 year.

I like easy math.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: monarda on February 26, 2017, 10:34:44 AM
I just found this thread! I love the idea. I've been doing this not by choice. But it's worked out just fine.

Like some others, I work on soft money, and when a research grant runs out I sometimes have breaks of several months or more. The months off have allowed me to get a lot of projects on my "list" done.

For example, the most recent grant has been funded for 1.5 years- the future is uncertain. But I've been saving 90% of my income, living off of rental income- because during the 6 month gap (in 2015) before this position began we were (barely) able to live off of only that rental income.  I called it a "practice retirement" at the time.  It was great to know how well it worked.

I'm in a position now where folks at work are appreciating my skills (and age- 56) and I hope that some of the pool of them will be able to become short-term employers until full retirement.  I could go on like this for a while.  It feels good.



Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: TheAnonOne on February 27, 2017, 06:40:32 AM
To me, being 26 and 3 to 4 years from barebones FI it seems best to just "power through"

Heck, I write software and im looking for a client to fill my nights and weekends. I could shave that down to 2 years.

Realistically, it depends more on your income I think. We are decently high at a HHI of 200k (more if I work OT) and jumping away from that is daunting if you're not FI.

Long story short- at 24 and 26 making 200k and looking at realistically hitting FI at about 30 and RE a year or two after... makes more sense to just "finish the job"

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAGuy on February 27, 2017, 07:29:31 AM
To me, being 26 and 3 to 4 years from barebones FI it seems best to just "power through"

Heck, I write software and im looking for a client to fill my nights and weekends. I could shave that down to 2 years.

Realistically, it depends more on your income I think. We are decently high at a HHI of 200k (more if I work OT) and jumping away from that is daunting if you're not FI.

Long story short- at 24 and 26 making 200k and looking at realistically hitting FI at about 30 and RE a year or two after... makes more sense to just "finish the job"

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

Well, one of the things about "powering through" is you start to realize that you're getting murdered on taxes. It starts to feel especially acute when your portfolio starts to take on a life of its own and goes up or down by far more than you could manage to contribute in a years worth of work anyways. A partial earlier retirement allows you to work less actual time even though it may take longer in actual linear years. Now that I only work half the year, I basically pay zero in federal taxes (thanks foreign tax credit!) and a few hundred in state. No escaping payroll taxes, however. But in all, I get to keep a lot more of the money I make and I can ease into full FIRE that way and still have my full time career available to me in the background should something not go according to plan.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: TheAnonOne on February 27, 2017, 07:41:06 AM
To me, being 26 and 3 to 4 years from barebones FI it seems best to just "power through"

Heck, I write software and im looking for a client to fill my nights and weekends. I could shave that down to 2 years.

Realistically, it depends more on your income I think. We are decently high at a HHI of 200k (more if I work OT) and jumping away from that is daunting if you're not FI.

Long story short- at 24 and 26 making 200k and looking at realistically hitting FI at about 30 and RE a year or two after... makes more sense to just "finish the job"

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

Well, one of the things about "powering through" is you start to realize that you're getting murdered on taxes. It starts to feel especially acute when your portfolio starts to take on a life of its own and goes up or down by far more than you could manage to contribute in a years worth of work anyways. A partial earlier retirement allows you to work less actual time even though it may take longer in actual linear years. Now that I only work half the year, I basically pay zero in federal taxes (thanks foreign tax credit!) and a few hundred in state. No escaping payroll taxes, however. But in all, I get to keep a lot more of the money I make and I can ease into full FIRE that way and still have my full time career available to me in the background should something not go according to plan.
Very true!

At this point we 'only' have about 280k in the stash itself, so work is very strong.

Saving around 100k a year that number will be over half a million in about 2 years and around 750k before 4 years is up.

It seems to me that by the time the investment swings overpower MY work situation ill be a millionaire or more and decently into the FI zone. (Barebones at 750k)

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAGuy on February 27, 2017, 06:19:10 PM
To me, being 26 and 3 to 4 years from barebones FI it seems best to just "power through"

Heck, I write software and im looking for a client to fill my nights and weekends. I could shave that down to 2 years.

Realistically, it depends more on your income I think. We are decently high at a HHI of 200k (more if I work OT) and jumping away from that is daunting if you're not FI.

Long story short- at 24 and 26 making 200k and looking at realistically hitting FI at about 30 and RE a year or two after... makes more sense to just "finish the job"

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

Well, one of the things about "powering through" is you start to realize that you're getting murdered on taxes. It starts to feel especially acute when your portfolio starts to take on a life of its own and goes up or down by far more than you could manage to contribute in a years worth of work anyways. A partial earlier retirement allows you to work less actual time even though it may take longer in actual linear years. Now that I only work half the year, I basically pay zero in federal taxes (thanks foreign tax credit!) and a few hundred in state. No escaping payroll taxes, however. But in all, I get to keep a lot more of the money I make and I can ease into full FIRE that way and still have my full time career available to me in the background should something not go according to plan.
Very true!

At this point we 'only' have about 280k in the stash itself, so work is very strong.

Saving around 100k a year that number will be over half a million in about 2 years and around 750k before 4 years is up.

It seems to me that by the time the investment swings overpower MY work situation ill be a millionaire or more and decently into the FI zone. (Barebones at 750k)

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

Yeah, pretty much no way around putting in your dues and grinding out some earned income for a few years (though selling an appreciated primary residence for a huge profit is one way to cut the line!). Whenever I talk to people about what I'm doing I kind of feel myself starting with some variation of, "Well, the first thing you do is start with half a million dollars." lol
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on February 27, 2017, 07:27:17 PM
Yes with high income you definitely want to sprint to barebones FI first.

Then, things get a little blurry. You don't necessarily want to lose out on the income stream and career momentum (with no way of coming back) so you might be tempted to blast through baseline FI until.... when?

If you're young, there's more uncertainty (in your goals, what you want in your future, and your final FI number) so I think it best to ease into FIRE via sabbaticals, PT work or, even better IMO, freelancing. So you keep a foot in the door and keep things flexible for the future. I think that's what I'll do.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on February 28, 2017, 07:02:51 PM
To me, being 26 and 3 to 4 years from barebones FI it seems best to just "power through"

Heck, I write software and im looking for a client to fill my nights and weekends. I could shave that down to 2 years.

Realistically, it depends more on your income I think. We are decently high at a HHI of 200k (more if I work OT) and jumping away from that is daunting if you're not FI.

Long story short- at 24 and 26 making 200k and looking at realistically hitting FI at about 30 and RE a year or two after... makes more sense to just "finish the job"

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

Well, one of the things about "powering through" is you start to realize that you're getting murdered on taxes. It starts to feel especially acute when your portfolio starts to take on a life of its own and goes up or down by far more than you could manage to contribute in a years worth of work anyways. A partial earlier retirement allows you to work less actual time even though it may take longer in actual linear years. Now that I only work half the year, I basically pay zero in federal taxes (thanks foreign tax credit!) and a few hundred in state. No escaping payroll taxes, however. But in all, I get to keep a lot more of the money I make and I can ease into full FIRE that way and still have my full time career available to me in the background should something not go according to plan.

Beyond taxes the other, oft forgotten, advantage of taking the slow path is inflation.  Recency bias has us forgetting that high inflation happens and is one of the two killers of early retirement. Earn all of your stash up front and there's a risk returns can't keep up with a period of rapid inflation, this is the primary reason we see failures of 4% rule in the 60's.   Theoretically, income will keep pace with inflation hedging this risk. People accept very low reutrns from investments like TIP's, annuties, and gold for hedges which are not nearly as powerful.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: TheAnonOne on February 28, 2017, 07:27:11 PM
Yes with high income you definitely want to sprint to barebones FI first.

Then, things get a little blurry. You don't necessarily want to lose out on the income stream and career momentum (with no way of coming back) so you might be tempted to blast through baseline FI until.... when?

If you're young, there's more uncertainty (in your goals, what you want in your future, and your final FI number) so I think it best to ease into FIRE via sabbaticals, PT work or, even better IMO, freelancing. So you keep a foot in the door and keep things flexible for the future. I think that's what I'll do.

Actually, being in software myself, I was contemplating finding a 100% work-remote position. Have my wife fully retire when we hit the big MM mark. We want to travel long-term after that, starting as soon as it makes financial sense.

Seeing as how we are 24/26, presumably we could hit bare-bones (750) in the next 3.5 years or so and maybe set out traveling while I work remotely. I am not sure how it will all fall into place, but that seems like a plan to accelerate that stage of life.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on February 28, 2017, 08:30:36 PM
Yes with high income you definitely want to sprint to barebones FI first.

Then, things get a little blurry. You don't necessarily want to lose out on the income stream and career momentum (with no way of coming back) so you might be tempted to blast through baseline FI until.... when?

If you're young, there's more uncertainty (in your goals, what you want in your future, and your final FI number) so I think it best to ease into FIRE via sabbaticals, PT work or, even better IMO, freelancing. So you keep a foot in the door and keep things flexible for the future. I think that's what I'll do.

Actually, being in software myself, I was contemplating finding a 100% work-remote position. Have my wife fully retire when we hit the big MM mark. We want to travel long-term after that, starting as soon as it makes financial sense.

Seeing as how we are 24/26, presumably we could hit bare-bones (750) in the next 3.5 years or so and maybe set out traveling while I work remotely. I am not sure how it will all fall into place, but that seems like a plan to accelerate that stage of life.

Yeah, FIREing a little early if you're younger makes sense because "trying to make money" (this time without sacrificing your lifestyle) is still a worthwhile enjoyable occupation. Chances are that will work out somehow.

100% remote in software doesn't seem that easy to find. You take a pay cut. You want to avoid low-balling offers on upwork and the like. Apparently a good way is to spend some time non-remote with a regular employer, then ask when they trust you, but you don't know for sure in advance. I think I'll try to find 1 or 2 good clients that trust me with regular work. No foolproof way though, you have to go along with the adventure, with your barebones stash as a back up...

See this recent thread:
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/wtf-do-we-still-commute-to-work-to-sit-and-use-a-computer/
and
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13230508

I feel so good WFH and being in control of my time and my mind VS an open floor plan. Actually with a remote job I'm not even sure I want to FIRE in the first place, the difference is that big.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: TheAnonOne on March 01, 2017, 06:45:43 AM




100% remote in software doesn't seem that easy to find. You take a pay cut. You want to avoid low-balling offers on upwork and the like. Apparently a good way is to spend some time non-remote with a regular employer, then ask when they trust you, but you don't know for sure in advance. I think I'll try to find 1 or 2 good clients that trust me with regular work. No foolproof way though, you have to go along with the adventure, with your barebones stash as a back up...



In this case though, you're at or very close to the 4% rule, maybe your at a 5 or 6 % SWR

So the pay cut isn't a big deal, it's just some income to hold you over for a few years while the growth and lesser savings push you over OR bump you into the 3% SWR and beyond.

We might drop from a 200k HHI to 80K but with 750k to 1M in the bank and yearly spending around 40k (maybe 50 with travel) 80k still generates yearly savings!

Just a thought! Might not work out, but I have 3 to 4 years before I need to really care/think about it.

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Libertea on March 09, 2017, 11:56:14 AM
Well, one of the things about "powering through" is you start to realize that you're getting murdered on taxes. It starts to feel especially acute when your portfolio starts to take on a life of its own and goes up or down by far more than you could manage to contribute in a years worth of work anyways. A partial earlier retirement allows you to work less actual time even though it may take longer in actual linear years. Now that I only work half the year, I basically pay zero in federal taxes (thanks foreign tax credit!) and a few hundred in state. No escaping payroll taxes, however. But in all, I get to keep a lot more of the money I make and I can ease into full FIRE that way and still have my full time career available to me in the background should something not go according to plan.
This.  I paid about as much in taxes last year (2016) as I'll earn in salary this year (2017).  That's hard to wrap my mind around sometimes, because we're still talking about a pretty substantial amount of income here.  And since I'm a single person with no deductions, suffice it to say that I feel like I single-handedly funded Obamacare, Afghanistan, resettling refugees, and whatever other pet program you can think of for the past few years.  At this point, I'm perfectly content to take my half million (now closer to $600k) and throttle back a bit.  Let someone else pay for the next government boondoggle du jour.  ;-)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on March 10, 2017, 06:16:20 AM
Well, one of the things about "powering through" is you start to realize that you're getting murdered on taxes. It starts to feel especially acute when your portfolio starts to take on a life of its own and goes up or down by far more than you could manage to contribute in a years worth of work anyways. A partial earlier retirement allows you to work less actual time even though it may take longer in actual linear years. Now that I only work half the year, I basically pay zero in federal taxes (thanks foreign tax credit!) and a few hundred in state. No escaping payroll taxes, however. But in all, I get to keep a lot more of the money I make and I can ease into full FIRE that way and still have my full time career available to me in the background should something not go according to plan.
This.  I paid about as much in taxes last year (2016) as I'll earn in salary this year (2017).  That's hard to wrap my mind around sometimes, because we're still talking about a pretty substantial amount of income here.  And since I'm a single person with no deductions, suffice it to say that I feel like I single-handedly funded Obamacare, Afghanistan, resettling refugees, and whatever other pet program you can think of for the past few years.  At this point, I'm perfectly content to take my half million (now closer to $600k) and throttle back a bit.  Let someone else pay for the next government boondoggle du jour.  ;-)
If you had just worked one more year, we could have had our space program back! :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on March 11, 2017, 04:33:12 AM
Thanks to this thread I am planning for my first sabbatical March 31st 2020 :)

From that point on, it very well could be a bunch of mini retirements till full blown FI is reached. This is sounding more and more appealing the older I get and the more I run the #'s.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on March 11, 2017, 04:54:39 AM
Thanks to this thread I am planning for my first sabbatical March 31st 2020 :)

From that point on, it very well could be a bunch of mini retirements till full blown FI is reached. This is sounding more and more appealing the older I get and the more I run the #'s.

Awesome! Good luck, and keep us updated!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on March 11, 2017, 09:02:58 AM
Sounds great, 2Birds1Stone!

Also:

My partner and I took several months off to travel a couple of years ago. It was awesome. Hoping to do that again, maybe in another couple of years from now. :)

Apparently this is happening, we're planning our 2017 sabbatical right now. I basically just decided today I'd like it to happen 6 months from now, haha. Hasn't even been that long since the one we did in 2014, this feels so luxurious!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on March 11, 2017, 09:42:58 AM
Thanks to this thread I am planning for my first sabbatical March 31st 2020 :)

From that point on, it very well could be a bunch of mini retirements till full blown FI is reached. This is sounding more and more appealing the older I get and the more I run the #'s.

Congrats! 1114 days and counting!

I'm glad to see you are making these plans, you've been hanging around the SemiRE posts long enough to know it was coming sooner or later. 

I'm taking a month off mid-April to mid-May this year, that's the most I can bring myself to do at this point. I ain't got the guts of 2B1S, probably not as much $ either :( 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on March 11, 2017, 10:59:57 AM
Awesome! Good luck, and keep us updated!

Thank you, most certainly will!

Sounds great, 2Birds1Stone!

Also:

My partner and I took several months off to travel a couple of years ago. It was awesome. Hoping to do that again, maybe in another couple of years from now. :)

Apparently this is happening, we're planning our 2017 sabbatical right now. I basically just decided today I'd like it to happen 6 months from now, haha. Hasn't even been that long since the one we did in 2014, this feels so luxurious!

That's fantastic!! The power of high savings rate is amazing eh?


Congrats! 1114 days and counting!

I'm glad to see you are making these plans, you've been hanging around the SemiRE posts long enough to know it was coming sooner or later. 

I'm taking a month off mid-April to mid-May this year, that's the most I can bring myself to do at this point. I ain't got the guts of 2B1S, probably not as much $ either :( 

Yes sir! As the 'stache grows and the tolerance for cubicle life dwindles these things just seem to follow a natural progression.

Eh, my NW is only ~$275k right now all in. I'm hoping to be in the $400-500k range when I take that 6 months off.

That would put me at barebones FI, where I could easily cover my needs, but not my wants. From there it's a matter of, is work worth whatever I "want"?

The biggest question I have is how it will effect my relationship with SO. She is 4 years my junior and has only been working full time for ~2 years now. I have a feeling she will want to take off with me, but will have a lot less accumulated by that point. Time will tell.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on March 11, 2017, 11:17:11 AM
The biggest question I have is how it will effect my relationship with SO. She is 4 years my junior and has only been working full time for ~2 years now. I have a feeling she will want to take off with me, but will have a lot less accumulated by that point. Time will tell.

What does she think about it now?

My boyfriend was probably interested in going for our first sabbatical about a year or two before we actually did, but he waited for me to feel more comfortable about the amount of money I had. Also just several months ago, he mentioned wanting to go on another one and I wasn't ready then, but I sure am now and probably more enthusiastic than he is. :D  Hope it works out for you!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on March 11, 2017, 11:42:55 AM
I ran across this (http://earlyretirementextreme.com/update-3-interesting-spreadsheet-calculation.html) older post from ERE recently.  It's very pertinent to the whole SemiRE/Serial Retirement idea.  A very simple spreadsheet he did that reinforces the point; if we are willing to earn some money, we have already won the game. Maybe I'm just positing it to get some selective exposure (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_exposure_theory) to strengthen my resolve and set a date like the man 2B1S.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Metric Mouse on March 11, 2017, 11:50:47 AM
Awesome! Good luck, and keep us updated!

Thank you, most certainly will!

Sounds great, 2Birds1Stone!

Also:

My partner and I took several months off to travel a couple of years ago. It was awesome. Hoping to do that again, maybe in another couple of years from now. :)

Apparently this is happening, we're planning our 2017 sabbatical right now. I basically just decided today I'd like it to happen 6 months from now, haha. Hasn't even been that long since the one we did in 2014, this feels so luxurious!

That's fantastic!! The power of high savings rate is amazing eh?


Congrats! 1114 days and counting!

I'm glad to see you are making these plans, you've been hanging around the SemiRE posts long enough to know it was coming sooner or later. 

I'm taking a month off mid-April to mid-May this year, that's the most I can bring myself to do at this point. I ain't got the guts of 2B1S, probably not as much $ either :( 

Yes sir! As the 'stache grows and the tolerance for cubicle life dwindles these things just seem to follow a natural progression.

Eh, my NW is only ~$275k right now all in. I'm hoping to be in the $400-500k range when I take that 6 months off.

That would put me at barebones FI, where I could easily cover my needs, but not my wants. From there it's a matter of, is work worth whatever I "want"?

The biggest question I have is how it will effect my relationship with SO. She is 4 years my junior and has only been working full time for ~2 years now. I have a feeling she will want to take off with me, but will have a lot less accumulated by that point. Time will tell.
Why would they not be able to take off? Surely in 6 months with some tight saving they could save enough money for a year long sabbatical.  Wouldn't be FI, but shouldn't be hard for them to do a mini retirement for awhile.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: life_travel on March 11, 2017, 10:14:32 PM
Sounds great, 2Birds1Stone!

Also:

My partner and I took several months off to travel a couple of years ago. It was awesome. Hoping to do that again, maybe in another couple of years from now. :)

Apparently this is happening, we're planning our 2017 sabbatical right now. I basically just decided today I'd like it to happen 6 months from now, haha. Hasn't even been that long since the one we did in 2014, this feels so luxurious!
We did a first one - 3.5 months in 2015 and are going to do a second one in 2020. Husband is happy to work until 2020 until he gets his long service leave, I am ready to quit yesterday ( and he is well aware of that) :)
so hopefully I can get a new job, flexible work, entrepreneur idea, or a combination of all until then. Or will suck it up and continue the grind for another 3 years.
To be honest, while I would love to RE , if financially it's not possible in 2020 I'll be happy to work 6 months of each year and then slow travel another 6. 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on March 12, 2017, 09:41:27 AM
Why would they not be able to take off? Surely in 6 months with some tight saving they could save enough money for a year long sabbatical.  Wouldn't be FI, but shouldn't be hard for them to do a mini retirement for awhile.

True, I guess the biggest concern is leaving right at the height of a budding career before being barebone FI.

A lot of time between now and then though. Currently I believe she is at roughly 3X annual spending in NW.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on March 12, 2017, 01:08:46 PM
Pulling info from the health insurance threads, it seems the republican plan that now has Trumps support is not a great thing for the country...but... Could be a good thing for Semi-retirees who work part time or via contracts.  If this passes it will be yet another compelling reason for me to go this route.

http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2017/03/07/examining-the-house-republican-aca-repeal-and-replace-legislation/

Quote
The annual tax credit amount is established at $2,000 for an individual under 30, $2500 for those age 30 to 39, $3,000 for those age 40 to 49; $3,500 for those age 50 to 59, and $4,000 for those age 60 and over. The tax credit begins to phase out when a taxpayer’s modified adjusted gross income reaches $75,000 ($150,000 for joint filers) adjusted annually by the consumer price index plus one percentage point for inflation after 2020. It phases out by 10 percent of the excess of the modified adjusted gross income above this amount, so the tax credit would disappear for a 29 year old when income reached $95,000 and for a 60 year old when income reached $115,000.

Those are some pretty substantial tax credits with pretty high incomes.  Under the ACA a semi-retiree would pretty quickly fall off the subsidy cliff with income over 250% poverty level and are required to hold a relatively "good" policy.  Under this new plan, a semi-retiree can self-insure with a more catastrophic policy and get some pretty decent tax credits that'd probably cover most of the premiums (if you are healthy), even up to a 75K income level. IOW if you plan to make 25-75K a year and would prefer to fund a HSA over having "better" insurance this is very good news.  If you end up getting very sick before medicare, this is probably bad news, but a fully funded HSA in the years you didn't need it could compensate for that eventuality. 

I'm curious what others in this thread think regarding their specific semi-re plans/situations.
Edit: I'm also curious, those of you who have Semi-Re'ed, are you using/getting ACA coverage and/or subsidies?

Note: Lets confine the comments to how this applies to semi-re as there are plenty of other threads debating the morality/workability of this plan in general. Thx
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: sam on March 13, 2017, 06:48:17 AM
Got my third mini retirement coming up this September! At least 3 months in South America - Can't wait :D
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: IFiRun on March 13, 2017, 10:08:55 AM
Serial Mini Retirements are a great way to explore other talents/interests while not fully letting go of the career that 'pays the big bucks'.  I have left my field of Finance many times to do a myriad of things: develop a software program, buy and revamp a small business, have 3 kids (longer term maternity leaves: with or without employment), earn a Masters degree in Exercise Science so I can better understand my athletic performances; worked as a strength coach, flipped houses, and just be a bum (not really).  During each of these career transgressions, I voluntarily left my employment and felt totally financially secure knowing I had sufficient cash holdings and the ability to get back into the workforce at a decent salary.  At the age of 46, I resigned my full-time and incredibly boring position to retire.  However, my employer offered me flexible half time work so I am able to volunteer at my kid's school, train for races, and open more opportunities to make a positive impact.  My boss, who clearly doesn't understand FIRE, cringed during my resignation discussion and stated "I don't want you to be in the position of not having a job".  ha ha

Many people don't understand the concept of leaving the workforce for self-imposed sabbaticals and thus it is sometimes difficult to get the rationale across to employment recruiters.  Getting back into the workforce at a similar level position and/or wage may be a challenge.  Having employment gaps on the resume and job application is sketchy to the more traditional hiring managers.  I have always had business ownership, whether it be the LLC that covers my rental property, or the S-Corp that holds my part-time business, that I put on my resume to fill in some of the time gaps. 

Another issue I had during a longer sabbatical from the technological side of the Finance industry is that skills do erode over time.  Technology moves fast and new releases of software can be challenging.  Thus, it is important to stay current with the industry and understand current events. 

If you are unsure of early retirement, pursue your desires, give yourself sufficient time and then decide whether or not to get back into the workforce. Jobs are always out there waiting.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: bacchi on March 13, 2017, 10:45:00 AM
Actually, being in software myself, I was contemplating finding a 100% work-remote position. Have my wife fully retire when we hit the big MM mark. We want to travel long-term after that, starting as soon as it makes financial sense.

Remote work+travel is a good waypoint but it's no fun to see the SO take off for a bike ride on a beautiful day and you're stuck in front of the laptop trying to fix a critical bug. Or, you're about to hike up a mountain and a server goes down and the client is losing money and, please, it needs fixing right now, STAT!

It definitely beats cubicle life, of course.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: TheAnonOne on March 13, 2017, 10:50:34 AM
Actually, being in software myself, I was contemplating finding a 100% work-remote position. Have my wife fully retire when we hit the big MM mark. We want to travel long-term after that, starting as soon as it makes financial sense.

Remote work+travel is a good waypoint but it's no fun to see the SO take off for a bike ride on a beautiful day and you're stuck in front of the laptop trying to fix a critical bug. Or, you're about to hike up a mountain and a server goes down and the client is losing money and, please, it needs fixing right now, STAT!

It definitely beats cubicle life, of course.
Right, but it's only temporary. If you had 5 years to FIRE like myself, would you rather stick it out in one go? . . . OR

Extend the time to TRUE FIRE by 1 year, and go 3 years at home and 3 years in a mobile career?

Neither is a bad option but in the travel case you still got to go see the world, venturing out on nights and weekends. Maybe taking some time off for bigger items (aka, hiking up a mountain or whatever floats your boat)

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on March 13, 2017, 07:02:39 PM
I have left my field of Finance many times to do a myriad of things...

This is good Stuff IfiRun!  Long term experience with this is great for my learn'en organ.

A big concern with the idea of serial retirements is I may never wanna get back into the game.  In which case, I would have kind'a boned myself by not just sucking it up a few more years in the current cash maximizing position.  OTOH, I could see it going the complete opposite way.  Sticking it out to the bitter end, then after a year doing something else having the craving to get back into one of my old fields. 

Curious about what made you come back after pursuing other interests in those cases?  Was money an issue, or did you want to get back in the old game?  Or maybe for different reasons each time?  Were there any hints you noticed in yourself, pointing to a future in which you'd eventually want to go back?  Thx!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on March 14, 2017, 06:40:53 PM
I ran across this (http://earlyretirementextreme.com/update-3-interesting-spreadsheet-calculation.html) older post from ERE recently.  It's very pertinent to the whole SemiRE/Serial Retirement idea.  A very simple spreadsheet he did that reinforces the point; if we are willing to earn some money, we have already won the game. Maybe I'm just positing it to get some selective exposure (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_exposure_theory) to strengthen my resolve and set a date like the man 2B1S.

I'll respond! I read the link and this is exactly what motivated me to "pull of the gas" despite not being fulle FI. I/We can take a month or two off of work because I/we have already "won the race." The staches of 500k generally discussed on this thread are enough to snowball themselves into being huge. If we add anything to our current staches, even less than normal because we are off traveling, it doesn't really matter. Adding just a little starts getting crazy. Maths don't lie.

It has taken me a while to adjust to this new reality - mostly because it is even more awesome than I anticipated :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: YK-Phil on March 14, 2017, 08:31:42 PM
I just booked my living arrangements for a 12 week sabbatical in Mexico December to March 2016-2017. I'll tell you all if it was too short in March. :)

DW and I and our cat took off to Mexico last fall in our SUV with a rooftop tent, and just came back to Canada a few weeks ago. It took us two months of slow travel to explore the national parks, forests, and other natural wonders of the US Southwest where we mostly camped on public lands, before crossing to Mexico where we spent almost four months. It was awesome. Technically I was still working and getting paid part time so financially there was no impact whatsoever on our stash so I will continue this arrangement for as long as I can. We are leaving again for Mexico at the end of the summer, this time for a bit longer, coming back in May 2018. Our original plan was to drive the Americas from northern Canada to Patagonia but after crisscrossing the western and central part of Mexico, we want to spend at least another year or longer to check out the rest of Mexico on the western side including Yucatan.

Hopefully we'll meet on the road! Cheers, Phil
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on March 20, 2017, 01:18:32 AM
A lot of people on this forum are not really FIRing anyway. They are so risk averse. They hide behind a 500k-1m barebones stash that covers their expenses at 4%, but then they just take a few months off and keep earning. Lol.

That's actually a good strategy. Don't touch your baseline stash and let it grow until you're 65, at which point it is more like 2-4m inflation adjusted, and serves as your real retirement nest egg. Until then, sit back, act "irresponsible" like everyone else and earn the bare minimum to survive, with plenty of time off and vacations.


Serial Mini Retirements are a great way to explore other talents/interests while not fully letting go of the career that 'pays the big bucks'.  I have left my field of Finance many times to do a myriad of things: develop a software program, buy and revamp a small business, have 3 kids (longer term maternity leaves: with or without employment), earn a Masters degree in Exercise Science so I can better understand my athletic performances; worked as a strength coach, flipped houses, and just be a bum (not really).  During each of these career transgressions, I voluntarily left my employment and felt totally financially secure knowing I had sufficient cash holdings and the ability to get back into the workforce at a decent salary.  At the age of 46, I resigned my full-time and incredibly boring position to retire.  However, my employer offered me flexible half time work so I am able to volunteer at my kid's school, train for races, and open more opportunities to make a positive impact.  My boss, who clearly doesn't understand FIRE, cringed during my resignation discussion and stated "I don't want you to be in the position of not having a job".  ha ha

Many people don't understand the concept of leaving the workforce for self-imposed sabbaticals and thus it is sometimes difficult to get the rationale across to employment recruiters.  Getting back into the workforce at a similar level position and/or wage may be a challenge.  Having employment gaps on the resume and job application is sketchy to the more traditional hiring managers.  I have always had business ownership, whether it be the LLC that covers my rental property, or the S-Corp that holds my part-time business, that I put on my resume to fill in some of the time gaps. 

Another issue I had during a longer sabbatical from the technological side of the Finance industry is that skills do erode over time.  Technology moves fast and new releases of software can be challenging.  Thus, it is important to stay current with the industry and understand current events. 

If you are unsure of early retirement, pursue your desires, give yourself sufficient time and then decide whether or not to get back into the workforce. Jobs are always out there waiting.

Interesting, but those statements sound somewhat contradicting to me. Are you saying coming back to a job is a slightly bigger challenge than otherwise, but definitely doable and not a deal breaker at all?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on March 20, 2017, 09:12:48 AM
Got my third mini retirement coming up this September! At least 3 months in South America - Can't wait :D

Sounds exciting! Mine is 4 months in Asia and also starts in September. I'd love to go to South America someday. Which countries are you planning to visit?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Sustainable Happiness on March 20, 2017, 11:18:48 AM
I already posted my story in a similar thread, however it is even more applicable to this one in the immediate future.

I have the unique (Canadian) opportunity coming up in the Fall to take an unpaid 8-month paternity leave when our first baby is born. I fully plan on taking it and attempting in that 8-months to develop a lifestyle that is self-supporting through either various income streams or 1 that I enjoy or text the mini-retirement concept.

Currently about 30% of our expense will be covered by my part-time teaching job at ~6 hours per week, toss in some other activities and a few bucks through entrepreneurship and I may be able to cover them entirely without help from DW. That being said, she will be going back to some kind of work after her maternity leave so if I can cover it, the rest is gravy.

Luckily I'll have a fall-back to go back to my 9-5 if necessary, but I hope to not use it. Anyways, if you are Canadian and reading this, read into Maternity and Paternity leave laws yourself or call the labour department or get an official labour department pamphlet and read thoroughly. Do not rely on 'common knowledge' of the law, there is much more flexibility for both partners than most people think if 1 partner is willing to forgo an primary income entirely (which is rare, but I assume more common for mustachians). It allows for an essentially risk free sabbatical (not including employer confusion/anger at you leaving).
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on March 20, 2017, 06:29:05 PM
A lot of people on this forum are not really FIRing anyway. They are so risk averse. They hide behind a 500k-1m barebones stash that covers their expenses at 4%, but then they just take a few months off and keep earning. Lol.

I do think many on the forum are rather conservative in thinking they will never want to work again once they pull the plug, particularly the younger ones. However, many (including myself) legitimately don't want or need more of an income that 500K-1m can provide for the long haul though.

Although I think there is some truth to what you've written.  My guess is, once people FIRE, take a year or two do do stuff they have been putting off, then they get a bit antsy and decide to start working again.  This time though, they just do whatever they want, on their own terms, without money as a motivator.  This leads to a much more fulfilling experience the second go-round.  This thread is more about having these realizations up front rather than a few years into FIRE.  Understanding and accepting one will likely work and earn again... eventually... means the need to be overly conservative up front is not required.

I already posted my story in a similar thread, however it is even more applicable to this one in the immediate future.

So good to see you over here too!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: capoevename on June 16, 2017, 02:13:40 PM
It's been a year since my original post. I thought I would share what has happened since:
My mentality around FI/RE has also evolved in this last year.

The thing is, software is my craft. I don't see myself stopping software development any time soon; it brings a lot of enjoyment to my life. So FI/RE is more about having the freedom to build more flexibility into my work. And that's not only achieved by FI/REing but also by being way better at it, which I try to every day. Being above average at software (ouh sorry if I'm sounding cocky :( ) has already given me a certain amount of flexibility (working from home when I want, no issues taking vacation, leaving earlier when I want, etc). The craft/reward mentality is a cycle that builds upon itself; the better I get at this craft I like, the more rewards I enjoy, the more I like the craft, the more I sustain my efforts, the better I get at this craft... I think I'm more inclined towards the SWAMI way.

And so I'm not in as much as a rush as I was last year, I don't mind if it takes a couple of more years to reach FI/RE. The stash is already at a point that my mind is at ease with the "need" to work; worse comes to worse I could coast along making 20K per year. And we're both "only" 27. This does not mean I'm going to become a "spendy pants", but I'll probably spend a little more than I did last year, mostly in things I enjoy and have cut back a bit since discovering MMM. Going to cafes, theater/music/art shows, some restaurant dinners with friends and family, happy hours, enjoying the city I live in, etc. Though keeping in mind that those are just decorations on top of joyful hard work.

The original mini-retirement idea may happen in the future, but not right now. It currently feels escapist, and I don't have the desire to voluntarily quit a situation I feel very engaged in.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Much Fishing to Do on June 18, 2017, 04:23:22 PM
I did this a decade ago because of very good money available from contract gigs I had to leave town for.  I could make expenses for us in 4-5 months, so in 6 months expenses plus a good bit of savings, then spend the rest of the time at home with SAHM and kids....its not like we had the incentive to work more and inflate lifestyle because that meant more time away...so it actually pushed us to be more frugal

It was too hard being away from family so much...but if I could have made this work from my own town it would have been great...the half year I was at home I felt like the luckiest person on earth...
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: mcampbell on June 23, 2017, 10:28:24 AM
I'm 2 months into my first serial mini retirement. This has been some of the best time of my life. I've been insanely busy to the point, I don't know how I ever worked. I'm taking Japanese, Thai, Badminton and Tango classes. Spending more time with my son and wife, living normal hours. Its great I almost never want to leave. My burn rate is closer to $90k but I could FIRE today if I got it down to $60k. Mostly because of private school, public schools are well beyond garbage in Thailand. I'm flipping back and forth between working 3 months out of the year, or going back for another 3-5 years and get enough to FIRE at $90k. I truly recommend this to anyone considering taking time off. Its a great compromise
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on June 23, 2017, 06:45:45 PM
I'm 2 months into my first serial mini retirement. This has been some of the best time of my life. I've been insanely busy to the point, I don't know how I ever worked. I'm taking Japanese, Thai, Badminton and Tango classes. Spending more time with my son and wife, living normal hours. Its great I almost never want to leave. My burn rate is closer to $90k but I could FIRE today if I got it down to $60k. Mostly because of private school, public schools are well beyond garbage in Thailand. I'm flipping back and forth between working 3 months out of the year, or going back for another 3-5 years and get enough to FIRE at $90k. I truly recommend this to anyone considering taking time off. Its a great compromise

Wait, you spend US$90k/year in Thailand? I thought Thailand was cheap, like $2k/month more than enough for a family.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on June 23, 2017, 06:50:37 PM
I'm 2 months into my first serial mini retirement. This has been some of the best time of my life. I've been insanely busy to the point, I don't know how I ever worked. I'm taking Japanese, Thai, Badminton and Tango classes. Spending more time with my son and wife, living normal hours. Its great I almost never want to leave. My burn rate is closer to $90k but I could FIRE today if I got it down to $60k. Mostly because of private school, public schools are well beyond garbage in Thailand. I'm flipping back and forth between working 3 months out of the year, or going back for another 3-5 years and get enough to FIRE at $90k. I truly recommend this to anyone considering taking time off. Its a great compromise

Wait, you spend US$90k/year in Thailand? I thought Thailand was cheap, like $2k/month more than enough for a family.

Totally is.  But understand people can spend whatever they want/can. Some people easily spend hundreds of thousands per year in the U.S.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: eddie on June 24, 2017, 07:32:16 PM
I would love to take a long break.  I've been talking about it with my wife for a couple years but we just can't fully wrap our heads around it.

My wife is a Trauma PA so she thinks about every possible thing that can go wrong because she bad things at work every day.  I have a very niche career (selling track & cross country uniforms, shoes, equipment, timing xc meets) and it has taken me 8 years to build my business up.

What do we do for health care for 3-12 months?

My wife will easily be able to find a job, but what will I do? I know my boss would want me back after the break, but if I take off for a year I would lose a lot of business.  We could take off April-June relatively easily, but not a whole year.  That might be the best option.

But we also have a 10 month old baby and probably want another one in the next 2 years.  Priorities.  We can't do everything. 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: mcampbell on June 27, 2017, 10:22:48 AM
I'm 2 months into my first serial mini retirement. This has been some of the best time of my life. I've been insanely busy to the point, I don't know how I ever worked. I'm taking Japanese, Thai, Badminton and Tango classes. Spending more time with my son and wife, living normal hours. Its great I almost never want to leave. My burn rate is closer to $90k but I could FIRE today if I got it down to $60k. Mostly because of private school, public schools are well beyond garbage in Thailand. I'm flipping back and forth between working 3 months out of the year, or going back for another 3-5 years and get enough to FIRE at $90k. I truly recommend this to anyone considering taking time off. Its a great compromise

Wait, you spend US$90k/year in Thailand? I thought Thailand was cheap, like $2k/month more than enough for a family.

Thailand is cheap, you can easily live on $2k a month. I live in Bangkok which is more expensive then a midtier American city, but you get quality of living closer to NYC. I live in downtown in a posh neighborhood and want for nothing. Also Private school is $20k a year so thats a good portion. I'm not sure many American cities you can live a full all out lifestyle in a huge condo, for $60k salary. I think most mustachians live in homes in suburbs, which is a huge cost difference. If I lived outside the city I would probably spend 30-40k USD a year.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on June 27, 2017, 12:07:51 PM
3 months since my last post.

Net worth has grown, and I should finish June ~$308k in investable assets. The idea of a mini retirement is sounding more and more appealing, and the thought of having to wait till April 1 2020 is a bummer.

The good news, we have a plan for how we want to spend our 9 months off. I will be traveling to Europe to spend time with family in Poland from mid April till end of June. In June I will come back to NY and depart on a 8-10 week motorcycle trip to Alaska and through the entire USA with my Dad, who plans on retiring shortly before then.

In mid September we will return to NY and SO and I will take a few months to travel around the USA visiting some cities on our bucket list, do some camping in the New England fall season. After the Thanksgiving/Xmas/NY holidays we plan to go back to work. Likely full time for another 2 years before taking another 6-12 months. Rinse and repeat till the stache covers all joint expenses @ 4% withdrawal.

Right now my $308k @ 4% will cover my half of the rent/utilities/car-motorcycle-renters insurance/groceries/cellphone/gym membership, so I am super barebones FI if I can get health/dental insurance through my SO's employer. By April 1 2020, I hope to be in the $450-500k range.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on June 27, 2017, 12:18:14 PM
Net worth has grown, and I should finish June ~$308k in investable assets. The idea of a mini retirement is sounding more and more appealing, and the thought of having to wait till April 1 2020 is a bummer.

So I understand you want to wait for your partner to do the mini retirement together, hence 2020... but maybe you can do a mini-mini-retirement before then by yourself?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on June 27, 2017, 12:28:03 PM
Net worth has grown, and I should finish June ~$308k in investable assets. The idea of a mini retirement is sounding more and more appealing, and the thought of having to wait till April 1 2020 is a bummer.

So I understand you want to wait for your partner to do the mini retirement together, hence 2020... but maybe you can do a mini-mini-retirement before then by yourself?

Unfortunately due to my line of work at Megacorp that is unlikely to happen. Unless I take super short mini retirements without telling my employer ;)

I might just start abusing our "unlimited" PTO policy, not yet......but when we get a bit closer.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Sustainable Happiness on June 27, 2017, 02:28:50 PM
3 months since last post. DW just started her first mini-retirement leave. She was working straight nights (while preggers) so the change in sleep levels has been significant with a corresponding improvement in mood stability. She also is able to walk to my work to "pick me up" each day which is really fun and we have 2 back packs to grab some groceries on the walk home! Add in the coffee and tea together in the morning and I am really thinking heavily about the idea of never going back to work full time again with 10-12x years of expenses saved. That's a lot of time to have to fuck around (or work on further reducing expenses) without accidently making money.

My count down to mini-R day is 3 months.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: therethere on June 27, 2017, 03:21:07 PM
Full disclosure: I have not read the entire thread.

What's everyone's number to where they are comfortable taking a mini retirement? I was hoping to get to 500k NW (for a couple) because that's my around estimate for supporting our age 60+ retirement. But I'm running out of patience. And most days I dream about just doing it. But I'm also terrified to spend any of our stash because it was such a struggle to get to this point. We're at 437k now, but taking a year off would have us spending that down to 350k.

My main concerns are finding a job after returning (or never wanting to return!). It took me over two years and a big paycut to get my current position when I was unemployed in 2010. DH and I are also interested in a career change but have no ideas on what that entails. I'm worried if we took a mini retirement we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot big time ):
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on June 27, 2017, 06:00:32 PM
Full disclosure: I have not read the entire thread.

What's everyone's number to where they are comfortable taking a mini retirement? I was hoping to get to 500k NW (for a couple) because that's my around estimate for supporting our age 60+ retirement. But I'm running out of patience. And most days I dream about just doing it. But I'm also terrified to spend any of our stash because it was such a struggle to get to this point. We're at 437k now, but taking a year off would have us spending that down to 350k.

My main concerns are finding a job after returning (or never wanting to return!). It took me over two years and a big paycut to get my current position when I was unemployed in 2010. DH and I are also interested in a career change but have no ideas on what that entails. I'm worried if we took a mini retirement we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot big time ):

Wtf, a year off would cost you $87k?!?

I'm thinking the $500k threshold as a couple as well, but our spending is only $40-45k/yr in a VERY HCOL area.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAGuy on June 27, 2017, 10:10:25 PM
Full disclosure: I have not read the entire thread.

What's everyone's number to where they are comfortable taking a mini retirement? I was hoping to get to 500k NW (for a couple) because that's my around estimate for supporting our age 60+ retirement. But I'm running out of patience. And most days I dream about just doing it. But I'm also terrified to spend any of our stash because it was such a struggle to get to this point. We're at 437k now, but taking a year off would have us spending that down to 350k.

My main concerns are finding a job after returning (or never wanting to return!). It took me over two years and a big paycut to get my current position when I was unemployed in 2010. DH and I are also interested in a career change but have no ideas on what that entails. I'm worried if we took a mini retirement we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot big time ):

Wtf, a year off would cost you $87k?!?

I'm thinking the $500k threshold as a couple as well, but our spending is only $40-45k/yr in a VERY HCOL area.

Perhaps they're hoping to maintain their old life/mortgage/rent/etc on top of funding a year of travel.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: mcampbell on June 27, 2017, 10:27:40 PM
Full disclosure: I have not read the entire thread.

What's everyone's number to where they are comfortable taking a mini retirement? I was hoping to get to 500k NW (for a couple) because that's my around estimate for supporting our age 60+ retirement. But I'm running out of patience. And most days I dream about just doing it. But I'm also terrified to spend any of our stash because it was such a struggle to get to this point. We're at 437k now, but taking a year off would have us spending that down to 350k.

My main concerns are finding a job after returning (or never wanting to return!). It took me over two years and a big paycut to get my current position when I was unemployed in 2010. DH and I are also interested in a career change but have no ideas on what that entails. I'm worried if we took a mini retirement we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot big time ):

Wtf, a year off would cost you $87k?!?

I'm thinking the $500k threshold as a couple as well, but our spending is only $40-45k/yr in a VERY HCOL area.

Perhaps they're hoping to maintain their old life/mortgage/rent/etc on top of funding a year of travel.

Yeah I think with the one year serial retirement, it's a lot harder to drop your expenses since you don't have any long term horizon. So you likely won't move from your current house, car payments etc. Since it's your first year of freedom you probably want to make trips abroad and what not also
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on June 27, 2017, 10:27:59 PM
I'm 2 months into my first serial mini retirement. This has been some of the best time of my life. I've been insanely busy to the point, I don't know how I ever worked. I'm taking Japanese, Thai, Badminton and Tango classes. Spending more time with my son and wife, living normal hours. Its great I almost never want to leave. My burn rate is closer to $90k but I could FIRE today if I got it down to $60k. Mostly because of private school, public schools are well beyond garbage in Thailand. I'm flipping back and forth between working 3 months out of the year, or going back for another 3-5 years and get enough to FIRE at $90k. I truly recommend this to anyone considering taking time off. Its a great compromise

Wait, you spend US$90k/year in Thailand? I thought Thailand was cheap, like $2k/month more than enough for a family.

Thailand is cheap, you can easily live on $2k a month. I live in Bangkok which is more expensive then a midtier American city, but you get quality of living closer to NYC. I live in downtown in a posh neighborhood and want for nothing. Also Private school is $20k a year so thats a good portion. I'm not sure many American cities you can live a full all out lifestyle in a huge condo, for $60k salary. I think most mustachians live in homes in suburbs, which is a huge cost difference. If I lived outside the city I would probably spend 30-40k USD a year.

That's great. Would you mind going into more detail as to how this $90k is allocated? e.g. in rough categories like rent, food, car, etc., and what those luxuries involve. I'm interested in LCOL expat living, and wondering what high expense lifestyle can buy you... thanks!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: mcampbell on June 27, 2017, 10:34:32 PM
I'm 2 months into my first serial mini retirement. This has been some of the best time of my life. I've been insanely busy to the point, I don't know how I ever worked. I'm taking Japanese, Thai, Badminton and Tango classes. Spending more time with my son and wife, living normal hours. Its great I almost never want to leave. My burn rate is closer to $90k but I could FIRE today if I got it down to $60k. Mostly because of private school, public schools are well beyond garbage in Thailand. I'm flipping back and forth between working 3 months out of the year, or going back for another 3-5 years and get enough to FIRE at $90k. I truly recommend this to anyone considering taking time off. Its a great compromise

Wait, you spend US$90k/year in Thailand? I thought Thailand was cheap, like $2k/month more than enough for a family.

Thailand is cheap, you can easily live on $2k a month. I live in Bangkok which is more expensive then a midtier American city, but you get quality of living closer to NYC. I live in downtown in a posh neighborhood and want for nothing. Also Private school is $20k a year so thats a good portion. I'm not sure many American cities you can live a full all out lifestyle in a huge condo, for $60k salary. I think most mustachians live in homes in suburbs, which is a huge cost difference. If I lived outside the city I would probably spend 30-40k USD a year.

That's great. Would you mind going into more detail as to how this $90k is allocated? e.g. in rough categories like rent, food, car, etc., and what those luxuries involve. I'm interested in LCOL expat living, and wondering what high expense lifestyle can buy you... thanks!
Sure

$1500-2k a month gets you a 3 bedroom 2000 sqft condo 5 min walk to a train station in core downtown

$500 a month on delivered groceries from an app, so I don't waste my time on this

$500 a month for a fulltime live-in 6 day a week nanny

$200 a month for a maid to come twice a week for 4 hours a time

$150 a month for private Japanese tutor once a week

$15 a lesson private badminton coach

$250 private trainer for weight lifting, 3 days a week

Private school with movie stars is $12k for preschool and jumps to $20k for primary

Obviously this is a insane lifestyle, however I still spend less then I did in NYC and had a 1 bedroom 700 sqft place without tutors and what not. Also my wife doesn't need to work ;/
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on June 27, 2017, 11:21:02 PM
Rent your house and make money on it?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on June 28, 2017, 06:43:32 AM
I'm 2 months into my first serial mini retirement. This has been some of the best time of my life. I've been insanely busy to the point, I don't know how I ever worked. I'm taking Japanese, Thai, Badminton and Tango classes. Spending more time with my son and wife, living normal hours. Its great I almost never want to leave. My burn rate is closer to $90k but I could FIRE today if I got it down to $60k. Mostly because of private school, public schools are well beyond garbage in Thailand. I'm flipping back and forth between working 3 months out of the year, or going back for another 3-5 years and get enough to FIRE at $90k. I truly recommend this to anyone considering taking time off. Its a great compromise

Wait, you spend US$90k/year in Thailand? I thought Thailand was cheap, like $2k/month more than enough for a family.

Thailand is cheap, you can easily live on $2k a month. I live in Bangkok which is more expensive then a midtier American city, but you get quality of living closer to NYC. I live in downtown in a posh neighborhood and want for nothing. Also Private school is $20k a year so thats a good portion. I'm not sure many American cities you can live a full all out lifestyle in a huge condo, for $60k salary. I think most mustachians live in homes in suburbs, which is a huge cost difference. If I lived outside the city I would probably spend 30-40k USD a year.

That's great. Would you mind going into more detail as to how this $90k is allocated? e.g. in rough categories like rent, food, car, etc., and what those luxuries involve. I'm interested in LCOL expat living, and wondering what high expense lifestyle can buy you... thanks!
Sure

$1500-2k a month gets you a 3 bedroom 2000 sqft condo 5 min walk to a train station in core downtown

$500 a month on delivered groceries from an app, so I don't waste my time on this

$500 a month for a fulltime live-in 6 day a week nanny

$200 a month for a maid to come twice a week for 4 hours a time

$150 a month for private Japanese tutor once a week

$15 a lesson private badminton coach

$250 private trainer for weight lifting, 3 days a week

Private school with movie stars is $12k for preschool and jumps to $20k for primary

Obviously this is a insane lifestyle, however I still spend less then I did in NYC and had a 1 bedroom 700 sqft place without tutors and what not. Also my wife doesn't need to work ;/

Wow. Pretty awesome. You are the most interesting man in the world.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: alleykat on June 28, 2017, 07:02:13 AM
Now this is something I wish I had done in my life when I was younger. If I was young again, I would certainly consider it if circumstances allowed. 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: therethere on June 28, 2017, 08:20:56 AM
Full disclosure: I have not read the entire thread.

What's everyone's number to where they are comfortable taking a mini retirement? I was hoping to get to 500k NW (for a couple) because that's my around estimate for supporting our age 60+ retirement. But I'm running out of patience. And most days I dream about just doing it. But I'm also terrified to spend any of our stash because it was such a struggle to get to this point. We're at 437k now, but taking a year off would have us spending that down to 350k.

My main concerns are finding a job after returning (or never wanting to return!). It took me over two years and a big paycut to get my current position when I was unemployed in 2010. DH and I are also interested in a career change but have no ideas on what that entails. I'm worried if we took a mini retirement we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot big time ):

Wtf, a year off would cost you $87k?!?

I'm thinking the $500k threshold as a couple as well, but our spending is only $40-45k/yr in a VERY HCOL area.

Perhaps they're hoping to maintain their old life/mortgage/rent/etc on top of funding a year of travel.

Yeah I think with the one year serial retirement, it's a lot harder to drop your expenses since you don't have any long term horizon. So you likely won't move from your current house, car payments etc. Since it's your first year of freedom you probably want to make trips abroad and what not also

We spend 65k a year now. From what I've gathered 5k a month for travel abroad is a reasonable budget, lower of course in some regions. So we would be break even pretty much. We have student loans on top of that (we do have a payoff account for that). We'd have to pay 2k min to break our lease, pay taxes on transferring/withdrawing money, and have a "startup" fund to come back to after year to rebuy a household and pay first/last/security on an apartment - assume 15k-20k. Plus 3-4 months on no or one income in a HCOL area on return - again around 5-10k. That easily gets to 80k for a year away and to restart again. 90k might be a slight exaggeration, but it is not too far off and it's still spending 20% of our NW. The other scenario of vanning it across the US for a year plays out about the same. But the lower travel costs are offset by a higher startup cost of buying the van/vehicle.

Yes, I'm wayyyy risk averse. Maybe I'm just calculating out ways to tell myself it is impossible. I tend to do that.


Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on June 28, 2017, 10:22:42 AM
From what I've gathered 5k a month for travel abroad is a reasonable budget, lower of course in some regions.
The other scenario of vanning it across the US for a year plays out about the same.
We have student loans on top of that (we do have a payoff account for that).
It's your life, do what you want, but if you are talking USD, these statements aren't anywhere near reality for Mustachian  level spending.
Yes, I'm wayyyy risk averse. Maybe I'm just calculating out ways to tell myself it is impossible. I tend to do that.
Driving a car to work is probably statistically, the riskiest thing you do.  Spending 5K a month on van-life (even with buy-in cost) is champagne, caviar, and a pull behind trailer for your servant's quarters.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: mcneally on June 28, 2017, 11:00:23 AM
there there is hopefully overestimating what their travel expenses would be, but when you factor in the transition costs (breaking lease, selling/rebuying or storing stuff, being unemployed for a bit while looking for work upon return) as well as drawing from rather than adding to investments, the difference 15 months from now of 'taking a year off' vs. 'not taking a year off' could easily be savings of 400k vs 525k or something. And if the job you're able to secure upon return pays less than before the difference compounds. Not saying it shouldn't be done, but anyone doing it should understand the cost. I'd wouldn't mind taking a year off, but I think I'm overpaid and probably couldn't get back a job that pays near as much.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: therethere on June 28, 2017, 11:20:26 AM
there there is hopefully overestimating what their travel expenses would be, but when you factor in the transition costs (breaking lease, selling/rebuying or storing stuff, being unemployed for a bit while looking for work upon return) as well as drawing from rather than adding to investments, the difference 15 months from now of 'taking a year off' vs. 'not taking a year off' could easily be savings of 400k vs 525k or something. And if the job you're able to secure upon return pays less than before the difference compounds. Not saying it shouldn't be done, but anyone doing it should understand the cost. I'd wouldn't mind taking a year off, but I think I'm overpaid and probably couldn't get back a job that pays near as much.

Yes! This is a wonderful point. There's no sense nitpicking exactly how much you would spend monthly on an unknown venture. Of course you want to round up in your planning so you don't get screwed. There are a lot of ending/startup costs with taking an extended amount of time off that is pretty inevitable. In my case, it seems the transition costs are fairly high because I'm anticipating it will take some time and paycuts to reenter the workforce. And we are paying under market rent in a soaring market so upon return housing will be much higher.

Also, I feel like a decent amount of people on the forum are not hard core mustachians. Even the creator of MMM himself is not! A lot of people, myself included, are drawn to discussions on the forum because they center around balancing your life and working so you can spend on what's important to you. That does not always translate to spending the absolute bare minimum. I think my 5k number is fairly accurate (rounded up maybe 10%) for a RTW type mini-retirement staying 1-2 weeks at a time in a city. Both month long vacations we took cost ~$4500.

 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on June 28, 2017, 12:21:23 PM
Also, I feel like a decent amount of people on the forum are not hard core mustachians. Even the creator of MMM himself is not! A lot of people, myself included, are drawn to discussions on the forum because they center around balancing your life and working so you can spend on what's important to you. That does not always translate to spending the absolute bare minimum.

This is true and fair enough, no personal offense was intended.  Rather it is I who have become more frustrated as of late with the transition of this forum from it's roots of efficient, low-level, environmentally sound consumption to more of a high-earner, slightly moderated spending format. 

I continue to frequent the forum and make comments such as the above to ensure the thousands of non-commenting readers that the original ideas of the MMM blog, are in fact, realistic.  A long-term per adult budget of <20K a year, living a middle class life or one of perpetual travel is possible without sacrifice.  It just takes some skill. Many have done it and are continuing to do so.

The end goal is not to insult high spenders, spending is a personal choice. Rather, I want to encourage a median income person/household (median US HH income is about 56K pretax), that their dreams can come true just as easily as yours. In fact, i would argue that the skills/optimization utilized by such a household to reach 50% savings rate makes their eventual FIRE or serial retirements much more robust than that of one who chooses a higher level of convenience spending.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: therethere on June 28, 2017, 12:36:40 PM
No offense taken. Just trying to find middle ground. You did remind me that I may be thinking too narrowly in my version of a mini retirement. I'm an extreme optimizer so I'm overly conservative and tend to be all or nothing. So my thinking leans towards: if I'm going to risk quitting my cushy job to take a year off I want to be able to do everything and go everywhere! Who knows when I'll have the chance or money to do it again.

But, you reminded me I could make it more palatable moneywise to pick 2-3 locations and stay for a 1-2 months versus 1-2 weeks. Less places visited but more time like a local. Same amount of a mind reset (maybe even better because you aren't constantly looking at what's next). I think I'll have to revisit what that would look like.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: life_travel on June 28, 2017, 04:29:17 PM
Also, I feel like a decent amount of people on the forum are not hard core mustachians. Even the creator of MMM himself is not! A lot of people, myself included, are drawn to discussions on the forum because they center around balancing your life and working so you can spend on what's important to you. That does not always translate to spending the absolute bare minimum.

This is true and fair enough, no personal offense was intended.  Rather it is I who have become more frustrated as of late with the transition of this forum from it's roots of efficient, low-level, environmentally sound consumption to more of a high-earner, slightly moderated spending format. 

I continue to frequent the forum and make comments such as the above to ensure the thousands of non-commenting readers that the original ideas of the MMM blog, are in fact, realistic.  A long-term per adult budget of <20K a year, living a middle class life or one of perpetual travel is possible without sacrifice.  It just takes some skill. Many have done it and are continuing to do so.

The end goal is not to insult high spenders, spending is a personal choice. Rather, I want to encourage a median income person/household (median US HH income is about 56K pretax), that their dreams can come true just as easily as yours. In fact, i would argue that the skills/optimization utilized by such a household to reach 50% savings rate makes their eventual FIRE or serial retirements much more robust than that of one who chooses a higher level of convenience spending.
Sadly it's true that the forum is losing its original roots and I suspect that it will ( maybe?) become like early retirement . org where extremely risk averse people need to save 2-3 mil to retire . Which in itself is totally fine. But where can we go,people who earn average wages and aspire to retire on 20k a year ? :)
I don't comment a lot but have been reading this forum extensively since 2014.
In regards to mini retirement . It depends what motivates you . If you'd rather work for a few more years to fully FIRE the like there there ( no offends btw!) then you'll find all sorts of excuses :)
If you have a burning desire to take a year off then you will lower your expenses so much just to be able to take that year off. There is no right and wrong way .
For us I'd rather take a couple of years off now but husband being older and just turned 50 wants to work as he may not get a job later.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAGuy on June 28, 2017, 06:52:56 PM
I don't think the forum has strayed far from its roots. Part of it just may be that with markets flying so high, a lot of people are feeling rather flush. I still see this as the "middle of the road" FIRE site compared to the extreme early retirement folks and the Boglehead forum types. I imagine when we get a downturn here there will be a lot of tears and belt tightening and things will return to being a bit more frugal.

My own take on a few of the points that have come up recently in this thread:

My own research and experience is similar to Classical_Liberal. A year of travel on the road for a single person will probably run about $18k to $24k. But, that's spending a good portion of your time in the lower COL areas and doing a good portion of it as a "backpacker". And again, that's as a single. therethere sounds like he/she is making plans for a couple. I'd expect that to run about 50% more, so around $27k to $36k for a couple. Really it just sounds like they are planning rather conservatively at an expected spend of $60k then really being spendypants.  As noted slow travel can bring the cost down quite a bit and is really the way to do it. Expecting to spend on a year of travel the same that was spent on a month long vacation is certainly not the most efficient way to do it. Perhaps a bit more research is in order? I'd suggest reading this whole thread, as it really is a good one...you'll find that the "number" a lot of us partial early retirees arrived for early partial retirement at was just north of $500k total assets invested, but for the most part we're all singles as well.

I will say, though, if the plan is to take a year off and spend down a good chunk of the stache doing so, I'm afraid I have to vote for that being a very bad idea. As you noted, therethere, it was a difficult grind to get to where you are now. Going out and blowing a bunch of it right before your stache starts to take on a life of its own is probably an extremely bad idea. When you go back and look at this whole thread, I think you'll find a lot of people that made the semi/serial early retirement thing work in and of itself. Some people earn on the road working remotely. Or, myself for instance, works part of the year as a traveling healthcare professional. I'm actually still adding to my stache overall on a yearly basis...just not as much as when I was full time. I also completely reordered my life to take advantage of the situation - got rid of all my stuff minus the two bags I live out of, made sure my investments were in the right types of accounts, researched places I wanted to go, costs, visa issues, banking, etc. It really was an entire lifestyle decision as much as FIRE itself is, or making a decision to have children, or move to a new city.

As for living abroad on the "cheap" I can't say I'd recommend it. Why? Because if all you want to do is retire and live on like $20k a year you can do that just fine in the US. Better frankly, because you understand how the system works, you don't need to deal with visa issues, and you can kind of just live a simple below the radar kind of life. What you really don't want to be doing is living "poor" in the 3rd world. That sucks. Moreover, any loser can (and does) do exactly that. Just go get yourself a thrift shop backpack, a guitar and some dreadlocks and you can retire right now down at Khao San Road without ever having worked a day in your life. No, you go to a place like Thailand to live like a Rockstar on a Toledo, Ohio budget. Otherwise you're going to be bored out of your mind living in your cheap ass Chang Mai apartment with absolutely nothing to do.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on June 28, 2017, 09:07:26 PM
Another difference I observed between year-long and month-long vacation: the first few weeks are usually high adrenaline, low rest, low sleep, packed schedule; that will naturally cost more per unit time. After a while, most people get tired and need a sustainable steady state that includes more nights in, watching movies, recharging batteries, etc. which may sound boring but is necessary and much cheaper, especially if you're staying at the same location for longer.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Padonak on June 28, 2017, 09:54:52 PM

As for living abroad on the "cheap" I can't say I'd recommend it. Why? Because if all you want to do is retire and live on like $20k a year you can do that just fine in the US. Better frankly, because you understand how the system works, you don't need to deal with visa issues, and you can kind of just live a simple below the radar kind of life. What you really don't want to be doing is living "poor" in the 3rd world. That sucks. Moreover, any loser can (and does) do exactly that. Just go get yourself a thrift shop backpack, a guitar and some dreadlocks and you can retire right now down at Khao San Road without ever having worked a day in your life. No, you go to a place like Thailand to live like a Rockstar on a Toledo, Ohio budget. Otherwise you're going to be bored out of your mind living in your cheap ass Chang Mai apartment with absolutely nothing to do.

How exactly can you do that? Maybe you know a little secret I don't know? I used to travel to Thailand in my mid-late 20s when I had very little money saved (compared to my stache now in mid-late 30s). I really wanted to stay there, at least for awhile, but decided to be responsible and keep working until I achieve at least bare bones FI.

I also met a few people who decided to drop out of the rat race and move to 3rd world countries in their 20s or early 30s before they reached FI. One of them ended up homeless in a big 3rd world city in Asia with no money for a ticket back home and risk of going to jail for overstaying his visa and not paying the fine. Another one, a good friend of mine, quit his cushy job in North America to go to Brazil, then had to come back in a few years with very little money left. After he came back, he could only find a low skilled job and is pretty much stuck now doing low skilled work for the rest of his life.

My question to you is how exactly can somebody retire right now in Khao San Rd (Bangkok) without working a day in their life?  Please be specific. No begging, no sleeping with rats on the side of Khao San Rd. Nothing fancy, just bare bones retirement.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on June 29, 2017, 06:51:44 AM
I think that was precisely his point - you can "retire" without working if you want to be totally irresponsible like you just mentioned. I think he said he didn't want to be around people like that. Presumably because, as you pointed out, it is a terrible life!

That is our MMM cross-to-bear, responsibility :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAGuy on June 29, 2017, 12:54:03 PM
I think that was precisely his point - you can "retire" without working if you want to be totally irresponsible like you just mentioned. I think he said he didn't want to be around people like that. Presumably because, as you pointed out, it is a terrible life!

That is our MMM cross-to-bear, responsibility :)

Exactly
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on June 30, 2017, 09:15:19 AM
In the interest of continuing the mini serial retirement discussion here’s the progress I’ve made in my plan for this lifestyle:

Over the past year I finished pairing down my physical positions to only enough “stuff” to furnish a small studio apartment, along with daily use items.  I have successfully moved in a single trip with a standard sized rental cargo van.  This is great considering my initial plan is some slow US travel, subletting small apartments for 3 mos or so at a time, picking up travel nurse contracts as I see fit.  I feel much lighter and more mobile. I have also considered trading this idea for an RV/TT…TBD

I ran across the FIRE idea about 3.5 years ago and went through the standard steps of maximizing income, experimenting with spending minimization, paying off debt, and increasing savings rate.  My spending experiments have worked well and I have found a “sweet spot”, which is about 25% lower than the lowest number I had initially imagined possible.  Bare bones, with a feeling of mild sacrifice is about 40% lower than my original low-ball estimates.  This is great news as I have a good feeling about actual costs going forward for my life.  I tacked on about 6K a year extra for uncertainties regarding healthcare and potential preference changes and have come up with my long term spending number.
 
After paying off all debt, I still felt I had one unfunded liability to consider, older age “traditional retirement”.  For all of the talk about adaptability, spending cuts, intermittent full time or part time work, I'm a realist (pessimist?) regarding my ability to adapt as efficiently once I reach my mid 60’s and onward.  I see the potential of age related physical and mental deterioration in my daily work, adding to this concern is the not-so-subtle age discrimination in the US.  I consider it wise to ensure that no matter my choices for the next 25 years, I have a comfortable amount of assets in a “traditional” retirement bucket.   As of my last run on Cfiresim, I have reach a point of 100% success through age 95 of a traditional retirement without any additional contributions. This is a BIG mental barrier to break through; I’ve now stamped my debt to future me “paid in full”.

At this point I feel I’m at about even.  With 25 years before traditional retirement age I can choose to only earn what I spend.  This would equate to working about 1/4 of each year in my current field.  Since I am getting to the point of a brown out in that profession, I may choose to do something more enjoyable, but lower paid. I may still decide to go for full FIRE which would be about five more years of FT work based on my current 75%ish savings rate. I haven’t really decided yet, but I’m leaning towards saving about five more years of expenses before making any decisions as I feel this would be an adequate amount of FU money.
 
For the first time in my life since about age 18, I feel the world is at my fingertips, I can truly do what I want.  It’s having a positive impact on all aspects of life, even making work more enjoyable. I feel the life of semi-retirement knocking at the door and hope to join the likes of LAguy and Libertea soon enough! 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LAGuy on June 30, 2017, 06:03:08 PM
In the interest of continuing the mini serial retirement discussion here’s the progress I’ve made in my plan for this lifestyle:

Over the past year I finished pairing down my physical positions to only enough “stuff” to furnish a small studio apartment, along with daily use items.  I have successfully moved in a single trip with a standard sized rental cargo van.  This is great considering my initial plan is some slow US travel, subletting small apartments for 3 mos or so at a time, picking up travel nurse contracts as I see fit.  I feel much lighter and more mobile. I have also considered trading this idea for an RV/TT…TBD

I ran across the FIRE idea about 3.5 years ago and went through the standard steps of maximizing income, experimenting with spending minimization, paying off debt, and increasing savings rate.  My spending experiments have worked well and I have found a “sweet spot”, which is about 25% lower than the lowest number I had initially imagined possible.  Bare bones, with a feeling of mild sacrifice is about 40% lower than my original low-ball estimates.  This is great news as I have a good feeling about actual costs going forward for my life.  I tacked on about 6K a year extra for uncertainties regarding healthcare and potential preference changes and have come up with my long term spending number.
 
After paying off all debt, I still felt I had one unfunded liability to consider, older age “traditional retirement”.  For all of the talk about adaptability, spending cuts, intermittent full time or part time work, I'm a realist (pessimist?) regarding my ability to adapt as efficiently once I reach my mid 60’s and onward.  I see the potential of age related physical and mental deterioration in my daily work, adding to this concern is the not-so-subtle age discrimination in the US.  I consider it wise to ensure that no matter my choices for the next 25 years, I have a comfortable amount of assets in a “traditional” retirement bucket.   As of my last run on Cfiresim, I have reach a point of 100% success through age 95 of a traditional retirement without any additional contributions. This is a BIG mental barrier to break through; I’ve now stamped my debt to future me “paid in full”.

At this point I feel I’m at about even.  With 25 years before traditional retirement age I can choose to only earn what I spend.  This would equate to working about 1/4 of each year in my current field.  Since I am getting to the point of a brown out in that profession, I may choose to do something more enjoyable, but lower paid. I may still decide to go for full FIRE which would be about five more years of FT work based on my current 75%ish savings rate. I haven’t really decided yet, but I’m leaning towards saving about five more years of expenses before making any decisions as I feel this would be an adequate amount of FU money.
 
For the first time in my life since about age 18, I feel the world is at my fingertips, I can truly do what I want.  It’s having a positive impact on all aspects of life, even making work more enjoyable. I feel the life of semi-retirement knocking at the door and hope to join the likes of LAguy and Libertea soon enough!

Awesome job, CL! It's funny, I too often look at funding my retirement and investment accounts as a debt owed...the biggest one I've ever had to pay off!

Like you I figure about a quarter of the year is all I need to work. However, I figure I need to work at least half the year though to make investments such as return flights to the US and ACA insurance worthwhile - I prefer to spend my off time abroad and if I was permanently FIRE'd I could drop ACA in favor of much cheaper traveler type insurance. Of course, in that scenario my backup plan for major medical issues was to get back on ACA and that route might be in jeopardy depending on what the current administration does with healthcare.

Now, just imagine how free you'd feel if you got rid of all the rest of that stuff! I'm down to two bags that I travel with and two stored boxes at my brothers. Are you moving all that stuff in and out of your assignment housing every few months?! Let me tell you nothing feels better then just leaving it all behind every few months...like being reborn! Rent your RV, have a blast, then drop those keys off on the rental agencies desk when you're done and walk away clean.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on June 30, 2017, 07:55:04 PM
Are you two male/female (or any other appropriate combo) and reasonably attractive single people? I'm pretty sure you need to meet :)

PS I'm sorry I can't help it. I'm a 32 year old who met his wife at 18 and has 3 kids. It is just where my mind goes....
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on July 02, 2017, 08:55:21 PM
Are you two male/female (or any other appropriate combo) and reasonably attractive single people? I'm pretty sure you need to meet :)

Ha!  Unfortunately, I'm a guy breaking the nurse sex barriers, like a female STEM!  LAguy is a maleish name, but who knows?  Either way, my new found zest for life helped me in the dating realm too!  If you like vicariously living the adult dating game, catch up on some Mustachian dating shenanigans in this (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/personals/online-dating-feels-like-looking-for-a-job/) thread

@LAguy

Yes, whenever I get rid of more stuff, it's a bit painful for a few hours, then pure bliss to have less crap to deal with or worry about. 

I'll absolutely be doing the slow international travel scene.  There is just so much to see in the US though.  Every time I move to a new city for a travel gig, I'm amazed how differently I view a place after living there a few months. Starting out my travels in the US just seems to make sense.  I can work in the states & meet locals while working, keep getting used to the lifestyle step by step, and see what it's like to actually live in different regions. I may even decide to slowly trail off work.  Start with a month between each contract, then increase as time goes on.

I did take a month off before my current assignment.  I noticed a couple of things.  First, I did feel a bit of dread about returning, but only the last few days off.  The first week  back was brutal.  However, after that initial pain, I was enjoying work again and 12 more weeks didn't seem so bad.  I was really concerned I wouldn't enjoy my time off at all knowing I'd be going back, but that wasn't really the case.  I'll have to keep playing with it to find a sweet spot. In the meantime, the more I work, the more FU buffer I get.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on July 03, 2017, 08:50:17 AM
I did take a month off before my current assignment.  I noticed a couple of things.  First, I did feel a bit of dread about returning, but only the last few days off.  The first week  back was brutal.  However, after that initial pain, I was enjoying work again and 12 more weeks didn't seem so bad.  I was really concerned I wouldn't enjoy my time off at all knowing I'd be going back, but that wasn't really the case.  I'll have to keep playing with it to find a sweet spot. In the meantime, the more I work, the more FU buffer I get.

For my first mini-retirement, I was worried that I would never find another job again afterwards, so I was quite pleased when I got a gig and started earning money again. I'm about to embark on my second mini-retirement soon, and I have to say I'm kind of keen to find out what new job I'll get this time after I'm done with my travels!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: des999 on July 13, 2017, 10:03:02 AM
what a great thread.  I finally read the whole thing, and just have a couple comments.  I too am at a point where I'm looking to do a mini retirement. 

One thing that actually makes me want to do it sooner than later is the changes to healthcare that may be coming soon.  I have a 6 year old with a pre-existing condition, so I almost feel like I need to get on ACA now while I still can, and take my 6 month (or maybe a whole year) mini-retirement. 

It seems like most are single that I've seen posting on this thread, any one do this with a family, and what is everyone doing for health ins?

It is a nice feeling knowing that I could never add another dollar to my stache and still reach FIRE by age 48(ish).  I am in IT and megacorp now, and I may look to go into a different field (teacher) as now i no longer have to worry about taking a huge pay cut to do it.

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on July 15, 2017, 01:46:40 PM
It is a nice feeling knowing that I could never add another dollar to my stache and still reach FIRE by age 48(ish).

You are at the point of Retirement Inevitability (http://www.frugalvagabond.com/the-point-of-retirement-inevitability/).  Congrats! :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: rockstache on July 15, 2017, 07:03:37 PM
It is a nice feeling knowing that I could never add another dollar to my stache and still reach FIRE by age 48(ish).

You are at the point of Retirement Inevitability (http://www.frugalvagabond.com/the-point-of-retirement-inevitability/).  Congrats! :)
I love that, thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: des999 on July 17, 2017, 12:05:56 PM
It is a nice feeling knowing that I could never add another dollar to my stache and still reach FIRE by age 48(ish).

You are at the point of Retirement Inevitability (http://www.frugalvagabond.com/the-point-of-retirement-inevitability/).  Congrats! :)

thanks for the link arebelspy, that's pretty cool :) 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Stasher on July 20, 2017, 12:38:54 PM
You are at the point of Retirement Inevitability (http://www.frugalvagabond.com/the-point-of-retirement-inevitability/).  Congrats! :)

What a perfect link to summarize exactly what I have done. I have left work to focus on my fun new self employed PT relaxed "career" . I am able to pretty much do as I wish and spend more time with my wife and family everyday. I am able to say YES to things on a moments notice.

My goal was to get enough in savings that would cover my cost of living. I am there so I left work and now I have found just enough side hustle income to cover those costs and preserve my savings. That way they can grow just like this article spoke about.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on July 20, 2017, 06:46:55 PM
@ anyone who reached
Retirement Inevitability (http://www.frugalvagabond.com/the-point-of-retirement-inevitability/).
...and decided to quit your full time gig.  How did you determine it was time to take the plunge?  How did you deal with internal and external factors of downshifting as it pertains to things like personal identity, relationships, ect?  How did you deal with the "golden handcuff" issue of not yet being FIRE, knowing you're giving up the "fast track" to that goal?  What difficulties did you have which were unexpected?

Thanks
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on July 20, 2017, 11:18:25 PM
How did you determine it was time to take the plunge?  How did you deal with internal and external factors of downshifting as it pertains to things like personal identity, relationships, ect?  How did you deal with the "golden handcuff" issue of not yet being FIRE, knowing you're giving up the "fast track" to that goal?  What difficulties did you have which were unexpected?
Thanks

I think if you're describing your job as the "fast track" to your goal... you're not really ready to FIRE. It's mostly an emotional decision at this point, what makes you more at peace with yourself? If you're thinking you might regret ditching your career, you have your answer.

I would totally jump into semi-retirement if I was making < $150k or in a bad job, was close to my goal and had fun part-time options. Anything other than that kinda changes the game.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on July 22, 2017, 05:07:10 PM
I reached retirement inevitability (although, I didn't have that term clarified in my mind) and I massively re-arranged my job. But, since I own my own business, I didn't have to ask anyone for permission. Essentially hired more staff and reduced profitability (in theory) but gained massive stress releif and free time.

It turns out, it hasn't affected profitability as much as I thought. It just increased our capacity to better serve our clients which  has led to more clients. But, that is another story.

It does affect identity. I always considered myself to be a "hard worker." Now I find myself in the office wondering if I can leave (and I'm the owner!). Or, if I leave at 3:00 to go to the pool with my kids if my employees will resent me. I find myself trying to "look busy" and, in fact, find more things to do. I just had a client/friend tell me I work "bankers hours." They were joking, but serious and I'm a little embarrassed to say I was insulted - for like 30 seconds before I was overcome with gratitude for my situation. I didn't want to tell them I actually work less than that! Anyway, I'm not all the way to the other side of the mental tunnel on that, but I'm working on it.

I know that is not exactly what you were asking about, but that is how retirement inevitability affected me when I actually made dramatic changes to my work life.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on July 23, 2017, 12:44:00 AM
I think if you're describing your job as the "fast track" to your goal... you're not really ready to FIRE.
I agree I'm not mentally ready, but disagree since I've begun to think of my job mainly a vehicle to retirement vs a worthwhile use of my time.  On one hand, maybe I've just grown lazy and have a piss-poor attitude that needs adjustment. On the other, maybe it's just run it's course and I should start writing a new chapter; one made possible by retirement inevitability.  Either way, I have some mental barriers to break.

I know that is not exactly what you were asking about, but that is how retirement inevitability affected me when I actually made dramatic changes to my work life.

That is exactly the type of thing I'm looking for!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: happy on July 27, 2017, 05:51:04 PM
Posting to follow this most interesting thread.

I didn't find FIRE until my early 50s in 2011 and I'm still not quite FIRED, but definitely downshifted.

However looking back I've had 4 substantial periods off work. One at 25/26 2 years after starting work were I travelled around UK/Europe in a combi van for 10months, and skied in Europe for another 6 weeks.  A second year off 5 years later. This was more like a mostly unpaid sabbatical where I studied with some experts. Since I was largely supernumerary there was little stress/pressure and I was able to immerse myself in 2 different locations in England for 6 months each and had some unique experiences. I had a below poverty level stipend... "Living like a student" is what I called it in my head. But I enjoyed it and don't recall any great sense of sacrifice.

Then 2 periods of mat leave for 6 months each with my kids. One part of me wanted to take longer off, and another part of me couldn't wait to get back into the adult world of the workforce!

And then I've worked part-time ever since, mostly at 3 days a week, at first because of the kids, and a few years in , I loved it so much, it became a deliberate downshifting strategy which I've maintained now for over 22 years..

If I'd known about FIRE at the beginning of my career I might have been tempted to mostly power through. Then again that first special year off travelling is something I think I would have regretted if I had not done it.

I'm loving reading how everyone is juggling all these pros and cons. When I started downshifting, it wasn't really a thing..and I just had to figure it out as I went along.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Plina on July 29, 2017, 03:48:30 AM
I am planning to take a 9-12 months long sabbatical from August 2018. I will take a leave Of absence from my work. In Sweden the employer has to give a leave for studying and if you want to try running your own business. I will use the studying excuse. The fun thing is that there are no requirements for success in studies so if I don't fel for studying when it is time I will not do it. I plan to travel the year. I will let my employer know in the end of march so they will have ample time to find a replacement.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Sustainable Happiness on August 02, 2017, 11:13:53 AM
Posting to update Semi-ER progress, as well as continue to keep this thread alive because it is awesome and I think super useful for people who don’t really like their job.

9 Month unpaid paternity leave scheduled and confirmed for Oct 1, 2 months to go! Starting to get excited for it and also experiencing emotional turmoil from the idea of not coming back to work afterwards (as that is my current plan) and doing something completely different PT in a semi-retirement-esque setting. Emotional turmoil stemming from:

1) missing out on a relatively large stable income (feel like this will feel even more important with baby)
2) pushing back FIRE date to an unknown time vs going hard for the “FInish line”.

My fuck-up fund is 11 years of expenses in the bank which is what I remind myself of when rumination begins in order to re-center on the present.

Currently have no set plans for the 9 months off, I’ll still be teaching 1 or 2 nights a week for fun and playing soccer/sports as usual, but my initial plan is to focus on keeping the baby alive and then after a month or two open up my “ideas” folder and go from there.

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Stasher on August 02, 2017, 11:34:14 AM
Good Luck with your plan @Sustainable Happiness , you will do great and sound like you have a confidence in yourself. So far my exploits into FIRE are doing well, I have built up a fun P/T income from my writing and photo hobby that has allowed me to break even each month. FIRE stash preservation is my goal. Adding to our savings accounts always felt awesome but watching them remain and grow is nice as well.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Trudie on August 24, 2017, 03:33:07 PM
Posting to follow... I am 47 and considering a 1 year sabbatical, to start in just under a year.  (I would time it so I can max out my 401K before I go.)  I gained more confidence in the idea when I ran FIRECALC today and determined that we are FI now, just not RE.  My spouse makes a decent salary/benefits to support us during my "gap year."  We will not have to figure out health insurance... which is the big reason we're still working.

I am a CPA (working in private industry in a management position) and so I feel like there will always be a market for my skills somewhere, even on a contract or temporary basis.  I don't have huge expectations about getting back in at the level of responsibility that I have now; I'm striving for a happy medium.  The reason I feel like I need the break is that I have a clown commute in our rural area (45 minutes each way), and after ten years (including 11 winters) it's really taking its toll.  There aren't going to be other opportunities within this company (small, local) and I can't really foresee cutting back hours because I'll still have to deal with the commute.  I'm also eager to try a new industry (perhaps getting back to the non-profit world I came from) and be around new colleagues.  The company and industry I'm in presents few networking opportunities, so I'm going to do that on my own through my alumni association and other personal contacts.  Because job opportunities are limited in our rural area, we are considering relocating in another year or so anyway.  This would give me some flexibility and allow us to flex our Mustachian muscles.

Also, my spouse turned 56, so we are very close to taking ER for real.  But the reason I really feel the need to step away is that commuting has just been a real bummer for my health (back aches, weight gain, anxiety in the winter) and my energy levels.  The time suck has curtailed my desire to get involved in volunteer opportunities and even to socialize as much when I am home.  This absence of "connectedness" is a huge quality of life issue and something I want to tackle because I also feel it is a main challenge of ER for many people.  And lack of connectedness leads to "blah" feelings that really don't help much of anything.  Again, I feel like I need to flex those muscles and gain confidence rather than just living out of fear.

Since I have some time I've been reading a lot about sabbaticals and have been trying to journal about it and come up with a rough plan for my year (or so) before I go back.  In addition to personal goals (getting back into running/half marathon shape, planting a veggie garden, cleaning out clutter at home, potlucking with friends a couple of times a month, 8 hours of sleep per night) I'm also putting together a professional/learning plan so I can re-tool a bit and jump into something more rewarding at the end of the term.  I'm trying to identify the aspects of my job that I enjoy the most and am going to take my CPE (required) in those areas over the coming year.  Again, I don't feel this is real possible where I'm at because -- generally -- my boss does not support the learning and growth of employees (unless its directly related to this industry) and because I'm physically distant from home it's not easy to do on the job.  I'm going to take advantage of my husband's tuition benefit (he works at a college) and try to take some classes for free.

I'm still kind of scared about it all, but am trying to work through my fears before I jump by talking with friends in HR.  From what I read, it's very helpful to be able to tell your sabbatical "story" when you jump back into the market and to have a few results to show for your time off.  To be candid, I'm sure that if I do return to work I will be more enthused... because right now I'm just tired and bored.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on August 25, 2017, 09:57:29 AM
Good luck, Trudie. You sound like you're in a great position to take the leap!

Meanwhile - I have one more shift at work, and in one week from now, I'll be in Asia for 4 - 6 months. Woohoo!!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: life_travel on August 25, 2017, 06:48:22 PM
Good luck, Trudie. You sound like you're in a great position to take the leap!

Meanwhile - I have one more shift at work, and in one week from now, I'll be in Asia for 4 - 6 months. Woohoo!!
Woohoo , huge congrats ! Hopefully that would be us in 3 years , can't wait :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on August 27, 2017, 09:20:44 AM
Woohoo , huge congrats ! Hopefully that would be us in 3 years , can't wait :)

Thank you! I see a page back you mentioned also that you'd done one already and hence the one in 3 years will be your second one... that's so similar to our path! We did one a few years ago and this upcoming one is our second one. And we're both in Australia too. :))
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Sustainable Happiness on August 31, 2017, 05:50:44 AM
Semi-ER win - 2.5 years ago I began strengthening connections in a local community college with the intent to develop a tertiary income stream.

1.5 years ago I was offered a night time class contract (sales and marketing related) for 3 to 6 hours a week @ $38/hr (in class hours only count, so ~25 in real $) for a hobby I enjoyed.

1 month ago, One of my contacts found out I was taking a 9 month parental leave and decided to offer me a day-time class for the first semester at $100/hr (again in class hours only). Now i'll be working 6 hours a week and have majority covered for my wife, baby and I, with dws mat leave covering the rest with some savings still. Just went from a serial mini-retirement to a very viable 6 hr work week forever, with Potential scalability because of intentional lifestyle design.

Hopefully not too braggy, just thought it was a cool example of what happens over time with systems aligned for semi-ER or fire.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: iluvzbeach on August 31, 2017, 06:56:21 AM
Not braggy at all. That's awesome. Congratulations!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on August 31, 2017, 09:05:35 AM
Semi-ER win - 2.5 years ago I began strengthening connections in a local community college with the intent to develop a tertiary income stream.

1.5 years ago I was offered a night time class contract (sales and marketing related) for 3 to 6 hours a week @ $38/hr (in class hours only count, so ~25 in real $) for a hobby I enjoyed.

1 month ago, One of my contacts found out I was taking a 9 month parental leave and decided to offer me a day-time class for the first semester at $100/hr (again in class hours only). Now i'll be working 6 hours a week and have majority covered for my wife, baby and I, with dws mat leave covering the rest with some savings still. Just went from a serial mini-retirement to a very viable 6 hr work week forever, with Potential scalability because of intentional lifestyle design.

Hopefully not too braggy, just thought it was a cool example of what happens over time with systems aligned for semi-ER or fire.

This is exactly the type of lifestyle I'm in the process of designing.  Very happy for you! 

Curious if you would like to share how you made a determination on your "enough", from a financial standpoint, to start the Semi-ER path.  Was it years ago when you first obtained the additional income streams?  or did you just pull the plug on FT now? 

PS same S.H. as ERE?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: life_travel on August 31, 2017, 03:43:15 PM
Woohoo , huge congrats ! Hopefully that would be us in 3 years , can't wait :)

Thank you! I see a page back you mentioned also that you'd done one already and hence the one in 3 years will be your second one... that's so similar to our path! We did one a few years ago and this upcoming one is our second one. And we're both in Australia too. :))
Yeah very similar in thinking , I read a few of your posts over the years :) We are a bit older though and can't really amass a huge stache since we lost a lot during GFC and took a few years to recover .
So we can have real FIRE if we work into our late 50s / early 60s( as there is a few years age gap between DH and me) but we don't want to work THAT long . So we have to be creative :) And frugal :) BTW we LOVE Asia ! You must be finished work by now , so jealous ( in a good way he he)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Sustainable Happiness on August 31, 2017, 05:38:53 PM
This is exactly the type of lifestyle I'm in the process of designing.  Very happy for you! 

Curious if you would like to share how you made a determination on your "enough", from a financial standpoint, to start the Semi-ER path.  Was it years ago when you first obtained the additional income streams?  or did you just pull the plug on FT now? 

PS same S.H. as ERE?

Yup, same SustainableHappiness. Although this is the main thread I am following on here, because I want to here how others are Semi-ERing for bonus ideas!

"Enough" is a moving target and the initial goal was 10 years of expenses, 1) because its a nice round number, 2) because I was confident I could find new ways to make money without the golden handcuffs within that time. No guarantees I won't go back to FT after a Semi-ER test run...having a kid recently has changed my views on stability. Waiting to see if the risk aversion fades since my FT Job is a neutral influence in my life (bland feelings about it) and would like to pursue other potentially riskier or less $$ things.

Additional income streams went like this; FT Job 4 years ago (Stream 1) -> immediate Rental Property Obsession (Stream 2) -> Equities Fixation (Stream 3) -> Discovered ERE after MMM about 2.5 years ago and decided 1 FT job with no back-up plan seemed non-resilient so worked on the academic path concurrently a la above -> PT night class teaching (Stream 4) -> DW Pregnancy changed all plans -> Parental leave as a semi-ER test -> Soon ditching Stream 2 to beef up Stream 3 since rentals have had too high of a PITA factor attached and the market where the properties are is still mildly hot.

Weeeuuuu...feel like I just told my personal finance life story, hope it helps or provides a useful perspective!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Sapphire on September 01, 2017, 11:14:21 PM
PTF.  Great stories in this thread and hugely motivating.  DH and I are taking 3 months long service leave (Australia) next year and I can't wait.  We both love our jobs but they are head space demanding and some days I'd just like to run away...;)

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on January 21, 2018, 09:01:06 AM
Just got back from my second travel sabbatical with my partner! Not sure when our next one will be, but I'm thinking going for the third before we turn 40 could be a nice goal. :)  Too early to say though, really. Gotta get back to the job market now and see how that goes before seriously contemplating anything grandiose!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: HawkeyeNFO on January 21, 2018, 05:02:07 PM
Military Reserves.  I knew several guys that were essentially doing this at one of my old Navy squadrons.  They would work anywhere from 100 to 200 days per year, and take the rest of the year off.  One guy was travelling all over the world, both for work when deployed to the Caribbean and Latin America for counter-drug ops, and also in his free time when he went everywhere else.

We had a very good reserve unit that could support this type of lifestyle, and I'm not sure how many opportunities like this still exist.  Great deal for those who were able to take advantage of it though, and of course, all of their time counted towards a 20-year military retirement (starts paying at age 60 for most reservists).
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: actionjackson on January 22, 2018, 02:20:09 AM
I like this idea, and I think it could work if you're in the right profession and industry.

I took 1.5 years out in my mid 20s, and actually came back to a job with more money and then saw rapid career progress in a few years. I put it partly down to my broader life experience, and travel experiences that made it easier for me to connect with a broader range of people.

Having said that, I don't know if I could do it again now (mid 30s). I'm at the point where in my career type and industry, I'm being paid for my current ability/results, plus my potential. i.e. I get paid a premium because I'm seen as future senior leadership and they pay a premium to keep me in the company. If I dropped out for a year to go travelling, I'd say I'd come back to another role about 65% of my current salary.

Also one travel stint on the resume is not a pattern, it's seen as a one off thing. If you were doing it every 2 years, I think you would have to be in a project style professional role, like architect or software engineer etc. where you can step in/out of roles easily. No matter what though, I think the practice would limit your overall earning power as it would make it tougher to get into management/strategic roles where the salary is generally higher. Not everyone has that interest though, so it goes back to the first point, depends on profession and industry. Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: happy on January 22, 2018, 03:27:15 AM
I agree actionjackson.  I was around 25 for my first year off, around 30 for the second.  Folks said I would kill my career with the first but it certainly did  not. The second was actually a career move.  My time off for babies actually did harm my career but only because I let it. I'd decided I was a downshifter by then.

Some careers are more easily interrupted than others, teaching and nursing come to mind.  I'm sure there are others. And some careers as you say have different times when its optimal.

Don't listen to ALL the naysayers, but use your common sense and think about  your work structure/pattern to figure out what will work for you best..
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on January 22, 2018, 08:45:03 AM
Nice to have you back in the working person world limeandpepper!

This whole discussion boils down to the following question; Are you working to live or living to work? 

I suppose there is a third option, loving to work, but generally those are people who haven't experienced life without work (its better) or are not able to self direct.  There tend to be fewer of those on this site due to self selection, but as the forum gains popularity there seem to be more showing up.  Still, I doubt many people who are being honest would do thier job, exactly as it is, for free.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on January 22, 2018, 09:19:36 AM
Thanks Classical_Liberal! Not sure how I feel about working again, ha! I think if I find a job that I find reasonably interesting, then it would be alright! :)

Adding to recent discussion, I'm a low-income earner and do not have a set career trajectory, so mini-retirements don't disrupt much. Actually, they're a great excuse to take care of myself and go off to do whatever I want, when a job situation is starting to really bother me. It's like a reset button and then I go back to the working world again and get a different job that I can enjoy/tolerate for at least a while. ;)

My partner is a freelancer and taking time off isn't a big deal. He just informs potential clients that he won't be available until X date. He was already entertaining potential contracts with two different companies towards the end of our travels. Still in discussion now and hopefully something pans out!

So anyway I guess we're lucky that it's worked out well for us in terms of both of us being interested in this kind of lifestyle and both willing to make it happen!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Blissful Biker on January 22, 2018, 09:53:41 AM
Serial Mini Retirements!

My work is project based and I work hard and always deliver.  Projects are usually 18-24 months long and mid way I always request a leave of absence upon completion of the project, generally 3-4 months but has been up to 6 months.  My boss, who's focus is the current project, has always agreed.  Time off between projects is far sweeter than any 2 week vacation during a project with emails and issues piling up while you are away.   I've had this lifestyle for 20 years and love it. 

We have had some incredible adventures and the satisfaction of living our lives to the fullest.  It has postponed FIRE but in my opinion it was worth it.  With the kids now in Jr high it is harder to take take them out of school for extended periods so I have shifted to part time - another means to balance enjoying today and enjoying the future.

Even with a dozen mini retirements and working part time I will still retire in my early 50's.  A compromise I am happy with.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on February 03, 2018, 09:22:36 AM
Mini-retirement #2 is on the way, 5 weeks in Mexico starting in 11 days. Last year it was 9 weeks.

Booyah!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on February 03, 2018, 09:47:33 AM
My work is project based and I work hard and always deliver.  Projects are usually 18-24 months long and mid way I always request a leave of absence upon completion of the project, generally 3-4 months but has been up to 6 months.  My boss, who's focus is the current project, has always agreed.  Time off between projects is far sweeter than any 2 week vacation during a project with emails and issues piling up while you are away.   I've had this lifestyle for 20 years and love it.

That sounds awesome to have 3+ months off every 2 years! I'd like that a lot!

Mini-retirement #2 is on the way, 5 weeks in Mexico starting in 11 days. Last year it was 9 weeks.

Booyah!

Enjoy! 5 weeks is a bit short though, you should do 9 weeks again. ;)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: MasterStache on February 04, 2018, 06:41:31 AM
Mini-retirement #2 is on the way, 5 weeks in Mexico starting in 11 days. Last year it was 9 weeks.

Booyah!

What part of Mexico, if you don't mind me asking?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: des999 on February 04, 2018, 07:09:36 AM
I think I'm going to ease into this.  My plan is to start by taking off 2 months, while keeping the job at Mega Corp.  Anyone have any experience asking for unpaid leave at a Mega Corp?  Any considerations?  I am pretty confident I can get 1 month no problem, but I figured might as well try for 2, worse case I can negotiate 6 weeks or something.

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on February 04, 2018, 08:32:40 AM
Mini-retirement #2 is on the way, 5 weeks in Mexico starting in 11 days. Last year it was 9 weeks.

Booyah!

What part of Mexico, if you don't mind me asking?

Merida and the Yucatan. We'll be exploring caves, archeological sites, colonial haciendas, the jungle and other nature reserves, modern Mexican arts and music, parks and more :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on February 04, 2018, 12:41:14 PM
I think I'm going to ease into this.  My plan is to start by taking off 2 months, while keeping the job at Mega Corp.  Anyone have any experience asking for unpaid leave at a Mega Corp?  Any considerations?  I am pretty confident I can get 1 month no problem, but I figured might as well try for 2, worse case I can negotiate 6 weeks or something.

Also wondering about this. Could you accumulate vacation then take 3 weeks vacation + 3 weeks unpaid?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: des999 on February 05, 2018, 06:15:41 AM
I think I'm going to ease into this.  My plan is to start by taking off 2 months, while keeping the job at Mega Corp.  Anyone have any experience asking for unpaid leave at a Mega Corp?  Any considerations?  I am pretty confident I can get 1 month no problem, but I figured might as well try for 2, worse case I can negotiate 6 weeks or something.

Also wondering about this. Could you accumulate vacation then take 3 weeks vacation + 3 weeks unpaid?

I think that is what I would do if I couldn't get a 2 month leave.  I have about 6 weeks of vacation per year, I just don't think anyone ever tries/asks to take more than 2 weeks at a time. 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: kmcanoeist on February 06, 2018, 06:37:48 PM
I think the most important question is, what is it that you want to do? If you are taking a break just to take a break, I doubt you'll need a long vacation. If you've got that list in your head of things you've been aching to do, though, you may want to take some more time. The length of the break will really depend on you balancing those dreams you want to pursue right now, and those you want enjoy down the road. Making your plans is half the fun, too.

I've been back at the 9-5 for six months now following a 2-year+ walkabout. First, I was able to enjoy about 18 months of heady anticipation in advance of my quit date, then about 9 months of executing plans formed within the cubicle. The next year had been left unplanned beyond "go abroad", and developed into a 14-month world bicycle tour (absurdly cheap). I'd say my trip ended up about 3 months too long - I'd reached relative saturation on the pretty-vistas/new experiences scale and was looking forward to stability, again - but that's just how it goes, unless you know yourself well enough that you can predict what you'll want (or maintain flexibility in your plans!). I will say that it took me a few months to settle in to the dirtbag lifestyle, to really relax and hit my stride on the move - it would be a shame to give it anything less than a full trial, to see how you adjust and thrive with a change of pace.

We are the type of people who plan ahead and hedge our bets and focus on details - but don't forget that life can be short if your luck ain't in. I like to think that I can have my cake and eat it too (as long as I get the cake that's on sale). But it really depends on what you want out of your time off, regardless of whether you take it now or take it later.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on February 06, 2018, 07:08:16 PM
I think the most important question is, what is it that you want to do? If you are taking a break just to take a break, I doubt you'll need a long vacation. If you've got that list in your head of things you've been aching to do, though, you may want to take some more time. The length of the break will really depend on you balancing those dreams you want to pursue right now, and those you want enjoy down the road. Making your plans is half the fun, too.

I've been back at the 9-5 for six months now following a 2-year+ walkabout. First, I was able to enjoy about 18 months of heady anticipation in advance of my quit date, then about 9 months of executing plans formed within the cubicle. The next year had been left unplanned beyond "go abroad", and developed into a 14-month world bicycle tour (absurdly cheap). I'd say my trip ended up about 3 months too long - I'd reached relative saturation on the pretty-vistas/new experiences scale and was looking forward to stability, again - but that's just how it goes, unless you know yourself well enough that you can predict what you'll want (or maintain flexibility in your plans!). I will say that it took me a few months to settle in to the dirtbag lifestyle, to really relax and hit my stride on the move - it would be a shame to give it anything less than a full trial, to see how you adjust and thrive with a change of pace.

We are the type of people who plan ahead and hedge our bets and focus on details - but don't forget that life can be short if your luck ain't in. I like to think that I can have my cake and eat it too (as long as I get the cake that's on sale). But it really depends on what you want out of your time off, regardless of whether you take it now or take it later.

Quite the first post! Welcome :)

Would love to hear more about your bike tour.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on February 07, 2018, 07:37:30 AM
@kmcanoeist Great post and insights! I also took a two year work break and found that my experiences mirrored yours in a lot of ways except I didn't want to "go home" (or back to work) and really liked the life. I did go back to work and even got my old job back but my break really reaffirmed my desire to take longer breaks in the future.

Agreed about the insights.  I have read a shit-ton of the older journals here, but more so on ERE as its been around longer.  I've also read other blogs and peoples stories, ect.  This was mainly for vicarious entertainment initially, but after awhile I noted significant trends.  Most (to the point of almost everyone) who achieved FU for a long term sabbatical or FI in 20's-40's had some type of itch to scratch.  The three most popular seem to be travel, child rearing young kids, or some form of hobby self-employment for pleasure.

Once those goals were achieved, people tended to move on and got plugged back into the economy in some way (whether they planned to or not at the time of re/sabbatical).  Basically this means that if these folks were FI before the sabbatical, they just end up filthy rich. If they were FU, they end up FI later. This is important because some itches are best scratched at certain earlier points in life. 

I would argue based on what I have read of others experiences; its better to take the sabbatical and do what you need to do.  IOW don't let FU only finances (say 10X expenses) stop a person from following their path to meaning.  The financial seems to naturally work out just fine in the end for people with enough discipline to reach FU at a young age.

An important note; the closer someone is to traditional retirement age, the more this model seems to break down.  I'm not sure if it's because someone in his/her 50's has already reached career goals, or has more peers away from work, or has simply had enough of the BS.  It just seems to be a trend.  So if one is planning a two year sabbatical at, say 52, its much more likely this person will not want to reenter the economy afterwards and should make financial plans reflecting this likely reality.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Plina on February 07, 2018, 11:29:30 AM
I told my boss 2 weeks ago that I wan’t a 10-12 months long sabbatical to travel and study. He was not that happy about it but he can’t stop it because you are allowed to take unpaid leave to study according the law. He had a chat a couple days later were he told me that he was disappointed due to all the investments the company had put in my development. He asked me to postpone it to january 2019 and/or shorten it but I refused. So in the beginning of August I am starting with a month long vacation and in the end of the month I will start my travel with the transmongolian Railway from Moscow to Beijing.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Out of the Blue on February 07, 2018, 12:24:38 PM
@kmcanoeist Great post and insights! I also took a two year work break and found that my experiences mirrored yours in a lot of ways except I didn't want to "go home" (or back to work) and really liked the life. I did go back to work and even got my old job back but my break really reaffirmed my desire to take longer breaks in the future.

Agreed about the insights.  I have read a shit-ton of the older journals here, but more so on ERE as its been around longer.  I've also read other blogs and peoples stories, ect.  This was mainly for vicarious entertainment initially, but after awhile I noted significant trends.  Most (to the point of almost everyone) who achieved FU for a long term sabbatical or FI in 20's-40's had some type of itch to scratch.  The three most popular seem to be travel, child rearing young kids, or some form of hobby self-employment for pleasure.

Once those goals were achieved, people tended to move on and got plugged back into the economy in some way (whether they planned to or not at the time of re/sabbatical).  Basically this means that if these folks were FI before the sabbatical, they just end up filthy rich. If they were FU, they end up FI later. This is important because some itches are best scratched at certain earlier points in life. 

I would argue based on what I have read of others experiences; its better to take the sabbatical and do what you need to do.  IOW don't let FU only finances (say 10X expenses) stop a person from following their path to meaning.  The financial seems to naturally work out just fine in the end for people with enough discipline to reach FU at a young age.

An important note; the closer someone is to traditional retirement age, the more this model seems to break down.  I'm not sure if it's because someone in his/her 50's has already reached career goals, or has more peers away from work, or has simply had enough of the BS.  It just seems to be a trend.  So if one is planning a two year sabbatical at, say 52, its much more likely this person will not want to reenter the economy afterwards and should make financial plans reflecting this likely reality.

Excellent and very encouraging post, classical_liberal. 

I am 30 and am one of those with FU but not FI money (about 17x expenses currently) and a few itches I am desperate to scratch, as well as a lot of frustration at my current job.  I have been planning to quit my job by about July this year, whether or not I have another one lined up.  I've expected that I would "end up fine" eventually since I do not hate work generally - just my current job - but your post has definitely given me some comfort that I will not be making a big mistake.  So thank you for posting that
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on February 07, 2018, 02:43:27 PM

 This is important because some itches are best scratched at certain earlier points in life. 

I would argue based on what I have read of others experiences; its better to take the sabbatical and do what you need to do.  IOW don't let FU only finances (say 10X expenses) stop a person from following their path to meaning.  The financial seems to naturally work out just fine in the end for people with enough discipline to reach FU at a young age.

You are the little voice in my ear every time I have a negative thought at work, lol.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LWYRUP on February 07, 2018, 02:49:40 PM

I think serial mini retirements (aka. sabbaticals, really) are a GREAT idea.  I have never done one, partly due to life / career circumstances and party because I am chicken, but I wish I did / could.  In fact, I wish I was on one right now! 

Like a prior poster I have FU money but not FI money and so for right now the march continues. 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Plina on February 08, 2018, 12:25:17 PM

I think serial mini retirements (aka. sabbaticals, really) are a GREAT idea.  I have never done one, partly due to life / career circumstances and party because I am chicken, but I wish I did / could.  In fact, I wish I was on one right now! 

Like a prior poster I have FU money but not FI money and so for right now the march continues.

Interesting enough, when I have told about my sabbatical most of the people have told me that it sound interesting or fun. Something they wished they could do. I am surprised by all the encouragement that I have gotten.

 My parents are not that happy about it but more because they don’t like when I am traveling alone. My boss was not happy about it either because it causes him trouble.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on February 08, 2018, 10:56:54 PM
Like a prior poster I have FU money but not FI money and so for right now the march continues.

The appeal of mini-retirements is that you can do it with FU money that hasn't yet reached FI money stage!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LWYRUP on February 09, 2018, 05:59:06 AM

I think serial mini retirements (aka. sabbaticals, really) are a GREAT idea.  I have never done one, partly due to life / career circumstances and party because I am chicken, but I wish I did / could.  In fact, I wish I was on one right now! 

Like a prior poster I have FU money but not FI money and so for right now the march continues.

Interesting enough, when I have told about my sabbatical most of the people have told me that it sound interesting or fun. Something they wished they could do. I am surprised by all the encouragement that I have gotten.

 My parents are not that happy about it but more because they don’t like when I am traveling alone. My boss was not happy about it either because it causes him trouble.

Honestly, right now I have two little kids and in many ways life is easier with a routine -- I'd love to go slow traveling or something but it's hard with little kids, and more expensive. 

I am also an associate at a law firm, so my job is basically to be a well-paid cog in the  machine.  But I am getting pretty senior so that's going to change one way or another.

I could definitely see taking six months off in a year or so if I am not made partner or confirmed  I imminently will do so. 

Our expenses are also on the high side, which we are working on but won't totally change unless we sell our house in VHCOL land. 

We have seven figures squirreled away now so this is all just excuses I suppose.  I think it's a mental block as well. 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: ozbeach on February 09, 2018, 03:09:06 PM
An important note; the closer someone is to traditional retirement age, the more this model seems to break down.  I'm not sure if it's because someone in his/her 50's has already reached career goals, or has more peers away from work, or has simply had enough of the BS.  It just seems to be a trend.  So if one is planning a two year sabbatical at, say 52, its much more likely this person will not want to reenter the economy afterwards and should make financial plans reflecting this likely reality.

I'll back this up with my own experience. I took a gap year at 52 and really did not want to return to work; however, the organisation had been downsizing and offering packages for people that wanted to leave so I figured it was worth trying for. On my first day back I indicated I would be interested, and have just been told that it has been approved. Financially it has been worth going back for these few weeks, but perhaps more importantly it has reinforced that I don't want to spend any more of my time in a cubicle.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: steveo on February 09, 2018, 03:53:34 PM
An important note; the closer someone is to traditional retirement age, the more this model seems to break down.  I'm not sure if it's because someone in his/her 50's has already reached career goals, or has more peers away from work, or has simply had enough of the BS.  It just seems to be a trend.  So if one is planning a two year sabbatical at, say 52, its much more likely this person will not want to reenter the economy afterwards and should make financial plans reflecting this likely reality.

I'll back this up with my own experience. I took a gap year at 52 and really did not want to return to work; however, the organisation had been downsizing and offering packages for people that wanted to leave so I figured it was worth trying for. On my first day back I indicated I would be interested, and have just been told that it has been approved. Financially it has been worth going back for these few weeks, but perhaps more importantly it has reinforced that I don't want to spend any more of my time in a cubicle.

This is pretty cool. I dream about retrenchment packages.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on February 15, 2018, 04:22:33 PM
Hey all! My recent obsession with living on a sailboat sparked me to re-listen to this episode of Radical Personal Finance, where Josh interviews Pat Schultz from Bumfuzzle. THE KING of serial mini retirements....if you haven't done so give it a listen.

https://radicalpersonalfinance.com/50/

Pat's blog of mini retirements going on 15 years now!

http://www.bumfuzzle.com/

"This is us. I’m Pat and I do all the writing around here. And that other adult is Ali, she started dating me when she was sixteen and knew she had herself a winner, so eventually she married me. And yeah, she sailed around the world with me too.

Not ones to settle down, we then went for a drive from Alaska to Argentina to Europe in a ’58 VW Bus. As tends to happen in hippie buses, a child was conceived—so we drove to Mexico in a ’65 Porsche 356C to give birth to our Mexican baby girl Ouest (pronounced West) in December of ’09. We soon moved onto another sailboat, and had ourselves a Mexican baby boy named Lowe (pronounced Low) in August ’11. We sailed all over Mexico together before eventually selling that boat. Ready for some more action on land, we spent a couple years driving all over the place in a ’66 Dodge Travco motorhome. Ready for another new adventure and mode of transport, we moved on to a ’66 22-foot Airsteam towed with our ’68 International Travelall."
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Plina on February 17, 2018, 01:09:37 AM

I think serial mini retirements (aka. sabbaticals, really) are a GREAT idea.  I have never done one, partly due to life / career circumstances and party because I am chicken, but I wish I did / could.  In fact, I wish I was on one right now! 

Like a prior poster I have FU money but not FI money and so for right now the march continues.

Interesting enough, when I have told about my sabbatical most of the people have told me that it sound interesting or fun. Something they wished they could do. I am surprised by all the encouragement that I have gotten.

 My parents are not that happy about it but more because they don’t like when I am traveling alone. My boss was not happy about it either because it causes him trouble.

Honestly, right now I have two little kids and in many ways life is easier with a routine -- I'd love to go slow traveling or something but it's hard with little kids, and more expensive. 

I am also an associate at a law firm, so my job is basically to be a well-paid cog in the  machine.  But I am getting pretty senior so that's going to change one way or another.

I could definitely see taking six months off in a year or so if I am not made partner or confirmed  I imminently will do so. 

Our expenses are also on the high side, which we are working on but won't totally change unless we sell our house in VHCOL land. 

We have seven figures squirreled away now so this is all just excuses I suppose.  I think it's a mental block as well.

I can understand that kids make it more difficult. I also work as a lawyer but in a big technical consulting company. I thought about the sabbatical about 1,5 year before I got tired enough with my boss and decided to see if I could save enough money to make it doable. I think my main conclusion was that there will never be a good time at work to take the sabbatical. There will always come up one or two interesting cases that you really would like to see through. So it is better to do it now when I have the possibility. I have pretty low expenses except for my apartment that takes up about 30% of my income but I have saved about a third of my income. I am one of those persons that will think about something I want to do for some time and when I have decided then it is a go.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on February 17, 2018, 05:39:39 PM

[/quote]

Honestly, right now I have two little kids and in many ways life is easier with a routine -- I'd love to go slow traveling or something but it's hard with little kids, and more expensive. 

I am also an associate at a law firm, so my job is basically to be a well-paid cog in the  machine.  But I am getting pretty senior so that's going to change one way or another.

I could definitely see taking six months off in a year or so if I am not made partner or confirmed  I imminently will do so. 

Our expenses are also on the high side, which we are working on but won't totally change unless we sell our house in VHCOL land. 

We have seven figures squirreled away now so this is all just excuses I suppose.  I think it's a mental block as well.
[/quote]

Just to say, I'm a lawyer as well. Three kids. On my second mini-sabbitacal right now writing to you from Mexico.

I hope all your obstacles vanish when you make partner, but I doubt it.

And, it may all be excuses and a mental block OR that you don't really want to have freedom to travel with your family more than your career goals. There is nothing wrong with spending family time at home with routines - I like those as well. You do get the family time in your normal routine, right?

Good luck achieving all that you desire.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: LWYRUP on February 17, 2018, 07:47:42 PM

And, it may all be excuses and a mental block OR that you don't really want to have freedom to travel with your family more than your career goals. There is nothing wrong with spending family time at home with routines - I like those as well. You do get the family time in your normal routine, right?

Good luck achieving all that you desire.

@FIREby35

Yes.  My story is not exactly what it may appear.  I quit biglaw a few years ago and work for a smaller law firm, less intense (though still more intense than I would like), paid less.  We represent nonprofits who are doing mission-driven work.  I'd like to advance primarily so I can do more intellectually challenging work with more autonomy.  My pay would rise but not dramatically -- still less than a senior associate at biglaw.  So no giant payout at the end of the rainbow here. 

The primary drawback really is that the stress is not entirely worth the money / commute / cost-of-living.  It's not some 9-5 office job, it's doing deadline driven corporate transactions, just for a mission.  If I leave this, it will likely to be more mercenary -- whatever maximizes income while minimizing working hours and commute. 

I see my family a lot.  I do have little time / energy for hobbies, friends, exercise, fixing up our house, etc.  So the costs are real but not to the point that I am not an involved parent, it hits in other ways.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Sustainable Happiness on February 19, 2018, 07:41:46 AM
I would argue based on what I have read of others experiences; its better to take the sabbatical and do what you need to do.  IOW don't let FU only finances (say 10X expenses) stop a person from following their path to meaning.  The financial seems to naturally work out just fine in the end for people with enough discipline to reach FU at a young age.

Great post in general, and I really like this part C_L. DW and I are at 17x expenses, we'd have to really screw up, or something go really wrong to NOT be financial well for the rest of our lives, and that's a long time! (currently 28)

Update on Semi-ER for this thread.

5 months into parental leave:
- multiple part-time and mobile opps have come up simply by me being off of work
- still planning on not returning to full-time traditional employment...taking the reins of my working life into my own hands you could say
- aiming to return to work about 15 hours a week
- didn't do anything for Jan Feb except go to Florida and going to a 10 day Vipassana retreat. What not doing any structured work has revealed, is I like a little structured work in my life outside of raising kids, I think 10-15 hours is the sweet spot. I would also be ok with going to Florida every Winter (+20 degrees celsius is much better than -20 degrees)
- the time at home with DW and our new baby has been without a doubt worth it and helped reveal the path I want to take
- we've also sold one of our rentals for way more than expected and our second is on the market
- financially we will be at about 17x or ~6% SWR after the rental sales close.

If we can work enough to meet our annual expenses (~$30K, which will be going up as we want to rent a place with a backyard now that we've got babies), meaning each of us only has to make ~$15k, our finances are on runaway mode, this to me is a reason to never work a job I don't like again and make decisions that will mold the life we would like from here on out with money being the 3rd or 4th factor on the list of concerns.

Keep on rockin'.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: eddie on February 20, 2018, 04:38:50 PM
I would love to take a long break.  I've been talking about it with my wife for a couple years but we just can't fully wrap our heads around it.

My wife is a Trauma PA so she thinks about every possible thing that can go wrong because she bad things at work every day.  I have a very niche career (selling track & cross country uniforms, shoes, equipment, timing xc meets) and it has taken me 8 years to build my business up.

What do we do for health care for 3-12 months?

My wife will easily be able to find a job, but what will I do? I know my boss would want me back after the break, but if I take off for a year I would lose a lot of business.  We could take off April-June relatively easily, but not a whole year.  That might be the best option.

But we also have a 10 month old baby and probably want another one in the next 2 years.  Priorities.  We can't do everything.

I'm using this as a bit of an accountability thingy.  I think I still have my wife talked into a long (1-3 month) trip in a couple years.  Our daughter is now 18 months old and we have another one on the way.  We paid off our last of our non-mortgage debt last week.  We should be able to get our emergency fund built up and a college fund started this year.  Pay off the house next year. 

The goal is spring 2021.  By then we will have a 2yo and a 4yo, no debt of any kind, and plenty of $ saved up.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on February 21, 2018, 07:44:33 AM
I would argue based on what I have read of others experiences; its better to take the sabbatical and do what you need to do.  IOW don't let FU only finances (say 10X expenses) stop a person from following their path to meaning.  The financial seems to naturally work out just fine in the end for people with enough discipline to reach FU at a young age.

Great post in general, and I really like this part C_L. DW and I are at 17x expenses, we'd have to really screw up, or something go really wrong to NOT be financial well for the rest of our lives, and that's a long time! (currently 28)

Update on Semi-ER for this thread.

5 months into parental leave:
- multiple part-time and mobile opps have come up simply by me being off of work
- still planning on not returning to full-time traditional employment...taking the reins of my working life into my own hands you could say
- aiming to return to work about 15 hours a week
- didn't do anything for Jan Feb except go to Florida and going to a 10 day Vipassana retreat. What not doing any structured work has revealed, is I like a little structured work in my life outside of raising kids, I think 10-15 hours is the sweet spot. I would also be ok with going to Florida every Winter (+20 degrees celsius is much better than -20 degrees)
- the time at home with DW and our new baby has been without a doubt worth it and helped reveal the path I want to take
- we've also sold one of our rentals for way more than expected and our second is on the market
- financially we will be at about 17x or ~6% SWR after the rental sales close.

If we can work enough to meet our annual expenses (~$30K, which will be going up as we want to rent a place with a backyard now that we've got babies), meaning each of us only has to make ~$15k, our finances are on runaway mode, this to me is a reason to never work a job I don't like again and make decisions that will mold the life we would like from here on out with money being the 3rd or 4th factor on the list of concerns.

Keep on rockin'.

Being at a 6% WR is a really good place to be. Almost any PT work can get you down to 4% or less, and you can easily afford a year or two off here and there. At this point, market returns and spending levels will be able to guide some of your choices.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on March 19, 2018, 08:57:27 PM
Great posts lately in this thread.

I'm 34 years old, expenses at ~4.6% now, I'll probably take a long break in a year from now, at which point I'll be <4%. Sometimes I wonder if this "rush to FIRE" goal is obsessive, as the projects I have in mind most likely will last a couple years. What am I going to do at 40, 45, 50, 55? Chances are, I'll be craving some productive paid work and/or want a routine with a family. So maybe my present time would be better spent taking care of this sabbatical sooner than later. I'll see if I can get a short leave until next year's date.

Another thing I realized, like some posters above, is that 10-15 hours/week of work can be more fun than 0. And, in certain circumstances, if I have full control of my time and work environment (remote, independent work) I actually enjoy 40+ hours. So, no doubt I'll find a way to incorporate those in the future as well.

Even though I'm way past FU already, I have this fear similar to "inner-bag lady" (I'm a guy), maybe "inner-bum dude" who'd get lazy, on drugs, dirty, stuck in a poor country partying, ruining my life...
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on March 25, 2018, 08:51:30 AM
Hey everyone,

I thought I would throw it out there, now that this thread has been open for more than 18 months, that I just returned from my second "mini-sabbatical." Last year I spent 2 months in a beach town in Mexico. This year, I spent 5 weeks in the Yucatan in Mexico. Both trips were with my entire family of five, three kids ages 6, 4, and 3. We are bi-lingual, in case you were wondering.

I really think taking a break and then returning to work with flexible hours is the way to go if you can arrange it for yourself. I've totally let go of the "FIRE to never work again" idea. I know everyone's situation is different, but I have set up my business so I am basically redundant in my business and most of the work I do is "networking" or, as I like to call it, taking lunches with my friends.

My work hours when I am in town are from 9 am to 3:45 pm. During that time I usually do have a meeting with a friend for 60-90 minutes and I often get some Yoga in "over lunch" or some other time when I can take an hour for myself. So, it's not like I'm burning it on both ends.

That is a very sustainable schedule. I find the breaks and space help me see the path forward much more clearly than when I'm just grinding it every day. At one time, I was working more like 70 hours a week to found my business. I think it helps me avoid a step in the "wrong" direction that is easy to get caught in without some break time. How much time to we use on tasks that we later see were deviations from our true path? In my life, I've seen it was a lot of time and now it is much, much less. So now, it's a targeted and directed effort that actually accomplishes more with less time required. It's an amazing virtuous cycle that is a little like compound interest.

Working smart allowed me to add over 200k to my net worth in 2017, even with a 2 month break. I know owning my own business allows me to earn a high income, but taking a break has not negatively affected me at all. I did have some fears that clients would be upset or business partners would shun me. None of that has happened.

This year's 5 week trip was a better break. Two months was a bit to long. I get bored and miss our network of family and friends.

We also travel hack for all plane tickets. We travel in low cost of living locations where we actually save money. For example, a family of five visits the dentist in Mexico for a 90% discount. Same for family pictures and other various money saving opportunities.

So, there you go. What two years of mini sabbaticals has taught me.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Padonak on March 25, 2018, 10:44:24 AM
FireBy35, what line of business are you in?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Exhale on March 25, 2018, 12:37:28 PM
...Last year I spent 2 months in a beach town in Mexico. This year, I spent 5 weeks in the Yucatan in Mexico...

Would you be willing to share the two places where you stayed? I'm bilingual and looking for quiet friendly places to stay in Mexico. Ideally, I'll develop a way to do community service and, over time, become a part-time member of a community. We'll see. I'm flexible.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on March 27, 2018, 07:13:28 AM
...Last year I spent 2 months in a beach town in Mexico. This year, I spent 5 weeks in the Yucatan in Mexico...

Would you be willing to share the two places where you stayed? I'm bilingual and looking for quiet friendly places to stay in Mexico. Ideally, I'll develop a way to do community service and, over time, become a part-time member of a community. We'll see. I'm flexible.

Last year, we went to Zihuatanejo, Guerrerro. If you are going to Zihua and staying in Zihua, then I think it is fine. Zihua is a beach town of approximately 60,000 people and generally awesome. However, the rest of the state of Guerrero is not recommended for sightseeing for reasons related to the drug trafficking.

This year we went to Merida in the state of Yucatan. It is different in that it is not a beach. But, the area is full of interesting things to see and do. You can visit Mayan ruins, Spanish colonial ruins of Haciendas, Cenotes (freshwater caves that are everywhere), small towns known as "Pueblas Magicos," go see nature reserves, dancing in the streets and various other great things. It was a lot of fun.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on March 27, 2018, 07:14:20 AM
FireBy35, what line of business are you in?

I am an attorney and I own my own law firm. I have 5 employees with one additional attorney.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: letsdoit on June 20, 2018, 08:05:45 AM


Even though I'm way past FU already, I have this fear similar to "inner-bag lady" (I'm a guy), maybe "inner-bum dude" who'd get lazy, on drugs, dirty, stuck in a poor country partying, ruining my life...
[/quote]

or just the realization that being lazy in the tropics and having no job is fun for 8 days, but after that it might be harmful
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: letsdoit on June 20, 2018, 08:52:03 AM
i am in love with idea of a MR.
it would be a big hit to my career and that of my wife, and it would be painful to restart our lives afterward.
however, we want to do it before kids are too old.  we are at 9 or 10 x spending now, but our spending levels are artificially high bc of child care and 2 cars . 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on June 20, 2018, 10:22:41 AM
This thread is awesome, thank you for sharing everyone.

I originally planned to work till 40 and hit my $1M full FIRE #. Then realized I could cut expenses and get to $600k by age 35.

I have a feeling once I crack the $400-500k mark I will be looking to do this type of arrangement.....$18-20k/yr is enough to live comfortably in most LCOL/MCOL areas, and many countries.

My past self knew my current self all too well.

Cracked the $400k mark in May and I have settled on 4 months off next June, were I should be ~$450k and smack in the middle of my prediction. I'll come back to FT work for a year before taking a longer 6-9 month sabbatical with my SO to travel SE Asia and Easter/Southern Europe.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: teltic on July 09, 2018, 12:45:43 PM
This has been a cool thread to read!

I currently have $200k, and I'm thinking of taking a 3 month mini retirement / really long vacation.

The plan is to backpack SE Asia.  I've read you can do it easily for ~$1k a month.  So while it seems super scary to stop making an income... With expenses so low, who cares?  I don't think a backpacking trip at 60 would be as fun as doing it now (27).

A 3 month mini retirement will delay my FI date by... About 3 months... Thoughts?

Question: How far ahead did you ask your boss for this leave of absence? 

I've read HR documents enough to know I can take up to 12 months unpaid time off.  For the first 90 days, my benefits will still be intact (health insurance, PTO accrual, etc).
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on July 09, 2018, 12:59:20 PM
@teltic , I would say it really depends on your job function, your boss, and how much prep your organization would need to deal with any disruption associated with your absence. That is all if you want to continue working at your current employer, otherwise do what feels best to you.

I plan on giving my employer 30-60 days notice about my 4 months off next June, likely the same when I request a sabbatical the year after. I don't particularly care if they hold a job for me though. Part of me craves a change and some new challenges.



Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on July 09, 2018, 01:50:42 PM
Go for it Teltic :)

Being 27 with 200k is far enough along the path to open up and enjoy the ride.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: teltic on July 09, 2018, 05:38:19 PM
Thanks Fireby35 & 2Birds1Stone!

30-60 day notice eh?  Hmm.  I definitely don't want to bring this up too early. I plan to go end of Feb, and was thinking of hinting/asking my boss next month. 

My boss is really nice and totally gets work life balance (I'm suspicious he knows about FIRE lifestyle... I can smell it on him.  For all I know he is reading this right now!).

Maybe August is asking too early.  I would like to get the "Okay" sooner than later though.  I could score cheaper flight tickets with more time, and it would be such a bummer to get told No in January.  My tuition reimbursement & vesting period doesn't end until June 2019, so I'm not quite in a position of giving an ultimatum of "Give me a leave of absence or else I quit".
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: pdxmonkey on July 10, 2018, 12:43:50 AM
30 days seems awfully short notice for hey...I plan to be home four months. It's not like you're asking for one week off and you are also not giving notice that you're quitting. Quitting 30 days would seem like too much notice.  60 days seems like it would give people adequate time to plan depending on your role, but seems like it would have likelihood of possible denial for
.. Well shoot we didn't plan for that.. If say at least as much notice as time you plan to be gone.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on July 10, 2018, 02:47:08 AM
@teltic what do the HR documents say? If they don't specify, then I would probably test the waters by being like "Hey, if I'd like to take a temporary leave of absence to travel for three months someday, how much notice would be required?"
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on July 10, 2018, 03:47:09 AM
That's tough with the vesting and tuition reimbursement. I would er on the side of caution.

Could asking for a LOA before that date end poorly if they decide to hold a grudge against you? Could they let you go before you vest?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: teltic on July 11, 2018, 03:18:01 PM
@limeandpepper My HR docs say I need to submit the request at least 30 calendar days before effective date of the leave.  I do need approval from my manager & director.  I am scheduled to switch departments in Feb, which is why I'm thinking it will be easiest to take the leave between departments (at least highest chances of approval).

@2Birds1Stone I am concerned with the vesting & tuition reimbursement portion, although I don't think it will end poorly.  Worst case scenario, I could see them telling me no, and potentially losing 1-2% of a raise (standard is 3% annual raises... I could see them sticking it to me and giving me a 1%).

If I wait until June 2019 (when I'm free from 401k vesting & tuition), it would be harder to train me for 4 months in the new department, to then leave for this extended leave.

Decisions, decisions. :|

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: mstr d on July 20, 2018, 01:55:12 AM
If you take two months off do it in december and januari,  you may fall in a lower tax bracket for both years.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: gerardc on July 20, 2018, 07:47:16 PM
If you take two months off do it in december and januari,  you may fall in a lower tax bracket for both years.

... but you won't get paid for paid holidays... (at least in my company that's how it works)
so less worth it for a high salary
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on September 27, 2018, 02:21:35 AM
BUMP

Any updates from the folks who where doing this a couple of years ago when the thread started?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on September 27, 2018, 07:13:07 AM
I just booked my plane tickets (free for family of 5 using credit card hacking) to San Miguel de Allende/Guanajuato, Mexico for another 5 weeks in February and March! A five bedroom house with rooftop terrace near the city center cost $1,800. Every time I do it, it gets easier, better and cheaper :)

This will be our third year making a trip.

Also, it's amazing that my business and net worth keeps growing even though I only work 10(ish) months a year.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: letsdoit on September 27, 2018, 09:20:02 AM
did you have to get new Cred cards to do it ? 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on September 28, 2018, 07:37:41 AM
did you have to get new Cred cards to do it ?

My wife manages all the credit card miles. Yeah, we have opened lots of cards over the last few years. I don't know if she opened new ones or not for this trip.

I do know we are going to be eligible to re-open cards that we first got the bonus on three years ago and so we should have lots of opportunities to rack up miles starting again soon.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: des999 on September 28, 2018, 10:58:38 AM
BUMP

Any updates from the folks who where doing this a couple of years ago when the thread started?

I was planning to wait till I hit a certain number, but I have this feeling that I should do a sabbatical (hoping for a year) sooner rather than later as I have a child with a pre-existing.  If ACA were to go away or if we lost the pre-existing exception I would regret not doing it.  Currently work at MegaCorp so ins is covered, but would most likely have to leave job for the year.

I am not at the number yet that I had in my mind, but I am close enough.  More to come, but I'm thinking next April 1st after I get my bonus.  MAGI at that point should still be low enough to get subsidies. 

I've enjoyed following this thread, hopefully I can add to it soon.  :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on September 28, 2018, 01:55:22 PM
Cool des999!!

Couldn't you pay COBRA through mega corp for up to 18 mos if need be?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: letsdoit on October 01, 2018, 08:32:36 AM
I pd COBRA for 12 months and I almost threw up every time I thought about it

CRAZy expensive like 450$ /mo for one person
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: des999 on October 01, 2018, 10:57:46 AM
Cool des999!!

Couldn't you pay COBRA through mega corp for up to 18 mos if need be?

yes, that is one option in my back pocket, but as letsdoit said, it's a rather expensive option.  But, I guess I need to weigh both.  Thanks for the reminder. 
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on October 01, 2018, 01:27:27 PM
When I left my job in August Cobra was quoted at $1400 for 2 young people........crazy.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Sustainable Happiness on November 07, 2018, 08:21:27 AM
Update on Semi-ER for this thread. Been about 8 months since my last post. Gotta keep the downshifting Semi-ER dream alive.

-       Quit my full-time job after being asked to teach more hours at a local college
-   About 12 hours per week + 3 to 10 at home depending on prep/marking time + if any consulting hours come in
-   Spend at least afternoons+evenings every day with DW and Baby, playing, going to the park, library, gym, crafts, yada yada yada
-   Currently drawing down on cash portfolio at about $1-1.5K per month, yup you heard that right, I’m actually eating into my savings in order to Semi-ER at 28 and be at home with the fam more while the babes are young.
-   Not worried much as we've got a whole bunch of outs, although the drawing down does make me a little sad when I calculate it at the end of each month (maybe I shouldn’t watch it so closely??)
-   The unexpected drawndowns have occurred because we actually increased our expenses in the past year by moving to a new place, out of a basement apartment. Lifestyle change is worth it with a baby in particular.
-   This has actually dropped our years to 13x-ish and increased our SR to 7.5% if we stopped working entirely. But we aren't and expenses are almost covered.
-   DW has started a business as well which will bring in some income over the years, she also loves it. Probably takes about 5-10 hours a week and is more of a paid hobby than anything else. Considering adding in a bit of before-after childcare to the mix as a little simple income boost.
-   Spent 4 weeks at various cottages this summer after being able to say yes to any opportunity that came up, it was pretty sweet. Also led to a bit of increased spending.

My advice to anyone considering going part-time or serial mini-retirements, who has a gig on the side they enjoy significantly more than whatever they are doing (for me it’s teaching, for DW it’s babies). Run the numbers, create 2 or 3 back-up plans and then do it.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on November 07, 2018, 08:49:21 AM
Thank you for you update @Sustainable Happiness, gives us the courage to pull the trigger in the coming 18 months =)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: des999 on November 07, 2018, 10:29:11 AM
thanks for the update Sustainable Happiness, always good to hear others stories, especially when they are similar to mine :)

I know it's been repeated a million times, but it is so true.  Flexibility is the key, and is what makes this all possible.  With a nice size nest egg, it just frees you up to do things like this. 

The hardest part for me is finding that 'side gig' that I would enjoy more than my day job.  I like my day job, I just don't like 5 days a week, every day.  I'll get there soon, thanks again for the motivation!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: coffeefueled on November 15, 2018, 08:56:48 AM
PTF. Great to hear the many ways people are making this work. Super inspiring
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: WorkingToUnwind on November 16, 2018, 10:03:36 AM
This is a great thread. It helped and inspired me to take the plunge with a year off to travel. I had an awful experience of burning out last fall and ended up convincing my husband to quit his job with me and move into a 2002 Sprinter van. We've been traveling North America for the past seven months and even got to attend the MMM Moab Meetup last month.

It's been a really incredible experience to travel, though not without it's challenges. We're living in 30sq ft space with a dog, which isn't easy! However, I've learned so much about how to rest and enjoy life. I've always been busy busy busy, and our life in a van is so much more relaxed. It's hard to leave behind a career that gives you a clear sense of purpose and switch to what seems like a very indulgent travel lifestyle. It's been pretty cool though and like I said, an awesome learning experience.  I would definitely recommend it!

We'll probably go back to work next spring, but this time off has helped us reprioritize what's important. We definitely will take a pay cut when we go back to ensure more free time. I think it's important to live life now, not sacrifice current well-being for some future date. It takes time to learn how to live well, so I want to practice that now.

We've got about 550k in retirement/vanguard savings, so we could FIRE now if we can get our spending down to 22k-ish a year. Realistically, not happening any time soon. It's nice to know this money, if left untouched, is an excellent fire nest egg. We've practiced living frugally quite a bit in the van, and it's been a wake up call to how tough it is for us. I think for the year of travel we'll end up spending about 45k. To support our lifestyle in a brick and mortar home, I used to think 80k was necessary (also to cover 1,700 mortgage) but I think we can bring that down to 65k. Anyhey, it's gotten me thinking about the option of working fewer hours when we get home to avoid future burn out while still adding a little to the stash.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Omy on November 16, 2018, 12:03:50 PM
At age 35, I took a 7 year sabbatical. My then-husband and I had a net worth of $800k and decided to hop on our sailboat and cruise for awhile. We had a series of adventures, but the marriage broke at year 5. We divided our net worth by 2 and moved on.

I floundered for a bit, started a new career and met my now-husband. We've been working toward FI for the past 14 years (and reached it a few years ago). The mini-retirement/sabbatical was good since it gave me time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. Now I'm trying to get over "one more year" syndrome and retire for real. It was much easier to quit at age 35 - at that time I assumed I would be able to jump in and out of the work force as needed. It seems a lot more daunting at age 56 - even with a much larger net worth.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on February 24, 2019, 07:31:37 PM
I'm on my third mini-sabbitical in a row!

This year we are spending time in Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende and Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Plane tickets are less than $300 for the family of five due to my wife being a rewards genius. This year we are gone for 31 days.

Oh yeah, and they just received more than a foot of snow that is in drifts after days of blizzard winds back home...

I just thought I'd update/shout out to the original people on this thread :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Sustainable Happiness on May 20, 2019, 10:56:00 AM
Been a while since I updated here. I've fallen back into full time work 1.5 years after semi-ER-ing. I fluctuated from no work (9 months off with babe and DW) to freelancing and consulting for a former employer (still doing a little) and teaching and then got offered a job that finally fit what I like to do, teach at a college

Money is a solved issue in our minds and we keep socking some away. Baby 2 is now on the way as well which will throw everything through a loop again.

It was interesting while Semi-ER-ing experiencing our NW drop some months to see how resilient I was emotionally to that experience and actually hardened me to the idea of draining capital. I also learned I prefer some more structure if I am going to continue working, the tugging and random asks that accompanied consulting are not really up my alley.

The teaching gig is great because for the time being I am >75% working from home. I feel like I am helping some of the people I teach and I get 2 months contiguous off each year in the summer, so practically mini-retirement anyways.

DW and I have had conversations about what we'd like to do if we actually came to be fully financially independent and it's pretty much what we are doing now but with half the required money. The biggest challenge is sleep while the kids are young, but that has nothing to do with money...

Since no one cares where I am at any particular time, I usually have a super productive mornings (8-lunch) and that gets what I want to get done done for the day and then play or do personal life stuff for the rest.

Anyways thought I'd report I went back to work kinda-FT and am happy about it.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on May 21, 2019, 06:18:08 PM
Very cool :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Classical_Liberal on May 22, 2019, 12:33:57 AM
I'm semi-retiring on Sept 14th of this year. I have two options (actually many more but two leading contenders), one that would peg me at about 25% full time, the other at about 50%.  The first would give me a bit more control over my schedule when I'm actually working, but either way I will have about 6 months completely off work every year for mini retirements.  The first would cover about 80% of my current total spending, the second close to 200%.  Either way my stash should grow over time, I have about 20-25 years to normal retirement age.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: des999 on May 28, 2019, 08:09:25 AM
I'm semi-retiring on Sept 14th of this year. I have two options (actually many more but two leading contenders), one that would peg me at about 25% full time, the other at about 50%.  The first would give me a bit more control over my schedule when I'm actually working, but either way I will have about 6 months completely off work every year for mini retirements.  The first would cover about 80% of my current total spending, the second close to 200%.  Either way my stash should grow over time, I have about 20-25 years to normal retirement age.

awesome, congrats.  I think either option is excellent.  I'd probably lean toward #1  :)
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: arebelspy on June 16, 2019, 06:05:39 PM
Just binge caught up on the last 18 months of this thread. Super awesome!

Keep the stories coming. :)

@2Birds1Stone  -- How about an update on your story for this thread?
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: capoevename on July 01, 2019, 08:03:30 PM
3 years have passed. Still no mini-retirements. But stash grew from 250K to 830K. We have to thank the market and good raises for that. I'm glad we are making the best use of these years to build our foundation of "wealth" instead of taking mini-retirements because (a) it has been fun in all areas I care about, work, travel, family, friends, learning, etc; and (b) most likely, these are the most hassle-free years we are gonna have to reach FI.

I think we have pretty much paved the way for FI at this point. The more our stash grew the more we realized full early retirement is not of great interest to us (at the moment). Instead, we plan to make use of the stash to "buy" flexibility into our work. Perhaps a life of mini-retirements, perhaps something else.

We are turning 30 this year. We want to have kids a couple of years down the line. The current plan is to take a mini-retirement at the end of next year and then start trying.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: FIREby35 on July 02, 2019, 06:51:11 AM
I'm with you in the sense that building your stash creates amazing flexibility with our work. My stash keeps on marching upward and onward and I have created many liberties in my work because of the stash I have. It makes it a lot easier to keep working, that's for sure!

I don't know if you have ever been exposed to this thought, but it sounds like you are past the point of retirement inevitability.

https://frugalvagabond.com/the-point-of-retirement-inevitability/
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Plina on July 02, 2019, 07:58:14 AM
I took a miniretirement from August last year to may this year. I spent August and part of march and april at my parents place and september to beginning of march traveling from Moscow to Singapore. 10 countries and a little more than 6 months on the road. I got a little tired of traveling so I came home a bit earlier than planned. After one month back at work working halftime I was ready to leave the company. One month later I have a new job offer that will start in november if I pass the securitytest which should not be a problem.

I learned that I don’t want to be a digital nomad because it takes a lot of energy to be always on the move. I lived the fact that I had summerweather for 10 months so I could live in a warmer climate in the future. I also came to the conclusion that I like my field but don’t want to work as a lawyer. So even though I will be the legal expert in the new company it is not a similar consultant position that I have today but rather a projectleader position. And it is in a new company so hopefully without all the adminstration crap that comes with a big company.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: limeandpepper on July 18, 2019, 03:03:40 AM
I learned that I don’t want to be a digital nomad because it takes a lot of energy to be always on the move.

I can relate to this! I used to think being a digital nomad would be fun, but I've realised it would be a lot of work and I'd rather just concentrate on exploring the places I'm visiting. Maybe I'd consider it for very slow travel (e.g. staying in the same city for at least months), but not otherwise.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: steevven1 on July 24, 2019, 01:48:37 PM
Just came here to say that my wife and I have been doing this whole "mini retirement" thing throughout our 20s and are LOVING it. Both 29 now. Our goal with each one is to have a net worth change of $0 or better (never dip into savings for mini retirements).

First one was 6 months in Hawaii; wrote about it here: https://www.tripofalifestyle.com/money/zero-dollar-hawaii-honeymoon/

Second one we're in the middle of right now - Seven months visiting every US National Park. Writing about that here: https://www.tripofalifestyle.com/nationalparks/

Best part is that actual FIRE isn't too far in the distant future, even after doing these big trips!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: dblaace on July 24, 2019, 02:42:45 PM
Just came here to say that my wife and I have been doing this whole "mini retirement" thing throughout our 20s and are LOVING it. Both 29 now. Our goal with each one is to have a net worth change of $0 or better (never dip into savings for mini retirements).

First one was 6 months in Hawaii; wrote about it here: https://www.tripofalifestyle.com/money/zero-dollar-hawaii-honeymoon/

Second one we're in the middle of right now - Seven months visiting every US National Park. Writing about that here: https://www.tripofalifestyle.com/nationalparks/

Best part is that actual FIRE isn't too far in the distant future, even after doing these big trips!

Did you convert the van yourself? Pics? I've got a Promaster City that I want to convert.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: steevven1 on July 24, 2019, 03:05:02 PM
Just came here to say that my wife and I have been doing this whole "mini retirement" thing throughout our 20s and are LOVING it. Both 29 now. Our goal with each one is to have a net worth change of $0 or better (never dip into savings for mini retirements).

First one was 6 months in Hawaii; wrote about it here: https://www.tripofalifestyle.com/money/zero-dollar-hawaii-honeymoon/

Second one we're in the middle of right now - Seven months visiting every US National Park. Writing about that here: https://www.tripofalifestyle.com/nationalparks/

Best part is that actual FIRE isn't too far in the distant future, even after doing these big trips!

Did you convert the van yourself? Pics? I've got a Promaster City that I want to convert.

"Convert" is probably an overly generous word for what we did, haha. Basically just rigged up the back with a wooden platform that supports a full-size bed on top and provides four storage quadrants beneath. Nothing more. Total cost was probably like $400 including the brand new (Allswell) bed itself. It's simple but has worked out great. Personally, I think a lot of the other van conversions out there are really cool, but totally overboard for what you actually need.

We should have an article all about the van within the next month. If you sign up for email updates at the bottom of the page, or just follow the blog on social media, you'll see it when it comes out!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: dblaace on July 24, 2019, 05:07:21 PM
Just came here to say that my wife and I have been doing this whole "mini retirement" thing throughout our 20s and are LOVING it. Both 29 now. Our goal with each one is to have a net worth change of $0 or better (never dip into savings for mini retirements).

First one was 6 months in Hawaii; wrote about it here: https://www.tripofalifestyle.com/money/zero-dollar-hawaii-honeymoon/

Second one we're in the middle of right now - Seven months visiting every US National Park. Writing about that here: https://www.tripofalifestyle.com/nationalparks/

Best part is that actual FIRE isn't too far in the distant future, even after doing these big trips!

Did you convert the van yourself? Pics? I've got a Promaster City that I want to convert.

"Convert" is probably an overly generous word for what we did, haha. Basically just rigged up the back with a wooden platform that supports a full-size bed on top and provides four storage quadrants beneath. Nothing more. Total cost was probably like $400 including the brand new (Allswell) bed itself. It's simple but has worked out great. Personally, I think a lot of the other van conversions out there are really cool, but totally overboard for what you actually need.

We should have an article all about the van within the next month. If you sign up for email updates at the bottom of the page, or just follow the blog on social media, you'll see it when it comes out!

Yea, some of the builds are over the top. Currently I just have a carpet, pad and sleeping bag. I have plastic bins for storage but I need something fixed and better organized, the bins move around when I'm driving. I also need some kind of ventilation and  probably insulation. And solar down the road.
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: Allthecolors on August 30, 2019, 10:48:02 AM
We are totally doing this!  Taking a year off, WITH three kids and RVing the US and traveling to South America and Europe.  It won't delay retirement too much (if the markets cooperate, we should have roughly what we went into it coming out of it).  And those kids grow so darn fast!
Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: WalkaboutStache on September 02, 2019, 10:38:23 PM
Going on mine after CoB this Friday until March!  I plan to come back, but am considering the possibility that I might not or may at least dedicate myself fully to the little side gig that makes me happy and earns me a little bit of money.

Title: Re: Early Retirement vs Serial Mini Retirements
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on September 03, 2019, 07:56:07 AM
Just binge caught up on the last 18 months of this thread. Super awesome!

Keep the stories coming. :)

@2Birds1Stone  -- How about an update on your story for this thread?

I just saw this bat signal! And I'm glad I looked back to read the entire thread..........things have progressed quite nicely.

This thread is awesome, thank you for sharing everyone.

I originally planned to work till 40 and hit my $1M full FIRE #.
I have a feeling once I crack the $400-500k mark I will be looking to do this type of arrangement.....$18-20k/yr is enough to live comfortably in most LCOL/MCOL areas, and many countries.

Investable assets cracked the $500k mark for the first time in July, and then back and over a few times since! So success here.

Thanks to this thread I am planning for my first sabbatical March 31st 2020 :)

From that point on, it very well could be a bunch of mini retirements till full blown FI is reached. This is sounding more and more appealing the older I get and the more I run the #'s.

Right on target for this! Less than 7 months away. Taking 12 months off to travel Europe and SE Asia.

Eh, my NW is only ~$275k right now all in. I'm hoping to be in the $400-500k range when I take that 6 months off.

That would put me at barebones FI, where I could easily cover my needs, but not my wants. From there it's a matter of, is work worth whatever I "want"?

The biggest question I have is how it will effect my relationship with SO. She is 4 years my junior and has only been working full time for ~2 years now. I have a feeling she will want to take off with me, but will have a lot less accumulated by that point. Time will tell.

SO (soon to be wife) is totally on board, and ready to leave right now if the opportunity presented itself. We are actually forgoing a traditional wedding in favor of a 12 month honeymoon, during which we will elope.

We have a rough idea of what the next few years will look like. It's more like early retirement w/ serial mini work stints

~April 2020 - Leave for 6 months of backpacking in the EU
~September 2020 - Come back to US for a wedding/month of family time
~October 2020 - Leave for 6 months of backpacking in SE Asia
~Spring 2021 - Come back to USA for 9-12 months of work
~Spring 2022 - 6 month thru-hike of Appalachian Trail
~Fall 2022- Get PT jobs while building a camper Van
~Spring 2023 - Leave for 1+ year of exploring the USA/S. America by camper van

Planning anything more than 3-4 years is silly imho. And even the order of things above may change, or we like/dislike a particular style of travel which changes things up completely.

I guess the biggest realization is, now that we are at ~15-18x combined annual expenses, we don't want to slog at FT jobs for another 5 years to reach full blown FIRE, the semi-FIRE approach of coasting for a decade or two sounds way more appealing, especially since we can't know what/how we want to live more than a few years in advance. The option to go back to career work will always be there (at least for the next 10-20 years) at which point we won't even be *that* old :)

Keep on posting people! This thread is a huge inspiration.