You may have seen the headlines:
Early retirement is still a distant dream for many people, so the appeal of profiling these people is obvious. They’re anomalies! People want to know “how did you pull that off?!”
But in our world, they’re not anomalies. They’re just regular FI / RE members: a sub-group on the internet that focuses on financial independence and retiring early.
If you read enough FIRE blogs, you’ll notice a binary pattern: your retirement options are either at 65 (traditional) or super early.
When you compare the two, early retirement is the clear winner. Who wouldn’t sacrifice for a few years to get decades back in their lives to fill with whatever you want to do with your days / weeks / months / years?!
But there are more options than the ones the headlines show: semi-retirement and mini-retirements.
Semi-retirements or mini-retirements could be the perfect solution to burnout: you don’t have to completely abandon work that you may love and travel around the world, but you have the opportunity to gain more freedom, more flexibility and security in a short amount of time.
For many of us, the goal isn’t “never work again.” The goal is to gain freedom to choose how often, where and when you work, and what you work on. These alternative models for retirement could be the solution to that, especially if your post-retirement plans involve making any amount of money.
The optimal lifestyle for you is a personal choice.
I personally enjoy a hybrid mix of semi-, mini- and early retirement. While I still invest over 50%+ of my income, I opt for a balanced ~10-20/hours of work* a week, although I allow myself to go on “sprints” for projects that excite me. In spite of this relaxed schedule, I also take long periods away from work to restore myself and enhance creativity This is the best choice for me for a few different reasons:
I’ve also worked long enough to know my strengths: I work well when I can alternate cycles of intense work and complete relaxation that align to my natural energy cycles.
So next time you come across an article about a 25-year-old who retired to travel the globe / start a business / volunteer in disaster relief, instead of going “ psh, must be nice.” and then dismissing it as unrealistic, lean in a bit.
Get curious. Ask questions. It may not fit your exact scenario, but ask yourself what elements you can apply to your own life.
Know that there’s an entire community of us who are living these “unrealistic alternate fantasy worlds” and there are 100 different ways to do it, if you choose it. In fact, my upcoming book is detailing the exact who / what / how of these alternative early retirement lifestyles. Which way sounds the best to you?
*Note: I define “work” in this context as “something I do for money.” I have about 10 different projects and revenue streams, but I would maintain those even if I had 100 million dollars and money wasn’t a factor.
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