One of the more interesting concepts I have come across lately is the idea of a “mini-retirement.” I’ve been following the conversation about the mini-retirement on Get Rich Slowly, and seems very interesting.
The idea is to, instead of putting off retirement until you are old and just stopping everything at once, take a few mini-retirements throughout your life. Go on “vacations” that last a few weeks, for example. And you don’t really have to dip into your retirement account to do it, according to Get Rich Slowly:
It occurs to me that one way to approach the mini-retirements, at
least financially, is to save for them, just as I might save for a new
car. It’s not necessarily money I’m pulling from retirement then. It’s
money I’m pulling away from a Mini Cooper and setting aside for a
mini-retirement. I think the mini-retirement would actually provide
more value to me at this point.
Of course, there are some considerations with regard to job, your home, etc. What boss is going to let you take six weeks off to visit Europe or tour the Amazon. And what will you do with your house while you are gone all that time (one solution: house swapping).
Even with these concerns, the idea can be a good one. Consider how much you could get out of life as you live it if you had mini-retirements spaced throughout. Would a three to four week mini-retirement rejuvenate you for your job, ultimately making you more productive? If you took a mini-retirement, could you actually save money on expenses. After all, house swapping or renting an apartment for a month costs less than staying in a hotel for five to seven days.
Of course, in order for this to really work in America, we need to change how we view work, money and vacation time. What most people get in terms of “vacation days” is not enough for a mini-retirement. It amuses me that you could take a mini-retirement in China (where they get three weeks off a year), but not in America, where the average is 14 days — often including major holidays like Christmas.