Early And Traditional Retirement Both Suck! Try This Instead!

After we’ve explored the paths to both early retirement and traditional retirement, you might be wondering why we need to pick one or the other.

Isn’t there another way we can structure our lives so that we can enjoy them more both now and later?

I’m glad I’m not the only one who is thinking beyond the obvious options.

Instead of picking one retirement method or the other, why not combine the two and find a way to make it work?

Honestly, most people never entertain the thought because it doesn’t fit in well with their current careers.

Just a few tweaks to traditional and early retirement can make things much more interesting if you can make it work for you.

Mini Retirements – The Early/Traditional Retirement Combo

Rather than retiring early or waiting until you’re 67 to retire, why don’t we work in spurts and take time off in between to do what we wish?

Work for a few years then take a year or two off to accomplish a lifelong dream, then head back to work for a few more years and then repeat the process again. It definitely doesn’t sound like a traditional employment option, but with some work you can make it happen.

This type of life plan works best in a career field that isn’t rapidly evolving. If you work in a fast paced tech job, it probably wouldn’t work for you. However, if you work in a relatively stable field, you could easily employ this methodology to retirement.

Another great way to take advantage of this method of retirements is to become a contractor that takes jobs on assignment. You won’t get benefits, but you can take jobs in short spurts and it should be easy to find new jobs based on the fact that you’d be a temporary employee.

These jobs generally pay pretty well if you’re in the right field. Each time you head back to work, you’ll need to make sure you’re staying on track for two different retirement goals.

The Two Retirement Goals To Monitor

The first is your permanent long term retirement for when you turn 67 or whichever age you’ve decided you want to retire. You must always make sure you’re on track for this retirement goal first and foremost.

Why? The younger you are the more time you can allow your money to work for you. If you get off track today with this goal, it will take even more money to get back on track in the future which can cause big problems down the road.

The second retirement goal you need to keep track of is your mini-retirement goal. Once you figure out how long you want your mini-retirement to be, you need to save up enough money to live off of for that period of time.

You’ll probably want a little bit of extra buffer room in case you can’t land a job on your way back from your mini retirement as quickly as you had hoped. Once you have these two financial goals in good shape, you’re ready to take your first short mini retirement.

Enjoy your time off and figure out what you want to do for your next working stint. With a lot of planning and some hard work between mini-retirements, it is definitely possible to make this method work for you!

Do you think mini-retirements is an option for you? Would you ever consider such a non-traditional version of retirements?

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.


  1. In the past year, I’ve been able to travel for some 8 weeks, not including weekends. I like that structure. It’s mini vacations rather than mini retirement.

  2. Sorry Lance, I just can’t get on board with this one. I suppose school teachers sort of do this by having summers off, but the problem is…..you still have to go back to work. I like my way better. I never have to face that Monday morning when I return to work.

  3. I’ve been thinking about taking a year off to go on an RV trip. Problem is, I work in technology.

    I’ve got about 10 years to figure it out, otherwise my kids will be too old. Trying to get a plan in place!



  4. For me mini retirement would be going down to 3 days a week for a couple of years before I finally retire. I can’t see giving up the benefits before that. Or alternatively, I might request a leave of absence to take the summer off entirely, for example – some vacation and some unpaid. Then I would be working like a teacher and be able to slowly get a taste for retirement.

  5. I like the mini-retirement idea. As you know, I’m quitting my current job to be a stay at home dad. But I don’t know how long that might last. I’m pretty sure I’ll love it but I could see myself going back to work once the kids are out of the house or sometime before if circumstances change.

    • I think a mini retirement to take care of kids is a great idea if you have a plan, which you definitely do. I could see you working from home on the self-employment front as you get used to staying at home.

  6. I am going to do the mini-retirement at 56. Live on rental income until the ‘real’ retirement kicks in. Work only whet I want, when I want.

  7. Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    I’m not sure that we every want to retire 100%. What we really want is financial independence. I just want to have enough passive income to do what I want, when I want. We’re getting there but it’s a slow process.

  8. Since we didn’t consider retirement early, the retire early option is out for us. However, we decided to continue to work, but transfer our jobs to some of the places we considered visiting of we were to retire. In addition our jobs would allow a 4 week vacation stint, but up to 8 weeks if done over the holidays. So that would allow us to do an extended vacation every other year. Then we would be able to permanently retire at 62yrs where we move wherever our grandkids are.

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