After high school or college, we go into adulthood hustling and grinding at work.
Society conditions us to get a job for 40+ years, buy a house, work hard to maintain life, and have a few extra things like the latest gadgets and vacations.
However, the longer we are in the workforce, the longer we deny ourselves mental and physical wellness and nourishment.
We work hard for our employers.
We put more effort into building our careers and put our family’s needs behind the company’s needs.
We aspire to make more and more money in hopes of increasing our lifestyle.
But what if there’s another way of living?
What if we can break away from real life to give other aspects of our life a real focus?
With diligence and systematic planning, you can take a mini-retirement.
I’m a stay-at-home mom, and I’m on my mini-retirement.
What is a mini-retirement?
A mini-retirement is taking time off from work for an extended time such as six months or a year. You name it.
It is an intentional time that is well thought out, planned, and prepared extensively.
You have all the intentions of going back to work in hopes of feeling rejuvenated and refreshed at the end of it.
It may take months to even a year to plan and to carry it out successfully.
It helps you find a (new) purpose in life and allows you to explore how to live out that purpose.
Why take a mini-retirement?
In the United States, people work 40 hours a week or more with little vacation time or sometimes none at all. People are getting burnt out from their careers due to everyday work and family stressors.
People work from their late teens and to the retirement age of 65 years old.
A total of 40+ working years!
Often, retirement is so far away.
We can’t wait until our 60s to enjoy life.
Too many things happen during those 40+ years of working.
Who knows if we will even make it to our 60s?
So plan to take a mini-retirement and don’t look back!
How can you afford a mini-retirement?
Review your budget. Identify how much you need during your mini-retirement.
Budget everything you will possibly need during your mini-retirement. You may decide to travel so you won’t have a fixed rent/mortgage every month.
If you no longer have an employer, you need to figure out how to get health insurance.
Start decreasing your expenses.
How much money you need to save depends on your expenses and what you plan to do.
Have a mini-retirement sinking fund. You need money set aside specifically for a mini-retirement. The more money you have, the more options you have.
As soon as you are entertaining the idea of a mini-retirement fund, start contributing to it monthly.
Once you figure out your mini-retirement budget, save at least 20% more above that.
Leave it in a savings account to easily access it. Now is not the time to invest your savings.
Figure out how you will fund it. On top of having a mini-retirement saving, is there anything you can do to create passive income?
Will you get money from the sale of your home?
Do you have special skills that you can do once in a while? You can be a bartender for events, or you can be a tour guide for a city and work for tips.
It may be easier for families with two incomes to have one parent go on a mini-retirement since there will still be income from the working parent. Can your family afford to live off of one income?
How can you make it happen?
Mini retirement is not for someone who doesn’t want to work anymore.
Instead, it is a time for self-discovery.
Finding out your purposes or passions in life that you can do so that life doesn’t continue to drain you is essential.
There are several things to consider, and it takes diligent planning to be successful at it.
Identify your why. Why are you taking a mini-retirement?
Are you not where you want to be in life?
Are you having doubts about your chosen career path?
Identify the purpose of the time off. What do you hope to accomplish from your mini-retirement?
Fill your time with meaningful things to do that will help you find purpose.
Connect. Stay connected with people.
Connect back with yourself, especially if you find yourself far from being the person you thought you would be by this time in your life.
Work on special projects that you connect with but have been putting off.
Determine your expenses. Make sure you have adequate funds.
Save early and save a lot.
You will not regret having saved too much money.
Come up with a back plan. It’s easy to get bored during a mini-retirement if you don’t plan your time well.
If things don’t go as planned, know when to call it quits.
Think of how you will go back into the workforce. You may or may not go back into doing your same job again. You will need to know how to answer for the gap months/year in your resume.
Volunteering will help with the gaps in your resume.
Do it with no regrets. Save for it, plan for it and execute it. It is probably something you need to do.
There may be no perfect time to take a mini-retirement, but it could also be the best thing that happens to you.
Assess that your goals are on track. Identify your goals outside of mini-retirement.
Are you still going to be able to meet those goals? Make sure you are still on your way to meet those goals.
Why is my stay-at-home mom gig a mini-retirement?
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom now for four years, and I love it. I used to have a successful career that I was good at for seven years.
Now, as a stay-at-home mom, I consider myself to be on a mini-retirement.
And I am damn proud of it!
I didn’t know what a mini-retirement was until I started going deep into the Financial Independence world.
But isn’t being a stay-at-home mom the most challenging job in the world?
Heck yeah, it is!
So why would you also say that you are on a mini-retirement then if it’s so stressful?
Because I love being a stay-at-home mom!
Aren’t mini-retirements supposed to be fun?
Yes and no. Mini-retirements are supposed to help you find your purpose.
It took me almost a year to successfully and happily transition into this role.
It is a journey of finding myself outside of being a nurse.
I listened to many podcasts and read many blogs on personal development and how to be happy.
I was able to find value, my new purpose, and now, I have a solid internal gratification for myself.
We are also meeting our financial goals. And at the end of the day, I can be the parent I want to be because I am home with my children.
I have no intentions of going back into the workforce anytime soon.
However, I know that I will go back one day, and I am looking forward to it. That’s why I am enjoying this stay-at-home-mom gig/mini-retirement even more!
What am I learning during my mini-retirement?
1. Find your purpose
We identify who we are by what we do in our jobs.
However, when our identity is strictly determined by what we do and we experience a job loss, our identity is lost.
You need to change your thought process of who you aren’t, but rather who you are.
Use positive affirmations to change your negative thoughts into positive thoughts.
Use books or podcasts to learn about self-development.
I put a lot of energy into changing my beliefs of who I once was into who I wanted to become.
I surrounded myself with positive affirmations, uplifting and motivating quotes, dived into podcasts that focused on self-development.
I worked and continue to work on my own internal beliefs of who I am.
2. Use money as a tool
Having money gives us options.
Stop thinking that the more of it you have, the more you can do.
Instead, treat money as a tool.
Being a family makes it easier to take a mini-retirement, especially if one person keeps making an income and the family can live off of that income.
Before going on the mini-retirement, save, save and then save some more!
Budget fiercely and prioritize ruthlessly.
Look at the budget and cut out expenses to a comfortable living lifestyle.
A big part of the reason I am comfortable being a stay-at-home mom is that we are financially secure.
We are privileged with our income that having a parent at home is financially possible.
Related posts: Ultimate Checklist: How To Live Frugally On One Income
3. You can live with less if you want to
America is a consumerist country where society makes you believe that you need to spend money to be happy.
Name what matters & prioritize it.
Sit down with your partner and make a list of the top 10 things you value as a family.
Spend your money on those things. Name what matters to you and execute it.
We make a lot of big and small family decisions according to what we value.
It cuts the discussion time in half, and we save more money in the long run.
Mini-retirements can be life-changing.
Imagine being happy in multiple areas of your life, such as your relationships with your family and overall feeling physically healthy.
Imagine feeling rejuvenated and happy with life.
Imagine being inspired and finding your purpose again.
Mini-retirements will give you the time, space, and energy to explore what you have been putting off for so long.
It will allow you to focus on things that truly matter to you.
It allows you to become the person you want to be.
You don’t need to slave to the usual 40 working years. Or the traditional American life.
Plan methodically, save diligently, and take the mini-retirement with no looking back!