When you think about retirement, what comes to mind? If you’re like most people, you envision a specific date when you stop working altogether. One day, you’re punching a clock and the next, you’re sipping mai tais on a beach (metaphorically speaking).
However, just because this system has been normalized over the past few decades doesn’t mean that it’s the “right” choice for everyone. Retirement doesn’t have to be a permanent state of being. Instead, you can opt for something a bit more flexible.
Something like semi-retirement.
Don’t worry if you haven’t heard that term before – we’re going to define it and illustrate the potential benefits (and downsides) it can bring.
What is Semi-Retirement?
If retirement is stopping work altogether at a specific point, semi-retirement is more of a gradual equalizing of your work/life balance. Rather than grinding five days a week and taking two days off, you might work three days and take four off, or vice versa.
Semi-retirement means the work doesn’t stop, but it does take up less of your time. This option allows you to be more flexible and not worry as much about saving enough for a specific retirement date.
What Does Semi-Retirement Look Like?
Understanding a concept is easier when you can look at a few examples. Here are some common ways to transition to a semi-retired life:
Cut Back on Your Current Job
Rather than working 40+ hours a week, perhaps you only work 15 to 20. The job remains the same, but you don’t spend as much time at the office.
Obviously, many positions, particularly high-paying careers, don’t offer this kind of flexibility. However, if it’s possible to trim your current employment, you don’t have to worry about finding a new job.
Get a Stress-Free Part-Time Gig
If you can’t cut back your hours at your current workplace, you can trade it in for something that offers less stress and fewer workdays. For example, perhaps you work weekends and take Monday-Thursday off. As long as you make enough to pay the bills, you have tons of options available.
Become a Consultant
Depending on where you’re at in your career, you may have tons of valuable experience in your field. If that’s the case, you could go into business for yourself as a hired consultant. While the stress of working with clients can be intense sometimes, you have much more flexibility in setting your rates and your hours.
Launch a Business
Starting a business is a lot of work up front, but once it’s on its feet, you can hang back and work less while relying on others to handle the day-to-day operations.
How to Give a Great Retirement Speech
Once you’ve decided to semi-retire, you need to let everyone know how you plan to transition to a more modest work/life balance. Here are some tips to craft a killer retirement speech:
-Keep it Simple – Your co-workers don’t want to hear a rambling, 30-minute account of your hopes and dreams. Focus on the core elements, particularly why you’re retiring.
-Rehearse It – You’ll likely have to use notecards, but try to avoid reading from them verbatim. You’re giving a retirement speech, not a dissertation.
-Be Sincere – An authentic speech will resonate deeper than one that tries too hard to be clever or funny.
-Get Second Eyes On It – Review your speech with someone you trust so that they can offer honest feedback.
Semi-Retirement vs. Early Retirement
Full retirement and semi-retirement aren’t the only two options. Early retirement means that instead of leaving your job at age 55+, you retire around age 30-40. Here are some crucial differences between semi and early retirement.
-Work/Life Balance – Early retirement means that you go hard for a couple of decades and then relax. You’re trading immediate rewards for future benefits. Semi-retirement means that you balance both parts of your life for the long term.
-Financial Freedom – One of the challenges of early retirement is ensuring that you have enough to live on for 40+ years. Ideally, you won’t have to come out of retirement because you spent your whole nest egg.
-Start Sooner – In some cases, you can semi-retire immediately, while early retirement depends on loading enough money into your investment accounts and 401k.
Is the Semi-Retired Life For You?
Some people love the idea of never having to go to work another day in their life. Others miss the structure and purpose that comes from having a job. Semi-retirement offers a little of both worlds, making it an ideal choice for those who want something to do but don’t want to grind for 40 hours a week for the next few decades.
If you need help figuring out your retirement plan, give us a call. We can work with you to develop a customized solution to meet your financial and personal needs.