Retirement - Do You Really Have To Wait?

Do you think of retirement as a mythical time in the distant (or not so distant) future when you won't have to work for a living, and you can spend all day doing exactly what you want?

If you're in a traditional full-time job, this may seem like your only option – work hard now and reap the rewards later. But if you have a more flexible working life, such as working part-time, or at casual or temp jobs, then the following idea may offer an attractive alternative.

How to 'Retire' Now

The concept is called 'taking your retirement in stages', a term that we first came across in John D. Macdonald's Travis McGee novels. Travis works as a private detective specializing in recovering stolen property for 50% of its value. Whenever he solves a case and the client pays him, he spends the next few months doing whatever he wants . . . until the money runs out. Only then does he take on a new client.

This system works best if you make very good money at whatever you do, or if you have excellent budgeting skills. The beauty of working only part of the year and playing for the rest of it is that you can enjoy large portions of your life when you're young and fit, and able to take on more strenuous challenges such as hiking tours, backpacking, caving, scuba diving and so on. If you postpone these dreams to a time when your health is deteriorating or your body is frailer, you may find you've left it too late.

Of course, if you're financially independent you already have great control of your time. But if you're on the 9-to-5 treadmill, you may find yourself limited to a 2-week vacation every year. People taking their retirement in stages can enjoy 3-9 months of leisure time each year, depending on what they do with their time and how much those activities cost them.

How Practical Is This?

Many people I know are living this lifestyle, and two of them recently set up a web site detailing how they avoid the harsh Canadian winters by spending five months of the year in the southwestern USA. Marianne Edwards and her partner, Randy, are now in their mid-fifties and about to embark on their fourth winter getaway into the sun belt. Marianne is a former career woman who was introduced to the lifestyle by Randy, a real life Travis McGee who has traveled extensively in the South Pacific, Australia, Canada, the USA and Europe. On the web site she shares all kinds of practical information on how to duplicate their RV travel adventures.

Marianne hiking
Marianne hiking in the desert

Marianne has written two books on RV travel – one on southern Texas and the other on Arizona – as part of a series of guides covering their favorite destinations. Her next book will reveal how she and her partner budget throughout their working months in order to finance their trips.

For those of us who are not yet financially independent, or for people who aren't willing to devote huge quantities of time to pursuing wealth, this lifestyle can offer an attractive option, whether you choose to practice it indefinitely or try it every couple of years or so. Naturally it's more feasible before you have children or a mortgage, or after your children have grown and your mortgage is paid off. And your leisure activities can include anything you choose, from traveling or studying to planting a new garden – whatever makes you feel alive.

To read more about how Marianne does it, visit Frugal RV Travel.

Disclaimer: This site is purely educational and we make no claims or guarantees with regard to the information presented. Please consult a certified NLP practitioner for individual coaching in the use of NLP techniques. We strongly advise consulting a financial industry professional before embarking on a wealth creation journey.