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Trial Retirement (sabbattical) whose done it?
Old 01-12-2012, 11:20 AM   #1
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Trial Retirement (sabbattical) whose done it?

There are a few posters who have taken a break from work to test the retirement waters. The best way to find out how much you need to live for a year without working is to try it!
Anyone else done it? Comments/thoughts?
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:23 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Frugalityisthenewblack View Post
There are a few posters who have taken a break from work to test the retirement waters. The best way to find out how much you need to live for a year without working is to try it!
Anyone else done it? Comments/thoughts?
That's how I did mine. In my case the plan was two years, always with the intent to return to work. It's been 12, so obviously my plan failed
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:33 AM   #3
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In my case the plan was two years, always with the intent to return to work. It's been 12, so obviously my plan failed
A testimonial for always having a Plan B...
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:00 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Frugalityisthenewblack View Post
There are a few posters who have taken a break from work to test the retirement waters. The best way to find out how much you need to live for a year without working is to try it!
Anyone else done it? Comments/thoughts?
My only comment is that these days it's less and less likely that folks have this option, or that the j*b will still be there for them when their "sabbatical" is over.

Nice concept, but not something many people have the option to do. I know I'd be inclined to do it if I could...
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Old 01-12-2012, 01:58 PM   #5
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I'm on sabbatical kinda sorta in that I'm not against going back to work, though it would be in a completely different job/career. Having the option to go back to work was a (small) factor in helping me make the leap 6 months ago.

My primary goal was always FI, RE was (and remains) just one of several options.

Probably not what you were looking for in that I don't know if/when I'll go back to work...
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:02 PM   #6
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In 2005 I desperately needed a break but wasn't financially ready to retire. I asked for a three-month, unpaid sabbatical, and my boss somewhat grudgingly gave it to me. I spent the entire glorious summer in Rio de Janeiro.

When I got back to work, refreshed and ready dive back in, I noticed immediately that my boss's attitude toward me had changed. Suddenly he was cold and verbally abusive toward me, even in the presence of others. I was shocked. I called him on it, and he backed off a little, though not much. From that point on he was a nightmare, making my job a nightmare, making my life a nightmare.

Anyhoo, I learned later that--wouldn't ya know it?-- his lifelong dream was to go to Brazil. Because I had done what he hadn't or couldn't, and without any provocation from me whatsoever, that filthy, drunken, worthless, gutless excuse for a man tortured me for it.

Yeah, yeah, eventually I changed jobs, and guess what? That one turned out worse, thanks again to the wonders of human nature when combined with a modicum of power.

So, the moral of the story: be very, very careful about taking sabbaticals, or doing anything that your bosses or even co-workers might want to do but can't. It can backfire on you in unforseen ways.
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:36 PM   #7
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I took a non paid one year sabbatical when I returned from a job in South America (Venezuela) in 1990. I was not quite FI but had enough saved to see me thru the year with no problems. I was 40 then and not quite sure what I wanted to do next or what direction to take in my career. What I discovered was that I loved being in a sabbatical. That gave me the impetus to return to my original career (it paid well) with the goal of reaching FI/RE as quickly as I could which took me 12 years. I ER'd December of 2002. In retrospect, if I had not done the sabbatical I probably would have continued plugging along, not ever discovering the beauty of the "dolce far niente"
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:51 PM   #8
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That's how I did mine. In my case the plan was two years, always with the intent to return to work. It's been 12, so obviously my plan failed
Pretty much the same as Michael including the timing 1999. I took a one year leave of absence. At the end of the year I was seriously considering going back, because I had two years of valuable stock options. That would have been worth close to a $1 million. I convinced myself that by the time I paid taxes and such, and paid the extra expenses of moving back to California it wasn't going to be that much money.

The funny thing is a few months latter the leaking tech bubble burst, my options would never have been worth a $1. So like Michael my planned failed, and I am quite happy.

While I'll agree it is harder to pull off a leave of absence now than it was during the boom years, it is still possible. In many case one of the drivers for RE is the need to take care of aging parents or other family medical problem. The family medical leave act does give employes the right to take a 12 month leave for medical reasons, and I while I'm not advocating making up an emergency, I think giving yourself a few months off after the medical emergency is dealt with, sort of a mental health sabbatical is not a bad trial early retirement.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:50 PM   #9
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Every time I took leave I realized that I didn't really want to go back. First you had to work twice as hard for two weeks just to get a week of leave. Then when you got back you had to work twice as hard for two weeks just to get caught up.

CFB had an experience similar to ClifP's. It was the same company. In fact I'm surprised that their generous sabbatical policy didn't kill the company.

Oh, wait. But I guess the company's recovering now.

How did you decide when to FIRE?
Has this happened to anyone else?
Handling the "just one more year..." syndrome

Dory, the founder of this board, used to say that you walk through the workplace with a "FI" bucket in one hand and a "BS" bucket in the other. Sometimes one fills faster than the other, sometimes they empty a little, sometimes they keep pace. But if you ever fill up the FI bucket first, then suddenly the BS bucket fills so quickly that it's overflowing.
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Sabattical between military and civilian careers
Old 01-13-2012, 02:48 AM   #10
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Sabattical between military and civilian careers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frugalityisthenewblack View Post
There are a few posters who have taken a break from work to test the retirement waters. The best way to find out how much you need to live for a year without working is to try it!
Anyone else done it? Comments/thoughts?
I finally joined this board b/c I have similar questions...been thinking about posting. I'm fixin' to transition from military to civilian life in a few years and plan on taking a 1-yr family travel sabattical betwixt. I don't grade our situ as FI yet, so staying on sabattical is not really an option I desire. I do have a substantial (to me) sabattical 'nest egg' we've been adding to for 10 years. It'll fund our sailboat/travel/budget for the family for at least a year. We could take our planned sabattical when I'm 45 or add the nest egg to my retirement bucket and shave several years off my planned end date 15 years from now. Option B is distasteful...we've been focused on this for so long, however, reality is starting to get real.

My concerns mostly revolve around entering the job market upon return...cold. I'll have a great tan, but won't be 'current' in work 'skills.' A few months ago, the network news fear-du-jour was about laid-off folks becoming chronically unemployed and I do admit that gives me pause. I've always felt my mil career would sway a future employer despite their views on my being unemployed for a year. I wonder...

My motivation is not to 'test' retirement, but re-center myself, give back to my family some of the time that was taken from them, and share with them the perspective gained by travel outside the US. I'm currently on month 9 of 12 in a land far away from them on what I hope to be my last deployment. Previous RE and sabittical posts talk about 'significant life event' motivations...I'm no stranger to the recognition that life is short and this realization is also a motivator for me. I don't want to reach my retirement unable to do the things we've dreamt about.

Any HR folks in the room care to talk about 'returning to work'? Anyone have experiences in this area?

Mods, feel free to move me if this is a hi-jack. I'm happy to be my own thread on the Hi I am section. Although this forum is amonst the civil, this is the Internet; I figured I'd catch flak either way I posted.
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Old 01-13-2012, 05:16 AM   #11
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I am not thinking about taking a sabbattical. Instead I may opt for a part time position (i.e. for 5 to 10 days maximum a month or so) and travel the rest of the time.
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Anyone else done it? Comments/thoughts?
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Old 01-13-2012, 07:36 AM   #12
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While only coincidental, when I reduced my weekly hours worked from 20 to 12 back in 2007, my wage income ended up being about the same as the investment income I would end up with after I ERed in 2008. This enabled me to test out living on that level of income so there was no real shock to my ability to cover my expenses after I ERed.
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Old 01-13-2012, 08:28 AM   #13
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My concerns mostly revolve around entering the job market upon return...cold. I'll have a great tan, but won't be 'current' in work 'skills.' A few months ago, the network news fear-du-jour was about laid-off folks becoming chronically unemployed and I do admit that gives me pause. I've always felt my mil career would sway a future employer despite their views on my being unemployed for a year. I wonder...



Any HR folks in the room care to talk about 'returning to work'? Anyone have experiences in this area?
The other side of the same coin is that there are plenty of folks out there now who have longer gaps in their recent employment history - it is no longer a rarity that causes them to throw out your resume. Finding a civilian job now or in a year will present the same challenges, but in a year you'll have had some great additional experiences and will likely have a whole new perspective.
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Old 01-14-2012, 01:01 AM   #14
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This is just my opinion, and I've never had a real job. But here's what I've observed and been told.

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My concerns mostly revolve around entering the job market upon return...cold. I'll have a great tan, but won't be 'current' in work 'skills.'
Yeah, you will, you'll be current enough. Believe it or not, you'll be more skilled than some of the people working in the jobs you're trying to get hired for.

When you're hanging out with the sailing crowd, keep alert for opportunities. You never know who you're talking to, and who's hiring. (The billionaires are probably scummier & scruffier than the rest of the crowd.) Sailors might be your kind of co-workers, even if you hadn't considered that field.

The bar is not that high. The time you've spent in the military has developed your leadership, management, and personal discipline skills. You've seen & done things that others can only have fantasies (or nightmares) about, and you've had far more responsibility for much longer than most people your age. Sailing will develop skills in self-reliance and planning (and risk management!) that most employers never see.

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A few months ago, the network news fear-du-jour was about laid-off folks becoming chronically unemployed and I do admit that gives me pause. I've always felt my mil career would sway a future employer despite their views on my being unemployed for a year. I wonder...
Any HR folks in the room care to talk about 'returning to work'? Anyone have experiences in this area?
The places where you want to work will understand your reasons for your break. "Needed some time off to take care of family, didn't want to leap into work and have to take unpaid leave" will more than suffice. Or, "Had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to check off a bucket list item, which taught me a lot about how I can help your company..." or even "I tried self-employment but I learned that I prefer working with a team. However I also learned how to work independently on..."

If a company doesn't like your "lapse" of employment history, then you won't like working there.

When I was getting ready to retire I never even wrote a resume. I was getting calls & e-mails before & after my retirement date. I got another round of calls & e-mails at the six-month point after retiring (Navy ethics restrictions on employment). I've continued to get a call or e-mail every year since I ER'd, along with intermittent self-inflicted episodes of "I could SO do this job".

Maybe you could give yourself 4-6 months for the job search. I definitely think you should talk now with a headhunter or a coach about your plans, and how best to time your bridge career. (You could start with my spouse's shipmate Lynn Oschmann at Oschmann Coaching - Life - Leadership - Transition Coach .) I think the key is to figure out what you want to do, and then figure out which company can benefit the most from your presence. Research the heck out of them and show them how you're a solution to one of their problems. Offer to intern or work on probation for a month or two.

You may also connect with Lions or Rotary or a veteran's organization or a volunteer group. Once you get to know the people in the organization or on the board of directors, then let them know you're considering a bridge career. At the very least you'll get part-time or contractor work that would let you stretch out your job search until you find the opportunity that's right for you.

At the very least you could join a LinkedIn group for your military branch/specialty. (I'm in "Submarine qualified" and "Naval officers".) Post your questions there and let the headhunters & career coaches thrash it out.

Our focus here is more on financial independence, but you might also take a look at "The Military Advantage" (http://militaryadvantage.military.com/ ) or Carl Savino's books (http://www.corporategray.com/static/...ut_the_authors ). I've hung out with Terry Howell, he's retired USCG, and I like him a lot. Ron Krannich is Impact Publications, and he's treated me right. Carl's a good guy who understands how to find the career you want, not just any ol' employer to hire you.
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Old 01-14-2012, 06:48 AM   #15
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I've been on sabbatical now for over 100 weeks with more to come. During that time I shifted finances to generate cash flow instead of growth, to pay for a longer time until I officially retire. Now I want not, have less stress and do what I want, when I want.
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Old 01-14-2012, 09:43 AM   #16
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in a year you'll have had some great additional experiences and will likely have a whole new perspective.
Hope so. Thanks for the perspective.

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I've never had a real job.

Lots of great stuff to think about in your post. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I definitely need to cultivate my networks...been working that some, but should apply a bit more focus. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 01-14-2012, 11:58 PM   #17
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The family medical leave act does give employes the right to take a 12 month leave for medical reasons,
Unfortunately, it's 12 weeks off during the course of a year.

U.S. Department of Labor - Find It By Topic - Leave Benefits - FMLA

"The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year."
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Old 01-15-2012, 11:21 AM   #18
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Back in 2000, my mega-corp merged with another mega-corp in a so-called merger of equals, but it really was a case where our company was acquired by the other, and the only one that benefited on our side was our CEO who made out like a bandit. After three years in that new merged environment (essentially the other mega-corps culture and policies), I had enough and jumped at an early retirement package that was offered in late 2003, at 54 yo after 26 years of service. The previous mega-corp was a wonderful environment and I easily would have stayed there for several more years and enjoyed it.

I gave early retirement a try, but found I got a little bored and probably wasn't prepared for it mentally nor did I have a plan on how to spend my time. I was contacted by some former work associates and ended up going back to work. At the time, neither of my kids had entered college yet, so the thought of sacking away some additional $s also played some part in my decision to go back to work. I'm still working today with much less stress (except for the commute) and for the last few years DW also worked part time. We are both going to call it quits this year for good.
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Old 01-15-2012, 02:41 PM   #19
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When I turned 40 I was able to take a year off without pay. I traveled around the world. I discovered that people in very few countries, it seemed, had the attitude of work work work until you die. That's when I seriously started thinking about retirement and started saving even though I would get a pension. Now the money I put away acts as insurance just in case something happens to my pension. Best thing I ever did was taking that year off.
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Old 01-15-2012, 04:02 PM   #20
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I was laid off at 32 and ended up doing contracting for 4 years, which was on again off again. During that time I took two different months off for travel during the summer, and also a few month stint off while I did a major home remodel. This helped me to realize I would have NO problem filling my time without having to go to work.

I ended up going back to work when the opportunity was there, and spent about 9 years working before another layoff. With only one kid left in college (and he was on a full scholarship), I was debating what to do. Had a chance to go back to school to work towards a PhD with full scholarship and a stipend. During that time, I had to work hard at the beginning and the end, but the middle years were leisurely with no specific schedule or dress code.

Both of those stretches were leisurely, if not really sabbaticals. They helped me to refresh while staying current. We are enough of LBYM that no financial difficulties were encountered, and my mental state definitely improved. Looking for a way to keep your hand in without making 100% separation might be a good compromise if you can work it out.
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