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Sabbatical or RE??
Old 02-07-2020, 06:40 PM   #1
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Sabbatical or RE??

I've been blessed with a very engaging career in a field I love (media), but as I've now hit my RE number and grown a few years older, I'm feeling less excitement at work and my tolerance for the b.s. is dropping.

My job is very dynamic but also stressful. Lots of travel & responsibilities, and a portion of my responsibilities is sales, so there's always the bosses wanting more, more, more.

I have tried a number of things to help with the stress like push off work onto other people, taken extra days off here & there, and longer vacations where possible (typically 2 weeks in winter or summer is the max I can get away with). But given the competitiveness of my field, I'm not sure there's much more I can do in these incremental ways. Not sure if this is all just fear of the unknown, burnout, or hearing the call of RE but not necessarily identifying it accurately.

Lately I've been dreaming about a 6-12 month sabbatical, since I'm not 100% sure I'm ready to retire. However my company doesn't do sabbaticals, so I'd likely just have to quit and then start over if I do decide to go back to work. I'm privileged to have a great job in a really solid company, so the idea of "starting over" isn't necessarily very enticing either.

So I'm wondering if any of you found yourselves in a similar position in your late careers, and what advice you may have.

For the record I'll be 53 this year, and the calculators say I'm in good shape to RE. Of course there's always more to save and get FATFI! My goal had been to put in a couple more years, but I'm feeling pretty burned out and not sure I've got it in me to push through. Maybe some of you have taken a sabbatical and seen new life from it? Or am I just kidding myself and need to give RE a try?

Thank you.
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Old 02-07-2020, 08:46 PM   #2
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I left work in 2017 and a year later, I came back to work at a different company. When I left, I was not sure if I would take a sabbatical or retire early at age 56.

You don't have to make the decision to permanently retire when you leave. Go back to work if and when you feel like it.

For me it was a great decision, but everyone is different and you have to judge your own situation and your own feelings. There is no objective right or wrong choice.
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:08 PM   #3
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Retirement is just a long-term sabbatical, in which you can choose to go do something you love...which might mean doing nothing.
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Old 02-07-2020, 09:28 PM   #4
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The more money you have, the lower your tolerance of bullshit.
It goes to zero when FI money reaches FU money.
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Old 02-07-2020, 10:18 PM   #5
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In your financial situation there's no reason not to do what you're dreaming of. Take the sabbatical, or, if necessary, quit. You have the luxury of choosing when, or if, to come back to your industry, or another one.
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Old 02-07-2020, 10:31 PM   #6
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.... However my company doesn't do sabbaticals, ....
Most companies do not have sabbatical programs... but why don't you ask for one, or a 6-month or 9-month leave of absence. If they say no, then you can quit.... roll your own 6-12 month sabbatical and see if you want to return to work or not.
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Old 02-08-2020, 07:06 AM   #7
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When I retired, I planned on doing consulting projects (after several months of retirement) to keep busy and earn some extra cash. 2.5+ years later, and that consulting ship never sailed. Loving retirement and don't need the extra money.. YMMV!

You are in a position to have choices. That is what matters. Best.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:22 AM   #8
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I did a one year leave of absence at 51, then rejoined company (no guarantee of my job) for almost a year and then retired.

What did I learn?

I LOVED my year off. I THOUGHT I was ok with staying retired or going back to work. I HATED it when I actually returned and only stayed a year out of a sense of obligation.

Maybe you can ask for it as a "family related leave of absence" rather than sabbatical? I am confident you will spend more time with family if you take a year off, so it is kind of true.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:47 AM   #9
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Iím currently taking a personal sabbatical, which started at age 54. Iím about 4 months into it and loving the freedom and ability to do some adventure travel. Mostly, I just like the ability to control my time. Iím also exercising almost every day and the stress (I was also in sales) has diminished. I *might* do some consulting in the future, but made a firm commitment to take at least 6 months off. I seriously doubt Iíll ever work for ďthe manĒ again. I highly recommend you pull the trigger and give it a go! No regrets here!
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:39 AM   #10
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but why don't you ask for one, or a 6-month or 9-month leave of absence. .
Not sure it'd work, but an interesting idea. Thank you!
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:41 AM   #11
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I’m currently taking a personal sabbatical, which started at age 54. I’m about 4 months into it and loving the freedom and ability to do some adventure travel. Mostly, I just like the ability to control my time. I’m also exercising almost every day and the stress (I was also in sales) has diminished. I *might* do some consulting in the future, but made a firm commitment to take at least 6 months off. I seriously doubt I’ll ever work for “the man” again. I highly recommend you pull the trigger and give it a go! No regrets here!
Downtown did you have much of a psychological resistance to pulling the trigger? If so how did you get over the hump? Also how did you tell your company and what was their reaction??

I'll be interested to hear how your journey continues! Last night I started dreaming about a long trip to New Zealand...
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:55 AM   #12
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Good luck, OP. I am in this same situation at 54 and planning a sabbatical, starting this year. Iíve even opened discussions with my supervisor, who is retiring in 11 months, and we can both see how upper management is making confusing decisions that will make pulling the plug easier for us both. DW and I plan a lot of travel and have a little notebook with a palm tree on it, from which we tear a page in celebration each month as we countdown. She has taken part time work that she can leave, and we are discussing renting our house to a friend for a year or so. Really, the biggest problem is what to do with our two cats while weíre gone.
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Old 02-08-2020, 10:08 AM   #13
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One of my decision points for retiring was to have 35 years of high wage earnings paid into Social Security. Less than 35 results in zeros when figuring out PIA.
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Old 02-08-2020, 10:34 AM   #14
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One of my decision points for retiring was to have 35 years of high wage earnings paid into Social Security. Less than 35 results in zeros when figuring out PIA.
That's only important if you will depend on SS as part of your retirement plan. I got to FI without considering SS, so it didn't matter if I had a few zeros. I don't think I do, actually, but I certainly have a few pretty low numbers. But I personally wouldn't work any additional years just to flesh out SS. I've been retired for almost 14 years now, and it's been wonderful. I wouldn't trade a single one of them for an increased SS payment.

I'll eventually get some SS, but it only enters into my planning as something to consider for my Roth conversions, and as a cash flow bonus for DW if I predecease her.
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Old 02-08-2020, 11:10 AM   #15
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At 52, in 2013, I had the choice of hanging it up or taking up to a year off with a guaranteed return to the same job - at reduced hours if I had wanted. In retrospect, the wiser thing would have been to take the leave but I pulled the plug. Given the way the market went I am very happy with the decision but if the market had gone south right after I retired, I would likely be less satisfied with the decision today. I was very burned out at the time and was ready to go. If it were a choice of retiring vs quitting and starting over a year later the call would have been to retire. I did do some consulting after retiring. Seems more like a hobby. Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2020, 12:19 PM   #16
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One of my decision points for retiring was to have 35 years of high wage earnings paid into Social Security. Less than 35 results in zeros when figuring out PIA.
But many who have the means to RE will be past the second bend point in the PIA calculation. Above the second bend point, additional income contributes only 15% of the amount above the bend point. It is like pushing on a rope!

Edit: I just checked. As of now, I have 9 zero years. If I retire now, my PIA*12 will be ~$27.5k (in today's dollars). If I work an additional 9 years, my PIA*12 will be ~$30.5k (in today's dollars). For me, I do not find this to be a good trade-off.
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Old 02-08-2020, 12:26 PM   #17
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I am in similar situation and have thought about telling my people I am taking a sabbatical. Worst thing they can do is say no. My stress/BS cup runneth over!

I'd ask for the sabbatical because you never know.

Good luck.
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Old 02-08-2020, 02:18 PM   #18
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Downtown did you have much of a psychological resistance to pulling the trigger? If so how did you get over the hump? Also how did you tell your company and what was their reaction??

I'll be interested to hear how your journey continues! Last night I started dreaming about a long trip to New Zealand...


I approached my boss to have the conversation in late spring, thinking of leaving in early summer. He was very accepting of my decision (he wanted to move on soon himself), but asked me to stay for five more months, which I did. In hindsight, staying the extra few months was very difficult for me since I was already ďdoneĒ. Donít prolong the status quo if youíre ready to go.

Psychologically, I was fully committed to my next chapter and my DW was supportive, too. In preparation, I made a list of things I might want to do if I had more free time. It became a cathartic exercise as I listed hundreds of things to do, places to go, people to hang out with, books to read, etc. I havenít been bored for a minute...it was just time to move on. I may never work again, but positioned my situation as a sabbatical because I might want to do some consulting and wanted my professional contacts to keep me in mind.

One other thing, if there was a downturn in the markets I always thought I could get a lesser paying job that could close any financial gaps. I knew that I was walking away from a well-paid position, but I was at peace with the risk in doing so.

Best of luck and enjoy New Zealand!
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:04 AM   #19
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I've been blessed with a very engaging career in a field I love (media), but as I've now hit my RE number and grown a few years older, I'm feeling less excitement at work and my tolerance for the b.s. is dropping.

My job is very dynamic but also stressful. Lots of travel & responsibilities, and a portion of my responsibilities is sales, so there's always the bosses wanting more, more, more.

I have tried a number of things to help with the stress like push off work onto other people, taken extra days off here & there, and longer vacations where possible (typically 2 weeks in winter or summer is the max I can get away with). But given the competitiveness of my field, I'm not sure there's much more I can do in these incremental ways. Not sure if this is all just fear of the unknown, burnout, or hearing the call of RE but not necessarily identifying it accurately.

Lately I've been dreaming about a 6-12 month sabbatical, since I'm not 100% sure I'm ready to retire. However my company doesn't do sabbaticals, so I'd likely just have to quit and then start over if I do decide to go back to work. I'm privileged to have a great job in a really solid company, so the idea of "starting over" isn't necessarily very enticing either.

So I'm wondering if any of you found yourselves in a similar position in your late careers, and what advice you may have.

For the record I'll be 53 this year, and the calculators say I'm in good shape to RE. Of course there's always more to save and get FATFI! My goal had been to put in a couple more years, but I'm feeling pretty burned out and not sure I've got it in me to push through. Maybe some of you have taken a sabbatical and seen new life from it? Or am I just kidding myself and need to give RE a try?

Thank you.
HAHA. This was me! 53. Had enough to RE. Needed a break at work. No sabbatical program, so I made one (I quit). They offered me more money, a much bigger job, and in the end, paid me a bonus of $50K to stay one more quarter. I did that.

Took ~ 9 months off. It was glorious. I enjoyed it immensely. Did I get bored? Sure, but that was fine with me. I got lured back in by some old colleagues, and essentially doubled my savings. I'm ready to do it again, but this time for good. Eyeing October 2020...

If this url posts, I watched it about 20 times before I pulled the switch. It was inspiring to me. If it doesn't post, just search for Ted talk the power of time off sabbatical.

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Old 02-11-2020, 08:45 PM   #20
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I had successful career but burned out. When 2nd child went to college, I left job as my numbers met with ER. My initial plan was to taking some needed break and then find a low stress job, but year and half later i am still in no rush to find job.
I was 52 yr old when I quit job in 2018
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