The Mini Sabbatical

By: Lawrence Ross

March 13, 2023


After taking the time to explore how you spend your time and the changes you want to make going forward, how does one begin the process?  In my work with clients doing pre-retirement planning, I have found that there are three key steps one should do to get the ball rolling: firstly, ensure your spouse is involved with the process, next, make sure your financial numbers can back up the plan and finally, begin to ‘test drive’ your desired activities.


Do you and your spouse share the same interests and view on how to spend time when there is more of it?  Statistics show that many couples see things very differently and the sooner you start to work out a shared plan the better.  In fact, according to the most recent data from the U.S Census Bureau, divorce rates were highest (about 43%) among both sexes, aged 55 to 64.


Having a sound wealth plan on paper is key when determining how you can financially back your plans.  Of course, this is a dynamic process that can and will be revised as priorities change.  When you have some clear goals and plans, you will be amazed at the flexibility and creativity that can be achieved by tweaking a few variables.


Finally, the fun part, start trying out the activities that you would otherwise wait to do in retirement.  In my case I decided in my forties to begin experimenting with some new interests and activities.  To do so, I implemented a personal mini sabbatical.  Rather than take a large chunk of time off, I started earmarking some individual days in my calendar that I was going to escape from my regular routine to begin experimenting with new activities.


For the mini sabbatical to work, it required some basic ground rules.  Firstly, I really had to be off from work – no calls, emails or activities that would draw me to my work.  Secondly, I had to fill that time with something that I have either always wanted to do, or interested to trying out.


Over the years my activities included technical boxing, joining a performing rock band, as well as taking up golf.  Believe me when I say that if you want to play golf once you are fully retired, it’s better to have worked on your technique and game well in advance if you want to play well.


If you add up all of those sabbatical days, I have taken for myself over the years, I estimate I have easily had over a year off, with full pay.  The only thing holding many people back from doing new and exciting things now, is the lack of planning, creativity and giving themselves permission to act.

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