4 reasons why you should consider taking a sabbatical before retiring for good


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Making the decision to retire is a major decision. Not only does this affect your financial situation, but it’s also a huge lifestyle change. To avoid feeling retired remorse, it may be worth taking an extended break from work as a “retirement test” before making your exit from the workforce permanent.

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Here are some reasons why you should consider taking a sabbatical before retiring.

It can help you figure out what you want to do with your free time.

Leaving the labor market means that you will have more than 40 overtime hours to fill each week. You can use a sabbatical to figure out what you would like to do with that time.

“I regularly recommend a sabbatical to my clients to find out what’s important to them,” said Jay Zigmont, Ph.D., CFP, founder of Childfree Wealth. “Think of a sabbatical as a way to ‘Marie Kondo’ your life – find out what brings you joy. The key to retirement is knowing what you are retiring at rather than just what you retire of.

“You don’t have to work in retirement or volunteer or anything, but you have to have something to do besides quitting work,” he continued. “After all, if you have nothing to do in retirement, you’ll run out of shows to stream on Netflix in about a month, and then you’ll be lost.”

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This can help you gauge how much money you’ll actually need in retirement

When you receive money every week or every two weeks, you may not be very aware of what you are actually spending. Taking extended leave can help you determine how much money you need to cover your fixed expenses, including housing, groceries and health care.

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You’ll also want to make sure you have enough financial flexibility to plan for a retirement you’ll enjoy. Do you want to travel? Try new restaurants? Taking up an expensive new hobby? Ideally, you can fit the things you love into your retirement budget.

If you realize that you probably won’t be able to cover these costs with your current retirement savings, you can take this time to figure out how you can generate additional income in retirement. This may mean increasing your investments or finding a part-time job.

It can test your emotional readiness

A sabbatical is a good time to find out how you feel about not working. Are you ok with not having a regular schedule? Do you feel fulfilled by the new ways you’ve found to spend your free time?

“For some people, their career is an important part of their identity,” said Scott Lieberman, founder of Touchdown Money. “You can use a retirement quiz to find hobbies, good causes, or a place to volunteer that inspires you. Without it, boredom can lead to depression and self-destructive activities.

It can help you professionally in case you want to return to work

After taking a sabbatical, you may realize that you don’t want to retire just yet. If so, taking an extended work break may actually benefit you when you return to work. Kristina Wallender, chief experience officer at Human Interest, a 401(k) provider, took a sabbatical every six years and said it helped her career.

“I decided to focus my first sabbatical on non-work goals like travel,” she said. “What surprised me were the many unforeseen professional benefits. A sabbatical takes you to places you don’t have time on limited vacation days. It helps you make new connections, strengthen your identity, and explore new paths, including ones you may want to pursue before retirement. I have found that this experience helps you become a better leader and a renewed contributor when you return to work. »

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About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Prior to joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. His work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she’s been featured on “Good Morning America” ​​as a celebrity news expert.

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