Retirement is a lifestyle change some are not ready to fully embrace while others yearn for it years before they qualify. Here are 6 tips to maximizing the transitional phase known as semi-retirement.
- Are you stressed out by the endless meetings, the long working hours, the office politics, and the long commute to the office?
- Is spending more quality time with your family important to you?
- Do you want to have more control over your time?
- Do you want to work 50% less and live 50% more?
If yes is the answer to all these questions, have you considered a semi-retired life, an option to reclaim back your work/life balance?
You could earn back money lost but once time passes, can you get it back? So, are you planning to spend YOUR TIME (your most valuable resources) to slog it out in full-time employment until 60 years old when you expected to retire?
Do you want to work to live or live to work?
An increasing number of people choose semi-retirement as a way of life in their later years. As opposed to full retirement, the most important aim of a semi-retired life entails lesser time spent on work thus allowing for more time to look at the more important things in life.
A happy retirement life doesn’t need you to earn a 6-figure salary, invest more than half of your earnings, or slog it out in a job until you are 60 years old. If you are keenly looking forward to retirement but cannot fully retire yet, then semi-retirement is a good way to ease off some work stress. Semi-retirement fits well for people earning a moderate salary as it can act as a transitional period or testing before embracing a full retirement.
Alternatively, maybe you are anxious about what you will do with your time during full retirement. After decades of working, the stark difference may trigger a sudden loss of meaning in life. If this is your concern, then semi-retirement is a good opportunity for you to try pursuing other hobbies and interest outside of work for half the time you would have spent at work. What a wonderful way to prepare for a satisfying full retirement!
The following tips can help you speed up the transition to your ideal semi-retired life.
Tip #1: Ask yourself why you want to pursue a semi-retired life?
To achieve semi-retirement is not an easy task. It demands your dedication, commitment, time, and energy. You must question yourself why you are doing this before you continue further. If you decide that semi-retired life fits you well and you want it, then the next steps are:
- Identify and investigate the things that don’t fit well in your current life. Is travelling to and from work take too much of your time? Do you dislike the workplace area? Do you need more exercise time? Compare your current life with your ideal life.
- What are you going to do if you have no shortage of money and time?
For a successful semi-retirement, give priority to the things important to you. And if you have a spouse, ensure he or she is in it with you.
In the run-up to a semi-retired life, don’t be too enthusiastic with saving too much too soon. Stay focused but be moderate and exercise balance. Otherwise, resentment can quickly set in. You still need to have some enjoyment while saving for your future semi-retired life.
Tip #2: Do thorough budget planning
Once you have decided to go for a semi-retired life, it’s time to put a plan in place. To assist you in drafting the plan, ask yourself these questions:-
- What is the state of your finances i.e. your savings, investments, liabilities?
- When do you plan to start your semi-retired life (usually, this would be the day you leave your full-time job) and how long would it be for? Few years? Indefinitely?
- What is your source of income during semi-retirement? What you plan to do in semi-retirement? (refer also tip no. 4)
- What is your budget now and the budget during semi-retirement? (crunch out some realistic numbers where you can survive while doing less work)
Important: You may make a wrong decision if you leave your full-time job before getting a carefully thought out honest answers to the above questions. For this exercise, it will be ideal to do it with a professional financial advisor.
Tip #3. Spend less, much less (if possible) than your earnings.
Just like during life before retirement, you must spend less than your earnings and the remaining balance should be saved and invested. Your assets (savings, investments) is a resource for making more money. Don’t use it for unnecessary purchases for example that luxury bag that you yearn for. Remember, with our ever increasing lifespans, we’re looking at living decades more even after retirement, and that costs money.
You worked hard for the money. Instead of spending it on unnecessary purchases, keep it invested to work harder for you. Money earns money.
While in full-time employment, manage it to maximize your income, cut down your expenses to only the necessary. No more big-ticket item purchases. Don’t bother about keeping up with the Joneses, but instead, study and learn from your peers who already in a semi-retirement.
Depending on the situation, sometimes you may need to say “no” to your friends and family. It is a hard word to say but, it is the right word…they will understand.
Tip #4: Find work you enjoy and decide the working hours.
Semi-retirement is a period of life where you are intentionally working part-time so that you have more time available for other pursuits. This is one of the main reasons people opt for semi-retirement. Do less work and find interesting work you enjoy.
- Do less work: Reducing the number of working hours so that more time spent on those events or things that are important to you.
- Find interesting work that you enjoy: to be content in semi-retirement is to remain active and involved with the world. Do something that engages your mind.
There are few ways for a semi-retiree to continue working:
- Start your own business. (work from home, freelancing, consultancy)
- Continue in the same industry but be willing to take up a less demanding position. If you love your current job but not the long hours, negotiate with your boss for shorter work hours.
- Part-time job — one main benefits is the flexibility on the working hours.
- Contract job
Tip #5: Take care of the unexpected costs
Accidents, injuries, chronic illness are examples of unexpected events which requires you to fork out a substantial sum of money. Ensure you have in place a well thought out emergency fund to take care of the financial implications of these incidents. The emotional toil will likely be exhausting so plan well to avoid adding financial distress to the situation.
Another precaution to reduce the risk is through insurance. A good policy is a must, especially as you grow older, health issues can be common. Work with an advisor to see what policies work best for you.
Tip #6: Start savings/investing consistently and paying down debts.
You still need a comfortable sum as your nest egg for your semi-retirement, and your later full retirement.
If you have not yet done so, get used to regularly setting aside a part of your income to enable you to get ready for the future. This way, when a rainy day arrives, you have a buffer to tap from. The more money you can make, the better your semi-retirement transformation will be without risking the comforts you have planned for your full retirement.
Start a new bank account and make sure you don’t use it unless you have to.
Concentrate on repaying the existing debt the moment you decide to have a semi-retired life. Otherwise, existing debts can hamper the ability to build a financial security plan.
Unhealthy work/life balance contributes to many mental health issues and to a certain extent, divorces and family breakup. The pressing demand of work increases work-related stress. A primary way to safeguard your mental well-being from the possible adverse effects of job-related stress is to establish a healthy balance between work and life. Semi retirement is one option to reclaim back that balance.
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Do you face problems in balancing your time between work and living? Could choosing a semi-retired life would be a good fit for you and your family?