Vacation Now, Retire Later?

Two words that go together well. Summer vacation. It is time to unwind, sit out on the front porch or back deck with a cool drink. Chill on the beach with a few friends. Ride that motorcycle through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains or take a long hike to the top of a mountain to breathtaking, panoramic views. Aww...summer. 

The summer is a time to get away from our work lives and contemplate other passions. Clear our heads of work place cobwebs and enjoy our hobbies, family, friends. Last night, I was on the patio of a good friend, she had a nice fire going and we started to contemplate our lives. Fire pits seem to fuel work talk and the thought of fleeing to better winter climates. Both of us have taught English in Japan and are fairly well travelled. Could we set up a small coffee shop in Belize? What about teaching English again overseas - Spain, perhaps? Are we too out of shape to wrestle sheep on a farm in Australia? Maybe we could do what Al and Denise do (see previous Portfolio Careerist article) and live half in Mexico and half in Canada. That sounds good...summer all year long. Seems like early retirement to me.

We concluded, after a bottle of wine and a dead fire, that we are grateful to live in a beautiful city like Calgary, next to the Rocky Mountains, an amazing playground of free activity. We are equally grateful for our work, health, family and good friends. We also concluded that it is okay to think about the possibilities and exciting opportunities that await us. We both love our work and, of course, there is always something to complain about - the workplace drama and the industry politics. But, it is good work that we do and we recognize that there is good work to be done in other ways and in other locations. Having changed up our work lives in the past, we have the experience to know that shaking things up brings new opportunity. 

Are either of us moving to Belize? Not any time soon but my husband and I have a financial plan to take a break in 3 1/2 years for 6 months. We have no idea what we are going to do - we're taking suggestions - but we'll take a 6 month break, refuel and then see what the future holds. In a recent article by Kate Ashford for Forbes called Millennials: Traditional Retirement May Not Be in the Cards, Ashford interviewed Morag Barrett who discusses the concept of short sabbaticals over the course of our work life rather than the concept of traditional retirement plans. It's an interesting article and worth the read because it redefines our work life, vacation time and retirement. We've been conditioned to take that two - three week vacation yearly and retire as early as possible, but is that still feasible? Is this the way of the future for the next generation? 

My friend and I concluded that there's nothing wrong with shaking up our work lives - moving to Costa Rica and working from our laptops seems like a venture within reach. We don't want to wait until retirement to enjoy our lives - we figured that out long ago. However, we can also relate to Morag's approach to work and retirement. Work longer but vacation longer; doesn't sound great written like that. However, when you unpack the concept, it leaves room for more interesting options. In my opinion, this way of thinking fits better with the portfolio careerist mindset. If we are redefining how we work, why not redefine how we vacation and how we retire?

I could get on that boat...floating down the river of summer contentment. Flies and mosquitos not included. A long vacation every three years. Sign me up for the financial plan for this idea. Where can I meet a financial planner that even knows how to plan for this concept? Another industry that will have to adjust to the new way of working and retiring that will be the future. 

To read Kate Ashford's article, click on: retirement.