Don’t Take a Gap Year; Set Aside a Gap Fund

A gap year is traditionally a year away from school before going to (or back to) college or university. The idea is to dive into the real world to gain perspective and start taking responsibility before locking yourself into a long-term career or area of study.

More recently, the term has been applied to taking a break from work, either for learning (a sabbatical) or personal reasons (“mini-retirements”).

Rather than working the same job for 30 – 40 years, I feel it’s important (for sanity as well as personal growth) to mix things up every now and then, so gap years and mini-retirements are topics I contemplate often.

Rather than taking a gap year, an alternative approach for a mid-career break is to set aside and live off of a fixed gap fund.

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Downshifting and Early Retirement

At the intersection of personal finance and self-actualization there is a vibrant Internet community focused on the pursuit of “FIRE”–Financial Independence, to Retire Early.

Rather than accepting society’s preconception that life includes 12 – 18 years of schooling, followed by 40 – 50 years of working, wrapped up by a few years of TV and golf, FIRE aspirants optimize their spending to maximize both life satisfaction and savings, invest the proceeds wisely, and retire radically early to pursue personal growth, social connections, giving back, and more–free from the shackles of full-time work.

How does downshifting to part-time work relate to early retirement?

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