The FIRE movement is incredibly attractive to those who dream of early retirement. But the reality is that it’s not financially feasible for most. Enter semi-retirement—the way to enjoy a retired lifestyle while working part-time to cover your bills.
In this sense, semi-retirement gives you the best of both worlds. You have income and the time to enjoy your days.
Now, we’ve discussed a lot about the economic benefits of semi-retirement, specifically that you can stay cash flow positive and continue to accumulate wealth with your investments. It’s also important to note the social, mental, physical and spiritual benefits of semi-retirement.
In this article, we’ll cover 5 benefits of semi-retirement. We hope it gets you excited about the happiness semi-retirement can bring you.
1. You Can Enjoy the Retired Lifestyle Earlier
Semi-retirement involves working roughly the equivalent of a part-time job (about 10—20 hours per week). Depending on how you arrange your schedule, this could mean working a few hours each weekday, or two or three longer shifts each week.
Obviously, you’ll have ample free time. That means you can enjoy your hobbies, learn new skills, exercise, and spend more time with family and friends. And, if you’re able to land a remote job, you’ll be able to travel as you please. You could even reside in a place with a lower cost of living so you can save more money and/or boost your quality of life (read our guide on geoarbitrage here).
Simply put, semi-retirement gives you the freedom of retirement, without the financial worry. You’ll have steady income and all the time you need to live your best life.
2. Semi-Retirement Helps You Keep a Sense of Community & Purpose
Semi-retirement is kind of like working during retirement, albeit ages of semi-retired and retired folks may vary. This is important because, as an article published by AARP notes, working during retirement provides a sense of community—something that most individuals need to be happy and fulfilled. This opportunity to connect with others and form or strengthen relationships can lead to better overall well-being.
Continuing to work, even part-time, not only enables you to have continued social interactions, it also gives you a sense of purpose as you have the freedom to work in a field you like. You’re participating in something important to you and you’re making an impact. And, as the AARP article attests, research shows retired people with a sense of purpose feel younger; the same applies to semi-retired individuals.
In short, if you want the retired lifestyle but desire to stay connected and have meaning in your life, semi-retirement is an excellent lifestyle choice.
3. Semi-Retirement Can Improve Physical & Mental Health
While many studies show retirement can lead to decreased stress and greater happiness, some folks experience negative effects on physical and mental health over the long term. For those that encounter mental and physical health issues after leaving the workforce, it’s often because they get out of their routine, lose a sense of purpose and identity, and don’t work out their body and minds.
Working part-time as part of a semi-retirement can actually benefit your physical and mental health, as long as it’s a job that doesn’t cause stress and provides fulfillment. As an article in WebMD explains, older adults who work part-time have:
- Fewer serious diseases, such as diabetes and cancer
- Greater mental sharpness, as they’re challenging and using their brains
Additionally, a semi-retirement job keeps you from social isolation, which Verywell Mind states is associated with cognitive decline, anxiety, and depression. When you semi-retire, you stay engaged in a job—and that means connections with others, a sense of meaning, the chance to chase your passions and more. This can go a long way in helping you stay mentally healthy.
4. Semi-Retirement Gives You Continued Income
61% of Americans fear they’ll run out of money in retirement, according to a study by insurance company Allianz Life. Semi-retirement solves that concern, as long as you make enough to cover your necessities and lifestyle expenses. That way, you don’t have to dip into long-term savings and investments.
The good news is you should have a nice skillset and years of experience in your field. This should enable you to command higher pay, even if you decide to switch fields entirely. Just ensure you plan accordingly. Do the following:
- Calculate your total monthly expenses. Add 25% for miscellaneous expenses and emergencies.
- Estimate how much you’ll make per hour or per month. Take a look at what some popular semi-retirement jobs pay here.
- Add in any other income, such as rental income, investment income, etc.
- If you can cover all your bills working less than 20 hours weekly, you’re ready to semi-retire because you’ll be able to stay cash flow positive.
Another idea is to see if you can get a part-time job in the same position you last had as a full-time employee. For instance, if you worked your way up in a company and finished your full-time career making $110,000, you should be able to command around $50,000 to $60,000 as a part-time worker in a similar role.
5. Semi-retirement Can Lead to Personal Fulfillment
One of the biggest financial trends we’ve seen this century is FIRE (financial independence, retire early). The lifestyle sounds exciting, and it certainly can be. However, as more people embrace FIRE, many report feeling lost or unfullfilled.
The solution to feeling adrift, as one semi-retiree has stated, is choosing to only do work that invigorates you. Since you’re no longer trying to climb the corporate ladder or advance your career, semi-retirement gives you the luxury of working a job you’re passionate about. For many who chase their passions during semi-retirement, work doesn’t even feel like work. It’s a passion that provides fulfillment and happiness.
For example, if you made good money working as a financial analyst but have always loved photography, you could pursue a freelance photography career during semi-retirement. You can do something you love and make money. And while the money may not be as good as Wall Street, you’ll feel fulfilled and look forward to work.
Making the Most of Semi-Retirement
The good news is planning for semi-retirement is a bit easier than FIRE planning or retirement planning. However, you do want to have a plan for semi-retirement to get the most out of it. With the right plan, you can enjoy all the amazing benefits of semi-retirement, from making new friends to feeling more personally fulfilled.
As you set out on the path to semi-retirement, know the following:
- How much you need to semi-retire: Depending on how old you are, it could be anywhere from one-fourth to one-half of what you would need to fully retire.
- What your monthly expenses will be: If you plan to move to save money, estimate your cost of living in your new town.
- If you can find a job that you’re passionate about: It will make life much more enjoyable.
- How much you can make: We advise having a part-time job or freelance gig set up before you dive into semi-retirement fully.
Finally, if you need help or advice for your semi-retirement, join the Frayed Passport community. We’re ready to talk with you about how to achieve and live a semi-retired life!
About the Author
Nick Callos has always had a passion for reading, writing, and discovering the new and unknown. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Nick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Boston College. He currently splits his time between his hometown, Chengdu, China, and the open road. A full-time travel writer, Nick hopes his work can inspire others to explore the world more deeply and enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle.
Featured image by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash