Ultimate Reflections On Mini-Retirement

I can hardly believe that today is the last day of a thirteen-month long mini-retirement.

It’s a bittersweet feeling, man.

I’ve woken up every single morning for the past year to work on my own affairs, and it’s been a mother fucking blast!

Twenty-sixteen will certainly go down as one of the more memorable years of my life.

Its been like combining College with a personal development course the whole damn time.

Blogging ended up fulfilling the College side of the spectrum, and personal growth came as a result of having more time to think.

Be that as it may, I must acknowledge my gratefulness for the new position I’ll be starting tomorrow, but the loss of freedom is beginning to set in.

It’ll be an adjustment, that’s for sure.

Now, to avoid any unnecessary overlapping, I’ll lay out the ground work for the next few posts.

The post you’re reading right now is meant to discuss the lifestyle, while another post is planned to reflect on a year of blogging.

The first post on reversethecrush.com was published on November 30, 2015 by the way, so the blog is now over 1 year old. Yay!

For this post, though, I want to reflect on the lifestyle changes that have occurred. This is essentially the final journal entry post documenting the year-off.

It’s a day I want to remember and a time period that will be hard to forget.

Having said that, I’m hoping to reflect on the experience and provide insight to anyone thinking of taking their own mini-retirement.

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What Does Mini-Retirement Look Like?

The best part about a mini-retirement is that it can be whatever you want.

It’s a chance to test financial independence, learn more about yourself, and ultimately see if your goals make sense.

Another blogger I know of, TJ Pridonoff, is taking a year long road trip for his time off.

I, on the other hand, more boringly opted to work from home as an investor and blogger.

So for my mini-retirement, I spent the bulk of my time blogging and allocating capital.

More than anything else, though, it’s like I’m watching life in slow motion now.

I’ve noticed the symbiotic relationship to everything that makes life and human behaviour so fascinating.

Furthermore on the blog, there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that blogging has improved my written and verbal communication skills.

Though, I’ve learned the hard way that saying nothing is often the superior option to saying anything at all.

Let’s just say that forbearance is a quality I intend to improve upon going forward.

Nevertheless, a mini-retirement has summoned a life that makes me tick.

Cool Shit I Did

Aside from the trading, dividend investing, and blogging, I got to do a lot of other cool things thanks to my new found freedom.

Admittedly, I look back and wonder if I should’ve travelled more, yet it’s understandable given the underlying circumstances as to why I did not.

However, I still got the opportunity to do a lot of cool shit because of my flexible schedule.

I was able to do things impulsively and just go by the feels.

It allowed for random things to happen such as ending up in the boons for 3 days and travelling to Mexico.

What a gluttonous, sun-filled week that was!

Speaking of gluttony, the past year has brought the importance of diet and health to my attention.

Not that I’m any kind of health role model to follow, though.

I’ve become somewhat of a wine enthusiast and there’s been a ton of weeks during the past year where I’ve been in an all out binge.

I mean, I’ve now been to Niagara Falls enough to never want to go back again. There’s a brewery down there that probably knows this too.

Still and all, at least the continuous binge of debauchery helped me decide on my favourite kinds of wine.

Overall, the past year has been a personally expansive experience that grounded and reinvigorated life.


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Considerations For Taking A Mini-Retirement

To those out there considering a mini-retirement of your own, I have some advice for you based on the my last 13 months of experience.

Start A Blog. I’m sure you saw this one coming, but wouldn’t it be cool to document your journey? As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been blogging since November 2015 now. The whole year-off journal is now something I can reflect on for the rest of my days. Blogging has been a revolutionary experience in terms of skill and relationship building. And it’s pretty fucking fun too. You can start a blog through WordPress hosted by Bluehost by clicking here. Follow the steps or send an email to graham@reversethecrush.com if you have any questions.

Say Yes Instead Of No. If you’re like I used to be then you say no a lot. You say no to fun with friends because you think you’ve got everything figured out, you’re too tight with money, or you are simply too damn tired after the work week. If there’s anything you do during the time off, it should be to open yourself up to new experiences as much as possible. You just never know who you might meet and how they’ll make an impact on you.

Develop Habits & Build Routines. It’s so incredibly easy to mismanage our most valuable commodity, time. It’s easy to get side tracked when you’re not subject to any schedule. That said, it’s important to determine the structure of each day in advance. Don’t wake up and flip on the T.V. or you’ll probably start doing that every morning.

Prepare Financially. This should not come as a surprise because life requires money, however, there’s a few points worth mentioning. The first is to not assume how much money you need to live on each month. Don’t guess! Create a simple spreadsheet to track monthly expenses and project out from there. You also might want to practice an income adjusted lifestyle in advance.

Get Creative AF With Expressing Yourself. It’s an absolute must to express yourself as much as possible during an extended absence from the 9-to-5. Why? Because this is the opportunity to try all the things you’ve always wanted. It’s a chance to find yourself. You can get that haircut you’ve always wanted and start wearing the clothes you really like. Hell, get a tattoo if that’s your thing. It’s your time.

A mini-retirement is prime for chasing those contradistinctive things in life you’ve secretly coveted.

Questions: What other important things should be considered when taking a mini-retirement? How would you spend a year off work?


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16 Comment

  1. TJ says: Reply

    Thanks for the shout out, Graham! I feel like with any mini-retirement, flexibility needs to be a priority. If I get bored of living on the road, I can rent a room or apartment somewhere for a few months somewhere new and give that a shot. I can fly abroad. Or I can cross the US-Canadian border where my dollar is currently worth more than it is here. There’s tons of options and one of the reasons I haven’t planned it all in advance is that I know that I might change my mind about certain aspects of it.

    I am going to do my best to say yes to things rather than no, and that includes before the road trip. You’re right, it’s so easy to say no and that’s unfortunate.

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hey TJ,
      You’re welcome on the shout out! And flexibility is a major key to the mini-retirement. It’s almost the whole point, so I completely agree with you. It will be cool to see if there are any changes to your plans once your road trip begins.
      Please do say yes as often as possible! It’s led me to some eye-opening experiences. Also, I’ve been meaning to read your most recent post but have been short for time lately. Expect a comment soon…Thanks for stopping by man!

  2. Fascinating stuff. Did your soon to be employer question why you took time off of work? I suppose that would raise eyebrows for some employers but then you were working on new skills at the time too. Also, how did you do trading stocks? That would have to be tough I would think.

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hey Mr. Defined Sight,
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

      Great question! They did question the reason I left the previous role as well as the time-off gap. I was really worried about that at first, however, it turns out that having something unique seemed to help my resume stand out more. The main takeaway I got out of it is to time off to build valuable skills. I used the combination of my financial experience and the relationship building/social media skills learned from blogging to find a more suitable role. This question is actually a great idea to elaborate on for a blog post.

      Another great question on the stock trading! Day trading is incredibly challenging from a mental point of view. I learned that it’s mostly about discipline and sticking to your strategy. The moment you let emotion set in, you lose. That said, I traded for 4 months and did alright. I wasn’t making enough to earn a full time living, but it helped make the transition into the mini-retirement smoother. I was averaging around $500 a month over the 4 month time frame. Some months more, some less.

      I learned that day trading is not the way I would prefer to earn a living from trying it, though. I see it as opportunity to explore again down the road as a 4th or 5th string of income. Nowadays, I’ve got my salary, then dividend income, then blog income, freelancing, and then trading. That’s the plan for now.

      Hope this answer isn’t too long haha Thanks again 🙂

  3. Solid tips for someone thinking of a mini-retirement. Especially on expressing yourself and developing (the right) routines. And thanks for documenting your trail-blazing journey.

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hey Adam,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!
      I hope the tips help for anyone considering mini-retirement. The habit forming in the early beginning is super important. And glad you enjoyed reading about the journey…I’m looking forward to elaborating more on the benefits side of taking time off soon. Take care 🙂

  4. Brian says: Reply

    Wow! I can’t ever imaging doing this. I give you major credit. The great thing is you will always have the awesome memories of the year that will motivate you to do it again. I am envious. Congrats on ‘test-driving’ retirement.

    -Brian

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hey Brian,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!
      And you’re so right about the memories. I’ll remember this past year forever. It’s really motivating to get a feel for financial independence and to know how you’ll spend your time during it. Thanks again 🙂

  5. Woo hoo! Congrats on becoming one year old! It seems like you’re really having a lot of fun.

    I think for me, my mini retirement would consist of spending more time with my friends and loved ones. When we’re working we have so little time to be with them, I’ll definitely make it up to them during my mini retirement.

    Of course, I’ll still continue to work on my website and anything to express myself!

    1. Hey T,
      Thanks for the congratulations! I’m definitely enjoying myself and having fun with the blog.

      And your ideal mini-retirement sounds awesome. Can’t go wrong with making memories with friends and loved ones.

      And yes, of course! You’d have a ton of extra time for the site and for expressing yourself. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  6. I enjoy reading your blog, Graham! ” …a mini-retirement has summoned a life that makes me tick.” I love this. Isn’t it interesting to see how underestimated mini retirements are? Contrary to popular opinions, mini retirements are good for the soul, both short and long term. It reminds me of The Four-Hour Work Week book. Definitely an eye-opening read.

    Don’t let your 9-5 stop you from writing!

    1. Hey Natasha,
      Thanks for commenting! I really enjoy your blog too. Especially the recent post on Campechano because I’m obsessed with tacos lol
      It’s super interesting how rare and underestimated mini-retirements are. Life is short, right? And that’s an epic way of saying it…mini retirements are good for the soul.. I read that book and it was one of the inspirations for the time off. The same goes for you when it comes to writing! Thanks again 🙂

  7. Congrats on the one year and all the best with your upcoming transition.
    You’re absolutely right! Developing a unique routine to get the most out of your mini-retirement is very important. Avoid the TV, say yes, step outside your comfort zone, manage your finances and connect with the world around you.
    I’m glad that you got a chance to travel too. Should you plan another mini-retirement I highly recommend you travel more. Meeting people from around the world has been very enlightening. I left Toronto, ON four years ago to live in Sydney Australia and it was one of the best decisions of my life. It has allowed me to take more chances while exploring the other side of the world. I have been able to discover unique opportunities and ultimately find the courage to take my own mini-retirement.

    1. Graham says: Reply

      Hey BPA,
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!
      Glad you agree on getting the most out of the mini-retirement.
      And thanks for the suggestion! Taking another mini-retirement is something that I would definitely consider down the road again. I’d definitely plan to travel more the next time too. I almost got the chance to spend 3 months in Costa Rica during the past one, but plans didn’t work out. Australia is a place I’d absolutely love to visit. New Zealand too. Thanks for sharing a little about your journey! Have a great week 🙂

  8. Some very wise advice. I’m doing most of them in my retirement, however some need more work.

    The hardest part in early retirement or I guess retirement in general is getting a routine down. It’s so easy to drift around when there is no schedule to follow or commitment to keep. Drifting is fun at first but after a while it becomes a dread.

    One also has to watch out for procrastination: I keep hearing myself say: “What’s the hurry, I’ve so much time, will do it later” – and then the later never comes.

    So, I try to stay disciplined and engaged, at least on things that matter me the most such as my investments, exercise/health, family, friends, and to some extent blogging.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Mr ATM!
      It’s completely true what you said about drifting becoming a dread. It’s seems fun at first, but after a while it stopped feeling good. Since I’m a big NBA fan, I went through a phase where I was watching too many NBA podcasts on youtube and playing too much NBA 2k for xbox. In hindsight, I sorta wish I could have that time back.

      Procrastination is another great point and something that I continue to struggle with. There are still things that I tend to put off. Staying disciplined is a good point, but I especially like your point about staying engaged. It’s really important to always be very aware of your budget and planning, otherwise it’s easy to fall of track. Thanks again for stopping by! 🙂

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