Your standard personal finance equation goes something like this. Work for 30-40 years, of your income through 401k’s, IRA’s and even a little extra by paying down your house through a mortgage. This means you’ll be part of the working world the majority of your life.
The is the life of a financial tortoise, and there’s nothing wrong with with being a tortoise, but I think frogs might just be a bit more creative with their retirement strategies.
Frogs leap from one spot to another and change direction often. They’re movers and shakers and aren’t afraid to shift themselves. What if we took the style of a frog and coupled it with your retirement strategy?
Leap Frog Retirement Strategy
What if your strategy looked like 5 year on 5 years off, 5 years on, 5 years off. This would allow you to tackle new projects with zest and determination, while knowing that their is an end in sight. If you’re not aware, people generally finish projects in the time that they give the project. Think about this:
If you time scale for your career or your retirement savings plan is 30 years, it’ll take you that long to get there.
Don’t believe me? Think about when you were in high school or college and the teacher assigned you a project. If you’re like 99% of the class you probably waited until the last week to finish it. People play life a lot like they play their project. They do what they have to, but don’t get ahead on the project. They know the due date (think average death age for this example), yet they still don’t plan for it.
How to Leap Like a Frog
If you tackle 5 years with determination to allow for 5 years of freedom you’ll probably accomplish a lot more than your counterparts slowly trudging along in the 40 year path. You’ll also have a lot more zest and ambition for your career as you’re constantly giving yourself new challenges.
This Probably Won’t Work For Everyone
If you are close to retirement age and still lack proper savings, you’re probably not going to be able to attempt this strategy. It’s best for younger people considering that they’re moving around a lot anyways.
For young professionals, it’s not uncommon to change jobs six or seven times before their early thirties.
The strategy of bouncing around, or leaping, is becoming more prevalent with the US being knowledge and service based. Freelancing, e-careers, and mobile jobs are not all that uncommon anymore and give you flexibility to change direction often. As long as you have your mental health, you can leap frog.
So next time you think of retirement, don’t think of it as something that comes after 40 years. Rather think that mini retirements and gaps of employment can be something that recharge your motivation, allow you to see the world when you’re still in your prime, and make you work even harder when you re-enter the workforce.
Frogs might be cute, but they’re also pretty darn productive and interesting.
What do you think? Should you play leap frog with your retirement, or is it best to simply work 40 years then retire in full?
Image from briangratwicke