Taking a few years off to travel the world mid-career may seem reckless to some, but there is a way to take a mini-retirement without sacrificing your long term financial goals. Three certified financial planners reveal how.
Maintain Flexibility of Assets
Having assets to cash out on a rainy day is key to ensuring that a mini-retirement does not jeopardize your full retirement, Alexandria, Va. based certified financial planner Nicole Strbich of Buckingham Financial said.
"So many millennials have a strong desire to reduce their debt, which is fantastic but sometimes they do this to the detriment of their flexibility of assets," Strbich said. "It may be beneficial to save funds in an after-tax investment account that you can access, rather than making additional payments to your mortgage. You may not be able to pull the funds back out of your house later, or you may be forced to pay a higher interest rate to do so."
Separate Your Savings
Though it may seem like commonsense, mini-retirees should resist the urge to co-mingle their travel savings and their other investments, certified financial planner Jake Northrup of Ballentine Partners in Boston, Mass. said. In addition from making it easier to resist the urge to spend your retirement savings early, opening separate accounts also allows you to maximize your tax savings according to Northrup.
"Separate your goals into three buckets," Northrup said. "The first bucket should be your emergency cash reserve, typically consisting of 3-6 months of living expenses. Utilize a taxable account for your mini-retirement bucket. Utilize tax-advantageous accounts like Roth IRA's and 401(k)'s for the full retirement bucket that are better suited for longer time horizons."
Keep Your Nest Egg Growing When You're Not Contributing
Taking a short break from funding your retirement account doesn't have to delay your retirement date, Los Angeles based certified financial planner Laura Gilman of KCS Wealth Advisory, LLC said from personal experience.
"I started my planning firm when I was in my thirties, after leaving a well-paid job," Gilman said. "I had very little income in those first few years, and had no extra funds to save for retirement. But since I knew I was going to take this time to start a business, I had saved money for 6 months before I quit my job so I had enough to support my lifestyle while I was growing my business. Once my business grew, I was able to restart my retirement savings and the absence of saving those few years had very little impact on achieving my overall plan."
"The savings into the retirement account will continue to work for you while you are taking time off from savings, if they are invested to earn a moderate return," Gilman said.