Contemplating

Considering a career break can be overwhelming as fears and questions flood your head. You need some inspiration - well, we have it! We will discuss the circumstances that brought you to this point and examine ways that you can take advantage of channeling them into a career break. You can also find out the many benefits of taking a career break (trust us, there are many) and be inspired by hearing others' stories of self-discovery, inner-growth, and re-examining goals.

Check out articles in the following categories:
Circumstances | Benefits | Supporters | Testimonials

Recent Posts

Try Twisted Resolutions for 2015: Big Boom Road Show
Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Yes, it’s that time of year. The holidays get us all plumped up with feasts and fetes. Then we stumble into a new year. For most—and especially the traditional Boomer—that’s a time of resolution, reflection, and reduction (of pounds and debt dollars).

This year, why not resolve to get one step closer to a big, fat, career break?

While we’re at it, let’s be more specific—and twisted. That is, let’s twist the usual New Year’s Resolution advice to make it more fitting, fun, and hopeful.

Not a Boomer? So what. If your life feels boxed-in or you want to live outside the cube, take note. And take heart.

Save less

Sure, everyone’s always preaching about saving for an education, house, rainy day, or retirement. But retirement is such distant ship-smoke on the horizon, right?

Presently, 35% of people over 65 work. And both those numbers will keep growing as the cost of living ratchets up.

What to do? Retire now and then. The best reward for saving money for your senior years: Instant grat. So you hereby have permission to sneak some straw from your nest egg—when you have one—to practice retiring. Go away, far away, for a week or 13 or so. Then come back and work (and invest) some more.

Repeat every 5-7 years.

Spend more

Time is money, right? Well, yes and no. We sell our time (and sometimes soul) to the boss who pays us with money, true. But if we could value time, we’d dub it priceless. So how about spending less hours on work (and related shtuff), and more time on what makes you tick—like yoga, cooking, hiking, and (naturally) planning your vacations and sabbatical.

Lose the wait

Are you putting something off? Does your travel or simple getaway goals keep getting put off? Resolve here and now to pop that procrastination bubble and do something—anything!—that brings you closer to your desire to experience the world and its cultures, cuisines, and quirks.

Visit oddball museums. Dine in a different ethnicity eatery once a month. Sneak in over-nighters to funky small towns and stately state parks. Use long weekends and vacation time to get outta town and escape your routine. Whatever you do, find ways to bring the BreakAway lifestyle to you—until your lifestyle morphs into making a break for The Big One.

Happy New Year!

2015 is right around the corner. May it be a year of turning the corner on making your dream a reality. And meantime, may the holiday spirit (the kind and generous one—not the greedy and grinchy one) be with you!

Kirk Horsted blogs at MakeYourBreakAway.com and offers speeches and seminars too. Since 1990, he’s taken five sabbaticals ranging from 35 to 355 days, from Grandma’s farm (SD) to Waiheke (NZ). He’s embarked alone, with partner, and with his perfect children. When he must, he works as a writer, creative consultant, and college teacher.

Photo credits: mongione, dmitry_islentev

Pulling the Trigger – I’m Doing it!
Friday, November 7th, 2014

leap

Take the leap and do it!

What is it that makes you go from “I want to do that” to “I’m doing it!”? I suppose it’s different for everyone, but after working with people who want to travel through Meet Plan Go for the last 5 years, I know one of the things that makes you pull the trigger is meeting other people who have done (or who are doing) what you want to do.

In September we brought together a group of future career breakers with veteran career breakers and long term travelers and something happened – people started the day with “I want to do that” and ending the day saying “I’m doing it”. Sure, maybe the Belgian beer and waffles  helped, but they weren’t what made people pull the trigger. It was the support and networking with other people with similar goals.

I loved reading this article from one of our attendees the next day – Long Term Travel is for Real – she had some wonderful insights (and you should definitely read the entire article!):

“For me, Meet Plan Go was my first opportunity to meet long term travelers in person, to hear them tell their stories first hand, to learn from them during personal conversations. It was proof that anyone can take a travel break or travel forever without their lives imploding. It was proof that I can too. This is reality.”

Success Stories

In my eyes, the day was a big success. We brought together 8 career break & rtw travel veterans who presented on how to get over hurdles, determining a budget, working on the road, volunteering, preparing to leave, choosing insurance, figuring out complicated airfare routes, and finding working when you return. People feverishly took notes and asked questions. We even had small group discussions where people with like plans could converse and talk about their plans and fears. And then we parted – so that we could start to go DO.

Meeting people with similar goals is key – and fun!

A month after the event I reached out to our private Facebook group of attendees and asked them how they were progressing towards their goal and was overwhelmed with excited responses:

“I leave Tuesday to go to Mexico for two months of scuba diving and then after about a week at home for the holidays I’ll be moving to South Korea to teach for 2015! I had thought about applying for a while but since MPG I have applied, interviewed, been offered multiple positions, and accepted one”

“Since the meeting I went to visit my bank and consolidated all my debts into one loan, freeing up some margin to put money aside each month towards my future trip. I’ve been giving myself a benchmark of 2 years from now.”

“We are busy packing up our house to sell, eliminating as much as we can.”

“Just filled out my application with IFRE to volunteer in Cusco, Peru.“

“We made the leap. Our round the world adventure starts in exactly 12 months. Real estate is on the market, resigned positions, and beginning to detail plans.” 

How You Can Meet Others With Your Same Goals

Even though our main event is completed for 2014, we still have ways that you can meet others in person (and virtually) and work towards your goal.

• We have a meetup in NYC coming up on Dec. 3rd (RSVP here).
• Join our free 30 day online Career Break class that you can start as soon as tomorrow!
Follow us on Facebook and stay up to date with career break travel news and ask questions of the community.
• Check out our Calendar of upcoming local events 
• Search for travel themed meetups in your area on  Meetup.com and EventBrite.com
• Participate in the Around the World Twitter chat (#RTWChat) hosted by Bootsnall.com
• Stay tuned for more ways to get involved and get on the road to your career break in 2015 by signing up for our monthly newsletter.

In the Career Break Closet
Thursday, October 16th, 2014


Are you stuck in the closet – afraid to come out and act like you really want to? I bet you are. In fact – I bet about 90% of you are. You are lurking in the dark, afraid to declare your secret desires, but willing to watch; from a safe place.

You are in the career break closet.

Research shows that about 90% of the people who read online media do not actually participate in the conversation; consumption vs. production. That’s fine, I understand, communicating online isn’t for everyone.

However I’m willing to believe that a percentage of that 90% are not lurking because they want to, but because they feel like they have to. They are staying in the closet because they can’t yet let people know about their career break plans. They must stay in the closet in order to remain at their jobs and while they quietly plan their getaway.

Keith and Amy Sutter from Green Around the Globe share their time in the career break closet:

[SinglePic not found]In January of 2009 Amy and I made the big decision, to travel the world for a year. And with all of the excitement and anxiety that comes with such a big decision there was one unpleasant aspect that regularly kept us up at night. We now had a huge secret to keep from everyone we knew. There are practical elements to keeping your decision a secret initially. What if you decide not to do it? What happens if something comes up? A family member gets ill, you get ill. There are any number of potential events that could change your plans. So Amy and I went into the “traveler closet” for 6 months. This meant that as we were doing our initial research, reading books, blogs and anything else we could get our hands on, we had to be sure to keep it all under wraps. When friends came over for dinner we had to spend 10 minutes scanning the condo to make sure an incriminating book was not left laying out.

When we did start telling people, starting with close family we had to bring them into our “circle of trust”. We had to make sure we controlled who knew when. Practically it was to make sure we handled giving notice at our respective workplaces on our terms and in a professional manner. We could not afford, either financially or professional, for word of our plans to leak back to our companies before we were ready. The other reason to control the information is so that we would be the ones to personally tell every one of our family and friends. That reason was selfish, we wanted to be there to see or hear their unfiltered initial reactions. One of the best parts of planning the trip is telling the people you are closest to and getting their reactions.

(more…)

Could Bad News Be Your Ticket to Ride? Big Boom Road Show
Thursday, October 9th, 2014

You know the scene: I’m at my desk, avoiding “real” work, and surfing the web. In this case, I’m exploring Boomers and long-term travel. I find an upbeat, popular article with 555 comments, leading off with this one:

“This is crap. As a boomer, I am broke and live paycheck to paycheck, like all the other boomers I know.”

Beware the self-fulfilling legacy

“This is crap?”

What a buzzkill! One must feel sorry for this guy; who’s putting Dire Drops in his water? I don’t mean to go all power-of-positive-thinking here, but really, he’s not likely to escape his quandary or his paucity without a serious attitudinal U-turn.

So let’s help Mr. Boomer Bummer out. Let’s help any of us who are trapped in pessimism about prospects for a dream. Just for yucks, let’s take life’s big bummers and turn them inside-out into opportunities to fly away from, well, hell?

Sometimes, what’s (initially perceived as) bad news could be a prophesy for a BreakAway.

Morphing pitfalls into paradise

You’re fired! Most folks will work at least 7 career jobs. Some will end rudely. Is that tragic? Or could it be the best thing that ever happened to you? Be ready: Sudden freedom could be your chance to shake it up and change your life plan—potentially on a blissful beach somewhere.

I don’t love you any more. That’s bad movies. And possibly heart-breaking, yet rarely out of the blue. Why not have the next laugh, store your stuff, and pack your bags for somewhere far away from Mr. or Ms. Over N. Done? Heck, you may even meet your next love interest.

It’s time to down-size. Boomers are facing this now, by the millions. Yet everybody will—at various ages and stages. When that pad has become too big and the possessions too piled up, consider upsizing your life with a remote pause that refreshes.

Loved ones are passing on. Death happens. Reflection follows, not to mention denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and, eventually, acceptance. Maybe a sojourn to somewhere peaceful would help you move on; maybe it’s to a place once shared with the departed beloved.

Your (inheritance) ship comes in. Although our “that’s-crap” commentator lives paycheck to paycheck, Boomers stand to inherit around $12 trillion—and may pass along up to $30 trillion to their offspring. For some, prosperity from heaven will arrive. If your ship comes in, why not set sail for a life-changing voyage?

You’ve paid off a big loan. Could be college—yours or your kids’. Could be house, cars, cabin, or credit cards. Save something first, please. But then a celebration of your new! Improved! Debt-free life might be a brilliant reward!

You survived a health scare. They’re facts of life: Accidents, diseases, conditions that can kill. When your time comes, and the doctor finally says, “You’re cured,” it’s time to party. Dinner and Dom? Sure—in France! (For the record, my own RTW trip was largely a reward for surviving a year-long recovery from falling off of a roof.)

You’re nearing retirement, but… Know what? Most people fear retirement. And many who get there don’t do well; they often experience loss of purpose, depression, and boredom—or just drive their spouse crazy. Recommendation: Try temporary retirement. You’d test-drive a car, right? Retirement is a much longer, more relevant ride.

You’re already broke. Bummer. Or maybe not. If Broke Dude above is convinced he’ll never get ahead at home, why not be broke somewhere else? Maybe he’d thrive in an less pricey country where he could teach English and save some money. Some great travelers buy a one-way ticket, get to work, and make it work.

If you just read this and are thinking, “That’s crap,” the author apologizes—for provoking you so and for your ill-fated predicament. This column was written for the folks willing to open your eyes and minds to the idea that bad news may be inevitable, but need not be the end of the world.

A world of possibilities awaits. Always Godspeed!

Kirk Horsted blogs at MakeYourBreakAway.com and offers speeches and seminars too. Since 1990, he’s taken five sabbaticals ranging from 35 to 355 days, from Grandma’s farm (SD) to Waiheke (NZ). He’s embarked alone, with partner, and with his perfect children. When he must, he works as a writer, creative consultant, and college teacher.

Photo credits: Efired, the other photo is courtesy of the author and may not be used without permission.

10 Reasons Why Boomers (and Beyond) Should Attend NYC MPG: Big Boom Road Show
Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

1. You can make it happen soon.

Taking a career break takes time, right? Time to plan; time to be gone; time to wait until the timing is right. But Meet, Plan, Go’s NYC shindig on September 20, 2014 is right around the corner. All aboard!

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2. You know you wanna go.

On a career break, I mean, but why not the MPG event too? Harboring dreams is nice, but letting dreams set sail is nicer. If you’ve been fantasizing about extended travel for years (decades?), you’ve got to be getting closer to takeoff. Put away that delay and focus on the desire.

3. You’ll reap from the investment of a whole $99.

$99? That’s pocket change these days—a few minutes with a doctor, a moderately-priced dinner out, or a couple cab fares to nowhere. That $99 even includes beverages, lunch, and drink tickets. Wisely part ways with that Ben Franklin and get closer to parting ways with ennui.

4. You’re not getting younger.

Hey, Boomer: know those sensations like aching joints, weight gain, and lingering lethargy? That’s called aging. It’s normal. A career break will kick your butt at times, true. But nonstop new sights and sounds will also boost your spirits and fill you with newfound vigor. 

5. You’ll face your fears.

At this MPG get-together, the nagging drones of worry will get out-shouted by empathetic cheerleaders who’ve mastered the game. You’ll leave with less fear, more faith, and the strength to put your fears where they belong: In the past. 

6. You’ll hear from some savvy, skilled role models.

Not to worry: The speakers and panel leaders are just folks—not lucky millionaires or trust-fund brats. But they’ve somehow managed to run away for months (or years!). Solo. With family. Or with new friends they’ve met along the way.

How? They’ll show you. 

7. You’ll meet other dreamers and schemers.

Tips and tales are essential, but you’ll also find ample inspiration by simply surrounding yourself with dozens of fellow trekkers. There’s power in numbers—and in sharing your vision with someone who will think you are not nuts, but brilliant.

8. You’ll get answers to YOUR questions.

Will Vietnam have Prilosec (or whatever)? What’s the best way to buy RTW airline tickets? What about bringing my kids or grandkids? Whither my cat? People who’ve been there and done that will talk to you 1-1. Heck, your cat may even find a habitat for his sabbatical.

9. You’ll have some laughs.

Hey, this isn’t brain surgery. And while running away for months is serious business, the goal is a joyful journey. You’ll need to pack your sense of humor to endure snafus. And you’ll definitely hear some hilarious stories about the pratfalls and epiphanies of long-term travel.

10. You’ll learn about re-entry.

All good things must come to an end, it’s the same with a fantasy trip. So you’ll get strategies for returning to work, routine, reality, or retirement. Yes, you can (and probably must) go home again. But that’s the perfect place to rest up and start scheming your next BreakAway.

Kirk Horsted blogs at MakeYourBreakAway.com and offers speeches and seminars too. Since 1990, he’s taken five sabbaticals ranging from 35 to 355 days, from Grandma’s farm (SD) to Waiheke (NZ). He’s embarked alone, with partner, and with his perfect children. When he must, he works as a writer, creative consultant, and college teacher.  

Quit Your Job With Confidence
Thursday, August 21st, 2014

How can you just quit your job?

Kind of a tough question right? I think it is easier than some might believe.

Why do we work anyway? Is it to pass the day by and get some income, or is it to challenge ourselves and create ourselves? And if you knew you could leave your job for a year to come back to it, would you do it?

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I would think most people would say yes. So why not work towards doing that? If we worked smart enough to create a unique position for ourselves highlighting our strengths, we would create high value for ourselves. Being more valuable in your job will allow you to leave and give you options when you come back.

The decision to quit

My wife and I decided to quit our jobs and travel the world about two and a half years ago. We both graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2008 and found jobs in Oklahoma City. She decided to go to graduate school and take two years to get her nurse practitioner degree in August 2011. At that time I decided to get another job in the Energy industry in Oklahoma City as an Engineer. We both agreed that after Katie finished her masters degree, we would take off. I worked two years with my new company doing well, Katie finished her masters program, and we knew it was time to quit. We quit in May 2014 and have just started our RTW trip.

So far we traveled around the US for two months, went to the World Cup in Brazil, and now are in Portugal. We plan on traveling through Europe, New Zealand, Asia, Central America, and Africa for about a year and a half, hitting warm weather destinations the whole time. We also came up with a rule of for every four countries we spend time in, one of those will be devoted to volunteering for our whole stay.

Passing up the big offer

I had performed well with my company and made a good impression with my engineering role. After being there two years, I created a niche role for myself and started to have options open up for me to move up in the organization. Even though I was leaving to travel, I had the option to be welcomed back if we came back to Oklahoma City after a year of traveling.

However, this wasn’t my only option for re-entry employment. Two months before I was going to quit, another company approached me and asked me to start in five months time with a really good offer. Five months vacation and then a for sure job to come back to. Sounds pretty good and secure right? However, my passion for taking the trip we wanted to take exceeded my passion for traveling for 5 months and committing to something else.

Everything in life is not about money

It was a tough decision, but I believe you should do what you are passionate about. So I decided to go against ALL advice I received and declined the offer.

I decided to travel with open ends, realizing that there could be something I find along the way that could be more meaningful than creating lots of business for a company. In the end it is your life, and you have to live it, not by a company’s plan and standard for you, but by your own. After declining the offer, the company came back and said ok, we will extend this offer for 2015. Take your time and you have something to come back to if you want it.

How did I get all of these opportunities?

I think of work differently. Instead of coasting through work to retire after thirty-five years, I’d like to “retire” every fifth year with the ability to have a job for us when we come back from taking breaks.

Let’s work to be truly valued so that we can demand a career break and get it. You can become more valuable by doing these things in your career:

  • Work smarter to make a big impact with your group
  • Be positive, happy, and enjoyable to be around
  • Do more research on a specialty problem and uncover the unknown
  • Come up with an innovative idea to solve that problem or create another section of business
  • Take charge, execute, and grow your new idea or business section, doing it with no instruction from your boss, just informing your boss of your actions along the way
  • Realize you are now in demand and valued at your company
  • Have the confidence to demand more from your work, and negotiate leave with the ability to be hired back
  • You are in demand, be confident

Some are already in demand at work or valued and just don’t know the power they hold. Your company knows you can do a great job. They know you are doing a good job now, and know that you can do a good job when and if you come back. You are a sure bet to them and not a risky hire.

Telling my boss about quitting to go travel made me realize that if you have ambitions outside of work, whether that is taking care of your dad who has cancer, retiring, taking time off to travel, your company does not see that as a negative or a threat. They can relate with life choices a lot easier than leaving for another job.

Don’t hide your passions, but work them into your life and job and take risks to do so. If you have the passion to quit your job and travel then you also have the passion to stand up to others plans/advice and be happy doing it. Your good at what you do, so be confident about negotiating leave.

Just as much as you are scared to leave your paycheck, your bosses are scared to loose you. It’s not a one way relationship. If you have a good relationship with your company, then through that relationship they will be open to hiring you when you come back. If you can’t talk to your boss and colleagues about these things, then there isn’t much of a relationship, and you might have to depend on your connections outside of your current job. For me, regardless if I go back to my old job or take the other opportunity, the one thing I know is that my number one priority is to travel, and I won’t settle to pursue that dream right now.

Taking the step of quitting is something that seems pretty hard to do, but it all depends on what we want to do in life.  Like most change in life, the hardest part is within your own mind. Once I actually did it, I realized that I can achieve whatever I want to, I just had to go for it. If I can do it, you can do it, too!

Katie and Wes decided to quit their jobs in Oklahaoma City April 2014 and take some time to explore the world and slow down. Their lives were career oriented and too routine. They thrived for a big change that would let them experience actual value in their lives. They plan to travel for about 18 months to South and Central America, Europe, New Zealand, Asia and Africa. They want to travel around one month per country and try and do four countries per continent; volunteering in one country for every four that they travel to. Follow them on their blog, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Importance of Career Break Support
Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Digital Support is Good, But In-Person is Better

Often all we need to make change in our lives is a little push and encouragement. That’s why we created the Meet Plan Go Career Break Conference - for people with similar goals and travel dreams to meet face to face to get the support they need to take a career break leap. It’s like our website – but with REAL people who you can talk with face to face.  On September 20, 2014 you’ll make connections to past career breakers and future ones who you can bond with and ask questions!

Want to learn more – check out our video about the Importance of Support:

Getting people on the road to achieving their travel dreams is the best reward we can think of here at Meet Plan Go!  The weekly emails we get from people about how their career breaks have changed their lives is what convinced us to do another career break event for 2014.

See what past attendees have to say:

“My husband and I are 11 months into our trip around the world and we have a lot of thanks to send your way. We had been dreaming of traveling like this, but I didn’t think it was really possible until I read an article you were quoted in almost 3 years ago. Shortly after that, I attended the Meet, Plan, Go event in San Francisco where you spoke. Your story, and many others, really resonated with me and we made a commitment to make our dream a reality. And here we are.

Thank you for inspiring me and many others to take these leaps of faith. We’ve had an amazing trip including volunteering in Cambodia for three months. I can’t imagine not having taken this time to explore more of the world.” –Jill

“We leave in 16 days (exactly one year from the date of the 2012 national Meet, Plan, Go! meeting.”  –Kellie

“I wanted to reach out and thank you for inspiring me to travel. I attended the MPG nationwide event last October 16th 2012 in Minneapolis. After attending the event I obtained a lot of useful information which allowed me to research more. After researching I decided to take a leap of faith and put in my notice to quit my job early January 2013.” –Mitchell

“We ( my girlfriend at the time and now fiancé ) attended your seminar in may 2012 in NYC and took off April 2013 for 7 months. We have been home for a month now and had an incredible experience traveling and gained the extra confidence to go after attending your seminar. “ –Mike

Breaks are Necessary
Thursday, July 17th, 2014

The word “break” often has a negative connotation. A break up, break down, break in, break the law, break a leg. And the term ‘career break’ is no different – people of think of it as a bad thing.

However , a growing body of evidence shows that taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity.

“Americans and their brains are preoccupied with work much of the time. Throughout history people have intuited that such puritanical devotion to perpetual busyness does not in fact translate to greater productivity and is not particularly healthy. What if the brain requires substantial downtime to remain industrious and generate its most innovative ideas? “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets,” essayist Tim Kreider wrote in The New York Times. “The space and quiet that idleness provides is a necessary condition for standing back from life and seeing it whole, for making unexpected connections and waiting for the wild summer lightning strikes of inspiration—it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.” –via ScientificAmerican.com 

Taking a break from your typical routine, your career, or demands of life can be the best thing you can do for yourself. However, I didn’t need a scientific stufy to tell me this, I already knew. Taking a break from my work was the best thing for me.

No, I’m not talking about my career break I took in 2006 where I left my corporate IT career behind to travel around the world for a year. That break certainly was successful as it ultimately was the motivator for launching Meet Plan Go.

I’m talking about my break from career breaks in 2013.

Some of you may have noticed that the last big Meet Plan Go event we held was in 2012. It was a big success and contributed to putting many of you on the road to your own career break. However, after the event, I needed a break. I had been working so hard on getting others to take a break I had burned myself out. However, the year I took off from career break event planning was just what I needed. I used the time away to get out of my normal Meet Plan Go work routine and regroup. I focused on other projects on my personal travel website and as expected my creativeness and energy for Meet Plan Go returned.

I can finally say that I’m ready to get back to Meet Plan Go events!

We are changing up the format for 2014 in order to really focus on those who are serious about going and are looking for inspiration and advice on how to go about it. We are holding a full one-day conference in New York City so that attendees can have ample time to learn everything they’ll need to know and get all of their questions answered in person!

Get access to experts and connect to others on the same path.

This full day event will provide you with ample time to get your planning questions answered personally, and more importantly build relationships with others with your similar career break travel goals. There will be presentations and experts there to discuss:

• Getting over your fears
• Planning your break (budgeting, itinerary, volunteering, insurance, packing, working on the road, getting local, lodging, airfare, and more)
• How to market your travels into your job search when you return
Plus, in our break out groups you will be able to talk to travel experts and walk away with resources on specific areas of travel planning, travel modes, and travel options.

If you are tired of two weeks of vacation time and want to break away from the cube to explore the world, we will teach you how on September 20th.

Space is limited to 150 people. Reserve your spot now and spend a weekend in New York City!

A break might just be what the doctor ordered – I know it was for me.

Sherry Ott is the Co-Founder of Meet Plan Go and a career break evangelist.  She believes that every single person should have a career break on their resume!  Since her original Career Break in 2006 she has been traveling the world, living nomadically while running her own travel and lifestyle website Ottsworld.com.  @Ottsworld on Twitter

Beware Boom Doom & Gloom!
Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Be afraid. Be very afraid. The Baby Boomers (Americans 50-68 years young) have embarked on a precarious journey toward retirement. And though you may not care if you’re, say, younger than 50, you should. Because if Boomers can’t pay for their foodstuffs and hip swaps, we all will.

It could get expensive. Already, the U.S. government has a debt problem. Healthcare costs are making us chronically sick. And the 1/99 formula bodes ill for the 99%. All to say: A stinky financial fart may be brewing. And it’s not only going to redefine retirement, it may in turn jeopardize countless career-break dreams. 

Don’t believe me. Oh sure, I boast a few degrees, aced prob and stats, and hold several certifications, including the BISS (Because I Said So) and WMWY (What Me Worry? Yes!). But, hey, you do the research.

In this case, let’s break it down with 3 lowlights from the 2014 annual Insured Retirement Institute report. 

The percentage of Boomers who are confident they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout their retirement has dropped to 33%. 

Okay. That means about 2/3 of our current and future retirees don’t have a clue. Apparently, they still believe in Santa Claus, Uncle Sam, or the Grateful Dead, who sing, “I need a miracle every day.”

80% of Boomers report having savings for retirement. Of those, about half have $250,000 or more.

Hmmm. Let’s calculate:

Half of 80% (or 40%) have more than a quarter-mil. So 60% have less.

Any financial advisor worth his fancy glasses suggests you’d like 20 years worth of living expenses to retire smartly. Today, U.S. median income exceeds $50,000. Multiply by 20, and that’s a cool $1,000,000 in savings for most folks to get out of bed comfortably post paycheck.

43% of Boomers expect Social Security to be a major source of retirement income; 46% expect it to be a minor source. 

In other words, Boomers are counting on SS. Bigtime. Now, that’s not all bad, because (one good source says) SS provides about half of the income for 65% of Americans over age 65. And yet, everyone knows SS is at risk of spending too much while taking in too little (sound familiar?). So prudent pensioners-to-be must ask: Will SS still love me tomorrow?

One solution: Make more; work less

 

To be sure, we can’t all develop ulcers worrying about other people’s golden years. But we might want to take their medicine by not getting ourselves into the same sick jam.

That starts by taking money—and planning—seriously. Planning pays because, after all, nobody ever took a career break without earning a master’s in Planning first. And the “work less” subhead above reminds us that sabbaticals take time—as in, time away from work (income).

To this Boomer, retirement is not something you delay until your senior moments. Maybe it starts here, now, with what I dub the Retire Now and Then philosophy. Consider taking 5% of retirement along the way, even if it means working 5% longer at the end. You agree, right? Or else you wouldn’t be on this site. 

How to do that? It’s not so hard. Try to live by these oh-so terse 11 Commandments of Fiscal Fitness.

For starters, #1 is: “Live within your means, no matter what that means.”

Good luck. We’ll need it. And happy sails…

 Kirk Horsted blogs at MakeYourBreakAway.com and offers speeches and seminars too. Since 1990, he’s taken five sabbaticals ranging from 35 to 355 days, from Grandma’s farm (SD) to Waiheke (NZ). He’s embarked alone, with partner, and with his perfect children. When he must, he works as a writer, creative consultant, and college teacher.

Photo credits: 401(K) 2012, Shutterstock

‘Try Before You Buy’ A Career Break
Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Sherry & her motorbike in Vietnam

When I was preparing to run my first marathon in 1998, I started telling all of my family and friends about it; even though I had never run more than 10 miles at that point and really had no idea if I would be able to do the marathon or not. Yet I proudly told people that I would be running 26.2 miles in a little over 3 months.

When I started considering moving to Vietnam in 2008, I started to slowly mention to people that I would be moving to Saigon to teach for a year. I would hear and see their reactions and tuck them away in my brain. I wasn’t too confident yet that I would be moving – but I continued to spread the Vietnam-expat message in order to see how it felt to say me hear the words aloud.

Verbalizing Goals Is Powerful

Basically – I like to try big goals on for size; verbalize them, and then listen to what they sound like. Does it sound good? Does it roll off my tongue? How do I feel when I say it? What are people’s reactions?

Many goals dance around in our heads, but once you actually verbalize them it’s different – they move from your head into sounds. Sounds other people hear, digest, and remember.

It’s like seeing a great pair of jeans on the rack that look perfect – and then you go try them on and realize they make your ass look big and they go back on the rack. Sometimes you need to try your goals on for size. See what they look like and how they feel. Do they flatter you, or do they make you feel uncomfortable? What do others think about them?

This is what I recommend people do when it comes to their career break or travel goals. I know you dream of seeing the Pyramids, volunteering in India, or living in Bangkok, but have they been verbalized yet? Have you ‘tried them on’?

Try It On For Size – Say It Aloud

You can do it. Just let the words come out of your mouth in the privacy of your home…

“I’m going to take a career break and travel.”

How does it feel to allow the words to come out of your mouth? Liberating? Scary?

Now – go to your trusted friend and say it.

Next, go to a stranger at a Meet, Plan, Go! meetup and say it.

By stating your goal – you are more likely to do it.

This is one of the reasons we hold Meet, Plan, Go! events in your city; you can meet and talk to others about your travel goals – A supportive community who is more than happy to help you ‘try your goal on.’

Once you say it, it sounds good, it feels liberating; this is only the first step. Next start taking actions to plan that career break or sabbatical. What’s that? You don’t know where to start?

Hold On Before You Feel Defeated

Consider signing up for the Career Break 30 e-course – it’s free. It will lead you over the hurdles and through the entire process of planning and taking a meaningful career break or sabbatical; from the contemplation and preparation to on-the-road and re-entry. Plus, you’ll have support along the way from a group of people who all hold your same goals to travel.

And in the vain of trying before you buy – here’s a free checklist Go ahead. Download it. Try it on. See if you like it. If you do – then consider signing up for the Basic Training class and community to equip yourself with the tools to achieve your goal.

Try it on…verbalize it…and then move in the direction of your travel dreams.


Career Break Guide Table of Contents