Should I Take a Year Off?

For some time now, I have been considering taking a break from my day job. I guess this isn’t surprising since you’re reading a financial independence/ retire early blog. I’d love to take a year to work on the projects I really care about. I have a decent stash of saving as well as passive income so I can technically “afford” to do so, yet I hesitate. Part of me feels like since I am so close to FI, I should just wait it out and quit once I reach my FI number goal. Another part of me is worried that taking time off will cause me to go backward on the path to FI. I also think part of me is just being a chicken shit.

There is a good chance that while taking a year off, I could actually make more money than I currently do at my 9-5. As an accountant people are always asking me to help with their taxes, bookkeeping, personal finance, etc. I already do a bunch of this as a side hustle, and if I had the time, I could likely turn it into a ‘full-time’ gig. The real risk might actually be not taking the leap.

So why the hesitation? I’m a chronic over-thinker and have flip-flopped on this decision a 1000 times. Even though I’m confident that I could easily find work if I wanted to go back to a regular job after taking some time off. There is always some fear of the unknown lingering in the back of my mind. Since starting my journey to financial independence and becoming part the of FI community, I’ve grown a lot psychologically. But it is still hard to shake the societal norms of being identified by my job. What will I tell people when they ask me what I do for a living? I sit at home in my underwear playing Nintendo (that does actually sound pretty good). There is no doubt that I would keep myself busy, as I always have more to do than I have time. But the concern is real, can I make the transition to FI for real? Even if it’s just for a year. Shouldn’t I take a sample of what FI life would be like before I jump in?

If I can afford it, then why not? A friend of mine once said something that really resonated with me, “You can always make more money, but you can’t buy back time.” If you want to read more about people who have actually taken the leap and taken a full year off check out Money Metagame where Becky & Noah have chronicled their year off travelling around the US.

What would you do with a year free from a 9-5 job?

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About the Author: The Accountant

4 Comments

  1. Sounds like you may have already decided to do it and that you are just checking with the crowd for anyone to tell you that you are crazy!
    I think your thoughts are reasonable, and that the exciting thing for you to do would be to take the year that you are thinking of taking.
    When I have a year free from my 9-5 I plan to spend a few months traveling to see family (who live in a couple of different provinces), do some slow travel, and take the time to continue optimizing our lifestyle (like digitizing our paper records).
    Good luck!

    1. I think you’re right Kevin, no one has told me I’m crazy yet so it can’t be that bad of an idea!

  2. I love this more personal post! IMO, I think you should take the leap and do the mini retirement. Maybe, as you think, you’ll end up ahead financially. But you won’t know until you try!

    Being a stay-at-home mom, I’m already free of the 9-5. But I can tell you what my husband would do with a year free: more family travel, hang out with his parents, learn how to sharpen and restore old knives, practice guitar… the list is almost endless!

    I’d love to follow your journey through this—post an update for us in a few months!

    1. Hi Chrissy, I will keep you up to date for sure! It’s looking like this likely won’t happen until the fall, (I like my current employer and want to give them time to sort everything out) but I’ll post an update once I figure it out a little more.

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