Sabbaticals Are Essential For The Way We Work with Paul Millerd, Ep #198

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By Benjamin Brandt CFP®, RICP® and Benjamin Brandt CFP®. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Have you ever thought about your relationship with work? As retirement looms ahead, many people become fearful of the unknown that it brings. A common way to express this fear is to worry about money, but this fear goes beyond money. The real fear that people have about retirement is about how they will spend their time when they no longer have work to fill their days.

In 2017, Paul Millerd changed his relationship with work. After climbing the corporate ladder for 10 years he decided to slow down and become a freelancer. Listen to this conversation to hear what Paul learned from this experience and how his wisdom can help you prepare for retirement.

Outline of This Episode
  • [3:22] What kind of benefits do people see from a long break in work?
  • [5:16] Taking the first steps towards a sabbatical
  • [8:15] How can we use the curiosity that emerges with a sabbatical to explore retirement?
  • [11:01] Did Paul always think this way?
  • [13:17] Are there any types of careers that sabbaticals wouldn’t work for?
  • [16:24] People will refuse to take into account what they spend
What defines a sabbatical?

I often ask my clients to take a couple of weeks off of work before retirement to explore what they will be doing when they retire. I liken this exercise to a practice round of retirement. A sabbatical can be a similar experience, but it goes even deeper. The time frame of a sabbatical isn’t strictly defined and can extend anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months or more. The biggest difference between a sabbatical and a vacation is that a sabbatical is more of a change in mindset.

How is a sabbatical different from a vacation?

Paul explains that vacations are packed full of activities, much like a workweek. People try to pack as much into a vacation as possible. However, a sabbatical is like taking a vacation without ever going into vacation mode. To try out a sabbatical, Paul suggests staying at an Airbnb and simply living there. Cook your meals rather than eating out, shop locally, and simply bike or walk around your new surroundings. Try to discover a state of non-doing. This can be challenging and can even become uncomfortable for many people. The result of this contemplative state is self-realization and a newfound curiosity.

How can we use the curiosity that emerges from a sabbatical to explore retirement plans?

Taking a sabbatical can completely change your way of thinking and may even disrupt your plans for retirement. We have worked so hard our entire lives for a future payoff, so it can be hard to stop delaying gratification. By taking a sabbatical, it allows people to take the time to explore the work and hobbies that inspire their passion. In doing so, people can get a better understanding of the ways that they can spend their time in retirement.

A sabbatical can prepare you for retirement

If you have been working your way towards burnout, perpetually delaying gratification, or even if you simply need a retirement trial run, you may want to try taking a sabbatical. Listen to this interview with Paul Millerd to hear how a sabbatical can provide you with a shift in mindset and truly prepare you for retirement.

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