“Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.”
— Danny Kaye (1913–1987), actor, singer, dancer
Mention ‘sabbatical’ and be prepared for an instant audience ready to listen to every word.
We are often reminded to pursue more personal enjoyment activities during our lifetime. Well, here is one idea that contributes—I point to your cravings for the coveted sabbatical.
How many of you dream of arranging a sabbatical—not just an elongated vacation? That is, leaving the office behind for a long time—say three months to one year, maybe more.
A sabbatical offers vast personal satisfaction. It can be a time to reflect, explore, slow the pace, relax, and change.
I can attest from experience, having had a 17-month one, that a sabbatical is truly magnificent. I threw some paint on my canvas of life—it’s one of the best personal investments I made.
Sabbaticals have plenty of appeal. Imagine an extra long time to pursue whatever you fancy without ties to the office. Sabbaticals are well known among educational institutions. Teaching faculty often arrange them to pursue research and other personal interests.
My 17 months away from the office were a series of refreshing experiences. I had no pressing daily agenda, long lunches, pursuing various avenues of interest, travel and no dire need to rush anywhere. I enjoyed it immensely.
A sabbatical offers vast personal satisfaction. It can be a time to reflect, explore, slow the pace, relax and change. Perhaps, all of these at the same time. Think of it as your dress rehearsal to a healthy retirement.
Something splendid happens when we cut ties to the office for long stints. We can experience and enjoy the fabulous escapade to rejuvenate the mind. Naturally, the sabbatical can involve the entire family.
Shaping plans that transform your sabbatical cravings from dreams into realities requires time and creativity. Say your desire is a one-year family sabbatical, starting in four years. I suggest this overview to explore your sabbatical:
- What is it that you and the family want to accomplish?
- What are your estimated total costs for all who partake?
- What family finances do you have to message to afford it?
- What employment and kids ‘schooling arrangements must be made?
- What changes does your portfolio require to make the sabbatical a success?
- What happens after the family transitions from the sabbatical?
A successful sabbatical typically involves a detailed process that brings together an assortment of factors. The monetary part is one very important priority. I highlight some funding considerations:
- Arrange with your business or employer a reduced remuneration to 80% for each of the next four years. Then be paid 80% of normal remuneration in the fifth year during your sabbatical.
- Another approach is for you to set aside 20% of remuneration during each of the next four years. Then use the accumulated cash to fund your sabbatical.
- If you can only obtain an unpaid sabbatical, re-arrange your personal finances accordingly. Then dip into them during your sabbatical time out of the office.
- You need to deal with who will perform your employment duties while away and resuming them after the sabbatical. All agreements are best in writing.
Some families prefer multiple shorter sabbaticals, such as three to four months. Others are more inclined toward the longer variety, such as eight to twelve months or more, as I did. My best counsel is that if it fits go for it, regardless of the length or frequency. I have no regrets.
Tapping the resources of your financial advisor or investment professional is valuable. It allows you to further explore strategies that better achieve your goal and fund the proposed sabbatical. Additional number crunching is useful in spotlighting how the monetary outlay affects the family retirement plan. You may also require legal advice on structuring the agreements you will be asked to sign.
In the end, sabbaticals make us feel revitalized and invigorated. Sporting new, fresh and rejuvenated outlooks. Your successful sabbatical brings about plenty of dividends and satisfaction for years to come. It did in my case. I continue to reap benefits.
Paying close attention to the money trail and other matters turns your sabbatical dreams into truly satisfying and memorable realities. This blog has only touched on stitching together a sabbatical. I encourage you to dig deeper into splashing paint on your canvas of life.
Bon voyage! Send me a note on how your sabbatical turned out.