Exploring the Spectrum of Retirement: From Mini-Retirements to Barista FIRE

Posted by Financtitute on September 14, 2023 · 7 mins read

Retirement, often seen as the golden ticket to a life of relaxation, is actually a unique journey for everyone. It’s not just a destination you reach one day; it’s more like a vast spectrum, offering various flavors and approaches to cater to your individual desires. In my last post, I talked about how “retire early” is the flashy part of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early), but there are plenty of ways to interpret retirement. So, let’s dive into four distinctive retirement styles that are far from your standard retirement fare, each giving you a different perspective on what it means to retire.

1. Mini-Retirement: Embracing the Joys of the Present

Imagine shaking up the old-school idea of retirement, where you clock out at a specific age and that’s it. Mini-retirements are all about tossing that concept aside. Instead, you take extended breaks during your working years to chase your passions, explore new places, or dive into projects that set your soul on fire. It’s like a buffet of life experiences where you prioritize savoring the present over stacking up cash. Whether it’s a year-long adventure around the globe or a few months to pursue a creative masterpiece, mini-retirements are all about customizing your dreams.

2. Multi-Stage Retirement: Phases of Fulfillment

Multi-stage retirement is a bit like planning a multi-course meal. It acknowledges that retirement isn’t just an “all or nothing” affair. You can start with smaller portions, gradually reduce your work hours, move to part-time gigs, and eventually ease into full retirement. This style is perfect for those who want the flexibility to fine-tune their retirement, ensuring they’re not just financially ready but also emotionally and mentally prepared for each new phase. This one resonates with me as I have a feeling that I can’t just cut off work cold turkey. Retiring in stages may help me mentally retire without worrying if I have enough.

3. Coast FIRE: The Art of Financial Momentum and Lifestyle Freedom

Now, here’s an approach that’s all about creating financial momentum in the early stages and riding the wave of compound interest toward a more relaxed life. Coast FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) is like finding the sweet spot between financial security and leisure. Instead of chaining yourself to a full-time job your whole life, you gain the freedom to coast through life a bit. You can enjoy more leisure time while still earning an income. It’s all about striking the right balance between work and leisure to match your groove. Another example of Coast FIRE would be to save more in the beginning and supercharging the momentum, then easing off the gas to be able to spend more while still working full time.

4. Barista FIRE: The Pursuit of Financial Freedom with a Side of Passion

Lastly there is Barista FIRE. Barista FIRE is like saying, “Hey, I’m going to accumulate enough savings to cover my basic living expenses.” Or maybe even just the majority of your expenses. Then, you can step away from the traditional grind and embrace part-time or lower-paying, less stressful gigs, or pursue something you’re truly passionate about. It’s not about the big bucks; it’s about finding a sense of purpose and satisfaction in your work. The reason why Barista FIRE is called that was because people would quit their full time office job after saving enough to become a Barista. Some did it for the extra money and health insurance while others might have enjoyed the experience.

** What Am I Planning On Doing?**

As I’ve journeyed through life, I’ve learned that true financial freedom, to me, is all about having the freedom to do what I truly love. Take video games, for instance—I’m absolutely obsessed with them. But the thought of being tethered to playing games for 40 hours a week to pay the bills just doesn’t float my boat. Plus, the idea of restarting my career after a long break isn’t my cup of tea, so mini-retirements are off the table.

Then there’s Coast FIRE, all about taking it easy and coasting through life when you’ve got your financial ducks in a row. But let’s be real, I’m not a coasting kind of person, especially when I haven’t quite hit my financial goals.

So, here’s my game plan: I’ll keep grinding it out full-time in my current gig until I’ve stacked enough chips to cover my basic expenses. Once I’ve nailed that, I’ll step back and weigh my options. Maybe I’ll dive into a passion project, something like that Barista FIRE vibe. Or maybe I’ll wade into the Multi-Stage Retirement idea and dial down my hours a notch.

But here’s the kicker—the road ahead? It’s got more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. It’s not etched in stone, and I can change my mind along the way because, you know, priorities have this funny way of shifting. In a few more years, when the decision time rolls around, I’ll go with the flow and see what feels right at the time.

So, in the world of retirement, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. In fact even within these categories that I laid out there are many ways to implement them. It’s all about crafting a retirement plan that aligns with your financial situation, lifestyle quirks, and personal goals. As you can see, each style has its own rhythm and might hit “full” retirement at a different beat. Sure, going all-in and making bank as quickly as possible can help you retire sooner, but you might miss out on some epic life experiences. Retirement isn’t just about hitting a certain age; it’s about living a life that brings you joy and fulfillment, on your terms. So, which retirement style speaks to you, and how will you compose your retirement symphony?