The Benefits and Drawbacks of Taking a Sabbatical

Sabbatical Benefits

  • In the short term, a sabbatical provides time and space to:
    • recover from burnout
    • explore your interests
    • learn new skills
    • build new habits
    • spend time with friends and family
    • frontload or practice retirement
  • In the long term, a sabbatical provides time and space to reflect on what is important to you and pursue work that aligns with those values. It can help you design a more sustainable and fulfilling life.
  • A sabbatical is available much sooner than early retirement; you only need cash to cover expenses for a limited time instead of indefinitely.
  • Sabbaticals are better suited to time-sensitive goals like recovering from burnout, traveling, or raising a family that you'd like to do at a particular time in your life.

Sabbatical Drawbacks

  • A sabbatical requires a high savings rate, frugality, and relatively large cash reserves to cover expenses while you're not working.
  • There is an opportunity cost of income and compounding investment gains from that income.
  • Stepping back from work means losing some of the non-financial benefits of that work, which can include a loss of meaning, power, and social connections from your job.
  • There is potential to lose career momentum, including expertise and professional network.
  • If you're not financially independent, there will be some pressure from having a defined runway and knowing that you will need to return to work eventually.

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