Midlife retirement needs to be a thing

Everyone should enjoy a midlife retirement.  I am going to take my second midlife retirement in order to change my entire life, I’ll be 34.  I’m working on my second midlife retirement, I hope you are already planning for one too.  If one of us needs to get our priorities straight, I hope its not me.  Retirement is a relative term.  You don’t need to be old or wealthy (notice I didn’t say rich) to retire.  I would have to agree that traditional retirement is entirely wasted on the elderly.  No offense to the aging readers, but no one ever really complains about improving their life too soon.

Retirement is a time to enjoy the things you miss out on when work gets in the way of life.  It’s a time to grow and reflect on what’s important and where your life is headed.  So why wait until you are nearing the end of your path to do so?  You do not need to wait until you are old with a big fat bank account to retire.  You do however need to have some sort of cash flow either savings or a part time job.  I opted for the “eat into my savings” route on my first retirement, and had a little extra cash flow as well to help.  I also minimized my expenses as much as possible.  I slept on a 30 year old cot or an air mattress for 10 months during my first go ’round.  I also drove 140 mph on the Autobahn, went to Oktoberfest in Munich, visited France, home brewed beer, rafted class 5 rapids, spent weeks at camp hunting and fly fishing until my arms fell off.  This time I’m going hiking.  How will you change your life today?

TBCcotprost 2




This time around I won’t have the luxury of having that extra income.  It’s hard to have an income when you live in a tent in the woods and carry all of your belongings on your back.  Your fulltime job is hiking, with a part time job of eating.  I need to save enough money to support myself and now a new puppy.  The cutest puppy ever created to be more accurate.  Fortunately for me I can easily reduce my monthly expenses to the bare minimum while on the trail.  No rent, no mortgage, no car payment, no electric or cable bill and no dependents (aside from Quin the aforementioned puppy.)  Besides food, transportation, college loans, a cell phone payment, possibly a dog trainer, and some gear replacement there isn’t much else that’s going to eat away at my savings.

OTP benchYou have got to come up with a plan for midlife retirement.  Failing to plan is planning to fail.  Please, stop using Gofundmy-vacation.  It’s easy to spend someone else’s money and forget all the hard work it took to get and spend it unwisely.  Come up with a financial game plan, then stop spending money you don’t need to spend.  Cable bills, parties, booze, going out to eat, cell phones, new clothes are all things to say goodbye to.  I’m not saying don’t enjoy life, in all honesty I spent $125 on dinner last night at Parts and Labor in Baltimore, it was amaze-balls, and absolutely worth it.  But, this was the first time I had gone out to eat in longer than I can remember.  I also worked a 12 hour shift the day before at my part time job, after working 50 hours at my real job all week.  If you want something big, start hustling, now.

There is no right time for a midlife retirement.  There are no right or wrong career moves.  It’s never too soon to make your life more amazing.  Sometimes you just have to set a date and know that’s how long you have to get your shit together.  

What do you think?  Do I have it figured out or am I missing something?  Or am I looking down from 70,000 feet hoping my parachute opens?  What are you willing to give up to be happy?  Leave your comments below!


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Comments 11

  • Bob Rogers : Jun 23rd

    I’ll do you one better; I’ll leave 2 comments for you.

    1) Give it another year and then run for President. For title alone, you’ll get my vote.

    2) I’m in Baltimore too. Where and what the hell is Parts & Labor? Your link shows up as a text page. I’ll have to do more digging.

    P.S. I’m hoping 47 is closer to mid-life than 34. 😉

    • Dylan Niknot : Jun 23rd

      I only want to be President of myself though, and I was unanimously voted in already.

      Parts & Labor is at 2600 N. Howard St., the link “should” be working.

      Thanks for the comments!

  • z_clark : Jun 23rd

    Great read!

    I wish more people realized that there is a diminishing return on earning money. The world gets a lot bigger when you are living small.

  • Tonda Wyatt Johnson : Jun 23rd

    Well I am 53 and plan to take my retirement and hike the AT in 2016! The time will be right and I am ready! I think! LOL

  • DJP : Jun 23rd

    I’m glad you’re thinking this way. At the age of 35, I left a managerial position at a major finance firm to (successfully) thru hike in 2014. I took a project a few months later, but that’s over, and now I’m typing this comment from a hostel in Hot Springs. My bank accounts are now essentially empty and I’m the happiest I’ve been in 15 years. It’s rational to stand for something you believe in. I feel America is about to puke up the results of capitalist gluttony in the coming days, months, and years.

    • Greg : Mar 15th


  • runner : Jun 24th

    Dylan I am a 67 year old man, whom at 34 felt the same as you do now. Continue to follow your dreams and take advantage of your youth; however I must mention a sad fact of life. You will get old in time, if not in your mind for certain in your body. At 67 I am still 34 in mind and spirit but my body is not. The reality is that when you get old you will need money to fund your life (whatever it will be when your BODY, not mind, gets old) because you will not have the energy or desire to work . You simply get tired and what now is easy because of youth will not be so when you age. I am a runner(have been for 40 years now) and have been and still am, for my age, in reasonable good shape. I still dream, like hiking the the A.T. but the physical reality is that I never will(sadly). My body says so over my mind. Live fully while your 34 and enjoy your life to the fullest but start to prepare financially for the time when you will want and need to be really retired. That day will come if you live long enough. AT 34 I could not understand the very thing I just told you but at 67 I now do and am glad I prepared for this time in my life. As tears roll down my cheeks I admire you and wish I could be there hiking with you and Quin!!!!
    The best to you young man!!

    • Greg : Mar 15th

      Great advice! Now here’s some for you. If you can still run, you can hike the AT. You wouldn’t be the oldest either. There is a ton of support in the AT community so go for it! Feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.

  • Janet : Jun 24th

    “Runner” has given you some good advise.

  • Greg : Mar 15th

    Well done Dylan! Too many people work a 9-5 for many years to retire for a few days, months or years only to pass on. Heartbreaking! Keep inspiring others to live in the moment not in the future!
    Hope to see you on the trail my friend!

  • Kris Petree : Jun 29th

    Hi Dylan,

    I just stumbled on your blog and seems were are on the same page…Midlife retirement is absolutely necessary. I spent my last year at 42 years old sans work. It was the best decision I have ever made. I reduced my fixed expenses to $600 a month and paid cash for an RV. I took my two kids out of school and my wife put her career on hold to give our family the most intense experience traveling the world. I just got back and am transitioning back to work and the kids are in summer camps. We are thriving post retirement! I blogged too and it was so cool to share my experience with my friends and family as you are doing here. All my best to you and keep sharing!


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