The Creative Mini-Retirement and Financial Matters – Investment and Return


I have used the term mini-retirement several times in these posts to describe my situation. That is, leaving the 9 to 5 office job and focusing all attention on a creative endeavor. The term mini-retirement seems to have originated in Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Workweek.

…the mini-retirement is not an escape from your life but a reexamination of it—the creation of a blank slate. – Tim Ferriss, The 4-Hour Workweek

He goes on to suggest that we aim “to distribute ‘mini-retirements’ throughout life instead of hoarding the recovery and enjoyment for the fool’s gold of retirement.”

The first question that is usually asked is, how can one finance this? The answer is, you save a lot of money. You live well below your means for a long time. You free yourself of debt. You reject the consumerists lifestyle that dominates our culture and embrace a minimalist approach.

You might be at a job where you are trying to maximize your salary. But, in this mindset, you are also honing in on your expenses.

Rather than get deep into this, it’s better just to direct people to Mr. Money Mustache. He is a blogger who’s personal finance beliefs have turned into a lifestyle movement. People who follow his stuff are called Mustachians. When you read his stuff you realize that there is an alternative mindset when it come to money, personal finance, and consumption.

Your current middle-class life is an Exploding Volcano of Wastefulness, and by learning to see the truth in this statement, you will easily be able to cut your expenses in half – leaving you saving half of your income. – Mr. Money Mustache, Getting Rich: from Zero to Hero in One Blog Post

Anyway, reading some of these alternative ways to approach money should help to demystify how someone could save enough money to live with no income for some amount of time, a year, 2 years, maybe more. It’s not so unusual.

Furthermore, it is possible that an endeavor such as mine or many others, could be generating some amount of income. This could be through gigs, freelance work, a micro-business, selling stuff you don’t use, etc. It may not be enough to live on but can help sustain the mini-retirement for a long period of time.


Now that we have that out of the way, I think it is interesting to look at this from a costs/value perspective, or the value proposition. Without getting into exact numbers here, we can say that the amount of money to do this is significant. It’s probably enough to buy a new car or in that ballpark. Here’s a comprehensive list of what I got in return for this investment. This is only the return to date. The list continues to grow.

  • An education in audio engineering by studying books and online materials. This is a valuable skill in the music industry. I could have done this on nights and weekends while continuing to work a paying job, but focusing on it full time provided a more effective learning process.
  • The opportunity to focus 100% of my mental energy on creating art for a year. All impediments to creativity were removed to allow the free flow of inspiration and the development of artistic ideas.
  • The opportunity to freely pursue curiosity and experimentation. If one day, I wanted to study the most effective and efficient way to launch a personal website, I could do that. If I wanted to tediously test the best way to capture the sound of my guitar, I could do that. If I wanted to write an essay on this experience, I could do that.
  • The opportunity to do the one thing that would most effectively improve one’s skills on multiple instruments and voice. That is recording oneself.
  • Experience building an online presence with a website and social media. This is important experience for anyone wanting to start a business or do anything these days.
  • The opportunity to produce a product, a music album, and release it to the world. This product represents entirely my own musical ideas that I developed and brought to life. In addition, the satisfaction of learning about how to do this and doing it largely on my own thanks to the flattening of music production (more on that in a later post).
  • An understanding and appreciation for how music is made. Further, I have a new appreciation for music and I listen to music in a different way now. I can appreciate a wider variety of musical genres based on the ability to appreciate new aspects of that music.
  • The experience of what it is like to live life as a creative person. I developed daily routines and ways of working that would optimize my efforts.
  • An improved awareness of my own strengths and weaknesses as a musician and as a person in general.
  • An ability to capture inspiration and develop these ideas into a final product.
  • An increase in positive brain exercise and relief from damage. Not sure how to say this but there’s a mental health aspect here. Anyone who has spent time in an office environment probably agrees that there can be a toxic element that exists. In addition, there is plenty of research in the field of psychology suggesting the benefits of creative work.
  • Finally, and most importantly, the discovery and belief that music, art, and creativity are spiritual practices that can be supported and guided by a higher power.

So, now we can ask ourselves if this was a good deal. In my opinion, it is a great deal. What else would you spend this money on? You could probably travel around the world. That would be a good experience. You could probably buy a boat or put an addition on your house. You could continue to invest it and wait for some other reason to come that will probably never come.

Do you think this is a good deal?

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