Planning For A Sabbatical At 50

Sometimes it’s appropriate to take a serious look at what you’re doing in life and plan accordingly. I had wanted to be retired by the time I was 40. That didn’t happen. And now just 2 days ago I turned 49 and exactly 1 more Earth trip around the sun, and providing that Barack Obama isn’t the anti-christ, I’m looking at the big Five Ohh No!

With that in mind, on my birthday I implemented the plan to allow for my wife Jean and I to take a year off from work and set a new direction for our lives. Where the year 2010, and beyond, will take us I’m not quite sure yet, but in 2009 I’ll be working like a mad dog to raise the funds needed and set in place a business that keeps on working even when I’m not working at it.

As a little aside, don’t think when I mentioned retirement in the opening paragraph that means you go and sit on your backside, smoke a pipe and drink powdered lemonade while playing checkers with the rest of your retiree buddies all day long. That’s not living. Retirement is living life and filling in best where the good Lord can use you, but not having to worry how you’re going to pay for it. By the time I’m 50 I don’t want to be worried about how I’m going to make the money needed to spend my next 50 years here.

I’m not saying I’ll never put out any effort in the money making department of life after 50, I just don’t want that to be the main focus of my endeavors as it has been for the last 35 years or so.

What makes up the plan for this year and what is different than how I’ve conducted business in the past is that I’ll be outsourcing almost all my content writing. Right now I’m looking at getting about 50 articles a month written for the 3 main sites that have generated the bulk of my income for some time now. Two of those sites, one being a blog, are travel related, one of them focusing on a specific city or area of the United States and the other site is a BANS site that has at its highest income level produced over $1,000 a month.

The content I’m outsourcing will be used as articles for the sites and blog posts, but the majority of it will be used for article marketing and getting those all important incoming links pointing to your site. I’m hoping by the end of this year, or actually my 50th birthday next year, that I’ll have an additional 600 pages of content, blog posts and articles working for me making the elves at Google happy.

So, with the business side of life covered, what are Jean and I going to do on our year long sabbatical you may be thinking? While that isn’t 100% carved in stone just yet, we do have several ideas we’re kicking around. First, we have to have our house taken care of because by this time next year we’ll have probably 50 to 60% of our available yard covered with gardens so we will need someone to make sure all of that doesn’t die.

And for locations we’re looking at, right now we’re thinking of somewhere in Montana where it’s dark and I can play amateur astronomer on about 40 acres of land, a cabin somewhere in the Smoky Mountains or northern Georgia or on some sort of farming co-op in Costa Rica. As far as what we’d actually be doing, well for the farming co-op, that’s fairly obvious, but for the other locations we have a few book ideas rolling around in our brains. For me I’d like to turn Affiliate Confession into a book about how to make money through all the opportunities on the web. Heck, I already have 340 pages of affiliate marketing info online already with this blog, it would probably be useful to someone in a book format. And Jean has a couple ideas for books related to her Christian counseling work and healthy eating.

And when we’re done with the year long sabbatical, what then? One thing I know for sure, life will not return to normal, normal being spending 50 to 60 hours a week in front of the computer writing, doing research, learning more about what everyone else is doing and spending way too much time following rabbit trails originating at the Drudge Report.

Depending on what we may learn in Costa Rica or what we come up with pursuing a book we could either be teaching people how to turn their yards into mini farms or promoting our books in various venues. We’ll also get back to working our yard / mini farm that we hope to get to produce 40 to 50% of our food someday.

Right now, I have to get back to working on the main goal because I’ve spent way too much time writing this blog post.

Popularity: 10% [?]

Tags: , , , ,

If you have enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed or you can have posts send directly to your inbox if you subscribe by email.

Bookmarks: | del.icio.us | Digg it | Furl | reddit | StumbleUpon

23 Responses to “Planning For A Sabbatical At 50”

  1. Hi, I am a subscriber trying to learn about affiliate marketing. This is my first time commenting :)

    Sorry if this seems spammy but I just wanted to let you know that I am a web content writer so if you are still looking for writers, please contact me for samples at kumichan83 at gmail dot com. My rate is currently discounted at 0.02 a word and my work is top quality!

    I also want to turn my yard into a mini-farm once we move out to the country. I live in Ecuador and there are many American retirees here. You may want to check some land out here too… a lot cheaper than Costa Rica and also very beautiful! Cotocachi is a popular area.

  2. Alan;

    What a great plan. I hope you can pull it off. I certainly understand the feeling of following rabbit trails. There’s a great Kerouac quote where he talks about the endless loop of consuming things that really don’t matter and then having to work to get them – it certainly sounds like you’re trying to get back to what’s important.

    At one point I clicked around your sites and ended up at the site for the folks in Pasadena, CA who have a mini-farm on a small patch of land. I’m no where near there yet but I am expanding my garden every year that I’ve been in the house with some big plans this year.

    Good luck. I hope you’ll keep your blog up while you’re on your adventure so I can live vicariously through you.

    If you want to put it to a reader vote I vote for the farm-coop in Costa Rica!


  3. Ashley,

    Thanks for your comments. Yea, my wife loves what the people in Pasedena are doing. We’re hoping to get close to that some day, so maybe the co-op would be the best thing.

  4. Hey Alan,

    Best of luck with your retirement and your plan! I have already implemented some of what you are talking about and taking the focus off work and putting onto other things is extremely rewarding.

    Don’t mean to freak you out, but be careful in Costa Rica! Went there a few years ago and got everything stolen – credit cards,cameras, passports etc and some of my friends have had similar experiences.

    Also I love your idea of outsourcing more stuff. It’s easy to loose focus and get bored when you do it all yourself and so I plan to outsource my content writing too…

    So @Kathleen – I’ll be sending you an email!

  5. Hey Alan!

    That’s a pretty good goal for the year and I wish you both the best of luck! I sent you a message via your contact form. Maybe it will help:)

  6. That is awesome, Alan! A very excellent goal. Since you’re a farmer now, I’m assuming you understand and practice the law of sowing and reaping. God always provides. :-)

    As for the co-op or the books, could you not do both? Or would the time crunch be too much? Hm… or keep notes while farming, and use that as some of your platform for future books or blogs!

    Funny, considering your statement in the first paragraph sent me into a suicidal depression in Oct. But that brought me back to God and got my priorities straightened out. I’m just glad that you have the ability of prioritizing BEFORE you crash and burn!

  7. Good on you. It sounds like you are going to live my dream. I am still working away on my net business hoping that one day I can make the choices I want to make.


  8. Good luck to you in raising the funds for your trip and taking a year off does sound great!

  9. Happy Belated Birthday. I am glad that I am still young and don’t have to worry about that kind of stuff yet

  10. I had one of those “argh shit..” moments this morning when driving to work as I was listening to the british press waffle on about pensions (or lack of).

    I need to get a plan for my retirement in place – even though I am in my late 30s – it is never to early to plan for the future.

    Internet Marketing and BANS is certainly part of my overall plan.

  11. WordVixen,

    Oh yes, part of the process learning the farm life is blogging about it. I haven’t been doing that good of a job so far with our healthy eating blog, but I’m promising myself to do better.

    “You know, I could blog about that”, will always be in my blood.

  12. *lol* Just make sure that you drop us a few links when you take off, OK? It’s not easy tracking down your sites, and you’re one of my favorite bloggers in ANY category!

  13. WordVixen,

    Thanks, I’m flattered! I’m thinking of doing another vacation / travel website and building it as a how to earn Adsense tutorial on the blog here one of these days.

  14. Good Luck with your plan. I hope everything works out the way you want it to. Keep us posted!

  15. For me, you are very successful blogger. Earning $1k+ from a blog is not an easy task. Outsourcing article writing is the preferred way to have more blog to maintain. But, 50 articles for 3 blogs for a month is just nice. I wish you meet your goals by end of this year.

  16. Life seems to blow by faster and faster the older you get. Have you noticed that? Good luck with your plan. I have a plan of my own but it seems years away from being implemented let alone completed.

  17. What a wonderful, inspiring plan!

    The exciting ‘living’ vibe screams through on that post.

    Best wishes for a prosperous ’09, and for filling the bank account for an even better sabbatical year in ’10.

  18. That sounds great. :) That really is the online dream, to set things up so that income will continue to arrive, without having to slave away yourself, in front of the computers, for hours each day. May I someday also reach the point where I can earn, and then eventually outsource. Good luck with your plans. :)

  19. For me, it would be challenging to give up all work so suddenly. But it sounds like a great goal.

  20. Hi Alan,

    What an inspiring post! Very few people think about taking a sabbatical for any length of time. It can only be beneficial for you as you take time to recharge and think about the future.

    I hope this year goes well for you and your wife and you’re able to achieve your goal for next year.

  21. Costa Rica is a nice place to come up with some ideas!

  22. Minnesota Attorney,

    Yes, I agree, sometimes it challenging not to check my email for 24 hours, but that’s probably why I need the sabbatical.

    Allan Ward,

    Thanks! Yes, it’s important to realize you’re in control, not your job or business. More people should take time to slow down and plan for the future before it comes knocking on your door someday.


    Thanks for stopping by. Like your travel blog/magazine. I’m hungry after reading the Best Pizza in NYC post.

  23. Let me sit down and think about -what exactly i want to do after 40. I never think that way. Nice write up again Alan.

Leave a Reply