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Experts say career-obsessed workers need more breaks—and financial firms are here to help. Millions of Americans obsess over their careers and fret about saving, terrified they won’t have enough to ever retire. The advice now being offered by some experts may surprise these worried souls: Take months or years off from work, travel the world, and enjoy yourself.
There’s prudent logic behind a relaxing midcareer break. With longer lives come longer careers and longer retirements—the first so that you can afford the second. But a 40-year career, ending at age 60 or 65, is a very different prospect from a 50-year career ending at 70 or 75.
“It’s just too grueling. We have to take breaks,” says Lynda Gratton, a London Business School professor and co-author of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity. “Why wouldn’t you want to take some of the retirement at the end of your life and distribute it to the middle of your life?”
The sabbatical—a chance to recharge midcareer—is hardly a new idea, and it’s still common in academia. But until recently most wouldn’t dream of quitting their jobs just to have fun for a year or two. And, as Gratton acknowledges, doing so is still a financial impossibility for the vast majority of workers.
For well-paid workers in high-demand fields such as technology, however, the idea may be catching on.
Wealthfront Inc., the online money manager based in Silicon Valley, launched a tool on Wednesday that allows clients to estimate whether they can afford to take time off for travel. They can set a months- or yearslong trip as a priority alongside other goals like retirement or buying a home.