Harsh outcome from leaving a $12K monthly job for early retirement

May 13, 2024 | 03:00 pm PT
Harsh outcome from leaving a $12K monthly job for early retirement
Quitting a job without careful planning often results in financial stress. Illustration photo by Pexels
Both my colleague, who used to make VND300 million (US$11,800) per month, and I took a break from our job to recover from stress, but we ended up facing even greater pressure.

Recently, there has been much discussion about whether it is wise to take a "gap year" after amassing some savings. For me, every decision has its pros and cons depending on each individual's perspective.

My old colleague, whom I met at a large company in 2018, used to earn VND300 million a month. He often said that he would work diligently to save up a huge sum of money to open a coffee shop and aim for early retirement. He did just that the following year.

Initially, his café was bustling, raking in a lot of revenues and profits. With a booming business and massive funds, he quit his job to travel the world for a few years.

However, his whole retirement plan fell apart when Covid-19 hit in 2020, forcing his coffee shop to stop operating. He tried his best to sustain the establishment but had to shut it down for good in 2022.

He then used his remaining savings to take a gap year to recover from the shock of losing his business before looking for a new job. By the end of 2023, he finally decided to look for work. Nonetheless, no firms wanted to hire him due to his high requested salary and long break from employment.

While he was unfazed at first, seeing his savings gradually dwindling and his friends all busy with work has begun to take a toll on his mental health. He became anxious and dejected, then lowered his standards to find a job.

He did find one eventually but quit shortly after because he could not adapt to the stress due to years of self-indulgence.

Personally, I am sharing this story not to criticize his decision to retire early. He had prepared a considerable amount of savings, along with another source of income - his coffee shop. He also had a plan for his life after retirement rather than just an impulsive action, and he had time to do the things he enjoyed but could not do for many years.

However, life always has variables, and the Covid-19 pandemic was something that no one expected or desired. While his plan for early retirement failed mostly due to the pandemic, it lacked contingencies to cope with the worst possible changes.

As for myself, I quit my job a few months ago. At the time both my physical and mental health were deteriorating after enduring intense stress from my job. Like many youth who choose to take a gap year, I left the company to recover without any plans for the future.

While my health and mood have significantly improved after a month or two, I now find myself struggling to find a new job. Attending numerous interviews and continuously getting rejected by employers have left me feeling even more stressed than before.

I realized that my decision to take a break without prior planning was too impulsive and that I should have sucked it up and continue working to improve my value, as working is always stressful regardless of who employs you.

Hence, my advice to people who are considering early retirement or taking a gap year is to not view it as an escape from work. If you need to have some time off work, you should find methods to better yourself and look for other sources of income to survive through that period.

But all in all, is it ever feasible to take a gap year or retire early in this economy?

Reader Truc Nguyen

*This opinion was translated into English by AI. Readers’ views are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress’ viewpoints.

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