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5 alternatives to early retirement


Your savings account is likely robust, your 401(k) is probably healthy, and you’ve read every blog post about the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement. You’re ready to clean out your desk and live a carefree early retirement. But is that your only option?

As enticing as retiring early sounds, on average, retirement lasts longer than 13 years.1 So, you’ll want to make sure you’re financially prepared—especially since life tends to throw us a few surprises down the road.

While we all are on different paths to retirement, here are a few things you can do to increase your work-life balance while you continue to plan for your ideal future.

Work from Home

Thanks to a recent surge of jobs you can do from the comfort of your home, a more carefree lifestyle may be attainable. In 2017, 5.2% of workers worked from home full-time, a 3.3% increase since 2000.2 Check with your current employer about this option or consider how you can apply your skills and passions towards a career that can be pursued from home, such as becoming a sponsored blogger, bookkeeper, or consultant.


The possibilities are endless when you have the ability to create your own schedule. According to a 2019 annual report by Upwork, freelancers represent 35% of all US workers, and that number is increasing.3 Consider what your career might look like if you took the leap to freelance, and consult with a financial advisor to help ensure it’s the right move for you.

Part-Time Work

If you scale your hours back to part-time, you can basically call yourself “semi-retired” while still getting paid. Plus, you also get to maintain the routine and social interaction that comes with working in an office environment. Remember, part-time work can provide a solid paycheck while also potentially providing benefits like life insurance or a 401(k) plan, depending on the amount of hours you are working per week.

Employee Growth Programs

You can even embark on a completely different path by taking advantage of employee development programs. Continuing your education can give you more tools to make you more promotable, which could mean a higher salary to help reach your retirement goals. Be sure to explore the educational opportunities available in your field of work. You may even want to change things up and check out opportunities outside of your field.

Co-Working Spaces

Thanks to co-working spaces, you can achieve a refresh of scenery without completely doing away with your job. These new and innovative workplaces emphasize a sense of community, collaboration, learning and sustainability. In fact, they’re more than just workplaces; they offer perks like gym access, food services, conference rooms and several other amenities to provide a refreshing change of scenery while you work.

The road to retirement can be a fulfilling journey and you can start a plan to help keep your finances on track until your vision for an amazing future becomes reality.

The content of this document is for general information only and is believed to be accurate and reliable as of the posting date, but may be subject to change. John Hancock does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice (unless otherwise indicated). Please consult your own independent advisor as to any investment, tax, or legal statements made here.