Going Back to School as a Retirement Plan

by Mr. Cheap

I’ve been considering a bit of a funny idea for what to do with my retirement: go get a PhD.

Back when I did my Masters, I really enjoyed the day-to-day of being a grad student. Investigating an incredibly detailed area of study and getting to the point where only a handful of people in the world could knowledgeably discuss the issues I was investigating was definitely a fun, cool way to spend a couple of years.

One area I didn’t like was having the profs treat us with contempt. Graduate students are like teenagers in a family, you want to be taken seriously, but your supervisor (parent) occasionally makes a comment that makes it QUITE clear they don’t.

One big benefit to grad school is that here in Canada you get enough funding to cover tuition and a modest lifestyle (some of my friends were able to afford to run cars while doing grad work). Currently grad funding would more then cover the “spread” between my passive income and my expenses (in fact I think I quite easily live off of my grad funding, and just let my passive investments compound for the 5-7 years I’d be working on my PhD).

The other considerations are if my desired lifestyle suddenly spiked during my studies I might be bummed out living like a starving student (I think this is unlikely).

Its definitely something to consider (finding a “fun” job, even if it doesn’t pay very well to start my “retirement”). This would help me test to make sure I can live off of what I’ve set aside. Additionally, it’d build up a buffer to deal with any unexpected emergencies (dividend cuts, rampant inflation or some such things).

One of the other big benefits during an “early retirement” is if you discover you’re falling short of what you need to live the life you want, you can always go back to work! (much harder at 70!).

Other “retirement jobs” I’m considering are some sort of technical liason with an overseas company (maybe China?), publishing (starting or writing for a magazine or self-publishing some books like John T. Reed), property management (develop my real estate skills on someone elses dime) and working for a non-profit (high pay and low stress, what’s not to love?).

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