I have strongly considered ordination, but there seems to be 1) very little support for monks and nuns in the west, to the point where they sometimes have to work and 2) I am very drawn to the Nyingma tradition, but monastic institutions, especially in the UK seem to be thin on the ground. So it seems like a lay-yogi is the way to go.
If you're any bit interested in Chinese Buddhism and could tolerate the way things are done here, you're young enough to enter a seminary here in Taiwan. However, if you went that route you would surrender all
your freedom to the administrators and in the end you might not be doing what you expected (such as continual practice, as they could easily stick you in the kitchen or doing something you didn't really have in mind).
Most Tibetan organizations don't have the money or means to provide anything other than maybe rice, dal and a bed. There are plenty of western folk who ordain in India or Nepal, but they face a lot of hardship and to some degree discrimination. Everyone wants to help out and sponsor a Tibetan monk, but not the fellow from the UK in robes.
I am very interested in how people who have done a 3 year retreat have got back into the job market after disappearing off the map for such a long time. Of course the field a person works in would be very important.
Eight worldly dharmas. Gain and loss are two of them.
I currently am in my early 30s, unmarried, don't own a house and have some decent savings. So I have no major ties at the moment. I think the best plan so far is to buy a house and pay off the mortgage as soon as possible. This can then be used to either rent out or allow me to buy further properties.
If you wanted to do a retreat you probably shouldn't have so many worldly ties. What if your property burns down when you're away and you get word of it? You might leave, or even if you don't it'll be on your mind.
I'd say just have a nice pile of savings and forget about what you'll do after retreat. Like it is often said, think you'll die right after the retreat, so no matter what happens afterwards.
This seems to have been quite successful for people I know that have managed to get into the situation I am aiming for, although it's taken them untilk their mid-fifties before they can 'drop-out' full time.
That's not renunciation, but being independently wealthy, by which time you'll probably have some health concern and/or a lot of worldly commitments keeping you away from Dharma practice. I know some monastics in Canada who are independently wealthy. I don't think that qualifies as renunciation no matter the robes they wear.
I know Tsoknyi Rinpoche has advised people to make as much money & save as much as they can so they can practice full time when they've got enough to last them. Taking this into account, maximising savings but cutting outgoing cash is something that I will have to look closely at too. I know there will be a few posters that have managed to 'retire' in this fashion and I'd be very grateful for their advice.
I think the better advice would be to go into retreat with the expectation you'll drop dead after the fact, so best get as much done in that time period. If you manage to live past retreat, then maybe you'll have some funds to cover the initial period outside of retreat, but that's not really important. Getting stuff done is more important than money. Imagine you spend all those years becoming independently wealthy only to get ill with cancer and die. You could have just gone and got stuff done, but instead made money.