Author Topic: Is working part-time leaving money on the table? Does it matter?  (Read 1006 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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I just got a job working part-time for a tech startup. I'm paid $2000/month for 20 hrs a week which is much less than the $7500/month I made previously working full-time. I really enjoy the job, but can't help but think that I could make much more working a traditional full-time job. I remember the burn out I felt when I worked full-time. I constantly wished for FIRE. This job is much better and, if I can avoid burn out, then maybe that is worth a lot. Even at 20/hrs a week, it still takes a considerable amount of my time. Have you found working part-time to be worth it, or stick it out full-time and then RE? How much is a nice job worth?
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 09:08:56 AM by Lago »


  • Bristles
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Re: Is working part-time leaving money on the table? Does it matter?
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2019, 09:02:24 AM »
The entire point of the FIRE movement is to do what you want to do with the time you are given.

It is your dream job the money does not matter.

Look if you still want to earn more money you CAN do that but don't give up the part time job.


  • Bristles
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Re: Is working part-time leaving money on the table? Does it matter?
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2019, 01:40:54 PM »
How close to FI are you? My thought process is if you're above 50% FI, you can let that money compound to get you to FI and use this $24k salary dream job to coast into it.

If you're below ~50% FI... I think it's a personal choice at that point. I wouldn't mind a 12-24 month timeframe of having a beautiful job working 20 hours a week... But I'd want to get back to full time at some point to accelerate FI.  The cool part is your resume won't reveal that you are working 20 hours a week right now... I'd do a 2 year gig part time there then bounce into a full time job with that 2 more years of experience showing on your resume.

If it's truly a perfect job... I'd stay.  You will have more hours of happiness in your lifetime than you would making $90k at a job you'll feel burned out of.

Pick your poison... But making $30 an hour at 20 hours a week seems pretty great!
« Last Edit: August 05, 2019, 01:42:27 PM by teltic »


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Is working part-time leaving money on the table? Does it matter?
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2019, 02:08:38 PM »
If you get benefits you can often come out ahead working part time vs full time.  If your current job is 20 hours, is that paid per hour actually worked?  Is a full time job paid on an salary basis with expectation for working over 40 hours?

My point is if you look at total compensation (paycheck plus benefits and perks) and divide by hours actually worked, part time can definitely come out ahead on a $/hr basis.  But total compensation will of course be lower so yeah you are leaving money on the table


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Is working part-time leaving money on the table? Does it matter?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2019, 02:54:33 PM »
Personally, I don't really believe in working as hard as you can, earning and saving as much as you can in a shitty job, to get to FIRE asap. If that full time job made you feel burned out, then that's not a healthy thing. And no amount of FIRE is worth that. Health goes above everything, because, without it, your ER won't be as good. I'm not an ultra hardcore mustachian as some people. I don't necessarily want to achieve FIRE the quickest I can, but I want to be HOT. So I save and invest, so that I become a little bit HOTter each month. And it allows me to work part time and enjoy my free time already. I like that.

So, in the case you're describing, I would say, working part time is perfect for you now. If you're happier now and still able to save (albeit a slower progress) than what's wrong with that? Although some people like to pretend it's a race, it's actually not. It's great if you manage FIRE, but if you manage it in 5 shitty years, working much too hard and leaving you burned out. Then it's much better to take twice as long, if that means that you'll stay happy and healthy. And maybe in one year or later (or never) you want to work full time again. You can still switch back then. You're still working now and gaining experience.

So, my advice would be to enjoy it. And maybe one day you decide you'd like to work full time again. And maybe you like working part time this much, that you keep working part time. You'll find out. Just enjoy it for now and reevaluate in a year or so.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Is working part-time leaving money on the table? Does it matter?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2019, 08:42:54 AM »
Thanks for the replies. This forum is always so much help! When I don't think about the money, I really like the job. I don't have benefits and I'm making less per hour, but maybe that's okay... it's true what seemsright said, this is the whole point of FIRE.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Is working part-time leaving money on the table? Does it matter?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2019, 09:08:02 AM »
My partner and I both work parttime (me, 3 days/week + side hustle, he, 4 shorter days/week) and we wouldn't go back to fulltime for anything. We can easily pay our bills and save while enjoying our spare time. We won't be FI by 30, but I hope to be able to quit/slow down when I'm in my 40s.

I used to have a job where I'd have to work a huge amount of overtime a few months of the year, where I basically worked a regular fulltime job, sometimes a bit more. In my experience, if we both work this much, we spend a lot more money than we do working parttime. When we're very tired, we eat convenience food which is more expensive, I buy cans of soda at work to feel less tired, I don't prepare breakfast and lunch at home but instead buy them from the supermarket on my way to work. All in all that's a couple hundred a month extra costs. For us 30-ish hours a week is the sweet spot where we still earn quite a bit of money, but we don't spend extra money because we're so tired all the time. I have to say that I'm from a culture where parttime work is much more accepted than it seems to be in the US, so it's not considered odd that I work 3 days a week in a professional job.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Is working part-time leaving money on the table? Does it matter?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2019, 07:42:34 AM »
I wouldn't go back to full time with a gun to my head, so yeah, I find part time very worthwhile.

It really doesn't matter if you could make more money, you can always make more money, the question is how much money do you need to live your best life? I could make an enormous income if I were willing to work 16 hrs/day 7 days a week, but I would burn out within a month. Everyone has their own burnout limit. I work 2-3 days a week and many of my colleagues are working 6 days a week including evenings.

Everything is a trade off, and money is just a placeholder for time/energy trade offs.

I did the math and figured out what trade offs I'm willing to make, and it turns out, I really don't need to trade that much of my time and energy in order to make enough money to live my best life, so why would I?

Choosing to work at a level that you know is bad for your health is as idiotic as choosing to sell a body part that you need for optimal function. Sure, it will help you reach FIRE sooner, but the point of FIRE is to live your best life, and it's pretty hard to do that when you arrive there a mangled mess.

"Full time" is a completely arbitrary definition. Work in a way that makes sense for you.