Author Topic: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?  (Read 1366 times)

oraclesimo

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Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« on: July 16, 2017, 06:42:45 PM »
Has anyone written about getting part-way to fire and then slowing up, covering expenses for a number of years, and waiting for your investments to compound enough to FIRE?

Here are three factors my wife and I are considering when thinking about leaving our high paying, high stress jobs in an expensive city:

1. Many people have said they continue to make money post-FIRE, and we think that will be the case for us in some form (likely enough to cover expenses with far less stress than we have now).

2. Our invested money (ours is mostly in VTSAX in both retirement and non retirement accounts)(although not close to enough to FIRE) grows in the background over time, whether we continue to contribute to it or not.

3. We have drastically shifted our spending habits over the last few years, so we no longer need a high income to live off. Part time work would sustain our spending.

I wonder if anyone else has decided to break away from high stress high-paying jobs in order to work part-time to cover expenses? This could give us the space to consider work that’s more sustainable and enjoyable over a longer period of time (lessening the need to hurry up and FIRE).

Our reason for considering slowing down is that we aim to start a family within the next year, and we’d like to enter parenthood with a lower stress lifestyle. Reaching FIRE before starting a family, like Mr. Money did, isn’t possible for us bc we got started in our 30s. Still, it seems like this could apply to a lot of people, whether they are looking to travel, change the field they are working in, etc…

Would love to know if anyone has thoughts or has seen blog or forum posts about anything like this.

Thank you!
« Last Edit: July 16, 2017, 06:48:18 PM by oraclesimo »

Tdub

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2017, 07:48:49 PM »
I have been thinking of the same plan for mostly the same reasons. I would target a part time job that offers good health benefits, which will be especially helpful if you plan to have children.

For my comfort level, I'd like to be at ultra bare-bones FI before switching to part time work, and then hitting my target FI number by letting the stash sit for 5 or so years while living off of part time wages. The reason for this is because I never want to feel tied to a job that I don't like anymore.

Would be interesting to hear from people who have done this.

birdiegirl

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2017, 09:38:43 PM »
Also interested to hear from others who have done this.  DH & I have a goal for both of us to go PT.  No kids for us but really want to spend more time on work and activities that are meaningful to us.  Healthcare is the biggest concern though...as I have several ongoing conditions that would be quite expensive without insurance. 

aGracefulStomp

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2017, 09:55:16 PM »
I know a lot of people are doing it, but yet to hear someone's first hand experience of what that's like. Great post - very interested in what people have to say.

I'm planning on reaching very bare bones FI, and then going part-time to a lower stress job and letting the compound do its magic.


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Freddie

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2017, 10:09:22 PM »
I agree - great thread.  I am looking forward to replies.

limeandpepper

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2017, 10:36:50 PM »
I am doing this, sort of accidentally. A few years ago, after quitting my job to travel for several months, I moved interstate to a city where jobs are not as plentiful. I managed to get a part-time job and as it turns out, I don't need much to live on so I can still save even with part-time earnings. I'm about to quit my job to travel again soon, and once more I'll be moving interstate at the end of trip, but this time it'll be back to the city where I started, where there should be more job opportunities. Once I'm there, I will still consider full-time jobs, but I'm really hoping for a nice and easy part-time job. :)  I'm already doing mini-retirements anyway so it doesn't bother me that a part-time job will take longer to reach full retirement.

Alps

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2017, 05:02:14 AM »
We've both been working 80% since our first kid was born some years ago. We were earning very little for a while and daycare is super expensive, but last year we've finally started saving and investing. Having even just the two days at home makes a big difference for the weekends. During the week we are busy with cleaning, gardening or running errands, so it mostly doesn't feel like time off. But this means that on weekends we just do the work around the house that can't be done with kids underfoot, and that's it. Which is obviously great.

I would like to be done with the savings part by 40, which is in six years. From 40 to 50 we will let the stache sit and grow, reducing the working hours to just cover our living expenses, and then completely retire at 50. Actually, we will likely earn more than necessary in that period. We would be fine with just earning 40% (so, half of what we earn now), but this is probably too low to keep interesting, high-level jobs. 50-60% per person is more realistic.

We are not in a hurry to retire because a) we value our luxuries (living situation and trips, mostly) and b) what I would want to do after full retirement does not mesh well with providing a stable environment for kids. My spouse is not in a big hurry anyway.

After 40 we could of course easily continue working at 80%, or even increase to 100% as the kids are older. This would have a big impact on our savings rate and time-to-retirement. However, I can barely wait until scaling back as it is! Waiting until 40 is actually kind of a worst-case scenario for me. I have a set savings number (not percentage!) in mind, and my goal is to surpass it quite early (in 2-3 years) and once it does, I will immediately scale back work. This is actually not for the kids' sake (even now one of us is always home in the afternoon), but I want to have some completely free time for myself during the day, not just in the evenings when I'm tired anyway. Can't wait!

nereo

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2017, 05:48:19 AM »
This is pretty much our plan, though we are still a year or two from implementing the part time part.

We both enjoy our careers (academia/research) and want to remain in them for decade(s) to come, but we do not want the 50+ hours/week that are common in our field. We'd like to spend a lot more time with our families, both with our aging parents and (hopefully) our own children as we start our own family.  We've also decided against giving up most or all of our 30s working full time in a push to reach ER as quickly as possible. Ironically, forced state work furloughs and budget cuts have taught us that a '20% cut in pay also equals a 50% increase in your weekend!'.

Through sensible approaches to our finances we've amassed just over 1/3 of our FI number, and our annual expenses are modest and relatively easy to hit. Our careers provide a lot of scheduling flexibility; we can take entire semesters and summers off, and alternate which one of us is working. Conservatively, each of us can work one full-time semester, one part-time semester and have the summers off and we'll not only cover expenses, but retain benefits and be able to add slowly to our retirement accounts. On an annual basis that would amount to working half time, with about 6 weeks of vacation spent together and one of us always more available working part time during the school year. It also gives us a nice safety line - should circumstances change we'll be able to scale up the amount of time we work.

Unlike high-paying jobs where there's a compelling reason to charge as hard as you can to reach your FI number as quickly as possible (and are in greatest danger of OMY syndrome), our careers have much more modest incomes. The markets will dictate when we've become fully FI, but the median scenario will be sometime in 12-15 years. Working full time would only reduce that to 7-8 years. In our circumsances, we'd rather take the longer path and have more time to spend with each our and our families.  YMMV.
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Ocinfo

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2017, 07:09:41 AM »
This was recently discussed in a few threads, which might be worth searching for. I plan on doing this in 3-5 years but will be a bit different than most as my part-time income will still be more than double my expenses. I might already be FI at that time but might not based on market returns.

Basically, you can roughly expect your investments to double every 10 years so a good number of folks on here plan to hit 50% of their FI number then basically do part-time/fun jobs for 8-10 years while their money grows. The ability to do this depends a lot on spending level and age.


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LifeHappens

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2017, 07:25:40 AM »
This is the subject of my current journal. I'm a consultant and was working long term for two organizations. At the end of June I dropped down to working on just the larger contract and hope to scale my working hours down to 24 hours most weeks, with the occasional full time push. My spouse is older than me and we plan to begin drawing his SS benefits later this year. Between my income, his income (he still works part time), and SS, we will have more than enough to cover our needs and wants and still save a bit.

My bigger issue, which is mostly what I'm journaling about, is the psychological transition between working long hours and being a career-oriented person to having an abundance of free time. I'm one of those people who honestly doesn't know how I'm going to use my time (in a healthy, financially sustainable way) in the absence of full-time work.

nereo

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2017, 08:14:38 AM »
This is the subject of my current journal.
...
My bigger issue, which is mostly what I'm journaling about, is the psychological transition between working long hours and being a career-oriented person to having an abundance of free time.
Well I'm now following your journal :-)
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onewayfamily

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2017, 08:28:02 AM »
...My bigger issue, which is mostly what I'm journaling about, is the psychological transition between working long hours and being a career-oriented person to having an abundance of free time...

It's definitely a big change - it took us a good few months to deal with the existential-crisis-type feelings given how much free time we had the first few months after quitting our jobs. Slowly you find hobbies, interests, new pursuits etc. to fill the time and fill the mental void.
We FIRE'd at age 28 (me) and 29 (Mrs. OneWayFamily) and are now trying to travel to every country on Earth - it takes longer with 2 toddlers!

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SpareChange

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2017, 09:49:52 AM »
This is what I'm planning atm. My career is shift based, and it's very easy to control hours. I think I'll stay FT until I hit about 300k, which should happen in 2019. Then I'll go down to 16 hours. It's much more important to me to not work FT than to retire per se. I still also have questions about how finances will work out for my aging parents, so I'd like to keep my skill set fresh. 16 hours will cover all my expenses and then some, and I can always add more shifts here and there. I'd have the option of keeping benefits or taking a 16% raise as well.

MoonLiteNite

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2017, 10:08:38 AM »
My current plan is to hit the bare bones for FI, then quit my job, then come right back as a contractor for 5 years (12 months on, 3 months off is how contractors work)
basically will allow me to get my ladder going, while still working, and i would feel alot more free to quit or straight up say NO when they want 12 hour days worked for 13 days in a row and such.

Doing this would also help avoid the "just one more year" thing that i see people talk about. Because the "just 1 more year" may actually be needed; but in my case, it would be with alot less stress and more freedom. I could just finish up that "one more year" working at mcdonalds.


omachi

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2017, 10:11:57 AM »
Not nearly as drastic as suggested, but I've dropped back to 80% time, so we have about 90% our previous income as DW is still working full time and our salaries are similar. Probably a little more since the highest taxed income is the part lost. So far it has had very little impact on our finances, we cut saving towards spending in a couple categories for the time being. It has been amazing in terms of my stress level. I have a full day that I'm working hard to protect as my time instead of spending it working around the house. That's been a challenge itself, but I'm recovering from a period of way too much stress nicely now.

MrsWolfeRN

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2017, 10:17:34 AM »
I have a similar plan. My employer allows frequent FTE changes with prorated pay/ benefits, so my goal is to get to about 500k in investments and then cut down to about 24 hours per week (20 is the lowest I can go and keep health insurance). This will allow me to spend more time with my kids while they are still little and also avoids the big question of health insurance during FIRE. Also I feel like I will get burned out before I reach my number if I just try for a big push.

SpareChange

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2017, 10:45:08 AM »
Also I feel like I will get burned out before I reach my number if I just try for a big push.

This is a concern for me as well. I hate working 5+ days per week, but I don't really dislike what I do. I think once it dwindles down to near hobby status, I'll be fine with it.

des999

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #17 on: July 17, 2017, 12:00:15 PM »
pretty much the same as everyone else, except I'm trying to figure out if my company will offer me part time (Mega Corp in IT), and if so can I keep my health insurance.

I think health insurance is going to be our biggest challenge as we have a son with a pre-existing.  But, over all my stress levels at work have gone down considerably just knowing that I could go part time, or take less pay at any point and it would not affect us much.

I may even decide to stay full time but take a gap year or a couple mini-retirements along the way to FIRE

oraclesimo

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #18 on: July 17, 2017, 05:49:31 PM »
Thanks all for the thoughtful replies. I also found that Mad Fientist's latest podcast featuring "The Happy Philosopher" touched on some of these sentiments.

MaaS

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Re: Retiring through PART TIME work - POSSIBLE?
« Reply #19 on: July 17, 2017, 09:51:36 PM »
This is basically my plan.

I'm currently self-employed as a consultant though, so I suppose it's a bit different for me: gradually take less projects/work on rather than a big quit and change.