Author Topic: Calling all downshifters!  (Read 22891 times)

smoghat

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #100 on: November 01, 2018, 07:04:20 AM »
I did it for two years. I had been teaching full time and had a part time gig overseas. Two weeks away intensive university teaching each semester Seemed easy, right? It was hell. Only in the last few months did I realize the toll it was taking on me. 75% of the work and stress for 25% of the money. I quit it this spring and am much, much happier not staring into the maw of wage slavery again.

happy

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #101 on: November 01, 2018, 02:51:29 PM »
For those who downshifted, what percentage of your FIRE 'stache did you have accumulated when you downshifted? 40%? 75%? Curious to hear some numbers.

I downshifted 23 years ago and probably had about 10%. I found working full-time just too soul sucking.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #102 on: November 05, 2018, 01:26:12 AM »
At my job we had a health check last week. There it was found that I have very high blood pressure. This is after downshifting to 80% in September. Last year is must have been a LOT higher.
This only shows I did a good thing by downshifting, but it is still not enough. I have an appointment with my GP next week. We'll see what the result of that is.

eco mom

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #103 on: November 24, 2018, 11:22:24 PM »
why you did it?
After having my first son and enjoying a luxurious 6 month maternity leave (mostly unpaid, boo), I couldn't imagine going back full time. I had a crappy commute and felt like it was time to either downshift or find a different job so that I would be able to at least not spend as much time commuting when I could be with my son. (It was max 1 hour each way, more like 30 minutes in the mornings.) So I pushed hard for half time, and eventually went up to 3 days/week because the commute, it just made sense to me to do 3 full days if I was going to bother going in on 3 days.

what your downshift looks like?
I worked M,W,Th for about 2 years until having my second son.

what do you like about it?
I liked that I got to continue to be intellectually challenged and interact with adults in a work context. Solving problems, feeling valued for my tenure at the company, etc. In total I was there 9 years. I also liked that I could do playdates with my first son and some stay at home moms, and felt kind of like I was bridging two worlds. I also got some pretty sweet benefits that I was fortunate applied to me even in my part time state. I also loved having the extra time with my kiddo, but not so much that I wanted it every day of the week, constantly. I felt like it was a pretty good balance when I only had the one kiddo. My husband is also off on Fridays so the extra time with him was great, too!

what isn't so awesome about it?
It always felt like I wasn't fully in one world or the other. I had set days of day care, and occasionally would have to ask for an additional half day or full day if they had availability because there was a meeting I couldn't miss. Or I'd miss a fun team lunch because it was on my day off. Also, SAHMs would try to schedule with me and unless they stuck with my day off, I would be the difficult one to schedule with. They would have activities like music class or something on the days I was off, so I'd barely see them, or they just wouldn't think to invite me to things and then I'd have the awkward bump into them on the bus moments.

what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
So actually, I went back to work after having my second just recently, thinking I would continue with the same 3 day/week schedule, and it was a little like my first time going back in that part of me hated the idea of not spending time bonding with my kids all the time, but I also loved the idea of not being with two small kids constantly. It turns out they didn't want me back unless I converted back to full time, so I said goodbye. I now have been enjoying even more extra time with my kiddos, bonding with my au pair, and doing a lot of cooking, some volunteering, and somehow still feeling very busy despite not working and having up to 45 hours/week of child care. I still feel like 2 young kids is a full time job even if the hours are just shifted to middle of the night wake-ups and evenings/weekends, and honestly I stick around and help or chat with my au pair a lot of the time too.

blingwrx

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #104 on: November 28, 2018, 11:32:32 PM »
why you did it?
Due to some bad luck my wife and I both were laid off a few months ago all while she's expecting our 2nd son. I received a pretty decent service package so it gave me time to think. Wife was planning to be a SAHM anyway since we'd have 2 kids soon. For the past 2 yrs I was also working as a freelancer during nights and weekends bringing in around 30k annually so we still have some income stream. The lack of insurance and benefits did make me go out and check out the job market but I didn't see anything good at the pay I was used to overall I'm quite bored of my field and I was not motivated to get a similar job in a cubicle. Then I also figured since i'm having another kid soon i should just take time off and test out the downshifting so i can be home to spend time with the family.
 
what your downshift looks like?
Currently I'm self employed working at home picking up projects from Upwork. I have 2 steady clients for whom I do development work for and they've been sending more work my way as I've made myself available during regular business hours M-F. So I expect to bring in 50-80k a yr working 20-30hrs a week depending on how many hours I put in. This is a far cry from the 180k we were bringing in when my wife and I were both employed FT and certainly will slow down my full FIRE plan, but I guess there are benefits too as we're saving on commuting, child care expenses, a lot of tax breaks for lower income family of 4 and getting to spend a lot of time with the little ones and overall it's less stress.

what isn't so awesome about it?
The fact that my hours while less are sporadic so it's tough to make day plans with the family, the clients can call upon me any time during regular business hours and I can only bill them for the time i'm doing work. Also no benefits. With a FT job you get Holidays, vacation days, 401k matching, health, dental and you get paid for downtime. I have two big clients and when it gets busy I feel like i'm working two FT jobs without the benefits and at half the pay. There's definitely busy and slow times but it's hard to predict and plan vacations around so i usually end up working a bit on vacation as I don't want to lose out on the projects. The stress is definitely better working for myself and less hours, I think once i figure out how to manage my time better and the clients expectations and maybe increase my hourly rates as i get more established things will get easier.

Health insurance is a big expense and I do want to get the maximum ACA subsidies so while I want to make more so i can put more into investments so I can FIRE sooner I also have to be mindful of not making too much or I'll end up losing out on ACA subsidies. The good thing is I can contribute a lot to my individual 401k and deduct a lot of business expenses to lower my MAGI as much as possible when I do make more.

what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
I'm 50% of the way to my FI # so i figured I will continue with the freelancing part time and to cover my expenses and let my investments coast to FIRE in 7-10yrs. I may even continue doing a little freelancing after reaching FI so I'd still feel like I was productive and definitely helps to cushion the account and allowing for more splurging on vacations and such.



Linda_Norway

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #105 on: December 03, 2018, 05:42:05 AM »
Heard at work today:

Other co-worker had tried to call me last Friday, but I wasn't there.

Me to 2 co-workers: I am not here on Fridays anymore.
Co-worker 1 to me: Oh, you are working 80% now?
Me: Yes.
Co-worker 2: Linda is so rich that she doesn't need to work fulltime.
Me thinking: Is he talking about the other Linda in our department, the one who tried to call me on Friday? No, he is looking at me, he is probably talking about me...
Co-worker 2: <Laughing out loud at me taking so much time to catch his joke>
Me: Um, yes, I save so much of my income that I can afford to work a bit less. And I did it for my health, to reduce stress.

I didn't mention to them that I intend to FIRE and that even my FIRE plans can afford a 20% reduction in brutto income.
I think they will get a bit of a shock next year if I would tell them.

Life in Balance

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #106 on: December 03, 2018, 08:29:21 AM »
How lovely to have Fridays off!  And to reap the benefits of your hard work.  You're inspiring me to go part-time for my health.

onlykelsey

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #107 on: December 03, 2018, 09:20:39 AM »
Heard at work today:

Other co-worker had tried to call me last Friday, but I wasn't there.

Me to 2 co-workers: I am not here on Fridays anymore.
Co-worker 1 to me: Oh, you are working 80% now?
Me: Yes.
Co-worker 2: Linda is so rich that she doesn't need to work fulltime.
Me thinking: Is he talking about the other Linda in our department, the one who tried to call me on Friday? No, he is looking at me, he is probably talking about me...
Co-worker 2: <Laughing out loud at me taking so much time to catch his joke>
Me: Um, yes, I save so much of my income that I can afford to work a bit less. And I did it for my health, to reduce stress.

I didn't mention to them that I intend to FIRE and that even my FIRE plans can afford a 20% reduction in brutto income.
I think they will get a bit of a shock next year if I would tell them.
I have never lived in Norway, but I've lived in Denmark and Sweden, and this sounds a little bit like a Janteloven issue to me (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante for the uninitiated)

Linda_Norway

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #108 on: December 04, 2018, 01:08:59 AM »
Heard at work today:

Other co-worker had tried to call me last Friday, but I wasn't there.

Me to 2 co-workers: I am not here on Fridays anymore.
Co-worker 1 to me: Oh, you are working 80% now?
Me: Yes.
Co-worker 2: Linda is so rich that she doesn't need to work fulltime.
Me thinking: Is he talking about the other Linda in our department, the one who tried to call me on Friday? No, he is looking at me, he is probably talking about me...
Co-worker 2: <Laughing out loud at me taking so much time to catch his joke>
Me: Um, yes, I save so much of my income that I can afford to work a bit less. And I did it for my health, to reduce stress.

I didn't mention to them that I intend to FIRE and that even my FIRE plans can afford a 20% reduction in brutto income.
I think they will get a bit of a shock next year if I would tell them.
I have never lived in Norway, but I've lived in Denmark and Sweden, and this sounds a little bit like a Janteloven issue to me (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante for the uninitiated)

Could be... That is why I think I'd better work out some cover story when we really are going to FIRE next year. Probably the consultancy story.

enFuego

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #109 on: December 04, 2018, 06:40:01 PM »
Thanks to all who shared their stories here!  I appreciate the different perspectives and experiences.

I find it hard to imagine myself downshifting but it is a good thought exercise for me to consider different ways of structuring my path to FIRE.  My company currently doesn't support reduced hours except for a handful of very senior people who have been then for decades so I don't see it happening in place at this time.  An alternative would be consulting gigs with intermittent time off although not sure I want to deal with what goes along with that.  I do feel like the once kids are fully launched that we will be able to get to our fire number within a couple years and I feel right now that I'd rather put in a couple years full time than many years part time.  Eat my vegetables, so to speak, then never have to earn a dime again - just focus on volunteering, traveling, and hobbies.  Current thinking is that's a better fit for me.  DW however is probably more likely to want to work a couple days a week for a long time.  As I said, some food for thought as we figure out our path.  Thanks again!

Kakanui

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #110 on: December 06, 2018, 08:47:20 PM »
An update

Iíve survive my 1 year volunteering and am heading back to home in a couple of weeks to resume my downsized/ semi-fired lifestyle. Iíve enjoyed my year out here but still struggle a bit with the oh man, you mean Iíve got to work Friday too? However, since my family are back home the extra days at work have kept me occupied so not minded it from that PoV but is a pain having to spend Saturday doing household chores and looking for groceries (not always easy out here) and then only having Sunday as a proper chill out day/weekend.

I have a part time gig lined up when I get home, after taking 4-5 weeks off over summer: 3x6 hr days per week. Thatíll do me.

What will I do on my return?
Looking forward to my long weekends back, reconnecting with family and friends and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegies- which are in very short supply out where I am!  Also a bit of maintenance on my rentals to catch up on over summer and maybe road trip with my father too.

Also, Iíll be downsizing into one of my rentals (a nice small home of about 80m2 or approx 800sqft I guess) so a 4-5 min walk to work and hopefully a have a reno project or two to do on that.

Kakanui


Linda_Norway

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #111 on: December 07, 2018, 04:31:23 AM »
An update

Iíve survive my 1 year volunteering and am heading back to home in a couple of weeks to resume my downsized/ semi-fired lifestyle. Iíve enjoyed my year out here but still struggle a bit with the oh man, you mean Iíve got to work Friday too? However, since my family are back home the extra days at work have kept me occupied so not minded it from that PoV but is a pain having to spend Saturday doing household chores and looking for groceries (not always easy out here) and then only having Sunday as a proper chill out day/weekend.

I have a part time gig lined up when I get home, after taking 4-5 weeks off over summer: 3x6 hr days per week. Thatíll do me.

What will I do on my return?
Looking forward to my long weekends back, reconnecting with family and friends and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegies- which are in very short supply out where I am!  Also a bit of maintenance on my rentals to catch up on over summer and maybe road trip with my father too.

Also, Iíll be downsizing into one of my rentals (a nice small home of about 80m2 or approx 800sqft I guess) so a 4-5 min walk to work and hopefully a have a reno project or two to do on that.

Kakanui

Working 3 shorter days a week sounds like a sweet deal.

As you have your rentals "working" for you, there is no need to work full time beside that.