Author Topic: Calling all downshifters!  (Read 7908 times)

druth

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #50 on: November 18, 2017, 12:37:59 PM »
  Why work more when you can not work more?

Exactly! This was my thought many years ago!

In my case now: fulltime work makes more money, which makes total FIRE come sooner. As I can`t wait to FIRE, I want to achieve it as fast as possible. Even thought I would benefit a lot from downsizing. But maybe, if we reach a certain amount of money too early, so that we cannot start taking out the 4%, we might work part time for a year.

In my case I'm making more hourly from my freelance work than my full time job.  I figure total hours worked in my lifetime will be lower this way.

FIRE Artist

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #51 on: November 22, 2017, 10:22:33 AM »
I downshifted by replacing a high stress, long hour, high paying private sector job for a low stress, no overtime but lower paying public sector job.  My contract is for 37 hr work week, and I give no more than that, and after being on call 24 x 7 as a front line manager in the international oil patch, it still feels like I am semi- retired 5 years into it. 

I did this for mental health and work life balance, but I only felt able to do this because I was already FI.  My stash is large enough to FIRE by many MMMers standard, but I want a larger cushion/more fun money so I will continue to work a few years more at a job I don't hate.  I am no longer aggressively saving, rather letting my stash increase in value until it converges with my annual spending, I am also building more equity in my house too.  My take home pay (after mandatory pension contributions) is currently around where I want to keep my annual spending, and my FIRE stash is already 82% funded for that so it is just a matter of how the markets play out - if the valuation stays stagnant, it will take a maximum of 6 years to get where I want, just through pension contributions and dividend payments.  I expect to be FIRE in half that time though as I am not a pessimist. 

Step37

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #52 on: December 01, 2017, 11:42:34 PM »
- why you did it?
Before my current position, I was at a company that was growing very quickly. For the last three to four years of it, almost all I did was work - long days, weekend days (to ďcatch up,Ē which obviously never happened). The culture got toxic and I was burnt out; the company getting sold was the end of the line for me, as I had no loyalty to the new owners. I agreed to go to work for a friend at his one-man operation; he wanted to grow the business, but needed someone to do the books and admin. I agreed, on the condition that I could buy in if I thought it made sense after getting the books in order (seeing the shareholders of the company I left get 80x their investment after eight years may have influenced my desire to want a piece of ownership;).

Being burnt out, I wanted more time off, so I said Iíd only do four days per week. It was enough for the first few years (with some f/t weeks thrown in at busy times), but 2017 got very busy and I was back to f/t and NEVER caught up. I didnít want to work this much and I have no need to work this much.

- what your downshift looks like?
Partway through this year, I hired someone to take over the day-to-day aspects of the business and I immediately got back to four days per week. She is very solid in the position now, and I am CAUGHT UP (an amazing feeling that I never thought Iíd feel again) and ready to reduce down to my goal of half time (two office days and an hour or two from home on the other days). This starts next week. I will have to increase to f/t to cover off holidays, but thatís only a few weeks per year.

- what do you like about it?
I know Iím going to love driving less (itís a 30 minute commute each way, and winter always brings frustrating traffic delays). I will enjoy having more free time to read, do house projects, cook, visit friends/family... whatever I want, really. I have badly wanted this for a long time and I feel a deep sense of satisfaction that itís finally happening.

- what isn't so awesome about it?
Iím a bit worried that I will feel out of the loop, but Iím sure I will get over it!

- what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
Assuming this goes well, I think I would be quite happy to be 20-50% time for the next five years at least. I would not want to be a completely uninvolved shareholder, so unless the company gets sold or one of my partners wants to purchase my shares, I will be there in a financial oversight capacity.

The retirement stash is enough now for barebones RE, so working p/t will cover all regular expenses as it grows. My husband is still working for a year or two. The company is also paying dividends which, if it continues to grow as it has, could more than fund our modest lifestyle. Given this, itís possible that we have oversaved, but nothing is guaranteed.

Iíve been wanting to get more involved in my community league and saw that the Treasurer position is open. I emailed about it and I seem to have gotten the (volunteer!) job, so that will take up some of my new free time. Itís a good match for my skill set and Iíll be able to meet some new people who live nearby (not easy to do when one has no children).
"Not wanting something is as good as possessing it." ~Donald Horban

Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #53 on: December 02, 2017, 03:36:51 PM »
Just turned 48, 1 kid aged six. Dual income family. Downshifted from suits, planes, meeting Central Bank Governors etc etc blah blah to copywriter and editor 24 hours a week, using the sole trader model. Initially FIREd completely at 45, then gradually built up my own business in the last 2 years. Have sold 24 pieces of my own writing this year (journalism, poetry and short stories) and have two books ready to pitch to editors in the new year.

Why did you do it?

I no longer recognised the person I thought I was. I did not know the person I'd become: earning $250,000 per year and flying around US Canada and Europe doing something I hated with a bunch of emotionally limited egomaniacs. I did two literature degrees on scholarships and was a published novelist, reviewer and writer of poems. The day job had seriously started to get in the way of my home life, my ambitions and interests. Having supported my wife through an MSc and PhD, it was time to change once she'd started earning.

What do I like?

No suits, no offices, no politics. No people making assumptions about who I am and what I like based on where I work and how I (had to) dress. Time to write my own stuff, dress how I want, exercise and above all look after my boy. I went back to London -- where I worked for 10 years -- last year and everyone who was still on the treadmill looked 10 yrs older than me.

What don't I like?

Less cash. But income has grown now to the point where we are able to enjoy a few luxuries and I am writing this from a spendypants hotel at a very well known ski resort.

Plans

Carry on for as long as possible. Currently zero interest in retiring because I like my work and only work 25 hrs a week. Am going to post my 2-years-in update in the forum soon (I only post once every six months or so) so that will tell you more... FWIW still adding cash to the stash to the tune of approx. C$26,000 per year. Stash is circa C$1 mil liquid and growing at an aggregate 6.8% per year over the last 2 years as well. But Canada is not a cheap place to be, especially not the left coast!

BA

happy

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #54 on: December 02, 2017, 10:32:59 PM »
Sounds like a great plan BA.
When I downshifted 2 decades ago, I let go of the "opportunity" to fly around the world presenting at conferences as a world expert, blah , blah, blah. Its pretty well heresy to say that in my profession, but I hated all the drama of flying, disliked staying in prestigious hotel rooms, and being away from home. I have the ability to do it, but it didn't increase my pay rate per hour ( probably decreased if you counted all the extra time spent travelling), and I really wasn't after the honour and the glory just for the sake of it, with, as you said so aptly, a bunch of "emotionally limited egomaniacs".

Journalling at Happy Aussie Downshifter

smoghat

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #55 on: December 03, 2017, 07:05:19 AM »
Why you did it?

I've been a successful academic but I wound up with a windfall from a family real estate property. Students today are not motivated much, donít do the readings, and whine about not getting As. Since I taught in an Ivy, I knew there wasnít anywhere better to go. The thrill was gone. Plus I wanted to go into a related creative field so this gave me time to pursue that. My position had been non tenure track and I had no interest in another job search or moving again.

Add to this my health was going in the crapper.

What your downshift looks like?

I teach two weeks out of ever semester in a school overseas that doesnít pay much, about $9k a semester after expenses (which isnít bad given the time invested) but against which I can deduct a ton of expenses, books, creative supplies, even the last round of car payments; plus I wind up going to do other things overseas when I get there.

I have been there for over a decade (I used to moonlight there and helped found the program) so I have lots of friends I generally enjoy seeing.

What isn't so awesome about it?

Teaching isnít just what you do in the classroom; it involves lots of prep time. I avoid most, but not all, of the mindless administrivia. The rate is a fraction of what I used to get since I would be paid for 4 full time courses when I was full time and that would have been about $25k a course by now.

I am cheap and donít like to travel or stay in hotels plus the city itself is ho hum so when I go there I typically teach the whole first day; that is hell on two hours of airplane sleep.

The administration are ludicrously stupid, McKinsey Consultant trainee types and enjoy throwing roadblocks into the path of foreign faculty seeking to get paid.

I love deductions. I hate doing taxes. Then again, last year I had zero income taxes, so no bad.

What are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?

Comrade Trump and his minions are screwing me over every way he can. We live in a state with high local taxes. I donít mind them since my kids are learning to write better papers than graduate students in the Ivies can today (nobody seems to remember what a thesis is). Thatís going to cost me and we predicated my retirement on Obamacare being around. Thanks to the Republicans, insurance is going from $1200 a month with a $4500 In network deductable to $1700 with a $6000 deductable (roughly, Iím in my iPad so could be off marginally). Blue Cross blames Trumpcare and no way am I giving money to Oscar, which is run by Jaredís family, even if it is cheaper (and I hate HMOs so no Amerihealth). I am going to talk to a local college about teaching a course a term to get on their medical insurance. That will mean four a year which is full time. Somehow Iím hoping that wonít be too onerous.

NinetyFour

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #56 on: December 03, 2017, 07:10:21 AM »
Hi smoghat--sorry for the hijack, but I'm wondering how you got into the teaching overseas gig.  I am also in higher ed and am about to retire, and would love to get into a gig like yours.  Please PM me if you'd rather not offer up the details here.  By the way, I totally hear you about students not being motivated these days.  :(  Thanks!
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Bolshevik Artizan

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #57 on: December 03, 2017, 08:56:48 AM »
Sounds like a great plan BA.
When I downshifted 2 decades ago, I let go of the "opportunity" to fly around the world presenting at conferences as a world expert, blah , blah, blah. Its pretty well heresy to say that in my profession, but I hated all the drama of flying, disliked staying in prestigious hotel rooms, and being away from home. I have the ability to do it, but it didn't increase my pay rate per hour ( probably decreased if you counted all the extra time spent travelling), and I really wasn't after the honour and the glory just for the sake of it, with, as you said so aptly, a bunch of "emotionally limited egomaniacs".

Thanks Happy, that's good to hear.  In my community there's a former KPMG dude who was forcibly retired at 45 then set up his own accountancy firm in rural BC which is now thriving the way he wants it to. Like hearing it from you, having him tell me I'd done the right thing and that time with my child was worth any amount of money and alleged "prestige" was reassuring to me. And the egomania thing is stunning... do these people think they are the Dalai Lama, rather than a banker or whatever who's made a few bucks?

smoghat

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #58 on: December 03, 2017, 09:31:46 PM »
Hi smoghat--sorry for the hijack, but I'm wondering how you got into the teaching overseas gig.  I am also in higher ed and am about to retire, and would love to get into a gig like yours.  Please PM me if you'd rather not offer up the details here.  By the way, I totally hear you about students not being motivated these days.  :(  Thanks!

PMíd.

NinetyFour

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #59 on: December 04, 2017, 05:16:56 AM »
Thanks!
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2Birds1Stone

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #60 on: December 05, 2017, 06:31:45 AM »
I've "downshifted in place", unintentionally.

My boss got fired on my 3rd day in this job, then a few weeks later the one who did the firing quit.

I've only been going into the office 1-2 days a week. Working from home while the weather is nice. I work enough to meet the requirements but am enjoying this temporary arrangement before I either get fired or motivated back to production.

One month of downshifting in place complete. I would say I "work" about 30-40 hours a week right now, on my own time, primarily from home.

Still haven't replaced my manager, so we will ride things out for a while longer =P
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ACyclist

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #61 on: December 05, 2017, 10:20:49 AM »
This is our plan for 2021, or 2022.  We will shift to 9 months of work and 3 months off.  I already have three months off.  Sometimes, you have to take the opportunity as it comes available.  A 9 month job opened up a couple of years ago.  If I didn't take it, the shadow only knows when another partial schedule job would open up again. 

rab

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #62 on: December 05, 2017, 10:32:55 AM »
PTF.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #63 on: January 27, 2018, 08:58:43 AM »
So I am about 7 months into my downshift [working Mon -Tues - Wed 8hrs/day]. In general I love it. My days are short enough that I don't hate being at work and the weeks are short enough they are over before I start wondering "is it the weekend yet?" I use Thurs and Fri to relax and get all my chores done plus ride my mountain bike. That way when the real weekend comes I can hang out with my GF and not have to do anything else. I definitely feel happier and more relaxed than working full time.

If I was going to point out one thing that was maybe less awesome than I thought it would be it's that I have totally become accustomed to the new schedule so it doesn't feel amazing or special to me any longer.

If I could do one realistic change that would make my downshift better I'd work 4 days a week in the winter and 2 days a week in the summer to average out to 3 days a week. With our rain and cooler temps I don't need more than a 3 day weekend in the winter to do all the outdoor sports I want. OTOH in summer I'd be stoked to have 5 days off every week to adventure. I don't think I could swing this schedule, but if I could it would be rad.

So ya all in all downshifting is great. It doesn't hurt that the market has been on a tear and my accounts are growing like gangbusters even though my additions have been modest.

« Last Edit: January 30, 2018, 08:33:09 AM by Retire-Canada »

kork

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #64 on: January 27, 2018, 08:32:32 PM »
My situation is different and I struggle if it's a downshift or not...  But I often describe myself as feeling like I only really work 2 days of the week so here goes...

I've worked from home 3 days a week for the past 6 years with two different companies. Two days of the week I put in 8 hour days at the office. The remainder of the time I work remotely and it's flexible. I don't need to be at my desk 9-5 and I don't punch a clock for productivity. I am "on call" much of the time, but for the last year with my new company, It's not something that occurs often (or ever really).

I don't look forward to the weekend the way that most do because, well, I can do lots of the same stuff on the weekdays. I'm NOT working for the weekend!

Why you did it?
I absolutely hated being in the office Monday to Friday, 9-5... Watching the clock and literally going insane thinking "there's 6 more hours to go in this place." It's not the office itself, it's the requirement to be there for such a long period of time for so many days in a row.

What your downshift looks like?
I spend two days of the week at the office,  the remaining days I balance between working, getting the kids off to school, picking them up, going to the gym, getting groceries, running errands, doctors appts, cutting the grass, blowing the snow, some occasional retro gaming, etc.

I will admit that my productivity isn't related to clicking on a keyboard though. I tend to think about my work and solving problems when cutting the grass or working out. In effect, it's actually better for my job than sitting stationary in an office I feel trapped in.

What do you like about it?
Full salary and bebefits is great and the fact I can control my own scenery is amazing. I can sit with my laptop outside, sit in my recliner, have a movie playing, etc.

What isn't so awesome about it?
Isolation. I need to get out of the house nearly daily for social interaction.  But the kids get home from school mid afternoon and can add enough conversation that's required for the whole day.

What are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing while I can.  Much of my role is ensuring smooth operation and things moving forward.  With a good team, I can do just that. Get the ball moving and watch it roll!

If/when this opportunity dries out (some early signs it might) I will look for another job. But it won't be in the office 9-5, Monday to Friday unless I choose for it to be. I think I may look for some new opportunities. If we earn enough to "maintain" we're absolutely set to FIRE in 5-10 years with well over a $1million stache.

Vegasgirl

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #65 on: January 30, 2018, 08:28:37 AM »
RC - Thanks for the update !  I downshifted to 4 days per week last fall and am still working the schedule through mid-February.  We are going on vacation in Feb and I've pretty much decided that when I return on March 1 - I'm only going to work three days per week.  My FIRE is planned for Dec 1st this year and I've got leave to burn.  I've already informed my boss about using my leave up as well as a couple of my closest co-workers.  My goal here is to actually get started with my intended post-FIRE routine a little ahead of time.  Looking forward to a little less commuting and a little more sleep and outdoor activity once spring hits !!!

Retire-Canada

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #66 on: January 30, 2018, 08:35:24 AM »
RC - Thanks for the update !  I downshifted to 4 days per week last fall and am still working the schedule through mid-February.  We are going on vacation in Feb and I've pretty much decided that when I return on March 1 - I'm only going to work three days per week.  My FIRE is planned for Dec 1st this year and I've got leave to burn.  I've already informed my boss about using my leave up as well as a couple of my closest co-workers.  My goal here is to actually get started with my intended post-FIRE routine a little ahead of time.  Looking forward to a little less commuting and a little more sleep and outdoor activity once spring hits !!!

That sounds great. I think the switch from working FT to retired can be quite a shock. Being able to ease into it over months if not years is a nice feature of downshifting. Congrats on your up coming FIRE. :)

Malkynn

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #67 on: January 31, 2018, 06:25:30 AM »
Iím 35 and I downshifted after only 3 years of work and while still in a few hundred thousand in debt.

- why you did it?
My job was taking too much of a physical toll, 30ish hours a week is still a bit too much given my pre-existing injuries and health issues.
The job I downshifted to is fewer hours, but much more prestigious in certain ways. Working where I do gives me automatic professional clout, which is great for side projects. Plus itís simply infinitely more pleasant to go to work every day.

- what your downshift looks like?
I work 3 long days per week, Iíve recently had to add some shifts, but not by choice and it wonít be long term, but I have to meet demand until we can hire someone else to take the load. Thatís down from 4-6 long days including some 14 hour days and some Saturdays.

- what do you like about it?
Pretty much everything. The fact that itís a much better work environment is huge, but itís also amazing being more rested, in less pain, being able to prioritize my home life and marriage, and having time for other meaningful professional projects.

- what isn't so awesome about it?
Slower debt repayment. However, weíre also spending less because itís so much easier to be strict about spending when you take a voluntary pay cut and when you are not miserable. Never underestimate the spending power that stress has.

- what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
Man, what arenít my plans??
Iím so so soooo happy that I didnít wait until hitting an arbitrary financial target before giving myself permission to live better. Granted, I will wait until the debt is gone before downshifting further.
My focus is on doing what I love in a way that I enjoy and thatís healthy for me. I donít really worry about FIRE anymore as I expect living my best life to be highly profitable and as long as I stay frugal and make smart financial decisions, the finances will work out. Iíve given up targets because Iím positive I will exceed them just by doing what I love.