Author Topic: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time  (Read 3210 times)

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« on: June 18, 2017, 08:15:29 PM »
Team Dusty Dog is embarking on a 6-month trial run of 32 hour/4 day weeks. We are extending our FIRE date in exchange for more time NOW, to spend working and playing on the ranch, and to travel using fewer hours of leave. Weve got a forest to manage and trails to build, after all!

Even with the pay cut, we should be able to save at least 25K annually into tax-deferred accounts. I will continue to pay into my govt pension and earn full month service credits. I get a little haircut on my PTO accrual, but DH keeps his at 100%. Ah, the fine print in the personnel policies.

We will extend our FIRE date from 5 to 10 years, but since we absolutely must have health insurance, this seemed like a good option to get us from 45 to 55 while getting what we wanted most, which was more time to do our own thing.

We are fortunate to like our paid work, and to have flexible employers. I will go back to hourly, so no more comp time for me, but I can work up to 40 if I need to and overtime if I need more than what (which I dont foresee). Hopefully all will go well and we will make this permanent in 6 months.

Keep in mind that we are doing this with a pretty modest income (by forum standards). Our gross will be going from 99K to 83K. We spend an average of 36K per year (two people, one dog, one cat). We have 345K in retirement accounts, 40K in emergency fund, and no debts. We start July 1, so well see how good my forecasting has been!

Any other folks who have gone this route or are thinking about it?


rockeTree

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2017, 08:01:52 AM »
Barring a good solution to healthcare access for early retirees this is likely for me- spouse will quit and I will go 80% (60 if I can get it but not likely) to hang on to employer sponsored care. But the politics are volatile enough right now and we both have to work several more years anyhow so I am hoping for Medicare for all or some such before it comes to pass...


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PharmaStache

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 08:06:41 AM »
I haven't worked full time in 5 years.  I've worked 0.9, 0.8, 0.7 and now 0.6 EFT.  My current plan is to coast to retirement on 3 days a week for the next 20 years, when I can get my pension.  If we need extra money I can easily pick up shifts though so my situation is a bit different.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 08:47:30 AM »
Any other folks who have gone this route or are thinking about it?
...
We will extend our FIRE date from 5 to 10 years, but since we absolutely must have health insurance, this seemed like a good option to get us from 45 to 55 while getting what we wanted most, which was more time to do our own thing.

We haven't started this yet, but we're thinking about a .9, .8, .7, .6, .5 progression over a number of years, as our living expenses allow.  The reasons are similar to yours: we enjoy our jobs, enjoy getting highly-subsidized employer health insurance + other benefits, but we don't really need to work full time to pay for our current living expenses or save at such a high rate for retirement. 

Due to taxes, cutting my schedule to 80% would be like buying a little over 6 weeks of vacation and getting an additional 4 weeks of vacation for free.  A total of 14 weeks vacation per year.  That sounds pretty awesome, but I paused when I realized that DW makes < 1/2 (per hour) than I do; factoring in employer match for retirement, we'd get more bang-for-buck by cutting her hours in half versus cutting mine by 20%.

We're in a holding pattern until we can figure out the right balance.  Meanwhile, every month of indecision brings us closer to paying off the mortgage.  If we stretch the indecision out for another 3 years, the mortgage is gone and cutting hours down to 32/week or fewer becomes a no-brainer.

I'm looking forward to hearing how your experiment goes.  Keep us updated, and best of luck!



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Prairie Stash

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 10:13:36 AM »
Yes, I work full time but my spouse went to 3 days (24 hours) from 5 days (40 hours).

For comparison we figured out the hourly wage (after tax) before and after, after making some broad assumptions about the value of benefits that remained at 100%. A 40% drop in hours was closer to a 25% reduction in pay. Extending the FIRE date a bit means a lot less hours worked, but more years before we can completely stop. Comparing Gross isn't as relevant, the Net pay is far more useful. I look forward to trying it once we hit 80-90% of our target, from a risk perspective I think its better (safer) to work 2 years at 50% then 1 year at 100%, which is okay with my lifestyle. Strangely, because of the lower taxes on lower income, 100% at 1 year is roughly 18 months at 50% for net pay (exaggerating some to illustrate the point).

NorthernDreamer

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2017, 11:25:58 AM »
I didn't choose my job years ago with FIRE in mind (that wasn't even on my radar yet), but my job is part-time (0.6). I started it before we had kids. My husband works full-time but it means our retirement horizon is a bit longer. We're in our late 30s and are forecasting another 10-13 years or so until being able to retire. We could probably retire faster if I worked full-time however we are choosing this as best for our family. My position is very flexible and I can set my own hours, which means that I can drop off and pick up my children from school. No need to pay for extra childcare for before or after care. Extra time at home to get stuff done and just spend time with the kiddos. I'm able to go on field trips or volunteer in the classroom. It is 100% worth it from my point of view.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2017, 04:35:14 PM »
I'll be going to 3 x 10hrs or 3 x 8hrs in the next month or so and get 4 days off a week. I was aiming to do this ~Jan 2018, but external factors pushed my date up. Although this delays my FIRE date I think it's a great trade off in quality of life now so that when I get to FIRE I'll be healthier mentally and physically. :)

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2017, 05:45:56 PM »
Thanks for all the great comments so far! I'll keep you posted on how we do.

Hotstreak

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2017, 06:15:26 PM »
Yes, I work full time but my spouse went to 3 days (24 hours) from 5 days (40 hours).

For comparison we figured out the hourly wage (after tax) before and after, after making some broad assumptions about the value of benefits that remained at 100%. A 40% drop in hours was closer to a 25% reduction in pay. Extending the FIRE date a bit means a lot less hours worked, but more years before we can completely stop. Comparing Gross isn't as relevant, the Net pay is far more useful. I look forward to trying it once we hit 80-90% of our target, from a risk perspective I think its better (safer) to work 2 years at 50% then 1 year at 100%, which is okay with my lifestyle. Strangely, because of the lower taxes on lower income, 100% at 1 year is roughly 18 months at 50% for net pay (exaggerating some to illustrate the point).

I'm in a similar situation as my employer offers "Full Time" benefits for anyone working 30+ hours per week.  My 401k match would go down a few $$ due to lower salary but I would keep the full employer contribution to healthcare, and keep the same vacation time.  I am a long ways off from FI & not considering this sort of path for my near future, but it is fun to think about nonetheless.  Especially in the event healthcare expenses rise drastically or coverage becomes difficult to obtain.

less4success

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2017, 06:36:27 PM »
Posting to follow since I am also looking to take an advance on my ER by going part-time.

Nudelkopf

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2017, 08:24:44 PM »
I'm so jealous! This is my plan as well. I'm a high school teacher, and it's pretty easy to go part-time. But this is all well in the future for myself.

Meadow Lark

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2017, 09:05:02 PM »
Working 1 less day a week should not double your time to FIRE (unless you want it to, and that is fine).   The math didn't work that way for us, partly because we spend less when we have one person who isn't working full-time.  And,  Once your net worth starts climbing, time becomes as important as your contributions.  Seriously - for us it seemed to speed way up when we hit $400k.  Well, actually I am  saying it wrong - we have hit our net worth increase goal every year - it is just much easier now.  By easy I mean we increased NW by $100k when the S&P went up by 25%, and we increased by $100k in 2015 when the S&P went up by nothing.   Hopefully I got those years correct, or I will sound like a moron.).  And I have worked 24 hrs a wk (nurse) for years.

LifeHappens

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2017, 05:18:46 AM »
I'm a consultant and have been working for 2-3 organizations simultaneously for almost 10 years. I just gave notice to one org that I will not be continuing my work with them as of the end of this month. This leaves me with one major contract that has been paying 75% of my income for a while now.

After some transition work, I hope to work 3 days most weeks, with 4 or 5 day weeks during a couple of crunch times each year.

talltexan

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2017, 07:10:11 AM »
I wasn't aware of this community when my wife downshifted to 0.8 time to accommodate the pressures of parenting our daughter. It has been SUCH a spectacular blessing to our family for her to have those extra 8 hours/week. Wayyyy more valuable than the extra money would be.

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 06:47:09 PM »
So, a month and a half into our new schedule!

It's been a little odd since DH had to work a couple of Saturdays in July, but otherwise great. We've been socked in with wildfire smoke, so that's limited the outdoor work and play we would have done otherwise. We got one hike in before the smoke, and since then just day trips to cool off in creeks and lakes and look for future campsites once the fresh air is back. We also took a 4-day trip to Nelson, BC which was awesome and included hot springs!

Financially, our estimates are proving out and we are on target to match our take home to our expenses (+ 500ish) while adding a little over 2K per month to our retirement accounts.

Its amazing the difference 1 less day a week in the office makes. I have always been too eager to take on new projects, so this is really forcing me to think about what I most want to work on and try to stay in those lanes. I am lucky to be able to steer my workload as much as I doas long as I keep bringing in grants to pay for it, that is!

Retire-Canada

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2017, 07:36:05 PM »
I'm glad to hear it's working out for you. I was mountain biking in Pemberton and Whistler last week and the smoke was intense...both from a breathing and visual perspective. I bet the whole of BC has not been praying for rain like we are doing now!

I'm down to 3 x 8hrs days [Mon - Wed] and it's so great. I am covering all my costs and will likely have a few $$ to still invest each month if I am careful with my spending. 4 day weekends every week are pretty darn nice. :)

Step37

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #16 on: August 13, 2017, 11:11:24 PM »
I recently hired someone to take over my day-to-day tasks in my business (I'm a minority shareholder) so that I can do exactly this. Prior to the past five very busy months, when I had no choice but to work full time, I'd been doing four days per week, which was okay (but I could never take a holiday without coming back to a big, messy pile). My goal, once she's fully up and running (so far so good), is to scale back to two days in the office and maybe half to one day overall at home, so 50-60%. I am hoping to have this fully in place by November. I can taste it.

I also want my husband to retire. This is totally possible financially; I just don't think he's quite ready, but he's getting closer. He'll be 48 in February, so I am working the "Freedom 48" angle (showed him some hard projections the other day and he was receptive).

My 50-60% wage, plus my small side gig and rental income from our basement suite easily covers our monthly spending (plus I know he'd pick up some kind of side gig as well). We wouldn't even have to touch our savings for quite some time (like until such time as I either get my shares bought out and/or no longer feel the "need" to be involved in the business since I'm part owner - it's a control thing;)

I strongly feel that if we are able to swing this, we should. Who knows what life will bring - we have *enough* - we should enjoy it more and not be bound by employment schedules.

Glad to hear your new schedules are working out well, Dusty Dog Ranch. I'm feeling especially grateful for Canadian health care; I know health care is a huge concern for many on this forum - so difficult to plan/cut employment ties with that level of uncertainty.
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Linda_Norway

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Re: Retiring One Day a Week at a Time
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2017, 03:59:08 AM »
It sounds like a good plan. You can do so much more with a longer weekend. Having your own forest sounds awesome.

Some other options: My BIL and his partner have always been working 3 days a week both. They live quite frugally and have well paying jobs.
My DH thinks of working part time as a consultant, or as a part time employee for a company after FIRE. Just to receive some extra money. Maybe also do the first 2 years of FIRE with working only 50%.