Author Topic: How have you made semi-retirement work?  (Read 11502 times)

Exhale

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How have you made semi-retirement work?
« on: December 25, 2014, 09:13:36 AM »
Thanks to the folks on this forum, I'm realizing that semi-retirement is likely to be the better option (for personal reasons - financially I'll be at FIRE in 2021). The personal reasons include that I work in a stimulating environment (university), doing work I love (advising students) and if I worked PT, I'd actually have time for a life outside of work with a chance to enjoy the benefits of my job (classes, events, libraries, awesome community, etc.).

For those of you in semi-retirement, what are your recommendations, advice, suggestions, caveats? This possible approach is a new concept for me and so any and all information will be most welcome. Thanks!
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 08:55:22 PM by Exhale »

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Re: Can semi-retirement work?
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2014, 09:23:02 AM »
I am not retired or semi-retired, but remember: retirement is a state in which you are (theoretically) in control. In other words, retirement is what you want it to be. So, if you want semi-retirement to work and you can make the finances and commitments work, then, absolutely, it can work. Enjoy it to the fullest.

Gray Matter

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Re: Can semi-retirement work?
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2014, 09:34:53 AM »
I think semi-retirement can absolutely work if you have the right personality and the right kind of work.  I can also see it working two ways in our future.  First step would be to keep doing the kind of work we do, but reduced work-week, earning just enough to pay our living expenses while letting our investments grow to the point where they can support us.  The second step would be to leave any sort of regular employment, and do things like adjunct or consult, sporadically, in order to bring in "fun" money (for us, that means international travel) while letting our investments support our living expenses.

Both of those options are appealing to me and I could see us doing both of them, or variations, at some point.  That said, I'm not sure if it'll be as good as it seems.  On the one hand, I enjoy work, find much of it engaging and interesting, and would just like to have more time for other pursuits.  On the other hand, it seems whether I work two hours or ten hours, a day in which I work has a "work" day feel to it that makes it different than not working.  I could see it hanging over my head and making my leisure hours feel less leisurely. 

For me, I don't think I'll know until I get there whether I want complete freedom from work, or the freedom to work as much, and at whatever, I want to.

Exhale

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Re: Can semi-retirement work?
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2014, 10:27:08 AM »
I think semi-retirement can absolutely work if you have the right personality and the right kind of work....keep doing the kind of work we do, but reduced work-week, earning just enough to pay our living expenses while letting our investments grow to the point where they can support us....For me, I don't think I'll know until I get there whether I want complete freedom from work, or the freedom to work as much, and at whatever, I want to.

Thank you Gray Matter. I think you nailed exactly what I need to do for awhile after I achieve FI. Namely, keep working and "earning just enough to pay our living expenses while letting our investments grow." That breathing room will let me look around and see what I might want to do next (stay or do something else).

You also wrote, "I don't think I'll know until I get there whether I want complete freedom from work..." That's big for me because, if I leave the university where I work, it'll be extremely difficult to go back in (I know this from previous experience). In other words, I'll need to be very sure about my decision to leave.

MayDay

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2014, 10:42:11 AM »
I was just talking to my mom about this. She is considering either substitute teaching, or working PRN as a nurse (her current career), or working sporadic contracts as a travel nurse. Basically she wants to still work, but she also wants to be able to take off for a random month or 6 months if she feels like it.

I think a reduced work week would be nice (and I hope to achieve this) but I also think it'd be nice to work only 8-10 months a year so I can take some longer trips.

Chrissy

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #5 on: December 25, 2014, 10:43:28 AM »
I've been semi-retired for 7 years.  I LOVE it.  I work 7 months of the year, and take 5 months off (Spring/Summer).

For me, it's important to have personal goals and plans to accomplish.  I've taken a writing course, trapeze and archery seminars, finished decorating my apartment (Mustachian style), traveled, etc.  Every year, I pick a couple of new things.  And, I go to the gym everyday like it's my job.  No excuses.

It can be hard to be semi-retired if you're dating.  A lot of people think you're just lazy if you're not working 365 days a year.  Others have gotten jealous.  It took me awhile to find someone who thinks it's great.  I do make a profit, and will be able to retire around age 64, so was never looking for a sugar-daddy or anything!

**Edited to take out some gender qualifiers that were just unnecessary.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2014, 04:40:11 PM by Chrissy »

Exflyboy

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #6 on: December 25, 2014, 10:50:58 AM »
I've been semi-retired for 7 years.  I LOVE it.  I work 7 months of the year, and take 5 months off (Spring/Summer).

For me, it's important to have personal goals and plans to accomplish.  I've taken a writing course, trapeze and archery seminars, finished decorating my apartment (Mustachian style), traveled, etc.  Every year, I pick a couple of new things.  And, I go to the gym everyday like it's my job.  No excuses.

It can be hard to be semi-retired if you're dating.  Even though I'm a woman, a lot of men think you're just lazy if you're not working 365 days a year.  Others have gotten jealous.  It took me awhile to find someone who thinks it's great.  I do make a profit, and will be able to retire around age 64, so was never looking for a sugar-daddy or anything!

I think its fantastic.. But the rest of the world is so tied up in consumerism and tying themselves to a job they hate.. I mean they just don't get!!

As for me I went through a whole bunch of psychological gyrations in figuring out what it it to be retired.. Finally after a lot of begging I went back to do very rewarding work for a previous employer.. Part time.

I work as a contractor when they need me which works out to being roughly 50% time.

It also happens to be the best paying job I have ever had.

The whole 11 months of me walking out the dorr saga can be read in my link below.

Frank

thedayisbrave

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2014, 11:21:31 AM »
To me, it's all about lifestyle design and being intentional & thoughtful with your decisions.  That's not to say you won't make mistakes, but getting to know yourself, your goals, and course correcting when you do.

I guess I'm semi-retired in a way, in that I'm FI at my current spending level but am working because one day soon I want a horse, and a dog, and a baby or two, oh and a husband somewhere in there, I guess!

Looking to the future, I had two equally feasible options.  I could a) slave at a corporation for 5-6 years, living as mustachian as possible and saving every single cent to reach my FIRE number and then potentially be done forever or b) choose an occupation that perhaps was not as stable income-wise but would offer me independence & the freedom to work as little or as much as I wanted.  I initially chose A, but after the course of a few months, felt chained and miserable, as if my time and my life were not my own.  Partially it had to do with the occupation (lots of regulatory and compliance red tape) but also I just realized it wasn't the right choice for ME and the lifestyle I wanted.

So, now I'm pursuing path B.  Most opt not to pursue this path because the income is not guaranteed, since it is 100% commissions (real estate agent).  However, I have the freedom to create my business how I want it to be.  I can pursue whichever opportunities I choose, freely.  I can travel without having to worry about emptying my vacation bank.  Furthermore, I feel that this can be something I do for the rest of my working life... rather than being chained to it for 5 years. 

Like my signature says... it's about the journey, not the destination.  I didn't want to spend 5 years of my life being unhappy, even if it meant I could never work again afterwards.  It's not really my style.  So I made the decision that was right for me. 

At the end of the day, it's your life, and the beauty of it is you have the power to direct it the way you want.  Sometimes, you just have to jump and do what you think will make you happiest :)

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2014, 11:25:04 AM »
I work 7 months of the year, and take 5 months off (Spring/Summer).

What a great idea. That sounds perfect. I'm going to see what partial year gigs are available here at my university. There must be something.

For me, it's important to have personal goals and plans to accomplish. Every year, I pick a couple of new things.  And, I go to the gym everyday like it's my job.  No excuses.

I hadn't thought of that, but it makes sense. Staying healthy = job #1, Learning/doing/etc. = a "job" too.

Any other advice for making semi-retirement work? What has been hardest for you?

It can be hard to be semi-retired if you're dating.

So true! In fact, much to my surprise, I've found frugal dating to be a deal breaker for some people (somehow a walk is less romantic/fun than dinner out).


Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2014, 11:27:55 AM »
"As for me I went through a whole bunch of psychological gyrations in figuring out what it it to be retired.. Finally after a lot of begging I went back to do very rewarding work for a previous employer.. Part time.

I work as a contractor when they need me which works out to being roughly 50% time.

It also happens to be the best paying job I have ever had.

The whole 11 months of me walking out the dorr saga can be read in my link below.

Frank"


Thank you Frank. I'll read your posts. Question: If you had to boil it down into three take-aways tips what would they be?


Exflyboy

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2014, 11:47:39 AM »
"As for me I went through a whole bunch of psychological gyrations in figuring out what it it to be retired.. Finally after a lot of begging I went back to do very rewarding work for a previous employer.. Part time.

I work as a contractor when they need me which works out to being roughly 50% time.

It also happens to be the best paying job I have ever had.

The whole 11 months of me walking out the dorr saga can be read in my link below.

Frank"


Thank you Frank. I'll read your posts. Question: If you had to boil it down into three take-aways tips what would they be?

Wow.. Thats a challenge as there was a lot of learning I had to do..:)


1) Become Financially independent as fast as you possibly can. I say this because what I thought were normal conditions of employment for 30 years were really quite abusive and its getting worse! I.e paid for 40 hours yet expected to work whatever it takes (60 or more hours quite often in my case) to finish the work, with little or no incentive except to keep your job, and if your not prepared to do it, somebody else will!

2) Work itself is not a bad thing, it can be rewarding and enjoyable. The problem is when you NEED a job then your playing the game by your employers (abusive) rules. When you don't need the job then you can come back (or not) part time on your terms. This can translate into a significant pay increase. For me this was being paid hourly at the rate I used to do this job for.. plus time and a half after 40 hours. Seeing as I spent 71 hours travelling to Brazil two weeks ago and every hour was paid for and 31 of those hours was at time and a half... Ka-ching! of course they wanted me much cheaper than this.. but I was free to negotiate, I told them what I wanted and absolutely refused to negotiate.

3) Remove the politics (this is kinda related to 1 and 2 above). I came back as a contractor.. so the little back stabbing games of who is getting what and who is promoted to where is irrelevant. I get paid to do THIS job, which I don't need. If I don't like it (or they don't like what I do) then I can leave without a second thought. This is not license to do whatever you want of course, even though I'm FI I get a boatload of money which means I keep adding to my stash instead of spending it. For that reason I want to do a good job because I would prefer to keep doing it while it continues to be fun.

4) When its not fun.. quit.. Of course that means being FI probably, or at least its easier if you are. It also means maybe your circumstances have changed or you want to do something else..


Hope that helps.

Frank




Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2014, 11:48:31 AM »
To me, it's all about lifestyle design and being intentional & thoughtful with your decisions.

Looking to the future, I had two equally feasible options.  I could a) slave at a corporation for 5-6 years, living as mustachian as possible and saving every single cent to reach my FIRE number and then potentially be done forever or b) choose an occupation that perhaps was not as stable income-wise but would offer me independence & the freedom to work as little or as much as I wanted.  I initially chose A, but after the course of a few months, felt chained and miserable, as if my time and my life were not my own.  Partially it had to do with the occupation (lots of regulatory and compliance red tape) but also I just realized it wasn't the right choice for ME and the lifestyle I wanted.

So, now I'm pursuing path B.  Most opt not to pursue this path because the income is not guaranteed, since it is 100% commissions (real estate agent).  However, I have the freedom to create my business how I want it to be.  I can pursue whichever opportunities I choose, freely.  I can travel without having to worry about emptying my vacation bank.  Furthermore, I feel that this can be something I do for the rest of my working life... rather than being chained to it for 5 years. 

Like my signature says... it's about the journey, not the destination.  I didn't want to spend 5 years of my life being unhappy, even if it meant I could never work again afterwards.  It's not really my style.  So I made the decision that was right for me. 

At the end of the day, it's your life, and the beauty of it is you have the power to direct it the way you want.  Sometimes, you just have to jump and do what you think will make you happiest :)

These replies are helping so much with my questions. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your situation made me think of listing out my own.

- Option A: Wait => stay where I am now (doing some of what I love but also lots of admin/routine) for 7 years until FI. Then switch to summer/autumn job with the same employer and go someplace sunny during the winter/spring.

- Option B: Act now => switch to summer/autumn job with the same employer starting in 2015 and go someplace sunny during the winter/spring. This means I'll have to work much longer to reach FI, but would have a more stimulating/balanced life on the way there.

If I hated what I do now it'd be an easy decision. However, I do meaningful rewarding work and perhaps I should use these next seven years to get physically healthy (have lost 14lbs, have another 30lbs to go), finally become fluent in Spanish and realize my dream of learning ballroom dancing. By that time, I'll probably be 3-5 years closer to FI and perhaps then it'd be time to make the switch to Option B.

Is that deluding myself? Is that being reasonable?


Exflyboy

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2014, 11:53:46 AM »
Both options are valid.. But I did Option A and looking back I'd do it again.

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2014, 11:57:10 AM »
"As for me I went through a whole bunch of psychological gyrations in figuring out what it it to be retired.. Finally after a lot of begging I went back to do very rewarding work for a previous employer.. Part time.
Frank"

Thank you Frank. I'll read your posts. Question: If you had to boil it down into three take-aways tips what would they be?
Wow.. Thats a challenge as there was a lot of learning I had to do..:)

1) Become Financially independent as fast as you possibly can. I say this because what I thought were normal conditions of employment for 30 years were really quite abusive and its getting worse! I.e paid for 40 hours yet expected to work whatever it takes (60 or more hours quite often in my case) to finish the work, with little or no incentive except to keep your job, and if your not prepared to do it, somebody else will!

2) Work itself is not a bad thing, it can be rewarding and enjoyable. The problem is when you NEED a job then your playing the game by your employers (abusive) rules. When you don't need the job then you can come back (or not) part time on your terms. This can translate into a significant pay increase. For me this was being paid hourly at the rate I used to do this job for.. plus time and a half after 40 hours. Seeing as I spent 71 hours travelling to Brazil two weeks ago and every hour was paid for and 31 of those hours was at time and a half... Ka-ching! of course they wanted me much cheaper than this.. but I was free to negotiate, I told them what I wanted and absolutely refused to negotiate.

3) Remove the politics (this is kinda related to 1 and 2 above). I came back as a contractor.. so the little back stabbing games of who is getting what and who is promoted to where is irrelevant. I get paid to do THIS job, which I don't need. If I don't like it (or they don't like what I do) then I can leave without a second thought. This is not license to do whatever you want of course, even though I'm FI I get a boatload of money which means I keep adding to my stash instead of spending it. For that reason I want to do a good job because I would prefer to keep doing it while it continues to be fun.

4) When its not fun.. quit.. Of course that means being FI probably, or at least its easier if you are. It also means maybe your circumstances have changed or you want to do something else..

Hope that helps.

Frank

Great list! My recap:
1) Get to FI as soon as possible and then
2) I can be free to negotiate
3) I can be free of office politics
4) I get to have fun (and, if not, I take my toys to a different sandbox)

One last question - what's your take on my option A vs. option B (see blow)? Thanks for your feedback!

- Option A: Wait until FI => stay where I am now (doing some of what I love but also lots of admin/routine) for 7 years until FI. Then switch to summer/autumn job with the same employer and go someplace sunny during the winter/spring (working with young people and dancing wherever I go).

- Option B: Act now => switch to summer/autumn job with the same employer starting in 2015 and go someplace sunny during the winter/spring (working with young people and dancing wherever I go).. This means I'll have to work much longer to reach FI, but would have a more stimulating/balanced life on the way there.

If I hated what I do now it'd be an easy decision. However, I do meaningful rewarding work and perhaps I should use these next seven years to get physically healthy (have lost 14lbs, have another 30lbs to go), finally become fluent in Spanish and realize my dream of learning ballroom dancing. By that time, I'll probably be 3-5 years closer to FI and perhaps then it'd be time to make the switch to Option B. Is that deluding myself? Is that being reasonable?

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2014, 11:58:33 AM »
Both options are valid.. But I did Option A and looking back I'd do it again.

Thank you - that feedback is very helpful!

Exflyboy

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2014, 12:10:11 PM »
Both options are valid.. But I did Option A and looking back I'd do it again.

Thank you - that feedback is very helpful!

Your welcome,

Yeah I watch my juniors and conditions are getting worse. Even though the pundits say that upward wage pressure is coming in 2015 I think employers still do not want to add employees until conditions in the economy have stabilised. While things are better in the US, China is looking wobbly ans Europe is still in the toilet.

This means there is a bunch of extra work to be done as orders pick up but there is more and more pressure on employees to get this extra work done. Salaried employees are given the shaft over and over in this situation.

For me if you perpetuate your time at work (i.e take longer to FI) you are opening yourself up to potentially worse employment arrangements in the future.. I.e more work, less hours doing what you want.. Much more stress.

So getting off the treadmill ASAP is the logical choice.

Frank



ShortInSeattle

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2014, 03:35:33 PM »
I'll also be interested in any stories of semi-retirement.  I'm dipping my toe into semi-retirement this year, although I'm not sure if what I am doing exactly qualifies. It's basically a pullback in hours.

Right now we are FI for our "basic expenses" but not for our "desired expenses", which includes a healthy travel budget. Our travel budget will also double as a buffer for our of pocket health expenses as we get older. So right now we're working for the buffer - because it's important to us.

Because my job is flexible, I'm dropping my work hours from 50 per week down to 30 per week in 2015. And on top of that I'm going to take a month off in the summer. DH can join me for the month off (probably), but not the part time thing. He's got a super-well-paid job that requires full time, so he's generously agreed to hang in there a bit longer.

*knock on wood* We may reach our preferred FIRE budget within 2 years. :)

The idea is that I'm going to gradually scale my work down from "an intense career" to "a profitable hobby.". First to 30/hrs per week, and eventually less. DH at some point will leave his job, and my PT work will probably continue for a number of years, because I really enjoy it and it will always be an interest of mine. He's not sure what he wants to do next, but I think a year of decompression is a good place to start.

Here is what I think will be hard: It's going to be hard to keep my hours down to 30. I'll be constantly turning down work. It would be so easy to let it creep upwards!

SIS


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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2014, 04:20:27 PM »

- Option A: Wait => stay where I am now (doing some of what I love but also lots of admin/routine) for 7 years until FI. Then switch to summer/autumn job with the same employer and go someplace sunny during the winter/spring.

- Option B: Act now => switch to summer/autumn job with the same employer starting in 2015 and go someplace sunny during the winter/spring. This means I'll have to work much longer to reach FI, but would have a more stimulating/balanced life on the way there.

If I hated what I do now it'd be an easy decision. However, I do meaningful rewarding work and perhaps I should use these next seven years to get physically healthy (have lost 14lbs, have another 30lbs to go), finally become fluent in Spanish and realize my dream of learning ballroom dancing. By that time, I'll probably be 3-5 years closer to FI and perhaps then it'd be time to make the switch to Option B.

Is that deluding myself? Is that being reasonable?

That sounds perfectly reasonable to me :)  I didn't disclose in my earlier post, but I'm quite young (24).  So I have a lot of time to make it up if this riskier venture ends up not taking off.  I'm lucky that I have no debt and still live (happily) like a college student, so I'm a little more willing to take my chances.  If I were older and still had a gap between my current # and my FIRE #, I would probably be more likely to choose the safer option.  Along the same lines, if I had a partner or any dependents, I'd likely choose the safer option in order to make sure they were provided for.   

Cassie

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2014, 04:38:28 PM »
MY HUBBY & I have small pensions which covers all our expenses.  We retired & after about 6 months we were bored. We did volunteer work, etc but not as rewarding as working.  Now I teach an online university class which I can do from anywhere & consult in my area of expertise as does my hubby.  I probably work about 15 hours/week.  Some weeks more & some less.  I am in total control of my time & plan when I want to work.  For us it is the best of both worlds.  Since you like your job you may want to stay at it & then when FI continue to work p.t. if you want. It would suck to be in a position to need p.t. work & be worrying about $.

Chrissy

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2014, 05:02:59 PM »

Any other advice for making semi-retirement work? What has been hardest for you?


No other advice, other than to get good at planning... your time, your expenses, your activities, etc.  People have said, "I could never do what you do.  I wouldn't know what to do if I wasn't working."  Well, there's a whole world of knowledge and places out there.  Even if I had my whole life free to pursue whatever I wanted, I could never know/learn/find out/explore everything!  If you don't know what to do, you just haven't used your imagination!

The hardest thing--well, the most aggravating thing--has been dealing with the small-mindedness of others.  They just cannot grasp a life different from their own.  I've been asked, "What future is there in what you're doing?"  Hm.  Well, when the present is perfect, and you're at the top of your field, there's no need to strive for more.  I've also been asked, after describing the job I love and the freedom I've found, "Have you ever thought of becoming a teacher?  Then you could stay home with the kids in the summer."  I don't have kids, and I get five months off to teachers' two or three.  Why would I take a pay cut to work MORE?

You have to be willing not to give a damn what other people think.  You have to believe that what you're doing is the best way, even if it's not the most common path.

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #20 on: December 25, 2014, 07:18:38 PM »
I'll also be interested in any stories of semi-retirement.  I'm dipping my toe into semi-retirement this year, although I'm not sure if what I am doing exactly qualifies. It's basically a pullback in hours.

Right now we are FI for our "basic expenses" but not for our "desired expenses", which includes a healthy travel budget. Our travel budget will also double as a buffer for our of pocket health expenses as we get older. So right now we're working for the buffer - because it's important to us.

Here is what I think will be hard: It's going to be hard to keep my hours down to 30. I'll be constantly turning down work. It would be so easy to let it creep upwards!

SIS

I agree, these stories of semi-retirement have been very helpful. I'm glad that you're finding them to be so as well.

If all goes as planned, I'll be where you are now in early 2021 (FI for basic expenses but without funds for travel, etc.). Thank you for giving me a "visual" of what that stage feels like. (It seems so far away right now!) Would love to hear how you're able to keep the work hours from creeping upward. Best of luck!

« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 08:59:31 PM by Exhale »

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #21 on: December 25, 2014, 07:27:18 PM »
"more pressure on employees to get this extra work done. Salaried employees are given the shaft over and over in this situation....So getting off the treadmill ASAP is the logical choice. Frank"

That's exactly what's stressful at work - constantly doing more with less. And thank you for giving me a way to stay focused on my goal. Keeping the fact that I can get free of dependence on work will help me deal with the stress and stay on track with my budget for the next 6.3 years (seems so far away!).
« Last Edit: December 25, 2014, 07:29:14 PM by Exhale »

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #22 on: December 25, 2014, 07:35:51 PM »
MY HUBBY & I have small pensions which covers all our expenses.  We retired & after about 6 months we were bored. We did volunteer work, etc but not as rewarding as working.  Now I teach an online university class which I can do from anywhere & consult in my area of expertise as does my hubby.  I probably work about 15 hours/week.  Some weeks more & some less.  I am in total control of my time & plan when I want to work.  For us it is the best of both worlds.  Since you like your job you may want to stay at it & then when FI continue to work p.t. if you want. It would suck to be in a position to need p.t. work & be worrying about $.

Thanks Cassie, I know for sure that I'll want to continue in the same field that I'm in now (student advising) - absolutely love the work. It strikes me as I read your post that working PT will result me being better at my job. I hadn't thought of that before. Am looking forward to working in a way that isn't so draining.

Just curious - how did you keep yourself on track to get to FI? What kept you inspired and focused?


Joan-eh?

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #23 on: December 25, 2014, 09:13:07 PM »
Exhale,
Very exciting position you are i/choices you have.
We might have a similar situation.
How will your university pension be affected?
Are there changes to your benefits moving Ft to PT?

What I know is that it's not easy to get another academic position at a U.  I figure once I leave, there is no going back, except to teach on stipend. And then one is tied down to weekly teaching.

Would you commute the value of your pension or just wait until 65?

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #24 on: December 25, 2014, 09:55:56 PM »
Exhale,
Very exciting position you are in/choices you have.
We might have a similar situation.
How will your university pension be affected?
Are there changes to your benefits moving Ft to PT?

What I know is that it's not easy to get another academic position at a U.  I figure once I leave, there is no going back, except to teach on stipend. And then one is tied down to weekly teaching.

Would you commute the value of your pension or just wait until 65?

Great questions Joan-eh?:
- My pension uses years of service and highest salary earned to calculate the benefit. So, I can work PT w/o a penalty
- In fact, working PT would allow me to continue to accrue more years of service (even if at a lower salary)
- I don't plan to draw upon it until I have to start taking taking payments

Thanks to this thread, I think that once I get to FI in 2121, I'll enjoy working PT with the same employer. I like the idea of being FI while continuing to the work I love (would be doing it no matter where I go). Also, working PT would allow me to have some padding in my FI - always welcome.

However, I'd only do PT if:
1) I get to do the work I want (no more payroll or out-of-town recruiting)
2) I'm paid well
3) I have the right hours (or months on/months off, if that's a better option for me)

What would be your PT requirements?

Gray Matter

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #25 on: December 26, 2014, 06:20:56 AM »
Hi Exhale:

The only thing I would add to your criteria for part-time work is that they not try to cram full-time work into the part-time job.  With one of my bosses, I casually mentioned that I'd like to go to 80% at some point in the future, and he said, "Sure, as long as you get your job done."  And I said, "You mean 80% of my job, right?' and nope, he meant all of my job, but for 80% pay.  What a deal!  No thanks.

Perhaps if you stop doing the things you don't want, you'll naturally end up where you want to be time-wise, but it's important to clarify expectations with employers because, believe it or not, people like the boss I mentioned above exist.

Joan-eh?

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #26 on: December 26, 2014, 07:29:33 AM »
Exhale,
Very exciting position you are in/choices you have.
We might have a similar situation.
How will your university pension be affected?
Are there changes to your benefits moving Ft to PT?

What I know is that it's not easy to get another academic position at a U.  I figure once I leave, there is no going back, except to teach on stipend. And then one is tied down to weekly teaching.

Would you commute the value of your pension or just wait until 65?

Great questions Joan-eh?:
- My pension uses years of service and highest salary earned to calculate the benefit. So, I can work PT w/o a penalty
- In fact, working PT would allow me to continue to accrue more years of service (even if at a lower salary)
- I don't plan to draw upon it until I have to start taking taking payments

Thanks to this thread, I think that once I get to FI in 2121, I'll enjoy working PT with the same employer. I like the idea of being FI while continuing to the work I love (would be doing it no matter where I go). Also, working PT would allow me to have some padding in my FI - always welcome.

However, I'd only do PT if:
1) I get to do the work I want (no more payroll or out-of-town recruiting)
2) I'm paid well
3) I have the right hours (or months on/months off, if that's a better option for me)

What would be your PT requirements?

I'm needed in the building sept - may 1. This part feels like work - in a sense. The research/community development part of my job is completed as I determine - so in a sense, I feel PT may-sept. Like you, I would rather work longer years but less intense.

There are many drawbacks for me to go PT : health plan changes, title changes, job security changes and I suspect my pecking order for course choices would change and I think both my U and my public canada pension plan would be affected adversely, because of my youngish age.

My goal is to work full time but just work full time hours. Now it's long long hours. But that's all my fault. I love my work and chew off too much. Once a month it becomes stressful when I realize that.

Cassie

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #27 on: December 26, 2014, 10:06:56 AM »
Hi, I kept my focus by hanging a big calendar in my office that said months to freedom & I crossed off every month for years.  This really helped me to keep focused. Also since i worked for the state there was nothing anyone could do about planning so long to leave. It would be different in private employment.  I had never taught before & find I love teaching online.  It is fun & allows me the ability to travel since I am not tied down to be in class. I taught when I was in Europe this fall.  My private work allows me to set my own schedule so I just let everyone know I would be out of town. 

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #28 on: December 27, 2014, 08:12:00 AM »
Hi Exhale:

The only thing I would add to your criteria for part-time work is that they not try to cram full-time work into the part-time job.  With one of my bosses, I casually mentioned that I'd like to go to 80% at some point in the future, and he said, "Sure, as long as you get your job done."  And I said, "You mean 80% of my job, right?' and nope, he meant all of my job, but for 80% pay.  What a deal!  No thanks.

Perhaps if you stop doing the things you don't want, you'll naturally end up where you want to be time-wise, but it's important to clarify expectations with employers because, believe it or not, people like the boss I mentioned above exist.

Yes, that's exactly what can happen where I work. Nobody is as forthright as your employer, but it happens. For example, I already get "punished" for being efficient and effective by getting more tasks than many of my co-workers (not to mention being put on upteen committees - a compliment b/c they know I'll be an asset, but it's more work).

I now have a note on my computer now which reads "stop me before I volunteer again" - my code for "say no to any committee appointments even if it makes higher-ups unhappy." Also, my to my surprise and relief, the new program director realized that my workload had to redistributed and made it happen. Now, I just have to be sure it doesn't creep back onto my plate.

I have to say that being a public employee (hard to fire unless I really screw up) and knowing I'll be FI in early 2021 have done wonders for my mood and wellbeing. The instant I realized that I wasn't stuck in this (overall wonderful, but still overworked) place I was ecstatic and way less stressed.

One thing I learned from my new Program Director is what he calls "benign neglect" - the not immediately executing everything that's asked of you. Let it go. Often it never comes up again. And, if someone really wants it done they'll come back to you, do it themselves or have someone else do it. Obviously, this is not to be used in every instance, but a great new skill to add to my toolbox.





« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 08:57:00 PM by Exhale »

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #29 on: December 27, 2014, 08:16:45 AM »
What would be your PT requirements?
There are many drawbacks for me to go PT : health plan changes, title changes, job security changes and I suspect my pecking order for course choices would change and I think both my U and my public canada pension plan would be affected adversely, because of my youngish age.

Uh oh, I'd better check the health insurance thing. I can't believe I missed that piece in my planning process. I think that if I stay at 32 hours/week I'm covered, but that number of hours may not feel PT. Thank you for sharing this information - very helpful to have the POV of someone in academia.

BTW - you're totally right about the pecking order. I see it all the time in my Department. Less than FT is, quite simply, less (unless you a VIP or emeritus professor).

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #30 on: December 27, 2014, 08:29:12 AM »
Hi, I kept my focus by hanging a big calendar in my office that said months to freedom & I crossed off every month for years.  This really helped me to keep focused. Also since i worked for the state there was nothing anyone could do about planning so long to leave. It would be different in private employment.  I had never taught before & find I love teaching online.  It is fun & allows me the ability to travel since I am not tied down to be in class. I taught when I was in Europe this fall.  My private work allows me to set my own schedule so I just let everyone know I would be out of town.

I totally thought of doing that. And, if I was younger I'd do it in second (did it when paying off student loans). However, at age 46, counting off the days to 53 feels sad (as if I'm racing to the end of my life).

And yet, the challenge of how to stay on course remains. I'm experimenting with the concept of seeing these next 6.3 years (see, I'm counting after all!) as my launchpad. By this I mean setting certain goals to focus on (instead of focusing on the passing time).

Right now I'm considering setting the following goals:
1) Lose the 44lbs I gained due to not handling new job stress in healthy ways (14lbs down 30lbs to go)
2) Get strong and fit
3) Learn to dance West Coast Swing
4) Finally become fluent in Spanish

That should take me awhile to get done and have fun while doing it. We'll see how (if) this approach works...


Cassie

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #31 on: December 27, 2014, 11:50:00 AM »
I was actually counting down the days till I was at age 60 but at 58 said F--K it & retired & then found other p.t. gigs.  I also enjoyed the years of my life that it took to get there but when I would get sick of the bureaucracy it helped to know I was not there forever. 

ShortInSeattle

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #32 on: December 27, 2014, 11:53:58 AM »
I'll also be interested in any stories of semi-retirement.  I'm dipping my toe into semi-retirement this year, although I'm not sure if what I am doing exactly qualifies. It's basically a pullback in hours.

Right now we are FI for our "basic expenses" but not for our "desired expenses", which includes a healthy travel budget. Our travel budget will also double as a buffer for our of pocket health expenses as we get older. So right now we're working for the buffer - because it's important to us.

Here is what I think will be hard: It's going to be hard to keep my hours down to 30. I'll be constantly turning down work. It would be so easy to let it creep upwards!

SIS

I agree, these stories of semi-retirement have been very helpful. I'm glad that you're finding them to be so as well.

If all goes as planned, I'll be where you are now in early 2121 (FI for basic expenses but without funds for travel, etc.). Thank you for giving me a "visual" of what that stage feels like. (It seems so far away right now!) Would love to hear how you're able to keep the work hours from creeping upward. Best of luck!

Thanks! So far it's pretty simple - I block out projects on my calendar as they come up, and then once my schedule is full at 30 hours I don't take on any additional work that week - I tell them "I'm booked through DATE. Would you like to begin then, or should I refer you to another consultant who can help sooner?"

It's still hard to say no. :)

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #33 on: December 27, 2014, 12:59:30 PM »
I'll also be interested in any stories of semi-retirement.  I'm dipping my toe into semi-retirement this year, although I'm not sure if what I am doing exactly qualifies. It's basically a pullback in hours.

Right now we are FI for our "basic expenses" but not for our "desired expenses", which includes a healthy travel budget. Our travel budget will also double as a buffer for our of pocket health expenses as we get older. So right now we're working for the buffer - because it's important to us.

Here is what I think will be hard: It's going to be hard to keep my hours down to 30. I'll be constantly turning down work. It would be so easy to let it creep upwards!

SIS

I agree, these stories of semi-retirement have been very helpful. I'm glad that you're finding them to be so as well.

If all goes as planned, I'll be where you are now in early 2121 (FI for basic expenses but without funds for travel, etc.). Thank you for giving me a "visual" of what that stage feels like. (It seems so far away right now!) Would love to hear how you're able to keep the work hours from creeping upward. Best of luck!

Thanks! So far it's pretty simple - I block out projects on my calendar as they come up, and then once my schedule is full at 30 hours I don't take on any additional work that week - I tell them "I'm booked through DATE. Would you like to begin then, or should I refer you to another consultant who can help sooner?"

It's still hard to say no. :)

I love it! - "I'm booked through DATE. Would you like to begin then, or should I refer you to another consultant who can help sooner?"" - A good phrase to have ready (except there's no one else to send them to, but at least it let's them know the timeline). Thanks for the tip!

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #34 on: December 27, 2014, 01:00:13 PM »
I was actually counting down the days till I was at age 60 but at 58 said F--K it & retired

LOL!

Joan-eh?

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #35 on: December 27, 2014, 07:58:20 PM »
Exhale,
Do you know any tenured professors who have left before pensionable retirement date?
I don't know any!
Interesting.

Also Interesting to note, my U offers phased retirement. Over three years. I think they know how hard it is for academics to retire. I have many emeritus friends who are retired, collect their pension, yet continue their research and advise students and sit on dissertation committees, essentially working for free. They don't have to work, yet they do.

Any insights?

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #36 on: December 27, 2014, 08:17:41 PM »
Exhale,
Do you know any tenured professors who have left before pensionable retirement date?
I don't know any!
Interesting.

Also Interesting to note, my U offers phased retirement. Over three years. I think they know how hard it is for academics to retire. I have many emeritus friends who are retired, collect their pension, yet continue their research and advise students and sit on dissertation committees, essentially working for free. They don't have to work, yet they do.

Any insights?

No one I know has left early!

Don't know much about faculty pay/retirement because staff situations are so different.

marty998

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #37 on: December 27, 2014, 08:51:27 PM »
Thanks to the folks on this forum, I'm realizing that semi-retirement is likely to be the better option (for personal reasons - financially I'll be at FIRE in 2121). The personal reasons include that I work in a stimulating environment (university), doing work I love (advising students) and if I worked PT, I'd actually have time for a life outside of work with a chance to enjoy the benefits of my job (classes, events, libraries, awesome community, etc.).

If all goes as planned, I'll be where you are now in early 2121 (FI for basic expenses but without funds for travel, etc.). Thank you for giving me a "visual" of what that stage feels like. (It seems so far away right now!) Would love to hear how you're able to keep the work hours from creeping upward. Best of luck!

Thanks to this thread, I think that once I get to FI in 2121, I'll enjoy working PT with the same employer. I like the idea of being FI while continuing to the work I love (would be doing it no matter where I go). Also, working PT would allow me to have some padding in my FI - always welcome.

I have to say that being a public employee (hard to fire unless I really screw up) and knowing I'll be FI in early 2121 have done wonders for my mood and wellbeing. The instant I realized that I wasn't stuck in this (overall wonderful, but still overworked) place I was ecstatic and way less stressed.

Do you plan on living another 107 years?


RyanAtTanagra

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #38 on: December 28, 2014, 11:32:53 AM »
Isn't it weird how 6.5 years can seem like so far away once you realize what's possible?  Before I found ERE and MMM I was excited (and felt like an alien) to be on track to retire by 50, now retiring by 40 seems like too far away (5 years) and completely normal since hanging around you lot.

Anyway, you may have hinted at this, but a lot of people have several numbers: a) bare bones expenses, b) comfortable expenses (usually includes travel), c) luxury expenses (more travel?).  What I've started leaning towards is getting my bare bones expenses down as low as possible, and working full time to be FI with that number as quickly as possible.  I then hope to be able to switch to part time contract work.  There are always job postings in my field for 3-24 month contracts, and the recruiters tend to push them, which makes me think they're hard to fill.  I would love to have my bare needs covered, then work 6 months occasionally to add to the stash, or for a specific purpose.  Not because I have to, but because I have a good reason too.

I don't know if your 2021 date is for a, b, or c above, but can you reduce the number for a) and speed up your timeline a bit.  Then you may be more comfortable going to part time and taking it a little slower to get to b or c.

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #39 on: December 28, 2014, 08:35:59 PM »
Isn't it weird how 6.5 years can seem like so far away once you realize what's possible?  Before I found ERE and MMM I was excited (and felt like an alien) to be on track to retire by 50, now retiring by 40 seems like too far away (5 years) and completely normal since hanging around you lot.

Anyway, you may have hinted at this, but a lot of people have several numbers: a) bare bones expenses, b) comfortable expenses (usually includes travel), c) luxury expenses (more travel?).  What I've started leaning towards is getting my bare bones expenses down as low as possible, and working full time to be FI with that number as quickly as possible.  I then hope to be able to switch to part time contract work.  There are always job postings in my field for 3-24 month contracts, and the recruiters tend to push them, which makes me think they're hard to fill.  I would love to have my bare needs covered, then work 6 months occasionally to add to the stash, or for a specific purpose.  Not because I have to, but because I have a good reason too.

I don't know if your 2021 date is for a, b, or c above, but can you reduce the number for a) and speed up your timeline a bit.  Then you may be more comfortable going to part time and taking it a little slower to get to b or c.

What a great approach/mindset. It's seems to be similar to what ShortInSeattle mentioned (Right now we are FI for our "basic expenses" but not for our "desired expenses", which includes a healthy travel budget. Our travel budget will also double as a buffer for our of pocket health expenses as we get older. So right now we're working for the buffer - because it's important to us.)

Thanks to ExFlyBoy and ARebelSpy, I've finally gotten an accurate picture of my assets and realized that I could stop work today and have enough to live on after I reach age 65. As a single person, it gives me great peace of mind to know that. Now it's about getting to bare bones FI which will happen in early 2021. After that I'll reassess what I want to do next. Given that I'm already doing work that's my calling, my guess is that I'll stay with my current employer, but at hours that work for me. Ideally this would allow me to: 1) Build up funds to reach what you described as options b/c, 2) Not need to touch any of my savings and 3) Have time for work I care about and a life outside of work.

How close are you to option a, b and c? Is 5 years to get to a?

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #40 on: December 29, 2014, 10:59:33 AM »
Now it's about getting to bare bones FI which will happen in early 2021. After that I'll reassess what I want to do next. Given that I'm already doing work that's my calling, my guess is that I'll stay with my current employer, but at hours that work for me. Ideally this would allow me to: 1) Build up funds to reach what you described as options b/c, 2) Not need to touch any of my savings and 3) Have time for work I care about and a life outside of work.

How close are you to option a, b and c? Is 5 years to get to a?

5 years to 'a' for me.  Sounds like you have a good plan.  So, the two things that come to mind are:

a) You need to decide how much you want to get to FI (even if it's only level a) as fast as possible.  For some that's a very important thing, others don't seem to mind delaying and will happily work part time for longer, as long as they know they're making some progress towards it.  I'm in the first group.  Once I get to a, I can take my time getting to b or c, but I really really want to get to a...

b) Can you lower your bare bones number at all?  The more you can cut your expenses/COL, the faster you can get there.  Even $100/month less means $30k less to be saved, which depending on your savings rate can be years.  Since you already know you're not going to stop working when you get to that level, challenge yourself here.  If getting to FI means you'll have more choices and freedom, see how low you can comfortably get, then when you hit FI you can work on increasing your spending again, but now it will be on your own terms.

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #41 on: December 29, 2014, 03:22:48 PM »
a) You need to decide how much you want to get to FI (even if it's only level a) as fast as possible.  For some that's a very important thing, others don't seem to mind delaying and will happily work part time for longer, as long as they know they're making some progress towards it.  I'm in the first group.  Once I get to a, I can take my time getting to b or c, but I really really want to get to a...

b) Can you lower your bare bones number at all?  The more you can cut your expenses/COL, the faster you can get there.  Even $100/month less means $30k less to be saved, which depending on your savings rate can be years.  Since you already know you're not going to stop working when you get to that level, challenge yourself here.  If getting to FI means you'll have more choices and freedom, see how low you can comfortably get, then when you hit FI you can work on increasing your spending again, but now it will be on your own terms.

a) I'm totally agree - that's my feeling too.
b) Great points. Again, totally with you on this one. In fact, since I came across MMM last August, I've slashed my budget to the bare bones. I now live on 1,000/month in an expensive city. Everything else goes toward my FI goal. It feels great!



RyanAtTanagra

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #42 on: December 29, 2014, 03:30:57 PM »
since I came across MMM last August, I've slashed my budget to the bare bones. I now live on 1,000/month in an expensive city. Everything else goes toward my FI goal. It feels great!

Congrats on that, $1k/mo is an achievement in any city

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #43 on: December 29, 2014, 07:31:00 PM »
I suppose we could be defined as "semi-retired" -- my husband and I both work part-time (me 20 hours, him 32) in order to be able to home-school our child. For us, any financial sacrifice is well worth the ability to homeschool kiddo.

As a former homeschooled child, I congratulate you on offering this option to your child. My parents made enormous financial sacrifices to offer that to us kids and I'm so glad that they did.

Exhale

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Re: How have you made semi-retirement work?
« Reply #44 on: December 30, 2014, 09:34:38 PM »
As a former homeschooled child, I congratulate you on offering this option to your child. My parents made enormous financial sacrifices to offer that to us kids and I'm so glad that they did.

Thank you for that comment, Exhale! Made my day. As I'm sure you know, homeschoolers don't always get a ton of appreciation from society in general, so things like this are always really great to hear. I am glad your parents were able to make it happen for you (and, sounds like, your siblings) -- and, for their sake as well, that you are so grateful. My kid seems to know how lucky he is; but I often wonder how he'll look back on his childhood.

What my parents did that worked well for us (three) kids was communicating that homeschooling was an option and we could always discuss the option of school. That way no one (including my parents) felt forced. In fact, once in awhile my mother would say maybe we should go to school (if she felt she wasn't giving us what we needed), our reply was "No, we can figure this out!" And we did. In fact, I like to say that our parents taught us how to learn (vs. conveying some static set of data).

It was quite countercultural back when we did it (late 70s and early 80s). My parents were criticized all of the time (including by their families). Each of us ended up attending a couple years of HS (at a cool magnet HS for gifted and talent (read: nerdy, artsy) kids). The reason we chose to do that was because colleges recommended we get some "real" grades to show we could perform in college. Thank goodness there are other options now.

In my experience, as long as homeschooling is chosen because you wish to expand your child's world and you stay in conversation with your child about how best to do it (e.g., I was in a ballet company, my brother preferred staying home and do carpentry, etc.), it'll be a positive memory.

Good luck & have fun!