Author Topic: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?  (Read 5932 times)

ReadySetMillionaire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1050
  • Location: The Buckeye State
It's Monday, which means most of my lunch break has been spent looking at my projected 2017 budget, playing with retirement calculators, seeing whether both my fiance and I can max 401k/HSA while saving for our wedding next year, etc.

And with that said, something I've been toying with lately is the idea of a "graduated" or "progressive" early retirement. And by that I mean working extremely hard until I'm about 40, then going part-time on a consistent salary for about 5-10 years, and then staying on in an advisory role or starting an entirely new profession by then (I'd love to coach football or baseball at a local high school or something).

For example, I project that my fiance and I will have an approximate $600-700k net worth by the time we are 40. I expect our living expenses to be about $4,000 per month, and that's a high estimate. So this begs the question: when I turn 40, why not negotiate a salary here that would cover living expenses, have me work 20-25 hours per week, then save most of fiance's income? Because even if we saved a paltry $10k per year between ages 40 and 50, the savings would compound to somewhere between $1.3-1.5M. Then we would be 100% financially independent and any extra income is gravy.

Conversely, using the "earn as much as you can to completely FIRE as soon as possible" method, I don't think I'd be able to retire until I was 45-46. And during that time frame, God-willing, I will have a couple little kids who I will want to spend a lot of time with. Furthermore, it just seems to me that "progressively" going to FIRE will allow me more time to discover other interests that may occupy me in early retirement.

In summary:

Progressive Plan

1. Work full time and save at least $30k (or more) per year until we are 40 (12 years from now); leaves us with NW of $611k (plus paid off house);
2. At 40, work part-time in salary/advisory role, reduce hours, save $10k (or more) per year; leaves us with NW of $1.3M (100% FIRE);
3. Do something minimal to earn money and start drawing from 401k at age 50.

Balls to the Wall FIRE

1. Work full time and max everything possible; likely leads to retirement age of 45-46.

Any thoughts?
« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 11:41:40 AM by ReadySetMillionaire »

NoStacheOhio

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2143
  • Location: Cleveland
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2016, 11:44:36 AM »
I think there's merit to scaling your work life up or down, depending on your needs. The only caveat is that not all careers allow for that kind of thing (but if yours does, great).

Personally, I would probably run the worst-case numbers and plan for that. Maybe you end up scaling down at 41 or 42, and working part time a little bit longer, or maybe you decide you're comfortable with the risks and proceed as planned.

ReadySetMillionaire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1050
  • Location: The Buckeye State
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2016, 11:48:26 AM »
I think there's merit to scaling your work life up or down, depending on your needs. The only caveat is that not all careers allow for that kind of thing (but if yours does, great).

Personally, I would probably run the worst-case numbers and plan for that. Maybe you end up scaling down at 41 or 42, and working part time a little bit longer, or maybe you decide you're comfortable with the risks and proceed as planned.

Good point about preparing for the worst.

My OP was to just present the general question, but specifically, I'm an attorney at a mid-size firm. One of my role models here has been in a "part-time" salaried role for about three years now and he seems to be greatly enjoying his career. He keeps pushing back his retirement because he likes the routine of coming to the office and all that. But on a day like today, he didn't come in until noon because he photographed the park all morning.

I'm actually in the process of trying to inherit his book, which is a very specialized niche, so I think that would give me the leverage to stay in a part-time salaried role, much the same way he's been able to leverage it since 2013.

Jon Bon

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 763
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2016, 11:52:04 AM »
Personally I like the progressive plan if you can make it work that is.

It is kind of what my wife and I ended up doing. We were able to reduce the total house that both of us work, so we see each other and the kids more.

That being said, what I came to say is so often employers suck at this! Anyone who is not putting in 50 hours of face time in the office should obviously be sent to the funny farm. That was basically my experience. No WFH, No Part time, No flexible work day.

It was their way or the highway, so I took the highway and the view is great!

FLBiker

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 959
  • Age: 42
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2016, 12:09:05 PM »
I'm in a similar situation to where you imagine yourself to be (albeit with a presumably lower salary).  I'm 40, we've got ~ $510K in investments (mostly index funds) and a $99K mortgage.

And we've definitely made choices over these last few years that lean towards progressive retirement.  DW was an administrator (making ~$55K) and she switched to 9 month faculty (making ~$40K) because we wanted to have a kid.  Once we had our daughter, DW took an unpaid leave of absence, and she'll remain on that leave for another year (2 years total).  We'll both work full time for another couple of years after that, and then I plan to switch to 9 month faculty myself (not guaranteed, but pretty likely).  It would be a bigger drop in salary for me (I make $75K) but by then I figure we'll just need to break even / save a little bit, and let the stash grow.  And I love the idea of me, wife and daughter all having summers off together while daughter is in elementary school.  By high school (if she's anything like me) she'll want nothing to do with us. :)

FIPurpose

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 971
  • Location: ME
    • FI With Purpose
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2016, 12:09:28 PM »
I'm totally there with you on finding a better way to wind down instead of going from 40 hours to 0. I think the roughest part is that this relies more greatly on consistent future returns. Your retirement year would be entirely dependent on your investment return. This leads to the possibility of retiring earlier while working less, but also the possibility of retiring several years later but you would have been only doing part-time work. I think the idea of seasonal work appeals to me a lot more than part-time personally, but those are even harder to find (a big reason I'm seriously considering a move to teaching).

I agree though. I like the idea of reduced work hours for 10-30 years over trying to rush to FI in 10-15 years.

ReadySetMillionaire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1050
  • Location: The Buckeye State
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2016, 01:13:03 PM »
Personally I like the progressive plan if you can make it work that is.

It is kind of what my wife and I ended up doing. We were able to reduce the total house that both of us work, so we see each other and the kids more.

That being said, what I came to say is so often employers suck at this! Anyone who is not putting in 50 hours of face time in the office should obviously be sent to the funny farm. That was basically my experience. No WFH, No Part time, No flexible work day.

It was their way or the highway, so I took the highway and the view is great!

Anybody have any experience with trying to dial it back and it being successful or unsuccessful?

catccc

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1681
  • Location: SE PA
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2016, 01:22:40 PM »
I'm striving for this!  I am hoping it works with my current employer, but if it doesn't, I might be able to find short term contract work.  Like, 6 months on, 6 months off, find another 6 months on gig.  I'd be happier with just part time at my current employer, I think.  There is language in the employee handbook that supports job sharing, but I guess I'll tackle asking about that when the time comes.

I just turned 37 and NW is just shy of $700K right now.  I'm still going to keep at it for another 4-5 years, a bit past 40, taking me to $1.0M-$1.2M, hopefully.  And then consider dropping to part time.  My work is just too pleasant and they pay me well enough that it seems silly to stop working any earlier.  I have great work-life balance.  Hmm, the more I think about it, the more I'll be looking at SWAMI status.

Also, I should point out that 22 year old me was on track to retire in my early 30s.  Then 28 year old me was just starting a family and deciding to be a stay at home parent, lowering my family's earning power by over 75% for a while there.  Now 37 year old me has a 5 and 8 year old, and is on track for retirement in a few years.  I wouldn't trade that time off to be a SAHP for anything, despite what it did to my ER time frame.  Also, if I were to retire now, my kids are in school much of the time.  So it makes a lot of sense, if family is one of your big values, to put off ER in favor of time when they are not yet in school.

I do see it more as just working part-time than early retirement, though.  (Sorry, I've got early retirement police thinking in my head...)

startingsmall

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 616
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2016, 08:56:19 PM »
This is our plan, absolutely. I'm a veterinarian with a side gig as a freelance medical writer; both of those careers offer a lot of PT options. We have a 4-year old and are trying for #2, so limited free time soon is worth more than unlimited free time in 10 years.

Currently 37 yrs old with $190k in savings.
Expenses ~ $4k/mo.
Total income ~ $135k/yr ($40k husband's FT job, $80k my FT job, $15k my side gig)

If things go well, our savings should be around $350k by the time I'm 40. At that point, I'll cut down to PT work ($50k/yr?) and my husband will continue working FT. Unsure when we'll make a big downshift, but I think it should be sometime in our mid-50's (depending on our income in the PT years)

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2016, 09:15:42 PM »
This is my plan eventually - http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/taxes/optimizing-taxes-maximizing-benefits-for-parttime-working/

There are pretty good benefits to earning a MMM required level of income and not much more.


spicykissa

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 158
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2016, 11:01:54 PM »
I am absolutely planning to do this! Luckily nursing has more options like this than many other fields ("women's work" for the win, I guess?). It is more than possible to go to 1 or 2 shifts/week, or PRN and just work a few days per month if you have experience. The new rules on health insurance benefits for fewer hours help with this as well.

I haven't done it personally (it's balls to the wall right now for me!), but several people I know from work are doing it right now. Some want to be home more with young children, some are working on advanced degrees, some do a lot of traveling, and some just chill out a lot! 

I would miss my work immensely if I stopped entirely. I plan to keep at least a toe in the water until I croak if I can, while having plenty of time for other things.   

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2016, 06:33:17 AM »
i'm planning to do something similar just leverage the birth of my future unborn children as the "trigger" to allow me to ask the questions.  I feel as though you need some societal norm in your early 30s to cut back your hours.  ie having a kid or parent or some life event other than, i just would like more free time for myself.  my plan is slightly more accelerated than yours but works somewhat similar.  we will have liquid networth at 30-31 of around 500k at the birth of our first child (assuming our plan works out on the baby making side)  at this point my wife and i can both go to 4-8's havent decided if it will be both having friday off or one taking monday and the other taking friday.  childcare costs could come into play here as well as lifestyle.  then at the birth of our second child around 32-34 we will have close to 1MM in liquid networth and i plan to drop to 3 day weeks - again using a societal trigger of family / children to allow this next step.  we'll FIRE 100% at 37-40 at around 2MM liquid networth ... so thats our progressive goal.  The company i work for is employee owned so its more frowned upon to work less hours than normal, thats why i feel i need some life events to get there.  thats also our major networth driver.  the stock here is nuts so stretching out the time i work here and maybe my wife by this time next year will be huge if we can pull it off.  basically work less and reap the benefits of the stock we have already amassed. only have to work 50% of the year to get stock and keep stock here.  Also toying with the idea of summer sabaticals.

ReadySetMillionaire

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1050
  • Location: The Buckeye State
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2016, 08:43:24 AM »
i'm planning to do something similar just leverage the birth of my future unborn children as the "trigger" to allow me to ask the questions.  I feel as though you need some societal norm in your early 30s to cut back your hours.  ie having a kid or parent or some life event other than, i just would like more free time for myself.  my plan is slightly more accelerated than yours but works somewhat similar.  we will have liquid networth at 30-31 of around 500k at the birth of our first child (assuming our plan works out on the baby making side)  at this point my wife and i can both go to 4-8's havent decided if it will be both having friday off or one taking monday and the other taking friday.  childcare costs could come into play here as well as lifestyle.  then at the birth of our second child around 32-34 we will have close to 1MM in liquid networth and i plan to drop to 3 day weeks - again using a societal trigger of family / children to allow this next step.  we'll FIRE 100% at 37-40 at around 2MM liquid networth ... so thats our progressive goal.  The company i work for is employee owned so its more frowned upon to work less hours than normal, thats why i feel i need some life events to get there.  thats also our major networth driver.  the stock here is nuts so stretching out the time i work here and maybe my wife by this time next year will be huge if we can pull it off.  basically work less and reap the benefits of the stock we have already amassed. only have to work 50% of the year to get stock and keep stock here.  Also toying with the idea of summer sabaticals.

I might be thinking of a different poster, but aren't you incorporating some rental properties during your phase-out periods?

If not you, is anybody else thinking of that idea?

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2016, 08:54:51 AM »
i'm planning to do something similar just leverage the birth of my future unborn children as the "trigger" to allow me to ask the questions.  I feel as though you need some societal norm in your early 30s to cut back your hours.  ie having a kid or parent or some life event other than, i just would like more free time for myself.  my plan is slightly more accelerated than yours but works somewhat similar.  we will have liquid networth at 30-31 of around 500k at the birth of our first child (assuming our plan works out on the baby making side)  at this point my wife and i can both go to 4-8's havent decided if it will be both having friday off or one taking monday and the other taking friday.  childcare costs could come into play here as well as lifestyle.  then at the birth of our second child around 32-34 we will have close to 1MM in liquid networth and i plan to drop to 3 day weeks - again using a societal trigger of family / children to allow this next step.  we'll FIRE 100% at 37-40 at around 2MM liquid networth ... so thats our progressive goal.  The company i work for is employee owned so its more frowned upon to work less hours than normal, thats why i feel i need some life events to get there.  thats also our major networth driver.  the stock here is nuts so stretching out the time i work here and maybe my wife by this time next year will be huge if we can pull it off.  basically work less and reap the benefits of the stock we have already amassed. only have to work 50% of the year to get stock and keep stock here.  Also toying with the idea of summer sabaticals.

I might be thinking of a different poster, but aren't you incorporating some rental properties during your phase-out periods?

If not you, is anybody else thinking of that idea?

no not looking to incorporate rentals no real reason to for us.  our driving factor for FIRE is my company's stock program.  its absolutely insane so if they will let me work 1k hours a year and keep my stock i'll probably go to that for a few years before FIRE. may even end up working PT longer just to keep it around.  thinking 3 day weeks with 2 months off or so each summer

druth

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 333
  • Location: 'sota
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2016, 09:06:58 AM »
If things continue on their current path I don't intend to ever again work more than 25 hours at my main job.  Basically with never saving another dollar I will be FI in 20 years.  I don't expect this to happen, as I am genetically incapable of not saving money. :)

A couple months ago I left my job for a higher paying per hour freelance option with significant room for growth.  The owner of a company I contract through does the same job and has raised her bill rate from 90 to 125 in 2 years and still can't keep up with demand. 

I calculated I need 11 hours a week of work to meet expense, at 20 hours I'll retire in 7 years, at 15 I'll retire in 8 years, at 12 I'll retire in 11.  And that's assuming I don't raise my bill rate, never buy a rental property, never get more side jobs, etc.

On the other hand If I had stayed at my old job I would be FI in 3 years.  I have only been freelancing for about 2 months and it's taken me a while to disengage but I'm so much happier and more productive in all parts of my life.  My boyfriend says I'm more creative now and more motivated.  I used to come home too tired to do things 6 nights a week, and on the one day I wasn't I had no interest in going out (This is the one day I get to myself!).  Now I'm only tired from work 1 or 2 days.

I do feel like this is definitely violating some mustachian principles though.  Pete seems to be all about working your butt off for however long and then immediately doing a 180 to doing 100% what you want.  On the other hand I'm just going to slowly loaf my way to FI.  :)
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 10:37:12 AM by druth »

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2016, 09:12:28 AM »
If things continue on their current path I don't intend to ever again work more than 25 hours at my main job.  Basically with never saving another dollar I will be FI in 20 years.  I don't expect this to happen, as I am genetically incapable of saving money. :)

A couple months ago I left my job for a higher paying per hour freelance option with significant room for growth.  The owner of a company I contract through does the same job and has raised her bill rate from 90 to 125 in 2 years and still can't keep up with demand. 

I calculated I need 11 hours a week of work to meet expense, at 20 hours I'll retire in 7 years, at 15 I'll retire in 8 years, at 12 I'll retire in 11.  And that's assuming I don't raise my bill rate, never buy a rental property, never get more side jobs, etc.

On the other hand If I had stayed at my old job I would be FI in 3 years.  I have only been freelancing for about 2 months and it's taken me a while to disengage but I'm so much happier and more productive in all parts of my life.  My boyfriend says I'm more creative now and more motivated.  I used to come home too tired to do things 6 nights a week, and on the one day I wasn't I had no interest in going out (This is the one day I get to myself!).  Now I'm only tired from work 1 or 2 days.

I do feel like this is definitely violating some mustachian principles though.  Pete seems to be all about working your butt off for however long and then immediately doing a 180 to doing 100% what you want.  On the other hand I'm just going to slowly loaf my way to FI.  :)

i wouldnt say thats slowly loafing i'd basically call that FI if i could work 12 hours a week and hit FI in 10 years i'd do it

welliamwallace

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Eastern PA
  • Trying to squeeze out those whiskers
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2016, 09:18:33 AM »
We are planning for a "punctuated" or step-wise path to early retirement where I stop working 5-10 years before my spouse. Plan:

2010-2016: I start my engineering career while my spouse (who wasn't my spouse at the time) finishes schooling to become a dietitian.
2016-2022: We both work, DINK, stashing away 50% of our income.
2022-2023: Have one or two kids. I continue working for the first year or two while wifey takes time off of work to care for them.
2024: I retire, become a stay at home dad while wife works another 5-10 years and we "coast" towards retirement, spending only as much as she earns and letting our stash grow til we hit our number.

TexasRunner

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 927
  • Age: 27
  • Location: Somewhere in Tejas
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2016, 09:20:04 AM »
Posting to follow.  Interesting discussion and curious to see what gets thrown out there.  :)

MasterStache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2092
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2016, 09:45:05 AM »
We are planning for a "punctuated" or step-wise path to early retirement where I stop working 5-10 years before my spouse. Plan:

2010-2016: I start my engineering career while my spouse (who wasn't my spouse at the time) finishes schooling to become a dietitian.
2016-2022: We both work, DINK, stashing away 50% of our income.
2022-2023: Have one or two kids. I continue working for the first year or two while wifey takes time off of work to care for them.
2024: I retire, become a stay at home dad while wife works another 5-10 years and we "coast" towards retirement, spending only as much as she earns and letting our stash grow til we hit our number.

We are following a somewhat similar path. We already have two kids (we are both 40 years old). I plan on working another 3-4 years at which point I will retire from FT and switch to PT. My wife will continue to work for another probably 10 years at FT while maintaining healthcare and putting a bit more into our stash. Meanwhile we won't touch a penny of it until she is fully FI, probably around 50. 

Our son should be long gone out of the house and our daughter getting ready to head off.

druth

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 333
  • Location: 'sota
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2016, 10:44:40 AM »
i wouldnt say thats slowly loafing i'd basically call that FI if i could work 12 hours a week and hit FI in 10 years i'd do it

I 100% credit having low expenses.  Everybody here has heard it a million times, but cutting spending matters as much or more than making more money.  Even making $40 an hour, it would be so easy to blow a bunch of it on crap, have to work 40 hours just to make ends meet, and have such a high spend rate that I would never be able to retire.  When you only need 14k to live off of it's just not that hard to build up to, and it's also not that hard for a skilled worker to make that much per year(plus mortgage right now) at significantly reduced hours.

For that matter if I needed 40(or even 20) hours to live on there is no way I could have taken the risk of quitting my old job to get my current higher rate.  I was freelancing at 7 hours a week when I left my old job, with an easy path to getting a few more hours, but the path to getting 40 hours is a long way off and not something I could build to while doing another job.  Man, financial freedom is great!
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 10:47:07 AM by druth »

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #20 on: October 11, 2016, 11:02:26 AM »
i wouldnt say thats slowly loafing i'd basically call that FI if i could work 12 hours a week and hit FI in 10 years i'd do it

I 100% credit having low expenses.  Everybody here has heard it a million times, but cutting spending matters as much or more than making more money.  Even making $40 an hour, it would be so easy to blow a bunch of it on crap, have to work 40 hours just to make ends meet, and have such a high spend rate that I would never be able to retire.  When you only need 14k to live off of it's just not that hard to build up to, and it's also not that hard for a skilled worker to make that much per year(plus mortgage right now) at significantly reduced hours.

For that matter if I needed 40(or even 20) hours to live on there is no way I could have taken the risk of quitting my old job to get my current higher rate.  I was freelancing at 7 hours a week when I left my old job, with an easy path to getting a few more hours, but the path to getting 40 hours is a long way off and not something I could build to while doing another job.  Man, financial freedom is great!

well yes.. we save 66% of our current income which means we could work just 13 hour weeks and let our current stash grow.  but i have to maintain 20 hour weeks where i am to keep my stock shares, my primary driver to FIRE so i'm golden handcuffed.  hence my plan above.  use life events to make societally accepted cut backs to my work schedule.

zarfus

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 101
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #21 on: October 11, 2016, 12:07:55 PM »
i'm planning to do something similar just leverage the birth of my future unborn children as the "trigger" to allow me to ask the questions.  I feel as though you need some societal norm in your early 30s to cut back your hours.

I just had this conversation with my boss yesterday!  We are expecting our third baby in 3 years, so that was the ammo I gave for my reasoning.  Truth is, cutting hours into 3 10-hour days will end up saving me money vs daycare for 3 little ones.  My wife already has been working 2 10-hour days (opposite days) to watch the kids for 3 days.

At 30 hours, I maintain my benefits, too.  This whole idea just came to me on Friday, and it seems like such a no-brainer-slam-dunk for our situation!  My bosses are still noodling over it, but I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Waterbug

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2016, 01:51:41 PM »
Absolutely! The primary goal for me is having more time to spend with my family, and the sooner the better.  Your plan sounds like an excellent one and kudos to you for planning now.

In four years I will be eligible to go part time while keeping my full time benefits. I certainly won't be FI by then, but as you mentioned having a stash that can continue to grow while working to cover expenses is an option. The biggest downside to this is my son will already be in school in 4 years.

I would have loved to be a SAH parent when my son was born but the numbers did not support it. I had terrible management at the time so didn't have an option to come back on a part time basis. Now we are planning for another child and I have an awesome manager so as a previous poster mentioned I will use that life change as a way to open the door to the possibility of reduced hours. My manager has already supported WFH and flexible full time schedules with several coworkers so it seems a realistic option. If I can swing it I would be happy to be part time for a few years now even if I have to go back to full time for a bit during the school years to make up for it.

The whole idea of MMM to me is to live your best life and I think a phased in approach to retirement can be just as fulfilling as all out RE. At any rate you are doing the right thing by saving as much as you can now so that later you have more options!
« Last Edit: October 11, 2016, 02:02:40 PM by Waterbug »

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2016, 01:52:53 PM »
i'm planning to do something similar just leverage the birth of my future unborn children as the "trigger" to allow me to ask the questions.  I feel as though you need some societal norm in your early 30s to cut back your hours.

I just had this conversation with my boss yesterday!  We are expecting our third baby in 3 years, so that was the ammo I gave for my reasoning.  Truth is, cutting hours into 3 10-hour days will end up saving me money vs daycare for 3 little ones.  My wife already has been working 2 10-hour days (opposite days) to watch the kids for 3 days.

At 30 hours, I maintain my benefits, too.  This whole idea just came to me on Friday, and it seems like such a no-brainer-slam-dunk for our situation!  My bosses are still noodling over it, but I'm feeling pretty good about it.

yeah we have to work 30 to keep benefits but flexing to 4-10s is out of the question here so i'd imagine 3-10s would be as well.  it would be nice to save on the daycare costs but i dont feel they will inhibit our FIRE as much.  Also how easy is it to find part time daycare for 3 days a week - i'd assume not easy.

formerlydivorcedmom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 615
  • Location: Texas
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2016, 02:06:36 PM »
My husband and I have been pondering this question for the last few months.

I've been trying to determine what type of job I want next - whether to go into management or not.  If I go into management, I may make more money, which will let me retire a little earlier.  If I stay technical, I have more flexibility to work part-time (or contract) later. 

I've pretty much decided that I do want to ease my way into early retirement - primarily so that I can spend more time with my kids before they graduate.

I'm concerned about doing it too early, though, because I don't know whether I can count on that type of work being stable for more than a few years.  So I think we'll wait until we get 2/3 of our stash built up and then I'm going to ease back.

boarder42

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7849
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2016, 02:32:03 PM »
My husband and I have been pondering this question for the last few months.

I've been trying to determine what type of job I want next - whether to go into management or not.  If I go into management, I may make more money, which will let me retire a little earlier.  If I stay technical, I have more flexibility to work part-time (or contract) later. 

I've pretty much decided that I do want to ease my way into early retirement - primarily so that I can spend more time with my kids before they graduate.

I'm concerned about doing it too early, though, because I don't know whether I can count on that type of work being stable for more than a few years.  So I think we'll wait until we get 2/3 of our stash built up and then I'm going to ease back.

i have this fight constantly i'm naturally more a manager than technical but constantly fight the idea that if i stay technical i can get contract work easier later and work a flexible schedule more easily.

when you say 2/3rds you mean total amount or 2/3rds of the way there, b/c once you have 2/3rds of your total dollar amount you'll be much closer on an annual level.

Axecleaver

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3366
  • Location: New York
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #26 on: October 11, 2016, 02:36:48 PM »
I think it's situational. Everybody has factors that influence their ramp-down period. How easy it is to make money part-time in your career, a contract end date, kids leaving the nest, whatever. I started a consulting company a few years ago, and have grown it very quickly. I'm tying my FIRE to the end of my primary contract, which is June, 2020.

We won't be quite to where we need to be to FIRE by then, so the goal will shift to covering expenses while letting the stash grow until it's enough. I like what I do, so there is no need to stop entirely. If the contract gets extended, then I shift more of the work over to my employees and just work enough to stay engaged with the stuff I enjoy. If it doesn't, then I pick up 500 hours a year in consulting work, which is enough to cover expenses. Maybe I sell the company at some point. Maybe I diversify into other topics that interest me. Maybe I spend some time mentoring the younger generation in exchange for equity, a la Shark Tank.

I envision a pretty active, entrepreneurial retirement. It's not what a lot of people would choose for themselves, but I think it will work for me.

FIRE Artist

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 567
  • Location: YEG
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #27 on: October 11, 2016, 03:00:32 PM »
Yes.  Step one for me was joining the public sector.  Less pay, but guaranteed no working beyond my contractual 38.75 hrs/week and still making >100K.  A huge lifestyle gain over my 60+ hrs/wk in industry.  Public sector is also the perfect setting for going part time as I hope to do in 3-4 years, something I would have found impossible in the private sector in my field. 

zephyr911

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3628
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Northern Alabama
  • I'm just happy to be here. \m/ ^_^ \m/
    • Pinhook Development LLC
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #28 on: October 11, 2016, 03:03:52 PM »
Yes. Ours goes like this:

Accumulation phase: earn a lot, spend a little, and save a pile, increase side income, pay off debts, streamline cash flow, etc. NW is probably $400K by the end, but the number isn't critical. The main thing is to get side income higher than expenditures, and we're basically there; other than continuing to max TSP/IRA/etc, all free cash goes toward minimizing cost of living (energy-efficient house, minimal debt, etc) and maximizing low-effort business opportunities.

Next spring/summer (ages 39&35)...
Partial FIRE, Phase I: quit FT work but continue my ANG career (one weekend a month, 2wks a year), or go IMA and work about a month at once each year, plus a few hours a week in real estate, primarily as the buying agent when my companies' profits are reinvested. DW goes back to freelance, 10-20hrs/wk. We travel more, but continue saving a little, let investments compound, and enjoy our free time.

Partial FIRE, Phase II (ages 42&38): in 2019 and 20, both my companies start paying out most of their profits. We Stash the surplus or dial back the work here if we're tired of it. Another 2 years, and I've locked in a reserve retirement, but I keep doing it if I'm having fun. NW hits the upper 7 figures and work becomes purely optional.

Full FIRE: whenever we get tired of the occasional work. This may be a gradual transition, and we will probably always do volunteer work. The line is blurry for me, since FIRE has always been less about quitting and more about decoupling my personal goals from the need to earn a paycheck.

formerlydivorcedmom

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 615
  • Location: Texas
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #29 on: October 11, 2016, 03:24:14 PM »
My husband and I have been pondering this question for the last few months.

I've been trying to determine what type of job I want next - whether to go into management or not.  If I go into management, I may make more money, which will let me retire a little earlier.  If I stay technical, I have more flexibility to work part-time (or contract) later. 

I've pretty much decided that I do want to ease my way into early retirement - primarily so that I can spend more time with my kids before they graduate.

I'm concerned about doing it too early, though, because I don't know whether I can count on that type of work being stable for more than a few years.  So I think we'll wait until we get 2/3 of our stash built up and then I'm going to ease back.

i have this fight constantly i'm naturally more a manager than technical but constantly fight the idea that if i stay technical i can get contract work easier later and work a flexible schedule more easily.

when you say 2/3rds you mean total amount or 2/3rds of the way there, b/c once you have 2/3rds of your total dollar amount you'll be much closer on an annual level.
2/3 of the total amount. Then I can work to cover expenses for a few years and let compounding finish the job :)

ozbeach

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 293
  • Location: Australia
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #30 on: October 11, 2016, 03:54:31 PM »
I've done a variant of this. Two years ago I transferred jobs to move to a LCOL area which also happened to be a much nicer place to live in once retired. In four weeks time I am starting a year sabbatical during which time I will decide whether to go back or not, but if I do it will be at three or four days a week, and only for a max of two years.

ender

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4734
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #31 on: October 11, 2016, 07:21:55 PM »
i have this fight constantly i'm naturally more a manager than technical but constantly fight the idea that if i stay technical i can get contract work easier later and work a flexible schedule more easily.

when you say 2/3rds you mean total amount or 2/3rds of the way there, b/c once you have 2/3rds of your total dollar amount you'll be much closer on an annual level.

Haha yeah.

You have to really move up the manager path or stay in the technical path. But stagnating at the manager path is death to an early retiree aspiree!

waltworks

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3235
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #32 on: October 11, 2016, 07:34:53 PM »
Anybody have any experience with trying to dial it back and it being successful or unsuccessful?

Yes. I have gradually cut back (I'm at ~30 hours a week now and will drop to ~20 next year) and have no immediate plans to fully retire until our kids (currently 2 and 4) are old enough to appreciate/enjoy international travel.

I could work 40 or 50 hours a week (and my wife could go get a job) and we'd be fully FIRE in 2 or 3 years, I'd estimate. But the kids will only be little once, so to me there's no point in sending them off to daycare and putting my nose to the grindstone.

Everyone is different, of course, but I have zero interest in the exact date I retire, or in sacrificing much of my current quality of life to get there. It helps that I own my own business, have flexible hours, and enjoy what I do, though. If you're just miserable at work, the ideal solution might be very different.

-W

TravelJunkyQC

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 467
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Québec City, Canada
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2016, 07:52:46 AM »
I'm loving this thread - this is my idea of FIRE. I love what I do, and I'm fortunate that it's a flexible field.

pachnik

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1788
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
Re: Is Anyone Else Striving for a Graduated or Progressive Early Retirement?
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2016, 11:25:17 AM »
Well, mine could easily end up being graduated retirement - but not an early one. 

i work in a small company and the owners plan to retire within the next 4 - 5 years.  I really like working for them so plan to stay until the end.  Hopefully, at that point, my stash will be big enough that I can just work for expenses.  By this I mean doing temporary office work or another part-time job.  This is the plan, but of course anything could happen.