Author Topic: Anyone trying for FI while working less than full-time?  (Read 2895 times)


  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 435
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
Anyone trying for FI while working less than full-time?
« on: April 16, 2013, 05:44:47 PM »
Hey all,

I'm graduating with my MPH this summer and am applying to jobs. Because of a great connection I made in grad school, I may have the opportunity to work .75 FTE which is pretty exciting for me. The most important thing for me in my life is work-life balance. I need structure so having regular work is good for me, but I don't really want to work 40 hours/week.

Working full-time at $50,000/year with expenses of about $18,000/year (currently, still trying to reduce this and this figure will decrease if/when my boyfriend and I move in together), I figure I could reach FI working full-time in about 12 years. However, working .75 FTE I could reach FI in about 20 years. These don't include raises so they're not entirely accurate, just ballpark. Plus I want to travel and possibly have kids which would require time off.

I really love my degree and expect that I'll enjoy whatever job I find. It would be nice to be FI sooner but working 10 less hours per week is also pretty nice!

What are your experiences/thoughts with working less than full-time while pursuing FI?


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7252
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Anyone trying for FI while working less than full-time?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 05:57:41 PM »
Could possibly give you time to engage in income generating hobbies/things you want to do?

I suppose it depends on the industry you work in. I work in banking and many part-timers are on the blackberry on their days off. It's not truly part time then when you are basically doing "work" on your days off.

Back to your original question, I don't have the choice but if I did from today I would rather work 12 years full time and get it over and done with than drag it out for 20 years part time. Blocks of time off (months etc ) when you are FI is better than 1 day a week when you are working part time IMO.

12 yrs is probably pessimistic too, something I've noticed is when you have this FI mindset you start smashing your goals very quickly.


  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1680
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Rice Lake, WI
Re: Anyone trying for FI while working less than full-time?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 07:12:57 PM »
I think trying for FI while working less than full-time is great for those of us who made non-mustachian choices earlier in life. With three busy kids I don't want to keep cranking out the work just so I can reach FI and retire the day the last one graduates, so instead I'm planning to drop my hours each year even though that will push back FI.

I don't think full time work or maximizing income is a rule in mustachianism prior to FI, just during any initial debt emergency.


  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 819
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Fairfax, VA, USA
    • The Crowdsourced FIRE simulator
Re: Anyone trying for FI while working less than full-time?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2013, 07:19:22 PM »
I'm in the midst of really trying to decide whether to cut my hours or not.  Right now, to keep our child at home instead of daycare (both financial and emotional decision), my wife works 60% FT and I work 4 10hr shifts (Mon-Thurs) to accommodate our arrangement.  Though, my 4 10hr days turn into 11-12 hr days if I have any sort of appointment or anything to take care of after work.  In the year I've been doing it, I've been feeling a little burnt out, and feel like I have zero time to decompress or do physical activity.

I'm considering dropping to 36 or 32hrs a week, which would allow me to be home a couple hours earlier on either all or half of my days.  Even though FI is about a decade out, my rough estimation says that the difference is between 10yrs to FI at 100%, or 12.5 years at 80%.   It's getting more and more tempting each day.


  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 230
  • Location: Los Angeles
Re: Anyone trying for FI while working less than full-time?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 08:26:42 PM »
Contemplating it at the moment.   I currently work full time and far too many hours at that.  I have an offer for a part-time job that, at two days per week, would allow me to cover my expenses by a fair margin and put some good money aside for retirement (both in the traditional sense and in taxable), along with the possibility of doing whatever (side work, etc) on the other days to add to the 'stash.  If I stay at my current full-time, I'm likely to be FI in about 5-7 years;  at this position, it will be 10 years with some side work (but never more than four days per week, total). 

To top it off, the part-time job that is offered is what I would do if I were FI : it's a job I've wanted for quite some time, and could potentially grow into a semi-full-time job (although also at only four days per week) in a few years.

When I type it out like that, there isn't much of a decision.


  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4569
  • Location: Australasia
Re: Anyone trying for FI while working less than full-time?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2013, 09:12:13 PM »
I think you just have to think about what you envision your life over the next couple of decades to be, and which path will make you more content. This can be difficult to predict and you may change your mind as time goes by, and shift your decisions accordingly.

Personally, I am working full-time at the moment and have been for several years, but I am flirting with the idea of transiting to part-time, either still working for my current company, or doing something else altogether.


  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7089
  • Location: NSW Australia
Re: Anyone trying for FI while working less than full-time?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 06:49:08 AM »
I love working part-time. I've worked part-time since the birth of my first child, 18 years ago. I'm still a downshifter and too old for ER, now just earlier than it would have otherwise have been. Most recently I declared semi-retirement...I'm still working to improve my stache, : cutting my hours from .7 to .5 blew out my retirement date by 2-3 years. Since I cut back I'm enjoying life AND work much much more. 4 days weekends are just great.  My improved quality of life has easily compensated for a couple more years in the workforce.

I think it might depend on your industry, and what happens when you work less hours - different jobs have different inherent structures and requirements....I think there might be an optimum number of hours for a particular job, that gives the best life-work balance. Its worth experimenting with. For example ,when I worked 0.7 I worked Mon, half day Tues, Wed and Friday.  The half day, never was a half day because I was there and "stuff" happened. Thursday was spent mopping up the chaos  at home from Mon-Wed and trying to do business hours errands. Then work again Fri, and just a regular weekend break. My workplace treated me like I was more or less working full-time. By dropping Friday, I now have a 4 day break every week, and its very clear I am only there part-time, and in fact they have employed an additional part-timer to cover.  So my current arrangement is hugely better, disproportionately so compared to the pay cut.

But if as Marty says, you have the sort of job where you spend a lot of time unavoidably doing emails/calls etc on your day off, then its possibly not worth it. I have gone for a particular type of job description within my area, since it lends itself to part-time work. There are other interesting things I could do, but they need a full-timer. Part-timers do need to have a better ability to create and enforce work:life boundaries I think.