Author Topic: Calling all downshifters!  (Read 50956 times)

Linea_Norway

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #100 on: November 05, 2018, 01:26:12 AM »
At my job we had a health check last week. There it was found that I have very high blood pressure. This is after downshifting to 80% in September. Last year is must have been a LOT higher.
This only shows I did a good thing by downshifting, but it is still not enough. I have an appointment with my GP next week. We'll see what the result of that is.

eco mom

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #101 on: November 24, 2018, 11:22:24 PM »
why you did it?
After having my first son and enjoying a luxurious 6 month maternity leave (mostly unpaid, boo), I couldn't imagine going back full time. I had a crappy commute and felt like it was time to either downshift or find a different job so that I would be able to at least not spend as much time commuting when I could be with my son. (It was max 1 hour each way, more like 30 minutes in the mornings.) So I pushed hard for half time, and eventually went up to 3 days/week because the commute, it just made sense to me to do 3 full days if I was going to bother going in on 3 days.

what your downshift looks like?
I worked M,W,Th for about 2 years until having my second son.

what do you like about it?
I liked that I got to continue to be intellectually challenged and interact with adults in a work context. Solving problems, feeling valued for my tenure at the company, etc. In total I was there 9 years. I also liked that I could do playdates with my first son and some stay at home moms, and felt kind of like I was bridging two worlds. I also got some pretty sweet benefits that I was fortunate applied to me even in my part time state. I also loved having the extra time with my kiddo, but not so much that I wanted it every day of the week, constantly. I felt like it was a pretty good balance when I only had the one kiddo. My husband is also off on Fridays so the extra time with him was great, too!

what isn't so awesome about it?
It always felt like I wasn't fully in one world or the other. I had set days of day care, and occasionally would have to ask for an additional half day or full day if they had availability because there was a meeting I couldn't miss. Or I'd miss a fun team lunch because it was on my day off. Also, SAHMs would try to schedule with me and unless they stuck with my day off, I would be the difficult one to schedule with. They would have activities like music class or something on the days I was off, so I'd barely see them, or they just wouldn't think to invite me to things and then I'd have the awkward bump into them on the bus moments.

what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
So actually, I went back to work after having my second just recently, thinking I would continue with the same 3 day/week schedule, and it was a little like my first time going back in that part of me hated the idea of not spending time bonding with my kids all the time, but I also loved the idea of not being with two small kids constantly. It turns out they didn't want me back unless I converted back to full time, so I said goodbye. I now have been enjoying even more extra time with my kiddos, bonding with my au pair, and doing a lot of cooking, some volunteering, and somehow still feeling very busy despite not working and having up to 45 hours/week of child care. I still feel like 2 young kids is a full time job even if the hours are just shifted to middle of the night wake-ups and evenings/weekends, and honestly I stick around and help or chat with my au pair a lot of the time too.

blingwrx

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #102 on: November 28, 2018, 11:32:32 PM »
why you did it?
Due to some bad luck my wife and I both were laid off a few months ago all while she's expecting our 2nd son. I received a pretty decent service package so it gave me time to think. Wife was planning to be a SAHM anyway since we'd have 2 kids soon. For the past 2 yrs I was also working as a freelancer during nights and weekends bringing in around 30k annually so we still have some income stream. The lack of insurance and benefits did make me go out and check out the job market but I didn't see anything good at the pay I was used to overall I'm quite bored of my field and I was not motivated to get a similar job in a cubicle. Then I also figured since i'm having another kid soon i should just take time off and test out the downshifting so i can be home to spend time with the family.
 
what your downshift looks like?
Currently I'm self employed working at home picking up projects from Upwork. I have 2 steady clients for whom I do development work for and they've been sending more work my way as I've made myself available during regular business hours M-F. So I expect to bring in 50-80k a yr working 20-30hrs a week depending on how many hours I put in. This is a far cry from the 180k we were bringing in when my wife and I were both employed FT and certainly will slow down my full FIRE plan, but I guess there are benefits too as we're saving on commuting, child care expenses, a lot of tax breaks for lower income family of 4 and getting to spend a lot of time with the little ones and overall it's less stress.

what isn't so awesome about it?
The fact that my hours while less are sporadic so it's tough to make day plans with the family, the clients can call upon me any time during regular business hours and I can only bill them for the time i'm doing work. Also no benefits. With a FT job you get Holidays, vacation days, 401k matching, health, dental and you get paid for downtime. I have two big clients and when it gets busy I feel like i'm working two FT jobs without the benefits and at half the pay. There's definitely busy and slow times but it's hard to predict and plan vacations around so i usually end up working a bit on vacation as I don't want to lose out on the projects. The stress is definitely better working for myself and less hours, I think once i figure out how to manage my time better and the clients expectations and maybe increase my hourly rates as i get more established things will get easier.

Health insurance is a big expense and I do want to get the maximum ACA subsidies so while I want to make more so i can put more into investments so I can FIRE sooner I also have to be mindful of not making too much or I'll end up losing out on ACA subsidies. The good thing is I can contribute a lot to my individual 401k and deduct a lot of business expenses to lower my MAGI as much as possible when I do make more.

what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
I'm 50% of the way to my FI # so i figured I will continue with the freelancing part time and to cover my expenses and let my investments coast to FIRE in 7-10yrs. I may even continue doing a little freelancing after reaching FI so I'd still feel like I was productive and definitely helps to cushion the account and allowing for more splurging on vacations and such.



Linea_Norway

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #103 on: December 03, 2018, 05:42:05 AM »
Heard at work today:

Other co-worker had tried to call me last Friday, but I wasn't there.

Me to 2 co-workers: I am not here on Fridays anymore.
Co-worker 1 to me: Oh, you are working 80% now?
Me: Yes.
Co-worker 2: Linda is so rich that she doesn't need to work fulltime.
Me thinking: Is he talking about the other Linda in our department, the one who tried to call me on Friday? No, he is looking at me, he is probably talking about me...
Co-worker 2: <Laughing out loud at me taking so much time to catch his joke>
Me: Um, yes, I save so much of my income that I can afford to work a bit less. And I did it for my health, to reduce stress.

I didn't mention to them that I intend to FIRE and that even my FIRE plans can afford a 20% reduction in brutto income.
I think they will get a bit of a shock next year if I would tell them.

Life in Balance

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #104 on: December 03, 2018, 08:29:21 AM »
How lovely to have Fridays off!  And to reap the benefits of your hard work.  You're inspiring me to go part-time for my health.

onlykelsey

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #105 on: December 03, 2018, 09:20:39 AM »
Heard at work today:

Other co-worker had tried to call me last Friday, but I wasn't there.

Me to 2 co-workers: I am not here on Fridays anymore.
Co-worker 1 to me: Oh, you are working 80% now?
Me: Yes.
Co-worker 2: Linda is so rich that she doesn't need to work fulltime.
Me thinking: Is he talking about the other Linda in our department, the one who tried to call me on Friday? No, he is looking at me, he is probably talking about me...
Co-worker 2: <Laughing out loud at me taking so much time to catch his joke>
Me: Um, yes, I save so much of my income that I can afford to work a bit less. And I did it for my health, to reduce stress.

I didn't mention to them that I intend to FIRE and that even my FIRE plans can afford a 20% reduction in brutto income.
I think they will get a bit of a shock next year if I would tell them.
I have never lived in Norway, but I've lived in Denmark and Sweden, and this sounds a little bit like a Janteloven issue to me (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante for the uninitiated)

Linea_Norway

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #106 on: December 04, 2018, 01:08:59 AM »
Heard at work today:

Other co-worker had tried to call me last Friday, but I wasn't there.

Me to 2 co-workers: I am not here on Fridays anymore.
Co-worker 1 to me: Oh, you are working 80% now?
Me: Yes.
Co-worker 2: Linda is so rich that she doesn't need to work fulltime.
Me thinking: Is he talking about the other Linda in our department, the one who tried to call me on Friday? No, he is looking at me, he is probably talking about me...
Co-worker 2: <Laughing out loud at me taking so much time to catch his joke>
Me: Um, yes, I save so much of my income that I can afford to work a bit less. And I did it for my health, to reduce stress.

I didn't mention to them that I intend to FIRE and that even my FIRE plans can afford a 20% reduction in brutto income.
I think they will get a bit of a shock next year if I would tell them.
I have never lived in Norway, but I've lived in Denmark and Sweden, and this sounds a little bit like a Janteloven issue to me (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Jante for the uninitiated)

Could be... That is why I think I'd better work out some cover story when we really are going to FIRE next year. Probably the consultancy story.

enFuego

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #107 on: December 04, 2018, 06:40:01 PM »
Thanks to all who shared their stories here!  I appreciate the different perspectives and experiences.

I find it hard to imagine myself downshifting but it is a good thought exercise for me to consider different ways of structuring my path to FIRE.  My company currently doesn't support reduced hours except for a handful of very senior people who have been then for decades so I don't see it happening in place at this time.  An alternative would be consulting gigs with intermittent time off although not sure I want to deal with what goes along with that.  I do feel like the once kids are fully launched that we will be able to get to our fire number within a couple years and I feel right now that I'd rather put in a couple years full time than many years part time.  Eat my vegetables, so to speak, then never have to earn a dime again - just focus on volunteering, traveling, and hobbies.  Current thinking is that's a better fit for me.  DW however is probably more likely to want to work a couple days a week for a long time.  As I said, some food for thought as we figure out our path.  Thanks again!

Kakanui

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #108 on: December 06, 2018, 08:47:20 PM »
An update

Iíve survive my 1 year volunteering and am heading back to home in a couple of weeks to resume my downsized/ semi-fired lifestyle. Iíve enjoyed my year out here but still struggle a bit with the oh man, you mean Iíve got to work Friday too? However, since my family are back home the extra days at work have kept me occupied so not minded it from that PoV but is a pain having to spend Saturday doing household chores and looking for groceries (not always easy out here) and then only having Sunday as a proper chill out day/weekend.

I have a part time gig lined up when I get home, after taking 4-5 weeks off over summer: 3x6 hr days per week. Thatíll do me.

What will I do on my return?
Looking forward to my long weekends back, reconnecting with family and friends and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegies- which are in very short supply out where I am!  Also a bit of maintenance on my rentals to catch up on over summer and maybe road trip with my father too.

Also, Iíll be downsizing into one of my rentals (a nice small home of about 80m2 or approx 800sqft I guess) so a 4-5 min walk to work and hopefully a have a reno project or two to do on that.

Kakanui


Linea_Norway

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #109 on: December 07, 2018, 04:31:23 AM »
An update

Iíve survive my 1 year volunteering and am heading back to home in a couple of weeks to resume my downsized/ semi-fired lifestyle. Iíve enjoyed my year out here but still struggle a bit with the oh man, you mean Iíve got to work Friday too? However, since my family are back home the extra days at work have kept me occupied so not minded it from that PoV but is a pain having to spend Saturday doing household chores and looking for groceries (not always easy out here) and then only having Sunday as a proper chill out day/weekend.

I have a part time gig lined up when I get home, after taking 4-5 weeks off over summer: 3x6 hr days per week. Thatíll do me.

What will I do on my return?
Looking forward to my long weekends back, reconnecting with family and friends and eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegies- which are in very short supply out where I am!  Also a bit of maintenance on my rentals to catch up on over summer and maybe road trip with my father too.

Also, Iíll be downsizing into one of my rentals (a nice small home of about 80m2 or approx 800sqft I guess) so a 4-5 min walk to work and hopefully a have a reno project or two to do on that.

Kakanui

Working 3 shorter days a week sounds like a sweet deal.

As you have your rentals "working" for you, there is no need to work full time beside that.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #110 on: March 17, 2019, 09:50:53 AM »
I've "downshifted in place", unintentionally.

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

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

Reviving this thread with an update.

The above lasted all the way till July of 2018! I switched to a fast paced and demanding career in August, and will downshift again in June, with a 10 week break from work. Carpe Diem my friends!

Step37

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #111 on: March 17, 2019, 06:45:17 PM »
- why you did it?
Before my current position, I was at a company that was growing very quickly. For the last three to four years of it, almost all I did was work - long days, weekend days (to ďcatch up,Ē which obviously never happened). The culture got toxic and I was burnt out; the company getting sold was the end of the line for me, as I had no loyalty to the new owners. I agreed to go to work for a friend at his one-man operation; he wanted to grow the business, but needed someone to do the books and admin. I agreed, on the condition that I could buy in if I thought it made sense after getting the books in order (seeing the shareholders of the company I left get 80x their investment after eight years may have influenced my desire to want a piece of ownership;).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE

Around March/April 2018 the busy season started. I worked some extra days during that time, but have mostly managed to keep it to 3 days per week (2 days per week simply did not happen yet, sadly). I am starting to get a lot of pushback from one of my business partners (the majority shareholder) about working more. Heís not saying it directly, but it feels like he wants me to implement our expansion into a new geographical location. Iíve explained that since I have less than zero enthusiasm for expansion (or working more, period), that itís not me who will be driving this initiative.

This ďscheduleĒ conflict (which is mostly him having terrible work habits and worse organizational skills and thinking my presence in the office will help ó my tasks that Iím responsible for are easily done in 2-3 days per week) is going to end up with me leaving the company, I am quite certain. Provided I can get bought out for fair value of my shares, Iím completely fine with that. I donít think that he will be; it will make for an interesting transition (possibly something for the Epic FU Money thread, but I hope not). The person I hired in July 2017 to take over my everyday tasks is still awesome and I am eternally grateful to her for making my downshift possible.

Iíve gotten more comfortable in the volunteer treasurer role. It turned out to be a bit more work than expected, but after getting past the first year, everything is more familiar and should go more smoothly. The monthly board meetings can be a bit of a drag, but I have met some great people in the community by taking on this role, so I think it is worth it. Itís not forever, either!

Ynari

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #112 on: March 19, 2019, 06:59:36 PM »
I'm a bit late to the party, but admin has started working out how to let me go PT next year! It looks like it's going to work out.

- why you did it?
FT teaching is 50+ hours per week, easy. I feel like I can't even do my job properly in that time - particularly because I like doing the "fun" stuff like running afterschool clubs and leading programs. I also have two classes to complete to get my Master's. I can't do that, teach full time, and maintain my mental health.

- what your downshift looks like?
I should be at 50% time (3 classes instead of 5; 1 subject instead of 2). Benefits are still offered. I'll also be taking my classes (~10 hours per week time investment). So this will still total 35 hours per week or so, but with breaks and holidays it averages less.

- what do you like about it?
Prioritizing the parts of the job I like. Not taking work home. Keeping benefits. Staying sane. Still get school breaks off.

- what isn't so awesome about it?
I still don't get to pick my own schedule. Boundaries will be hard to maintain. Raises will be less frequent.

- what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
Half time pays my expenses but no more. My stash isn't big enough for coastFI (7% at current spend rate). After I finish my MEd, I'll either bump up hours to 75% time, take on tutoring gigs, work some marginal hours over the summer, or something like that. RE around age 50. It's not perfect but it'll do.


TartanTallulah

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #113 on: March 20, 2019, 02:49:06 AM »
I'm an accidental downshifter. Last year I was in an unsustainable work situation. I handed in my notice at the beginning of July. I had a long compulsory notice period and actually finished work at the beginning of November, aged 54. When I resigned I'd done the sums and knew we could survive financially even if I didn't work again, but it ended up being a FU money/jump and the net will appear situation and by the time I'd finished I'd been offered my current role. I'm now doing the parts of my job I enjoy, in manageable 6-hour chunks 2-4 days a week, on a freelance basis.

Good things:
I feel a million times better physically and mentally for having escaped from my previous job.
I still get to do what I trained to do, what I loved doing for most of my career, and what I've got decades of experience of doing, but I'm spared the stress and tedium that comes with doing that role in a committed way.
I do enough that every working day isn't like a Monday, which is how a former colleague described their experience of working one day a week.
The money definitely helps! I've never been without an income and it's reassuring not to have to dip into savings and investments just yet. I have lots of transferable skills, but doing what I've always done is a far more efficient way of generating an income than doing any other form of work I could secure easily at my age. The amount is enough to bridge the gap between what my husband earns and what we spend, with scope to contribute to our investments most months.
My husband is a little younger than I am and is still working, and it makes sense for both of us to work part time and then both retire or have a long break from work together.
I have just enough of a work commitment to prevent me from getting up to the neck in voluntary work, which I knew was a risk. Friends who have done that seem to be busier and more tied down than I am, but without the compensation of being paid in money and appreciation.
I have time for marathon training for the first time in years, but not so much time that I'm likely to end up overtrained.

Less good things:
I still go to work. Duh! My time isn't entirely my own. And although I no longer have 13+ hour working days I do work some weekend days as those are better remunerated.
I still have to belong to professional organisations and jump through regulatory hoops.
With all this extra time on my hands, I feel as if I ought to be keeping the house like a new pin and getting on top of the gardening. Nope.

Plans:
I'll keep doing what I'm doing for as long as that specific role is available and I don't mind doing it. I can't imagine taking on a "real job" again. If even the amount/type of work I'm doing starts to feel like an imposition, or if the nature of the work changes to incorporate the things I "retired" to avoid, I'll stop and drift into proper retirement.
 


Malcat

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #114 on: March 21, 2019, 07:01:33 AM »
Fuuuuuuuuck me.

*Sigh*

Okay...so I just volunteered to work 25% more hours, which sounds like a lot, but it's really just a 3rd work day every second week. It will bump my income by over 25%.

I don't need more money as I have no FIRE goal and I make more than enough as it is, so while more money is nice, it's really not a motivator for me.

However, I'm in serious, dangerous level of demand right now and it's affecting my ability to do my job and my enjoyment of my work. The owner is also over burdened and desperate for me to take on more hours so that she can cut back. In 6 months though, at this rate of growth, we're totally fucked.

I will be using this move to ram-rod through some institutional changes that I've been hesitant to push too hard because there's resistance. But me coming back after only recently cutting my hours is a huge opportunity to push everyone out of their comfort zone.

I'm going to use this move to finally push through a significant price increase in our services that everyone has resisted because they never saw our raging success as the impending disaster that I saw coming. They were all terrified to lose clients, but I'm dying to cull the herd.

We literally can't expand any further, we need to lower demand. It's not negotiable at this point, we *must* reduce our existing and new client flow, but without killing it by actually turning away clients. Hence a price increase.

So yeah, with this move I'm hoping to not only get the demand back down to a level where I can go back to 2 days a week and the owner can cut back, but where our profits will be so much greater that it doesn't actually negatively affect our bottom line.

Ugh...I don't want to work more, but at the very least, I'll make proportionally more money than hours added. Plus, I'll only be providing limited services on my added days, which are strictly low stress services that I want to build up as a core part of my business anyway.

All in all, it's good in many ways, but I'm exceptionally wary of any and ALL moves that require me to work harder as the answer to a problem. When I do actually *have to* work harder, it motivates me to find creative solutions to make it as temporary as possible.

A happy and balanced life *must* be protected because almost every goddamn force out there is working against it.








happy

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #115 on: March 21, 2019, 01:07:40 PM »
Spoken like a true downshifter!

Quote
All in all, it's good in many ways, but I'm exceptionally wary of any and ALL moves that require me to work harder as the answer to a problem. When I do actually *have to* work harder, it motivates me to find creative solutions to make it as temporary as possible.

A happy and balanced life *must* be protected because almost every goddamn force out there is working against it.

I especially like this bit :) . I was known to have a high work ethic and overworked my scheduled hours always....little did they know this was what I was thinking inside.

Caroline PF

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #116 on: April 06, 2019, 09:21:34 PM »
As of tomorrow, I will be at 60%.

- why you did it?
I was originally planning on going full force until FIRE, but over the last 2-3 years, changed over to a plan to downshift for several years prior to FIRE. My reasons were to test out the FIRE lifestyle while still having the security of a job. In my career, if you take more than one year off, it is really hard to get back in. I also will have the security of health insurance, while all the kinks get worked out with Obamacare (will it continue to exist, and in what form?).

As for the timing, it was two-fold. I just had my 3rd child, and wanted to work less after maternity leave. And I have a milestone birthday (I'll turn 40 in one week), and really wanted to start living the FIRE lifestyle before then.

- what your downshift looks like?
I will work 24 hrs per week. The schedule will be 48 hrs over 4 days, then 10 days off.

- what do you like about it?
First my schedule will now be predictable. My prior schedule was completely unpredictable, with no idea when I'd get home for the day.

Second, with the 10 days off in a row, it will allow for easy trips to see family or to go on camping trips. And if I need more than 10 days, it should be easy to swap my work days with my colleagues.

- what isn't so awesome about it?
The 4 days will be pretty intense. It will be a combo of day and night shifts, so the day after will be spent on recovery.

- what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
I was on track to reach FI in another 2-3 years. With the decrease in salary, I'm probably 5 years out now. When I reach FI, then I'll evaluate whether to RE, depending on how much I still like my job.

AusLady

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #117 on: May 07, 2019, 02:14:16 AM »
My husband started working overseas a few years ago, so to see him, I began to work 2 months on, 2 months off.  The workplace at the time was small and found it difficult to cope, so when I was approached by a larger organisation, I told them right up from my intention, which they were fine with.
When they asked how many days per week, I intended to say 5, but 4 came out of my mouth.  I work about 36 hours over 4 days which is pretty intense, but I love Wednesdays off.  Never more than 2 days from a day off!
When I started this plan around 3.5 years ago I was at about 35% of my goal FIRE total, and Due in part to selling my house (before climate change ruined it) and stashing that cash and renting a small unit, I am now at 57% of FIRE total goal.  I project I can get to barebones FIRE in 4 years, fingers crossed!

happy

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #118 on: May 09, 2019, 04:11:41 PM »
Great work Auslady, its amazing what shapes a working week can be bent into with a good employer. I never went up to 4 days a week, but I always planned that if I did I would have Weds off.

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #119 on: May 13, 2019, 01:30:53 PM »
My "hope" is to downshift in about 8-10 years (age 55-ish), after my house is paid off and my kids are out of college.  By that time I should have a high enough net worth to make that feasible.  I would probably start by negotiating a 4 day work week at my current job, and doing that for a few years, then 3 days if possible (less likely).  If I can't keep my current job, I will look for a lower stress retail job.  A lot of it depends on how independent my kids are (one with a mental illness, one with high functioning autism).

In all honestly, I think for people in tech, this is becoming a pretty common scenario as companies like to lay off older higher paid employees and replace them with entry level employees.  I know a fair number of engineers and scientists who get aged out in their mid to late 50s. 

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #120 on: May 15, 2019, 07:57:56 AM »
Update.

Well crap.

No success on ramming through changes. I *could* do it if I were willing to push harder, but I'm over it.

Instead, I'm taking 6 weeks off and refusing to work extra hours when I return and cutting back my responsibilities significantly.

It's a bold move and one where I should lose my job over it, but I won't.

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #121 on: May 15, 2019, 01:02:55 PM »
I think you are right. If you let yourself be pressed to work more than you can or want to, they will take advantage of you. They could better hire more people, presuming those exist.

Malcat

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #122 on: May 15, 2019, 01:48:01 PM »
I think you are right. If you let yourself be pressed to work more than you can or want to, they will take advantage of you. They could better hire more people, presuming those exist.

Not really an option, and I'm definitely not being taken advantage of, I'm treated like solid gold.

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #123 on: May 16, 2019, 09:49:45 AM »
I'm two weeks in as a part-timer. So far it's working well. I'm working about 2-3 days a week as a contractor for my former employer. We were able to nix our part-time nanny. I've been able to work on starting up a woodworking business, which has long been my dream. It looks like our first month, our total income will be the same as last month. If I can keep that up while doing the work that I've been trying to "retire" to, then I will be a happy man.

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #124 on: August 04, 2019, 09:27:48 AM »
Hi Downshifters! An aspiring downshifter (maybe) here.

Iím a little bit cautious and a nervous stock market investor. I was a mortgage over-payer for years and found MMM a couple of years ago aged 40. The main thing I learned from the blog wasnít really frugality but not being scared to invest. So I have no debt (yay) and have invested 80%+ for the last two years (yay) but am scared of a crash (boo) and how to approach the next part of my FIRE journey.

This is a really useful thread. I was really inspired by happyís story among others and was hoping to feel emboldened by those actively living the part time life.

I wasnít surprised that this thread was on the Post-FIRE board as I was originally thinking I would go part time once I hit 25X expenses. The part time job could get me to a 3-3.25% WR or so I thought. I then realised learning from these forums that with not having any dependents this was a bit cautious even for me. Could I actually use the part time work to perhaps get me to 25X expenses rather than from 25X expenses. It seems many of you havenít hit FI before going part time and itís a bit of this bravery that I could do with. I expect for the majority of you, you didnít feel you were being brave, but thatís how cautious and nervous I am.

As I have a high savings rate a big part of me feels I should grind to full FI. However the jump from saving 80%+ to drawing on the stash feels too big to me. I almost feel I need two inbetween stages:

(1) Work FT - savings rate at full potential
(2) Work PT (same role as FT job) - perhaps 30%-45% SR
(3) Work PT (fun job) - 0% SR - just covers expenses
(4) FIRE

The other advantages of part time is that it helps qualification for state pension (age 68) as well as providing social interaction and a bit of structure to a week (Iím thinking 3 days PT).

The bit Iím having difficulty with is knowing when to make the leap from 1 to 2. Iíve started to think perhaps hitting a lean FIRE number would be ideal but itís interesting how many in this thread did it before that. Iím very conscious of making the leap, stocks then falling 30% and staying there for ten years meaning Iím a long way from FI, while balancing the fact that a better work life balance sooner is very appealing. The days are ticking away where I will be at my most active and in a healthy enough state to do hobbies/sports etc.

It would be interesting to know what gave people the confidence to make the move to part time. It may have been a partners income for example. Iím single so donít have that. Iím struggling a little to see through the full time to FIRE versus part time fog, and understand what level of expenses is good enough to have saved in order to achieve FIRE inevitability, allowing part time to be a sensible option.

Edit: to say Iím low expenses rather than high income, probably makes a difference.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2019, 09:31:23 AM by never give up »

happy

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #125 on: August 06, 2019, 12:11:31 AM »
I was really inspired by happyís story among others and was hoping to feel emboldened by those actively living the part time life.


Iím chuffed you were inspired by my story.
How did I get the confidence to move part-time? Well, it was quite well accepted in my job to go part-time after having a baby for up to a few years. Secondly I had a high income and so could still pull in good money working part-time. Thirdly with the Aussie taxation system if I worked more than the 3 days, my additional income would have been high enough to be taxed at 50% and I really couldnít stomach the idea of all that added stress and reduced quality of life for half as much per hour! Additionally in my area there is a labour shortage and so I could dictate my hours without fear of losing my job.

When you switch to part-time depends on how soon you want to retire and what trade-offs are you willing to make? I would run some figures on how long it will take you if you work different numbers of days, and start from different baselines...this might give you a feel for what you would prefer. I found this calculator helpful:
http://jaws.tips/stuff/interest.html. When I was running scenarios.

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #126 on: August 06, 2019, 11:14:11 AM »
Thanks for the reply happy. Yep you completely rock and I think itís great you have made a career based around a part time schedule and parenting for that length of time. Your employer clearly thinks a lot of you.

The combination of high income and good security are key here I think. That would give me more confidence if I was in that position. The only job I could do part time and still generate a savings rate is my current one. Security isnít great. If I left that job I could probably get a part time job in a different field that covered my expenses. I would want to be FI though to drop to number 3 in my list.

Thanks for the calculator. After these last few days in the markets having the confidence to drop to part time suddenly feels a long way away!

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #127 on: August 06, 2019, 02:26:56 PM »
Thirdly with the Aussie taxation system if I worked more than the 3 days, my additional income would have been high enough to be taxed at 50% and I really couldnít stomach the idea of all that added stress and reduced quality of life for half as much per hour!

I've had similar thoughts in the past.  With a typical white-collar salary in the US the marginal federal income tax rate is somewhere between 22%-34% (at current tax rates -- which are historically pretty low -- depending on salary, filing status, and spouse's income).  Add in another ~8% for Social Security/Medicare and we're at 30%-42%.  Then state/local taxes, which vary widely but could easily be an additional 10%+.  50% is certainly in the right ballpark for many.

So for someone with a high enough salary to live on part-time income, every 10 hour reduction in work likely results in ~5 hours of lost salary.  Or, put another way, if you can afford to give up 5 hours worth of salary per week, you'll get back 10 hours of vacation per week.  520 hours vacation time per year -- that's 13 more weeks of vacation!

Even accounting for some lost vacation accrual for that 1/8 reduction in work hours -- which is 2.5 fewer vacation days per year with a typical 4-weeks-per-year vacation of a mid-career white collar professional -- you'll still have 12.5 extra weeks of vacation, in exchange for 12.5% less $$ in your pocket.  12.5 (weeks) for -12.5% (income).  That's some symmetry I can get on board with, and a seriously tempting trade-off if you can afford it.

As an aside, this analysis doesn't include the ~8% imputed FICA taxes your employer has to pay on your behalf...though good luck negotiating getting any of that back when downshifting your hours.  :D

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #128 on: August 07, 2019, 07:20:53 AM »
Thirdly with the Aussie taxation system if I worked more than the 3 days, my additional income would have been high enough to be taxed at 50% and I really couldnít stomach the idea of all that added stress and reduced quality of life for half as much per hour!

I've had similar thoughts in the past.  With a typical white-collar salary in the US the marginal federal income tax rate is somewhere between 22%-34% (at current tax rates -- which are historically pretty low -- depending on salary, filing status, and spouse's income).  Add in another ~8% for Social Security/Medicare and we're at 30%-42%.  Then state/local taxes, which vary widely but could easily be an additional 10%+.  50% is certainly in the right ballpark for many.

So for someone with a high enough salary to live on part-time income, every 10 hour reduction in work likely results in ~5 hours of lost salary.  Or, put another way, if you can afford to give up 5 hours worth of salary per week, you'll get back 10 hours of vacation per week.  520 hours vacation time per year -- that's 13 more weeks of vacation!

Even accounting for some lost vacation accrual for that 1/8 reduction in work hours -- which is 2.5 fewer vacation days per year with a typical 4-weeks-per-year vacation of a mid-career white collar professional -- you'll still have 12.5 extra weeks of vacation, in exchange for 12.5% less $$ in your pocket.  12.5 (weeks) for -12.5% (income).  That's some symmetry I can get on board with, and a seriously tempting trade-off if you can afford it.

As an aside, this analysis doesn't include the ~8% imputed FICA taxes your employer has to pay on your behalf...though good luck negotiating getting any of that back when downshifting your hours.  :D

This is me too.
Thanks to marginal taxes here, it's pretty pointless for me to work full time. I take a nearly 50% pay cut on the last 15-20 hrs of my week, aka the hardest hours to work, so why bother working them?

Most people in my profession choose to incorporate at that point, but that comes with massive legal and accounting fees and actually costs more in tax unless we are making a huge income working very long hours or own the business, or both, none of which appeals to me, nor does the math actually work with my personal goals.

AFM, I'm currently on my mini sabbatical and loving it. I've decided that on top of dropping to part time, I also want to take a lot more time off of work. I haven't up to now, because I've had a hard time justifying it to myself with the downshift, but not taking enough time off lets too much focus on work build up. I'm going to aim to take off 2 weeks nearly every quarter.

happy

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #129 on: August 07, 2019, 08:18:23 PM »

 I take a nearly 50% pay cut on the last 15-20 hrs of my week, aka the hardest hours to work, so why bother working them?


Exactly, although most of my colleagues looked at me a bit weirdly when I said that and muttered something about needing the money. In my specialty there was not enough private billing to make incorporating worthwhile either, and of course then thereís the headache and cost of all that extra admin

Malcat

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #130 on: August 08, 2019, 05:22:58 AM »

 I take a nearly 50% pay cut on the last 15-20 hrs of my week, aka the hardest hours to work, so why bother working them?


Exactly, although most of my colleagues looked at me a bit weirdly when I said that and muttered something about needing the money. In my specialty there was not enough private billing to make incorporating worthwhile either, and of course then thereís the headache and cost of all that extra admin

In my world, there are owners and associates.
The owners are leveraged up to their eyeballs for a long time, and the overheads on the businesses are enormous, so they literally have to work full time. They don't have a choice.

The associates take home more because we aren't shoveling everything into business loans. However, those loan payments pay out on the back end in equity, so the owners retire with a lot more money, but they have to work longer and can't really cut back until near the end of their career.

Most of my colleagues aren't willing to give up millions. Meanwhile, I'm not willing to give up my health and sanity.

Kronsey

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #131 on: September 25, 2019, 09:23:55 PM »
I posted the same thing below on another thread which linked to this one. I enjoyed reading so much that I decided to post my version hoping to revive the thread and allow others to join in...

I'm a self employed CPA. I guess you could say I've shifted to part-time. I work from Noon to 5 pm each work day. No weekends ever anymore. Some days less than 5 hours, some days maybe six. During tax season, I'll need to work closer to 40 hours a week for a 5-6 week stretch.

I downshifted out of necessity. I had an emergency surgery in Dec of 2016 which resulted in a Crohn's Disease diagnosis.

I physically can't work more than I do without feeling like I'm killing myself. It is a strange feeling working 25 or so hours a week and feeling worn out when I used to consistently work 60-70 hours a week without blinking an eye. It's been a tough adjustment.

Long story short, I really don't care much for my career, so I would actually prefer the "hurry to the finish line" approach. But I don't have that option. I'm blessed in that our savings rate hovers between 65-70%, so it isn't like I have to do this for 30 years.

We did get a late start. It took my surgery, diagnosis, and continued health struggles for my wife to get on board with frugal living.

I turn 34 next month. I'm probably looking at another 10 years of doing this before I can sell my small book of business and retire. If I'm lucky, maybe 6-7 years. If I'm unlucky, maybe 14 years. All of those are much better options than working til my 60s though. I couldn't make it that long unless my health improves.

FIRE 20/20

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #132 on: September 26, 2019, 10:01:16 AM »
It would be interesting to know what gave people the confidence to make the move to part time. It may have been a partners income for example. Iím single so donít have that. Iím struggling a little to see through the full time to FIRE versus part time fog, and understand what level of expenses is good enough to have saved in order to achieve FIRE inevitability, allowing part time to be a sensible option.

Edit: to say Iím low expenses rather than high income, probably makes a difference.

I downshifted about the time I hit 20x of my projected FIRE expenses.  At that point, the 'stache is doing the heavy lifting.  I wish I had known that the market was going to do so much of the work for me after saving early in my career, but I kept thinking that a crash or at least long-term market stagnation was coming.  Being invested through both 2000 and 2008 definitely left its mark, so I always expect nothing from the markets.  Of course I also stayed invested from 2009 to now, so the markets beat my paranoid projections. 
If I had known how much of the work the market would do for me over the past 10 years I would have downshifted earlier (maybe at 10-15x planned expenses) and lived a more balanced life through my 30s.  Oh well, this approach got me to FIRE at 42, so I guess it turned out ok at the end. 

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #133 on: September 26, 2019, 10:41:50 AM »
Hi FIRE 20/20. Thanks very much for your reply. Thatís really interesting. Yes a crash or stagnation is what concerns me. Iím fighting a bit against automation and job wise due to my location this is in all likelihood the most I will earn in my career. If I dropped to a 3 day week, the market falls and is flat for a while I could easily be back down around 12X expenses without the ability to heavily invest having left the higher earning job. I appreciate there is a lot to go wrong there all at once but itís not that inconceivable. Iím 42 now so feel I need to get this decision right.

If I enjoyed my job more it would make sense to carry on full time and get the job done. However my work is becoming increasingly stressful. The work itself is fine but the corporate environment seems to become less affable as time goes by.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

SpareChange

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #134 on: September 28, 2019, 02:38:11 PM »
I'm soon to downshift. Been looking forward to it for quite some time.

Why you did it.

I was essentially always planning to downshift at some point, as my career makes it easy to do so. It was the timing that was in question. I was starting to burnout a bit. There were a couple of periods last year when I chose to work 35-40 days straight. Our volume tends to go up in winter, and during the last one I was physically feeling it a lot more. Not getting any younger. Also, my father passed away this July and this will give me more flexibility in helping my mother over the long term.

What your downshift looks like. 

Halftime. One week on/one off, more specifically 5 days on (40 hours), then 9 days off. Call every 5th weekend. Still eligible for bennies, albeit with health insurance at a higher rate...going from $16.62/paycheck to $45-50. 4.6% 403b match and 12% pto intact. Will have pto bank maxed at 480 hrs. Plan to keep most of that as a ST disability policy for now. Can easily take more work or call on. We have an app to trade shifts. At base, looking at earning $40k/yr minimum.

What are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?

The flexibility and stability inherent to my job makes it difficult to cross whatever threshold is needed to FIRE from it completely. In fact, at some point, I could downshift even further. Being able to ignore SORR is tempting. Even so, I'd like to keep myself on a strong pace until I reach FI, and reach a comfortable RE amount in 5-10 years. I'll still keep investing:). My portfolio is at about 85% of basic living expenses using the 4% rule.

SpareChange

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #135 on: September 29, 2019, 10:29:59 AM »
Hi FIRE 20/20. Thanks very much for your reply. Thatís really interesting. Yes a crash or stagnation is what concerns me. Iím fighting a bit against automation and job wise due to my location this is in all likelihood the most I will earn in my career. If I dropped to a 3 day week, the market falls and is flat for a while I could easily be back down around 12X expenses without the ability to heavily invest having left the higher earning job. I appreciate there is a lot to go wrong there all at once but itís not that inconceivable. Iím 42 now so feel I need to get this decision right.

If I enjoyed my job more it would make sense to carry on full time and get the job done. However my work is becoming increasingly stressful. The work itself is fine but the corporate environment seems to become less affable as time goes by.

Thanks again for your thoughts.

How close to FI are you? If you dropped to PT, how well would that alleviate the issues you have with your current job? I also have low expenses/80% SR, and it certainly opens your options up.

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #136 on: September 29, 2019, 10:54:26 AM »
Hi SpareChange. Iím probably about five years away from FIRE (defined for me as 30X expenses). Part time would certainly help alleviate the issues with my current job in that I would have more time to recover from work. It would also mean running the home and Ďlife tasksí wouldnít need to be squeezed in around work. A jump from 1 to 3 in my list below may work better although Iím conscious all jobs have their challenges, and at least now my hourly rate is sufficient to save and compensate me for the time work takes from me.

(1) Work FT - savings rate at full potential 80%+
(2) Work PT (same role as FT job) - perhaps 30%-45% SR
(3) Work PT (fun job) - 0% SR - just covers expenses
(4) FIRE

You are right that low expenses do open up a lot of options. Iím currently spending £10-£11k a year ($12.3-$13.5k) but am basing FIRE figures on £18k or $22k.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #137 on: September 30, 2019, 01:11:57 AM »
From Januar 2020 DH and I will downshift to 0% work. :-)

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #138 on: September 30, 2019, 07:32:51 AM »
From Januar 2020 DH and I will downshift to 0% work. :-)

Thatís fantastic! Congratulations:)

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #139 on: December 22, 2019, 04:20:40 PM »
I'm joining this thread as my dh and I are downshifters, and I'm interested in following what others are experiencing!

DH started doing three days a week in 2013 after my maternity leave finished. His manager thought it was temporary until child grew a bit, but if they make him go back to FT hours, he'll likely quit. (we're almost to bare-bones FIRE). I am working part time, though it is difficult to quantify since I'm on call for 48 or 72 hours straight then a 9-5 day of clinic and a morning meeting each week. Some call blocks are go-go-go and others I sit around at home/work minimally. In terms of clients, I'm taking 4/5 of a full caseload, but only on call 1/3 of the time. So it's a good gig.

I'm taking a sabbatical for 2020. During this year, I'm hoping to get a sense of what expenses will be in retirement, and that will let us know how much more we have to work.

Although... after downshifting, life has become a lot more manageable, and I'm not sure that I want to finish work. My work is meaningful, and if the hours remain tenable I may stay on much longer and perhaps pad our stash for fat fire, or maybe increase our charitable giving... or a combination.

SpareChange

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #140 on: December 25, 2019, 09:38:12 PM »
I'm joining this thread as my dh and I are downshifters, and I'm interested in following what others are experiencing!

DH started doing three days a week in 2013 after my maternity leave finished. His manager thought it was temporary until child grew a bit, but if they make him go back to FT hours, he'll likely quit. (we're almost to bare-bones FIRE). I am working part time, though it is difficult to quantify since I'm on call for 48 or 72 hours straight then a 9-5 day of clinic and a morning meeting each week. Some call blocks are go-go-go and others I sit around at home/work minimally. In terms of clients, I'm taking 4/5 of a full caseload, but only on call 1/3 of the time. So it's a good gig.

I'm taking a sabbatical for 2020. During this year, I'm hoping to get a sense of what expenses will be in retirement, and that will let us know how much more we have to work.

Although... after downshifting, life has become a lot more manageable, and I'm not sure that I want to finish work. My work is meaningful, and if the hours remain tenable I may stay on much longer and perhaps pad our stash for fat fire, or maybe increase our charitable giving... or a combination.

Welcome! That's an interesting PT schedule you've got there, Nangirl. Looking forward to seeing how it works out for you.

FIstateofmind

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #141 on: December 27, 2019, 09:33:11 AM »
- why you did it?

I wanted to travel more and have more time for my life/hobbies, which wasn't possible with FT.

- what your downshift looks like?

WFH M-F and come in the office 1.5 days a week.

- what do you like about it?

saves me about 15 - 20 hours a week in lost time/commuting and I can be way more productive at home.

- what isn't so awesome about it?

with current pay I'm 15 years away from full fire. but i feel like i can't do a normal job anyways lol so this is my only option.

- what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
Just keep on trucking and retire in 15 years, maybe get something remote and time flexible that's even higher paying..

came here to get advice from those on the other end. I can't picture being in an office full time and I feel like this works for me so it's worth delaying my retirement especially since some of my hobbies can only be pursued while young. the only issue is I don't have enough time to dedicate to everything so I move at quite a slow pace on all my projects.

Any advice is appreciated.

I feel this is the best way to enjoy many of the benefits of FIRE before hitting that number, and I'd rather enjoy those benefits in my 20's rather than my 50's.
Even if I worked full time I could only be completely FIRE'd in my 40s and I would have to stop my hobbies completely, meaning it would be way more difficult to make any progress in my hobbies. (Hobbies im into avg age is 15 - 25 lol)

Bird In Hand

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #142 on: February 09, 2020, 11:26:11 AM »

What are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
Downshifting becomes feasible in a few years when our living expenses drop.  I'd like to shift to 80% in 3 years, then gradually down to 50%.  Then it's just enjoying health insurance + other benefits for OMY while the stash grows.

Here we are, 2 yrs 4 mos later.  Mortgage is paid off as of yesterday, several months ahead of schedule.  In theory I could drop down to a 65% work schedule immediately, and it would exactly offset the amount of money no longer going to the mortgage P&I.

However, we do need to bolster a handful of savings accounts that will eventually be used to replace big ticket items around the house (HVAC, roof, driveway, septic, etc.).  I intend to continue full-time until those accounts are in good shape, which could happen as soon as ~6 months from now.  At which point...

Quote
What your downshift will look like?

First go from 5x8=40 down to 4x8=32 for a year or two.  Then 3x8=24 or possibly 4x6=24.  Ultimately something like 4x5=20 or (2x8)+(1x4)=20

Once our non-retirement savings are where we want them to be, I plan on talking with management about switching to an 80% schedule on a trial basis.  I'm on the fence between proposing 4x8 with Fridays off, or 4x7 M-Thu, with half days on Fridays.

Pros of 4x8: three day weekend every weekend!  Friday can be used to take care of shopping, home maintenance, etc.

Pros of 4x7 + 1x4: shorter work days would be more relaxing, and a half-day Friday still leaves plenty of time to do most errands and jobs around the house.  Plus in all likelihood I'd end up working > 7 hours on some days M-Thu, which would result in less than four hours on most Fridays.  And if I ever wanted a full Friday off, I could easily take 4 hours (or less) of vacation time and make it so.


Step37

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #143 on: February 09, 2020, 02:41:58 PM »
- why you did it?
Before my current position, I was at a company that was growing very quickly. For the last three to four years of it, almost all I did was work - long days, weekend days (to ďcatch up,Ē which obviously never happened). The culture got toxic and I was burnt out; the company getting sold was the end of the line for me, as I had no loyalty to the new owners. I agreed to go to work for a friend at his one-man operation; he wanted to grow the business, but needed someone to do the books and admin. I agreed, on the condition that I could buy in if I thought it made sense after getting the books in order (seeing the shareholders of the company I left get 80x their investment after eight years may have influenced my desire to want a piece of ownership;).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE

Around March/April 2018 the busy season started. I worked some extra days during that time, but have mostly managed to keep it to 3 days per week (2 days per week simply did not happen yet, sadly). I am starting to get a lot of pushback from one of my business partners (the majority shareholder) about working more. Heís not saying it directly, but it feels like he wants me to implement our expansion into a new geographical location. Iíve explained that since I have less than zero enthusiasm for expansion (or working more, period), that itís not me who will be driving this initiative.

This ďscheduleĒ conflict (which is mostly him having terrible work habits and worse organizational skills and thinking my presence in the office will help ó my tasks that Iím responsible for are easily done in 2-3 days per week) is going to end up with me leaving the company, I am quite certain. Provided I can get bought out for fair value of my shares, Iím completely fine with that. I donít think that he will be; it will make for an interesting transition (possibly something for the Epic FU Money thread, but I hope not). The person I hired in July 2017 to take over my everyday tasks is still awesome and I am eternally grateful to her for making my downshift possible.

Iíve gotten more comfortable in the volunteer treasurer role. It turned out to be a bit more work than expected, but after getting past the first year, everything is more familiar and should go more smoothly. The monthly board meetings can be a bit of a drag, but I have met some great people in the community by taking on this role, so I think it is worth it. Itís not forever, either!

Yay! Someone resurrected this thread, which Iíve been wanting to update. In somewhat of a DREAM COME TRUE, my company has agreed to be purchased, and we are in the due diligence phase (one week down of an anticipated four) - this has me working full-time for the next bit, which Iím more than happy to do to facilitate the transaction. The sale talk with the company thatís purchasing us started in early July, so itís a huge relief to finally have things underway. It would take a pretty big disaster to have this transaction not happen, but Iím still offering up a prayer to the universe that all goes through. Itís structured as an earn out, so we will see 1/6 of the price at closing, another 1/6 after a year, 1/3 after two years and the final 1/3 after three years. The agreed (minimum) price has me quadrupling my initial investment (after having received healthy dividends along the way); there is also strong potential to exceed this amount with the way itís structured. While it would be nice to have everything up front, I think the long game could work out extremely well.

As for downshifting . . . The purchaser is aware of my preferred schedule, and actually mentioned to my partner that ďthere may be redundancies in accounting now, so what do you think Step37 will think about that?Ē to which he replied that Iíd be happy to stay on to facilitate whatever transition for as long as they need (accurate). When he told me this, it was presented as good news/bad news (good that we are going to be getting an offer/maybe bad for you, Step37) - I made sure to emphasize that that was ONLY good news! My two partners are the people who are key to the deal (technical knowledge of the industry) - they arenít going to let the earn out fall apart, so I think I might comfortably be able to step away prior to the three years being up. If not, I should at least be able to maintain a p/t schedule, which isnít a bad worst-case scenario. Iím not under any illusions that it will be easy, clear sailing for the next while, but at least there is a reasonable end in sight (with a good payout!).

My husband fully downshifted at the beginning of November, when he received a package from his employer. The timing could not have been better, as he was planning to leave within the next several months anyway. Now heís fully in charge of the cooking and general house stuff, so even if I have to work more for the next while, it will be with so much less stress. Iím beyond grateful for all of the above.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #144 on: February 09, 2020, 03:12:38 PM »
Yay! Someone resurrected this thread, which Iíve been wanting to update. In somewhat of a DREAM COME TRUE, my company has agreed to be purchased, and we are in the due diligence phase ...

Oh wow, congratulations!  If I understand correctly, you will be able to maintain the status quo 2-3 days/week PT schedule for the next 3 years MAX, and possibly less than that.  Meanwhile, you'll be getting that initial 1/6 chunk imminently, and another 1/6 in a year.  I hope it all goes through as expected, that you can continue your PT schedule without drama, and that all six sixths come your way (and your partners') as planned.

I hope you and your husband have countless adventures together with all that free time!

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #145 on: February 09, 2020, 06:33:14 PM »
My plan is to work FT until March 31 2020, where I will take a 6-12 month sabbatical, after which I would like to explore the possibility of a 3-4 day work week.

I will still be a ways away from my full FIRE # using 4%, but a large majority of my recurring day to day expenses should be covered.

Fun to quote this post years later.

Mission accomplished. Sitting over 25X baseline expenses and leaving for a year of travel in a few short weeks :)

Step37

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #146 on: February 09, 2020, 08:08:12 PM »
Yay! Someone resurrected this thread, which Iíve been wanting to update. In somewhat of a DREAM COME TRUE, my company has agreed to be purchased, and we are in the due diligence phase ...

Oh wow, congratulations!  If I understand correctly, you will be able to maintain the status quo 2-3 days/week PT schedule for the next 3 years MAX, and possibly less than that.  Meanwhile, you'll be getting that initial 1/6 chunk imminently, and another 1/6 in a year.  I hope it all goes through as expected, that you can continue your PT schedule without drama, and that all six sixths come your way (and your partners') as planned.

I hope you and your husband have countless adventures together with all that free time!

Yes, you understood correctly! Thank you so much, and congratulations on achieving your 25x and travel goal as well. How exciting - enjoy! 😁

EDITED!!

LOL - I misread the next poster as being you. So, congrats to the OTHER bird name, @2Birds1Stone. Reading comprehension fail.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2020, 08:17:37 PM by Step37 »

Retire-Canada

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #147 on: February 10, 2020, 06:55:55 AM »
I downshifted back in July from a 40hrs/week contract gig + some side gig hours to a 3 x 8hrs/day Mon-Wed contract gig. With 4 months of part time work under my belt I am noticing I don't fit in well to the discussions FT workers are having nor do I resemble the lucky bastards who are FIRE. Downshifting seems to have its own unique set of benefits and challenges. So I figured it was worth starting a thread where MMMers who have reduced their work hours from FT, but haven't quite managed to FIRE yet can gather and chat.

FIRE related definitions are arbitrary, but they provide a framework to base discussion off of so here are mine:

- Working = greater than 75% FT hours
- Downshifted = 25% - 75% FT hours
- FIREd = less than 25% FT hours

I started this thread back in 2017 then failed at downshifting so I stopped posting/following along. I figured I'd update my situation since I got to the planned end goal just by a different path than planned.

When I posted the OP I was at ~60%FT and solidly downshifted and loving it. Then my work schedule went from 3 x 8hr days to 4 x 8hr days so at ~80%FT and no longer downshifted at least by my own definitions. Then I got some easy PT remote work and was back to ~100%FT. I put away all the extra $$$ I could since I was earning a lot more than at 60%FT. I hit FI in Jan 2020 and will be done 4 x 8hrs contract end of May this year. I'll keep some easy PT work from home consulting work that'll be 25%FT or less so I'll be FIRE...again by my own definition.

On one hand I missed the downshifted lifestyle I would have had between 2017 and now. OTOH I am happy to have turbo charged my savings and hit FIRE sooner. The key for me is that I don't hate the work I do. I don't love it either, but it's easy and relatively stress free. Since my GF is going to work another ~6 years to get her pension downshifting longer wouldn't have been bad since my FIRE is somewhat restricted by my GF's continued working. So really I feel like both paths were excellent options for me and it was a wash when evaluating between them.

If my work had sucked I would have stuck out the downshift. My guess is the downshifted me would have caught up with the 100%FT me in ~3 years with average market returns. So the extra work paid off, but the difference isn't huge and I would have had a lot more free time at a 60%FT downshift.

Anyways I thought I should follow up my original post with my data. Congrats to everyone rocking the downshift. Enjoy your extra free time. :-)


markbike528CBX

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #148 on: February 10, 2020, 07:52:10 AM »
I downshifted back in July from a 40hrs/week contract gig + some side gig hours to a 3 x 8hrs/day Mon-Wed contract gig. With 4 months of part time work under my belt I am noticing I don't fit in well to the discussions FT workers are having nor do I resemble the lucky bastards who are FIRE. Downshifting seems to have its own unique set of benefits and challenges. So I figured it was worth starting a thread where MMMers who have reduced their work hours from FT, but haven't quite managed to FIRE yet can gather and chat.

FIRE related definitions are arbitrary, but they provide a framework to base discussion off of so here are mine:

- Working = greater than 75% FT hours
- Downshifted = 25% - 75% FT hours
- FIREd = less than 25% FT hours

I started this thread back in 2017 then failed at downshifting so I stopped posting/following along. I figured I'd update my situation since I got to the planned end goal just by a different path than planned.

When I posted the OP I was at ~60%FT and solidly downshifted and loving it. Then my work schedule went from 3 x 8hr days to 4 x 8hr days so at ~80%FT and no longer downshifted at least by my own definitions. Then I got some easy PT remote work and was back to ~100%FT. I put away all the extra $$$ I could since I was earning a lot more than at 60%FT. I hit FI in Jan 2020 and will be done 4 x 8hrs contract end of May this year. I'll keep some easy PT work from home consulting work that'll be 25%FT or less so I'll be FIRE...again by my own definition.

On one hand I missed the downshifted lifestyle I would have had between 2017 and now. OTOH I am happy to have turbo charged my savings and hit FIRE sooner. The key for me is that I don't hate the work I do. I don't love it either, but it's easy and relatively stress free. Since my GF is going to work another ~6 years to get her pension downshifting longer wouldn't have been bad since my FIRE is somewhat restricted by my GF's continued working. So really I feel like both paths were excellent options for me and it was a wash when evaluating between them.

If my work had sucked I would have stuck out the downshift. My guess is the downshifted me would have caught up with the 100%FT me in ~3 years with average market returns. So the extra work paid off, but the difference isn't huge and I would have had a lot more free time at a 60%FT downshift.

Anyways I thought I should follow up my original post with my data. Congrats to everyone rocking the downshift. Enjoy your extra free time. :-)

Thanks for being an OP who updates honestly !   Most OPs post and bail.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #149 on: February 10, 2020, 07:58:43 AM »
Thanks for being an OP who updates honestly !   Most OPs post and bail.

Every time I saw this thread title pop up in my unread thread list I did feel pangs of failed downshifter guilt. So I didn't click on the link and come read it! ;-)