Author Topic: Calling all downshifters!  (Read 126416 times)

FLBiker

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #200 on: July 07, 2021, 04:08:37 AM »
Thanks for this thread!  I'm planning to downshift next year -- not sure exactly what it will look like.  I'll probably start by asking for 75% -- either in the form of reduced hours every week or additional weeks off.  I don't really know what the reception will be.  If they push back, I might just look for a part-time job doing something different.  I don't make a fortune ($95K CAD full-time) but it's the most I've ever made and 75% of it is more than I could make doing other part-time work, I suspect.

If push comes to shove, though, I'm increasingly interested in pursuing financial planning.  The sales part of it is a non-starter for me, though, so it might be a no-go.  I'm in Canada, FWIW.

Fortunately, we're pretty much at our FI number (married, 1 kid, ~$1.25M USD) so I have some flexibility.  I'm waiting a year to do anything because my employer just engaged a PEO so that they can employ me in Canada (we moved from the US) and I told them I'd stay for a year (because it cost them some money upfront).  At the same time, I want to get a sense of our spending up here so I don't really mind.  Hopefully, they'll be receptive to 75% (and then in a year or two likely 50%).  We shall see!

Cool. You guys are killing it. I briefly thought about financial planning(as in about 30 seconds), but it totally seems like a grind like any other. And as you said, no way I'm doing sales. If friends and acquaintances ask for advice, I'll help. If they really show interest, then maybe we can meet at a local brewery and I'll accept a flight of beers as payment lol. What kind of employment are you in? Is it project based, time based, etc?

I'm an IT Business Analyst.  Right now, it's time-based (40 hours a week) but it's flexible in the sense that I could be taken off some projects to get me in a 30 hour or 20 hour range.  I'm more interested in 3 weeks on, 1 week off, though, and I'm not sure how that will work.  For now, I'm cautiously optimistic. :)

Good luck 🤞 . Have you thought about the pitch on how to handle the 3 weeks on 1 week off?

Good question.  The short answer is no. :)  I'm planning to start the conversation next summer (say June) so I haven't thought a ton about the details.  Any suggestions?

JJ-

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #201 on: July 07, 2021, 08:44:35 AM »
Thanks for this thread!  I'm planning to downshift next year -- not sure exactly what it will look like.  I'll probably start by asking for 75% -- either in the form of reduced hours every week or additional weeks off.  I don't really know what the reception will be.  If they push back, I might just look for a part-time job doing something different.  I don't make a fortune ($95K CAD full-time) but it's the most I've ever made and 75% of it is more than I could make doing other part-time work, I suspect.

If push comes to shove, though, I'm increasingly interested in pursuing financial planning.  The sales part of it is a non-starter for me, though, so it might be a no-go.  I'm in Canada, FWIW.

Fortunately, we're pretty much at our FI number (married, 1 kid, ~$1.25M USD) so I have some flexibility.  I'm waiting a year to do anything because my employer just engaged a PEO so that they can employ me in Canada (we moved from the US) and I told them I'd stay for a year (because it cost them some money upfront).  At the same time, I want to get a sense of our spending up here so I don't really mind.  Hopefully, they'll be receptive to 75% (and then in a year or two likely 50%).  We shall see!

Cool. You guys are killing it. I briefly thought about financial planning(as in about 30 seconds), but it totally seems like a grind like any other. And as you said, no way I'm doing sales. If friends and acquaintances ask for advice, I'll help. If they really show interest, then maybe we can meet at a local brewery and I'll accept a flight of beers as payment lol. What kind of employment are you in? Is it project based, time based, etc?

I'm an IT Business Analyst.  Right now, it's time-based (40 hours a week) but it's flexible in the sense that I could be taken off some projects to get me in a 30 hour or 20 hour range.  I'm more interested in 3 weeks on, 1 week off, though, and I'm not sure how that will work.  For now, I'm cautiously optimistic. :)

Good luck 🤞 . Have you thought about the pitch on how to handle the 3 weeks on 1 week off?

Good question.  The short answer is no. :)  I'm planning to start the conversation next summer (say June) so I haven't thought a ton about the details.  Any suggestions?

Not any strong ones :) just thinking about the BAs I work with they should be able to disappear/ go on leave for a week at points during development cycles, so maybe keeping it flexible with whoever your pm/supervisor is to minimize impact. First thing that came to mind.

StarBright

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #202 on: July 09, 2021, 11:04:42 AM »
Saw this thread come up on another post and am PTF. I am so close to downshifting and have all sorts of feelings about it (including that I might be insane).

boarder42

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #203 on: July 09, 2021, 01:00:20 PM »
Saw this thread come up on another post and am PTF. I am so close to downshifting and have all sorts of feelings about it (including that I might be insane).

Just do it. You'll never look back.

iluvzbeach

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #204 on: July 09, 2021, 10:32:48 PM »
Not sure how I missed this thread when it was originally going around. I downshifted to 3-days per week in 2019 (originally planned to FIRE but employer offered me a sweet deal I couldn’t refuse.) I initially took a 25% pay cut but over time they’ve given back that 25% and added more to it. I typically work only the 3-days mid-week, but make myself available, if absolutely needed, on a limited basis the other two days. It’s worked out great for us on many levels; however, I do plan to fully walk away later this year. This OMY stuff can be hard to overcome. I need to get over my anxiety related to moving from saving to spending our stash.

FWIW, I’d previously inquired about the possibility of going part-time and had been told “no.”  Once I gave notice their tune changed immediately.

boarder42

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #205 on: July 10, 2021, 07:38:02 AM »
Not sure how I missed this thread when it was originally going around. I downshifted to 3-days per week in 2019 (originally planned to FIRE but employer offered me a sweet deal I couldn’t refuse.) I initially took a 25% pay cut but over time they’ve given back that 25% and added more to it. I typically work only the 3-days mid-week, but make myself available, if absolutely needed, on a limited basis the other two days. It’s worked out great for us on many levels; however, I do plan to fully walk away later this year. This OMY stuff can be hard to overcome. I need to get over my anxiety related to moving from saving to spending our stash.

FWIW, I’d previously inquired about the possibility of going part-time and had been told “no.”  Once I gave notice their tune changed immediately.

That is a great point I now make 5% more than I did my last full time year working a 90% schedule and taking 8 unpaid weeks off this year.

My transition to spending is going smoother than I thought. The difference between rich and wealthy is the rich think about money bc it's primarily income cash flow based. The wealthy don't really worry about it or think about it.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #206 on: July 10, 2021, 09:29:40 AM »
Where I work raises are typically 2-3%, with 4-5% reserved for the very top tier.   So even a 10% downshift (which works out to be a ~7% downshift in salary when you factor in taxes) would take 2-3 years to get back to the pre-downshift salary.

So @iluvzbeach and @boarder42, it's pretty awesome that you've downshifted and made it back to and beyond  your original salaries so quickly.  Congrats!

I've explored downshifting extensively, and dabbled in it a couple times.  For me it's very difficult to accept giving up some of the cash firehose.  Once I get over that mental block, it seems like the optimal way (for me) to slowly ease into RE.  Kind of OMY-lite, which is better than full-blown OMY...I think.

JJ-

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #207 on: July 10, 2021, 10:19:51 AM »
Where I work raises are typically 2-3%, with 4-5% reserved for the very top tier.   So even a 10% downshift (which works out to be a ~7% downshift in salary when you factor in taxes) would take 2-3 years to get back to the pre-downshift salary.

So @iluvzbeach and @boarder42, it's pretty awesome that you've downshifted and made it back to and beyond  your original salaries so quickly.  Congrats!

I've explored downshifting extensively, and dabbled in it a couple times.  For me it's very difficult to accept giving up some of the cash firehose.  Once I get over that mental block, it seems like the optimal way (for me) to slowly ease into RE.  Kind of OMY-lite, which is better than full-blown OMY...I think.

I'm going to 75% time and I am giving up 25%. I have no idea how long it will take me to get back to old salary but I don't really care. I'm also not in the same boat as those two finance wise but it's the tradeoff I want to do with my time.

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #208 on: July 10, 2021, 10:57:59 AM »
I'm going to 75% time and I am giving up 25%. I have no idea how long it will take me to get back to old salary but I don't really care. I'm also not in the same boat as those two finance wise but it's the tradeoff I want to do with my time.

Are you really even giving up 25% though?  Probably more like 15% (assuming 22% fed rate + 7.65% FICA + a few % for state income tax).

Anyway, it's awesome that you've prioritized 25% of your time over 25% (or 15%!) of your salary.  Especially if you're not yet FI.  That sort of decision can take a lot of courage.

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #209 on: July 10, 2021, 11:37:25 AM »
I'm going to 75% time and I am giving up 25%. I have no idea how long it will take me to get back to old salary but I don't really care. I'm also not in the same boat as those two finance wise but it's the tradeoff I want to do with my time.

Are you really even giving up 25% though?  Probably more like 15% (assuming 22% fed rate + 7.65% FICA + a few % for state income tax).

Anyway, it's awesome that you've prioritized 25% of your time over 25% (or 15%!) of your salary.  Especially if you're not yet FI.  That sort of decision can take a lot of courage.

Courage or stupidity ? Lol. We're somewhere in the 4-7 year timeline to FI and this pushes it to maybe 7-10 all assuming modest returns.

It is 25% base pay reduction and yes it is not 25 % reduction in take home for the reasons you mentioned. DWs employment status is a bit finicky at the moment, but absolute worst case scenario we will not spend more than we make. Further, after this coming year at least one kid will be out of day care and frees up a lot of cash :)

ca-rn

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #210 on: July 10, 2021, 12:07:30 PM »
i've been a downshifter for a couple of months now- 20 hours per week and no doubt its been the best decision i've made for my present and future self!

a handful of co workers and/or their family members recently passed before they even had a change to retire.... feeling super depressed for them and is a reminder to try and appreciate/be grateful for each day.  easier to accomplish that when its on a off day!

boarder42

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #211 on: July 10, 2021, 12:18:06 PM »
I'm going to 75% time and I am giving up 25%. I have no idea how long it will take me to get back to old salary but I don't really care. I'm also not in the same boat as those two finance wise but it's the tradeoff I want to do with my time.

Are you really even giving up 25% though?  Probably more like 15% (assuming 22% fed rate + 7.65% FICA + a few % for state income tax).

Anyway, it's awesome that you've prioritized 25% of your time over 25% (or 15%!) of your salary.  Especially if you're not yet FI.  That sort of decision can take a lot of courage.

Courage or stupidity ? Lol. We're somewhere in the 4-7 year timeline to FI and this pushes it to maybe 7-10 all assuming modest returns.

It is 25% base pay reduction and yes it is not 25 % reduction in take home for the reasons you mentioned. DWs employment status is a bit finicky at the moment, but absolute worst case scenario we will not spend more than we make. Further, after this coming year at least one kid will be out of day care and frees up a lot of cash :)

That's about the same ball park I was in when I chose to do it we had about 50% of our FI number.

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #212 on: July 10, 2021, 01:40:55 PM »
It's tempting to go PT, but I've already decided to work only 25-35 hours a week from home but with a FT salary. I'm going to do that for a while, but if or when projects / expectations / meetings increase that put me closer to 40 hours a week as well as more daily commutes to the office, that will only accelerate my desire to FI, which I'm thinking will be mid-2022.

boarder42

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #213 on: July 10, 2021, 01:44:23 PM »
It's tempting to go PT, but I've already decided to work only 25-35 hours a week from home but with a FT salary. I'm going to do that for a while, but if or when projects / expectations / meetings increase that put me closer to 40 hours a week as well as more daily commutes to the office, that will only accelerate my desire to FI, which I'm thinking will be mid-2022.

That's basically what I did last year. Had planned to down shift to 30 a week but no reason when I'm at home and can do whatever.  Though after being "free" on FMLA from the availability to answer and resolve issues and client calls and meeting etc. Being "off" is far different

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #214 on: July 10, 2021, 02:33:32 PM »
It's tempting to go PT, but I've already decided to work only 25-35 hours a week from home but with a FT salary. I'm going to do that for a while, but if or when projects / expectations / meetings increase that put me closer to 40 hours a week as well as more daily commutes to the office, that will only accelerate my desire to FI, which I'm thinking will be mid-2022.

That's basically what I did last year. Had planned to down shift to 30 a week but no reason when I'm at home and can do whatever.  Though after being "free" on FMLA from the availability to answer and resolve issues and client calls and meeting etc. Being "off" is far different
Somebody asked me why I didn't just want to work after I picked kids up or before they got up severely underestimated the benefit of being able to resist this thing. They also didn't understand how I could also give up the cash, but that's a different aspect.

boarder42

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #215 on: July 10, 2021, 03:26:53 PM »
It's tempting to go PT, but I've already decided to work only 25-35 hours a week from home but with a FT salary. I'm going to do that for a while, but if or when projects / expectations / meetings increase that put me closer to 40 hours a week as well as more daily commutes to the office, that will only accelerate my desire to FI, which I'm thinking will be mid-2022.

That's basically what I did last year. Had planned to down shift to 30 a week but no reason when I'm at home and can do whatever.  Though after being "free" on FMLA from the availability to answer and resolve issues and client calls and meeting etc. Being "off" is far different
Somebody asked me why I didn't just want to work after I picked kids up or before they got up severely underestimated the benefit of being able to resist this thing. They also didn't understand how I could also give up the cash, but that's a different aspect.

Oh the cash statements I get are hilarious. Like your wife must make a ton. No she's retired now.

JJ-

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #216 on: July 10, 2021, 04:58:03 PM »
It's tempting to go PT, but I've already decided to work only 25-35 hours a week from home but with a FT salary. I'm going to do that for a while, but if or when projects / expectations / meetings increase that put me closer to 40 hours a week as well as more daily commutes to the office, that will only accelerate my desire to FI, which I'm thinking will be mid-2022.

That's basically what I did last year. Had planned to down shift to 30 a week but no reason when I'm at home and can do whatever.  Though after being "free" on FMLA from the availability to answer and resolve issues and client calls and meeting etc. Being "off" is far different
Somebody asked me why I didn't just want to work after I picked kids up or before they got up severely underestimated the benefit of being able to resist this thing. They also didn't understand how I could also give up the cash, but that's a different aspect.

Oh the cash statements I get are hilarious. Like your wife must make a ton. No she's retired now.
For federal employees, most spend and work the career for the pension. Sometimes people come in mid to late career from the private sector and rumors spread they have  a "nice portfolio." The few that ask how we can do it, my response is that we've saved a bunch over the last 10 years and the stock market has been good to us, so it's more about quality of life than money right now. The confused ones feel a bit relieves when I say "right now" and basically assume I'll need to go back to full time. Others are interested in how to figure out to do the same thing. Lots of upstream current in this right now.

SpareChange

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #217 on: July 11, 2021, 09:49:15 AM »
i've been a downshifter for a couple of months now- 20 hours per week and no doubt its been the best decision i've made for my present and future self!

a handful of co workers and/or their family members recently passed before they even had a change to retire.... feeling super depressed for them and is a reminder to try and appreciate/be grateful for each day.  easier to accomplish that when its on a off day!

Glad it's working out for you! You can add my dad to that list. He had a massive heart attack and passed away two months before he was going to retire.

StarBright

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #218 on: July 12, 2021, 08:30:44 AM »
Saw this thread come up on another post and am PTF. I am so close to downshifting and have all sorts of feelings about it (including that I might be insane).

Just do it. You'll never look back.

Thanks :) The thing that is giving me agita is that once I am done w/ my employer, I don't think I can get back into my field if something goes wrong (have done some research on this, spoke to recruiters, I am a hard sell because of my educational background and location).

I asked for an hours reduction two years ago and was told no. So now I have to be ready to walk away if they say no again. I think I have real leverage here, but have to be prepared that I've overestimated my worth.

boarder42

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #219 on: July 12, 2021, 09:10:59 AM »
Saw this thread come up on another post and am PTF. I am so close to downshifting and have all sorts of feelings about it (including that I might be insane).

Just do it. You'll never look back.

Thanks :) The thing that is giving me agita is that once I am done w/ my employer, I don't think I can get back into my field if something goes wrong (have done some research on this, spoke to recruiters, I am a hard sell because of my educational background and location).

I asked for an hours reduction two years ago and was told no. So now I have to be ready to walk away if they say no again. I think I have real leverage here, but have to be prepared that I've overestimated my worth.

Wife was told the same thing about part time a year ago. She put her 4 week notice in and they were like you can come back part time whenever you want. Or if you want to do some contracting let us know

RainyDay

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #220 on: July 13, 2021, 08:43:06 AM »
i've been a downshifter for a couple of months now- 20 hours per week and no doubt its been the best decision i've made for my present and future self!

a handful of co workers and/or their family members recently passed before they even had a change to retire.... feeling super depressed for them and is a reminder to try and appreciate/be grateful for each day.  easier to accomplish that when its on a off day!

Glad it's working out for you! You can add my dad to that list. He had a massive heart attack and passed away two months before he was going to retire.

Sorry to hear that.  Life can be surprisingly tenuous.  Looking at the Rich, Broke, or Dead site (another posted linked it in a different thread) was really eye-opening.  I'm in good health but still have over 20% chance of dying before reaching age 75.  Chance of running out of money was 5% or less.

SpareChange

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #221 on: July 13, 2021, 10:39:38 AM »
Glad it's working out for you! You can add my dad to that list. He had a massive heart attack and passed away two months before he was going to retire.

Sorry to hear that.  Life can be surprisingly tenuous.  Looking at the Rich, Broke, or Dead site (another posted linked it in a different thread) was really eye-opening.  I'm in good health but still have over 20% chance of dying before reaching age 75.  Chance of running out of money was 5% or less.

My dad taught me just as many lessons on how not to live life as he did good ways to live it. I love the RBD calculator, and use it often. Anecdotes are ubiquitous, of course. A few years ago a guy in my career path retired after 30+ years at the same employer, and died within a week. Ugh.

FrugalFan

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #222 on: July 14, 2021, 09:25:30 AM »
Hello All!  I'm planning to downshift as well...currently I'm working 4-day weeks and using up copious amounts of annual leave to take every Friday off.  That should get me through the end of 2021.

For next year, I'm hoping to convince my supervisor that I should permanently work 4-day weeks (using sick leave).  Having never really used sick leave, it has just been piling up.

Some day, I yearn for the 3-day work week.  I actually like the structure of working, and as a natural introvert, working keeps me from going full-time hermit.

Nice. I have a coworker who works 4 days...he simply will not go back to 5 days a week he loves it so much. I'm thinking I might start using some pto in the back half of the year to take off Wed. I work every other week, but it's a 5 day week. Putting a break in the middle would be pretty sweet.

We lived in France a couple of years ago and the kids had Wednesdays out of school, so we adapted our schedule to that as well. That break in the middle made such a surprising difference! I would have thought long weekends would be better, but now I'm not so sure. They also had two weeks off for every six weeks of school. The rhythm of life there was really nice. Nothing seemed too daunting because of the more frequent breaks.

FrugalFan

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #223 on: July 14, 2021, 09:42:55 AM »
I haven't posted in a long time, but when I saw this thread I thought I would share that I put in a request for 2/3 time a couple of weeks ago. Still waiting to hear but it should go through. Pretty excited about this, and it's reversible if I don't like it (most likely will downshift even more in a year or two). Our house is paid off, we are pretty much at FI minus travel expenses, and have pretty secure jobs. I don't think this will slow our timeline to a comfortable FI very much. I think working from home for the past year made this decision much easier in terms of realizing what I don't want to go back to, and also in terms of concerns about how it might be perceived by coworkers. Many probably won't even notice!

Simpli-Fi

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #224 on: July 14, 2021, 09:52:30 AM »
We lived in France a couple of years ago and the kids had Wednesdays out of school, so we adapted our schedule to that as well. That break in the middle made such a surprising difference! I would have thought long weekends would be better, but now I'm not so sure. They also had two weeks off for every six weeks of school. The rhythm of life there was really nice. Nothing seemed too daunting because of the more frequent breaks.
When I was commuting to an office, I had a lot of PTO piled up that would vanish at the end of the year if I didn't use XX hours of it...so I took every Wednesday off for almost an entire year.  It really was like two weeks in one.  Mon, Tue WEEKEND, Thur Fri double WEEKEND!

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #225 on: July 14, 2021, 10:11:09 AM »
I haven't posted in a long time, but when I saw this thread I thought I would share that I put in a request for 2/3 time a couple of weeks ago. Still waiting to hear but it should go through. Pretty excited about this, and it's reversible if I don't like it (most likely will downshift even more in a year or two). Our house is paid off, we are pretty much at FI minus travel expenses, and have pretty secure jobs. I don't think this will slow our timeline to a comfortable FI very much. I think working from home for the past year made this decision much easier in terms of realizing what I don't want to go back to, and also in terms of concerns about how it might be perceived by coworkers. Many probably won't even notice!
That's awesome. It may not slow it but will likely improve your mental well-being. Good luck!

AlanStache

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #226 on: July 14, 2021, 11:02:51 AM »
PTF.   I think I am near a point where working five 6hr days sounds like a good idea (with a pay cut).  Am very close to FI so would not really delay much; but am just not sure what my final FI number is.  I am basically at my current number but may want to move to a higher COLA or do more in RE than I do now.  Pulse some OMY syndrome; and a gradual down shift sounds nice.

FrugalFan

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #227 on: July 14, 2021, 12:17:29 PM »
We lived in France a couple of years ago and the kids had Wednesdays out of school, so we adapted our schedule to that as well. That break in the middle made such a surprising difference! I would have thought long weekends would be better, but now I'm not so sure. They also had two weeks off for every six weeks of school. The rhythm of life there was really nice. Nothing seemed too daunting because of the more frequent breaks.
When I was commuting to an office, I had a lot of PTO piled up that would vanish at the end of the year if I didn't use XX hours of it...so I took every Wednesday off for almost an entire year.  It really was like two weeks in one.  Mon, Tue WEEKEND, Thur Fri double WEEKEND!

Yes, that is exactly what it felt like! We would do local fun stuff on Wednesdays and explore nearby towns and villages on the weekends. It really did feel like two weekends a week.

FrugalFan

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #228 on: July 14, 2021, 12:21:27 PM »
I haven't posted in a long time, but when I saw this thread I thought I would share that I put in a request for 2/3 time a couple of weeks ago. Still waiting to hear but it should go through. Pretty excited about this, and it's reversible if I don't like it (most likely will downshift even more in a year or two). Our house is paid off, we are pretty much at FI minus travel expenses, and have pretty secure jobs. I don't think this will slow our timeline to a comfortable FI very much. I think working from home for the past year made this decision much easier in terms of realizing what I don't want to go back to, and also in terms of concerns about how it might be perceived by coworkers. Many probably won't even notice!
That's awesome. It may not slow it but will likely improve your mental well-being. Good luck!

Thank you! Fingers crossed it goes through. And good luck to you! I'm sure it will do wonders for my well-being. Less busy-busy time, more time with kids, more time to do fun stuff like take classes or meet friends for coffee. The stash will still be growing and we'll be putting away a considerable amount still. I don't see much downside. We could always save more faster, but my husband loves his job and is not interested in stopping for another few years at least.

FrugalFan

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #229 on: July 14, 2021, 12:25:25 PM »
PTF.   I think I am near a point where working five 6hr days sounds like a good idea (with a pay cut).  Am very close to FI so would not really delay much; but am just not sure what my final FI number is.  I am basically at my current number but may want to move to a higher COLA or do more in RE than I do now.  Pulse some OMY syndrome; and a gradual down shift sounds nice.

Similar situation for us. We want more cushioning but this is like a reward for making it this far and kind of a way to dip my toes into some parts of FIRE life. Jobs are quite flexible too so there will still be vacation time for longer trips, etc.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #230 on: July 14, 2021, 01:39:27 PM »
PTF.   I think I am near a point where working five 6hr days sounds like a good idea (with a pay cut).  Am very close to FI so would not really delay much; but am just not sure what my final FI number is.  I am basically at my current number but may want to move to a higher COLA or do more in RE than I do now.  Pulse some OMY syndrome; and a gradual down shift sounds nice.

Similar situation for us. We want more cushioning but this is like a reward for making it this far and kind of a way to dip my toes into some parts of FIRE life. Jobs are quite flexible too so there will still be vacation time for longer trips, etc.

That's why I went to 32-hr weeks.  I wasn't at a fire number yet, but I'd been saving for (what felt like) a loooong time, and I figured my 75% savings rate could take a hit.  It was time to start enjoying what I've been saving for for so long.

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #231 on: July 22, 2021, 12:44:11 AM »
I have downshifted, and recommend.  I am upshifting now for no particularly good reason, so I thought y'all might have some interest or comments to offer.

I work for a company that allows you to take breaks whenever you want (as long as you don't drop out in the middle of an assignment and mess up with your client).  No work, no salary, but they are happy to have you back if you are a solid worker.  I took what was initially going to be a 6 month break right before Covid hit.  6 months stretched to about 18.  Pulling money off the investment accounts was not fun, but I was fine with it financially. 

At about 18 months, I got offered a project and decided to take.  I was just on the almost side of FIRE, so the money was welcome.  It turns out the client was great and they offered me a job.  The thlot pickens.

Now, I have some choices.  I live in a VHCOL area, thought I was able to find cheap rent in a place I love and my expenses are low.  I can work 1 more year and hit FIRE free and clear.  Or I can work a few months here and a few months there and FIRE in about 2 years, give or take.  Or I can move somewhere cheaper - I like lots of places - and FIRE today. I can also take the job, which I think I will, if:

1. I can continue to work from home indefinitely.  My dog likes having me home and the feeling is mutual.  I also do not want to wear pants.
2. I do not have to move, or if I do move it will be to a place I have been curious about in a while.
3. If I have to move, it happens on my schedule.
4.  I have a 2 year shelf life.  I don't want to gun for a promotion.  I want to be able to help the people I grew to like work through a transition and then ride into the sunset.

I don't have a big conclusion to this.  I am doing it because I like the people, it occupies my days and I am in an extremely Covid-safe situation with almost no chance of a lockdown and even less of a chance of infection for me.  I could do with taking more naps and spending more time away from screens, but I look at it as giving up the naps for health and (more) financial security.

I do have a little conclusion, though.  If you are in a position to downshift, there of ways to do it and play with how much you work and when.  I am a fan of working at irregular intervals.

My dog is a big supporter too.



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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #232 on: July 22, 2021, 06:48:02 AM »
I have downshifted, and recommend.  I am upshifting now for no particularly good reason, so I thought y'all might have some interest or comments to offer.

I work for a company that allows you to take breaks whenever you want (as long as you don't drop out in the middle of an assignment and mess up with your client).  No work, no salary, but they are happy to have you back if you are a solid worker.  I took what was initially going to be a 6 month break right before Covid hit.  6 months stretched to about 18.  Pulling money off the investment accounts was not fun, but I was fine with it financially. 

At about 18 months, I got offered a project and decided to take.  I was just on the almost side of FIRE, so the money was welcome.  It turns out the client was great and they offered me a job.  The thlot pickens.

Now, I have some choices.  I live in a VHCOL area, thought I was able to find cheap rent in a place I love and my expenses are low.  I can work 1 more year and hit FIRE free and clear.  Or I can work a few months here and a few months there and FIRE in about 2 years, give or take.  Or I can move somewhere cheaper - I like lots of places - and FIRE today. I can also take the job, which I think I will, if:

1. I can continue to work from home indefinitely.  My dog likes having me home and the feeling is mutual.  I also do not want to wear pants.
2. I do not have to move, or if I do move it will be to a place I have been curious about in a while.
3. If I have to move, it happens on my schedule.
4.  I have a 2 year shelf life.  I don't want to gun for a promotion.  I want to be able to help the people I grew to like work through a transition and then ride into the sunset.

I don't have a big conclusion to this.  I am doing it because I like the people, it occupies my days and I am in an extremely Covid-safe situation with almost no chance of a lockdown and even less of a chance of infection for me.  I could do with taking more naps and spending more time away from screens, but I look at it as giving up the naps for health and (more) financial security.

I do have a little conclusion, though.  If you are in a position to downshift, there of ways to do it and play with how much you work and when.  I am a fan of working at irregular intervals.

My dog is a big supporter too.

That's amazing and I'm glad it's working out for your dog. And you too I guess

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #233 on: July 28, 2021, 08:00:01 PM »
My downshifts are usually a pretty large jump in rpms more than I'd like so I'll be having my friend build a better transmission. Wait, not that kind of downshift?

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #234 on: August 25, 2021, 06:15:46 PM »
I'm thinking about submitting a request to downshift responsibility to reduce stress with the secondary goal of a four day workweek at the same hours or slightly less.  I'm struggling with the fear of regret:  I assume there will be a large pay cut, and I'd be giving up my last, highest earning years before retirement that would really increase my stash, which is at about 75% of where it should be based on current expenses. 

On the other hand, I'm so burned out that downshifting is the compromise I've made to keep myself from quitting completely.  I'm trying to compose a written request but can't get too far beyond "I'd like to redefine my role to reduce my level of responsibility."  Any suggestions?  (This is my first post so please be gentle with any face punches.)


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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #235 on: August 25, 2021, 06:38:08 PM »
I'm thinking about submitting a request to downshift responsibility to reduce stress with the secondary goal of a four day workweek at the same hours or slightly less.  I'm struggling with the fear of regret:  I assume there will be a large pay cut, and I'd be giving up my last, highest earning years before retirement that would really increase my stash, which is at about 75% of where it should be based on current expenses. 

On the other hand, I'm so burned out that downshifting is the compromise I've made to keep myself from quitting completely.  I'm trying to compose a written request but can't get too far beyond "I'd like to redefine my role to reduce my level of responsibility."  Any suggestions?  (This is my first post so please be gentle with any face punches.)
Post a case study, but based on your post it sounds like mentally you want to do it already. If you're not bleeding cash and have a decent stash , shouldn't be a problem. However it can impact savings and time to FI.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #236 on: August 25, 2021, 06:51:00 PM »
It does impact savings and time to FI, but after 15 years of working towards it, I was ready to start enjoying the fruits of my labor.  It doesn't change the timeline as much as you think, and being 4 days/32 hours is suuuuuuch a big difference, I have zero regrets.  Can you do your job in 32 hours?  I knew I'd be able to, so it wasn't too difficult of a conversation with my boss, and we tried it for a quarter to make sure it didn't negatively impact the team.  You don't have to have a formal proposal to start the conversation.

dandarc

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #237 on: August 25, 2021, 07:51:20 PM »
Almost 4 months in, so time to join up here.

Why you did it?
We started down this FIRE path in 2013 - I was working a well paying job, but had recently been put under a manager I did not like working for in my government-contracting computer programming gig. Nice guy with "people" stuff, but horrible with "manage the work" stuff. Newly married (2012), I surely wasn't ready to quit, but finding a way out in short order was very appealing. By 2015 or 2016, my wife grew tired of her stable state job ("tired of" doesn't really describe it, but I don't have the words right now) and started a career change that would require more formal education. Started taking one class at a time, and then got a call about a job she had applied for years ago with the legislature. She wound up taking that job (which I fully supported). It turned out to be a horrible fit - the super high pressure environment combined with long stretches of absolutely nothing to do but still having to show up made her miserable. By 2017, she fully quit to focus on the school needed for the career change. But she almost as miserable, particularly as the pre-requisites got harder and harder as she moved the goalposts on herself to "PA" from "RN". And by 2018 I was reaching the end of my rope at my job.

The search was on, but one day a vendor we had worked with for years was on-site and I blurted out "are you hiring?" in an awkward way. By April I'm working for them and in May we move to California. The California job was fantastic for me - not just novelty but just about every aspect of that project was awesome. But not so much at home - turns out stuff like "Organic Chemistry" is even harder at the schools in California. As planned(ish) we moved back a year and a half later in October 2019. 6 months after that, obviously the pandemic hit. I was still supporting California, and added minor tasks for another state as well. The company I had signed with in 2018 had been acquired and that merger was starting to be very real. March 2020 I had a conversation where I was promised another year renewal contract, but that quickly turned into "we don't do 1099 anymore - you can come on as W-2 or be out of work on July 1." I caved (they came up $20K on salary helping me cave). But as an employee I was feeling a ton of pressure - we're proposing you in this state, we need you to do more in other two states. I was on the org chart along with one other guy in the "we pay these people too much to put them anywhere else on the org chart." And salary vs. my last 10 years of hourly contract work - suddenly I had to enforce boundaries about work time. Before I didn't mind long hours because that meant more money. Not so now. But overall I can tolerate the situation, and there were some interesting projects potentially coming up.

And then my old job got in touch, "any interest in coming back?". I wasn't interested in changing full time jobs, but I decided to just ask for part time terms that I'd find acceptable - part time, go through old middle man so I can get back to "self-employed", an hourly rate I thought they'd frankly say no to. But they said yes to everything. So sI'm now back working part time at my old job since May 1st. The boss I referred to earlier - retired 2 months after I moved to California in 2018. Neither I nor my coworkers knew this was happening so soon. Not sure how all this plays out if I had that piece of information back then.

What your downshift looks like?
I work Monday through Wednesday 8 to 10 hours per day. 8 is what we agreed to, but I'm approved for more time than 24 hours per week comes too, and sometimes there's something I want to finish at the end of a day. Plus hourly so when I choose to do more work time = more money, I have full freedom to choose remote or on-site and I've exercised that, often making the decision day-of.

What do you like about it?

4 days off per week, even when I have a more relaxing weekend than I probably should I still do better with housework and such than I used to. I'm able to do some volunteer work I signed up for without losing my mind (too much) over not having enough hours in the day. On paper anyway I have enough time to do everything. Paper <> Reality yet, but I'm working on it.

I don't find I'm lonely or anything along those lines, but then my wife has said "you're the most introverted person I've ever met", so hang out with her plus hockey once per week plus interaction with coworkers on the days I do decide to go to the office is more than enough to meet my needs.

What isn't so awesome about it?

Theoretically, we can take that long weekend trip whenever we want, but wife is still in school and has started a job she likes as a health educator so between those two things while I'm largely open on Thursdays and Fridays, we are not. I'm hoping to negotiate to a more similar schedule once she graduates at the end of April. Masters in Public Health - turns out the career change wasn't supposed to be to RN or PA, but Health Educator. She loves this job where she teaches a 6 week class to recently diagnosed diabetics.

I'm also not finding the adjustment to this schedule as easy I was hoping. Struggling to keep consistent hours. Sleeping poorly, which in my case often means over-sleeping. Got into some bad habits supporting a west-coast customer from an east-coast home office. I'm sure not all of this is "downshift isn't all it is cracked up to be", but I'm equally as sure some of it is. In any event, working on it.

What are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
I honestly think this level of work might be sustainable long-haul. Granted with ~30 years to "normal" retirement age a lot can change. But portfolio is already at a point where things pencil out if we cut to a lower spending level, which shouldn't be too difficult. A lot of people make it in our area on less than our portfolio supports at 4%. Not us right at the moment, but people do which means we can too. And not so long ago we had our spending within what 5% of our portfolio supports, also a defensible withdraw rate. So we're close to our number already, but if this coasting I'm doing continues to work out I don't think I'll have as compelling a need to stop it as I was feeling 8 years ago. That would allow us to donate a ton of money to charity (we already have ramped this up substantially), travel without getting too hung up on costs. Basically I'm hoping that coast-fire comes with a real feeling of coasting for a long time.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2021, 07:53:43 PM by dandarc »

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #238 on: August 26, 2021, 10:30:02 AM »
I honestly think this level of work might be sustainable long-haul.

That's how I've felt too.  The switch to 4 day work weeks was so significant, I feel like if I could switch to 3 days (both financially and logistically), coupled with being remote, I could do that for much longer than I initially hoped to have to work.

JJ-

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #239 on: September 02, 2021, 07:49:33 PM »
Sorry for resurrecting an old thread, but I figured why start a new one when I've seen recent posts from a lot of names here and figured while not many, there are some mighty names here I respect and wanted to say thanks. I will probably be asking to go to part time in the fall, 5x6 hour days for kid reasons, and while I'd love to do 4x6 I doubt a) it'd be approved and b) our income situation is just a bit precarious right now with DW launching a solo biz and potentially never going back to her employer where she's been furloughed since Covid hit.

I probably fall into the category of nervous/scared and not relying on the math as while we're at 50-65% of FI numbers we still have $650k+ invested and dropping to 3/4 time will only decrease savings rate from ~50% to ~25%, if DW's business stalls and her employer does not call her back to work...

In the mean time, I have a few items I'd like to figure out. Maybe I'll start a journal.

Anyway, thanks all for good info here. Wish me luck as I'm realizing my timeline of "fall" happens to be in approximately less than 3 months. Eeeeeeeek.

Well. I've been on my reduced schedule for a couple of weeks now. First. How on earth did I find time to work an extra 10 hours a week?  Good lord 8-5 is such a long day.

It's a bit weird right now, both with things being a bit crazy with year end work and also with projects still transitioning out. I'm a bit busier throughout the day than I'd like to be. I've been running out of time at 6 hours to wrap up everything I would like to by the end of the day, so really what that means is things just trickle over into the next and sometimes I have to multitask. Again, temporary.

My concerns about not knowing the future 3 months ago about DWs employer bringing her back are still lingering. However, self employment business is booming for now. I'm much less worried about it now that we're here. It was 100% the right call for us life wise.

FLBiker

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #240 on: September 09, 2021, 05:39:00 AM »
I honestly think this level of work might be sustainable long-haul.

That's how I've felt too.  The switch to 4 day work weeks was so significant, I feel like if I could switch to 3 days (both financially and logistically), coupled with being remote, I could do that for much longer than I initially hoped to have to work.

I haven't done it yet, but this is kind of my expectation.  I like my job pretty well, and could see doing 3 or 4 days a week pretty much indefinitely.  We shall see. :)

ixtap

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #241 on: September 09, 2021, 08:40:04 AM »
It is interesting to me that very few mentioned where their benefits stand with the downshift. Someone mentioned their company cutoff as 24 hours, but not much else. Anyone have input on this?

DH is beginning downshift negotiations and the timing that is ideal to us depends a lot on what benefits they can offer. Being able to continue to vest existing RSUs is *huge*, but health insurance (100% paid vs us paying 102% via COBRA!) and some of the smaller benefits all add up. Even so, he is willing to consider downshifting tomorrow if he can keep the RSUs if it also means the team can hire someone new sooner.

iluvzbeach

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #242 on: September 09, 2021, 09:04:17 AM »
When I downshifted I was able to keep all benefits, including vesting of RSUs. It should all be available as part of the negotiation.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #243 on: September 09, 2021, 09:06:47 AM »
It is interesting to me that very few mentioned where their benefits stand with the downshift. Someone mentioned their company cutoff as 24 hours, but not much else. Anyone have input on this?

It's very company-specific, so you'd have to ask.  I keep health insurance down to 30 hours, but keep 401k match down to I think 20.  Since I only went to 32 all I lost was some money.  If I wanted to go to 24 hours, it would take a lot more planning.

JJ-

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #244 on: September 09, 2021, 09:08:17 AM »
It is interesting to me that very few mentioned where their benefits stand with the downshift. Someone mentioned their company cutoff as 24 hours, but not much else. Anyone have input on this?

DH is beginning downshift negotiations and the timing that is ideal to us depends a lot on what benefits they can offer. Being able to continue to vest existing RSUs is *huge*, but health insurance (100% paid vs us paying 102% via COBRA!) and some of the smaller benefits all add up. Even so, he is willing to consider downshifting tomorrow if he can keep the RSUs if it also means the team can hire someone new sooner.
I work for federal government so i can't comment on RSUs. I went to 75% time. I now receive 75% of time off benefits and I pay 25% of the employer portion of health insurance. Additionally my pension annuity for years of service is calculated at 75% for time spent at 3/4 time.  That's basically it but likely not going to be as straightforward for other employers.

Oh yeah my salary went down 25% lol. My hourly rate is the same i just work less hours. 

boarder42

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #245 on: September 09, 2021, 09:15:59 AM »
It is interesting to me that very few mentioned where their benefits stand with the downshift. Someone mentioned their company cutoff as 24 hours, but not much else. Anyone have input on this?

DH is beginning downshift negotiations and the timing that is ideal to us depends a lot on what benefits they can offer. Being able to continue to vest existing RSUs is *huge*, but health insurance (100% paid vs us paying 102% via COBRA!) and some of the smaller benefits all add up. Even so, he is willing to consider downshifting tomorrow if he can keep the RSUs if it also means the team can hire someone new sooner.
I work for federal government so i can't comment on RSUs. I went to 75% time. I now receive 75% of time off benefits and I pay 25% of the employer portion of health insurance. Additionally my pension annuity for years of service is calculated at 75% for time spent at 3/4 time.  That's basically it but likely not going to be as straightforward for other employers.

Oh yeah my salary went down 25% lol. My hourly rate is the same i just work less hours.

i work 90% 4-9s
my salary and PTO dropped proportionally - 10% - all other benefits remained the same if i fall below 30 hours i lose all benefits except for our ESOP plan which i lose if i dont work 1000 hours in a year. 

SpareChange

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #246 on: September 09, 2021, 01:14:55 PM »
It is interesting to me that very few mentioned where their benefits stand with the downshift. Someone mentioned their company cutoff as 24 hours, but not much else. Anyone have input on this?

DH is beginning downshift negotiations and the timing that is ideal to us depends a lot on what benefits they can offer. Being able to continue to vest existing RSUs is *huge*, but health insurance (100% paid vs us paying 102% via COBRA!) and some of the smaller benefits all add up. Even so, he is willing to consider downshifting tomorrow if he can keep the RSUs if it also means the team can hire someone new sooner.

At my company, PT with benefits starts at 16 hrs/wk. You pay a higher rate for health insurance. You keep same 403b match and PTO rate. Eligible for ST disability, but not LT.

ixtap

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #247 on: September 09, 2021, 01:22:30 PM »
It is interesting to me that very few mentioned where their benefits stand with the downshift. Someone mentioned their company cutoff as 24 hours, but not much else. Anyone have input on this?

DH is beginning downshift negotiations and the timing that is ideal to us depends a lot on what benefits they can offer. Being able to continue to vest existing RSUs is *huge*, but health insurance (100% paid vs us paying 102% via COBRA!) and some of the smaller benefits all add up. Even so, he is willing to consider downshifting tomorrow if he can keep the RSUs if it also means the team can hire someone new sooner.

At my company, PT with benefits starts at 16 hrs/wk. You pay a higher rate for health insurance. You keep same 403b match and PTO rate. Eligible for ST disability, but not LT.

I guess I was really wondering if anyone had been able to negotiate a package that was different than the standard part time rules or if those are kind of carved in stone due to labor regulations.

FLBiker

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #248 on: September 09, 2021, 01:58:53 PM »
I'm considered full-time as far as benefits go down to 30 hours per week.  I suspect I might lose some PTO, though.  For context, I work via a PEO for a US company as a Canadian resident.

eniacs

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Re: Calling all downshifters!
« Reply #249 on: November 15, 2021, 03:44:43 AM »
Hello all, Joined the forum to reply to this thread.

I am in the UK and started reading MMM in the summer. 39 years old married, 3 children. Since starting reading I sold up our 2nd car and cycle to work now - and to a lot of other places! I also persuaded my employer to cut my hours by 25% and as others have experienced have only seen a 15% cut in pay. I now only do 3 days, t,w,t. I run a small business in my spare time, have two rental houses and a moderate (small when comparing on here!) investment portfolio in an ISA.

To answer the threads questions:
- why you did it?
Few reasons:
Birth of our 3rd child
Side business needing more time
Feeling in work that i will never be satisfied doing someone else's bidding

- what your downshift looks like?
Sorry that was covered above

- what do you like about it?
Monday and friday are my days, do as I please. Sit in the garden drink tea and watch the birds, go earn some money working for someone, go earn my own money etc. My choice!
Freedom
Ability to take care of my children on these days. Sometimes as simple as walking them to school and back, or looking after them if they are sick. Helping them with their homework, normally I feel too tired to do this after a day in the office.

- what isn't so awesome about it?
Work is slightly negatively affected, appears some of the office staff think I should be stringing the company line and setting an example (not sure who to), this is just a feeling at the moment nothing been said. It may be just jealousy or I've made it up in my head. I also feel I will be left out of promotion and any further opportunity, although I don't want this, I know from previous experience this is a fallacy, more work and stress for little extra pay.
I feel odd and am struggling to gain my identity as others have said. I feel a little like a sheep who has lost its master and need to be lead. But I hate this and love it when I step out on my own with work. Conflicted!

- what are your plans going forward around downshifting and FIRE?
I plan to extend my business and train in further work to do of my own and ultimately stop working for someone else. Although I haven't set any time frame to this. My own income from property could cover my outgoings but with young family etc some money flowing for a while is nice. Once they are grown up, I cant see myself continuing to work.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!