Author Topic: One day a week to beat SORR  (Read 2314 times)

PhilB

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One day a week to beat SORR
« on: June 03, 2020, 03:07:57 PM »
First up, I know there are all manner of people for whom this would be a non-starter.  People who have grown to hate their job with a passion.  People whose FIRE plan involves trekking off grid for months at a time.  People who care what the IRP say.   I get that and have no problem with it.  Iím just putting this out there in case it does speak to anyone else.

Take a typical Mustachian with say a 50% savings rate.  If their income is 100 (just to pick a round number), then their expenses are 50 and lets assume thatís their post FIRE budget too.  If youíre anything like me youíve got some slack in that budget to cut in a downturn.  Say 20% slack so your bare bones budget is 40.

The big cause of portfolio failure is, of course, a run of bad returns in the first few years.  So what happens if, rather than FIRE completely, you stay on just one day a week?  If five days earned you 100 then one day earns you 20.  Youíd planned to sell 50 of investments to cover your income, but as the job is providing 20, those same investments will still provide the rest of your full FIRE budget even if the markets are down 40%.  If you can cut your spending by 20% then the one day a week job protects you from a 60% downturn!

I realise not everyone would have the opportunity to stay on one day a week, but for others, particularly if you have specialist knowledge, your employer might bite your hand off if you offered to do this for a transition period.  I know mine did when I FIREíd 19 months ago Ė to the extent that I was even able to negotiate a pay rise as part of it, plus pay for any overtime I ended up doing.   With high school age kids I couldnít take off round the world anyway so this gives me almost all the benefits of being fully FIREd, but has meant I didnít need to worry about all the excitement in the market since I left full time work Ė which has been very nice in the circumstances!

Iíve no idea how much longer Iíll continue, but for the time being working 7 hours a week seems like a pretty sweet lifestyle.  It wouldnít work for me if I really felt that I needed the money, rather than it just being an extra layer of security, but as both my employers and I know Iíd be fine if I walked tomorrow it makes for a much better balance of power than most employees have.

If you are at the point when the numbers say you can walk, then you could just pull the plug, but itís worth considering leaving a toe or two in the water.  Who knows, you may even find you enjoy it!

sherr

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2020, 03:40:40 PM »
I think this is a good idea if you can swing it, and it's something I've considered doing myself. The barrier to me is completely psychological. As I'm approaching FI I find that I have less and less patience with corporate life. And that seems to be only accelerating.

Maybe if you can avoid the "nonsense" part of your job while only keeping the parts you're interested it's a great deal. On the other hand part of me says "well why not just work full-time for like two extra months, and then not have to do it ever again?"

Retire-Canada

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2020, 08:37:27 PM »
I'm doing some easy PT WFH contract work. Something in the range of 5-10hrs/week. It's project related so it comes and goes somewhat sporadically. It's low stress. I can schedule my time as I want within reason and I can travel. My only constraints are I do have to have access to mobile phone service/internet and I do have to do a few hours work a week.

I totally support the Internet Retirement Police. By my own definition of FIREd [working less that 25%FT on average in a year] I'm FIREd. But, if someone insisted I was only Extreme Downshifted I wouldn't argue with them. Either way it's super nice to have so much free time to do what I want.

Making some $$ is handy for SORR as well as the fact my lovely 4%WR plan got derailed by COVID-19 so being able to give my portfolio some additional time to recover is nice. My GF has ~6 years more work until she can FIRE so not being able to go off grid for months at a time isn't a huge buzz kill for me.

I didn't really plan for things to work out this way. It more or less happened and I didn't see the point in fighting it.

PhilB

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2020, 11:39:40 PM »
I think this is a good idea if you can swing it, and it's something I've considered doing myself. The barrier to me is completely psychological. As I'm approaching FI I find that I have less and less patience with corporate life. And that seems to be only accelerating.

Maybe if you can avoid the "nonsense" part of your job while only keeping the parts you're interested it's a great deal. On the other hand part of me says "well why not just work full-time for like two extra months, and then not have to do it ever again?"

It's a tricky balancing act.  I didn't pull the trigger until I had reached my FIRE number as I think my mental relationship with work would be completely different if I felt I had to do it.  I would then feel that I did have to comply with all the corporate BS.  As it is, I made it perfectly clear that I would only do the absolute minimum necessary to keep the performance management software from throwing a wobbly - it doesn't take long to write #N/A in all the boxes.  That really has made all the difference.

Once you have reached your FIRE number, and if you can swing it, the key advantage over doing a few extra months 'just in case' is that you get to be 'retired' a few months earlier this way!  My wife quit completely and I can honestly say that we feel just as retired as each other.

Quote from: Retire-Canada
I didn't really plan for things to work out this way. It more or less happened and I didn't see the point in fighting it.

Me too, to an extent.  I started out with an agreement to stay on for a specific thing, but when that came to an end they still wanted me and I still felt I was adding value so now it's pretty open ended.

Dicey

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2020, 10:32:18 AM »
I was in outside sales, so PT wasn't an option. DH's work is specialized, but PT is not an option in his firm either. Fortunately, he could have a lucrative side gig if he wanted when he retires in a year or two. He hasn't done this work as a side gig in years, but he still gets calls. It's nice to know the option exists, even if we never activate it.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2020, 11:05:47 AM »
I'm actively looking for part time non-profit work.  Wage rate isn't particularly important.  Just some "gravy" that has a lot of flexibility built in and is free of 'huge faceless corporation' bullshit.

Retire-Canada

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2020, 11:08:53 AM »
I'm actively looking for part time non-profit work.  Wage rate isn't particularly important.  Just some "gravy" that has a lot of flexibility built in and is free of 'huge faceless corporation' bullshit.

Do your research carefully my buddy just finished a non-profit contract and he took it because he wanted to avoid the corporate BS of his past. His comment at the end of a few months was the whole not for profit sector in our city anyway was as bad or worse than his time in the business world, but paid terrible. He isn't going to do that again.

bmjohnson35

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2020, 11:08:59 AM »
I suspect many wouldn't have this option in their career fields. I know I wouldn't have.  I do have a line on an alternate career field that would provide me this option that requires minimal training and I'm going to look into it further.  At this point, our finances are solid, but having a solid income stream from 1 or 2 days of work weekly sounds like a great compromise. 

flyingaway

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2020, 12:13:35 PM »
I am working probably two days a week (teaching), but I still prefer not to work at all. Even work one day a week, I still have to think about work-related things. So I prefer to make enough money and have done with the work forever.

I am financially independent, I just need some additional buffers to make sure that I do not need to look for a job again once I quit.

Linea_Norway

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2020, 12:26:51 AM »
I am working probably two days a week (teaching), but I still prefer not to work at all. Even work one day a week, I still have to think about work-related things. So I prefer to make enough money and have done with the work forever.

I am financially independent, I just need some additional buffers to make sure that I do not need to look for a job again once I quit.

This ^^^
And also having to ask permission for taking a vacation. And having to be back on a certain date from a vacation.

It would totally depend on how flexible the job is, but working one fixed day a week is not so flexible. It might be better to do like a day's work amount of work during a week, but without having to be in the office and working at home whenever it suits you.

Also, working 20% probably doesn't give you the free insurances that the other employees get. But the upside is that you keep your knowledge up to date.
If you would have to keep up with corporate BS, it would hit extra hard. Think of performance reviews and concern meetings, scrum sprint plannings. A normal employee spends maybe one day a week on this sort of stuff in total.

PhilB

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2020, 01:23:42 AM »
I am working probably two days a week (teaching), but I still prefer not to work at all. Even work one day a week, I still have to think about work-related things. So I prefer to make enough money and have done with the work forever.

I am financially independent, I just need some additional buffers to make sure that I do not need to look for a job again once I quit.

This ^^^
And also having to ask permission for taking a vacation. And having to be back on a certain date from a vacation.

It would totally depend on how flexible the job is, but working one fixed day a week is not so flexible. It might be better to do like a day's work amount of work during a week, but without having to be in the office and working at home whenever it suits you.

Also, working 20% probably doesn't give you the free insurances that the other employees get. But the upside is that you keep your knowledge up to date.
If you would have to keep up with corporate BS, it would hit extra hard. Think of performance reviews and concern meetings, scrum sprint plannings. A normal employee spends maybe one day a week on this sort of stuff in total.

I will agree that my kind of deal only really works if the balance of power sits with you rather than the employer.  If you are one of dozens of interchangeable people doing the same thing then there is no reason for them to cut you any slack, indeed to do so might create bad feeling with the others.  Even in this situation though, there may be a possibility to do occasional bursts of work when they have high demand as again the balance of power will then be with you.

If you have skills and/or knowledge that are more unique to you then it's much more likely that the company will be grateful for what they can get rather than demanding total obedience.  In my own situation the whole vibe is that I'm doing them a favour, so they do their very best to play nicely in case I stop.  It would be very different if I wasn't known to be fully FIRE as then it would be more me asking them for favours.

flyingaway

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2020, 07:18:42 AM »
I will agree that my kind of deal only really works if the balance of power sits with you rather than the employer.  If you are one of dozens of interchangeable people doing the same thing then there is no reason for them to cut you any slack, indeed to do so might create bad feeling with the others.  Even in this situation though, there may be a possibility to do occasional bursts of work when they have high demand as again the balance of power will then be with you.

If you have skills and/or knowledge that are more unique to you then it's much more likely that the company will be grateful for what they can get rather than demanding total obedience.  In my own situation the whole vibe is that I'm doing them a favour, so they do their very best to play nicely in case I stop.  It would be very different if I wasn't known to be fully FIRE as then it would be more me asking them for favours.

I think this concept is not new, and is basically similar to something like baristaFIRE or coastFIRE. Based on your title, your purpose is to beat SORR (or future uncertainty). If you do not hate your job and if you do not have something else to do which needs you to be away from your one day a week job, such as long-term travel, that is certainly a good choice of lifestyle.

MasterStache

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2020, 07:19:08 AM »
I find a nice side gig suffices. No one is going to hire an engineer for 1 day every week.The side gig(s) keep me busy while my spouse is still working and kids are in school. So this may not apply to me as we aren't withdrawing from retirement yet. However, I can certainly plan on continuing with a side gig when we make that leap. IMO, it's part of being flexible. 

Retire-Canada

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2020, 07:58:09 AM »
Doing some work is less freedom than doing no work. I ensure the people I work PT for understand that I am doing them a favour...they are not doing me a favour. FU money helps with that since at the end of the day I can just say no thanks and walk away. Most of what I do is very flexible so I can shift my hours around the week as suits me. I work from home so I can take a call on a hike or bike ride and fire off an email from my phone without needing to be at my home office. If I have plans and work wants a phone meeting my initial reaction is no I am busy at that time and I'll push to move the meeting to an open window.

I try not to be unreasonable. If there is a crisis or something very important I'll deal with it and go hiking or bike riding later, but for routine stuff I don't mess with my fun schedule I make the work fit around what I want to do.

90% of the time this ^^ works out fine. Once in awhile I have to compromise my fun activities or compromise my PT work. That's okay. Life does not have to be perfection 24/7/365.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2020, 07:54:06 AM by Retire-Canada »

PhilB

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #14 on: June 26, 2020, 12:28:24 AM »
It's interesting to see different people's views on this one.  I expected that it would be a minority sport.

I think this concept is not new, and is basically similar to something like baristaFIRE or coastFIRE. Based on your title, your purpose is to beat SORR (or future uncertainty). If you do not hate your job and if you do not have something else to do which needs you to be away from your one day a week job, such as long-term travel, that is certainly a good choice of lifestyle.

I'd agree that it's a similar lifestyle to baristaFIRE / coastFIRE.  The difference is that I think of those as needing to pick up some work rather than it being purely optional for extra gravy so I would have found those too scary!  My title actually represented something that had occurred to me as interesting when I was playing with numbers, rather than my own personal motivation.  My main driver was to make my 3 month notice period much less stressful by taking away most of the handover issues.

Quote from: MasterStache
I find a nice side gig suffices.

True, if you have a 'nice' one.  I'd struggle to come up with one that paid as well as work without a lot of hustling for work which would defeat the purpose for me, but if you have something that works for you then that's potentially the best option of all.

Quote from: Retire-Canada
Doing some work is less freedom than doing no work.

It sounds like your working arrangements are fairly similar to mine - all wfh, fun stuff normally takes priority, etc.  I do much of my work when it suits me and my only fixed hours are 11 am to 3 pm on a Thursday.  The strange thing is that I often do more fun stuff on a Thursday than other days precisely because of the need to fit it around work, eg yesterday I had a bike ride in the morning and we went swimming when I finished work at 3.  I started out doing a full day and that did get too annoying, especially if it was the one sunny day that week.

MasterStache

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2020, 07:44:47 AM »
Quote from: MasterStache
I find a nice side gig suffices.

True, if you have a 'nice' one.  I'd struggle to come up with one that paid as well as work without a lot of hustling for work which would defeat the purpose for me, but if you have something that works for you then that's potentially the best option of all.

Sure, that's definitely something to take account. My actual working side gig (small home renovations) pays a little less than my engineering gig. The beauty though is that I love doing it, I work when I want, and I am my own boss. I completed two larger projects over the winter and I may not take in any more work until the end of this year or beginning of next. My other little side gigs could disappear at anytime, although they "pay" phenomenally well.   

seattlecyclone

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Re: One day a week to beat SORR
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2020, 04:23:01 PM »
At the beginning of this month I picked up a part time contract doing software development for a startup whose app makes my life much easier in one of my volunteering gigs. It's a 10 hour per week commitment, work from home, whenever it fits in my schedule. Call the Internet Retirement Police on me, right?

They don't have much money to pay people, as they're a social purpose corporation serving some low-budget non-profit clients. I'm making less than half as much per hour as I was when working for a megacorp, but that's fine because I'm FIRE and it's not really about the money. I'm spending time supporting organizations I was already volunteering for, and I'm earning a good chunk of my living expenses back from the deal. I'm only a month in but it seems like a pretty good arrangement so far.