Author Topic: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?  (Read 3360 times)

conwy

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Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« on: October 25, 2019, 08:17:34 PM »
So I've started working my way down the Top 100 rich list, listening to interviews with one gazillionaire after another. I've arrived at Carlos Slim.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hh-e61Nv-lQ

He has one idea that I like: He talks about the combination of 'late retirement' and part-time work. So people would work into their 70s and beyond, but only 3 days per week.

https://youtu.be/Hh-e61Nv-lQ?t=1165

He says this is a good option, both individually and societally.

Individually - It keeps you active and connected and helps give you meaning, while not burning you out and allowing time for family, friends and relaxation (because it's just 3 days). The income stream also helps to cover costs of living and particularly healthcare, which is set to rise.

Societally - As a large segment of the population ages, we need as many workers as possible. We also need to give young people a chance to get into the job market. If all seniors work full-time, that means less opportunities for the youth. But if everyone works 3 days per week, then there's plenty of space for young people to fit in. And with inflation, slow growth economy and an ageing population, even wealthy seniors might need to have an additional income stream to pay for medical costs.

Not sure what others think, but I'm all for working 3 days until 70.

1. Unlike full-time, part-time seems like a pace I could sustain well into old age.

2. Even if I have enough investments to FIRE, I'd still like the added security of an income stream, as an extra buffer against economic fluctuations, inflation, etc.

3. Since I will die eventually, I'd rather die while working, doing something meaningful, surrounded by old and young. I think it's a better way to go than sitting in a nursing home doing nothing.

4. Having the long-term game plan of working part-time into old age, I can spread my efforts out more evenly over a life-time. This means I'll be less stressed, happier and healthier on average throughout my lifetime. In an uncertain and changing world, this seems like a more reliable plan than doing an enormous amount of hard, stressful work now, in hopes of achieving a wealthy retirement, when that might not be possible.

This seems similar to the Mustachean philosophy, in terms of putting more emphasis on happiness, relationships and long-term sustainable lifestyle, as opposed to working your guts out until 60 then suddenly quitting all work and retiring into a life of inactivity.

Keen to get everyone's thoughts/commentary.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2019, 09:16:59 PM by conwy »

ontheway2

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2019, 06:17:13 AM »
My dad did the drop to 3 days this year. He had enough leave to fill the other two days through the first quarter of the year and is now under lwop. He only planned to do it until 61 though although he is now considering extending it a bit. I can definitely see the draw of a 3 day work week and consider it in a coast fire scenario, but I (currently) have no desire to do it until 70. I picture more like dropping to 3 days around age 40-45 and doing that until SS instead of full speed until early 50s
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 06:18:55 AM by ontheway2 »

Malcat

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2019, 06:50:01 AM »
It's really an individual call.

The obvious factor is to not make a plan that requires you to work until 70 because your health may not let you. But assuming you're not looking to retire on a tight, lean budget at 70, that really shouldn't be an issue.

Personally, I dropped to 3 days a week in my 30s, my boss just dropped to 3 days a week at 40, and my protege just started her career in her 20s and is limiting herself from the beginning to 3 days.

Working fewer days is a FANTASTIC option for those of us who really enjoy our work, want to do it for as long as possible, but want a much better life balance than full time can afford us.

It's not for everyone though. It's a terrible option for those who want to be able to slow travel extensively while young, or who want to geo-arbitrage, or for those who want to FIRE to focus on some major project that they've always wanted to pursue.

I can't possibly do my job until 70, there's no way my body lets me, but I'm already investigating the next degree I want to get, specifically for a career that I can do indefinitely, because my best life will always include work. It's what I love.

To someone like me, working part time, indefinitely is an obvious choice, and yes, it gives us ENORMOUS financial flexibility. However, for someone else, the concept may sound like the worst of all worlds.

It is very important not to get stuck in dichotomous thinking of work full time vs not work at all. If you have any attraction to part time work, the world of opportunities and flexibility that open up to you are impressive.


Ynari

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2019, 07:28:56 AM »
I'm at a 3 day work week. "Temporarily" due to grad school, which finishes up this year. I can't see myself going back to full time. Hard enough to find time to go to appointments, run errands, cook, exercise, and so on working 3 days.

I agree that the concept is related to MMM even being deceptively contradictory. I am NOT on track to FIRE if I work 3 day weeks for my entire career! However, I am still saving a modest amount at this rate and will get a pay bump when I get my degree. I don't pay a lot of tax. I get to be excited about work instead of drained. 70 is a long way away, and I still anticipate being able to 'retire' before 60, but I'd rather have a longer career at a slower pace than a shorter career that consumes me.

KathrinS

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2019, 09:49:22 AM »
It won't be ideal for every person, but this is the option I envisage for myself.
I'm self employed, so choose the hours I work. At the moment, it's very much full time and I've already had to drop some work last year to get from 6 to 5 days. However, when I start to reach a passive income of 60-80% of my expenses (hopefully at around age 35), I will definitely start to think about dropping some more days. If I work three or four half-days a week, I can probably pay for my day to day living expenses. That way, my portfolio has time to grow and should cover 100% of expenses by age 45-50.

Milizard

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2019, 11:59:01 AM »
I currently have to 3 day work week. I like the time, but after 6 months at this new job, I'm finding people expecting me to do 40 hours worth of work in that 24 hour span. Plus, I get no holiday pay, and no other benefits that full yimers get. I get insurance through my husband, but getting some prorated benefits for the other things sure would be nice!  It really sucks to do payroll during the holidays and seeing everyone else paid for them.

RedmondStash

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2019, 12:37:46 PM »
I did the part-time thing for the last several years before I FIREd, and yeah, it was nice.

But you don't get the full experience of the freedom of FIRE when you are still working for someone. There are ways my life has expanded and improved, and even settled down, that it didn't do when I was still accountable to anyone, or when I expected to be accountable to someone else in the future, even part-time.

So sure, if you want to keep working, keep working. Cut back to whatever hours suit you. But I'd recommend at least trying out a period of no work at all, just to see. You may like it or hate it, but it's likely to change your perspective on work either way. And it may help clarify what you genuinely want to do next, after the ingrained expectations created by having a job have finally faded away.

I will likely return to work at some time, part-time, because I enjoy it. But I'm very glad I took an open-ended chunk of time off first.

Dr. Pepper

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2019, 03:49:41 PM »
There is a member of our group who is 88 and works 4 days a week. He is fairly wealthy from an elective cosmetics practice he ran until he was in his late 70's, but he continues to work because he likes it. I'm glad to have him there his experience is very valuable.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2019, 06:43:36 PM »
This is my approach.

I have never really understood the people who work 40-60hr a week for 30 years in the hopes of working 0hr a week for 30 years. Why not just work 20-30hr a week your whole life?

I have known a few people who, on suddenly retiring, ended up in depression and suicide. Others who seeing retirement ahead, and having spent so long doing what they "should", freaked out, doing the cliched buying a sports car or travelling overseas without their spouse and being unfaithful to them. Maybe if I do more of what I want to now then later I won't have to rebel childishly and shatter people's lives?

I have a home business, my garage gym takes up about 20hr per week. This leaves me the rest of my time for my kids, and a relatively leisurely approach to household stuff - I'm not rushing from school to work to school to after school activities to housework blah blah.

In my experience, people are not stressed by most individual tasks, it's the rushing between those tasks that does them in, carrying a lot of mental load, "gotta get on the train by 1500 to get to the school by 1530 then get the kid out of the schoolyard by 1545 to get them to the sport at 1615 then get them home by 1730 so I can have dinner on the table by 1830 but also make sure while I'm making dinner that they put their clothes in the washer and shower themselves and -" this does your head in.

Obviously, my 20hr pw are supported by my spouse - she's doing 38hr pw, next year cutting to I think 32hr to allow herself an extra day off so she can be more involved with the children.


I believe my being able to spend this time at home without stress and drama means a better relationship with my wife, too. We're less likely to get so busy with day to day life that we forget to be "us".

Edit: my posting this was interrupted by my 3yo daughter watching TV, "papa, papa, dancing!" Whenever there's dancing on tv she wants me to come and dance with her. If I were doing 60hr a week there would be few opportunities to dance with my three year old.

In later years this spare time can be spent on my studying or building the business further or many other things.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2019, 06:49:40 PM by Kyle Schuant »

birdiegirl

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2019, 07:30:51 PM »
DH and I are planning for something like this.  We got a late start on retirement savings, so retiring super early will not be an option. We have learned we both function best with some structure but still having a good amount of freedom and downtime.  Neither of us have a career that we enjoy, so working FT for another 15-20 years sounds miserable to us.  Hopefully another 5-10 years with savings and smart investing we'll both be able to drop to part time and stay there for as long as we are physically able. 

Linea_Norway

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2019, 02:17:31 AM »
He says this is a good option, both individually and societally.

Individually - It keeps you active and connected and helps give you meaning, while not burning you out and allowing time for family, friends and relaxation (because it's just 3 days). The income stream also helps to cover costs of living and particularly healthcare, which is set to rise.

Societally - As a large segment of the population ages, we need as many workers as possible. We also need to give young people a chance to get into the job market. If all seniors work full-time, that means less opportunities for the youth. But if everyone works 3 days per week, then there's plenty of space for young people to fit in. And with inflation, slow growth economy and an ageing population, even wealthy seniors might need to have an additional income stream to pay for medical costs.

There are also voices (at least where I live), to introduce a 6 hour work day. The argument is that people probably don't need those high incomes they have now and can work a bit less on a bit lower income. This will make people less burned out. In 6 hours you can probably accomplished as much as you would in 8 hours, because you feel more fresh while working. And you don't need to stress so much with the rest of your non-work tasks. It would also have an environmental impact if everyone made less income and bought less shit.

marty998

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2019, 02:35:08 AM »
This is my approach.

Snip!

I like this post. It makes me smile and gives me the warm fuzzies inside.

habanero

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2019, 02:37:31 AM »
Despite no official 6-hour work week working fewer hours is rather widespread in Norway. 80% is quite common - it can be a day off per week or shorter hours each day or any combination thereof. This is partly due to the points Linea is mentioning - people don't really need the extra income and would rather have the time off, make daily logistics with kids etc easier. Also, the Norwegian tax system is rather progressive so the net benefit from each additional hour working decreases.

henramdrea

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2019, 06:41:21 AM »
I work 4 ten hour days per week, so I get every Friday free.  I do like the 3 day weekend, but 10 hour days are long.  When we have the Monday holidays (Labor Day, Memorial Day, etc) I get a 3 day work week.  I do like this even more, but even with this, I think I'd like a 2 day work week even better.  We just turn the weekend around:  it becomes a 5 day weekend and a 2 day work week.  I could get behind this!  You'd have some time for meaningful travel and relaxation and never truly get wound-up with work.  It would give those that wanted to the flexibility to be entrepreneurs or do more DIY projects.  I may do something like this once I reach the FI to do so.  It looks like I'll be closer to 60 than 55 before I'm able.

ender

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2019, 06:54:30 AM »
This is basically my plan when I'm closer to FIRE.

Bird In Hand

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2019, 06:57:22 AM »
Also, the Norwegian tax system is rather progressive so the net benefit from each additional hour working decreases.

Nationwide-taxes taxes at a typical white-collar income level in the US are about 30%, plus more (in most cases) for state and sometimes local income taxes.  So taking off one day per week would result in not 52 days less salary per year, but at most 36.4 days -- with 15.6 days free that would otherwise be spent working solely to pay taxes.

In states/localities with high income tax, the tax figure could easily be ~40%, so 52 additional vacation days per year would only cost 31.2 days of salary, with almost 21 days free.

Malcat

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2019, 07:56:01 AM »
Also, the Norwegian tax system is rather progressive so the net benefit from each additional hour working decreases.

Yep, the Canadian tax system is progressive. At my hourly rate, if I work full time, more than half of my work hours are taxed at nearly 50%.

As I saw it, I basically was taking a massive pay cut to work the hardest hours of my week. Screw that.


citrine

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2019, 09:35:53 AM »
My husband and I are doing a version of this right now....he usually works 3-4 days with home inspections unless he has a big handyman job that lasts 10 days.  I work the first 20 days of the month and take the rest of the time off....massage therapist with my own practice at home. I foresee us doing this in some way, shape, or form till we are at least mid 70's if not later.  I also refinish furniture and he builds things.  We are hustling a lot more now because we want to pay off our house in the next 10 years.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2019, 09:50:56 AM »
My wife and I both worked three days per week for a few years prior to FIRE. It was a nice way to keep income a bit above expenses while our stash did most of the work getting us over the FI finish line. The idea of keeping up even that pace of work indefinitely to "retire late" would only appeal to me if I genuinely enjoyed my job. Could I see myself finding something like that in the future? Sure. My previous job was not that.

JeanLuc

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2019, 10:02:27 AM »
Sounds like a good idea. I have no idea what my physical state is going to be like when I am 70 but given that I am still able to work at all, I would like to continue part-time. For many people the jump is too big to go from a full-time job straight into retirement. Often they tend to feel lonely and purposeless. Just reducing the days worked per week can be a really good alternative IMO.

spartana

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2019, 10:26:00 AM »
If you don't mind having to adhere to a schedule or possibly be beholden to others to dictate what you do with your free time then I think its good as long as you like what you do each day. For me this would he hell though. Trading my youthful years and freedom to work if I didn't need to. I'd rather FIRE young, have the health and fitness and ability to do multiple things early on and then go back to work part time when I was older and lived a more sedate life.  OK I wouldn't want to do that either ;-).

But honestly life (and health and fitness) are finite and if you enjoy working into your 70s more than anything else you could be doing with your free time then go for it.

jlcnuke

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2019, 10:35:37 AM »
I don't want to work 3 days a week now, much less 30 years from now. I'll pass.

FireLane

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2019, 09:06:56 PM »
I'm hoping to do something like this in the near future.

I went part-time last year and reduced my work week to 4 days (I recommend this to everyone!). This month, I hit my FIRE target number.

I'm not planning to quit tomorrow, because of continuing uncertainty over the future of health care and because I think it's likely I'd be retiring into the teeth of a recession, which is the one thing you don't want if you're following the 4% rule. But I definitely don't need to spend this much time at work anymore.

Early next year, I'm planning to ask to go down to 3 days. If they say no, I'll quit and take my chances. If they say yes, I'll do that for a little while and see how I like it. It would be nice to have someone else pay my health insurance premiums a while longer, and even nicer to let my stash keep on compounding while the paychecks keep coming in.

I certainly don't plan to work till I'm 70. There will come a point where the prospect of freedom to do what I want each and every day outweighs the value of any extra money I could earn. But I think this will be a good way to separate gently from work and glide into retired life.

dodojojo

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2019, 09:32:53 PM »
For those who have successfully requested working fewer days/hours, how does it work?  Do you keep the same workload and get things done in fewer hours?  Or do you decrease your workload?  Who takes up the work?

BradminOxt19

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2019, 11:30:26 PM »
This is my approach.

I have never really understood the people who work 40-60hr a week for 30 years in the hopes of working 0hr a week for 30 years. Why not just work 20-30hr a week your whole life?
Because you don't understand age discrimination.  There is no guarantee that when you get to 50 and beyond that you are employable or desirable by many companies. 

That's why I plan to pile as much cash as possible while young so that should a rainy day / month / year come when I get older, I won't have missed my chance to make max money when I was younger.

You can do whatever you like, but you may find life might give you a face punch as you get older and get more exposed to reality.  It's interesting to see how naive and idealistic many of the younger folks are when it comes to thoughts like this. 

Linea_Norway

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2019, 02:39:44 AM »
For those who have successfully requested working fewer days/hours, how does it work?  Do you keep the same workload and get things done in fewer hours?  Or do you decrease your workload?  Who takes up the work?

I have worked 80% for a year now. My manager is aware of it and have been mentioning it to the higher managers whenever they plan more work for me: remember that Linea only works 80%.

This last year went well. The most important reason for it is that one of the big projects I worked for the year before that didn't need me anymore. I had that when I worked fulltime and then I had more or less 2 full workloads to work on. Now I just have my normal work + admin for a tool. Both can be done in 4 days. I don't work much overtime now, just occasionally for a few weeks per year.

habanero

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2019, 04:21:48 AM »

That's why I plan to pile as much cash as possible while young so that should a rainy day / month / year come when I get older, I won't have missed my chance to make max money when I was younger.

You can do whatever you like, but you may find life might give you a face punch as you get older and get more exposed to reality.  It's interesting to see how naive and idealistic many of the younger folks are when it comes to thoughts like this.

It's also generally in your early years you can set yourself up for harvesting very high pay for a few years - and that normally means significant commitment to work and career progression. And most jobs that are a firehose of cashflow don't really have part-time as an option - there are of course exceptions but a lot of jobs with very high pay are full-time and then some. Doing one of those for a few years can be an entirely rational thing. And a lot of these jobs don't translate into lucrative part-time/side-gig/consultancy-type jobs. Some do, some don't.

Malcat

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Re: Retire late with a 3 day work-week?
« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2019, 05:51:54 AM »
If you don't mind having to adhere to a schedule or possibly be beholden to others to dictate what you do with your free time then I think its good as long as you like what you do each day. For me this would he hell though. Trading my youthful years and freedom to work if I didn't need to. I'd rather FIRE young, have the health and fitness and ability to do multiple things early on and then go back to work part time when I was older and lived a more sedate life.  OK I wouldn't want to do that either ;-).

But honestly life (and health and fitness) are finite and if you enjoy working into your 70s more than anything else you could be doing with your free time then go for it.

Yep, I'm one of those weirdos who loves work more than anything else. I just don't love it full time.

I would rather give up leisure travel than give up work. When I picture travel in retirement, it's travel *for* work/volunteer work.

As DH always says, leave me alone long enough without work to do and I'll either end up with another degree, another job, or multiples of each. It's what I do when left to my own devices, it's what I enjoy.