Part-time for life?

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
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Re: Part-time for life?

Post by SustainableHappiness » Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:42 am

Clearly I am pretty pro part-time fo' life. However there is one thing that grinds my gears about it that may add something to this discussion. Scheduling.

In a family with both parents doing their own thing, scheduling becomes extremely important and more complex because you don't have the daily childcare set-up that full-time workers do, so one parent always needs to be home (or a babysitter needs to be lined up) and schedules can not overlap. DW's business is picking up steam and we're now both linked up on google calendars and have to put all meetings and appointments into it to know what the days look like. Also makes down-time more important for getting household chores done.

I can foresee this becoming an issue, even though we are both part-time. Particularly with more kids.

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Re: Part-time for life?

Post by wolf » Thu Dec 06, 2018 2:10 am

Is there anyone on this forum who decided to go part-time recently? Are there any new experiences or lessons learned?
I am interested in it, bc part-time could be an option for semi-ERE.

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Re: Part-time for life?

Post by Fiddle » Fri Dec 07, 2018 2:47 pm

Since pulling the trigger on my own semi ERE 3and a half years ago I have worked in a several different part time jobs and a couple of full time short term contract jobs. However I have not been employed for at least half the past 3.5 yes. Which has allowed alot of time with family, doing up my house and travels.
In my experience I think realising the benefits and limitations of a part time job and accepting them internally are important to being okay with the situation.

I deliberately worked in totally different work to what I did during the accumulation phase, the reason being I fancied testing some of the jobs I had had rose tinted glasses about while doing my 'day job' . All in all I've enjoyed working part time and now I know we are fine on part time seasonal income, which is a good feeling.

I would say that I didn't get the buzz, status and energy from the part time work that I got from the full time work, but equally I walked away each day from the part time job and literally didn't think of it until 30minutes before I was due to start it again.

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Re: Part-time for life?

Post by Jin+Guice » Fri Dec 07, 2018 6:28 pm

I am part-time and I really love it. I got into my current job with a friend who already did part-time but I felt he was working too much so I requested less $$ for less time and received it. I think I have somewhat of a unique situation, I took this job 2 years after I had discovered FIRE and was already saving but nowhere close to FI (I'm still not that close, but I'm much closer). I was in grad school when I found out about FIRE so I knew that I'd be forced to change jobs when I was done, which gave me the unique opportunity to think about what job would be best for FIREing and how I wanted to work that job. I also have 2 other marketable skills and a valuable license in my current line of work, several side hustles and an air bnb, a strong social network that I've leveraged for odd jobs before (got offered a job as an air bnb maid at $20/hour walking home yesterday) and experience changing careers. I say these things because I've noticed many here are very risk averse when it comes to disrupting their current work situation, in this way I am not risk averse at all.

I took my current job so I could retire early, it is by far the most money I've ever made hourly and working it part-time + other various lesser forms of income means that I tied my previous earning high last year and will exceed it this year. I could be retired in 8 years or so (4% SWR though) if I went with a heavier part-time schedule and 3-5 years (depending on how it would effect my tax evasion strategies) if I went full-time. However, I don't think this would be worth it. I hadn't gotten super into ERE when I made the decision to work less for less money, I just wasn't getting the other shit I like to accomplish done. Now I can say that working that much was commensurate with my web of goals.

The upsides of working part time are numerous. I pretty much enjoy all of the benefits of being retired except I am still owned by my employer to an extent. How much employers own you is somehow even more evident now that I'm part-time. I really enjoy going somewhere and accomplishing something with a small group of dedicated people, which I do at my job. To a certain extent, a job is how we add value to society, it's nice to participate in this sometimes. I can answer the question "so what do you do," though I can also be a dick about this and claim to be a musician or retired if I want to. I don't have to participate in work politics at all (I'm good at this anyway and I'm technically a contractor, which makes it even easier). I'm rarely stressed out because I'm overworked which allows me to do a much better job and enjoy myself at work more. I can also go to bed early on nights before I work, but stay out several nights a week if I want. I share 1 car with my girlfriend who also works part time. I could go on and on.

There are a few downsides as well. It sucks to be owned. My work schedule is highly variable and I do end up getting called in when I think I'm off occasionally. My boss, who owns the company, is good at balancing this and if he is overplaying his hand I can call him on it and he reduces my workload. I also have to do unpaid training and I'm the only person who's not on salary. I am paid very well though, otherwise I would complain about this. You lose the "rhythm" that goes with working a job all the time, which can make the days you work seem like a real drag since you're used to being free most of the time (this is also a good thing, though). I really like my boss and all of the people who work for our company. This is a problem because I've been wanting pursue a different part-time job but I know my boss would be pissed and I wouldn't see the people I work with anymore. The point I'm trying to make here is subtle, there is a culture to everything and work comes with a strong culture. Being involved in that culture may influence you to do things you may otherwise not.

If you read my journal I'm currently working on an extended blog post (which means it gets edited by my girlfriend who is a professional writer) about all of the ERE benefits of working part time, as opposed to my personal situation which I've discussed above. I'll try to stop being lazy and get around to finishing it in the next week or too. Obviously I'm super into working part-time and semi-ERE.

One final note, I am able to make enough working part-time to cover my expenses AND have a high savings rate (almost 50% of the income from my main gig, plus all side income). If it weren't for A) EREs obsession with passive income and B) The need to actually stop working in old age, I'd probably just work part time forever and use the extra money to take a few years off, fund small business ventures and work interesting but shitty paying jobs when I felt like it.

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Re: Part-time for life?

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:40 am

I was at a breaking point in my career last spring and considered quitting for a job at my local bike shop during the summer.

Ultimately I chickened out because I couldn't justify going from making $100k+/yr to $12/hr.

If I had the opportunity to work a PT job at $25+/hr for 8-16 hrs/week I would do it in a heartbeat.

Viktor K
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Re: Part-time for life?

Post by Viktor K » Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:44 am

I’ve said it a bunch on here already, but I work in China for 25+ USD/hour, 10 hours/week. It affords a lot of freedom. I get to focus on whatever other personal development I want in my free time. However, as I’m in accumulation stage and haven’t reached FI, that level of income is the slow and more risky route to ERE. Ideal if you’ve already reached it, sure. But otherwise I think it’s better to pack in a few high earning years to get to FI. I feel slow, part-time route to FI is one debilitating injury or other financial catastrophe away from bankruptcy. Especially considering most part-time opportunities will not afford you health insurance.

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Re: Part-time for life?

Post by 2Birds1Stone » Sat Dec 08, 2018 4:09 pm

Right on Victor. I agree with you, wouldn't want to attemp even a $25/hr job PT unless I had a decent chunk of assets already (in my case I was @ ~12x annual expenses). No where near full FI

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Re: Part-time for life?

Post by Jin+Guice » Mon Dec 10, 2018 10:55 pm

Viktor K wrote:
Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:44 am
But otherwise I think it’s better to pack in a few high earning years to get to FI. I feel slow, part-time route to FI is one debilitating injury or other financial catastrophe away from bankruptcy.
We're always all one debilitating injury or financial catastrophe away from bankruptcy. It's got to be a pretty specific injury or catastrophe where having 400k saves you but having 80k doesn't.

Inverse the problem. If the point of FI is to not have to work a job you don't like, everyday you work said job you are guaranteed a loss for theoretical future win. This is not a risk averse approach!

Of course I think having a fat stack in the bank is a safer and more versatile approach than not having it. I would never tell someone not to save up for full FI if that's the course they've chosen and they're sure they want it. It does make me sad to hear about people trading away their freedom when they could probably be much happier doing something easier and taking a few more years to FIRE. I think there is a lot of unperceived non-financial risk in this method.

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