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Old 01-16-2011, 06:07 PM   #1
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First post for me. Greetings from downtown Chicago!

After calculating my net worth upon receiving my last year-end bonus, it is clear that I'm "FI" with my wife (both at age 54) even if determined on the basis of the most conservative assumptions; i.e., no pension (ever), no Social Security (ever), out-of-pocket health care costs to escalate significantly, etc. We planned for this and made it happen, and what a great feeling it is. But being FI does not mean I will "RE" -- I say "I" because my DW did RE before age 50. I love my work, for which (not accidentally -- I chose my career wisely) I'm supremely well-paid. If all I do is what I choose to do in my career for several more years, then I can still retire at or before age 60 and thereafter enjoy not merely an excellent quality of life -- I could quit and do that now -- but truly an outstanding standard of living.

What has been the experience of posters on this board with respect to delaying retirement after reaching FI?
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Old 01-16-2011, 07:40 PM   #2
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Welcome Loop Lawyer. To answer your question, I am also financially independent and I have been delaying early retirement. The main reason I have been delaying is that I am only 45, and I am concerned about retiring far too young. I also guess I still like my job which pays me well.
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Old 01-16-2011, 08:35 PM   #3
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Greetings LL,

Let the postings begin...
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:33 PM   #4
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I don't think your circumstances are all that unusual.

I've been FI since 1994; I may retire this year at 62. I wanted to work.
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Old 01-16-2011, 11:40 PM   #5
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Welcome to the board, and thanks for reading the "Read this before you post"!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loop Lawyer View Post
What has been the experience of posters on this board with respect to delaying retirement after reaching FI?
Lawyers with discretionary control over their own schedule & workload don't have much reason to ever retire.

However once you've reached financial independence you may decide that you're no longer willing to put up with whatever workplace BS you've been putting up with. At some point the returns for the effort will seem pretty "de minimus"...
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:48 AM   #6
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Welcome, LL!

If you can pick your clients, pick your cases, and pick your work schedule, then I think that transitioning through a part time phase would be ideal.

I chose the wind-down method instead of the cold-turkey method of RE and its working out ok so far. Just the right balance of free time and selected work to keep me busy and make a few bucks to keep the nest egg intact.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:50 AM   #7
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There are no rules. If you want to work, keep working! I know a number of FI lawyers that are working into their 70s because they love what they do. If retirement seems intriguing, ease back a bit and explore some of what you might want to do when you are retired.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:05 AM   #8
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LL,
Congratulations on achieving your FI. I am at that point myself (FI but not RE) and what a Liberating notion it is! No longer a wage slave, because you always have the option to move on to the next stage of your life. But on your terms and when you choose.
It kind of makes the unavoidable BS of working more tolerable.
Enjoy.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:16 AM   #9
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Welcome to the Board!

If you still like w*rking, by all means continue to do it. it sounds like you'd rather spend your days lawyering than fishing, anyway. Being FI gives you a whole different perspective on going to the office- knowing you are doing it because you want to, not because you have to.

I'm in pretty much the same FI/RE situation, and have elected to take the wind-down aproach; I'm trying to spend more of my time training and helping newer (i.e. younger) employees than being on the front lines. (but my DW is still working and loves her job; what does your DW think about you still w*rking while she is ER?- that might be a major factor on when to pull the plug for good)

Best,
WS
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:33 PM   #10
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Welcome aboard neighbor. Similar situation for DW and I, reached FI about 5-7 years ago but kept working. Lately it's been harder and harder to keep working knowing I could quit anytime we want. YMMV
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Old 01-17-2011, 01:34 PM   #11
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Welcome to the forum. Enjoy your ER.
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:20 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=Westernskies;1025466]Welcome to the Board!

<<(but my DW is still working and loves her job; what does your DW think about you still w*rking while she is ER?- that might be a major factor on when to pull the plug for good)>>

DW knew I would continue working and that, indeed, this was why she could ER. So she is fine with my decision. She enjoys the freedom to travel with me liberally on business, which was not something she could do much while we were both working. I have asked DW to keep tab of my morale and to remind me when I need a vacation -- very many were skipped in the last 30 years -- and, also, to tell me when she thinks I should retire.

The main reason I don't retire now is that I'm at or near the peak of my game and can't identify anything else that I'd rather be doing. I see this continuing for five years or so, then perhaps a move back into government or politics if a suitable role is available or can be created. Or maybe I'll segue from part-time law school involvement into a full-time law or business school position. It's unlikely that I'll play golf or tennis full-time, but i will certainly take better care of my health than in the past. That last one applies now, too.
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:37 PM   #13
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Many of us retired upon becoming FI because there were other things we were drawn to. If your career is rewarding, and helps you realize your full potential, then it wouldn't make sense to give it up just because you can.

"The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it." - John Ruskin
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:48 PM   #14
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Hello

This is the best visual illustration of what I did once I had the "game plan" all squared away...

BEEP BEEP !
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:20 PM   #15
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I became FI about 6 years ago, however, I still continue to work just under 20 hours per week. It is a bit of an outing for me 4 mornings a week and it gets my day going.

I cut back from 40 to 30 hours about 5 years ago and from 30 to 18 hours/week about 3 years ago. I get paid health insurance so I plan to stay at it for at least 3 more years when I turn 62.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:45 PM   #16
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I reached FI at 46 from my programming career, but continued working because I was in a sweet spot. I retired 2 years later in 2006 when the environment soured. I feel I made the right decisions.
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Old 01-18-2011, 08:15 AM   #17
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Is there something else that you like/love more than work that you do not have time for right now because of your job?

If yes, then switch to part-time work. Otherwise continue working.
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Old 01-18-2011, 02:01 PM   #18
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It can be hard for big firm lawyers to work part time. Partners don't like it and, depending on the firm, it can be counter to the firm culture. A lot of big firms are caught up in the billable hour trap--2,000 hours a year, 2,500, or even more. Even at smaller firms, it is difficult because human nature being what it is, if the 30 year olds see the 50 year olds not working as hard, it becomes infectious.

We're FI, but not RE. There are a lot of things I would prefer to do rather than fill out time sheets and deal with whether we will make payroll this Friday. On the other hand, I get to help people sometimes and on somewhat rare occasion, they even express gratitude. My compromise is to take a little more time off, work less hours when I want to do other things, but work hard when I have a really interesting and good case to work on. Unfortunately, I see other guys in my age group not working as hard, which causes younger guys to be resentful and the overall profits decline. And we're a small firm.

Sole practioners might be able to get away with working part time, but lawyers at firms have a lot of obstacles to that idea. Although I plan on giving it a shot next year.

Good luck. Don't let the chase of $s be the golden handcuffs that keep you from having a life.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:02 PM   #19
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It can be hard for big firm lawyers to work part time. Partners don't like it and, depending on the firm, it can be counter to the firm culture. A lot of big firms are caught up in the billable hour trap--2,000 hours a year, 2,500, or even more. Even at smaller firms, it is difficult because human nature being what it is, if the 30 year olds see the 50 year olds not working as hard, it becomes infectious.

We're FI, but not RE. There are a lot of things I would prefer to do rather than fill out time sheets and deal with whether we will make payroll this Friday. On the other hand, I get to help people sometimes and on somewhat rare occasion, they even express gratitude. My compromise is to take a little more time off, work less hours when I want to do other things, but work hard when I have a really interesting and good case to work on. Unfortunately, I see other guys in my age group not working as hard, which causes younger guys to be resentful and the overall profits decline. And we're a small firm.

Sole practioners might be able to get away with working part time, but lawyers at firms have a lot of obstacles to that idea. Although I plan on giving it a shot next year.

Good luck. Don't let the chase of $s be the golden handcuffs that keep you from having a life.
I didn't work with a law firm, but your post describes the work culture of my former employer. I actually explored going part time, but it become quickly obvious it would never work out. It's a place full of people who work 60+ hours a week and love it. An "older person" who wants to wind it down a bit would not be a good fit - for the employee or the employer.
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:52 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 67walkon View Post
It can be hard for big firm lawyers to work part time. Partners don't like it and, depending on the firm, it can be counter to the firm culture. A lot of big firms are caught up in the billable hour trap--2,000 hours a year, 2,500, or even more. Even at smaller firms, it is difficult because human nature being what it is, if the 30 year olds see the 50 year olds not working as hard, it becomes infectious.

We're FI, but not RE. There are a lot of things I would prefer to do rather than fill out time sheets and deal with whether we will make payroll this Friday. On the other hand, I get to help people sometimes and on somewhat rare occasion, they even express gratitude. My compromise is to take a little more time off, work less hours when I want to do other things, but work hard when I have a really interesting and good case to work on. Unfortunately, I see other guys in my age group not working as hard, which causes younger guys to be resentful and the overall profits decline. And we're a small firm.

Sole practioners might be able to get away with working part time, but lawyers at firms have a lot of obstacles to that idea. Although I plan on giving it a shot next year.

Good luck. Don't let the chase of $s be the golden handcuffs that keep you from having a life.
I was president of our midsize lawfirm of 28 lawyers. After my term was over I figured that I had a fair amount of political capital to spend. So, I approached the board about going part time. I was able to substantially reduce the amount I worked. I did it primarily by limiting the number of clients and type of work I did. I chose clients where it seemed as if it would fit with a part time schedule. A couple of clients involved work that could be done online and by phone, with very little paper production. I never had to be in a particular place to deal with these clients' needs. Another couple of clients involved occasional big projects. I could not necessarily predict when the projects would come together, but I would hit them hard, enjoy the work, make some money, and then it would be done.

I think the part time arrangement was good for younger and older lawyers to see. They could see that they did not necessarily have to follow a particular model and that if you did good work and made money for the firm how they structured there life may have more flexibility than they ever thought.

My firm culture was a hard working one. There were lawyers in their late 60s still billing more than 2000 a year regularly. Retirement and part time was not the mindset.

Six years have past since I did this, and after two or three years of part time I phased out to just a few hours a month. A couple of years ago another lawyer in his late 50s went part time. So I guess my firm did not feel burned by the experience. After all, what is important is serving the clients properly and making money both for you and the firm. If you want to chat about this at all via pm I would be glad to share my experiences and more of the gritty details.
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