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Personal milestone made!
Old 12-16-2014, 06:47 PM   #1
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Personal milestone made!

Howdy everyone!

oldphd here. Did an intro 3 years ago, but couldn't reply to the thread and an update is warranted.

My story, and I'll try to keep it short.
Engineer, always LBYM and aiming to FIRE before I knew it was called that. First layoff at 32 got me started because I said I want to be FI (2 youngsters at home, one income, and no HI, even with money in the bank it was scary ) and not have to answer to a job I didn't like.

Second layoff at 45 came at a time when I was doing great financially, saving a lot, though not yet FI. But we weren't reliant on my income since DW was working and had HI. Opportunity to return to school with a scholarship and stipend , figured I would give it a try and hopefully open the door to other possibilities.

Graduated with PhD at 50 and started working as researcher in academia, managing a facility. Less money, less stress, aiming for a glide path that I see others post about, wondering if it exists. It does, at least for me . Four years later, still there, aiming for one more year to hit an anniversary that may/may not matter with regards to pension.

So, the milestone... Found out today that my request to work 80% time for the same salary was officially granted! How, you say? Told my boss I was underpaid, he didn't disagree, but they have budget limits. I said no problem, I'll take it in time. 80% is the lowest I can go and keep HI. I will need to be in at certain times and also keep in touch, but I was doing that any way. Truthfully, this isn't a full time need, but there isn't a way to have less than one person. Tried that, didn't work well.

My situation is unique to say the least. I thought we were FI before, and while we'd never have been homeless, we wouldn't live the lifestyle we'd hoped. If I could work a more enjoyable position and improve the finances to enhance our lifestyle, I was all for it. We've gotten to a good place financially, and while closer to thinking about hanging it up, I'm OK with continuing to work and taking almost 3 months a year off, including at least one expensive/bucket trip type trip.

While the last few years have improved the finances with the market performance, DW and I have also experienced potentially serious and unexpected health events Enough to remind us we're mortal, and will have high health expenses going forward. We'll hit the high deductible routinely.

No specific end date set, could be a year, or 2, or ? But I'm at a point where any change I don't care for I don't have to go along with.

Finally, just an aside on the whole stopping work thing. I really thought I could do it in a heartbeat. But as I've gotten close, I find it tough. The security is worth more than I realized. OTOH, the last few years (forgot to mention that DW is retired with modest pension) I've been taking advantage of all tax deferred savings options which reduce my salary to nil, living off after tax money, and converting to Roths. Basically what many folks do in the early stages of ER, except I'm working and can see how it will work out without quitting! It's going fine, but will give me more confidence when the time comes to cut the cord.

All for now, hope to up my activity here going forward, great forum!
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Old 12-16-2014, 07:01 PM   #2
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What a great update!
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Old 12-18-2014, 11:05 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by oldphd View Post

Graduated with PhD at 50 and started working as researcher in academia, managing a facility. Less money, less stress, aiming for a glide path that I see others post about, wondering if it exists. It does, at least for me . Four years later, still there, aiming for one more year to hit an anniversary that may/may not matter with regards to pension.

So, the milestone... Found out today that my request to work 80% time for the same salary was officially granted!
What a story!

At 54, working 4 days a week with less stress and full pay. That sounds like a good deal already.
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Old 12-18-2014, 11:42 AM   #4
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Nice ! I think the extra day off a week is going to make a huge difference. Congrats
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:31 PM   #5
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Nice ! I think the extra day off a week is going to make a huge difference. Congrats
Just make sure your hours don't start bleeding upward on the days you are there! Congrats!
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Old 12-18-2014, 12:47 PM   #6
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Just make sure your hours don't start bleeding upward on the days you are there! Congrats!
While the formal schedule is for 4 day weeks per HR policy, I have a handshake agreement with my boss that I'll work 5 days and bank the extra, taking extended time off 2-3 times a year. It's close to 3 months off total, when combined with vacation. One of the reasons they've agreed to the salary increase is that I'll keep in touch with e-mail if anything comes up.

My boss works crazy hours and is totally hands off when it comes my group. Our offices are about a 10 minute walk apart, and I usually go months without seeing him, just a few e-mails a week. He says simply, 'I trust you, your job is to keep that funding going. As long as that happens, I don't care about your hours, etc.'. I should add that it's industry funded. Basically it would be tough to get someone with my experience at this pay rate.

I tend to have just a few days a year that I work outside regular hours, and I take it back when I want.

Great set up, best I've ever had!
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Old 12-18-2014, 01:41 PM   #7
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That is a great situation! Congrats on reducing your hours.
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Old 12-19-2014, 11:45 AM   #8
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Good for you, the extra time will make it much better. My work has the 9/80 schedule where I get every other Fri off work, and just that extra day every two weeks is very nice to have. It is amazing what I can get done on those Fridays.

Do what you can to maintain health. It not only saves money on med bills, but if you are healthier you will be able to enjoy your time off work that much better.
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Old 12-01-2017, 04:33 PM   #9
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Howdy everyone!

No specific end date set
Update: Specific end date set, 1/4/18.

Since the last update... DW's health continued to decline, resulting in major surgery and lengthy recovery but with a successful outcome! She is back to where she was 10 years ago but will have continued monitoring for the rest of her life and the potential for more issues down the road.

The realization that our time is NOW became very clear. Couple that with a big change at work that I was not in agreement with resulted in my decision to go. Thankfully the market has continued to go up and we are in a better place financially than I ever expected, with the caveat that the cost and availability of health care is not known, I'm on my own.

In hindsight, the chance to transition down in hours and also live in retirement mode from a financial perspective (pay has all been deferred for years) has made me more comfortable via the gradual transition. We've also taken some lengthy trips due to my less than full time schedule, which has been great.

With some holidays and vacation to use and my replacement almost spun up, I'm down to just a handful of no stress days left.

As many others have said in the past, I like to see the updates and get some feel for how others have progressed, so I thought I'd share mine.

Happy Holidays to all, I'm ready to enjoy mine!
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Old 12-01-2017, 04:45 PM   #10
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Hip Hip Hip Hooray for YOU and YOUR WIFE! Best of luck and wishes for many many more years together as a FIREd couple.

-BB
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Old 12-01-2017, 04:55 PM   #11
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1. Congrats to both of you!
2. As 38chevy454 said, work the health issues to the best of your combined abilities.
3. DW's health issues were incorporated into my decision to retire. Our daily time together is priceless. We're not needy or clingy, but having meals and walks together makes each day precious. I truly hope both of you find similar joy in the freedom of retirement.
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