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ER or go Part-time and ER later
Old 04-20-2006, 10:55 AM   #1
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ER or go Part-time and ER later

Does that title make any sense??

Here is the dilemma we are facing. I currently work VERY part-time. DH works full-time in a very stressful, unfullfilling job. I am going over our finances, etc. to figure out if we could make it if DH was able to talk his employers into a part-time gig. I think we would be fine - the problem however, is that this would obviously push back his ER because we would not be able to sock away as much as we are now.

I am certain I would be able to bring in more income, if I was working more hours. I currently work about 10 hours a week, including weekends. If he was home more with the kids, it would give me more hours to put into my business. But, this income is not guaranteed, of course. If we were more certain of my income, we could probably swing DH quitting work altogether. I SO wish we could do that.

So what types of things should I be looking at? How would I go about figuring how far back this would push his retirement? Any advice you can offer would be appreciated. DH usually handles most of this stuff, but he is so far under at work that he doesn't even have time to think about this. I was hoping I could put together a game plan to talk with him about, if he is ever able to unbury himself. I'm sure I've left out some vital information, feel free to ask questions.

Thanks.
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later
Old 04-20-2006, 11:26 AM   #2
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later

Heh, my wife could have written your post!

I think this is more of a lifestyle decision than a financial decision. You are at a crossroads and can either choose to cram all your work into a set period, followed by full retirement, or you can space both ER and work out. I can't help you figure out which one is right for you, but I think that when I am in your position (and starting to burn out at work), I would probably choose to go PT rather than completely flame-out as an over-stressed full time worker.

To model the effect of going PT might have, I would suggest downloading and playing with the RE Gen X spreadsheet here: http://www.retireearlyhomepage.com/software.html
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later
Old 04-20-2006, 11:43 AM   #3
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later

I'm a newbie here too, but here is how I would look at it. I'd first figure out what living expenses are expected to be in retirement, including college, health insurance, etc. In retirement you can expect to safely withdraw roughly 4-5% of your savings each year, so if you multiply your annual expenses by 20-25, that is roughly how much you'll need in savings to fully retire. Compare that to how much you have in savings today. Now, if you don't save another penny and just let your current investments grow at (you choose the rate), you can see how long you have to go before retirement under that scenario. Now use the same growth rate for your investments, but add in your annual savings to your nest egg and see how long that takes to reach the same 20-25 times expenses (use a spreadsheet to do this...pm me if you'd like me to send you one). The difference between these two times is caused by your DH cutting back to part-time.
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later
Old 04-20-2006, 11:48 AM   #4
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later

I would also point out that this is not an irrevocable decision. If your PT income doesn't materialize or you otherwise wish to get back on the horse again, there is no obvious reason your husband couldn't find another FT job, right?
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later
Old 04-20-2006, 11:56 AM   #5
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
I would also point out that this is not an irrevocable decision. If your PT income doesn't materialize or you otherwise wish to get back on the horse again, there is no obvious reason your husband couldn't find another FT job, right?
Actually, I would think there is a pretty good chance that if he decided to go back full-time, his current employer would probably go for it. He works for a great firm, great people, just doesn't enjoy the work/stress that comes with the job.
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later
Old 04-20-2006, 11:59 AM   #6
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later

Quote:
Originally Posted by trharris
Actually, I would think there is a pretty good chance that if he decided to go back full-time, his current employer would probably go for it.* He works for a great firm, great people, just doesn't enjoy the work/stress that comes with the job.
I don't think that makes your decision for you by any stretch, but it certainly means that you have the option of the PT thing. Now fire up that spreadsheet...
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later
Old 04-20-2006, 04:19 PM   #7
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
I would also point out that this is not an irrevocable decision. If your PT income doesn't materialize or you otherwise wish to get back on the horse again, there is no obvious reason your husband couldn't find another FT job, right?
Brewer has a very good point which I'll make sure to remember eventually. The decison making is easier knowing that it is nowhere irrevocable.

You probably know after reading previous threads that you (most people agree?) need about 25-times your annual expenses to retire. You can then figure out how long you will need to complete your saving program. As scrinch mentioned, given investment return you may not even need to save more. Just cover your monthly expenses with your job(s).
Do we call this pre-early-retirement?

I want to add however that burn-out takes a long time to recover. Your husband may need a refreshing vacation. A new job can feel like vacation by the way... That's another solution.

I hope this all works out for you.
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later
Old 04-20-2006, 06:21 PM   #8
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later

tr:

About 10 years ago I was working a high-stress job and was VERY burned out. I came in one day planning on "business as usual," something happened that hit me wrong, and I typed my resignation and handed it in before the morning was out. I did this completely out of the blue, and over a nit that wouldn't have been a big a deal if I hadn't been so stressed.

More recently, 18-months or so ago, I was fried to a crisp with my PRESENT job. Figuring I had nothing else to lose (and seeing another premature bailout in my future if things continued as they were), I asked for part-time work. They gave it to me for six months, after which I went back to full time.

Best thing that could have happened. I came back refreshed, ready to work hard, and best of all I'd burned no bridges.

I don't think it's an either / or thing, and while you have to look at the numbers, they're not the whole story. My taking six months at half-time made it EASIER to stick to my plan of working to a certain point. Stress could have made me sick, or so tired that I had an accident, or so angry that I bailed out too soon.

Sometimes, you have to rest halfway through the race if you are going to finish it at all.

One person's experience - good luck to you!
Caroline
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later
Old 04-21-2006, 04:55 PM   #9
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later

Quote:
...choose to go PT rather than completely flame-out as an over-stressed full time worker
sound advice--better to retire later than never reach retirement at all.*
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later
Old 04-22-2006, 06:43 AM   #10
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Re: ER or go Part-time and ER later

I've debated this issue myself. My partner mentioned they are going to begin to allow telecommuting where she works. I have had the option for years but didn't want her to do the long commute by herself.

Once her policy is implemented, we are going to start telecommuting one day a week. I think this will help a lot.

I'm actually in a pretty low stress job (compared to other jobs I've had), but it feels like I'm either always at work or commuting to and from work.

This might be enough to enable me to hang in there seven more years. These next seven years are critical to our ER plan. We are now totally debt free and can really sock our money away.

-helen
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