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Is it "retirement" if you work part time?
Old 11-24-2012, 06:40 PM   #1
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Is it "retirement" if you work part time?

I am curious if you all consider it true retirement if you work part time?

Besides the mental and likely physical benefits of keeping engaged this way, as I approach retirement I wonder if working 2-3 days a week will dampen my enthusiasm for "retirement" or whether it will help the transition.

What are your thoughts? What will you do? If you work part time will it be to psychologically help you knowing there is still some income flow? Stay active mentally or physically? A combination of many factors?
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:50 PM   #2
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It all depends on whether the crap bucket in one hand is fuller than the money bucket in the other hand.
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Old 11-24-2012, 06:59 PM   #3
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I worked part-time for 7 years before I ERed in 2008. I never considered myself "retired" until I ended work altogether. "Semi-retired" sure....but not retired.

Travelover, that's a pretty funny way of lookng at things, but to me the fact that I had a crap bucket at all meant that I had not retired LOL!
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:41 PM   #4
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I've been working part-time for the last 5 years. I don't consider myself retired. I consider myself semi-retired.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:47 PM   #5
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It doesn't matter what anyone else calls/labels it, it's your life. You don't win a prize based on how others categorize your status. Enjoy yourself.
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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My first day of retirement will be Christmas Day.

I will not be working at all (except for calls from my successor and possibly one brief week-long visit to the office in late Jan to handle a few straggler items of transition), for at least 9 months. If I go back to work, it will be doing something I want to do, and it will be very part time, like a few days per quarter to a few days per month. It is very unlikely that I will take a "few days per week" job. Whatever, I do, if I go back to work, it will because I want to stay engaged in business. If it compensates me monetarily, I suppose I may revert to calling myself semi-retired, but if it feels more like fun than like work, maybe I'll just call myself retired.

ALL OF THE ABOVE SAID: if I find that people start saying that I'm too young to retire, or "what a waste", the I'll just start calling myself a fund manager...won't tell them whose funds I am managing. (Maybe just a "fun" manager instead...).
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Old 11-24-2012, 09:02 PM   #7
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It doesn't matter what anyone else calls/labels it, it's your life. You don't win a prize based on how others categorize your status. Enjoy yourself.

I agree with Midpack on this one -- hubby and I are both retired, we have both done a lot of volunteer work, at times have worked for compensation, but very much consider ourselves retired. . . we have the financial freedom to choose!
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Old 11-24-2012, 10:32 PM   #8
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My first day of retirement will be Christmas Day.
Every day of retirement will be Christmas Day!
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Old 11-24-2012, 11:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenpoed
I am curious if you all consider it true retirement if you work part time?

Besides the mental and likely physical benefits of keeping engaged this way, as I approach retirement I wonder if working 2-3 days a week will dampen my enthusiasm for "retirement" or whether it will help the transition....
It's more likely that being free 2-3 days a week will dampen your enthusiasm for working and will hasten the transition.
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Old 11-25-2012, 03:06 AM   #10
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I don't know what to call it. I mostly call it ESR (early semi-retirement) but others often refer to it as retirement and I sometimes do.

I currently work about 15 hours a week, going in to the office usually 2 days a week although sometimes I work from home. I've been working part-time for 2 1/2 years. My field is one where people usually work long hours so my hours are seen as being very part-time and people tend to refer to me as retired even when I'm right there in the office doing work (How do you like retirement? for example while I'm actually there working).

I don't really think it has mental benefits. I have lots to do when I'm not working and so I think I get plenty of mental activity. Physically - a mixed bag. The first year I worked about 10 hours a week and then I found it easier to go to the gym several days a week. Now that I work more hours it is harder to do that. However I did find I was too sedentary so I bought dumbbells for the house. So, yes, when working full-time I was less sedentary. On the other hand it is easier to do formal exercise the less hours that I work.

Why did I continue with the part time work? I didn't plan to at first. I turned in my resignation saying that I was retiring since my husband was retiring (I was just turning 56 at the time - DH was 62). I was asked to stay on a very part-time basis which allowed me to do all the things I enjoyed about my job without having to do any of the things that I didn't like. At the time I had really had a couple of years of very high job stress and I was as burned out as I could possibly be.

What I found is that once the stressful parts of my work were gone I liked doing many of the things that are non-stressful. The actual work itself was fine.

At the time we were in the middle of selling one house and planning to downsize. The sale took way longer than anticipated and the house sold for much less than our real estate agent had thought it would. We also bought some property that didn't work out for us and that ended up being a financial loss as well.

The one bright spot in all that is that I made enough money from my part time work (which is well paid) to basically cover the negative financial results of the house situation. We would have managed without it, but it made it much less stressful to have the income.

At this point, I don't really have any specific plans. The house situation is totally resolved now. So, any money I earn now really is just extra. It is nice, but not essential. We do have a son in college and I've thought about continuing working part-time until he is finished...but it is looking like he is going to be a little slow getting through (5 years rather than 4 - he is about 1/2 way through) so I don't know if I really want to do that.

I also realized I was having a little bit of creep in my working. What was once 10 hours a week became 12 hours after 6 months or so and has been 15 hours a week for the last year. I also have noticed that as I've worked more hours, my co-workers have started to treat me more like when I was there full-time so the stress level has risen a little bit. So, at some point, I may want to reduce the hours a little bit and reduce the stressful aspects. The one good thing is that I'm at a point now where it is totally discretionary so if it gets to be more unfun than it is fun then I will quit.
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Old 11-25-2012, 06:54 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
I've been working part-time for the last 5 years. I don't consider myself retired. I consider myself semi-retired.
+1

If you are required to w*rk for pay, on their schedule (regardless of how few hours) your time is not totally your own.

I/DW do volunteer "w*rk". However, if we don't want to do it due to other commitments, we don't show up. You can't do that if you're still getting a paycheck.

BTW, DW/me are retired ...
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:58 AM   #12
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After being retired for a few short months I already would not be able to tolerate having to be somewhere at a particular time. Being told what to do is also off the table.

So no part time for me unless I had to have the money.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:32 AM   #13
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Perspectives differ I suppose. I was fully retired for a few years but found that didn't work well for me. There are a couple of others where I work now who are multimillionaires, although admittedly I don't understand why they're working.

However, and this is crucial, the job I have now is very much laid-back, the hours fit me, the people (with one exception who I rarely encounter) are easy to get along with, the commute is short and easy, I can get days off as desired, and the pay is good. Also crucial is that it is now voluntary in that if the environment turns bad I have the option of quitting.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:42 AM   #14
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Volunteer work can get to be like paid work. An ER relative who is a skilled web designer was doing web design work for his volunteer group, who became more and more demanding about upgrades, etc. Finally he got so stressed over the continual criticism/changing requirements/time he was spending, that he gave them the name of someone who does web design for pay!

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+1

If you are required to w*rk for pay, on their schedule (regardless of how few hours) your time is not totally your own.

I/DW do volunteer "w*rk". However, if we don't want to do it due to other commitments, we don't show up. You can't do that if you're still getting a paycheck.

BTW, DW/me are retired ...
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:45 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
Volunteer work can get to be like paid work.
+1

I did a couple of volunteer gigs the year after I retired and found the experience too much like work for my liking. The only boss I'm willing to tolerate in my life now is DW.
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:47 AM   #16
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IMO the central worthwhile goal is FI (financial independence), not retirement. Retirement is just one of the options once you truly reach FI. Continuing to work once FI, full time, part time, volunteering or working sporadically are all worthwhile options as well...
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Old 11-25-2012, 08:50 AM   #17
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I plan to ESR in 2-3 years and move to Mexico at that time. I'll be 56-57 then and will continue working part time until I can start drawing on tax deferred accounts. I make sales from a home based business and can work as little or as much as I want. It will probably just be 1-2 hours per day max and I should be able to bring in about $30k per year gross. I'll only be working with long established accounts that I actually enjoy dealing with. It will be just enough to provide an extra margin of safety plus provide for some transition into ER. Once I hit 59 1/2 I believe I'll be ready to chuck it for good though.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:08 AM   #18
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I'm somewhat of a case study in "retired?" definition, and transition. Retired long time gig summer 2011 and went to full time consulting role where the work did not materialize. Money not an issue, just thought it would be fun, or something like that. It was my idea to go part time; since then very little to do other than once a week for an hour to keep tabs, occasional conference to attend. Been thinking about severing it. Hear last week one of the jobs I was to work on materialized. I have not been assigned work on it...yet...and really don't think I want it. I'm realizing the more I'm away from "work" the more distasteful doing ANYTHING other people want me to do, the way they want it done, when they want it done has become. Once you begin to taste freedom from all that, it's very hard to go back.

As for volunteering, I've offered my construction skills to an organization and was looking forward to it. But again, doing anything where others have THEIR expectations of what and how you should do something is not as appealing as I would have thought.

A former co-worker sent me the quote of "unless you're the lead dog in the dog sled team the scenery never changes." I thought about it and figured it extolled the virtues of being the leader/boss. Then I pointed out that someone was still holding the leads telling you where to go...no thanks!
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:08 AM   #19
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Volunteer work can get to be like paid work.
No doubt about it.

You have to just say no when the free hours you are contributing are impacting your sanity.

I/DW drive/deliver through Meals on Wheels twice a week to elderly/disabled/shut-in's.

In addition, DW does volunteer work with several organizations such as singing at an old age home, on call for hospice (just to "be there" in the "nobody dies alone" program), packing food a couple of times a month at a local food shelter, etc.

In all cases, it requires more time than talent and there are enough folks in the volunteer groups that if she/we have something else planned it's not like they are going to fail in their "mission" for the day.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:11 AM   #20
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I will consider myself "semi retired" when I go in part time mode + volunteering. I will be "fully retired" when I completely stop providing medical care.
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