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Part time or not... what would you do?
Old 08-23-2019, 08:06 PM   #1
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Part time or not... what would you do?

We are in a great financial position overall. I would consider us FI since rental property income and dividends equal our expenses. We put away about $90k annually while my wife is home with our kids. If I work another five years I will be in a position to FIRE for good. That is not including any additional rental properties nor accounting for the cash we have set aside to by more properties.
I can continue to push hard at work and get at least one more promotion before being done with work.

At the same time my oldest of four kids will leave the home at that point, so I would sacrifice our time in favor for retiring early. The second of the kids would leave the home two years later while i would get eight and ten years with the youngest after FIRE.

Should I instead try to go part time 80 or 90%? It is not common for men to do this, but I have heard of a couple of men who have done that. For women it is not uncommon to go part time when having kids. My concern is that I would shoot myself in the foot by eliminating any promotions due to not being committed, but I donít know if that would be true. My boss values me and my work, so Iím not concerned about not holding on to my job if I go part time. I rather enjoy my job and its challenges, but it would be nice to not have to work and spend more time with the family.

Going part time would only delay my retirement by a year, or a year and a half due to the nest egg grows more from compound interest than contributions.

Sorry for my rambling, what do you think I should do.

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Old 08-23-2019, 08:10 PM   #2
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If you are paid hourly, then part-time makes sense. But if you are salaried, what does "part time" mean? My company supposedly allows anyone working 30 hours a week to have benefits, but every time someone asks to go part-time, they are told "no" because the management doesn't want to manage a mix of younger people working full-time with less skills and experience, and older people working part-time but with more skills and experience. Too much work for them, they claim.

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Old 08-23-2019, 08:11 PM   #3
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I don't consider 80-90% as "part time". That would equate to 32-36 hours in the typical 40-hour work week, and that is still considered full-time almost anywhere.

No one but you can say how full your BS bucket is, or how this would affect said bucket. And do you need flexibility in the hours? Will this impact your benefits? That you are calling this "part time" suggests to me that HR is telling you that, and that suggests a reduction in benefits even though 80-90% is still considered full time.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:18 PM   #4
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Well, your numbers are a little fuzzy but it looks to me like you are FI already if your rental income plus dividends really cover your total expenses. You would need to evaluate health insurance and perhaps college costs to make sure that is really true if you ER or go part time.

But, "part time" at 80% or 90% seems strange to me. IMO, that is hardly part time.
Most part time work is more like 50%. If you can negotiate this do you think the deal will hold for a number of years.

You are correct that part time would eliminate you from promotion plans, you would essentially become an hourly worker.

Can you become a 1099 consultant with your company and perhaps do bits and bobs of work for other firms too? Then you would have multiple customers in case your current work drops off and would have certain tax advantages as well.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:19 PM   #5
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Does your job even have P/T as an option? 80-90% is not really much reduction, I would worry that 80-90% pay is still going to result in 100% (or more) hours required and expected. 80% would at least be 4 days/week if you can mange to stay out of the office for that 5th day.

I did go P/T at the last of my working and it was great. But I did 3 days/week, with a increase to 4 days/week at the end to help out with shortfall in personnel. I still maintained all my benefits, received good raises, and was doing valuable work. Not just time filling work. I was in a good bargaining position as my boss needed me more than I needed him or the job. I made it known to my boss that I wanted to stay individual contributor level, I was not doing anything more than letting the savings run up and delay withdrawals for a little longer. So promotion or other advancement was not my goal. I was one of the best at my job and just wanted to stay doing that.

Your situation is more of a family time vs delaying retirement. Only you can answer that. I guess with the success i had doing it, I would recommend it if you can get it approved.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:23 PM   #6
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Usually when someone says sorry for rambling it is about something very near and dear to their hearts. It sounds like what you value most is the time with your young family.

Only you probably know what's best, but PT work might not be an option. I suppose I might be concerned about not looking committed or something, but there are a ton of reasons why a person might DESIRE to do this, and if your companies policies are okay with that notion without losing access to benefits, do it!

I think once I hit the glide path where I saw a clear path to victory based on my numbers, and likely time of FIRE...the idea of how much can I save is starting to shift a little to how little do I have to work, to save "enough".

My BS bucket is fairly full at this current point in time though, so those daydreams are even that much more dreamy.

Here is an idea... 4 10s... 3 12s? I don't think that would work for me, but I know it works and is available for some...and I don't think that would trigger any loss of benefits...seems like more of a procedural hurdle that wouldn't come back to bite ya.

Of course taking time off requires 10hours of PTO or whatever. so there is that.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:33 PM   #7
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Yes-it is not really part time, but it would allow me to not be in the office on those off days. Iím salaried and work as a product developer and team leader for the products Iím developing.
Consulting at 50% would be an option later on, but it is limited to two years and then you are done.
Yes, my goal would be three day weekends while retaining benefits and letting the egg grow. Iím 44 and would like to be out before 50. But if I could delay by getting more family time now, it is probably something Iíd like to do. I have to be in the office/lab in my current role, so remote work is hard except for handling project management, patent filings and such.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:02 PM   #8
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I worked part-time for a number of years before I retired. At our firm if you worked 50% or more then health insurance was provided. Virtually all other benefits were pro-rata... so if a 100% person earned 1.7 days of vacation a month then an 80% person earned 1.36 days a month.

I worked 50% for a while, then at the firm's and a valued client's request bumped it up to 80% for about 9 months for a special project, and then back down to 50% after the special project was over.

Ours was a professional services business so our time was charged to clients.... so they knew that 50% or 80% of pb4uski was much better for them than 0% of pb4uski... which was the alternative since I was FI.

If you want 3-day weekends perhaps you could stay full time and to 4-10s or drop down to 80% time for 80% pay and 80% bonuses.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:18 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NgineER View Post
Yes, my goal would be three day weekends while retaining benefits and letting the egg grow. I’m 44 and would like to be out before 50.
Of course, only you can decide. But for me, it would not have been worth the hassle. I'd just stick with full time for those 5-6 years.
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Old 08-24-2019, 08:49 AM   #10
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If you are salaried, by wary of taking a reduction in salary without a reduction in responsibility.
Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.
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Old 08-24-2019, 10:04 AM   #11
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^^^ In my case, my responsibilities were the same but the amount that I was expected to work was different.... so if I was 75% I was expected to average about 30 hours a week... this was over the course of the year... some weeks it might be 10 hours and other weeks it might be a lot more. I did a quick analysis each quarter and emailed my boss as to where I stood.... if I worked a lot more or less than what I was being paid for then we would just adjust the percentage prospectively and it would eventually catch up.
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Old 08-24-2019, 07:32 PM   #12
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I'd work until I was ready to FIRE. Why drag it out another year? I would worry that my perceived usefulness at the company would be reduced. Folks that work remotely in my firm often lose work, lose relevance, and them disappear from the company.

Balance in everything.
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