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Did You Find the Part-Time Work You Wanted After FIRE?
Old 05-29-2010, 10:27 AM   #1
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Did You Find the Part-Time Work You Wanted After FIRE?

I'm close to FI, but with no safety margin. I've gotten depressingly good at enduring my current high-paying job, and could possibly eke out a few more years. But I feel exhausted, unproductive, and uncreative. And I'd have to work quite a while longer to absolutely guarantee financial security. Another solution would be to have a small income stream in retirement.

Sure it would be best to develop that income stream before leaving corporate life, but I find myself too drained from work to commit. I'd love to take 6 months to rest and travel, and then think about it. My question is this: should I leave, assuming I can find/create that rewarding part-time work later? Has anybody else left knowing they probably would need/want part-time work in retirement? Were you able to find or create what you wanted, when you were ready, without too much stress?
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:06 AM   #2
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I'm close to FI, but with no safety margin.
Same here. That's why I'm aiming to stay at my job a few more years. I'm with you on the exhausted part, but I actually consider myself highly productive and my job does allow for some creativity. So, I guess I should count my blessings. Still, the job is mainly draining rather than life-giving, and I find myself increasingly frustrated and impatient. What it comes down to is that at this point in my life I'm starved for more personal time and less work time.

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Sure it would be best to develop that income stream before leaving corporate life, but I find myself too drained from work to commit. I'd love to take 6 months to rest and travel, and then think about it.
You plucked that thought right out of my brain. I feel exactly the same. In theory, it would be ideal, not only for needed funds but also for long-term engagement. But I wonder how many people actually get to accomplish this. I look forward to seeing the advice you'll get here.
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Old 05-29-2010, 11:23 AM   #3
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Same here... I have sick of my j*b for a couple of years.

Fortunately, I am about a year away from FIRE.
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Old 05-29-2010, 01:13 PM   #4
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I will retire in 2011 and I think your idea might work. I understand what you mean about being so tired and wore out. I find myself resting more and trying to renew. One thing that does renew me is thinking about "what I could do" once I retire. The extremes are completely retire or take another full time 60 hrs week job. Not interested at all in the latter. So what about some part time work once I retire with a break for a few months? Even with this there are some things that I will not compromise on.

I have actually made a list of things that I think would be fun to do. I will tell you that the last few months my energy has really gone into understanding cashflow needs and income sources. This has made me more comfortable in my approach. I would like to have X amount but can make it work on Y is required. Another thing I did was really make a priority list of what was important. I think this helped me identify the possibilities.

Good luck!

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Old 05-29-2010, 02:21 PM   #5
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I'm close to FI, but with no safety margin. I've gotten depressingly good at enduring my current high-paying job, and could possibly eke out a few more years. But I feel exhausted, unproductive, and uncreative.
This is the part of the story where the stress turns it into an ugly ending-- "... and then he had a heart attack and died" or "... and then he retired when he found out he had cancer."

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My question is this: should I leave, assuming I can find/create that rewarding part-time work later?
I vote "Yes": The "fog of work"

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Has anybody else left knowing they probably would need/want part-time work in retirement? Were you able to find or create what you wanted, when you were ready, without too much stress?
Yep. Two things happened:
1. People contacted me out of the blue to offer contracts and/or jobs. The assumptions were that I finally had enough time on my hands to help them out, or that I was desperately bored/unfulfilled and seeking any form of distraction.
2. I kept seeing one opportunity after another. If I'd wanted to I could have built careers in rental real estate, property management, or handyman. Or all three.

The end result, though, was that it turned out that we'd overestimated both our expenses and our spending. When you're ER'd you have plenty of time to tweak your budget and to find the bargains that bring you value.
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Old 05-29-2010, 02:51 PM   #6
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The end result, though, was that it turned out that we'd overestimated both our expenses and our spending. When you're ER'd you have plenty of time to tweak your budget and to find the bargains that bring you value.
That substantiates the sense I have: Many people talk about doing part-time work after retirement to earn extra income, but most seem to end up lowering their expenses instead.
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Old 05-29-2010, 03:05 PM   #7
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Thanks for the helpful reply Nords. Spot on.
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Old 05-29-2010, 03:14 PM   #8
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I don't know which would be best for you - - to quit now, or to just put your head down and barrel on through until you have accumulated what you need.

If it was me, I'd do the latter but then I am pretty cautious by nature. I would be thinking of what Suze Orman would say in her "Can I Afford It?" section.

W2R: "Suze, can I afford to retire? "
Suze Orman: "No, W2R, you need at least a 9 month emergency fund and a better income stream. DENIED!!! You Cannot Afford It."
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Old 05-29-2010, 04:27 PM   #9
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I don't know which would be best for you - - to quit now, or to just put your head down and barrel on through until you have accumulated what you need.

If it was me, I'd do the latter but then I am pretty cautious by nature. I would be thinking of what Suze Orman would say in her "Can I Afford It?" section.

W2R: "Suze, can I afford to retire? "
Suze Orman: "No, W2R, you need at least a 9 month emergency fund and a better income stream. DENIED!!! You Cannot Afford It."
I agree W2R and I love the Suze bit The reality for some of us is part time work is not a viable option. In my old field, they wanted full timers only. Correction - full timers who would work round the clock and travel anywhere at anytime if need be. I inquired about part time work and "the powers that be" were less than enthuastic. Part time work out of my field would mean lousy hours, much less pay, and still lots of the bad stuff that goes with working. I'd rather stick it out a bit longer and be totally free rather than prolong the agony of work even if it is part time.
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Old 05-29-2010, 05:36 PM   #10
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. My question is this: should I leave, assuming I can find/create that rewarding part-time work later? Has anybody else left knowing they probably would need/want part-time work in retirement? Were you able to find or create what you wanted, when you were ready, without too much stress?

I worked part time the first year I retired but I'm an RN so as long as I have a license and am reasonably sane I can find a part time job that pays well .
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Old 05-29-2010, 05:40 PM   #11
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In my old field, they wanted full timers only...Part time work out of my field would mean lousy hours, much less pay, and still lots of the bad stuff that goes with working. I'd rather stick it out a bit longer and be totally free rather than prolong the agony of work even if it is part time.
That's my situation too, and so I'm following the same strategy -- so far.
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:42 PM   #12
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Since I announced I was retiring in August, I have had 3 offers of consulting work. I have a one year non compete, so will take one year off to relax. Then if I am bored and need a little excitement and extra income I will see if I can't land some consulting gigs. It pays pretty well $1000 a day but after maybe 5 years my knowledge will be stale and my contacts dead or retired themselves and it dries up (or so I am told).

One of my former coworkers was just hospitalized with a stroke at 58. Another coworker who, like me, beat lymphoma and retired a year ago, has had a relapse. I believe I am doing the right thing to go out now at 55.
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Old 05-29-2010, 06:53 PM   #13
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I worked part time the first year I retired but I'm an RN so as long as I have a license and am reasonably sane I can find a part time job that pays well .
Well...that leaves me out....
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Old 05-30-2010, 09:23 AM   #14
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Has anybody else left knowing they probably would need/want part-time work in retirement? Were you able to find or create what you wanted, when you were ready, without too much stress?
That was our somewhat hazily-thought-out "plan". We knew we would have enough with the pension but we didn't think through in enough detail what we would be doing with all that free time, not having that since the age of four or so. The original idea was that we'd get some sort of low-stress part time jobs but then we found that part time jobs don't pay enough (at least in this area) to do much more than pay for the gasoline to get there and back, so why bother?

I found I'd lost interest in a hobby (R/C airplanes) that I'd enjoyed for almost two decades, perhaps because I plateaued with it. I tried some independent contractor work doing computer forensics, but the hour-long drive made that a pain, and to stay competent in that fast-moving field one really needs to be in it full time. So I let that go.

DW went back to school and finished her BA degree that she'd started on 20+ years ago and is looking for a job, but we're happy to be in a position where she doesn't have to take anything that doesn't look like a good fit, and she likes having the free time to deal with the issues of an aging parent without the conflicting loyalties of a full time job too. And I'd rather be married to a relaxed unemployed DW than a stressed-out highly paid DW. Been there, done that, it wasn't fun.

So I stumbled across a job doing armed security (I'm retired law enforcement) at one of those discreetly-set-back-from-the-road govmint places with barbed wire around it. It pays almost as much as what I was making before retirement for doing very little actual work. They're paying for experience and judgment. The 3.4 mile commute is terrific, and with the income from that in a few months I could write a $12k check for a new motorcycle. The bulk of the "unplanned income" is just going into savings for now, and my KMA hat is firmly in place if someone annoys me enough. But since all the other security people are either younger law enforcement guys working part time or retired ones, all have pretty much a "do the job but don't put up with any crap or I'm outta here" attitude.

So, yes, for now it's working out. We're planning a trip in September to Arizona, which neither one of us has ever seen, DW has the free time to deal with FIL, I have my motorcycle, fishin' boat, pickup truck, and a renewed interest in photography.

It took a few years to find the equilibrium and my way is not everyone's way, but for us it works.
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:14 AM   #15
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Many people talk about doing part-time work after retirement...
So what are they, exactly?

Retired, or part-time workers ?

IMHO, there is no such thing as a "retirement job"; either you are, or you are not (something like being pregnant ).

Hey, I have no argument with those that give up the "regular grind" to hours/j*b that meets their requirement to live in a different manner; good for them.

Just don't say they are retired ...

A simple check; if you are paying FICA on income (not Federal tax, as I do on my retirement portfolio withdrawls), you're still wor*ing...

As for me? I'm retired (for a bit over three years; no, I don't pay FICA); life is good...
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Old 05-30-2010, 10:25 AM   #16
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I may be way off base, but I have read here and other places that many folks find out they don't need the income they thought they did. I get the sense that it is both overestimating your retirement spending and, maybe more importantly, discovering a drive to find ways not to work. I was like you a few months ago. I was going to retire this coming July and go back to work part-time in the same industry. The closer I got, the more of a bad taste that left in my mouth. I thought I needed the income though. After some careful calculations and a decision to pay off my cars, I actually don't need the extra income.

However, I am in a different situation. I am 43, my wife still works part-time from home and we need her income. Mainly we need it because we have two boys, 12 and 14, to support. Once they are out of the house we can downsize out home (or eliminate it altogether by doing the full-time RV thing) and can easily live on my pension. For now one of us needs to work.

Still, I plan to work, but I don't need to. I plan to find something that I really love. I guess what I am trying to say is that the "need" to work can be perception. I easily eliminated my need to work without trying all that hard by rearranging my finances. I really didn't even cut my spending much. You should consider lifestyle changes too. Have you considered the savings you will realize from not working (mileage, clothes, lunches, etc). You may find simplifying and downsizing your life just a little may get you where you need to be. You may want to reexamine the safety net you think you need. Why do you think you need it? Is it based on your lifestyle, health, situation or just some number your financial adviser told you?

If you determine you do need to work a few more years to sock away that safety net, try working for 9 months (using Orman's advice), living off of your saving and socking away the safety net from your paycheck. Not only will you get used to living off of your savings, but you can build up that safety net much quicker.

Just some thoughts.
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:05 AM   #17
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I may be way off base, but I have read here and other places that many folks find out they don't need the income they thought they did.
Just some personal feedback (since I am retired). I spend (net) the same amout I did when I was "un-retired" (means I don't have to use "*" in my spellling).

As a disclaimer, I planned on 100% of my pre-retirement net pay in retirement, adjusted each year for my "personal rate of inflation" (based upon forecast budget vs. actual) each year.

I did not have any "extra anticipated" expenses (example: travel, since we have always traveled during our accumulation years) nor "reduction" (we planned/continue to live in our "larger than needed" abode during this time of our life).

I'm not saying that there are folks who reduced their expenes in retirement (through whatever means); I'm just saying it's not our situation....
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Old 05-30-2010, 11:19 AM   #18
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Aside from teaching, I havenīt found many well paid part-time jobs that stay really part-time. They tend to turn into full-time jobs paid less than full time jobs all along....
And right now, in the midst of financial crisis, Id rather be a little more frugal than work part time to supplement my current pension. Maybe this is due that after 5 years of doing nothing gainful, it would be an exercise on futility to even try to find a job!!
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Old 05-30-2010, 12:12 PM   #19
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That was our somewhat hazily-thought-out "plan". We knew we would have enough with the pension but we didn't think through in enough detail what we would be doing with all that free time, not having that since the age of four or so.
I ran into an old friend yesterday who retired from a big city police force after 32 years. Super guy with plenty of interests and friends, but he is divorced. He said, "well I'm 6 weeks out and I want to go back already."

I am sure he will be looking for something along the lines of what you are doing before too long. But you guys are a special case, like nurses as Moemg mentioned- you can work part-time and still get very high pay.

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Old 05-30-2010, 11:22 PM   #20
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I'm close to FI, but with no safety margin. I've gotten depressingly good at enduring my current high-paying job, and could possibly eke out a few more years. But I feel exhausted, unproductive, and uncreative. And I'd have to work quite a while longer to absolutely guarantee financial security....
I really know the feeling. I'm really good at what I do, kind of tired of doing it, but pretty good at enduring it. I'm staying put for a couple more years for a few reasons:

1) economy is still on unsure footing
2) 2 kids in college, good income helps with this
3) not satisfied with 3-3.25% SWR, I want it lower than that, just for comfort.

I may take something either part-time after retirement, such as interim management which really is "work full on with a heavy schedule for 6 months, then take the next 6 months off". Or I may seek a board seat on a corporate board or a non-profit board. We'll see. Not gonna do the people greeter thing at the local wally world though.

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