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Old 11-17-2012, 06:35 PM   #1
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For those of you already FIRED, think back to the last few months before you retired. Knowing what you know now, would you:

1. Accept a part time job with your employer continuing doing something you like 2 days a week for 48 wks per year - 1 day per week from home and 1 with 30 min commute to an office, at a pay rate starting approx 10% more than your rate when you retired, 401k but no other benefits. And do this under contract for 2-3 years?

Or,

2. Not accept the part time gig because 2 days a week of free time is worth more to you than the $ you would receive under scenario 1?

This is the decision i'm facing, and i'd like opinions from others- especially those that have been retired awhile. Another issue is that I still have 80k of company stock that the company would buy in 2012 if I agree to stay on part time. If I don't agree to the part time contract, I don't know when or to whom I would sell the stock.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:30 PM   #2
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Well, everyone's situation is different, so we can't really tell you what would be best for you. You say you like your job, so that certainly could help influence the decision. I can tell you, though, that for me, working part-time as a transition into full retirement would not have worked very well, and I'm glad I made the decision to retire completely when I did. I've been retired for nearly 3 years now, from a job with the fed. govt.. I did like most aspects of my job, though not all aspects. I had (and have) many interests and hobbies that I was eager to pursue in retirement. Had I transitioned into retirement by working a couple days per week, I am certain that the work would have changed my whole "mindset", making it difficult to live the way I do now. Sure, the extra money would have been nice, but it is hard to describe just how satisfying it is to have complete freedom to plan your own activities each week, month, year. I love my life the way it is now, and I am certain that working a couple days each week would have negatively impacted that. Let's face it, even if you are only "working" a couple days each week, you are probably thinking about work a lot more than that. Being completely retired, you don't have to think about it at all, and can free your mind to think about anything else that interests you.

This is just my experience..........since you asked!
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:41 PM   #3
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Assuming I could be assured that the part time job would not turn into a full-time one with part time pay, I would consider option #1. But I would try to negotiate better benefits.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:49 PM   #4
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So if you went with #1 when could you exercise the stock? If you could negotiate just the 2 yr option (assuming that is what you want to do) with a 10% raise, reducing your weekly work by 40%, and capture that 80K this now makes that hourly rate look pretty good all the time keeping your eye on the door and giving you some nice long weekends to begin easing into ER.

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Old 11-17-2012, 08:52 PM   #5
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I was faced with a related decision when I was retiring. As my departure date approached I was asked to delay for three months. I countered with an offer to stay on for a month for six weeks pay - so in my case my free time was worth 'time and a half'.

That said, I doubt you will find a much help here in making a decision. Only you know what your time is worth to you so you'll have to look within yourself.
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Old 11-17-2012, 08:59 PM   #6
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?... Let's face it, even if you are only "working" a couple days each week, you are probably thinking about work a lot more than that. Being completely retired, you don't have to think about it at all, and can free your mind to think about anything else that interests you.

This is just my experience..........since you asked!
Great points! Certainly there is the possibility of thinking of work when I'm not on the clock- I'm thinking of work now and I don't see how I can eliminate work thought distraction much by just going down to 2 days. I'm very far behind now on my hobbies and thought I could satisfy my outside interests in 5 days a week - but maybe I do need 7
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:04 PM   #7
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I probably would have continued via option 1. I was relieved to leave my job but I would have preferred to ease my way out in that way assuming I liked the activities presented. But everyone is different and YMMV.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:07 PM   #8
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Assuming I could be assured that the part time job would not turn into a full-time one with part time pay, I would consider option #1. But I would try to negotiate better benefits.
I put together a want ad for my replacement and got résumés from some good prospects, but the boss has not interviewed anyone. He may try to spread my work around to 2 of my colleagues that have more than enough to do with their own clients. This could lead to a part time job with full time responsibility - unless I demand that they hire my replacement and that the situation meets my approval before agreeing to the deal. As far as benefits - I'm on DW's health insurance, so I'm good there, but I'm going to negotiate higher salary to offset the loss of vacation/holiday pay, etc.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:17 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by JDARNELL
So if you went with #1 when could you exercise the stock? If you could negotiate just the 2 yr option (assuming that is what you want to do) with a 10% raise, reducing your weekly work by 40%, and capture that 80K this now makes that hourly rate look pretty good all the time keeping your eye on the door and giving you some nice long weekends to begin easing into ER.

JDARNELL
The company would buy the stock 12/31/2012. But the boss has a crazy idea to pay me a third now and financing the rest to maximize my attention for 2 more yrs while they make payments on the remainder. I'm ok with this. But a big concern is the bosses initial request for a 5 yr deal - 3 at 2 days a week and 2 yrs at 1 day a week. I agree with you that this makes a good transition to ER, but I have to get the term to 3 yrs or less.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by REWahoo
I was faced with a related decision when I was retiring. As my departure date approached I was asked to delay for three months. I countered with an offer to stay on for a month for six weeks pay - so in my case my free time was worth 'time and a half'.

That said, I doubt you will find a much help here in making a decision. Only you know what your time is worth to you so you'll have to look within yourself.
Funny you should mention "time and and half"- that's the number I started negotiating at and I haven't accepted anything less - yet. But there are other terms that would make less of increase palatable.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:26 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronstar View Post
For those of you already FIRED, think back to the last few months before you retired. Knowing what you know now, would you:
1. Accept a part time job with your employer continuing doing something you like 2 days a week for 48 wks per year - 1 day per week from home and 1 with 30 min commute to an office, at a pay rate starting approx 10% more than your rate when you retired, 401k but no other benefits. And do this under contract for 2-3 years?
Or,
2. Not accept the part time gig because 2 days a week of free time is worth more to you than the $ you would receive under scenario 1?
This is the decision i'm facing, and i'd like opinions from others- especially those that have been retired awhile. Another issue is that I still have 80k of company stock that the company would buy in 2012 if I agree to stay on part time. If I don't agree to the part time contract, I don't know when or to whom I would sell the stock.
This reminds me of the hoary(!) old quote: "We've already established your occupation, ma'am, and now we're just negotiating the fees."

This part-time offer seems like such a good deal now, but the terms won't last on either side of the negotiating surface. Your employer will start making subtle (or not-so-subtle) additional demands like a "special meeting" during your time off, or staying a little later to finish a team project, or expecting you to support the culture with your participation in "mandatory" training/social events. If you're getting a 401(k) then I don't think you can plead that you're "just a contractor", and there's still the whole unsavory hostage factor of the $80K.

You'll change too. Two days per week doesn't seem so bad now from your current 5+ days/week perspective, and heck-- it's just a few years. Easy money! But after a few months your part-time working lifestyle will start interfering with your full-time retiree lifestyle. You'll resent having to show up for the two days you've agreed to, let alone the extra requests. You'll have absolutely no patience for the usual workplace BS or the rush-hour commute that you're tolerating now, let alone for anything "extra" that someone thinks up over the next few years.

I suspect that about eight months into it you'll find yourself having a family conversation along the lines of "WTF am I doing this?!? It's only $80K, and we don't need the money..."

My retirement request was approved one year in advance. For the next 265 days (before my 100-day terminal leave) I found it extraordinarily difficult to haul my assets into the office and focus on my IN box. There were just too many items on my pre-retirement checklist for me to be able to focus on work, and there were just too many retirement projects to get ready for. About the only thing that kept me going was my personal internal lecture dialogue: I'd managed to behave for nearly two decades and I could keep it going for just a few more months so that I could be proud of my final lap for the rest of my life. Even then it was still close, especially the part about taking the high road and not telling everyone in the chain of command how I really felt about things.

So... to answer your question, my free time is worth way too much to waste it working for money.

But when neighbors & friends want help with a project, if it makes them feel better then I'm happy to accept food or $25/hour.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by truenorth418
I probably would have continued via option 1. I was relieved to leave my job but I would have preferred to ease my way out in that way assuming I liked the activities presented. But everyone is different and YMMV.
It does make sense to "ease" out, as long as it's "easy"
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:41 PM   #13
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I would have chosen option 1. At that time DH was still working and I was used to the daily grind. Part time wouldn't be so bad.

Now that we're both retired, our free time is priceless.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
This reminds me of the hoary(!) old quote: "We've already established your occupation, ma'am, and now we're just negotiating the fees."

This part-time offer seems like such a good deal now, but the terms won't last on either side of the negotiating surface. Your employer will start making subtle (or not-so-subtle) additional demands like a "special meeting" during your time off, or staying a little later to finish a team project, or expecting you to support the culture with your participation in "mandatory" training/social events. If you're getting a 401(k) then I don't think you can plead that you're "just a contractor", and there's still the whole unsavory hostage factor of the $80K.

You'll change too. Two days per week doesn't seem so bad now from your current 5+ days/week perspective, and heck-- it's just a few years. Easy money! But after a few months your part-time working lifestyle will start interfering with your full-time retiree lifestyle. You'll resent having to show up for the two days you've agreed to, let alone the extra requests. You'll have absolutely no patience for the usual workplace BS or the rush-hour commute that you're tolerating now, let alone for anything "extra" that someone thinks up over the next few years.

I suspect that about eight months into it you'll find yourself having a family conversation along the lines of "WTF am I doing this?!? It's only $80K, and we don't need the money..."

My retirement request was approved one year in advance. For the next 265 days (before my 100-day terminal leave) I found it extraordinarily difficult to haul my assets into the office and focus on my IN box. There were just too many items on my pre-retirement checklist for me to be able to focus on work, and there were just too many retirement projects to get ready for. About the only thing that kept me going was my personal internal lecture dialogue: I'd managed to behave for nearly two decades and I could keep it going for just a few more months so that I could be proud of my final lap for the rest of my life. Even then it was still close, especially the part about taking the high road and not telling everyone in the chain of command how I really felt about things.

So... to answer your question, my free time is worth way too much to waste it working for money.

But when neighbors & friends want help with a project, if it makes them feel better then I'm happy to accept food or $25/hour.
Thanks for the great points. I wouldn't mind working a couple days a week - if the responsibility is that of a part time worker. But you're right - there will be those subtle demands. But in reality, I wouldn't be going through all of this if it wasn't for the 80k. Although I don't need it now, and hopefully never will, I would still like to get the $ and walk out the door within the next 6 months.

I can appreciate how your free time is worth too much to waste it working for money - working for neighbors and friends is on your terms, not anyone else's.
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Old 11-17-2012, 09:46 PM   #15
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I would have chosen option 1. At that time DH was still working and I was used to the daily grind. Part time wouldn't be so bad.

Now that we're both retired, our free time is priceless.
Same here - DW would be still be working during the first 6-12 months of this, so part time would be ok at the beginning. But I sense that once she retires, our free time will become priceless like you & your DH's.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:35 PM   #16
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It is a nice transition to retirement. It also depends on how safely FIREd you are. If you're not really sure you safely have enough, or if you would like more money to splurge with, I'd go with #1. If you're easily FI, do whatever feels right. I'd probably take #2 because the extra money would be pretty meaningless.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:43 PM   #17
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A related question is "What is your dead time worth?".
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:44 PM   #18
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When I retired, I felt pretty secure about what I had set aside, and I also had feathered my "short-term funds" i.e. travel budget so I could go do a lot of playing right away.

So the main issue for me in terms of a weekly commitment, was that it would mess up my desired travel schedule. Of course my company asked me to consider staying on part time. But I just didn't see how such regular availability wouldn't totally mess with my personal plans. I didn't want to worry about how to fit my personal schedule around the work commitments, not to mention still always having to "go back to work" on a regular basis.

I think we've had several retirees do the part time thing at first, and it quickly becomes a real drag (once they've really tasted their freedom). And it usually comes down to the scheduling constraints in their personal life.

But, if the nest egg could still using some feathering (analogy doesn't quite work, does it?), then it seems like a reasonable compromise. It then comes down to what you are willing to put off doing until the future.
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Old 11-18-2012, 06:48 AM   #19
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Phasing out work should be easier than quitting abruptly for both you and your employer. Not sure why it isn't done more often. Nothing wrong with part time for a year or two as long as you have clear reasons for doing it and aren't doing it because you feel guilty about leaving. Staying part time, especially less than 20 hours, requires a lot of discipline to avoid the type of drift Nords refers to. A "time clock" attitude is a must.
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Old 11-18-2012, 07:25 AM   #20
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The concept is ok. I have a problem with the details, though.

Your time as a consultant employee is worth more, since you've proven your ability. With benefits, you are at least at 125%. Are you giving up any of your benefits? I would counter with 125%.

For the term, I'd counter with limiting this to 3 years maximum. Two years at 2 days per week; one year at 1 day per week.

Your time is definitely worth more than 110%. Would you be an employee or consultant?
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