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full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-05-2007, 11:41 AM   #1
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full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

Hello!

I am wondering about other people's experiences with working full-time vs. part-time on the way to FIRE. DH's career is going well, but I am just starting mine, as I've been mostly in school and working part-time for the past ten years. Now that I've finally finished my grad degree we are feeling reluctant to give up the flexibility that my schedule has allowed. I'm able to take care of many house "chores" and errands during the week so that we have more free time in the evenings and on weekends, plus I have time (usually) to cook real food for dinner every night.

I have never had ambitious career goals, although I would like to use my training, so we are thinking that part-time work would probably be the good solution. (Ideally, DH and I would both work part time, but he is in the military and they don't offer that option!) I would love to know about others' experiences with the tradeoff of pursuing work/business and preserving sanity at home.
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-05-2007, 11:43 AM   #2
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

Could you possibly use your skills in a small business? DW set up a private counseling practice part time when we reached the point you are at, and it has worked very well. The best thing is that she can dial her practice up or down as she wishes.
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-05-2007, 11:46 AM   #3
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

You might want to send a PM to Laurence, who lives in your area and has a spouse running her part-time career from home...
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-05-2007, 11:55 AM   #4
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
Could you possibly use your skills in a small business?
Yes, that is one of the things that I've thought about, as I know one or two others who have done something similar. I think ideally I'd rather work for someone else and let them be the boss, but perhaps I'm just overly intimidated about getting something started, especially since we just transferred to a new city and I don't know many people yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
The best thing is that she can dial her practice up or down as she wishes.
Very good point. Maybe I should be considering this option more carefully.
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-05-2007, 12:02 PM   #5
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
You might want to send a PM to Laurence, who lives in your area and has a spouse running her part-time career from home...
Thanks! Actually, we're in CO now (DH is at a joint assignment) but talking to more people never hurts...
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-05-2007, 02:33 PM   #6
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

Both sons & DILs pursued independent careers and built skills and appreciation for independence before going corporate. They appreciate resources and pensions now. Being independent is not for everyone. If you can succeed it is the best of all worlds. But it takes a definite mindset not commonly held.
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-05-2007, 05:44 PM   #7
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

DH is full-time, I am part-time. Have been doing this for ~ 6 years now. It definitely has lowered our stress level overall. Our weekends are free for doing whatever we want! I also have the time to track our expenses and, like you, cook more home-cooked meals. This allows us to do a better job of LBYM.
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(49, married; DH 53. I am fully retired as of 2015 (well ok, I still work part-time but only because I love the job and have complete freedom to call off if I want to travel with hubby for work), DH hopes to fully retire 2018 when he turns 55 to access 401K penalty-free...although he may decide to do part-time consulting)
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-07-2007, 01:29 AM   #8
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

DW is on a 25hr/week flex schedule including 10 hrs of it at home as an independent contract engineer to a small manufacturing company. Going on year 3. Earns about $65k per year. This is after 18 years of full time work building up an in-demand skill set. Works great for us, and my job provides the beni's that hers doesn't.
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-07-2007, 12:33 PM   #9
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

So it sounds like independent and/or part-time work has gone well for people, which is I guess what I expected (or hoped ). Part of it is just getting over the social conditioning that makes it seem like after all these years of school, I "should" be getting a "real" job. Frustrating that I still struggle with that mentality, as I know it's ridiculous, but also I feel uncertain that I can find part-time work that will be as interesting or challenging as a full-time job. Probably that's just more of the conditioning talking, though. I am looking forward to figuring out some options...
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-07-2007, 12:59 PM   #10
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

I would do part-time if I could. The MegaCorp that I work for really frowns on part-time jobs. It is extremely difficult to get managerial approval for such an arrangement unless you have serious extenuating circumstances. Part-timers are the first to be 'let go' when any downsizing occurs.

In the past my husband has had a very flexible work schedule and it did wonders for keeping the house on an even keel -- he could be there whenever his son needed him, go on school field trips, take care of errands and appointments. The whole household ran more smoothly.

That job went away so now my husband is retraining into a new career that is known for offering lots of schedule flexibility.

If you want to do part-time work and have a way to make it happen, then DO IT! We would do it ourselves if it was an option available to us.
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-16-2007, 06:14 PM   #11
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff


It's usually the female half of the couple who decides to compromise her earning power by going part time. It sounds great at the time when the marriage is healthy. But if (or when?) divorce comes around, the woman pays a very big price for all that leisure and convenience that BOTH spouses enjoyed during the marriage.
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-16-2007, 10:54 PM   #12
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

Couldn't have said it better than oldbabe.

Having a part time schedule is great....all that time for yardwork/cooking/chores while still having some income and the stimulus of a career.....BUT, you need to make sure you're covering YOUR OWN bases fully -- fully fund your own ROTH every year and max out your 401k, even if that means less disposable income for both of you now. If you both can only afford to contribute to one retirement plan, contribute to yours. Since a part-time job also means less social security down the line, (assuming, of course, that the institution will continue to exist) you need to fund other retirement sources as fully as possible. That way, you're better covered financially whatever happens .
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-18-2007, 09:08 AM   #13
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

Thanks for the additional inputs and cautionary notes. Not that I'm worried about my marriage, but planning for the worst never hurts. We do already fund Roth IRAs for each of us out of DH's salary, and all other major assets are in both our names. Funding an additional retirement account for me would be great, and an easy choice just for the tax advantages - hadn't even occurred to me that I might be able to set that up, I'll have to see what I can do depending on what kind of work I find.
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-18-2007, 09:26 AM   #14
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

Quote:
Originally Posted by WM
Thanks for the additional inputs and cautionary notes. Not that I'm worried about my marriage, but planning for the worst never hurts. We do already fund Roth IRAs for each of us out of DH's salary, and all other major assets are in both our names. Funding an additional retirement account for me would be great, and an easy choice just for the tax advantages - hadn't even occurred to me that I might be able to set that up, I'll have to see what I can do depending on what kind of work I find.
If you are self-employed or a 1099 contractor, you can set up a solo 401k. Easy to do, low maintenence, and allows you to defer a ton of money.
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff
Old 01-18-2007, 06:39 PM   #15
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Re: full-time vs. part-time tradeoff

Thanks brewer12345! Sounds promising.
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