oldphd here. Did an intro 3 years ago, but couldn't reply to the thread and an update is warranted.
My story, and I'll try to keep it short.
Engineer, always LBYM and aiming to FIRE before I knew it was called that. First layoff at 32 got me started because I said I want to be FI (2 youngsters at home, one income, and no HI, even with money in the bank it was scary
) and not have to answer to a job I didn't like.
Second layoff at 45 came at a time when I was doing great financially, saving a lot, though not yet FI. But we weren't reliant on my income since DW was working and had HI. Opportunity to return to school with a scholarship and stipend
, figured I would give it a try and hopefully open the door to other possibilities.
Graduated with PhD at 50 and started working as researcher in academia, managing a facility. Less money, less stress, aiming for a glide path that I see others post about, wondering if it exists. It does, at least for me
. Four years later, still there, aiming for one more year to hit an anniversary that may/may not matter with regards to pension.
So, the milestone... Found out today that my request to work 80% time for the same salary was officially granted!
How, you say? Told my boss I was underpaid, he didn't disagree, but they have budget limits. I said no problem, I'll take it in time. 80% is the lowest I can go and keep HI. I will need to be in at certain times and also keep in touch, but I was doing that any way. Truthfully, this isn't a full time need, but there isn't a way to have less than one person. Tried that, didn't work well.
My situation is unique to say the least. I thought we were FI before, and while we'd never have been homeless, we wouldn't live the lifestyle we'd hoped. If I could work a more enjoyable position and improve the finances to enhance our lifestyle, I was all for it. We've gotten to a good place financially, and while closer to thinking about hanging it up, I'm OK with continuing to work and taking almost 3 months a year off, including at least one expensive/bucket trip type trip.
While the last few years have improved the finances with the market performance, DW and I have also experienced potentially serious and unexpected health events
Enough to remind us we're mortal, and will have high health expenses going forward. We'll hit the high deductible routinely.
No specific end date set, could be a year, or 2, or ? But I'm at a point where any change I don't care for I don't have to go along with.
Finally, just an aside on the whole stopping work thing. I really thought I could do it in a heartbeat. But as I've gotten close, I find it tough. The security is worth more than I realized. OTOH, the last few years (forgot to mention that DW is retired with modest pension) I've been taking advantage of all tax deferred savings options which reduce my salary to nil, living off after tax money, and converting to Roths. Basically what many folks do in the early stages of ER, except I'm working and can see how it will work out without quitting!
It's going fine, but will give me more confidence when the time comes to cut the cord.
All for now, hope to up my activity here going forward, great forum!