Why Not Get Out Now?

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

My wife is at a crossroads right now.  Her main job where she has worked full-time for the past six years has cut her hours back due to a lack of retail sales.  While she would rather have chosen the reduced hours on her own, she is currently attempting to figure out what to do for the next decade or so in the workforce.  Right now, she’s wondering whether she should get some sort of formal training in a different field, or seek employment in a similar field she has been working in (book-keeping).  We’re not overly concerned with this new employment situation, we just have to slightly alter our mortgage-repayment plan and maybe hold off on any significant purchases that would drain our savings account (in case this temporary decline in hours becomes more permanent).

I’m actually a little jealous of my spouse right now, I would love to have a couple of extra days off per week, there’s lots of stuff I could do that (some days) would be more interesting than work.  For her though, it’s not a relaxing break, as she would prefer to be working for now, rather than having the time off.

Ideally, we could be off together and spending the extra days doing stuff around the house – or really whatever we felt like doing.  At this point, I don’t really feel the need to not work.  I just started a new job about 8 months ago that I actually enjoy and challenges me, with pay that I feel is fair for what I do.  My current position offers some flexibility with hours, so I work the odd long day, in return for being able to choose a short day when I want (due to travel across the province).

With our current monthly expenses, as long as my wife and I combined make about $30,000  per year gross, we could maintain our current lifestyle and probably have a reasonable amount of retirement savings at a “normal” retirement age.  We would have more time together now, and more time to do the things we’re interested in at the moment.

My wife and I have talked about this before, and have both decided we would rather have a total exit from the workforce as opposed to a longer-term part-time or lower wage (possibly lower stress) job.  This is the reason why rather than spending the day as she would like to tomorrow (knitting Christmas presents) my wife will be applying for several jobs she’s found interesting as well as calling about a couple of college programs she has found which are of interest.

At some point, we may change our mind and work part-time, but not for now.  Do you have plans of curtailing your working hours at some point?  Is there a set salary that you could make that would let you work for example 75% of your current hours?

6 thoughts on “Why Not Get Out Now?”

  1. Twice in the last 7 years of working, I reduced my weekly work hours at my job. The first time, in 2001, I reduced my hours from 37.5 to 20. The next time, in 2007, I reduced them from 20 to 12. By then, I knew I was going to leave by the end of 2008. My expenses were quite low (no kids, no debts) so I still had some money to save from my salary from 2001-2007 but the second cutback left me with very little to save other than reinvested investment earnings.

  2. I was in a rush to retire because I hated my job. Now I think I just need to find a better job.

    I normally worked 40 hours a week, but since I was transferred to a new position I work when there is work.

    I actually like it because I wouldn’t be able to have made this post at this time of day, ever. I may not like it however when I get my first pay cheque..

  3. This may be completely unrealistic, but I’m thinking that after I get to a point where I don’t HAVE to work anymore, it might be nice to do some things for a short term that are either low pay (maybe working in a book store or a pet care facility) or even volunteering in a field that interests me.

    Until I reach that point, I plan on working as much as I can, for as high a pay as I can.

  4. The way things are looking now, I probably will “retire” in a couple of years at age 42. My wife wants to continue working for at least another 5 years, perhaps longer – who am I to argue? 😉

    I can already visualize my days… a few hours in the morning monitoring and tweaking our investments, actually enjoying my coffee, not gulping it down as I currently do. A bit of house tidying of course. A visit to the local organic grocer, selecting ingredients for a great (and healthy) dinner for my hard working wife. A few hours at the gym in between, visit to the library perhaps…. maybe brush up the Spanish with our Rosetta Stone software… and I really want to restore an 80’s classic arcade machine. And I need to build a cabin on our rec. property…. I could go on and on. I really don’t get bored. Quite honestly, work is the only place I am bored. God bless those who enjoy their work, but I am not one of them.

    Yeah, I can’t wait ER.

  5. I agree with your plan, Dave. My preference also would be to work full-time and then be ‘free’.
    But, the urge to enjoy ‘other things’ in life might cause me to change my mind when I approach my retirement years. Perhaps working part-time (say 50%), might be a solution.

  6. I reduced hours about 16 years ago (age then was 37) and have kept at tweaking hours for max flexibility and reasonable pay at subsequent jobs. Now at 4 days per week, and will reduce over time (maybe down to 3 days once the mortgage is very small / gone). Ultimately think working 2.5 days spread over 3 would work well for my life. I deliberately made choices in spending to allow this. Others seem less prepared to consciously build their work week to suit themselves or assume they need all the income from full time.

Comments are closed.