Part Time or Full Retirement?

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A new thread on Early-Retirement.org caught my eye a couple of days ago. They original poster was asking early retirees if they regretted not working part-time (PT) to ease their transition into full retirement. Like a lot of early retirees, this person thought they might have an opportunity to carve out a PT role, before leaving the company. The complete thread is HERE.

I was interested in the topic, because I’ve thought the same thing. Should I work PT? I could be a consultant and bank some extra $$$ for the nest egg, add some lifestyle luxuries, or give the money to charity (which is what I’m working for now).

To see the respondents overall view, I tallied the 55 responses that expressed a POV:

  • Part-Time was a BAD idea: 59%
  • Part-Time was a GOOD idea: 25%
  • “It’s Complicated” / Depends: 16%

As you can see, most (59%) thought that one should skip part-time and go right into full retirement. They said that in order to fully experience the freedom & independence that retirement brings to your lifestyle, you can’t go half-way. These folks said that free time was wonderfully addictive and that they wouldn’t want their schedule in any way interrupted by a commitment to go into the office. Many that had tried it said that while their hours were cut in half, they found the stress, expectations, and office BS was still a full load. If there is a business emergency or sudden business issue, the employer may expect FT commitment from everyone (especially one with a lot of experience), which in turn defeats the purpose of retiring early in the first place.

Still, a full quarter of respondents felt that working part-time in early retirement was working for them in a good way. Many of these people stressed the flexibility that came with their part-time assignments. If they could work their way, on their time, as the wished – then they were happy for the extra fun money and continued industry involvement that they liked. Not all jobs can be structured that way, but these folks found them.

Still, 16% of respondents were mixed in their response, or said words to the effect of “it’s complicated”. These were the ones that might have started out on a good PT path that turned bad. Sometimes, PT roles are at the discretion of your old boss, but if your boss changes they can sour quickly. Also in this category are folks that were doing “hobby jobs” or work that was quite different than what they had devoted their careers to. Basically fun PT jobs that they could take or leave.

All in all, folks agreed that if you are not sure about going PT, you might as well try it out. You can always change your mind later. Additionally, if you don’t pursue PT opportunities straight away, they will be much more difficult to find later.

I am not really interested in PT work when I retire, other than Board work (corporate & non-profit) that I am already involved in. If some consulting opportunities come my way I may take them (if the circumstances are right) – but I don’t expect to go looking for them.

What is your approach to working PT in early retirement? Good idea or good riddens?

Image Credit: Pixabay

5 thoughts on “Part Time or Full Retirement?

  1. We do not have the funds to retire early so we are going to acquire fun, part time jobs working over the Internet. I’ve already quit full time work and I’m working on building up my part time gig. We love the idea of doing part-time, non-location based work now in our late 40s vs working more than a decade full-time in order to permanently retire right at 60.

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  2. i have written on this subject a some length , believe me tirement isn’t just about money , but in fulfilment so the choice to work PT or not is quite a individual one , although common wisdom says we just go full out on this one, leaving work doesn’t result in just a lost pay cheque but a activity as well as social interaction , don’t forget to replace this when you retire .

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    • After two months, I am finding that I don’t miss the work, as much as I miss the people. I do have quite a bit activities planned to keep me busy, and that brings me the social interaction that we all certainly need.

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