How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

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carloslando
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How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by carloslando »

Assuming this is an option for you, would you stop grinding it out before retirement and slowly coast/glide the last few working years in a low-stress, lower-pay environment? Or keep going full throttle up to the point you pull the plug?

I am hoping to retire around age 55, and after a largely stressful multi-decade career of non-stop grind, am still about 10 years away. Likely to hit my number either way, but wondering if doing a high-stress, high-pay job is worth it:
  • to add some buffer and maximize the savings over these remaining years
  • to get to the goal sooner, in case of a surprise down the line (Eg: layoff due to a bad economy, 2 years before the planned retirement date throws a wrench in the savings-and-exit plan)
The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc). Maybe starting to glide/coast now, and work a couple of years longer if things dont work out as planned, might be the better approach? Also, is 10 years too early to begin this?

Thoughts?
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m@ver1ck
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by m@ver1ck »

I could have written this post. Also 45, targeting 55 for retirement.
The Thoughts? at the bottom is also so me.

Ultimately, if you're the kind of person who's used to working hard, good luck trying to coast - that' s just not who you are.

Be interesting to find out what else you think you could be doing - AFAIK, you could take on a job that pays less - but it will probably be equally stressful - and you'll just have to deal with people that are not up to the same level.

Maybe best to retire at 50 instead of 55 with your current job rather than taking a lower paying one for 10 years - Do you get a parting gift at 55? (our RSU vest 100% anytime after the 55 year mark if we're ready to retire).
Last edited by m@ver1ck on Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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steve roy
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by steve roy »

I retired three weeks shy of 68. I was working at my usual brisk clip my final day of work. My job was handed off at a dinner that night.

I think most people who are used to dogging their Jobs will probably loaf at the end of the gig. And people accustomed to working at full speed will do that. Doesn't mean there won't be some mental let down, but the pace of work will be maintained.
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carloslando
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by carloslando »

m@ver1ck wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:32 am I could have written this post. Also 45, targeting 55 for retirement.
The Thoughts? at the bottom is also so me.

Ultimately, if you're the kind of person who's used to working hard, good look trying to coast - that' s just not who you are.
Be interesting to find out what else you think you could be doing - AFAIK, you could take on a job that pays less - but it will probably be equally stressful - and you'll just have to deal with people that are not up to the same level.

Maybe best to clock out 5 years earlier - do you get a parting gift at 55? (our RSU vest 100% anytime after the 55 year mark if we're ready to retire).
Yeah good point: coasting is going to take a bit of a mindset change, but seems worth doing... I also worry about all those posts about people who worked hard to save for retirement, then did not get to enjoy the savings for any long period due to health issues or early death.

Trying to find some other things to spend time on (Eg: learn a musical instrument, develop some hobbies), plus any extra time with family is a bonus. Will also help ease into retirement if more and more on my day is spent on 'me things' (reading books, painting, hiking etc)... basically start to experiment/develop things that I would do if I were retired and had a lot more time on my hand.

Will be looking for a role with say no on-call, an internal team versus an external customer facing org etc. Might result in less-pay but more importantly am looking for less-stress. No longer chasing promotions or higher pay.

Unfortunately no parting gift at 55 and no RSU vest 100% (that would have been awesome!) for me... the day I turn in the badge I lose all unvested ones.
Comparison is the killer of all joy.
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carloslando
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by carloslando »

steve roy wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:48 am I retired three weeks shy of 68. I was working at my usual brisk clip my final day of work. My job was handed off at a dinner that night.

I think most people who are used to dogging their Jobs will probably loaf at the end of the gig. And people accustomed to working at full speed will do that. Doesn't mean there won't be some mental let down, but the pace of work will be maintained.
Thanks for that perspective. If you dont mind sharing: how was the transition from working to retirement for you going from the usual brisk clip on the final day to then being retired the very next day with all the time on your hands?
Comparison is the killer of all joy.
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JoeRetire
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by JoeRetire »

carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc).
Coasting isn't going to change your need for glasses or a better diet.

If you haven't been attending to your health, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
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bwalling
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by bwalling »

I've changed my view and plan to step down to a different career in 2022. I'm burning out fast, and I don't need the income level I have. I'd rather work another 15 years doing something I enjoy and think is intrinsically good than work another 5 at this. The numbers wind up the same, and in either case, I'm at 30x spending, so the financial risk of a lower income isn't much.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by 59Gibson »

My wife and I did this a year ago. We both went p/t, it's a perfect balance that feels right at 45 and 40. There really isn't much we can't do p/t as opposed to fully retired, at least for us we're not interested in going on a 2 month trip/ cruise around the world. But I agree you do need to address your health issues but gaining additional time should help with that.
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markjk
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by markjk »

Some stress is not a bad thing. A lot of stress and the accompanying health implications are a big deal. It sounds like in this post we are talking about going 100% full speed all the time versus going down to 5% and loafing it. There are many in-betweens that you can consider but it's not an easy thing to change if you are accustomed to one end of the spectrum. Many hard charging people will put undue pressure on themselves and assume a job requires 60 + hours per week, all-day meetings, constant stress and bickering, etc. because that is what they are used to doing. If that is you, I suggest taking a step back and asking if that is all really necessary to do a good job. Many will find it is not necessary, it's just the way they've done it for so long that it seems necessary. My point is maybe you can adjust your approach to the job you have now to make it less stressful and more sustainable for the next decade or so.

If it's not possible to adjust in your current job, is there another job with the same company that might offer a fresh change and opportunity to tone it down a bit? If not, it might make sense to look at alternatives after a set period of time. Give yourself say 5 more years and at that point, re-evaluate and give yourself the option to make a bigger change (new company?) at that time.

This is such a hard question to answer since it requires so much input that is specific to an individual's situation/personality. I'm close in age to you and have thought about this a lot the past few years. I made some conscious changes in my career three years back (switched roles) to de-stress and it's really helped. So, I'm speaking as someone that has gone through this. I still don't know if I'll stay in this same role until 55+. My target right now is 50 and then re-evaluate. I suspect I will make a more drastic change at that time to tone it down a bit more but it will also result in a significant pay cut. We'll see what happens.

No matter what, make sure to take your health and well being into serious consideration. No amount of money in the world is worth poor health.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by livesoft »

I went to half-time at age 50. it was never a grind though.
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UpperNwGuy
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

I worked for 40 years and slightly eased up on the accelerator during my final nine months. During those months I worked mostly 8 hour days instead of my usual 10 hour days, stopped coming to work on weekends, and only took one business trip instead of my usual 10-12. On the other hand, I was in the office every single workday because, once I knew my retirement date, I wanted to maximize my lump sum payment from unused vacation days.

For those contemplating coasting for multiple years, beware. Your managers already know the performance you're capable of doing, so you become the perfect candidate in their eyes to manage a special, high-stress project. I was a manager once, and I never let good employees coast for a long period of time when I had work assignments to be made.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by UpperNwGuy »

carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:57 am If you dont mind sharing: how was the transition from working to retirement for you going from the usual brisk clip on the final day to then being retired the very next day with all the time on your hands?
You didn't ask me, but in my case it was wonderful. Suddenly I could do all my weekly errands on weekdays instead of weekends. I could undertake household and personal projects for which I never seemed to have time while working. I could take spur of the moment trips without having to get vacation days approved and worrying about work projects stalling in my absence.

If you take a pre-retirement course (and, yes, there are such courses), they will tell you that the time you might become depressed is not immediately following retirement, but a year later. That never happened to me.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by Exchme »

First, I would never, ever, allow the word "coast" to come out of my mouth, that is mental poison. Your brain follows your words and your actions follow your brain, so people would soon detect that you are "coasting" and you would quickly become expendable. If you just hate your job, then make a change, but use internal language that is more positive.

If you were already marginally financially able to retire and just wanted to pad your finances a bit and get some health insurance, then becoming a technical guru or taking on a consulting role within the same industry might be doable and enjoyable. Those sorts of gigs are often short term until a project is complete or management wants to cut the budget.

Personally, I doubt that taking a full time low paying job would be endurable for long. It would still take up your time, have its own pressures, your co-workers would be either be much younger or much less responsible and accomplished so you may have more frustrations that they are slacking off, less satisfaction from working with them or at least less social engagement with them. Lower level positions are generally more highly regulated and even micromanaged, which could be really annoying. The grass is not always greener.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by carolinaman »

I had a lot of pressure in my job as IT Director for a large organization. I retired at age 66. In retrospect, I could have retired a few years earlier and met my retirement goals. I am not sure how I could have "coasted" in my job. Anyway, I am not wired to coast. It is not in my DNA. What I did do was delegate more things to my staff the last few years. That reduced my personal workload but not the stress of producing as I was still accountable for the results. It did make me realize that I should have done more delegating sooner.

I saw a lot of staff retire during my time and I rarely saw someone I thought was coasting.

I made mostly A's in college. I was not obsessed with a high GPA, but I could never figure out how to study for a B. I think this is analogous to coasting in a job where people try to do just enough to get a passing grade. Sometimes they miscalculate and the results are not good.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by GG1273 »

I haven't coasted (62 now and doing OMY with WFH) but I did make sure I was scheduling vacation time and not carrying over time from year to year (we had an option to do 50% carry over a year). With WFH, a lot of people simply put off taking time off and are now suffering from a lot of burnout.

The biggest obstacle for me coasting was company decided not to backfill positions as people moved on to different jobs. It got to a point where a team of 7 went to 1 (me) and that was very stressful. I moved on as well but still can't coast! Always get new assignments!

Medical stuff is important to get a handle on before it controls your life - I was early diagnosed with prostate cancer 3 years ago and got it taken care of. The pre-diabetes can be addressed with the help of a doctor and a nutritionist.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by goodenyou »

For high achievers, coasting is demoralizing. The word coasting when it comes to work is pejorative.

In the words of a great rocker, "it's better to burn out than to fade away". I don't agree that burning out is a great plan, but it's best to leave on a high note.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by mnnice »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:32 am
carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc).
Coasting isn't going to change your need for glasses or a better diet.

If you haven't been attending to your health, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
Unless coasting means going from 60 hours to 25 hours per week.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by keystone »

My long term plan was to retire at 49, but at 45 went from being a full-time employee to a part-time contractor in the same line of work.

There is still stress, but definitely less of it. The reduced income is not an issue at all. My urge to retire fully has not dwindled but part-time work is a good compromise for the time being. Returning to work full-time is a possibility if early retirement doesn't work, perhaps in a different line of work at a lower pay rate.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by bwalling »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:32 am
carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc).
Coasting isn't going to change your need for glasses or a better diet.

If you haven't been attending to your health, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
I spend 60 hours / week in front of a screen. There are many alternate professions that don't involve near 100% screen time.
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Watty
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by Watty »

carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am I am hoping to retire around age 55, and after a largely stressful multi-decade career of non-stop grind, am still about 10 years away. Likely to hit my number either way, but wondering if doing a high-stress, high-pay job is worth it:
I am retired now but over my career one thing I saw over and over was that a LOT of work stress was self inflicted.

It would be good to take a hard look at your situation to see if you can improve the situation just by setting better boundaries at work and saying "no" when it is appropriate.

There are of course some companies cultures that at toxic or some high risk jobs that are inherently stressful, but those are not as common as you might assume.

It will take some time but lots of people have posted about being able to change their job to be less stressful or about being able to find similar jobs that had work environments that have less stress.
carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am Assuming this is an option for you, would you stop grinding it out before retirement and slowly coast/glide the last few working years in a low-stress, lower-pay environment?
Be very careful about assuming that a job is less stressful just because it pays less. A lot of times lower paid people have a lot less control over their jobs so end up with a lot more stress.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by Nowizard »

As always, individual circumstances dictate decision making. If you are financially stable and have assured yourself of that as much as is possible, then why grind? The question is not so much focused on the decreased income but on planning for what should be many years of retirement. I suspect you planned carefully for other major decisions such as your education, marriage or relationship with a significant other, children, health care, etc. This is a major decision with many ramifications. Though you may not have the option or desire, to have personally wound down before retiring by going from full employment to four days weekly, to three to retirement with a half-day of work for a couple of years beyond that was highly successful. It allowed time to plan and implement possible retirement activities, emotional separation from work, moving beyond those feelings at least some of us have in terms of a loss of purpose temporarily, etc. In short, it added development of the concept that retirement in the classical sense does not apply and better term personally was a shifting of priorities rather than retirement.

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JoeRetire
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by JoeRetire »

mnnice wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:35 am
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:32 am
carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc).
Coasting isn't going to change your need for glasses or a better diet.

If you haven't been attending to your health, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
Unless coasting means going from 60 hours to 25 hours per week.
As far as I can tell, your need for glasses and a good diet is the same with a 25 hour job as it is with a 60 hour job.
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JoeRetire
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by JoeRetire »

bwalling wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:13 am
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:32 am
carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc).
Coasting isn't going to change your need for glasses or a better diet.

If you haven't been attending to your health, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
I spend 60 hours / week in front of a screen. There are many alternate professions that don't involve near 100% screen time.
If working in front of a screen is your problem, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by Ependytis »

I always felt that if I had to work significantly more than 40 hours a week than I was either incompetent at my job or allowing myself to be taken advantage of. As others have said, a lot of stress is self-inflicted. I found that when I was working full-time and going to school part time I wasn’t as effective. Having a work life balance for me, made me the most productive. All the best.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by quantAndHold »

I worked in a field where people change jobs regularly. I had, if I'm counting correctly, 10 jobs during a 30 year career. So my working life was always really about the *next* job. Building the skills and resume for when I was interviewing again. About five years out, I got a high paying job that, when I did the math, I realized that this would probably be my last job. I still did the work, but I stopped focusing on my own career development, and threw my focus into developing other people's careers, which at that point in my career, I enjoyed a lot more.

The health stuff, though. Ya gotta deal with that, regardless of how hard you're working. If nothing else, you'll be more effective at work if you're healthy. I ended up leaving a year earlier than planned because the health stuff was affecting my ability to work. I had a couple of friends have major, career ending strokes in their early 50's, and I didn't want to become them. It was easier to focus on health and fitness when I wasn't working 40+ hours per week, but everything I did to improve my health could also have been done while I was still working. And the earlier you start getting your health together, the better it's gonna work.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by freckles01 »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:30 am
mnnice wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:35 am
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:32 am
carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc).
Coasting isn't going to change your need for glasses or a better diet.

If you haven't been attending to your health, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
Unless coasting means going from 60 hours to 25 hours per week.
As far as I can tell, your need for glasses and a good diet is the same with a 25 hour job as it is with a 60 hour job.
yes, but working 25 hours per week gives OP plenty of time to focus on improving their diet and to leisurely shop for their ideal eyeglass frame.

i'm 50 and recently went from 40 hours to 20 hours (2 days a week) and its been great! same hourly job but now half the time and can honestly say, i enjoy work more now at half time :D

i have time to leisurely cook, clean, exercise and just relax. i don't have to try to pack my off work life,chores,meal prep etc in between work days anymore.

if you're on track with retirement savings and can slow down, do it and enjoy YOUR life :beer
Last edited by freckles01 on Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by CloseEnough »

Some BHs seem to object to "coasting". I'll call it finding balance in life, no objections?

If you can do it, and also transition to a job where not only do you have more balance and less stress, why not? And, if you are also able in this transition to find more meaningful work, not just a grind even in balance mode, even better. I think it works for a lot of people who are able to do it, and, 10 years before retirement sounds good, works for me. One additional benefit is if you use the job with less income, and more balance, to cover your expenses, even if you are not moving the needle on your finances, just by delaying when you move to spend down, combined with additional time to grow your nest egg, can be huge. You can also use that time to focus more on living healthier lifestyle, and it does have something to do with finding balance, despite the counter views.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by JoeRetire »

freckles01 wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:50 am yes, but working 25 hours per week gives OP plenty of time to focus on improving their diet and to leisurely shop for their ideal eyeglass frame.
Sure. And working 0 hours gives you even more time to focus on improving your diet and shopping even more leisurely for your ideal eyeglass frame.

Seriously, if you can't work full-time yet still have a good diet and find time to shop for eyeglasses you are doing it wrong in a way that a few extra hours won't cure.

If you want to coast, then coast. But if you want to fix your diet and purchase eyeglass frames, just do it. The two have nothing to do with each other.

"I really need new eyeglasses, so I'll have to coast in my work." - said nobody ever.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by bwalling »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:31 am
bwalling wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:13 am
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:32 am
carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc).
Coasting isn't going to change your need for glasses or a better diet.

If you haven't been attending to your health, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
I spend 60 hours / week in front of a screen. There are many alternate professions that don't involve near 100% screen time.
If working in front of a screen is your problem, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
Your issue is with the word "coast"? I'm not sure of the point of the argument. I'm a software developer. If I change careers, which I intend to do, it will be to something with fewer hours and less stress, and less computer screen time. You can debate the word "coast", I suppose, but I consider it coasting. I'll have more free time and less stress (while also lower income).
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by backpacker61 »

I would try to at least get in 30-35 years of full time employment into your Social Security earnings history; so that you will get a better lifetime benefit when you file for it.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by tibbitts »

carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am Maybe starting to glide/coast now, and work a couple of years longer if things dont work out as planned, might be the better approach? Also, is 10 years too early to begin this?
It depends on your definition of "coasting." You say maybe changing roles with what sounds like much more limited responsibilities, but they then you say only possibly less pay? Honestly I don't think most organizations are accustomed to employees making changing like you're proposing, which isn't to say it's not possible, but are you open to completely changing employers and careers? When you say a less demanding role, are you talking about going from $300k/yr to $250k/yr, or to 50k/yr? Oddly you might find the $50k/yr role to not be less demanding in the ways that you seem to be concerned about in terms of affecting your health.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by slyfox1357 »

Agree with your premise...
Timing: Next 1-2 years

Suggestions:

Change Jobs: Specifically Corporate -> Government
Change Job Status: Full time to Part time (at some point in time?)
Change Expectations: Move up your target retirement date

Some feedback to comments in this thread:

1) I take no umbrage to the word 'coasting', we all know what you mean, it can be done and should be done, if at all possible.

2) I've been a 'grinder' for a long time but now have acclimated to a different pace. Though not easy, it can be done.

3) I fully agree with the implication that a high stress job is worlds different than a low stress job in how it can impact your health. YES, it can cause or exacerbate health issues! I have vast experience in both types of jobs... so this comment is not conceptual or lip service.

Best of luck!
Last edited by slyfox1357 on Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:38 am, edited 3 times in total.
shess
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by shess »

Watty wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:14 am
carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am I am hoping to retire around age 55, and after a largely stressful multi-decade career of non-stop grind, am still about 10 years away. Likely to hit my number either way, but wondering if doing a high-stress, high-pay job is worth it:
I am retired now but over my career one thing I saw over and over was that a LOT of work stress was self inflicted.

It would be good to take a hard look at your situation to see if you can improve the situation just by setting better boundaries at work and saying "no" when it is appropriate.

There are of course some companies cultures that at toxic or some high risk jobs that are inherently stressful, but those are not as common as you might assume.

It will take some time but lots of people have posted about being able to change their job to be less stressful or about being able to find similar jobs that had work environments that have less stress.
carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am Assuming this is an option for you, would you stop grinding it out before retirement and slowly coast/glide the last few working years in a low-stress, lower-pay environment?
Be very careful about assuming that a job is less stressful just because it pays less. A lot of times lower paid people have a lot less control over their jobs so end up with a lot more stress.
Thumbs up to this content. I retired early because I was burned out, in what was the career I had dreamed of since I was a kid. I never had the knack for career refactoring, but if I could have dialed things back 20% when I turned 40, I'd probably still be working at 80%.

Something to consider is that most of the damage from overdoing something comes at the END of the period of excess, not the beginning. There might be work you can do four hours a day indefinitely, six hours a day for a sprint, but eight hours a day of authentic work starts to eat your reserves in a way which is not replaceable. It's easy to get focussed on the notion that there's no point to doing anything if you can't make your entire job better, but often cutting just an hour of the stressful part out of a task makes a HUGE difference.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by MAKsdad »

If you're on call, working 60 hour weeks and regularly working weekends, I think you're fully within your rights to consider other jobs without saying you're "coasting". I am to the point (within 5 years of retirement - hopefully closer than that), that I would absolutely turn down promotions at my current employer because I know they would require an increase in workload. I don't necessarily consider that "coasting" either, but some might.

That said, this depends on personality type. I think (I know) there are people who can turn any job into a 60-hour a week crisis. I am just not one of those people. I know there are people who could be flipping burgers and worry all night long about whether they could do it better. I'm just not one of those people. When I walk out the door, I don't think about work until I'm back the next day (and I'm a corporate VP of a F500 company).
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by MiddleOfTheRoad »

My own journey:
My first job was easy. Did a full day of work in 2-3 hours and pretended to work for the rest of the day. Pay was good but I was restless and young so I left for a job that I worked 2x as hard for 2-3x of pay. Did that for a about 10 years then changed to a job that pays 80% of my max salary and working 1/2 as hard (at this point I am working as hard as my first job, for 2x the pay :twisted:, maybe inflation at work ). As I am cruising through my 40s, I can keep working full time easily into my 50s, but I will cut down 10-15% of work for every additional million my portfolio gains. It pays to work hard when you are young, then taper as you are able.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by 59Gibson »

Some here have an issue with the word "coasting" as if it means doing nothing. I believe in balance and a season for all things. For some doing the heavy lifting upfront makes the most sense..higher paying higher stress positions while younger and maxing out saving/investing to afford more options in 40s and 50s.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by Hebell »

In your 50s, if you are at the highest earning wages of your career, then I would recommend banging it out and taking advantage of that fact. Assuming you're not working so much that you neglect your health. Make sure you get some exercise and seek some type of family life balance.

But otherwise, you probably will never have the opportunity to have earned income at that level ever again. We live into our 90s now,. So the extra work you do in your 50s, may very well mean a lifestyle difference if you make it into your late 80s and 90s.

Don't discard those hours lightly.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by Ependytis »

From a purely an asset accumulation point of you, the last couple years can be the most significant. Therefore, I think people in this phase of their career should exercise due diligence so that they’re not a target of a layoff. With that said, most layoffs involve less than 10% of the workforce so if you’re a better than average and the decision makers agree with that the chances of you being targeted for a layoff are low. Just make sure that you’re better than average and others know it.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by rich126 »

Might depend on definitions of coast vs grind. I've never had interest in working more than 40 hrs but I like to be very productive in those 40 hrs. In some sense I'm dialing it back (temporarily) since I'm only working 27 hrs a week. I cut back because I was bored and had a long commute. I'm certainly not trying to coast while at work but at the same time, I try not to sweat stuff because I can see the finish line and have money saved where I know I won't starve. And I may be changing jobs shortly for my last 2 yr stretch.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by tyrion »

I had similar feelings around age 46 or 47. I planned to retire around age 55.

Rather than 'coasting', I decided to be more vocal about the kind of work I enjoyed and the kind of work I preferred not to do. So that's been rather successful - age 49 now and doing more interesting work and got rid of some of the work I disliked. IT individual contributor role in a Megacorp.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by CyclingDuo »

carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am Assuming this is an option for you, would you stop grinding it out before retirement and slowly coast/glide the last few working years in a low-stress, lower-pay environment? Or keep going full throttle up to the point you pull the plug?

I am hoping to retire around age 55, and after a largely stressful multi-decade career of non-stop grind, am still about 10 years away. Likely to hit my number either way, but wondering if doing a high-stress, high-pay job is worth it:
  • to add some buffer and maximize the savings over these remaining years
  • to get to the goal sooner, in case of a surprise down the line (Eg: layoff due to a bad economy, 2 years before the planned retirement date throws a wrench in the savings-and-exit plan)
The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc). Maybe starting to glide/coast now, and work a couple of years longer if things dont work out as planned, might be the better approach? Also, is 10 years too early to begin this?

Thoughts?
Two ways to look at it. The first way is talking about a type of FIRE called "COAST FIRE".

What is that?

COAST FIRE: Coast FIRE means you have enough in your retirement accounts that without any further contributions, it will grow into enough to cover your “traditional” retirement. With Coast FIRE, you only need to earn enough to cover your current expenses. i.e. if you were making $80k and saving 50% for retirement, now you only need to earn $40k to cover your expenses pre-traditional retirement.
https://www.financialsamurai.com/what-i ... 20expenses.

Coast FIRE is defined as having enough money invested at an early enough age that you no longer need to invest any more to achieve financial independence by age 65 (or whatever age you define as a retirement age).
https://fourpillarfreedom.com/what-is-coast-fire/

Sounds like in your post, you are not at your number yet, but will get there whether you remain in your current job, or if you change to a job that pays less. So it sounds like you are still contributing and accumulating, rather than having front loaded your investments so much that there is no need for you to make any additional contributions. In the latter scenario, you could "coast" by switching jobs to a lower paying job that covers your current expenses. In the former scenario, changing to a lower paying job would require you to both cover your current expenses as well as having enough from your salary to still be contributing into your retirement accounts so that you hit your number.

If you'll hit your number either way (remaining in your current job or switching to a lower paying job), and you are looking for less of a grind/stress situation, then it sounds like you have the option to make the decision either way.

If we are all managing our financial portfolio, our physical health portfolio, and our mental health portfolio - I would use all three as a guide to help you make decisions.

CyclingDuo
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by midareff »

FWIW, I retired 10 years ago @ 64 years of age. I had always been in stressful positions and worked long hours my entire working career. It was also no secret that my long term assistant was going to be promoted into my position when I left. The specialized knowledge requirements made it that way. I kept him pretty busy the last year getting experience in all the procedures and priorities I had handled personally through the years. It's fair to say he was busier my last year than I was and the last 4 months I had lots of earned leave to use before leaving so that resulted ion 2 to 3 days a week in office. Other than that it was a gung-ho grind for my entire 40+ year working career.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by JoeRetire »

bwalling wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 11:13 am
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:31 am
bwalling wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:13 am
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 5:32 am
carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc).
Coasting isn't going to change your need for glasses or a better diet.

If you haven't been attending to your health, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
I spend 60 hours / week in front of a screen. There are many alternate professions that don't involve near 100% screen time.
If working in front of a screen is your problem, fix that. It has nothing to do with coasting.
Your issue is with the word "coast"?
I don't care about the word at all. The OP wants to "slowly coast/glide the last few working years". Anyone can do that if they like.

I object to making that out as a requirement in order to have a better diet and to purchase glasses. Anyone can do those while working 60 hours per week if they choose to do so.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by surfstar »

quantAndHold wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:46 am The health stuff, though. Ya gotta deal with that, regardless of how hard you're working. If nothing else, you'll be more effective at work if you're healthy.
What? ___ that!

Stressful job leading to detrimental health. Be sure to work on your health so that you can do your job better. :oops:

I do assume that is how many BHs acquire their high salaries and NW - trading their time, physical and mental health, for money.
goodenyou wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:27 am For high achievers, coasting is demoralizing. The word coasting when it comes to work is pejorative.

In the words of a great rocker, "it's better to burn out than to fade away". I don't agree that burning out is a great plan, but it's best to leave on a high note.
Happy achieving mediocrity here.

We're all dead in the end - so do what makes you happy. If "achievement" is that, great. I'd have a hard time believing you, though, and would think you are simply pursuing societal "goals" and not your own.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by jarjarM »

m@ver1ck wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:32 am Ultimately, if you're the kind of person who's used to working hard, good luck trying to coast - that' s just not who you are.
+1 on this, DW is retiring soon (<3 months) but still working very hard even though she could've coast off to retirement right now. I'm perfectly fine with coasting unless being call upon for action
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by goodenyou »

surfstar wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:15 pm
quantAndHold wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 10:46 am The health stuff, though. Ya gotta deal with that, regardless of how hard you're working. If nothing else, you'll be more effective at work if you're healthy.
What? ___ that!

Stressful job leading to detrimental health. Be sure to work on your health so that you can do your job better. :oops:

I do assume that is how many BHs acquire their high salaries and NW - trading their time, physical and mental health, for money.
goodenyou wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:27 am For high achievers, coasting is demoralizing. The word coasting when it comes to work is pejorative.

In the words of a great rocker, "it's better to burn out than to fade away". I don't agree that burning out is a great plan, but it's best to leave on a high note.
Happy achieving mediocrity here.

We're all dead in the end - so do what makes you happy. If "achievement" is that, great. I'd have a hard time believing you, though, and would think you are simply pursuing societal "goals" and not your own.
If mediocrity makes you happy, and you are self-employed, or your employer is happy with your mediocrity, then it's a great fit. I have to be great at what I do. People will have serious problems or die if I am not.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by radiowave »

I cross the finish line next month at full retirement age after a 40+ year career in healthcare. I'm satisfied I waited as it allowed me to achieve some professional goals these past few years. I did not have the option to coast as we have clear annual performance criteria so I"m working hard right up to my last day :)

Just a note about FIRE. Yeah I thought about retiring early several years ago and went through two rough bouts of burnout. However, waiting until FRA was not only professional satisfying, but put my DW and I in a much better position financially, e.g able to pay off mortgage, increase SS PIA, save more for transition to retirement, etc. than would be possible just a few years ago. I can imagine the added stress retiring in your 50s wondering if you'll have enough to live another 40-50 years? Just something to think about for the FIRE posters here.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by mmmodem »

I have a Lean FIRE number as well as a full retirement number. I reached my Lean FIRE number a couple years ago. This number will only cover basic food and shelter for the rest of my life and no luxuries. This is not the way I want to retire so I continue to work. So, I started coasting. I no longer raise my hand to take on responsibilities at work. I still like to work so I go above and beyond but I no longer take BS from people. My tolerance for incompetence is now zero. I now have a deeper understanding of middle aged workers that were so destructive, sarcastic, and mean when I was early career. It makes a lot of sense now. I refuse to be like them but I understand their POV now.

I volunteered to be laid off last summer when the company announced layoffs and pay cuts. I was denied. I quit anyway. And oddly, found a remote work from home job for more money. :confused
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by surfstar »

radiowave wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 1:41 pm I can imagine the added stress retiring in your 50s wondering if you'll have enough to live another 40-50 years? Just something to think about for the FIRE posters here.
50s? stress? ha - we'd be too well-off if we wait until then.

By 50 (me) / 52 (DW) - we'll have more than enough. Our FIRE dilemma is whether we can and want to leanFIRE at 45-47ish? Ideally I'd like to negotiate Mondays off (we already have every other Friday) - one 3 day workweek and one 4 day workweek. That I might be able to manage from 45-50 without burning out. "coasting"
BUT we might be sick enough of work to simply quit and live a few lean years - no international travel, just lots of camping and backpacking trips, and renting out our place. 5 years of that vs working... makes us think.
We're limited by our time off currently, so we can't do all the cheap trips we'd like to. For us the time is worth much more than the money.
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Re: How close to retirement age would you start to coast instead of grinding it out?

Post by Monsterflockster »

carloslando wrote: Wed Apr 14, 2021 12:09 am Assuming this is an option for you, would you stop grinding it out before retirement and slowly coast/glide the last few working years in a low-stress, lower-pay environment? Or keep going full throttle up to the point you pull the plug?

I am hoping to retire around age 55, and after a largely stressful multi-decade career of non-stop grind, am still about 10 years away. Likely to hit my number either way, but wondering if doing a high-stress, high-pay job is worth it:
  • to add some buffer and maximize the savings over these remaining years
  • to get to the goal sooner, in case of a surprise down the line (Eg: layoff due to a bad economy, 2 years before the planned retirement date throws a wrench in the savings-and-exit plan)
The counter though is, I worry about health issues: starting to see some early signals of age and stressful life (needing glasses, pre-diabetic symptoms etc). Maybe starting to glide/coast now, and work a couple of years longer if things dont work out as planned, might be the better approach? Also, is 10 years too early to begin this?

Thoughts?
Unpopular opinion: if you have kids you’ve probably been coasting at work a long time. Or a horrible parent.
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