Can I semi-retire now?

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fnmix
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by fnmix » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:01 am

The quotes below from EnjoyIt, EddyB, HEDGEFUNDIE and mnice capture where we are as a family nicely.

In my current job, I have asked myself "if I wasn't getting paid to be in this meeting or working on that project, would I be here?" The answer is often (but not always) no. With kids being old enough to go to school, I am now approaching the point where I can do something about the parts of paid work I don't like.

My wife and I are willing to trade less (income) money for more control over our time. We are also willing to barter how much time we spend with the kids: a little less for my wife when she starts working (the kids will be in school during the same hours as her work, but overall she will have a bit less time for the kids) and a little more for me (as I will be more available I will do more school pickups and drop-offs, drive on field trips etc).
EnjoyIt wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:30 am
Personally I think there is so much more to life than just toiling away for more and more money that we will never need.
EddyB wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:58 pm
I don’t think the OP has said he won’t contribute more in other ways if he reduces his paid labor.
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:52 pm
This is the kind of fear-based thinking that gives Bogleheads a bad name. In the real world, no one structures his/her life around worst-case scenarios. They're too busy living and enjoying life for that.
mnnice wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:35 pm
Also having time to yourself and time as a couple are also important.
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:10 pm
Is it really a surprise that healthy, able-bodied, smart young men might actually want to use their health, intelligence, and youth to do something more satisfying than sitting in an office all day chasing someone else's vision?

TravelGeek
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:03 am

SoonerD wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:45 pm
What is a surprise, to me, is that the modern man, is willing to quite because of stress and send his wife to the office in his place! In my world that's inexcusable - I'd say more but don't want to be flagged as unkind.
Let me re-quote the plan from the OP:

“I semi-retire and become a consultant in the fall. Wife gets on a path to returning as a full-time public school teacher.”

The way I read it, the OP’s wife has been a stay-at-home mom for a number of years. The OP isn’t planning to send her “to the office in his place” to live a life of leisure. It is a role and career shift/switch for both of them. Assuming both partners are in agreement, what’s wrong with that? It allows dad to spend more time with the kids and the mom to re-focus on her teaching career (and improve her and the family’s financial security by building up her pension).

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cowdogman
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:24 am

Interesting thread.

The fact pattern seems to be a Rorschach test for the posters--bringing out the FIRE vs. the save-invest-never-spend Bogleheads. I'm more the latter.

I'm going to stick with my original position (above) of not giving advice, but I have been thinking about the OP a lot over the last couple days, and I keep picturing situations over the next 15 years:

Dad, can I go on the class trip to Washington DC ($2,500)? No.
Dad, can I get a new iPhone ($800+)? No.
Dad, I need to have my wisdom teeth removed and insurance will only cover half. How are we going to afford that?
Dad, can I have $400 for the prom? No.
Dad, can I have $2,000 to play in the soccer league? No.
Dad, I need orthodontia (2 courses at $4,000 each). Lots of people have crooked teeth.
Husband, we need a new roof/furnace/washer-dryer. How are we going to afford that?
Husband, our 10 year-old car needs to be replaced. No.
Dad, can I take music lessons ($400-500/month)? No.
Husband, maybe you should go back to work. I've been out of the workforce for awhile, everybody I knew has moved on, it's hard to get a well-paying job in your 50s (especially since I've been a stay at home dad).

Even if somehow the money lasts, it will be a stressful, deprived existence, especially for the kids who will be growing up in the bay area with upper middle class and wealthy classmates. I'm guessing there will be resentment.

If the OP's savings were $5M and his family lived in a more moderate COL area, what the OP is suggesting wouldn't raise many comments, but I think most of the posters on this thread agree that the cash is going to be tight, which is why I keep thinking of the above scenarios.

Will it be worth it? Maybe, the OP knows his situation better than I do.

One fact that the OP hasn't given (I think): Is he walking away from a $20,000/year job or a $200,000/year job.

skp
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by skp » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:35 am

Interesting thread.

The fact pattern seems to be a Rorschach test for the posters--bringing out the FIRE vs. the save-invest-never-spend Bogleheads. I'm more the latter.

I'm going to stick with my original position (above) of not giving advice, but I have been thinking about the OP a lot over the last couple days, and I keep picturing situations over the next 15 years:

Dad, can I go on the class trip to Washington DC ($2,500)? No.
Dad, can I get a new iPhone ($800+)? No.
Dad, I need to have my wisdom teeth removed and insurance will only cover half. How are we going to afford that?
Dad, can I have $400 for the prom? No.
Dad, can I have $2,000 to play in the soccer league? No.
Husband, we need a new roof/furnace/washer-dryer. How are we going to afford that?
Husband, our 10 year-old car needs to be replaced. No.
Dad, can I take music lessons ($400-500/month)? No.
Husband, maybe you should go back to work. I've been out of the workforce for awhile, everybody I knew has moved on, it's hard to get a well-paying job in your 50s (especially since I've been a stay at home dad).

Even if somehow the money lasts, it will be a stressful, deprived existence, especially for the kids who will be growing up in the bay area with upper middle class and wealthy classmates. I'm guessing there will be resentment.

If the OP's savings were $5M and his family lived in a more moderate COL area, what the OP is suggesting wouldn't raise many comments, but I think most of the posters on this thread agree that the cash is going to be tight, which is why I keep thinking of the above scenarios.

Will it be worth it? Maybe, the OP knows his situation better than I do.


I just wanted to add to my comment that while emotionally my similar arrangement was a problem, financially it wasn't. With similar assets and similar spousal income (nurse not teacher) we had no issues buying new cars, going on class trips, braces, soccer leagues, music lessons. We added a screened in porch, replaced our windows, and re reroofed our house. I contributed to my IRA and 403 B to the match. My kids wouldn't have gotten an I phone not because I couldn't have afforded it, but because I am basically am frugal and wouldn't have anyway. . Maybe it was being on the same page financially that got us through it.

[/quote]

EnjoyIt
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EnjoyIt » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:38 am

cowdogman wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:24 am
Interesting thread.

The fact pattern seems to be a Rorschach test for the posters--bringing out the FIRE vs. the save-invest-never-spend Bogleheads. I'm more the latter.

I'm going to stick with my original position (above) of not giving advice, but I have been thinking about the OP a lot over the last couple days, and I keep picturing situations over the next 15 years:

Dad, can I go on the class trip to Washington DC ($2,500)? No.
Dad, can I get a new iPhone ($800+)? No.
Dad, I need to have my wisdom teeth removed and insurance will only cover half. How are we going to afford that?
Dad, can I have $400 for the prom? No.
Dad, can I have $2,000 to play in the soccer league? No.
Dad, I need orthodontia (2 courses at $4,000 each). Lots of people have crooked teeth.
Husband, we need a new roof/furnace/washer-dryer. How are we going to afford that?
Husband, our 10 year-old car needs to be replaced. No.
Dad, can I take music lessons ($400-500/month)? No.
Husband, maybe you should go back to work. I've been out of the workforce for awhile, everybody I knew has moved on, it's hard to get a well-paying job in your 50s (especially since I've been a stay at home dad).

Even if somehow the money lasts, it will be a stressful, deprived existence, especially for the kids who will be growing up in the bay area with upper middle class and wealthy classmates. I'm guessing there will be resentment.

If the OP's savings were $5M and his family lived in a more moderate COL area, what the OP is suggesting wouldn't raise many comments, but I think most of the posters on this thread agree that the cash is going to be tight, which is why I keep thinking of the above scenarios.

Will it be worth it? Maybe, the OP knows his situation better than I do.

One fact that the OP hasn't given (I think): Is he walking away from a $20,000/year job or a $200,000/year job.
Are you missing the $1.5 million and the both of them still making an income allowing assets to grow?

You do realize most people in the US retire without $5 million right? How can they possibly survive?

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cowdogman
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:24 am

Are you missing the $1.5 million and the both of them still making an income allowing assets to grow?

You do realize most people in the US retire without $5 million right? How can they possibly survive?
Like I said, FIRE vs. save-invest-repeat Rorschach test.

The factors I'm looking at:

30-50 year remaining life span
Bay area (we live in Seattle and so have a comparable cost of living)
Young kids (lots of expenses ahead, especially if the kids have academic, sports, music/arts talent)
Assuming the wife doesn't want to work forever, they will want enuf of the $1.5M plus earning left to last thru her retirement years
I think Social Security will be around in its current form for a long time, but for planning purposes in my 40s I would never assume it would be

Because of those things the OP will likely be very conservative in spending. I would be. Hence the scenarios.

I agree that the vast majority of people don't have $5M or even $1.5M, but the vast majority of people aren't talking about leaving the full-time workforce at 47 with young kids at home and possibly having 50 years ahead of them.

To be honest I never got the FIRE thing. Why would somebody want to stop working at a relatively young age? Both boring and stressful. That's where I'm coming from. I acknowledge that other people have different views.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:25 am

cowdogman wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:24 am
[Why would somebody want to stop working at a relatively young age?
Because it's work, that's why.

EddyB
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EddyB » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:35 am

HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:25 am
cowdogman wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:24 am
[Why would somebody want to stop working at a relatively young age?
Because it's work, that's why.
Much like the judicial system rejects potential jurors who have made up their minds before hearing the facts, I’m comfortable dismissing the views of those who come to the “FIRE question” with a “no, never” attitude. So I appreciate when they self-identify.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:54 pm

Much like the judicial system rejects potential jurors who have made up their minds before hearing the facts, I’m comfortable dismissing the views of those who come to the “FIRE question” with a “no, never” attitude. So I appreciate when they self-identify.
You're welcome.

I mentioned FIRE as a comparable situation, but the OP is not suggesting FIRE--he's suggesting he retire early--RE without the FI.

And for the n-th time, I'm not suggesting he not do it. I don't know his personal situation--he says he has good reasons. I am suggesting he is cutting it very close/making a risky move given his kids' ages.

Being optimistic a full-time teacher in the Bay Area will make $60,000/year and let's say the OP will make $10,000/year consulting--before payroll taxes, before federal tax, before state tax (California), before any health insurance contribution the wife needs to make, before real property tax ($13,000 pa I think the OP said). So optimistically, let's say $50,000/year net.

Last year HUD defined “Low Income Limits” in the San Francisco area as $117,400 for a family of four.

There is no way a family of four can live [EDIT: a middle-class lifestyle (however you want to define that)] in the Bay Area on $50,000/year without tapping savings. (And yes, I know how annoying those NYT articles are about how $500,000/year is not enuf to live on in NYC.) Even increase it to $70,000/year, and the OP will still be hitting savings regularly. That's what made me think of the scenarios I listed above.

For those of you saying "do it," I think you're reckless.

Edit: Again, it would be helpful to know how much annual income he is leaving behind. If it's $20K/year, it could be a wash with his consulting income.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by TravelGeek » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:01 pm

cowdogman wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:54 pm
Much like the judicial system rejects potential jurors who have made up their minds before hearing the facts, I’m comfortable dismissing the views of those who come to the “FIRE question” with a “no, never” attitude. So I appreciate when they self-identify.
You're welcome.

I mentioned FIRE as a comparable situation, but the OP is not suggesting FIRE--he's suggesting he retire early--RE without the FI.
Actually, no.

The thread's title is "Can I semi-retire now?"

The summary of the OP's plan is:
fnmix wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:47 pm
Summary of our plan:
  • I semi-retire and become a consultant in the fall. Wife gets on a path to returning as a full-time public school teacher. We do this for ~13 years when both kids are out of the house and in college or in a trade school. At this point we would consider fully retiring (but not before).
(I bolded some parts)

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cowdogman
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:40 pm

Sorry, semi-retire. And I did acknowledge the OP's possible post-semi-retirement consulting in my post. He mentioned earlier about having done some consulting before--paying around $14K in the aggregate over three years. Maybe he is anticipating increasing the revenue substantially, in which case my concerns might be addressed. I assumed $10K/year for his consulting fees in my post above, which would not make much of a difference.

"Retirement" vs. "semi-retirement": My points above remain the same.

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fnmix
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by fnmix » Sun Apr 14, 2019 3:45 pm

skp - thank you for sharing how the world looked from your point-of-view on the other side of a similar decision. It was very valuable.
renue74 - thank you for the question.

Following your notes I had a conversation with my wife about her feelings regarding our current plan. As per my wife:
  • She is going to go back to teaching at some point, even if we had the resources to fully retire (which would be the case if we moved to the MCOL Sierra Foothills where she has friends and family)
  • What worries her is the first year of going back to teaching - when she is going to have learn balancing teaching with making time for kids. This is going to be a "transition" pain that she thinks she will have to go through no matter when she goes back to teaching.
  • She also thinks that in the first year the younger child's kindergarten we will need to be more attentive to the younger child. I.e. it will be challenging for both of us to have full-time jobs. If she ends-up with a part-time role for the first year or if she gets a full-time job and I transition to consulting and am more available, things will actually be better for the younger child.
renue74 wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:52 am
• Make sure your wife is OK with the whole plan. I sorta kinda told my wife I wanted to switch careers...maybe manage our rentals and do 1 flip house per year. I've worked in an office for 20+ years...but am very, very handy and can do anything. But she doesn't like the idea of me not having an office for some reason.
skp wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:59 am
From the wife in this situations potential POV. I was the wife who worked full time while my husband semi retired. I really liked my job. He hated his. We had a nice retirement portfolio and paid up college fund. I had the opportunity to be part time when they were younger. Now it was his turn. We could easily live on my income alone. It all looked good on paper. He did all the cooking, he was there for the kids, he brought in some income on occasion- he freelanced- when it was good it was a huge amount but it was so erratic, I learned not to count on it. So he did contribute in other ways. I still resented him at times. I liked to work. But I still felt like I had to be the responsible one. I had to work. He could do what he wanted. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say it put a strain on our marriage. Just a warning. We survived it. The kids are grown. I still work (part time now for health care. ) and he doesn't. We made it through. But it was tough at times.

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fnmix
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by fnmix » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:24 pm

TravelGeek wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:03 am
Let me re-quote the plan from the OP:

“I semi-retire and become a consultant in the fall. Wife gets on a path to returning as a full-time public school teacher.”

The way I read it, the OP’s wife has been a stay-at-home mom for a number of years. The OP isn’t planning to send her “to the office in his place” to live a life of leisure. It is a role and career shift/switch for both of them. Assuming both partners are in agreement, what’s wrong with that? It allows dad to spend more time with the kids and the mom to re-focus on her teaching career (and improve her and the family’s financial security by building up her pension).

Hi TravelGeek - Your intuition is right. My wife has been a stay-at-home Mom for 8+ years. One our first child was born, we jointly made a decision that one of the two of us would stay at home with the kid(s) till the kid(s) were in school.
cowdogman wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:54 pm
Being optimistic a full-time teacher in the Bay Area will make $60,000/year and let's say the OP will make $10,000/year consulting--before payroll taxes, before federal tax, before state tax (California), before any health insurance contribution the wife needs to make, before real property tax ($13,000 pa I think the OP said). So optimistically, let's say $50,000/year net.
Hello cowdogman -

I believe that public school teacher pay scales in the Bay Area (because of much hiring housing costs) are higher than other regions.

One 80% (of full-time) teaching job that my wife applied to will pay $68K/yr at her level of experience but will provide health insurance for our family of four at zero cost. A full-time role will obviously pay more. Other school districts in the area pay higher - at least one will pay ~$100K for a full-time role at my wife's experience level (but may have less generous health insurance).

From my original post
In the fall, I want to semi-retire and work as a consultant to make up any shortfall (relative to expenses) from my wife’s income (in case her employment is less than full-time or in a school district that does not pay well).
I am committed to making up any short-fall relative to expenses via consulting (if/when I make the leap). While working full-time, I have been able to do upto $8K/yr (as a side gig in the same subject area). I didn't do more largely because of lack of time (given the full-time job). With more time I believe that I will be able to make more (if required).
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 11:35 pm
I salute you for being one of the silent majority in the Bay Area not working in tech and making mid-six figures.
Thank you HEDGEFUNDIE. Your intuition is right - that I make six figures in my current job. I skipped mentioning current income from my original post as I wanted to focus on the annual expenses and the income needed to best the expenses (while using the accumulated assets as a safe net).

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cowdogman
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:29 pm

From the wife in this situations potential POV. I was the wife who worked full time while my husband semi retired. I really liked my job. He hated his. We had a nice retirement portfolio and paid up college fund. I had the opportunity to be part time when they were younger. Now it was his turn. We could easily live on my income alone. It all looked good on paper. He did all the cooking, he was there for the kids, he brought in some income on occasion- he freelanced- when it was good it was a huge amount but it was so erratic, I learned not to count on it. So he did contribute in other ways. I still resented him at times. I liked to work. But I still felt like I had to be the responsible one. I had to work. He could do what he wanted. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say it put a strain on our marriage. Just a warning. We survived it. The kids are grown. I still work (part time now for health care. ) and he doesn't. We made it through. But it was tough at times.
Well put.

I'm semi-retired at 59, tho I usually just tell people I'm retired to avoid a discussion about what the "semi-" means. I worked for 30+ years while my wife worked part-time some of the time. Now she works full time (and she loves it)--and we pretty much live on what she makes (which I love). We don't have money issues and she doesn't really need to work. But even so some mornings she'll say to me "so, what are you going to do all day?" And when I pick up my youngest son at school he sometimes gives me a quizzical look and asks "what did you do today?' or my favorite "did you do any work today?" It's difficult to move away from traditional gender roles--even at 59 years old. I definitely didn't question my wife staying at home with our kids--it made everything easier. Thanks for sharing that.
Last edited by cowdogman on Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mnnice
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by mnnice » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:07 pm

skp wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:35 am
Interesting thread.

The fact pattern seems to be a Rorschach test for the posters--bringing out the FIRE vs. the save-invest-never-spend Bogleheads. I'm more the latter.

I'm going to stick with my original position (above) of not giving advice, but I have been thinking about the OP a lot over the last couple days, and I keep picturing situations over the next 15 years:

Dad, can I go on the class trip to Washington DC ($2,500)? No.
Dad, can I get a new iPhone ($800+)? No.
Dad, I need to have my wisdom teeth removed and insurance will only cover half. How are we going to afford that?
Dad, can I have $400 for the prom? No.
Dad, can I have $2,000 to play in the soccer league? No.
Husband, we need a new roof/furnace/washer-dryer. How are we going to afford that?
Husband, our 10 year-old car needs to be replaced. No.
Dad, can I take music lessons ($400-500/month)? No.
Husband, maybe you should go back to work. I've been out of the workforce for awhile, everybody I knew has moved on, it's hard to get a well-paying job in your 50s (especially since I've been a stay at home dad).

Even if somehow the money lasts, it will be a stressful, deprived existence, especially for the kids who will be growing up in the bay area with upper middle class and wealthy classmates. I'm guessing there will be resentment.

If the OP's savings were $5M and his family lived in a more moderate COL area, what the OP is suggesting wouldn't raise many comments, but I think most of the posters on this thread agree that the cash is going to be tight, which is why I keep thinking of the above scenarios.

Will it be worth it? Maybe, the OP knows his situation better than I do.


I just wanted to add to my comment that while emotionally my similar arrangement was a problem, financially it wasn't. With similar assets and similar spousal income (nurse not teacher) we had no issues buying new cars, going on class trips, braces, soccer leagues, music lessons. We added a screened in porch, replaced our windows, and re reroofed our house. I contributed to my IRA and 403 B to the match. My kids wouldn't have gotten an I phone not because I couldn't have afforded it, but because I am basically am frugal and wouldn't have anyway. . Maybe it was being on the same page financially that got us through it.
[/quote]

DH and I both semi retired about 5 years ago at 45. We have been through most of the scenarios too (no braces or wisdom tooth extractions yet). We have had foreign travel, replaced an aging vehicle (with a late model heavy duty truck), new furnace, half a dozen IPhones. My frugality break point would be breached at $400 for prom. No child of mine would suggest such a thing. Total prom expenditures were $145 ($70 from me, $60 DS, and DS’s girlfriends mom $15 for reasons I never figured out.)

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:16 pm

fnmix wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:24 pm

I am committed to making up any short-fall relative to expenses via consulting (if/when I make the leap). While working full-time, I have been able to do upto $8K/yr (as a side gig in the same subject area). I didn't do more largely because of lack of time (given the full-time job). With more time I believe that I will be able to make more (if required).
That's great. Good luck. I didn't intend to be harsh, but was surprised by the enthusiastic "do it" messages on what I thought was a very close, possibly hard to reverse decision.

Also, I thought about quitting all the time when I was working, but I'm glad I didn't (until I did). When I finally did pull the pin after 9 years of schooling and 30+ years of working, there were no regrets/second guesses.

And very happy to hear about the teacher salaries--they deserve it.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by tampaite » Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:42 pm

fnmix wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:47 pm

[*]Savings: $1.8M (including $280K in two 529s; $650K in taxable), invested 60% stocks, 40% bonds + cash

[*]Live in a paid-off house; no debt [EDIT: value of house not included in Savings above]

[*]Current yearly expenses: $55K (excludes $13K property taxes, health insurance premiums, federal and state taxes)
IMO, yes. You both have saved enough and have made plans for future.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EddyB » Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:28 pm

skp wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:59 am
EddyB wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:58 pm
SoonerD wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:45 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:10 pm
SoonerD wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:34 pm
There is a trend taking place whereby:
1) healthy, able bodied, smart young men decide to stop working or semi-work while sending their wives to work full time.
Is it really a surprise that healthy, able-bodied, smart young men might actually want to use their health, intelligence, and youth to do something more satisfying than sitting in an office all day?
Most don't sit in an office all day (I think). That's a rarer work environment than BHs probably realize.

But I agree it's not a surprise.

What is a surprise, to me, is that the modern man, is willing to quite because of stress and send his wife to the office in his place! In my world that's inexcusable - I'd say more but don't want to be flagged as unkind. I realize work is stressful; the young men doing multiple tours in warzones show us the effects of stress that is both real and extreme. I don't wish this on anyone.

As a man, I can't fathom putting my family (young children) in a risky financial situation when I have the means to provide so well (as the OP) for them. Young families face innumerable challenges to launching productive, independent adults. What happens if the wife gets M.S. and can't work while needing extremely expensive care (medicine, etc.). What happens if a child has a bike accident and suffers a brain injury with the requisite expensive care, treatment and perhaps lifetime trust for financial security. Giving up earnings at this stage of the family's development is unconscionable - to me.

But I understand the OP will do whatever he intends, probably regardless of any comments in this thread. People generally don't want advise, even when they ask for it, they just want confirmation of their plan.
Are you expressing that you’re troubled by one spouse being expected to “do all the work” (which generally includes, for a family with kids, both paid and unpaid work)? Or is it purely about paid labor? I don’t think the OP has said he won’t contribute more in other ways if he reduces his paid labor. I’m trying to understand the comment, but in my reading, it comes across as very sexist, and I don’t want to wrongly attribute that view to you.
From the wife in this situations potential POV. I was the wife who worked full time while my husband semi retired. I really liked my job. He hated his. We had a nice retirement portfolio and paid up college fund. I had the opportunity to be part time when they were younger. Now it was his turn. We could easily live on my income alone. It all looked good on paper. He did all the cooking, he was there for the kids, he brought in some income on occasion- he freelanced- when it was good it was a huge amount but it was so erratic, I learned not to count on it. So he did contribute in other ways. I still resented him at times. I liked to work. But I still felt like I had to be the responsible one. I had to work. He could do what he wanted. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say it put a strain on our marriage. Just a warning. We survived it. The kids are grown. I still work (part time now for health care. ) and he doesn't. We made it through. But it was tough at times.
I’m curious, did gender or your expectations for gender roles play a significant part in your feelings about the situation?

skp
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by skp » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:02 am

EddyB wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 11:28 pm
skp wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:59 am
EddyB wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:58 pm
SoonerD wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:45 pm
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:10 pm


Is it really a surprise that healthy, able-bodied, smart young men might actually want to use their health, intelligence, and youth to do something more satisfying than sitting in an office all day?
Most don't sit in an office all day (I think). That's a rarer work environment than BHs probably realize.

But I agree it's not a surprise.

What is a surprise, to me, is that the modern man, is willing to quite because of stress and send his wife to the office in his place! In my world that's inexcusable - I'd say more but don't want to be flagged as unkind. I realize work is stressful; the young men doing multiple tours in warzones show us the effects of stress that is both real and extreme. I don't wish this on anyone.

As a man, I can't fathom putting my family (young children) in a risky financial situation when I have the means to provide so well (as the OP) for them. Young families face innumerable challenges to launching productive, independent adults. What happens if the wife gets M.S. and can't work while needing extremely expensive care (medicine, etc.). What happens if a child has a bike accident and suffers a brain injury with the requisite expensive care, treatment and perhaps lifetime trust for financial security. Giving up earnings at this stage of the family's development is unconscionable - to me.

But I understand the OP will do whatever he intends, probably regardless of any comments in this thread. People generally don't want advise, even when they ask for it, they just want confirmation of their plan.
Are you expressing that you’re troubled by one spouse being expected to “do all the work” (which generally includes, for a family with kids, both paid and unpaid work)? Or is it purely about paid labor? I don’t think the OP has said he won’t contribute more in other ways if he reduces his paid labor. I’m trying to understand the comment, but in my reading, it comes across as very sexist, and I don’t want to wrongly attribute that view to you.
From the wife in this situations potential POV. I was the wife who worked full time while my husband semi retired. I really liked my job. He hated his. We had a nice retirement portfolio and paid up college fund. I had the opportunity to be part time when they were younger. Now it was his turn. We could easily live on my income alone. It all looked good on paper. He did all the cooking, he was there for the kids, he brought in some income on occasion- he freelanced- when it was good it was a huge amount but it was so erratic, I learned not to count on it. So he did contribute in other ways. I still resented him at times. I liked to work. But I still felt like I had to be the responsible one. I had to work. He could do what he wanted. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't say it put a strain on our marriage. Just a warning. We survived it. The kids are grown. I still work (part time now for health care. ) and he doesn't. We made it through. But it was tough at times.
I’m curious, did gender or your expectations for gender roles play a significant part in your feelings about the situation?
I don't think so. Maybe subconsiously? But, I get irritated at women who don't want to work. My neighbor is a born again Christian who doesn't think women should have to work. Her husband wanted her to go to work and she wouldn't after all her kids were in middle school. I think she could at least work part time. I had a coworker who was a carpenters wife. Her kids were in high school and she still worked part time, bitching how poor they were every time he got laid off. Would she consider picking up an extra shift or 2. No way!. Another coworker's husband lost his job and was irritated that she had to go full time. She lived in a HCOL part of here and belonged to a country club. So maybe I just think everyone should work to pay the bills. My husbands consulting was very very erratic. I'm talking years without a project.
I got more irritated with him when money was tighter. There were a few times we had to take money out of savings (for large purchases like cars and stuff).
Adding... I think now days, people look askew at childless women not working. At least I do. Besides, does it really matter that you think someone's feelings are "wrong" The "why" of someone's feelings don't matter. Their feelings are their feelings. I was just making the OP know that there could be some resentment. I verbally told my husband that I didn't have a problem with him doing consulting. But I did....at times.

chipperd
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by chipperd » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:04 am

As one who has three older teens, including one in first year of college, one a high school senior and one a high school sophomore, I would like to offer a perspective on the OP's situation from the view point of the cost of children. We live in a fairly HCOL area on the east coast, with the youngest having and continues to play on one of those expensive soccer teams mentioned by another poster, (don't forget the travel expenses) piano lessons, tennis club memberships and lessons, basketball teams (did I mention travel expenses?) teeth extractions (total of 12 teeth!), braces for one (5k cost total btw), prom, tutoring for ACT/SAT, college planner expenses and finally actual college expenses. All those items/activities for us were cost less in today's dollars than mentioned in a prior post. Here is the kicker that I didn't expect that I have shared in a prior post about cutting back on work to save on college expenses (yup, they charge you based in large part on your income). College costs less if you work less, to a point, with CSS profile schools (think elite to almost elite private colleges and universities for the most part) . So much so that I cut back on one day of work per week as I would have netted $80 for that fifth day of work, with the school taking the rest on that fifth day. Basically, I have to pay $80 dollars a week to get Friday off; a deal I took in a heartbeat. With proper planning (ie: at least two years out), when you have a fairly good sense if you kid will be apply to a CSS profile school, that is the last moment to work less to get a better deal on college costs. OP, feel free to PM me for details, but the bottom line, kids don't cost as much as most people think for all those activities, but really consider income levels relative to college costs when your oldest is a freshman in h.s. This is assuming all those hidden college cost formulas stay relatively the same and rules don't change. I say follow through on your plan. Best of luck

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fnmix
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by fnmix » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:24 pm

Thank you all who have participated in this thread. Its been instructive.
chipperd wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:04 am
As one who has three older teens, including one in first year of college, one a high school senior and one a high school sophomore, I would like to offer a perspective on the OP's situation from the view point of the cost of children. We live in a fairly HCOL area on the east coast, with the youngest having and continues to play on one of those expensive soccer teams mentioned by another poster, (don't forget the travel expenses) piano lessons, tennis club memberships and lessons, basketball teams (did I mention travel expenses?) teeth extractions (total of 12 teeth!), braces for one (5k cost total btw), prom, tutoring for ACT/SAT, college planner expenses and finally actual college expenses. All those items/activities for us were cost less in today's dollars than mentioned in a prior post. Here is the kicker that I didn't expect that I have shared in a prior post about cutting back on work to save on college expenses (yup, they charge you based in large part on your income). College costs less if you work less, to a point, with CSS profile schools (think elite to almost elite private colleges and universities for the most part) . So much so that I cut back on one day of work per week as I would have netted $80 for that fifth day of work, with the school taking the rest on that fifth day. Basically, I have to pay $80 dollars a week to get Friday off; a deal I took in a heartbeat. With proper planning (ie: at least two years out), when you have a fairly good sense if you kid will be apply to a CSS profile school, that is the last moment to work less to get a better deal on college costs. OP, feel free to PM me for details, but the bottom line, kids don't cost as much as most people think for all those activities, but really consider income levels relative to college costs when your oldest is a freshman in h.s. This is assuming all those hidden college cost formulas stay relatively the same and rules don't change. I say follow through on your plan. Best of luck
chipperd - I appreciate you sharing your experience. It reiterates a key question, the answer to which I have to get comfortable with: beyond ensuring (some level of) the kids' education, how much more am I comfortable risking?
skp wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:02 am
I was just making the OP know that there could be some resentment. I verbally told my husband that I didn't have a problem with him doing consulting. But I did....at times.
Thank you again skp.

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cowdogman
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:52 pm

chipperd wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:04 am
College costs less if you work less, to a point, with CSS profile schools (think elite to almost elite private colleges and universities for the most part) . So much so that I cut back on one day of work per week as I would have netted $80 for that fifth day of work, with the school taking the rest on that fifth day. Basically, I have to pay $80 dollars a week to get Friday off; a deal I took in a heartbeat. With proper planning (ie: at least two years out), when you have a fairly good sense if you kid will be apply to a CSS profile school, that is the last moment to work less to get a better deal on college costs.
Hi:

I think what you're saying is that you lower your income in order to increase the award of need-based financial aid for your children. It's not that college is cheaper after you lower your income, it's that the need-based financial aid is increased and so the net cost is lower.

That strikes me as gaming the system. And college financial aid is often a zero sum game--what one student gets another student loses.

Need-based college financial aid is a public and private program for needy students and I expect it was not intended to work the way you describe.

Please feel free to set me straight on the above.

chipperd
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by chipperd » Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:50 am

cowdogman wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:52 pm
chipperd wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:04 am
College costs less if you work less, to a point, with CSS profile schools (think elite to almost elite private colleges and universities for the most part) . So much so that I cut back on one day of work per week as I would have netted $80 for that fifth day of work, with the school taking the rest on that fifth day. Basically, I have to pay $80 dollars a week to get Friday off; a deal I took in a heartbeat. With proper planning (ie: at least two years out), when you have a fairly good sense if you kid will be apply to a CSS profile school, that is the last moment to work less to get a better deal on college costs.
Hi:

I think what you're saying is that you lower your income in order to increase the award of need-based financial aid for your children. It's not that college is cheaper after you lower your income, it's that the need-based financial aid is increased and so the net cost is lower.

That strikes me as gaming the system. And college financial aid is often a zero sum game--what one student gets another student loses.

Need-based college financial aid is a public and private program for needy students and I expect it was not intended to work the way you describe.

Please feel free to set me straight on the above.
Hi,
Yes, thanks for correcting/clarifying. The sticker price of college won't change based on income, but because of need based aid/work study, if a school basis it's net cost a to student in part on parent income (I believe this is the vast majority), the lower the parent income, the lower the net cost to the student.
To your second point, I'm not sure what you mean by "gaming the system". I view college costs like any other service I intend to purchase,so I do shop around and try to get the best value (not the cheapest, but the best quality for the cost). The closest analogy I've been able to come up with to try to explain my position for folks, is how one deals with income taxes. Most financially informed, including many on this site, tend to do what they can to lower their federal or state income tax burden. I posit that one should take the same approach to college costs. Both systems are far less than perfect and have experts available for hire to assist one in lowering net costs.
I know from a previous post that this way of thinking tends to bring out an ethical question for some. I would ask these same folks if they are ethically consistent in how they view paying income taxes?
Interested in responses but don't wish to high jack this thread.
Chipperd

pennywise
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by pennywise » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:03 am

SoonerD wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:45 pm
What is a surprise, to me, is that the modern man, is willing to quit because of stress and send his wife to the office in his place! In my world that's inexcusable - I'd say more but don't want to be flagged as unkind. I realize work is stressful; the young men doing multiple tours in warzones show us the effects of stress that is both real and extreme. I don't wish this on anyone.
I am curious: why then isn't it inexcusable for a healthy woman with marketable skills to send her husband to the office in her place? What happens if he gets MS and can't work? Why does he have to take on the entire burden and stress? Put another way why is this a male duty and not that of a female partner as well?

If you are able to explain the provable difference between those scenarios, factually and with statistically valid evidence, I think your argument might make a bit more sense.

I'll offer bonus points for your fact-based justification on why women serving in the military in war zones are not showing the effects of stress just as their male comrades evidently are according to you.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:56 am

chipperd wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:50 am
I know from a previous post that this way of thinking tends to bring out an ethical question for some. I would ask these same folks if they are ethically consistent in how they view paying income taxes?
Interested in responses but don't wish to high jack this thread.
Thanks.

What do you think the reaction on Bogleheads would be if I were to post the following:

"Hey, I just realized that if I cut my hours to 20 hours a week I would qualify for food stamps under Washington State law* and the value of the food stamps is roughly equal to my lost wages. So, I'm doing it."

I suspect the responses would be universally negative. The moderators might even remove the post.

I don't see a difference with what you're doing. Plus my getting food stamps would not mean somebody else wasn't getting food stamps, but as noted above college financial aid is often a zero sum game.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I was stunned by your post.

* I have no idea whether this is true, but I'm sure there is some way to game the food stamp program.

EddyB
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EddyB » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:05 am

cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:56 am
chipperd wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:50 am
I know from a previous post that this way of thinking tends to bring out an ethical question for some. I would ask these same folks if they are ethically consistent in how they view paying income taxes?
Interested in responses but don't wish to high jack this thread.
Thanks.

What do you think the reaction on Bogleheads would be if I were to post the following:

"Hey, I just realized that if I cut my hours to 20 hours a week I would qualify for food stamps under Washington State law* and the value of the food stamps is roughly equal to my lost wages. So, I'm doing it."

I suspect the responses would be universally negative. The moderators might even remove the post.

I don't see a difference with what you're doing. Plus my getting food stamps would not mean somebody else wasn't getting food stamps, but as noted above college financial aid is often a zero sum game.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I was stunned by your post.

* I have no idea whether this is true, but I'm sure there is some way to game the food stamp program.
I can’t get worked up about this; for most of the universities we’ve all heard of, they set these sticker prices knowing that there’s a formulaic adjustment to what a given student will pay.

But if you’re judging it, where’s the line? Do you feel similarly about an M.D. who chooses to work in an academic setting for less pay than she or he would earn by seeing patients? Talented writers working as English teachers when they could instead be making a lot more in corporate PR?

EnjoyIt
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EnjoyIt » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:09 am

cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:56 am
chipperd wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:50 am
I know from a previous post that this way of thinking tends to bring out an ethical question for some. I would ask these same folks if they are ethically consistent in how they view paying income taxes?
Interested in responses but don't wish to high jack this thread.
Thanks.

What do you think the reaction on Bogleheads would be if I were to post the following:

"Hey, I just realized that if I cut my hours to 20 hours a week I would qualify for food stamps under Washington State law* and the value of the food stamps is roughly equal to my lost wages. So, I'm doing it."

I suspect the responses would be universally negative. The moderators might even remove the post.

I don't see a difference with what you're doing. Plus my getting food stamps would not mean somebody else wasn't getting food stamps, but as noted above college financial aid is often a zero sum game.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I was stunned by your post.

* I have no idea whether this is true, but I'm sure there is some way to game the food stamp program.
Sure, people game food stamps and other tax paid services by having an income paid in cash.

Although there is a similarity in what you say for some reason I feel gaming college expenses as much more justifiable, maybe due to the unjustifiable ridiculous cost and the burden it can place on families.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by wjhunter » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:51 am

fnmix wrote:
Thu Apr 11, 2019 10:47 pm

[*]Current yearly expenses: $55K (excludes $13K property taxes, health insurance premiums, federal and state taxes) [EDIT: $55K excludes all taxes and health insurance premiums]
Are you sure you accounted for ALL expenses?. When I was doing this analysis, I discovered my initial estimate of expenses was about 20% too low. I "discovered" expenses that I did not know about (they were not on our main credit card, or were payed via checks or debit card). I had to be thorough and closely examine two years of past expenses. Also, many expenses that I considered "one-time" expenses really are not. Appliances break and have to be replaced or repaired, homes have to be maintained, kids have unplanned activies that come up, pets get sick and have to go to the vet. Once I accounted for *everything*, our montly expenses went from 5K to 6K. Then, for our model, I added an extra inflation of 5% per year (at least up until our retirement age) because I know that even after my thorough analysis, I am probably still missing some expenses.

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cowdogman
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:16 am

EddyB wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:05 am
But if you’re judging it, where’s the line? Do you feel similarly about an M.D. who chooses to work in an academic setting for less pay than she or he would earn by seeing patients? Talented writers working as English teachers when they could instead be making a lot more in corporate PR?
I don't see those situations as similar at all. Those people are just making life decisions, not collecting public/private charitable funds for purposes other than for which they were intended.
EnjoyIt wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:09 am
Although there is a similarity in what you say for some reason I feel gaming college expenses as much more justifiable, maybe due to the unjustifiable ridiculous cost and the burden it can place on families.
I hear what you're saying, but I would take it a step further. There seems to be an ethics-free/whatever-works zone around college admissions and paying for college. I know otherwise honest people who lie on their 1040 just so they can lie on their FAFSA (which is a federal felony BTW*). I know people who hire college admissions advisers to "help" with student essays. SAT/ACT test prep used to be something people didn't admit too (it does subvert the purpose of the tests and does disadvantage lower-income and rural students). And then there is the whole legacy/large donation admission scam. And of course the bribery/cheating scandal now in the courts.

I think that people try to justify their actions by citing their children ("I'd do anything for them"), but the actions are often for the benefit of the parents ($$ and and bragging rights).

What surprised me about chipped's post was not so much that he did what he did, but that he would admit it on a public forum.

What people should keep in mind is that college financial funds are finite--and what one person gets another person loses.

* While thinking about this issue this morning one interesting thing I learned: There are lawyers who specialize in defending people who lied on their FAFSAs. Google it.

EnjoyIt
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EnjoyIt » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:34 am

cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:16 am
EnjoyIt wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:09 am
Although there is a similarity in what you say for some reason I feel gaming college expenses as much more justifiable, maybe due to the unjustifiable ridiculous cost and the burden it can place on families.
I hear what you're saying, but I would take it a step further. There seems to be an ethics-free/whatever-works zone around college admissions and paying for college. I know otherwise honest people who lie on their 1040 just so they can lie on their FAFSA (which is a federal felony BTW*). I know people who hire college admissions advisers to "help" with student essays. SAT/ACT test prep used to be something people didn't admit too (it does subvert the purpose of the tests and does disadvantage lower-income and rural students). And then there is the whole legacy/large donation admission scam. And of course the bribery/cheating scandal now in the courts.

I think that people try to justify their actions by citing their children ("I'd do anything for them"), but the actions are often for the benefit of the parents ($$ and and bragging rights).

What surprised me about chipped's post was not so much that he did what he did, but that he would admit it on a public forum.

What people should keep in mind is that college financial funds are finite--and what one person gets another person loses.

* While thinking about this issue this morning one interesting thing I learned: There are lawyers who specialize in defending people who lied on their FAFSAs. Google it.
In my opinion, higher education as we have it in the United States is a bit of a scam. This has been grossly aggravated by the ability to get a loan for just about any amount of money when it is used for college expenses. It would make sense why some would be willing to scam the system back. This is no different than our healthcare industry that is practically run by insurance and pharma companies. Prices keep going up, people are fed up and willing to scam their way into lower or subsidized insurance premiums. People openly discuss how they purposely lower their taxable income to get free healthcare. I don't blame them or chipped.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:21 pm

EnjoyIt wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:34 am
People openly discuss how they purposely lower their taxable income to get free healthcare.
Good point about ACA. I've looked into whether I could qualify. No luck so far.

But ACA is not a zero sum game. Parents who game the college financial aid process are in a very real sense shifting aid from deserving students to themselves.

gtg970g
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by gtg970g » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:40 pm

cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:21 pm
EnjoyIt wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:34 am
People openly discuss how they purposely lower their taxable income to get free healthcare.
Good point about ACA. I've looked into whether I could qualify. No luck so far.

But ACA is not a zero sum game. Parents who game the college financial aid process are in a very real sense shifting aid from deserving students to themselves.
Many universities do not have a set amount set aside for financial aid for a class so you would not be taking aid from a deserving student by claims aid for your own child. Technically getting ACA subsidies is forcing the government to borrow funds which must be repaid by your (and other's) children.

EnjoyIt
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EnjoyIt » Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:45 pm

gtg970g wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:40 pm
cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:21 pm
EnjoyIt wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:34 am
People openly discuss how they purposely lower their taxable income to get free healthcare.
Good point about ACA. I've looked into whether I could qualify. No luck so far.

But ACA is not a zero sum game. Parents who game the college financial aid process are in a very real sense shifting aid from deserving students to themselves.
Many universities do not have a set amount set aside for financial aid for a class so you would not be taking aid from a deserving student by claims aid for your own child. Technically getting ACA subsidies is forcing the government to borrow funds which must be repaid by your (and other's) children.
Nothing is free. Someone is paying something to cover the costs.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by FoolMeOnce » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:02 pm

cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:56 am
chipperd wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 6:50 am
I know from a previous post that this way of thinking tends to bring out an ethical question for some. I would ask these same folks if they are ethically consistent in how they view paying income taxes?
Interested in responses but don't wish to high jack this thread.
Thanks.

What do you think the reaction on Bogleheads would be if I were to post the following:

"Hey, I just realized that if I cut my hours to 20 hours a week I would qualify for food stamps under Washington State law* and the value of the food stamps is roughly equal to my lost wages. So, I'm doing it."

I suspect the responses would be universally negative. The moderators might even remove the post.

I don't see a difference with what you're doing. Plus my getting food stamps would not mean somebody else wasn't getting food stamps, but as noted above college financial aid is often a zero sum game.

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, but I was stunned by your post.

* I have no idea whether this is true, but I'm sure there is some way to game the food stamp program.
If food stamps were equal to half your income, you might have other problems. :wink:

And if so, then I'm not sure the responses would be universally negative. View it from the side of the individual: should I work 20 extra hours for no financial gain? I have a hard time saying someone is ethically duty-bound to work for Generic Corp for nothing.

So this other poster was faced with the choice: do I sacrifice $80/week to not work on Fridays? Seems like an easy decision.

That's not to say there aren't problems with how financial assistance programs are structured, and that they can fall short of their goals of not disincentivising work, but I don't think the ethics are as clear cut as you do.

Disclosure: I'm not one who places huge value on work for work's sake. I think their is value in liesure time to both an individual and society. Not to mention that non-work time can include family responsibilities.

I'm more troubled by the people with millions in investments who can manage their income to receive ACA subsidies. But I don't begrudge them; that's how the subsidies are designed. And I don't know if it is even feasible to design based on assets instead of income, or if it would be cost-effective to do so.

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cowdogman
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:04 pm

gtg970g wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:40 pm
Technically getting ACA subsidies is forcing the government to borrow funds which must be repaid by your (and other's) children.
Very good point. I also suspect that at some point there will be an asset/net worth cap for qualifying, which would disqualify a lot of the people on this site.
gtg970g wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 12:40 pm
Many universities do not have a set amount set aside for financial aid for a class so you would not be taking aid from a deserving student by claims aid for your own child.
Some specific government financial aid is not zero sum--e.g., Pell Grants. But in general the pool of available financial aid is finite, even if there is some ability to increase/decrease for a specific class.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:21 pm

FoolMeOnce wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:02 pm

That's not to say there aren't problems with how financial assistance programs are structured, and that they can fall short of their goals of not disincentivising work, but I don't think the ethics are as clear cut as you do.
Fair enough. I do tend to be judgmental (altho I think I'm right on this issue :happy ).

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EddyB » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:37 pm

cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:16 am
EddyB wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:05 am
But if you’re judging it, where’s the line? Do you feel similarly about an M.D. who chooses to work in an academic setting for less pay than she or he would earn by seeing patients? Talented writers working as English teachers when they could instead be making a lot more in corporate PR?
I don't see those situations as similar at all. Those people are just making life decisions, not collecting public/private charitable funds for purposes other than for which they were intended.

Where's the statement of intent? If it's about income, it's about income. Whether one comes to the income by saying "the extra effort isn't worth it to be taxed at 40% and have another chunk taken away for college," or "I prefer this job, even though it's lower paying than some of my other options" just doesn't seem important.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:08 pm

EddyB wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:37 pm
Where's the statement of intent? If it's about income, it's about income. Whether one comes to the income by saying "the extra effort isn't worth it to be taxed at 40% and have another chunk taken away for college," or "I prefer this job, even though it's lower paying than some of my other options" just doesn't seem important.
I think I see the point you're making.

But the life decision "I want to be a school teacher and not an investment banker" is in no way comparable to "I figured how I could use my child's college financial aid to take Fridays off with pay." (I don't mean to be disrespectful to chipperd but that is what he said.)

Finding a way to technically comply with the requirements for a benefit program (financial aid, ACA, food stamps) where

(1) you don't need the benefits,

(2) you don't use the benefits for the intended purpose and

(3) it's clear your use of the program is not the intended use

is ethically dubious, even if it's not illegal.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by wjhunter » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:34 pm

EnjoyIt wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:30 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:52 pm
SoonerD wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:45 pm
As a man, I can't fathom putting my family (young children) in a risky financial situation when I have the means to provide so well (as the OP) for them. Young families face innumerable challenges to launching productive, independent adults. What happens if the wife gets M.S. and can't work while needing extremely expensive care (medicine, etc.). What happens if a child has a bike accident and suffers a brain injury with the requisite expensive care, treatment and perhaps lifetime trust for financial security.
This is the kind of fear-based thinking that gives Bogleheads a bad name. In the real world, no one structures his/her life around worst-case scenarios. They're too busy living and enjoying life for that.
Not no one. People like soonerD live life in fear. It is unfortunate. We see plenty of fear-mongering on this forum but as long as we step up and put it in its place it is not that bad.

Personally I think there is so much more to life than just toiling away for more and more money that we will never need.

I wonder how many millions soonerD thinks OP needs before they semi-retire. Is $3 million enough? What about $5 milllion. Or should OP, as a male work until 70 or die trying?
I agree with you EnjoyIt - I struggle with this. Should I continue working at a job/profession that I hate (I am utterly disengaged and find no meaning or purpose in it) for another 10 years to increase the odds (from roughly 96% to 99.5%) that we both can make it to age 95 (assuming we live that long) without running out of money, while also considering I am now getting repetitive stress ailments (carpal tunnel) and other health problems from sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours a day? I would rather do something more meaningful (while I am still able) and take my chances.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EddyB » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:40 pm

cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:08 pm
EddyB wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:37 pm
Where's the statement of intent? If it's about income, it's about income. Whether one comes to the income by saying "the extra effort isn't worth it to be taxed at 40% and have another chunk taken away for college," or "I prefer this job, even though it's lower paying than some of my other options" just doesn't seem important.
I think I see the point you're making.

But the life decision "I want to be a school teacher and not an investment banker" is in no way comparable to "I figured how I could use my child's college financial aid to take Fridays off with pay." (I don't mean to be disrespectful to chipperd but that is what he said.)

Finding a way to technically comply with the requirements for a benefit program (financial aid, ACA, food stamps) where

(1) you don't need the benefits,

(2) you don't use the benefits for the intended purpose and

(3) it's clear your use of the program is not the intended use

is ethically dubious, even if it's not illegal.
There are a lot of judgment calls in reaching your conclusion in any application, but in this one, I'm really struggling to see it. Do you have any ethical issues with universities that enjoy tax-exempt status (and perhaps have significant endowments), but engage in price discrimination in order to extract as much money as possible out of any given student? If so, does it change the ethics of how a parent of a student responds to the system the university has put in place?

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:56 pm

EddyB wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:40 pm
There are a lot of judgment calls in reaching your conclusion in any application, but in this one, I'm really struggling to see it. Do you have any ethical issues with universities that enjoy tax-exempt status (and perhaps have significant endowments), but engage in price discrimination in order to extract as much money as possible out of any given student? If so, does it change the ethics of how a parent of a student responds to the system the university has put in place?
If we do the right thing only when everybody else is doing the right thing, no one would do the right thing.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by chipperd » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:58 pm

cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:08 pm
EddyB wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:37 pm
Where's the statement of intent? If it's about income, it's about income. Whether one comes to the income by saying "the extra effort isn't worth it to be taxed at 40% and have another chunk taken away for college," or "I prefer this job, even though it's lower paying than some of my other options" just doesn't seem important.
I think I see the point you're making.

But the life decision "I want to be a school teacher and not an investment banker" is in no way comparable to "I figured how I could use my child's college financial aid to take Fridays off with pay." (I don't mean to be disrespectful to chipperd but that is what he said.)

Finding a way to technically comply with the requirements for a benefit program (financial aid, ACA, food stamps) where

(1) you don't need the benefits,

(2) you don't use the benefits for the intended purpose and

(3) it's clear your use of the program is not the intended use

is ethically dubious, even if it's not illegal.
Just to clarify, in my situation, that fact that I reduced my work schedule from 40 to 32 hours per week, resulting in Friday's off costs me net, after taxes $80/week. Want to make sure that facts stay clean.
So I am curious why this is viewed as "scamming" the system. It's not illegal to work less, it's a lifestyle choice, similar to the OP's original question. If one want's to "semi-retire", wants to downgrade lifestyle a bit to do so, and this results in being able to qualify for ACA , lower net college costs or pay less income tax, isn't is the system that's broken, not the individuals morals? If I decide to move to a state without income tax in retirement b/c I don't want to pay taxes on a pension, am I scamming the system?
BTW, colleges have enormous funds available, some upwards of a billion dollars that they don't give out to needy families. (Example:
Harvard Endowment Increases 5.7 Percent to $39.2 Billion. Highlights for fiscal 2018. [url]http://harvardmagazine.com/endowment-18[/url]).
So yes, there is a limit to what colleges can give out in aid, but they clearly aren't close to that limit. It's not decisions like mine that are limiting how much a potential student gets in aid, it's admissions/financial aid offices who want to keep their endowments large and in their bank accounts. Where is the ethics outrage over that issue?

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by Jebediah » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:03 pm

OP, at your age you should use 3% SWR max, so that yields 45k/yr from your 1.5m portfolio.

Seems like expenses will be 75k - 85k. Best to estimate on the high side.

So IF you can generate 30-40k reliably, then semi-retirement looks OK.

Also I think you should be accepting of a plan B where you move to a truly LCOL area like the southeast or midwest if things don't go as planned. Sierra Foothills is still CA and still relatively expensive. Wouldn't it be worth it to have that time with your kids, working (or playing) on what you want, and not having to go to an office, even if you have to live in say, Iowa? (no offense, Iowans). If the answer is "No, I have to live in California", then I say be careful/reconsider.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by Dottie57 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:13 pm

Op,

I assume you will pick up the household duties your wife took up. You will have to multi task . I mention this because I had friends where dad stayed home and wife worked. Didn’t work, dad could not get more than one thing done at a time.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by Jebediah » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:15 pm

SoonerD wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:45 pm
Most don't sit in an office all day (I think). That's a rarer work environment than BHs probably realize.
I think you're wrong about this. Office settings are the norm by a long shot.
SoonerD wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:45 pm
What is a surprise, to me, is that the modern man, is willing to quite because of stress and send his wife to the office in his place! In my world that's inexcusable -
What does gender have to do with it?
SoonerD wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:45 pm
As a man, ...
blah blah blah
Again, what does gender have to do with it?

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by majiaknight » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:27 pm

EddyB wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:37 pm
cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:16 am
EddyB wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:05 am
But if you’re judging it, where’s the line? Do you feel similarly about an M.D. who chooses to work in an academic setting for less pay than she or he would earn by seeing patients? Talented writers working as English teachers when they could instead be making a lot more in corporate PR?
I don't see those situations as similar at all. Those people are just making life decisions, not collecting public/private charitable funds for purposes other than for which they were intended.

Where's the statement of intent? If it's about income, it's about income. Whether one comes to the income by saying "the extra effort isn't worth it to be taxed at 40% and have another chunk taken away for college," or "I prefer this job, even though it's lower paying than some of my other options" just doesn't seem important.
I just can't help jumping in when seeing this. I agree w/ cowdogman's points, and the situations are totally different.

The job option (i.e. chose to work less) mentioned above assumes that the kid in any case could get into the college w/ need-based financial aid which has to be paid by someone else. If everyone is following this route by gaming the system, do you think this fund would exist or for how long? Why does this relate to career choice after all which has different pros and cons for each individual case not just income and taxes and when they are still actively contributing to the society not collecting extra benefits?

IMHO anyone on this forum when sharing tips in planning for early retirement or financing kid's college education should avoid encouraging people to consider collecting public/private funds targeted for need-based financial aid. No one should count on it at the early planning stage and this should be the last option to consider when your long-term plan after careful thoughts and execution unfortunately failed at the end due to unexpected reasons.

*I came from a non-US country where there was absolutely NO need-based financial aid or student loan available for college a decade ago and some of my HS classmates had to drop college or chose to attend Normal or Military Univ for free college edu. For students who got into the college, their parents had to work harder or get multiple jobs to pay for the college expenses, and the students also worked very hard to get very competitive merit-based scholarships. This personal experience may explain why I felt uncomfortable when seeing parents chose to work less in order to get need-based financial aid for the kid's college.
Last edited by majiaknight on Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:29 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by cowdogman » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:42 pm

chipperd wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:58 pm
So I am curious why this is viewed as "scamming" the system. It's not illegal to work less, it's a lifestyle choice, similar to the OP's original question. If one want's to "semi-retire", wants to downgrade lifestyle a bit to do so, and this results in being able to qualify for ACA , lower net college costs or pay less income tax, isn't is the system that's broken, not the individuals morals? If I decide to move to a state without income tax in retirement b/c I don't want to pay taxes on a pension, am I scamming the system?
One of the issues I have with the FIRE movement is that the "FI" is supposed to stand for "Financial Independence" but many of its adherents spend A LOT of time trying to figure out ways to get governmental and charitable benefits. There is nothing wrong with working less, but making a "lifestyle choice" to work less in order to collect income-based benefits is definitely wrong.

Maybe this is a generational issue?
Last edited by cowdogman on Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

EnjoyIt
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EnjoyIt » Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:48 pm

wjhunter wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:34 pm
EnjoyIt wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 9:30 am
HEDGEFUNDIE wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:52 pm
SoonerD wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:45 pm
As a man, I can't fathom putting my family (young children) in a risky financial situation when I have the means to provide so well (as the OP) for them. Young families face innumerable challenges to launching productive, independent adults. What happens if the wife gets M.S. and can't work while needing extremely expensive care (medicine, etc.). What happens if a child has a bike accident and suffers a brain injury with the requisite expensive care, treatment and perhaps lifetime trust for financial security.
This is the kind of fear-based thinking that gives Bogleheads a bad name. In the real world, no one structures his/her life around worst-case scenarios. They're too busy living and enjoying life for that.
Not no one. People like soonerD live life in fear. It is unfortunate. We see plenty of fear-mongering on this forum but as long as we step up and put it in its place it is not that bad.

Personally I think there is so much more to life than just toiling away for more and more money that we will never need.

I wonder how many millions soonerD thinks OP needs before they semi-retire. Is $3 million enough? What about $5 milllion. Or should OP, as a male work until 70 or die trying?
I agree with you EnjoyIt - I struggle with this. Should I continue working at a job/profession that I hate (I am utterly disengaged and find no meaning or purpose in it) for another 10 years to increase the odds (from roughly 96% to 99.5%) that we both can make it to age 95 (assuming we live that long) without running out of money, while also considering I am now getting repetitive stress ailments (carpal tunnel) and other health problems from sitting at a desk for 8-10 hours a day? I would rather do something more meaningful (while I am still able) and take my chances.
I would hate to say it, but the cost is much more than 10 years as you said it, it is health problems that are stress induced as well as repetitive induced and lack of physical activity induced. Personally, in my opinion, if you are at 25x with a decent amount of it allocated for discretionary spending, then you are the prime candidate to move on. A nice transition from full employment to full retirement is part time work or consulting. It will allow you to earn a bit more money while testing out the waters of retirement to see if it is for you. If this is even possible for your profession. You can also look for much less compensated employment that you have a passion in doing.

My spouse and I went part time a while back and our lives have improved dramatically. We both eat better and exercise more. We are healthier with more energy and look better to each other in the process. We sleep better and spend more time doing more of the things we enjoy. Semi-retirement was a great decision. We should have enough to retire in about 2 years (market depending.) Right now, we like the work that we do part time and after those 2 years will decide if we will keep doing it or move on to something else.

chipperd
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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by chipperd » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:27 pm

cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:42 pm
chipperd wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:58 pm
So I am curious why this is viewed as "scamming" the system. It's not illegal to work less, it's a lifestyle choice, similar to the OP's original question. If one want's to "semi-retire", wants to downgrade lifestyle a bit to do so, and this results in being able to qualify for ACA , lower net college costs or pay less income tax, isn't is the system that's broken, not the individuals morals? If I decide to move to a state without income tax in retirement b/c I don't want to pay taxes on a pension, am I scamming the system?
One of the issues I have with the FIRE movement is that the "FI" is supposed to stand for "Financial Independence" but many of its adherents spend A LOT of time trying to figure out ways to get governmental and charitable benefits. There is nothing wrong with working less, but making a "lifestyle choice" to work less in order to collect income-based benefits is definitely wrong.

Maybe this is a generational issue?
Perhaps, although I'm a much older parent. I don't know if the 🔥 movement spending all that much time worrying about government benefits other than social security issues, but I also don't spend a lot of time reading about that aspect of 🔥 either.
I assure you I am paying plenty for all of my kids college experiences. Without those costs I would definitely be fully retired. If a person chooses
to work less leads to lower net costs, I'm thinking your issue is with the way college costs are calculated, not with an individual who is playing by that system's rules. Capitalism has nothing to with ethics.
There are many occasions people work less for leisure time gain. I took a job that pays x more per hour but less annually so I could work only 40 hours per week many years ago. Should I have kept the job working 55+hours per week to gain 10% more income annually? Just thinking out loud, but perhaps the generational question you raised has more to with the idea that long, hard work equals high ethics, and those who chose work less than they are capable must have lower ethics/morals?. I don't know, not sure why you struggle with this, but you did chose not to answer my question above, so maybe this discussion has run its course. My apologies to the OP for the high Jack

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Re: Can I semi-retire now?

Post by EddyB » Wed Apr 17, 2019 4:29 pm

cowdogman wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:42 pm
chipperd wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:58 pm
So I am curious why this is viewed as "scamming" the system. It's not illegal to work less, it's a lifestyle choice, similar to the OP's original question. If one want's to "semi-retire", wants to downgrade lifestyle a bit to do so, and this results in being able to qualify for ACA , lower net college costs or pay less income tax, isn't is the system that's broken, not the individuals morals? If I decide to move to a state without income tax in retirement b/c I don't want to pay taxes on a pension, am I scamming the system?
One of the issues I have with the FIRE movement is that the "FI" is supposed to stand for "Financial Independence" but many of its adherents spend A LOT of time trying to figure out ways to get governmental and charitable benefits. There is nothing wrong with working less, but making a "lifestyle choice" to work less in order to collect income-based benefits is definitely wrong.

Maybe this is a generational issue?
I doubt we’ll agree, but I think you’re trying to apply a system of ethics based on an as-yet-unexplained assumption that there is an identifiable, precise purpose to the programs you see being exploited. Instead I think they generally just are what they are, as the result of compromise between competing views.

You’d have people make decisions without regard to the consequences to them, when they have not personally determined the context in which those consequences arise or consented to some applicable “purpose.”

I wouldn’t conclude it’s a generational thing, as I don’t think various recent generations have faced sufficiently comparable circumstances to compare their decisions.

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