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How Can You Be Retired if You Have a Job?

September 11th, 2008 at 08:14 pm

This was a question from someone I've known for years. He tends to be very negative and is not someone I'd frequently associate with if it were not for a circumstance of fate: he is the significant other of a good friend but I don't hold that against her. (Have you ever noticed how negative people suck the life out of you?) Well, I explained, yes, I do have a job but it is because I choose to do it. I do not HAVE TO work. So I leave it at that since I know it is useless to try to explain myself to someone who just doesn't "get it."

I choose to work because I've found job that feeds a passion, not my pocketbook. That, to me, is the big difference. In my previous job, if I did not feel like going to work, I could not easily call in sick. There is not such thing as a substitute principal, although we have individuals assigned to carry on while we are off campus. It's just not the same. Our presence is required 99% of the time.

Now, I get to choose the days and times I work. I have tremendous flexibility, with the exception of having to meet seven times between September and December 1st for a two-hour seminar. But then, I was the one who decided on the dates/times, so it's not that bad. On some weeks, I have no scheduled workdays'these are my "free" days. On other weeks, I may work a day or two.

And a bonus: I get paid! I plan to use this extra money to expand our travel plans and increase my contributions to Heiffer International and Second Harvest Food Bank, two organizations I regularly support. Here's what my job commitment looks like for September:

~ 21 possible workdays (not counting Labor Day)
~ Of these, 11 days are completely free
~ My longest work day: 1 day @ 6 hours
~ On 7 work days, I have scheduled ~3 hours
~ 2 days will require working ~ 2 hours
~ My net pay estimate: ~ $34 an hour (after 33% withheld)

While the money is nice to have, it is not my reason working. My part-time work is a self-imposed experiment because, to confess, I was afraid of having way too much time in retirement. Back in May, when I decided to take the final step into retirement, I had some doubts... about having too much time on my hands, not enough to do, and well...I guess I just needed to be needed somewhere for something. And so, I applied for my PT job at a local university and also accepted a consulting contract with my former employer. When the academic year is over, I may choose to continue working... but then, maybe I won't. Gotta love having choices!

6 Responses to “How Can You Be Retired if You Have a Job?”

  1. Retired Syd Says:

    Maybe you should use the words financially independent around these types. Then you don't have to explain the whole choosing to work thing. There are a million things you chose to do now that you are financially independent, and one of these things, you get paid for!

  2. Analise Says:

    Very well said. I always think of the best comebacks later, but I will remember this one... I like the sound of "financially independent!" Thanks.

  3. reginaastralis Says:

    My dad retired at 53 just a couple of months ago. One of my mothers friends husband (lol) was talking to my mom about my dad getting a job with him since he'd been laid off and was only working part time. My mom kinda got a deer in the headlight look on her face, and said "Umm, he retired" Friend's husband said "Oh ... then ... why is he working part time?"

    Because he WANTS to. We keep joking with the man that he needs a second job. He's never worked just one job before ... I hope I can retire at 53 and work if I want to.

  4. monkeymama Says:

    I have to admit I have issue with a blogger (not on pfadvice) whose whole thing is they retired very young. BUT they own a business where her husband works a few days a week. It just BUGS me because I never felt she was being 1000% honest there. (Kind of giving false hopes - of course you can "retire" if you continue to work - huh? But she doesn't really mention that whole thing - it's buried in her earliest posts). I think beyond the part that she labels them as retired (heck, I am retired by their definition) is that a business is SO MUCH work. Doesn't sound very appealing to me. As I say it out loud maybe I don't agree because it doesn't sound like my definition of retirement.

    But anwyay, on the flip side, my dh's mom just "retired" and my dad probably will in a few years. They are the types who will work forever. Their retirement marks the day they are free from the 9-5 grind, for sure. & that is a definition I understand. (Oh I am totally that type too - I will work when I don't need to, but I Would consider it retirement).

    I'd just say, "retired". People won't get it, but other people don't matter. Big Grin Just enjoy!



  5. Analise Says:

    @ Monkey Mama

    I think to me, and possibly other boomers like me, retirement defines a time in life where I am free from the "9-5 grind" as you aptly put it. But I still have the need to be involved in work that gives me a sense of purpose. Some of it will be as a volunteer and some I may get paid for.

    In my first post I said I was "rewiring" and this is how I see my life now. I've rewired to be able to work on projects that I care about and to have more control of my daily life and definitely my health. The key thing is that if I had not financially planned for this day, I'd still be stuck in that stressful grind.

    At a university meeting today, I met six other "retired" educators who, like me, are also supervising student teachers. Yes, boomers are definitely redefining what it means to be retired.

    Thanks for your comments. I enjoy reading your posts, and I admire your financial astuteness. I probably could have retired at 45 if I had been more like you at 30.

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