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Weekend reading: Making a K Drama out of the FIRE movement

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What caught my eye this week.

One thing that helped me through the worst of the pandemic was a newly-found love of South Korean ‘K Dramas’.

Like many others, I discovered these bingeable soap operas – with their wholesome story lines and fairy tale romances – to be wonderful escapism.

What my 19-year old self – neck-deep in Dostoevsky and Joy Division – would make of my middle-aged addiction, I’m embarrassed to think about.

Then again perhaps it’s just two sides of the same coin.

In those days I thought there were answers to the human condition, waiting for me to find them.

Much older and maybe very slightly wiser – or perhaps just more cowardly – I now suspect there are mostly only comforts.

Here, there, and everywhere

Enough metaphysics, and on to some on-topic reflections on the latest K Drama to soothe my days – the veritable chicken soup for the soul that is Hometown Cha Cha Cha.

It’s still available on Netflix and you should watch it. So I’ll try to avoid spoilers.

In brief it’s the story of high-flying dentist Yoon Hye-jin and her burgeoning relationship with the show’s other lead – a huge fish in a small pond named Hong Du-sik, or ‘Chief Hong’ to all his neighbours.

Besides making all real-life women pale for me compared to the fantasy of Hye-jin (and there’s even a t-shirt suggesting many viewers feel the same about Chief Hong) Hometown Cha Cha Cha showcases an alternative way of life. One that’s relevant to the way we do business around here.

You see, from the moment of her arrival in the small town where Chief Hong plies his many trades, Hye-jin is astonished to find him at work everywhere.

Here is Chief Hong directing fisherman at the docks. Now he’s over there at the coffee shop pulling lattes. The doorbell rings – Chief Hong has deliveries. His other occupations include estate agent, carpenter, and tech repair guy.

Naturally, hilarity ensues. And there’s a deeper reason for all this plate juggling, too.

But as I said, no spoilers.

Moe than his job’s worth

Just to generalise, Chief Hong is doing all these things because he wants to support – and be supported by – the local community.

Hong charges for everything he does. But he only ever charges an hourly minimum wage. Hye-jin argues he could pull big bucks in the capital, Seoul. But he prefers pulling espressos for his friends by the seaside.

On his days off he surfs.

Again dancing around revealing too much, we can see Chief Hong as sort of Barista FIRE1. He appears to have inherited his grandfather’s home (and to be fair what a home). Beyond that, the minimum wage – and endless payments in kind – keep him happy.

Hye-jin can’t believe he’s not working for a prestigious chaebol making megabucks. Chief Hong is frustrated that she can’t see why he doesn’t.

Less pain, more gain

I like the new FIRE definitions – Coast FIRE, Barista FIRE, and so on – that arrived in the more recent years of what we now apparently must call a movement.

These new definitions neuter that old enemy, the ‘retirement police’.

So you might say “yes I’m financial independent and I’ve retired from the rat race, but I’m Barista FIRE. I’m working at the pub because I like the social contact and the extra cream it puts on my post-work cake”

Or perhaps you do some maths and see that as long as you let your ISAs and SIPP compound for 20 years, you’re already sorted. So you shift to a Coast FIRE way of life, ambling towards the end of your career at your leisure.

Many of the biggest voices on the Internet on this topic transition to one of those two lifestyles after finishing with formal work. Even our own Accumulator, I’d (gingerly) argue.

TA would say he’s ‘Lean FIRE’. He has a pot of cash that he calculates can get his household through the rest of his days, albeit without many fancy holidays.

But in practice he’s still doing paid work he likes. Because, well, he likes it, but also – I strongly suspect – because it takes the edge of that Lean aspect. So perhaps he’s Barista FIRE, but a fatter FIRE than his Lean FIRE sums suggest.

Still, a rose by any other name and all that malarkey, right?

You do it your way

Long-time readers will know I’m a fan of doing some work forever. And I do mean paid work.

The testimonies of the legions of early retirement advocates who either go back to work or do some sort of side hustle reinforce my case for me.

Volunteer by all means. But I believe in our society as we find it today, getting paid for doing something is about more than money.

I’ve always assumed work-with-FIRE should usually involve maximizing your Pareto-power by doing your best-paid work in the least amount of time.

But – call me slow – Chief Hong has opened my eyes to another way.

I wonder too if the government would have more luck tempting the retired back to work if they encouraged them to watch Hometown Cha Cha Cha, versus fiddling with the tax system.

Maybe getting these over-50 dropouts to do just a couple of days a week part-time doesn’t suit their diabolical economic plans?

I don’t know. But as we’ve discussed before, just a little extra income is worth an awful lot, especially in retirement. Making £10,000 a year doing a couple of days of engaging work a week pretty much doubles the state pension. It is equivalent to perhaps £250,000 extra in your retirement pot.

I understand taxes and allowances complicate the maths, but again I think that misses the point.

Yes, I know wild horses wouldn’t drag some of you back to anything resembling work. Fair enough, whatever is best for you is grand with me.

But at least schedule Hometown Cha Cha Cha into one of your endless days of leisure. You might just get a glimpse of what you’re missing…

Have a great Easter weekend!

p.s. Sending my links early ahead of the long weekend as The Accumulator and Mrs TA are visiting Monevator HQ for an overnight stay. Of course, generally we don’t even travel on the same planes, in order to avoid a tragedy bringing down this blog forever. If you never hear from us again, you know that freak gas explosion you saw in the news had our names on it…

From Monevator

The Slow and Steady passive portfolio update: Q1 2023 – Monevator

From the archive-ator: My law of crazy big numbers – Monevator


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view click through to read the article. Try privacy/incognito mode to avoid cookies. Consider subscribing to sites you visit a lot.

Global economy set for weakest growth since 1990, says IMF boss – Guardian

King Charles banknotes printed – but not ready yet – BBC

UK firms try to lure Gen Z workers with ‘early finish Fridays’ – Guardian

Twitter is no longer policing Russian or Chinese state-backed media – Semafor

Klaus Teuber, revered creator of Settlers of Catan, dead at 70 – Catan.com

Have we reached peak inequality? – Prospect

Products and services

Fintechs face reckoning over customer service [Search result]FT

How to pay in a cheque online with your phone – Be Clever With Your Cash

Open a SIPP with Interactive Investor and pay no SIPP fee for six months. Terms apply – Interactive Investor

What is a joint mortgage and how does it work? – This Is Money

Open an account with low-cost platform InvestEngine via our link and get £25 when you invest at least £100 (T&Cs apply. Capital at risk) – InvestEngine

What it’s really like to win a dream home – Guardian

Which supermarket is currently the cheapest? – Which

Homes with room to extend, in pictures – Guardian

Comment and opinion

What Gillian Tett learned from three banking crises [Search result]FT

Bracing for job loss – Humble Dollar

Will you have ‘retirement regret’? – RAD Reads

Over-confidence in investing – Best Interest

What if you owned no US stocks? – Meb Faber

There’s so much to like about a bear market [US taxes but relevant] Humble Dollar

Generational wealth and the angst of the not-rich-enough class – Financial Samurai

There’s exactly one good reason to buy a house – The Atlantic via MSN

The active management delusion – CFA Institute

Everything you can’t have [Podcast] Morgan Housel

Fruition – Indeedably

One of the biggest mistakes in investing – A Wealth of Common Sense

Why this blogger sold her rental properties before retiring early – Business Insider

Aging in retirement mini-special

On quitting early, decumulation, and living to 100Advisor Perspectives

The real secret to retirement happiness – Think Advisor

Today’s old folks are set to smash through longevity records… – The Register

…though shorter life expectancy are giving UK pensions a windfall [Search result]FT

Naughty corner: Active antics

The ABC of noise traders – Klement on Investing

ITV and The Investment Potential of Commercial Television [Podcast] – via Apple

Are cheap European stocks more likely to profit from disruptive tech than the Nasdaq? – Verdad

Kindle book bargains

Cooking on a Bootstrap by Jack Monroe – £0.99 on Kindle

Money: A User’s Guide by Laura Whateley – £0.99 on Kindle

The Almighty Dollar by Dharshini David – £2.19 on Kindle

The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace by Julie Hobsbawm – £0.99 on Kindle

Environmental factors

‘Forever chemicals’ linked to infertility in women, study shows – Guardian

Gone to the dogs – Hakai

Glaciers may melt even faster than expected – Scientific American

Why is LED light so bad? – NY Mag

Robot overlord roundup

Can we backtest an asset allocation model in ChatGPT? – Quantpedia

Finally, a climate-friendly trashcan – Slate

An interview with Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI [Video] – via YouTube

Why can’t we see the impact of automation in the economics statistics? – Uncharted Territories

The ground is quaking – The Reformed Broker

Off our beat

An interview about longevity with Peter Attia, author of OutliveGQ

You will be discriminated against – Contessa Capital

How Fox and Murdoch are destroying US democracy – Prospect

Be dignified, as a rule – Raptitude

The daughter who fled North Korea to find her mother – BBC

Computer-generated diversity: fashion turns to digital models – Guardian

Your phone is ruining your vacation – Vox

And finally…

“All that we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
– Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Rings

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  1. Financially Independent Retired Early. []
{ 29 comments… add one }
  • 1 xxd09 April 7, 2023, 11:37 am

    Lucky enough to work in a vocational job for all my working career which was motivating and paid quite well
    Did try doing 2 days a week for 6 months after retiral but eventually realised I was working for much less income plus was very tied re holidays etc ie much worse than a full time job!
    So stopped completely-never looked back as had saved enough to do what I wanted

  • 2 The Rhino April 7, 2023, 12:42 pm

    Sounds brilliant – will have to watch that. From what you say, I think I hanker after a bit of a Chief Hong type existence. I’ve gone part-time down to 4 days. The problem is that people will keep trying to pile work on and won’t adjust for the fact you have 20% less time to do it. So you’ve got to be pretty tough about pushing back. I know a lot of people who got exasperated with it and went back full time with the reasoning I may as well get full pay because I’m still effectively doing a full time job.
    On the longevity, I used to think more was a good thing, but having seen a few relatives who lasted longer than average I’ve totally ditched that notion. Now think the ideal is to live for approx average duration (maybe a bit longer, say 80) but critically with good health. Good health is mainly luck, but if you eat, sleep, move in sensible ways then you nudge that luck in the right direction. Massively outliving all your peers (say 90 plus), even with reasonable health, looks rubbish from the few people I’ve observed who had that, no fun having to watch everyone else die.

  • 3 Jim McG April 7, 2023, 12:57 pm

    I’ve spoken to a couple of retirees who tried part-time. The comment that stuck with me was a bloke who a non-exec position on a Board for one day a month and then found he “Spent the rest of the month worrying about that one day”, so he gave it up. I still daydream about maybe finding a part time job in retirement, especially over winter, and then lambast myself with all the reasons that doing so would be nuts, so I’ll be interested in reading other comments.

  • 4 ian barker April 7, 2023, 1:12 pm

    We spend 4 months of the year, walking, cycling, yoga, reading in a Mediterranean climate, it extends summer and brings it forward. We cycle tour in Europe for 6 weeks, usually end May until beginning of July. We go on trek for 2 to 4 weeks a year, usually Aug/Sept. In between we do our veg plot, do running events, climb mountains in Scotland on the days when the weather is great, sometimes winter days are best. We cross country ski. Most of these things are not possible with one or two days a week of paid work. The freedom to do what we want when we want is quite magical. Only time it’s ever happened in my life, so I am going to enjoy it while I still can. We ain’t massively rich in Dosh, we have what we need and a bit more beside, time is what I was hungry for after 35 years at the chalk face. Freedom!!!

  • 5 David April 7, 2023, 8:13 pm

    I’ve worked 4 days a week and there’s no point – you end up filling your free day with admin, visiting the opticians/dentist, taking the car to the garage, etc. Basically doing what all the full-time workers do on one of their paid days anyway, but only getting 80% of the salary!

  • 6 Rosario April 7, 2023, 9:29 pm

    Long been said that 4 days a week is just 80% of the pay for 100% of the work. I prefer the route of working 5 days per week but maybe for only 35-40 weeks a year.

    That would work far better in my deadline driven role and also perhaps one you could introduce somewhat under the radar initially. Unpaid leave, parental leave badge it up as a one off extended summer holiday, want an extra week or two off unpaid after a big deadline etc etc. it’s not something I think would be quite as difficult to get authorised in some companies.

    Lots of ways to skin the cat, best keep an open mind but absolutely agree that taking the foot off the pedal and coasting is the way to go rather than hard finishing line. I’m far from 100% FI based on the 25x rule of thumb but these options are becoming more and more appealing to me.

  • 7 Seeking Fire April 7, 2023, 9:52 pm

    There is another good reason to continue at least some part time work particularly for anyone whose planning a retirement span of 30 years or longer and is slavishly following the 4% rule…to minimise the risk of running out of money.

    AlCam kindly posted the 2022 update for real-life retiree’s and it’s sobering reading for anyone pulling the plug around today imho.


    The very bottom far right table shows that someone retiring in 1999 who invested in a 75% S&P, 25% Corporate Bond (why not govt?) is in 2023 facing a withdrawal rate of 15%. It might just about get to the 30 year mark but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    If you play around with the spreadsheet you needed to have had a withdrawal rate of 2% to have kept your principal intact. That’s 2% before any taxes or investment costs.

    Fair play a 3.5% w/r would likely see you home dry to 2030 although…

    why’s 1999 of any relevance….

    well it’s a lot closer than the 1960’s poor period so feels more real to me and it’s not as if the shiller p/e ratio, which is probably the best conditional probability checker for assessing whether you’ll likely be ok at a 4% w/r isn’t currently elevated!


    ERN looks at this much better than I ever could…..

    It’s also worthwhile studying the volatility and thinking could I really sit through all that?!

    No easy answers and I’d discard 1999 if it wasn’t for the highly elevated S&P500 ratio noting that it’s lower than where it was in 1999 by 25%.

    Not being negative on the 4%, recognising most other people will have other sources of income – state pension for example will help out a lot for most people but just looking at the data…..

  • 8 britinkiwi April 7, 2023, 10:16 pm

    Good to see the TA’s and TI’s valuing themselves like Royalty!

    As a casual health care worker now for 9 months I can agree or not to my employer wanting me to work and when. Given the current shortage in health care staff (it’s an international phenomena) I’ve tried the 5 days a week thing (again!) but due to individual circumstance that employment is 120km from home and being in a motel every night starts to pale as soon as the nights draw in and I cant (won’t! I value my bones unbroken) use the mountain bike park in the dark.

    Plus it wrecks my social life in the home town. Now doing a couple of days a week for a few weeks…..

    But a driver for doing some hours work at the moment that @TI doesn’t mention and relevant at the moment is the impact (or at least the perception) of poor market returns, inflation, and sequence of return risk. What looked like 3 years of cash buffer last July turns out to be a mite less – and possibly getting worse as inflation devalues my laddered TD’s paying 2-3% only…..so a little extra cash is very comforting!

    Ah well, winter is coming here in NZ and I’ve frugally invested in video games on sale over time via Steam and HunbleBundle/GOG and plenty left to play. No Netflix/Spotify/Disney vampire subscriptions for me! And hopefully markets recover before I burn through the cash buffer…..

  • 9 britinkiwi April 7, 2023, 10:20 pm

    @TI PS Not a criticism and I know you’ve covered this issue elsewhere. Just an observation from my own limited perspective.

  • 10 Al Cam April 7, 2023, 11:13 pm


    This, and the subsequent posts, may just be of some interest to you:

  • 11 never give up April 8, 2023, 9:21 am

    It’s always interesting to me how large the dollop of “personal” there is in personal finance. I’ve described myself on here before as being like a beleaguered worker on Vader’s ship, motivated by fear. I don’t mean my boss is a Dark Lord that puts me in the death grip every time my productivity slumps. I should really look for another job if that was ever the case! I just mean my approach to FI has been one of full commitment, cautiousness and fear. The pessimistic case for the future is a compelling one, and if something bad could happen, I tend to believe it will. Be it the threat of redundancy, automation, falling markets, high inflation, or government law changes banning retirement. You name it. I’m scared of it. What a thrilling combination of negative emotions!

    So after finding MMM/Monevator just over five and a half years ago I reduced my expenses significantly and invested the rest having never really been brave enough to dabble in these risky stock things before. They were two significant changes. MMM got my expenses down to £10k a year and taught me not to be scared of investing. Monevator did the same but also taught me how to go about it from a UK perspective. I haven’t been able to thank MMM in person, but I’m grateful I’ve at least had this comments section to thank TI/TA. You’ve essentially given me a path forward and a means of protection. Saving like a pessimist and investing like an optimist acts like a little shield that repels the force. It suits my mentality perfectly. Vader doesn’t scare me quite as much now I’ve distanced myself a little.

    Transitioning from accumulating with an 80%+ savings rate to decumulation though, will be the equivalent of me arming myself with a water pistol and facing Vader one on one. This isn’t happening. I’m not sure what my definition of FI is but I need to tackle this mission in stages. Removing Vader’s ability to use the force, nicking his lightsabre and me obtaining some jedi friends would tip the scales massively in my favour I feel.

    Last month I achieved the first of these stages. I’ve just gone down to a 4 day week and am overjoyed the efforts of the last five and a half years have bought me some freedom now. I never would have believed starting my career that I would escape full-time work in my 40’s. Unlike some of the negative (but valid) comments above about 4 day weeks, I can see in my role how I can ditch parts of the job I don’t like, will be able to stick to my hours, and how my day off won’t be filled each week with admin.

    Maybe a three day week or a two day week will be a subsequent change in the future. Maybe escaping the corporate world and finding a more fun part-time role will be the last stage. But I definitely see the part-time approach as getting me through to full retirement at a more ‘normal’ age. This first 4 day week stage has been achieved with 20-25X desired expenses, and I will increase my expenses a little now in order to have more fun. I hope the part-time approach over a number of years will get me to a sub-3%WR. This feels like a significant milestone in my life. It’s the start of a new era. Thanks Monevator and have some of that Vader!

  • 12 G April 8, 2023, 9:36 am

    I went down to 3 days (actually 3.5 worked over 3 days). The result is 3 super-intensive work days, followed by four days of rest/doing what I like. ChatGPT is currently enabling me to 5-10x my productivity during those days. All of the drudgery has gone and it’s like having a mini-team of expert assistants to hand.

  • 13 Rosario April 8, 2023, 11:45 am

    @ Al Cam
    Thanks for sharing, the post really resonated with me.

    I think, initially this approach could very much be softly softly. There wouldn’t necessarily be any need to have agreement from your employer to half your annual working weeks. Perhaps the start is a few weeks or a month unpaid leave? Over time that could become more frequent to a point where the agreement is less of a sell.

    Some roles wouldn’t be suited to that approach just as other roles aren’t suited to part time.

  • 14 Tom-Baker Dr Who April 8, 2023, 1:45 pm

    @The Rhino (#2) – On the longevity issue, I’ve got a real story to share that might convince you that massively outliving your peers, despite being sad, doesn’t have to stop you from leading a very good and happy life.

    My great grandfather was a late Victorian (born in the 1880s). He passed away when I was finishing sixth form and about to start at university. He was over 102. Until his late 90s, he was still going hunting with dogs and having very late dinners (more like feasts really). He never had any dementia or any chronic disease. Passed away in his sleep. A very popular person in his neighborhood.

    I think part of his secret was his ability to keep making friends with the new generations over his long life rather than being trapped in his generation. He saw enormous changes during his lifetime and got used to that. There were railway already when he was born but motor cars were still very rare and most people rode horses and bicycles. Later there was the Spanish flu, radio, the two World Wars, television, the Moon landing, the first personal computers, and the internet. Somehow he always managed to remain the most optimistic and happiest person I have ever known.

  • 15 The Rhino April 8, 2023, 2:06 pm

    @Dr Who – Haha, yes we all formulate our opinions from tiny samples and then go to bat with them in the forums with the best narrative we can muster 😉 It’s moot anyway because we don’t choose how long we live. He sounds like a right character!
    I am tempted to give the parental leave angle a go. My leave situation already pretty good though. Its tricky existing in a ‘conventional’ job though when your ambition is entirely separate/orthogonal to what your bosses/peers want/expect. I do quite like 4 days, I don’t do any more than my hours, but the stress is still definitely there though. It could go tits-up though as I can see myself failing to deliver on many fronts through too little time, i.e. I’m being mis-managed in terms of workload.

  • 16 John Charity Spring April 8, 2023, 6:31 pm

    Personally I like doing a 4 day week, despite the other comments here. But my situation is probably less typical.

    We have the day dedicated with our young pre-school child. And my earnings are at a level where I’d get penalised for working 5 days. So 4 days a week gives me a higher “day rate” of pay than 5 . Prior to Covid, I thought I’d have to beg or steal that time, so it’s been great having a supportive employer.

    Workload? Again I’m lucky to have an executive job and can be boundaried or just say no. Mostly my job is getting obstacles out of the way so other people can do theirs. I have a good team.

    When my child goes to school full time, I’ve thought about going back to 5 days but not sure I could now having had a few years of it. Plus school hours don’t work for the office. What will I fill that time with? I have ideas and it won’t be at a desk.

    Sure it’s less money but we 40 somethings can still sit tax efficiently at £100k each after pensions, with no mortgage which is plenty to live and prosper on even in London.

    I figure that few people sit on their death beds saying, “I really wish I’d traded back up to 5 days in the office.”

  • 17 weenie April 8, 2023, 7:03 pm

    I would like to drop to a 4-day week leading up to retirement but such hours appear to be exclusively for women with young/school-age children, so my request would definitely be a first. And then, even if granted, I can totally envisage having to squeeze the same job into 4 days but for less pay. Maybe I could play the menopause card?

    Anyway, I think that’s why I can’t rule out going form 100% work to nothing – there’s something still quite appealing to me about that.

  • 18 Nebilon April 8, 2023, 8:03 pm

    When I retired in July last year I thought I might want some part time work and in fact had a conversation with my ex boss about possibly doing a project for her part time- however she now has 2 people full time doing what we were talking about me doing part time. I’m good at my ex job, but not that good….

    She is still mentioning looking for a project for me but I find the longer it is the less I want to work. I’m certainly not bored. I saw an ad recently for a very part time (3 hours per week) job, which I might consider except for- as noted above- potential interference with travel plans.

    I was amused by the Financial Samurai blog which suggests you need a minimum of US $10m to retire. I have much less than that but still feel confident it’s enough!

  • 19 Al Cam April 8, 2023, 10:20 pm

    IMO, JPG’s annual update remains one of the most interesting resources on the web.
    Having said that, if you think this is “scary” for the last couple of years I have been trying to understand what “Die With Zero” maths might look like. The best answer I have found (albeit perhaps a tad naïve or unrealistic) is embodied in this paper from 2011: https://obj.portfolioconstructionforum.edu.au/articles_perspectives/PortfolioConstruction-Forum_MilevskyHuang_Spending-retirement-on-Planet-Vulcan.pdf

  • 20 Eadweard April 8, 2023, 10:21 pm

    I too have been thinking about coast-FIRE.
    Re part-time vs unpaid leave, at my employer the situation is the opposite of what @Rosario suggests – it is easy to get permission for part time work, but unpaid leave beyond 2 week/year (+ 4week/year parental leave if you have children) is a hard no. I can somewhat understand why – if you’re working part time then your knowledge and expertise is still available, whereas if you check out for 2 months or something, then they really need to find a replacement while you’re away and that’s a big hassle and cost.
    @Weenie, have you asked your employer about part time? You may be pleasantly surprised. With my employer having children is not a requirement for part time. I don’t think it costs an employer much to offer part time, so if they value you and the alternative is losing you entirely, they’re pretty likely to make it work.

  • 21 Gentleman's Family Finances April 8, 2023, 10:40 pm

    “But in practice he’s still doing paid work he likes. Because, well, he likes it, but also – I strongly suspect – because it takes the edge of that Lean aspect.”
    That describes my situation more or less. I’m still working but financially free (more or less).
    I’d like to be Ian Barker – but his situation sounds like kids are no longer in the picture.
    I’d love to spend months away slow travelling but until the kids are away, I’m only free between 9&3.

  • 22 Colin Holburn April 9, 2023, 12:30 pm

    I retired from full time work 8 years ago but went back working 2 days a week. Expected to have stopped by now but started to enjoy the 2days of work so will continue. As my work is well delineated when I finish work someone else takes over so I don’t have to cram everything in.
    I also have a paid side business which again gives me 1 day of work at home( or anywhere else I am) on one of the 3 days left in the week

  • 23 CJ April 9, 2023, 3:37 pm

    I have worked with those people who work 2 or 3 days before retiring. They are an absolute nightmare, do all the easy work and expect you to do the real graft and take responsibility for it all. I walked out of a job because of them. Please don’t foist yourself on your full time fellow employees. Retire or work full time no half measures.

  • 24 ermine April 9, 2023, 4:02 pm

    @never give up #11

    > This isn’t happening. I’m not sure what my definition of FI is but I need to tackle this mission in stages.

    I feel your pain. It took me many years before I could believe in the reliability of investment income. Sure, I tried to convince myself with using dividends etc, it may work but in the end it is a leap of faith, particularly in the early days. Congrats on getting running costs down to 10k p.a., that’s quite hard core these days 😉

    Although I termed it a leap of faith, as the years roll by it gets easier. Taking the first step, which you have behind you, is the essence. People try and dress it up with a veneer of apparent rationality and rigour, because faith has a terribly bad rap in 21st century Western society, but for all that you still have to believe in your own hero’s journey to get the benefit.

    All the SWR stuff doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if you can’t act upon it, and every line in every financial product says that past performance is no guarantee of future performance, and yet what are the axioms behind the (typically US-based) studies on SWR and the Monte Carlo FireCalc studies and the whole panoply of assumptions behind FI/RE? They all boil down to that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it rhymes. So far it’s sort of worked out.

  • 25 never give up April 9, 2023, 5:19 pm


    Forgive me, as well as referencing MMM and Monevator I should have referenced your own blog. There’s nothing quite like a ‘Simple Living’ rant to help prevent the lifestyle inflating! I expect my expenses to increase a little now I’m part-time but I certainly want to keep them in check. Low expenses has been the key to making good FI progress.

    I know I’m going to take a while to adapt to living without an income. I think some years of part-time will help smooth that for me. Hopefully in that time I can get used to market ups and downs and feel more comfortable with how this all works.

    @CJ – I feel for you there. That doesn’t sound a great setup. I don’t agree with your point about working full-time or not at all though. There are loads of scenarios where part-time workers add more than they take away. I expect to take no half measures in terms of my effort, output and co-operation with my colleagues. The fact I’m working less hours overall has nothing to do with them if my time management, organisation and team ethic is right.

  • 26 Weenie April 9, 2023, 9:05 pm


    I’m not ready financially yet to ask about part-time hours but I will when the time comes. 4 days could probably work, I’m not sure I’d go for less.

  • 27 Peter April 9, 2023, 11:39 pm

    My company gives us an option to work compressed hours. So I need to do 35 hours in a week but it does not matter how many days it will take me. I can for example choose to work 3 days a week 12, 12 and 11 hours on a last day. I decided to do my 35 hours in 4 days. I love it. Weekends last longer. Despite doing the same amount of hours, work/life balance feels much better.
    I was recently on holiday for 3 weeks and in the last week I was seriously bored. To an extent that I started to wonder if early retirement is what I actualy want.

  • 28 The Investor April 10, 2023, 12:00 pm

    Thanks for all the comments! Pleased to say @TA and Mrs @TA made it back home safe and sound. You’re not rid of us yet haha… 😉

    The question of whether to continue work or not is — if you’re lucky/far-sighted enough to have the choice — an eternal one. I also agree with @Al Cam’s implication that a bit of part-time work can *greatly* de-risk a retirement plan.

    But the point I wanted to amplify with this short post is the non-financial aspects, and perhaps also the new horizons opened by trying something new. Obviously the TV show is just a fiction; in practice our man probably gets berated for not being able to do an extra day at the fish market because he’s down working at the coffee shop, and holidays are difficult (though solved here by all his work being part-time and flexible, and all the villagers knowing that when he’s surfing on his day off nothing will drag him back!) Perhaps as a near adult-lifelong freelance it’s easier for me to imagine how all this might knit together. Or maybe as others are saying the novelty would wear off fast. Luck is surely a factor. As is where you try to do your causal Barista FIRE life. (A small sunny friendly beach town versus minimum wage cleaning jobs in Deptford — clearly vastly different propositions!)

    A few other quick specific replies on other topics:

    @BritinKiwi: — Indeed, this time last year and *cough* ahead of the curve I’d argue:

    Is your early retirement under threat from an unlucky sequence of returns?


    @Never Give Up — Thanks for sharing your experiences and for the nice words directed at us. You’re very welcome re: any small part we were able to play in steering your own efforts to financial freedom! 🙂

    @Tom Baker Dr Who — Your grandfather sounds like an inspiration! The men in my family don’t hang about long. If I am lucky enough to confound that trend, then I’d certainly want to do it his way! Sadly, while you can eat your greens, take exercise, and make friends (very underrated in PF) it’s still a bit of a lottery of course…

  • 29 Tom-Baker Dr Who April 10, 2023, 1:24 pm

    @TI (#28)- Thank you for your kind words, but he was my great grandfather actually, not my grandfather.

    As you say, it’s a bit of a lottery really. Even though many of the men in my family usually make it past their 90s, my maternal grandfather who was one of this great grandfather’s sons, passed away before him in his mid sixties of lung cancer: he was a heavy smoker and had started to secretly smoke cigarettes very early too when he was only 8 years old.

    Anyway, I think that just by living in the 21st century with so much better access to information and to all these incredible advances in medicine, you have a great chance to keep confounding that trend 🙂

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