Working professionals have more options now than ever, meaning transitioning from full-time work to full-time retirement is no longer your only option. If you are ready to scale back, but not ready to retire, downshifting may be your best option. Downshifting your career has many financial and personal benefits to consider but also a few areas of caution.
Options Vary Depending on Your Employer
First, downshifting can refer to a variety of part-time employment opportunities. If you are already employed full-time, start by discussing your desire to cut back, while remaining a valuable part of your company. Many employers will explore options with you, as you are already trained and tenured. However, some companies are only interested in full-time or 40+ hour commitments. When meeting with HR to discuss a downshift, be open to:
Working in a new position
Taking a demotion
Taking a pay cut
Losing perks and benefits
Working non-traditional hours
Working as a seasonal or contract employee
Feeling disconnected from the day-to-day
These might sound hard to swallow at first, but staying within the same company is often far easier than seeking part-time employment elsewhere.
Downshifting Allows You to Ease Into Retirement
As much as we daydream about being retired, many new retirees struggle with what to do when they retire. They go from working a demanding schedule to having nothing to do. This might be appealing at first but can quickly grow old. Downshifting lightens your workload, but provides you with a sense of structure.
From a financial standpoint, downshifting your career allows you to hold off dipping into your retirement. Even a year or two can have a major impact on your quality of life when it comes time to retire full time. You may have to adjust to a new budget after you downshift, which is good practice for adjusting to your upcoming retirement budget. Also, remember that downshifting may change your eligibility for health care and your 401k.
Retirement Isn’t the Only Time to Consider Downshifting Your Career
Downshifting may be beneficial for other life transitions, such as during pregnancy, while your kids are young or when going through a divorce. Many companies want to retain their top talent, so they are open to finding an alternative that is beneficial for everyone. This can ease your financial stress and allows your employer to continue to benefit from your unique skillset. Remaining employed part-time during a time of transition also makes it easier to identify full-time work when your schedule opens.
Consider a Downshifted Career After You Retire
If you have already retired but feel restricted by your new budget, or you crave routine or mental stimulation, you might decide to search for part-time employment. While there are many jobs to consider, you don’t have to limit yourself to a new career. While that may be the way you want to go, consider applying for part-time work in your previous field. For maximum flexibility, think about working as a contractor or freelancer.
As your financial planner, my goal is to explore all available options. This often requires thinking outside the box for a personalized solution. While downshifting may not be the best fit for you, we can review a few different options. Reach out today to discuss your retirement goals.
Linden Oak Wealth Partners offers fee-only financial advising customized for women, in particular, women in transition. Our goal is to create an environment where financial planning is efficient, simplified and easy to understand. We want clients to feel empowered and engaged every step of the way. Please contact us to schedule an initial consultation today.
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