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Two Jobs and Retire Early? 205

Posted by Cliff
from the more-work-now-for-less-work-later dept.
70_hours_week wonders: "A Survey of teachers in a Nevada school district indicate that 40% have a second job. Do you have a second job? Assume you are 30 and since you like to save your money you could semi-retire by age 50. Now, what if you could nearly double your salary working a second job and that meant you could semi-retire at age 40. Would you do it?"
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Two Jobs and Retire Early?

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  • NO! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nutria (679911) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:28PM (#15507048)
    Less money, but more family time is a value choice that my wife and I decided on before we got engaged.
    • by Alaren (682568) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:01PM (#15507175)

      The article itself has very little to do with "retiring early..."

      Remember that "second job" can be awfully misleading. My father is a civil engineer, and he works with a contractor whose "real job" is being a firefighter. He spends two days a week at the fire station around the clock. Then he spends three days contracting on construction sites. He's got two jobs, and he "works" over 40 hours a week... plus he's one of those heroic firefighter types. But in real hours worked he actually puts in fewer hours than I do.

      Teachers don't have it quite so cushy, but again... two jobs? I had a physics teacher who was also a construction worker, mostly during the summer and during breaks. Does that really count as two jobs?

      Here on an IT/geek website, I'm sure most readers are thinking, "Geeze, 80-100 hours a week, could that possibly be worth it?" That's because most of us have jobs that run a little (or a lot) over the "standard 40." Two jobs does not necessarily mean early retirement, as the actual text of the article clearly shows. "Forty percent" having two jobs does not tell the whole story.

      • Agreed. Another troubling item is that when there is potential for multiple wages within a household one spouse often stays with the kids. On one hand that is commendable, but the reality is that when hit with college education versus retirement, things start to look a bit more grim. The reality is that in order to retire at all and still help your progeny with their education it will be a challenge for most of us. Imagine what it will take for those that only have one income and many mouths to feed. I
    • by Cheapy (809643)
      Admit it, you just want more time to get First Posts on /.

      Wife? hah!
    • Re:NO! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hawk (1151) <hawk@eyry.org> on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:42AM (#15507625) Journal
      These are *Nevada Teachers*. The salary isn't enough to live on here.

      I belive that the starting salar is $24k with a masters. While a significant portion of the summer is vacation (nothing close to all of it), the hours during the year tend to exceed forty per week.

      Even five years ago, this was a relatively inexpensive place to live. That is no longer true, with the median house price flirting with $300k. We've gone from well under to well over. Auto insurance is also outrageous, due to the bad drivers from around the country (which is far worse than bad local driving habits, which are at least expected by other drivers).

      Utilities are fairly mild in winter (though it's harsh by California standards :), but a lot of AC is needed during the summer (though you can work wonders with a swamp cooler; I was [barely] below $100 last August. $300 and rising is more typical).

      These teachers aren't taking second jobs for extra money, but to survive.

      Even if it were for extra money, it wouldn't come close to doubling your income. You use up all of your exemptions and deductions on the first job, and pay a higher tax bracket on the second.

      hawk

      • That is no longer true, with the median house price flirting with $300k.

        The boomers are inflating real estate prices by gifting their offspring. This will implode (hopefully slowly, but since when have real estate prices ever degraded gracefully?) as new home buyers will no longer afford to get into the market. Or, wealthy immigrants can continue the insane prices.

        Joe and Jane Average, plan on renting for the rest of your lives.
        • by hawk (1151)
          Here, it's not the boomers gifting but the out of towners speculating. A few have alread sued developers that had to drop prices . . . I'm actually looking forward to the bubble popping. It will be more spectacular than usual, as we have a much higher than usual percentage owned by flippers, err, investors.

          hawk
  • Retiring early is a terribly strong incentive, but then again so is a mortgage note.
  • by MinutiaeMan (681498) * on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:34PM (#15507068) Homepage
    Retirement is that milestone in your life where you (probably) have enough money earned and saved that you can live off said savings for the remainder of your life. Considering that (1) life expectancy is increasing and there's the possibility of life extension treatments on the horizon, and (2) the national budget is in the toilet (at least in the USA) with grim prospects for the long-range viability of Social Security... I think it's ludicrous to think about early retirement at all. Unless you're a serious workaholic, the old adage "slow and steady wins the race" still applies!

    Also, I'm not impressed by that survey... I'd bet that the vast majority of those jobs are small fast-food-joint type affairs where they spend 10 or 20 hours a week at most, as a way to get some extra spending money. We've got several people who do that where I work. Working two full-time jobs would be ridiculous.

    Besides, if anyone actually had two full-time jobs, they wouldn't likely have time to read Slashdot now, would they?
    • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:45PM (#15507128) Journal
      Early retirement is not ludicrous. I started a plan to allow me to retire at 45 when I was 25. I am now 33 and could still make the target... worst case is I will be 50 barring something unforseen.

      I work forty hours per week. My wife stays home with the kids. My house will be paid off after nine years of mortgage payments. I don't need to keep up with the Jonses. I bought a house that was about one year's gross income (less now)... a fixer upper, but it has also been fun learning to do things. We share a car. Used. Buddy is a mechanic on a car lot... got me a great deal for about half of blue book.

      I don't mind working, but don't want to HAVE to work. When I hit fifty, I want to be able to work volunteer, and not have to worry about a paycheck. It means a slightly smaller lifestyle than most of my friends, but frankly when I see a BMW, I am thinking "big money wasted".

      Now, would I work eighty hours to make it happen at 40 instead of 50? Nope. Life is too precious, and there is always the law of diminishing returns. I do enjoy my job, but that would cease if it became eighty.

      Like anything in life it is about trade offs and moderation.
      • A house that's only one year's gross income? Heck, in the Minneapolis area even our little 1450 square foot 2-bedroom townhouse was worth $149k back in 2000 when we bought it, and probably $225k now.

        I don't think you could even buy a house within 50 miles of the Twin Cities for a typical programmer's wage in the area (roughly 60-70k).

        It's nice that you were able to do it, though. Cool, actually. Once the housing costs are taken care of, most of the big expenses are gone. :-)
        • I agere. I don't think there's a *single* live-able house anywhere in Britain for just one year's gross salary. The average income here is around £20,000pa (so US$35,000 or so). The average house (depending on area) - £80,000 to £250,000. The banks own your ass for most of your adult life if you get into a mortgage.

          -Nano.
        • I rent a room from a friend who bought a house while in college last year. The house cost 25k, and he's put maybe 5k into fixing it up. Nothing structural, just putting in new flooring and painting. It has a nice backyard and a 2 car garage with a second story on it for storage. The house has 2 bedrooms, kitchen, dining room, entry room and living room. Definately a nice livable house, for a hell of a price.

          So yeah, I'd say its doable. It just really depends on where you live.
        • our little 1450 square foot 2-bedroom townhouse

          First, 1450 square feet is not a little house. Second, I agree that the real estate market went insane, and that you're not going to find a livable house on one years gross income anymore. There are a few houses for less than $70K in the twin cities area, though they're usually unhabitable. Third, there are over five hundred homes listed on the MLS for less than $150K in the city limits of Minneapolis or St. Paul, right now. None of these houses are huge

      • One year's gross income? For a house? Fixer-upper or no, that's quite a find. Was it a foreclosure? Real estate market depressed in your area? Send Guido and Nunzio over to negotiate the sale?

        Seriously, though. I admire the way you're living, and your ability to opt out of the overwork-to-overconsume treadmill. Most people end up getting into a house bigger than they can afford, and spend their whole lives busting ass to afford the house, so that they can say their houses are as big as the neighbor's
        • Of course, this rat-race mentality leads to bigger and bigger houses, which makes the market unaffordable for everyone, even those who only want a place to live, rather than a status symbol. This glut of overbuilt housing isn't going away, and there are psychological and economic reasons for thinking that this housing bubble may never really "pop".

          No, it probably won't. People are constantly "trading up", and the population is also constantly increasing. Worse, you can't escape by just getting an apartmen
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:24PM (#15507267)
      That's just silly. Two full-time jobs would mean twice as much time to read Slashdot. :)
    • But if you don't work as long, you won't put as much into social security, thus you get slightly less screwed over in the end.
    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @12:38AM (#15507616)
      Considering that (1) life expectancy is increasing and there's the possibility of life extension treatments on the horizon, and (2) the national budget is in the toilet (at least in the USA) with grim prospects for the long-range viability of Social Security... I think it's ludicrous to think about early retirement at all.

      Why would you even consider living off the government to be a form of retirement? That's not returement, that's called welfare. Retirement is when you save enough money to be able to take care of yourself with no intervention from anyone, and it's perfectly reasonable and possible to do so much earlier in life than people traditionally do. I think a lot of people fourty and under have no illusions that we will see a dime from that money pit called Social Security.

      Add to that the fact that retirement for a lot of people means "do whatever work I like for as little as I like" and you don't even nessecarily have to save up enough to last forever, just to allow you enough finanacial freedom to do what you love. Of course it's even better if you are saving for more advanced retrirement while you do what you love...

      • I'm getting damn tired of this libertarian crap that would demand you throw a heavy stone at a drowning swimmer lest one penny be wasted on an "idle" lifeguard.

        Look at the history of social security. It wasn't a few more bucks for affluent middle-class retirees, it was keep poor older Americans (the vast majority) from starving to death or freezing to death in the winter. This isn't hyperbole, and a generation earlier the idea that many working people could actually live that long (vs. dying from illness
    • I agree completely. But I'll take it a little further. If you are under 40 right now, don't plan on retiring till you are at least 70. After that, you'll get a good 20 or 30 years to lounge around and tend roses or write code and play with the grandkids.

      A lot of the baby boomers are starting to look at retirement. We have to make the change in retirement age now, before they retire. After they retire, you'll have a working minority paying for the majority of Americans to lounge around, take Viagra, and
  • Reality check (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:36PM (#15507082)
    I suspect any two jobs so cleanly compartmentalized that you can do both adequately are likely to skew toward mundane work, unlikely to pay enough (individually or together) to support retirement by age 40 with any kind of lifestyle you'd want yourself or your family to have. I would guess most people working two (or more) jobs aren't ambitious so much as limited by their options and life circumstances, and doing that work to support families, service debt, etc.
  • Faulty premise (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:39PM (#15507096) Journal
    Even assuming you can get two jobs paying the same, consider:

    1) Most good jobs require SOME non-standard time. It happens to me about three times a year where I pull an all nighter. I get comped for it, but if I had a second job, I'd be unable to meet the first's requirements.

    2) Two jobs paying equivilant will not double your take home income. Taxes go up as you earn more, on federal and state, and often local level.

    3) Part of being able to retirn in 20 years depends on the growth of money, and the miracle of compound interest. Two jobs might bring it down 20-40 percent, depending on growth rates, and original time frame, but will NOT cut it in half. Also remember that you will need some kind of medical coverage. Your $ required to retire will actually go up the early you retire.

    4) If you work eighty plus hours per week for ten years, you will be losing the prime part of your life. I would not give up a decade of my life, and miss raising my kids for a million a year. Not worth it.

    • Two jobs paying equivilant will not double your take home income. Taxes go up as you earn more, on federal and state, and often local level.


      You mean that progressive taxation is a dis-incentive to work harder? You mean maybe all those fiscal conservatives who call for a flat tax aren't crazy after all?
      • You mean that progressive taxation is a dis-incentive to work harder? You mean maybe all those fiscal conservatives who call for a flat tax aren't crazy after all?

        Not necessarilly. Only the way it is implemented. My proposal? Well, I think you will agree that there is a certain base amount of money you need just to live. A fixed tax rate based on income earned above this mark. If we agree the base is $20,000 per person and you earn $50,000, you get taxed on $30,000. In that way it is progressive, but each
        • Well, technically that's a progressive tax, but it's not a progressive tax as defines by our political environment.

          Your proposal *is* a conservative viewpoint. It's what Dole and Gingrich wanted. (Real conservatives, not that crap we've got now).

          I would alter your proposal to say that the 'base' deductable income should vary based on geography. It's more expensive to live some places than others, and just about everywhere needs to be affordable to some percentage of people in the lowest income ranges.
          • I would alter your proposal to say that the 'base' deductable income should vary based on geography. It's more expensive to live some places than others, and just about everywhere needs to be affordable to some percentage of people in the lowest income ranges.

            In principle, I agree. In reality, this would be a political mine field with more schenanigans being played to tilt the field to the big states.

            And yea, I tend to be a fiscal conservative. Why I am embarassed by what we have as president and congress r
            • In reality, this would be a political mine field with more schenanigans being played to tilt the field to the big states.

              That's why you use the same equation to figure out the magic number for everybody, and you base it off census and commerce data (which, admittedly, is assumed to be accurate). You could still game the numbers, but it would be hard.

              Or you let the senate pick the formula and the house gather the stats...
      • You mean maybe all those fiscal conservatives who call for a flat tax aren't crazy after all?

        The people who are crazy(*) are the so-called fiscal conservatives who think that someone's seriously going to turn down a second income (or a better-paying job) because he'll only be able to keep some of the additional money as take-home pay. Have you ever actually heard someone say, "No, boss, I don't want that raise; because even though I'd take home more money, I'd be paying more in taxes." With a properly i
        • Have you ever actually heard someone say, "No, boss, I don't want that raise; because even though I'd take home more money, I'd be paying more in taxes."

          Nope, but I have heard people say "I'm not going to take that second job/work on the side, because, after taxes, the additional pay isn't worth my time."

          and has no discernable effect on "incentive to work harder".

          Actually, with a sufficiently sized population, even a small disincentive is easily measureable in the GDP. Just because it has no noticable effec
  • Heart attack ? Stroke ? Appoplexy from your higher tax bracket ?

    Work yourself to death so when you are broken down you can enjoy life. Sounds like a plan. You could just try one of those late night infomercials, don't know if it would work better but at least it might be more fun.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:50PM (#15507141)
    Bad summary. The article doesn't discuss people working multiple jobs to retire early, it's discussing a school district that pays its starting teachers so low that the teachers can't make ends meet. Unsurprisingly, the district has more than one thousand openings unfilled.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:57PM (#15507162) Homepage Journal
    Ann Marie Perone's SUV is like her second home.
    So let me get this straight, you drive an expensive gas guzzler then give me some boo-hoo story about how you have to work 2 jobs? Maybe if you would drive something PRACTICAL then you could save money and not have to work another job.....

    Living in Germany and Japan opened my eyes, Americans just consume too god damn much. I have become a minimalist and love every minute of it. My only guilty pleasure is travel, but I spend less on travel each year than most people spend on gas for their SUVs.
    • Hold on a second (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Jeff Molby (906283)
      you drive an expensive gas guzzler
      Don't be so quick to judge. The rest of your argument may well be valid, but there are a lot of small SUVs on the market that are neither expensive, nor inefficient. Obviously, a Hyundai Accent would be less expensive and more efficient, but that may not meet her needs for some reason.
      • Come on, she needs the room in the SUV to hold the 2nd change of clothes she needs just in case something happens so she can work her 2nd job in order to pay for the SUV. Didn't you read the article man?
    • When you do not have money it is damn near impossible to afford a car that does not guzzle gas due to having to buy a used vehicle, and then one that you can afford payments on (or to buy in cash).

      Sure, it would make more sense to spend $30k on a hybrid or turbodiesel, but when you make $22k a year... I doubt that her SUV is one she got new.

  • by Mantle (104724) on Friday June 09, 2006 @09:58PM (#15507164)
    First of all, note that the article linked is not really the topic of this post. It is merely illustrative of the submitter's question of whether it is advised/possible to work to jobs and retire early.

    That said, why isn't it possible for her to just work one job with a single child? She makes between $33k and $44k per year from teaching. It may not be a life of luxury, but it should be possible without having to work two jobs.

    Ann Marie Perone's SUV ...

    Maybe a greater awareness of the amount of resources she is consuming and a reevaluation of what is necessary in her life is required.

  • by cachorro (576097) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:02PM (#15507181)
    As one who is approaching retirement and could probably retire today, I will say that AFAICT the joys of retirement are over-rated.

    If you work in a job doing what you love, you can mostly forget even thinking about retirement, and leave it as a contingency for when your powers start failing. Granted, one must work in joyless jobs sometimes before getting into a career that matches the promptings of your heart. In that case, work as many jobs as needed to get past that point. Just remember that your goal is not to not have to work, but to reach a plateau where your work suits you.

    IMHO life is not about getting to a finish line earliest, but rather about the fruit your presence here produces. It has been noted elsewhere that a tree that produces no fruit is only suitable for the fire.
  • by bob65 (590395) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:06PM (#15507198)
    In particular, not all jobs are equal in time/effort/stress/pay. Job A could be the equivalent of 2 Job Bs.
  • Hey Mon (Score:3, Funny)

    by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:08PM (#15507204) Journal
    You only working tree jobs? My great grandmother is working eight jobs. And I'm working seventeen jobs. Oh look here comes my lovely daughter who's working 5 jobs. "Hey dad, here's a brain surgeon I'm dating." "What else does he do?" "Nothing, he works a highly paid position where he helps people." "Ah he's working only one job, you lazy bastard, get away from my daughter."

  • Taxes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rlp (11898) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:09PM (#15507210)
    In the US the tax system is 'progressive'. Thus your marginal tax rate will go up much faster than your income increases from your second job. Also savings for early retirement would have to take into account a longer period of retirement, inflation, and the incrasing cost of (individual) health insurance as you grow older (increasing faster than inflation). Bottom line - with two jobs you could retire early - but not as early as you might think. Personally, I'd rather take a more balanced approach than become a victim of karoshi.
  • IMO working two jobs simply dissipates one's ability to concentrate on one's work. The main reason so many people are working multiple jobs is because of the burdens imposed on employers when they try to work people full-time or on overtime. While I can understand sympathy for workers who are forced to work MORE hours than they'd prefer, the current regulations also hold back those who would prefer to keep at it for more than 36 hours a week.
    • IMO working two jobs simply dissipates one's ability to concentrate on one's work. The main reason so many people are working multiple jobs is because of the burdens imposed on employers when they try to work people full-time or on overtime. While I can understand sympathy for workers who are forced to work MORE hours than they'd prefer, the current regulations also hold back those who would prefer to keep at it for more than 36 hours a week.

      What are those burdens, specifically? Actually paying the headcoun
      • In a word, yes. Mandating perks to employees who work more than 36 hours a week means it's in the company's best interests to have as few people work full-time as possible. Unintended consequences are as real as the intended ones.

        And as for "pure profit" - not every company has huge profit margins. If it weren't for profits, those companies and their products wouldn't exist.
  • by Tetravus (79831) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:15PM (#15507234) Homepage
    Personally, I see the US undergoing some serious inflation over the next 40 years. If I had to work a second job to just barely be able to 'retire' early there's simply too much risk involved to make the potential pay-off worth pursuing. If inflation does take off, savings will be decimated.

    If you want to retire early, get into something that pays really really well. Then hedge your risk by moving a chunk of your wealth out of dollar denominated assets. If you're smart enough to be an engineer (or even an IT generalist) then you're smart enough to be a successful stock broker or banker (think leveraged buy outs).

    My point is that the risks we all face are great enough that I wouldn't be willing to sell the prime of my life to a second employer unless I was damn sure that my retirement was going to be comfortable and satisfying (Viagra gets expensive over 20-30 years, yo).
    • Retirement was invented when:

      1. People died around retirement age anyway, so it didn't cost that much.

      2. They worked physically demanding jobs that couldn't be done effectively by somebody old.

      3. While they were in the prime of their life, they busted themselves raising large family.

      1 & 3 certainly no longer hold. If generation n+1 has twice as many people as generation n, then generation n+1 will be able to take care of generation n for five years on the average. If generation n+1 is smaller than gener
  • Yeah, no... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jascat (602034) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:24PM (#15507265)
    You have to realize that most people who are able to retire in their 60s have either a pension or good investments. Those that are able to retire sooner have been really smart about their money, paid off their mortage early and made a conscious effort to live on cash alone. The problem with most people is that they look at financing vehicles and credit cards as a way of life, just like the electric and phone bill. The people who do retire comfortably are the ones that save and invest what would have otherwise been spent on interest and more expensive, unneeded material things. The more time you have money earning interest, the better it is, but investing takes time. Bringing in more money alone won't get you to retirement. Time, steady income and smart spending/saving is what gets you to retirement.
    • It's not hard, it is just a decision you make. I work as a mechanical engineer for a large company. I am 45. I own my house and drive a 20 year old car.

      I eat in (good) restaurants twice a week, and holiday overseas for a month every two years.

      I don't intend on retiring since I enjoy my job, but I could retire tomorrow just on the income from my shares. It took 10 years to do this, once I decided on a financial plan, and that decade includes losing a lot of money in the tech-wreck.
      • Possibly you could afford to retire, but one thing many people don't take into consideration when they say this is the cost of health insurance. When you're approaching 60 and you are no longer part of an employer's group policy, you could be looking at an $800 per month premium. Go without? You're now in the stage of your life when you will be most likely to need it. Even once you reach 'retirement age', you can expect nearly $100 a month for MediGap coverage. It would be a shame to save all that money onl
  • by Jeff Molby (906283) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:26PM (#15507272)
    As has already been pointed out, many of your assumptions are invalid. You can scale your idea back a little bit and find some more modest success. Typical retirement advice is to set aside 10% of your income throughout your entire career, but anyone with a clue knows that compound interest makes your early savings exponentially more valuable than the savings from the end of your career. If you were willing to bust your hump for 5 years and set aside 5 times as much as you normally would, you might be able to coast through the remainder of your career knowing that your retirement is already handled. It's unorthodox, but it might work. Do your homework.
  • With my life, i'm at my peak right now. I make a decent amount of money, good looking guy (let me believe it), lots of friends, energy to burn, my brain still works, my body still works. As I get older, I'm guessing that everyone of those things (except for the money) will decrease the older I get. These are -my- _years_ right now. I certainly would never entertain the idea of working two jobs at this point in my life just so that I could retire early.

    I'd be essentially passing up my young excellent sex
  • Would I sacrifice ten whole years of my life in order to 'save' ten others a decade from now? In this situation, no. What kind of a family life would you have working two jobs? What's the point of retiring early if there's no one to retire with?

    Right now I'm only at University, and as a result have a reasonably flexible schedule, but I still have a very difficult time balancing my time between my partner, a part-time job, my desire to learn on my own, my need for quiet time and studies. I don't see my partn
    • That was a well written and thoughtful post. Every one I've ever met who entertained this sort of idea is unmarried and doesn't seem to understand just how bad the stress of doing this will destroy their lives. This is a recipe to burn out and to find yourself in a career path that you can no longer enjoy.
  • by munpfazy (694689) on Friday June 09, 2006 @10:53PM (#15507359)
    I've spent a fair amount of time thinking about this (although admittedly most of it was spent in the company of other drunken academics.)

    It seems to me that for a well educated, technically skilled, first world people, there are basically three optimal strategies one can choose in finding work:

    1 - Find a job that you love, so that working itself makes you happy, where happiness may include the feeling that you've accomplished something worthwhile, even if the day to day work isn't pleasant. (eg. the physicist or aid worker options)

    2 - Find a job that requires minimum effort and time and allows you to spend most of your time doing things that make you happy. (the writer who's also a security guard option)

    3 - Find a job that sucks but allows you to make a lot of money, then retire early and spend the rest of your life doing things that make you happy. (the investment banker turned surfer option.)

    I'd argue that one is best served by pursuing any of these three strategies with intensity. Compromises are sure to sink you: taking a job that you only mostly hate in order to make enough money to retire a few years earlier buys you nothing; finding a job that requires just enough effort to leave you feeling tired at the end of the day but doesn't either give you enough money to retire early or a feeling of satisfaction puts you in the same miserable boat as most other American white collar workers.

    To that end, if you choose to run with option #3, you're better off stacking on as many jobs as you can handle without physical breakdown. The off hours you sacrifice will be low quality anyway.

    The downside, of course, is that option #3 involves banking your healthiest, most active years on the promise of free time in the future. If your idea of a good time involves seeing a lot of theater and learning how to paint, and if you aren't obviously a candidate for early health problems, and if you believe the economy will continue to value the medium in which you've banked your savings, then it may well be a safe bet. On the other hand, if your idea of a good time involved climbing mountains, going to protests, and fucking, you might be better off choosing an alternative strategy.

    My own policy has been to go after #1. So far, I've no complaints. But, it sure helps that what I happen to enjoy also pays enough to live on.
    • 2 - Find a job that requires minimum effort and time and allows you to spend most of your time doing things that make you happy. (the writer who's also a security guard option)

      3 - Find a job that sucks but allows you to make a lot of money, then retire early and spend the rest of your life doing things that make you happy. (the investment banker turned surfer option.)


      Or, do both and get your real estate license. Words you will never hear together are "real estate agent" and "busting your ass for a paycheck.
  • Work less when you're young so you have time to have fun while you you still can? Then when you're older you can be responsible and save money. Some other posters have pointed out that due to the progressive income tax system in the US, the greater the amount of money you make at one time, the less it ends up being worth to you. This, however, also turns out to be true about the years of your life: the five years from 22 to 27 are worth way more than 52 to 57, since people have fewer obligations they can
    • Don't sweat the tax rate. If you're making $29,000 a year (the max you can make at the 25% tax bracket as a single person), you pay about $3300 in taxes. Figure that, living frugally, you can sock away about $15,000/year.

      Now go with the "two job" plan. You've doubled your income to $58,000. While this means you're now paying $10,500 in taxes, look at what happens to your marginal savings rate. Assuming your expenses haven't gone up, you can take every cent of the after-tax money and put it into savings
  • by Wiseleo (15092) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @06:08AM (#15508274) Homepage
    You should become a teacher only when you can afford to do so. It's a volunteer position that has a modest salary along with substantial time requirements and a not so modest budget for out of pocket expenses.

    Attempting to survive on those miserable salaries leads to a miserable educational experience for the students. That's why we wind up with energetic young teachers become disillusioned and on the picket lines in a fairly short order. The best teachers whom I had the pleasure to learn from could afford to teach for free. Poor teachers really made my time in school miserable. The correlation was simply too direct not to notice it.

    Make your money in a successful career, then become a teacher. That will allow you to inspire students to break free of the boundaries of paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. Your job is to teach them to be successful. That does not mean preparing them to follow corporate orders.

    Instead of that second job, figure out how to set aside 10-20K by living very frugally initially and start investing in things that generate real returns, such as REITs for example. Let your friends laugh at you that you have an older car (and no payments) and a tiny apartment for a couple of years. Once you have 10-20K, you can start to make real money by increasing your wealth through investments. Yes this approach does work. It took us a couple of years before we started seeing real returns on that initial sacrifice. And yes it does take a lot of time that is consistent with having a second job.

    I love to teach, but I am not yet at the point where I would be comfortable to essentially retire to volunteer as a teacher for a lousy 30K.
  • Hate to rain on someones parade, but that way lies madness.

    The questions that need be asked before this are:

    • What, in the world around me makes me angry?
      What injustice is immediately at hand that I can correct?
    • What situations make me sad?
      Can I remove or reduce those situations in someone else's life too?
    • What do I find joy in?
      Can I spread it around?
    • Do I know the difference between what is needful, and what is just wanted?
      Are the real needs of people around us being sacrifised to mere wants?
    • Who are
  • by John_Booty (149925) <johnbooty.bootyproject@org> on Saturday June 10, 2006 @08:07AM (#15508511) Homepage
    Now, what if you could nearly double your salary working a second job and that meant you could semi-retire at age 40.

    Double your salary? This isn't possible for any sort of professional career that I know of. Most careers that provide any sort of decent income take more than 40 hours a week.

    The only "get another job, double your income" kind of positions I can think of would be menial jobs. If you're making $6/hour putting in 20-30 hours/week at Burger King then yeah, I'm sure you could do another 20-30 hours a week at another burger joint. But that's not the kind of money you can retire on. I mean, you can barely live on that.

    The teacher in the article isn't retiring early either, by the sound of it. And she's sure not doubling her money. Sounds like she's supplementing her teaching income by working other jobs just to make ends meet and provide for her kid.

    Even if this was possible, that's no way to live. Wasting the prime years of your life working sunup to sundown is not a ticket to happiness.
  • Having two jobs + saving != being able to retire early. You need a steady income during your retirement (bonds, stocks, mutual funds) to cover any expected and unexpected expenditures you encounter. There are scenarios where you can early at 55, and run out of money when you're 75, but work 3 years more till you're 58 and have enough money to you die.

    Again, you're better off asking your financial advisor and consulting with you're family than asking the ./ crowd.
  • by lawaetf1 (613291) on Saturday June 10, 2006 @01:04PM (#15509552)
    I think one fundamental point to this debate that is consistently overlooked is the staging of your development. You simply can't bust your ass for 20 years, retire early, and then suddenly be a rounded, interesting, meaningful human. Becoming a worthwhile homo sapien is like growing a tree.. it's a life-long process that requires ongoing effort if the final result, the adult tree, is going to be an appreciable specimen.

    If you sacrifice interest in music or learning a new language or falling in love to be able to retire by 50 then you're going to end up with a boring brain that's been neglected for 30 years and has no developed appreciation for the finer things in life. Quite simply, you'll suck. Yeah your money might let you buy bigger toys but you'll always have a quiet nagging knowledge that all all your flashy possessions are really just trinkets.

    It's a sweeping generality, but our society is fixated on stop-gap measures that our aimed at making us feel okay with leading unbalanced and/or pointless lives. From prozac to the latest pulp spirituality (The Power of Now, for example) we're constantly seeking to glaze over a problem we refuse to define. It ain't easy being alive but if you blend in as much beauty as you can and indulge yourself in pursuits beyond what makes you some scratch you'll find the ride goes a lot easier.

  • I guess is depends on what you mean bby retire. I know lots of people who have to work when they "retire". Wages haven't kept pace with the cost of living for most working people. Many already live paycheck to paycheck. Most will be lucky if they can retire, as in no longer work. You best make certain you really do have enough to live off when you eventually do retire. Retire at 50? As rampant as age discrimination is, you'll be lucky to have a decent job that long.
  • 1. Work 2 jobs from 20 to 45.
    2. Save enough from those jobs to live off of for the rest of your life. Generally, that means saving most of your net. Meaning you have no life from 20 to 45.
    3. Die at 50 because you worked so damn much the last 30 years.

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