Each week, we get seven days to live our lives. A lot of us work five days and take two days to relax, enjoy our hobbies and spend time with the ones we love.
This begs the question, “Why don’t we have more days for relaxation and fewer days for work?” It feels lopsided!
The answer usually comes back to money. Most people can’t afford to work fewer days each week. It’s a luxury that is not available to the vast majority of people.
Some people in our community have reached a level of family wealth called Coast FIRE and they do have the option to work fewer days if they choose to. Coast FIRE is when you’ve invested enough in retirement accounts that you’re able to simply coast to retirement without any further contributions.
When you’re debt-free, you have an emergency fund of 3-6 months and you’re Coast FIRE, you have financial strength and financial options.
The Case for the Coast FIRE 3-Day Workweek
I want to encourage people in that position to consider a 3-day workweek instead of a 5-day workweek. As our previous guest, Simone Stolzoff stated so well: “You exist on this planet to do more than just create economic value.”
I love that statement.
You’re not just a worker. You also may be a …
- Community Leader
- And so much more!
When we work the majority of our days and do these other roles just two of the days, we’re limiting our life potential.
I’ve heard too many stories of people at the end of their lives talking about working too much being their biggest regret.
And for those not quite yet in this privileged position of wealth and time freedom, I want to encourage you to pursue a debt-free, Coast FIRE life so that you have the option to work fewer hours each week in the near future. It won’t be easy – you’ll have to budget, spend less than you earn, save and invest more than you have in the past, but I believe it’s worth it.
Coast FIRE 3-Day Workweek Ideas
For folks who are Coast FIRE (or are interested in a future Coast FIRE Lifestyle), I want to share four ideas to help you create your own 3-day workweek. While everyone’s situation is different, these ideas may trigger some thoughts that could make “future you” quite happy.
Ask For a Part-Time Schedule Where You Currently Work
If you’ve been determined, focused, and successful enough to achieve debt freedom and Coast FIRE, there’s a good chance you’re a great employee.
Before you up and quit your job in a financial independence blaze of glory, use the rapport you’ve built up with your supervisor to have a candid chat about going part-time instead.
Of course, this assumes you enjoy what you do but you’d prefer to (and can afford to) do less of it. Be prepared to discuss a decrease in your salary as that may be a requirement as a fair exchange for fewer hours worked each week.
When I interviewed Angela Rozmyn from Tread Lightly Retire Early, she shared that her employer was surprisingly open to the idea of her working fewer hours. “As long as I could keep my core stuff, then we found ways to shift (my work schedule) around,” recalled Rozmyn. “And as I’ve worked less for 3.5 years, now I’m finding more and more people that have different schedules and hours than you would think.”
Seek Part-Time Work At Another Company (With Your Skill Set)
Perhaps you’re burnt out at your current company, but you don’t want to waste the skills and network you’ve built. Well, it might be time to look for a new job in your industry or at least with your skill set.
Use your current network and start having conversations with people about opportunities for part-time work. Although there may not be job listings officially set for part-time work, conversations and negotiations are always possible.
While this is probably an easier sell at your current employer because they know your work ethic, you may find employers looking to hire part-time to save on costs.
My wife Nicole recently was hired as a part-time employee at a dermatologist’s office. She was seeking part-time work and they were hiring for it. The arrangement required conversation and negotiation, but these opportunities are out there. Now she has her very own Coast FIRE 3-day workweek!
In a recent podcast interview, Nicole shared the part-time work benefits she’s found. “I went for a run this morning and did some yard work,” she shared. “It’s a nice break in the middle of the week. I’m not sure I’d be able to do all of this on a Saturday when we’re running to kid’s soccer games or birthday parties.”
Become a Part-Time Contract Worker or Freelancer (With Your Skill Set)
This idea steps you away from the employee side of things and more toward self-employment. While leaving an employment situation and moving toward an entrepreneurial life is quite challenging, the rewards of lifestyle design can be worth it.
Essentially, you would be in charge of finding clients, making sure those clients paid you, and managing your own work schedule. This autonomy can be freeing and liberating for some and terrifying and scary for others.
Since going down this path personally, I’ve realized the disadvantages of entrepreneurship. It requires a lot of discipline and systems that I wasn’t used to as an employee. Over time, I’ve found a good path and I’m very happy with my decision to leave full-time employment for part-time entrepreneurship.
While I’m yet to earn a salary comparable to what I used to earn at my previous corporate job, I’m still very happy because I’ve gained a lot more of my time back.
Eric Rosenberg, a freelance writer who earns well over $10k per month, shared how his time flexibility as a freelancer helps him to be a more present Dad. Rosenberg shared this awesome freelancer Dad milestone with us in our interview: “Now if I finish a big project and I feel like I’ve earned taking my daughter for ice cream at 3 pm, I can do that!”
Start a Small Business Based On Your “Ikigai”
If your Coast FIRE 3-day workweek is going to come from starting a small business, know that it requires a bit more patience since around half of US businesses fail within the first 5 years.
Let’s say you’ve had enough of working as an employee and you’ve had enough working in your industry. You could start your own business based on a passion or interest you have.
You’ll want to ensure your passion or interest can actually make money though.
I like looking at it through the lens of the Japanese term “Ikigai” or your purpose for being. This is the intersection point of:
- You love it
- The world needs it
- You are paid for it
- You are great at it
If I had to think of someone I’ve spoken to over the past 7 years who exemplifies this Ikigai well, it would be Chad Carson. He built a real estate business and the systems to go with it that allowed him to drastically increase his time freedom.
“It’s a combination of good people on the ground and technology,” shared Carson. “I typically spend an hour or two a week. On Thursdays, I usually do my bill paying and bookkeeping. The rest of the week I might get a text here and there asking a question.”
Final Thoughts on Building Your Coast FIRE 3-Day Workweek
Ultimately, I see this Coast FIRE 3-day workweek discussion as a pathway to a more intentional life. Not a life where you only feel accomplished when you’ve piled millions upon millions of dollars. Because honestly, that type of life doesn’t really ever have a destination. You can always make more money, save more, or invest more. That path is truly never-ending.
Coast FIRE allows you to find an investing goal that fits your family’s needs and a lot of your wants too. And then, it encourages you to go back to enjoying life. Because life is for living!
If you’re wondering where you are on your path to Coast FIRE, we’ve developed a Coast FIRE calculator for you to check out for free. We hope you enjoy it!
What do you think of creating a Coast FIRE 3-day workweek and a permanent 4-day weekend? Are you considering Coast FIRE as a path for your family?
Please let us know in the comments below.