What does "retired" (or "semiretired") mean to you?

Part-time absolutely can be a passing phase- but it isn’t always. Sure, a student working part-time is likely to be in a temporary phase of their life - but part of the reason I wouldn’t describe someone as “semi-retired” if they worked a part-time time job four or five days a week is because I’ve known so many people ( mostly but not entirely women) who worked that sort of part-time, non-career building job for all or most of their working lives.

It’s similar to my thinking regarding the business owner - it doesn’t make sense to me to describe someone as “retired” or “semi-retired” based exclusively on what they used to do for a living regardless of what they are doing now. If two 55 year old people are working 30 hours a week as supermarket cashiers , it doesn’t make sense to me to describe one as “retired” or “semi-retired” because one worked full-time in an insurance office until last year, while the other isn’t “retired” or “semi-retired” because they have been working part-time as a supermarket cashier since they were 25.

I met a retired teacher (or principal, I forget) who works part time at a brewery in Ithaca. He seemed very happy with his lot, and the bunch of teachers who were there (it was New York State teachers’ week) were more than a bit envious.

“Retired” for me means that you are absolutely, completely done with ever again engaging in any sort of paid employment. Whether you have a guaranteed pension, are wealthy enough that you can live off investment income indefinitely, or are spending down your principal but at a slow enough rate that you’re pretty much guaranteed to die before spending it all, doesn’t matter, but to me, if you work at all, you’re not retired.

Cutting back to 4 days a week instead of 5 isn’t “semi-retired.” Semi-retired is when you meet the criteria above, but you get a job flipping burgers at McDonald’s one half-day per week because you think it’s fun.

I don’t consider being a professional landlord to be retired. I suppose if you have a property management company doing everything, and you seldom have to interact with tenants or deal with repair/maintenance/upkeep issues, I could consider that semi-retired.

I mean, if you are a landlord with a property management company, that’s just managing an asset. Every retired person I know spends at least a little time managing assets: they still own some stocks and they move money around.

Yes. (Though some minor very very part-time paid employment that you don’t need to do to live on would also fit in with my definition). We seem to be in a minority here though.

I know plenty of parents of young kids who work four days a week, and might do forever because they can manage on that wage, and it would be beyond bizarre to call them semi-retired.

Yeah, I though of that while I was writing the post. I don’t know, I’ve never been a professional landlord, but I just kind of assume even the ones that have a property management company handle everything have to periodically meet with/talk to the property manager(s,) have a hand in deciding when repairs/upgrades are needed and how much to shell out for them, inspect any major changes personally, sell a property or buy a new one, things like that. And that seems like more effort and worry to me than rebalancing your stock portfolio once or twice a year and withdrawing money from your brokerage account once a month.

That’s because for some reason, some people actually like working, which I never have. Nothing is more mind-boggling to me than people who can retire but don’t. There are already more books to read, movies to watch, video games to plan than it’s possible to in one lifetime. I’ve always wanted to take up woodworking or learn a foreign language. If I had the time I could grow a big vegetable garden, do some homebrewing, and do more hiking. I immensely enjoy my days off when I can just sleep in, putter around in my PJs cooking a hot breakfast, and linger over that second cup of coffee while catching up on my favorite blogs. It’s still kind of hard for me to understand why some people prefer getting up at 6 AM, going into a workplace, and dealing with a boss/customers/whatever over doing all of those things.

I actually like working. There have been periods I haven’t worked and I didn’t like it very much, and not just because of the reasons I wasn’t working. Part time would suit me better but with some outliers, it would suit most people better (and if it doesn’t, then I’d wonder why your life was empty outside work).

I just expect work to be classified as well, work. The high school principal considers himself retired or semi-retired because he’s now working a job he enjoys. Does he think all bar staff are “retired”? He’s getting paid, and the job is actually not that easy. It’s a really odd way of looking at the world, that changing from one job to another is retiring.

I find that when i have no deadlines, i get nothing done. That’s not completely true. I can watch Netflix. But i get more done in Minecraft if i have to think about fitting it in around work. And i like getting stuff done in Minecraft. Same with gardening and several other hobbies.

I also like my job. I have a great boss, pleasant coworkers, and the actual work is often interesting. And i don’t wake up at 6. In pandemic, i roll into my home office around 9am.

I’m thrilled with the part-time gig, because it does give me more time for my other stuff, and more lazy mornings. But I’m also happy that i didn’t actually take retirement when i could have.