Phasing Down/Phasing In

In an earlier blog entry I focused on two orientations toward retirement that I have noticed: “Toe-Dipping,” and “Cliff Diving.”  Here are another two that are becoming increasingly frequent: “Phasing down” and “Phasing in.” 

Phasing down can occur while still working, and is similar to part-time retirement. At some colleges and universities, for example, it is possible for a faculty member to ease out of full-time employment by stepping it down to increasingly reduced amounts, say 50 percent. This approach is a bit like toe-dipping, but where the familiar roles, routines, and responsibilities of one’s work life are maintained, but at a lesser level.  Simultaneously, this planned evolution allows a retiree to begin experimenting with other ways to spend time and energy. 

Phasing in can occur after completely retiring by taking on some novel ways to be involved in other work or volunteering. In this mode, a retiree who has left his or her full-time job or career engages in alternate forms, most often gradually and part-time, sometimes as a full-time equivalent. Chamberlin, in an American Psychological Association report, summarized results of a survey conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research of 1,024 adults over 50 years of age. Among other findings, 8 percent of these respondents reported it is “likely” or even “very likely” that they will do some work for pay during their retirement.  Others, instead of working for pay after retiring decide to volunteer their service, either in an effort that is similar to the work or career they retired from or in a completely unrelated domain.

It is worthwhile to remember that there is no one way to retire.  Explore the options, and see what might best fit you.

Phasing Down, Phasing In

Robert Conyne

2/18/2021 1 min read