Work Less and Live More with Semi Retirement

Learn how to make semi retirement work for you with these frugal living tips. Originally titled "How to Retire 6 Months Every Year" in the May/June 1970 issue of Mother Earth News.

| May/June 1970

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    By bending coat hangers into a series of triangular, three-legged racks of various heights one can distribute the heat of a hot pad evenly and create more versatility in the kitchen.
    Illustration by Mother Earth News staff
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    Per year expenses of owning an automobile including repaires, gas, oil changes and more.
    Photo by Mother Earth News staff
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     A hot plate creates an affordable, versatile way to cook healthy meals at home.
    Illustration by Mother Earth News staff
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    Gears are easy to learn and worth their weight in silver.
    Illustration by Mother Earth News staff
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    Drape a piece of aluminum foil over the hotpan to create an "oven" and successfully bake cornbread, cookies and more!
    Illustration by Mother Earth News staff
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    CHART 2:  Additional amount of fulltime work necessary for discretionary spending (vertical base) based on given take-home pay (horizontal base)
    Illustration by Mother Earth News staff

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Date: March 18, 1970
To: Personnel Dept.
Subject: Retirement

Four weeks from this date, on April 15, 1970, I shall be retiring, and this constitutes my four weeks notice in conformance with company standards for professionally classed employees.

I realize that retirement is an odd term to use at my age, but it is the only one that can validly be applied. The circumstances of my life are such that I need only work half the year for my physical support, and rather than spend or hoard the excess for 25 years, which is the usual custom, I would rather take my semi retirement in easy stages while I am still young enough to make good use of it.

It is really sad that the only work choice open to people is that of the 40-hour/50-week year, or none at all. There are so many reasonable combinations which might be put together that each of us could live his life in a human, rewarding fashion if the alternatives were actually available. Instead, in an economy that brags about its affluence and leisure, we are working at the same mad pace that was required in far more austere periods of our history. This is something which exists because each and all of us permit it to exist, as though we do not run our own lives or our own business functions. A business is no more than a collection of individuals, and when they decide to control their own destiny, they shall.

Fortunately, there are still personal alternatives available, and this is mine — semi retirement.

Most Sincerely,
Irv Thomas



Barely eight months before the above resignation was written, I had arrived in Seattle with less than $400 in my pocket and the suit on my back. I did not know a soul in town, and had no idea where or when I was going to find a job. I had just left a shattered marriage behind me in California ... along with all my worldly possessions and a job paying $12,500 per year. That my wife and I had been living to the hilt of our income was evidenced by the small amount of cash I had brought with me. And yet, here I am, loftily telling my boss where he can stuff it because I don't need any more of his filthy loot!

Fantastic? In a way, yes ... but not nearly so fantastic as the way all of us have been thoroughly conned into the idea that we really have to work all year to stay alive and pay our bills. It just isn't true, and I'm going to prove it and show you the way out.






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