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38 and Plugging away
Old 08-12-2019, 04:07 PM   #1
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38 and Plugging away

Hi everyone I'm one of the many lurkers here that finally registered an account. I've really appreciated the advice and good nature that I've witnessed while reading these forums. One of my best friends was forced into retirement at 67 with almost no notice and while financially prepared he had not done any mental preparation. I decided after seeing him struggle with depression that first year (It got worse in the short days of the winter) that I would do everything in my power to be as prepared as possible when the time comes. He is a few years on now and things are much better but he still says he has to be intentional in the winter months to resist the urge to stay home for long periods of time.

DW and I carry no debt outside the mortgage. Currently I max out my 401k and both mine and DWs ROTH IRAs. We had the conversation about paying the house vs investing (we are at 3.99% int) which is always a great chestnut to bring out. We decided to put an amount = to an extra principle + int payment into VTSAX monthly as a compromise that way I get my growth and liquidity and when it gets large enough she can have peace of mind that we could pay it off if we wanted. I save my bonus every year and any other gifts/money we have received. I'm currently working on building up the 529s as we have 2 young ones that may have college needs to attend to. I would like to RE at 55-58 which Firecalc seems to think is a possibility but of course that is a long way away and a lot can happen. I'm not fool-hearty enough to think the planning I'm doing now will not inevitably change in the next 18 years.

DW has been a stay at home Mom to this point but the kids are getting older and this is probably our biggest money disagreement. I'm strongly on the side of "Put that college degree to work" LOL Other then that we are very aligned on our goals and how we are going about achieving them.

Sorry this was long winded but that's us in a nut shell. I read the forum everyday so hopefully you will see me chime in every now and again.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:41 PM   #2
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Welcome! At 38, ER is a real possibility, but both partners working would definitely help! You might even make it in 15 years.

I reached FI, 15 years after I became serious about it, but a non-working spouse and the high cost of housing in Hawaii ended up adding 4 years to my career. Still, age 54 isn't all that bad.
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by upupandaway View Post
Hi everyone I'm one of the many lurkers here that finally registered an account. I've really appreciated the advice and good nature that I've witnessed while reading these forums. One of my best friends was forced into retirement at 67 with almost no notice and while financially prepared he had not done any mental preparation. I decided after seeing him struggle with depression that first year (It got worse in the short days of the winter) that I would do everything in my power to be as prepared as possible when the time comes. He is a few years on now and things are much better but he still says he has to be intentional in the winter months to resist the urge to stay home for long periods of time.

DW and I carry no debt outside the mortgage. Currently I max out my 401k and both mine and DWs ROTH IRAs. We had the conversation about paying the house vs investing (we are at 3.99% int) which is always a great chestnut to bring out. We decided to put an amount = to an extra principle + int payment into VTSAX monthly as a compromise that way I get my growth and liquidity and when it gets large enough she can have peace of mind that we could pay it off if we wanted. I save my bonus every year and any other gifts/money we have received. I'm currently working on building up the 529s as we have 2 young ones that may have college needs to attend to. I would like to RE at 55-58 which Firecalc seems to think is a possibility but of course that is a long way away and a lot can happen. I'm not fool-hearty enough to think the planning I'm doing now will not inevitably change in the next 18 years.

DW has been a stay at home Mom to this point but the kids are getting older and this is probably our biggest money disagreement. I'm strongly on the side of "Put that college degree to work" LOL Other then that we are very aligned on our goals and how we are going about achieving them.

Sorry this was long winded but that's us in a nut shell. I read the forum everyday so hopefully you will see me chime in every now and again.
From my 30 years of marriage and having kids in our early 40's, FWIW....

The woman you married was your "wife", but the lady you are living with now is a "mom". IME the perspective of mom is different than a wife, and tension/conflict is reduced if that is acknowledged and accounted for.

Understand the desire to have her go back to work to accelerate the financial plan. RE is a life choice, just like who you marry (if you do), how many kids you have and how you raise them, career path and how aggressively you pursue it, or where you want to live.

My late DW stayed home with the kids, and I took over that role when she died. There was a point when they were maybe 8-12 years old when it would have been relatively easy to for both of us to be working. Once mine hit late middle school and HS that changed, and I'm glad I have been able to be a constant presence in their lives.

The opportunities to volunteer and be a part of the parent support group of their activities have been invaluable - for the kids and me.

I haven't run the numbers, but HNLBill's estimate of RE being delayed by 4 years by having Mom at home seems about right. In my case it has been worth it, but do your own math and be thoughtful about the decision.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:24 AM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback and the different perspectives also I'm sorry for your loss FlaGator. We are on year 13 and I'm happy to describe our marriage as "actively managed". The fact that we can acknowledge where our differences of opinion are without fighting about it is a testament to this.

I actually have some advice that may prove useful if someone finds themselves in a similar situation. My wife used to send group texts to the grandparents and myself of every pool party, community event, and awesome adventure in real time. Sometimes 10+ a day depending what was going on. This proved to be disheartening. It's not that I didn't want them to be having a tremendous time enjoying their childhood it's the fact that I wish I could be there with them and be a part of the day as well. This was exacerbated on particularly bad days in the office.

My advice is ask the other person how this affects them and maybe come up with a new communication plan. (This sounds so corporate that I left it in ) Things have been a lot better now that I get home and decompress for 10 minutes then I get a full slide show of all the awesome things they did that day. It also means more to see their excitement instead of see it on a phone in the middle of a budget meeting. Everyone is different but this really helped us.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:02 AM   #5
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Although I am 13 years older than you I am in a similar situation. Two young kids, stay at home Mom and I’d like to hang up working yesterday. I’ve had the discussion about having the DW go back to work and it never ends well. So I’ve backed off and have instead changed my situation. I’m going to transfer to a work at home job where I have more freedom over my schedule so like you I’m not missing out. I plan to wrap up mega Corp within 2-4 years where I’ll transition into something of my choosing. Kids will still be at home so I want to have some income coming into and medical insurance until they head out to college. I am comfortable with this plan and it has relieved the stress. If the DW by some miracle goes back to work then bonus, but I am not counting on it.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:43 AM   #6
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I'm just curious. Did you assume that your wives would return to work someday? Did your wives agree to do so and then change their minds?
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Old 08-13-2019, 11:40 AM   #7
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Yes, I falsely assumed she would, and that was my bad. No we did not have a formal agreement she would return to work, but early on we did discuss my desire to retire to at least slow down when the kids went into grade school. She is an immigrant from Latam and is somewhat overwhelmed at the job search process, I get that - although this is a prosperous country built by immigrants...she does really like event planning, creative design, marketing so we are looking at opportunities in that area. I am not holding my breath however, and as such decided to simply get a job where I can work from home. I am happy with that.
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:16 PM   #8
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I'm just curious. Did you assume that your wives would return to work someday? Did your wives agree to do so and then change their minds?
This made me laugh because I couldn't really remember so I called my wife and got the information from the source. Yes it was a general agreement that she would go back to work after the kids were in full time school. She underestimated the powerful feeling of being a mother and trying to be there for the kids.

I can't really argue with that and I'm not sure I would want to. I think we have come to a place in our discussions where the situation will stay the same until after they leave for college. There have been a few opportunities that have come up for part time work strictly during school hours that I firmly believe she should have considered. However when we got married nothing in the vows said that either of us would 100% agree with the others choices. (Lord knows I've made some dumb ones)

So that's where it's at. My Dad told me on my wedding day "don't sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff." One of the marriage retreats we went to described resentment as cancer to a relationship and I honestly believe it.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:17 PM   #9
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Yes, I falsely assumed she would, and that was my bad.
Quote:
Originally Posted by upupandaway View Post
This made me laugh because I couldn't really remember so I called my wife and got the information from the source. Yes it was a general agreement that she would go back to work after the kids were in full time school. She underestimated the powerful feeling of being a mother and trying to be there for the kids.
Thanks guys. My husband and I had the discussion before we got married. I remember saying that I'd work if I had to, but would prefer not to. I kept my promise.

Seriously, it is doable on one income, but I took very seriously my responsibility to make it work. I couldn't be a spendthrift, not that I ever was.
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Old 08-13-2019, 01:35 PM   #10
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At 38 I was in the middle of a divorce and my assets were about to be cut in half.
Next year I will retire at age 57 with more money than I ever thought I would have.
Everything is possible. Just live on less than you make, save until it hurts... I mean that... and stick to the plan. You have time on your side.
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Old 08-15-2019, 10:10 PM   #11
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I'm just curious. Did you assume that your wives would return to work someday? Did your wives agree to do so and then change their minds?
I don't remember any explicit discussion about going back to work. Both our mothers worked out of necessity and we wanted something different. My view was, and remains, if Mom doesn't need to go back to work for financial reasons, she shouldn't. Our thinking at the time was we didn't want our kids raised by day care workers. I now acknowledge there is value in the socialization that comes from that, but don't know I would make a different decision today. RE wasn't on the radar, much less a part of our planning.

After a few year out of diapers, I recall thinking that maybe wasn't the best approach. Some discussions, and a few decisions, would have been easier if she had the knowledge and perspective one gets from being in the work force. As events unfolded it didn't matter, and that she was able to be dedicated to the kids made it much easier for me solo.

Funny how life works out sometimes, eh?
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Old 08-16-2019, 07:19 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by upupandaway View Post
Thanks for the feedback and the different perspectives also I'm sorry for your loss FlaGator. We are on year 13 and I'm happy to describe our marriage as "actively managed". The fact that we can acknowledge where our differences of opinion are without fighting about it is a testament to this.

I actually have some advice that may prove useful if someone finds themselves in a similar situation. My wife used to send group texts to the grandparents and myself of every pool party, community event, and awesome adventure in real time. Sometimes 10+ a day depending what was going on. This proved to be disheartening. It's not that I didn't want them to be having a tremendous time enjoying their childhood it's the fact that I wish I could be there with them and be a part of the day as well. This was exacerbated on particularly bad days in the office.

My advice is ask the other person how this affects them and maybe come up with a new communication plan. (This sounds so corporate that I left it in ) Things have been a lot better now that I get home and decompress for 10 minutes then I get a full slide show of all the awesome things they did that day. It also means more to see their excitement instead of see it on a phone in the middle of a budget meeting. Everyone is different but this really helped us.
Just need to point out if your DW has been doing all of the household chores and majority of child interaction, things will change if and when she returns to the work force. Be sure you recognize this. Change would be necessary on your part too.
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Old 08-25-2019, 10:09 PM   #13
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having been married for 10 years with DW staying home with the kids has been a blessing. I wish I could spend more time with my kids rather then work but that forces me to make sure the time I spend is high quality.

I believe that children benefit greatly from having at least one parent stay home as there is more then staying at home then just chores around the house.

My goal is not only to retire early but to make sure that my children are brought up as good people and I think that is affected by having one parent stay home.

I have never asked my wife to go back to work but we do focus on both offense (income) and defense(budgeting and saving), thus both of us have a huge impact on FIRE just on different ends.

I just turned 39 with 3 young boys and my wife is as busy if not busier then I am holding down the fort.
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