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Convincing my wife that I can ER also
Old 12-14-2013, 03:16 PM   #1
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Convincing my wife that I can ER also

Age 56, house paid off and we own a lake house in Maine which we absolutely love and plan to keep it and hand it down to our kids. Figured all expenses including the 2 homes and should be able to retire from an engineering career in mid 2014 and live off of my pension, savings, IRA and dual 401Ks and then bridge nicely to SS.

Here is the issue. My wife "retired" this year at 54 after 10 years as a Director at a mega-insurance company that pretty much burned her out but she did very well financially. I have always paid the bills, looked after retirement accounts and planned for this moment. She is very worried about me leaving and wants me to stick it out a couple of more years. When she was working we paid for many big expenses out of cash flow but will now need to withdraw from savings for things like travel, etc. She has always been a saver and just can't get over the fact that we have to start drawing down our balances and it makes her nervous. I try to show her spreadsheets, balances, projections but her eyes glaze over.

I have been very frustrated at work for the past couple of years and now that I have a date in mind I can't wait to get rid of all the corporate BS, which is getting worse every day. Anyone have suggestions on easing the worries of a significant other?
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:24 PM   #2
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I'm sure if you run your numbers through a couple retirement calculators you'll put your mind at ease. I'd suggest FIRECALC and ORP to start.

FIRECalc: A different kind of retirement calculator

Retirement Calculator - Parameter Form

Good luck…you'll have to do some reading, but nothings free If you haven't used FIRECALC yet, I'll give you a hint; don't forget the tab just under the page heading. They are important to your solution.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:29 PM   #3
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Anyone have suggestions on easing the worries of a significant other?
Remind her that if she really thinks you can't make it she can always go back to work.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:32 PM   #4
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First, welcome as I see this is your first post. Another lake house owner here but we live on the lake full time.

One idea would be to have an independent, third-party financial plan done as it would reinforce your assertions that you are good to go. If you have a significant amount with Vanguard they will do a financial plan for free or minor cost.

Second, you could plug everything into Quicken Lifetime Planner, Firecalc or some similar tool and show her the results and it hopefully would also have credibility.

Worst case, you may just need to declare that you have had all you can take and are ready.

Withdrawing from savings is not the end of the world - after all - this is what you saved for! But it is admittedly a difficult psychological barrier to cross after being in accumulation phase for so long.

It is not unusual that your nestegg will decline from ER until pensions and SS kick in - my plan shows declining balances from ER (at 56 in my case) to 70 when I plan to take SS at which point pension, SS and investment results will more than cover our living expenses and balance will again begin to grow. While my plan showed decling balances, the strong investment market over the last couple years has actually resulted in growing rathenr than declining balances. My view is that I would rather live with declining balances and enjoy whatever remaining time I have than have kept working just to leave our kids a bigger wad.
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Good replies so far...
Old 12-14-2013, 03:48 PM   #5
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Good replies so far...

Looks like I am going to like this forum! I have done all the planning myself, reading, studying voraciously for the past 10 years and don't trust the for fee financial advisors. Seems like my co-workers that used advisors still have years to go.
Anyway one post suggested using one of the free consultations. I think TD Ameritrade has offered my wife that because she has her rollover IRA with them. That may be the way to go and I will check my ego as she consults with an "expert". Of course hopefully the scenarios agree! I have run Firecalc and other tools with all kinds of various inputs and they always come up 100% sure.
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Old 12-14-2013, 03:53 PM   #6
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Remind her that if she really thinks you can't make it she can always go back to work.

+1,000!

I mean, WTF? She bailed when she had enough and you cannot?
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:04 PM   #7
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Remind her that if she really thinks you can't make it she can always go back to work.
+2000
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:04 PM   #8
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Age 56, house paid off and we own a lake house in Maine which we absolutely love and plan to keep it and hand it down to our kids. Figured all expenses including the 2 homes and should be able to retire from an engineering career in mid 2014 and live off of my pension, savings, IRA and dual 401Ks and then bridge nicely to SS.

Here is the issue. My wife "retired" this year at 54 after 10 years as a Director at a mega-insurance company that pretty much burned her out but she did very well financially. I have always paid the bills, looked after retirement accounts and planned for this moment. She is very worried about me leaving and wants me to stick it out a couple of more years. When she was working we paid for many big expenses out of cash flow but will now need to withdraw from savings for things like travel, etc. She has always been a saver and just can't get over the fact that we have to start drawing down our balances and it makes her nervous. I try to show her spreadsheets, balances, projections but her eyes glaze over.

I have been very frustrated at work for the past couple of years and now that I have a date in mind I can't wait to get rid of all the corporate BS, which is getting worse every day. Anyone have suggestions on easing the worries of a significant other?
Arch57, welcome to the forum and congratulations on making it to FIRE readiness while you're still young enough to enjoy retirement!

The challenge you are facing is not unusual. If your DW doesn't like spreadsheets, retirement calculators may not help. Pb4uski makes a good suggestion, perhaps if she hears "it's ok" from an unbiased source, such as a fee based financial planner, she will be more supportive.

Of course, I wouldn't go that route unless I was certain how it would end ...
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:18 PM   #9
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Brewer - she didn't bail but we were both worried about the toll on her health and two weeks after she left in June I said "wow I have my wife back". My job while full of usual big company crap allows me a bit more freedom and is not nearly as bad as hers was.
Anyway she knows I am determined to leave next year just want to convince her we will be okay.
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:24 PM   #10
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Brewer - she didn't bail but we were both worried about the toll on her health and two weeks after she left in June I said "wow I have my wife back". My job while full of usual big company crap allows me a bit more freedom and is not nearly as bad as hers was.
Anyway she knows I am determined to leave next year just want to convince her we will be okay.
So you are not looking for permission, just want to make her feel better. If you are sure of your projections, just quit and let her take her of feeling however she feels.

If she was a "director" of an insurance company it is hard to see how she would not understand very well all the math behind funding a lifestyle with assets. If you suspect that she has seen some flaws in your plan, get her to explain this to you.


Ha
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:28 PM   #11
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If she was a "director" of an insurance company it is hard to see how she would not understand very well all the math behind funding a lifestyle with assets.


Ha
She could have been in marketing, HR, etc.
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:29 PM   #12
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We did what you're lookin' to do... 24 years ago, and I'd guess with a helluva lot less $$$... always with the idea that we could go back if things didn't work out.

It was a different time, and we probably did it with lower expectations. Might say, on a shoe string, as we lived very frugally for the first 9 years before we took SS @ age 62...

But ... everything worked out. We still have our place at the lake, our permanent home in Illinois and our mobile home in Florida, , though this may be the last year for that. We're very happy.

As we belong to a different era, your circumstances are surely different from ours, but some parts of our experience and planning might be interesting to consider...even though a little outdated.

Sharing 23 years of Frugal Retirement

Best wishes for a happy retirement.
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:49 PM   #13
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She was in operations, project management or as I called her "task master". I got it! I will create a home remodeling project that I can handle, make her the PM and she will relish the chance to use her skills and get something done.

She really is a great hard working women and I know she will have her work gloves on as well.
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Old 12-14-2013, 04:55 PM   #14
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I had a similar situation with my DH. My spreadsheets and projections didn't do it for him, so I devised the need for a very simple spreadsheet that I asked him to create and keep up for me.

Once he did that, got into it with his own hands and brain, it made more sense to him.
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:50 PM   #15
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+1,000!

I mean, WTF? She bailed when she had enough and you cannot?
I was thinking the same thing - but then again, life is not fair.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:15 PM   #16
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Hi, and welcome.

Maybe she is worried about her income if she should live longer than you. Does your pension have full survivor benefits? Will she have plenty of income after your demise, should you pass first?

If so, then that should help her to feel more secure.
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Old 12-14-2013, 06:18 PM   #17
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Act hurt that she doesn't have confidence in you as a man.

If your relationship dynamics revolve around guilt as ours sometimes does, it might work. She might even go above and beyond to assure you of her confidence.

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Old 12-14-2013, 06:21 PM   #18
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If I were in your spot I would offer to to take care of the house, if your wife wants to look for a lower stress job, do consulting work or start a hobby business for extra money.

We cut a lot from our budget just from both being home. Figuring our how to reduce taxes or cut annual expenses say 10K a year ($10K X 40 years = $400K in after tax money) is probably going to have as much if not more pay back for you at this point in your lives now than working an extra year or two.

We did things like reduce the grocery budget, lose the land line, switch to rechargeable batteries, weather strip, review our insurance policies, sell an old car, and replace most of the bulbs with LEDs. All those little things and many, many more really added up to save quite a bit off our annual expenses and yet they didn't change our standard of living.
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:38 AM   #19
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Arch, I'm one year your junior and in the same boat. My wife quit her job 3 years ago when we moved overseas for me to work as an expat for Megacorp. Now 3 years later my BS bucket is getting full, but she doesn't think "we" are ready to retire. I try to show her my spreadsheets, but she's not convinced what our retirement expenses will be (true, it will be very different from our life here....can't compare at all). I have a $100k retirement budget, but can't guarantee that we won't want to spend more occasionally if we do a lot of traveling. I'm not sure what to do. I'll probably just end up working for a couple more years until "we" are ready. Good luck and let us know what works for you.
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Old 12-15-2013, 08:48 AM   #20
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....I have a $100k retirement budget, but can't guarantee that we won't want to spend more occasionally if we do a lot of traveling. I'm not sure what to do. I'll probably just end up working for a couple more years until "we" are ready. Good luck and let us know what works for you.
$100k is a pretty healthy budget IMO. We live pretty well on a lot less.

Perhaps you can ask DW to put together a retirement budget from the ground up and she'll realize that you have enough. The way I see it is when times are good you can do more or better traveling, and if times are bad you can tighten up on spending some.
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