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ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 08:16 AM   #1
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ER with a working wife?

Hello everyone,
I am 48 and overcooked in my tech cubicle.
For 20 yrs, work was my life with megacorp and I did well.
Then megacorp divorced me after big merger, one less pension liability.
My current job pays well but my heart is not there.
Now I am loyal only to numero-uno, I have no desire to climb the org-chart.
Every day I dream of ER or at least for simpler life.
I ran the Firecalc a hundred times and it works for us.

Here lies my problem, my wife is just at the peak of her career and she will keep working, bringing in a good salary and health insur.

What kind of ride can I expect, to ER with a working spouse?
(E.g. Going to the salt mines while I goof-off at home - partnership thing.)

D_L
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 08:26 AM   #2
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Welcome to the forum dog_leg. There are a mumber of guys here retired with working spouses (Nords, Apocolypse..., MRGALT2U, Cut-Throat). Not sure I would consider any of them "typical" (one or two of them are anything but), however they should be able to offer you some insight into becoming a "kept man".

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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 08:31 AM   #3
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dog_leg


What kind of ride can I expect, to ER with a working spouse?
(E.g. Going to the salt mines while I goof-off at home - partnership thing.)

D_L
You can expect a life full of travel to lots of "exotic" places, any time the "itch hits".

Cutthroat will, I'm sure, be reporting in and explain how this works.
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 09:13 AM   #4
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Re: ER with a working wife?

I drew my last paycheck in June, 1998. Married current wife
in 2001 (5 years younger). She has worked continuously
even though I suggested several times that she quit
(or at least cut back). Anyway, there are pluses and minuses
like everything else. In my case, I do pretty much as I please
spouse or no spouse. Of course, it takes a special
person to put up with that. Real life example........ She left me a note once saying she had gone somewhere and would be late coming home that day.
I left her a note saying I was "gone to Texas" and was not sure exactly when I would return. In our case, too much togetherness would be the kiss of death, so that's one of the "pluses" to her working. And, the extra income doesn't hurt either. BTW, I know several guys even more independent
than I am. Some wives can handle it and some can't

JG
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 09:32 AM   #5
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Re: ER with a working wife?

I think it can easily work, but it depends on your spouse and your marriage. Would your wife be happy working, regardless of what you spend your time doing? Or is she aching to get out of the cube, too?
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 09:53 AM   #6
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Brewer asked:
"Would your wife be happy working, regardless of what you spend your time doing? "

Heck, I don't know what makes my wife happy - she is a woman.
What makes her happy today drive her crazy next year. :-)

Mabe I can clean the house everyday, cook dinner and massage her feet.
Beats captivity in a cube and faking comarade'.

D_L
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 10:12 AM   #7
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-Jarhead
You can expect a life full of travel to lots of "exotic" places, any time the "itch hits".

Cutthroat will, I'm sure, be reporting in and explain how this works.
Hot dam#, I just learned how to quote a reply.
Thanks, Jarhead - the itch thing works me. :-)

To do list for today:
1. Fix alternator
2. Compose resignation letter.
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Re: ER with a working wife-- the best kind!!!
Old 12-10-2005, 10:33 AM   #8
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Re: ER with a working wife-- the best kind!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dog_leg
Here lies my problem, my wife is just at the peak of her career and she will keep working, bringing in a good salary and health insur.

What kind of ride can I expect, to ER with a working spouse?
(E.g. Going to the salt mines while I goof-off at home - partnership thing.)
Welcome to the board, dog_leg!

Golly, it sure can be a "problem".* As all of us ERs on this board will attest, soon you can expect frequent requests for uninhibited & prolonged wild sex.* You have to be careful, though, because some of them may come from your spouse.* She may even want you to participate.

OK, I'm kidding.* It doesn't happen to EVERYONE on this board.* Or at least not too frequently.

Seriously, though, let's assume that you have the finances covered and that your FIRECalc plans won't be completely disrupted if your spouse's megacorp also unexpectedly ditches her.* If your ER success is totally dependent on her income & healthcare insurance (or would be destroyed by her lack of same) then you might want to consider yet another career change or part-time employment for yourself as a backup source of income.* Even if you're not completely independent of her income, maybe at least you'll have an understanding that she'll be carrying the employment burden until you're totally FI (which would include being able to buy your own health insurance).

If you're the kind of "guy" (and I use that word in its pejorative sense) who is accustomed to having your every domestic need swiftly, silently, & uncomplainingly fulfilled by your wife, then your old life is OVER.* Your lifespan may even be drastically shortened by your disgruntled spouse if new labor agreements aren't quickly negotiated.* In fact if you've ever been that type of guy, then your spouse may have been waiting all her life for just this moment to cast you in the role with which she's become all too familiar.* Now SHE'S bringing home the big bucks and vengeance is sweet.

With that understanding, here's a typical division of labor.* She won't necessarily expect breakfast in bed (at least not EVERY morning), but it's probably considered helpful for you to be up & about instead of snoring after surfing the Internet until 2 AM.* It's even better if the coffee is ready when she enters the kitchen.* If you have kids, then you should probably be in charge of most of the school prep.* You might also take charge of general cleanliness & stowage as well as most of the dinner preps.* Yardwork, maintenance, preservation, repairs, and all things yucky and/or dead/decaying will stay with you.* Household help (housecleaners, yard service, poolboy, whatever) may be expected to be replaced-- by you.* (Do NOT hire a poolgirl.)* You might want to make yourself available for general shopping & errands one or two days a week, especially if it's supporting her office management or her travel plans.* If she used to do all the grocery shopping then it's your turn now.* If she has a work emergency then you should be ready to cheerfully cancel your tee time plans and to rush to her support on the domestic front.* The idea is to make all reasonable adjustments to your lifestyle to keep her happy, healthy, well-rested, and even more successful at work.* Don't worry, you'll still have time for yourself.

You will never again be allowed to complain about anything affecting your quality of life.* Do not wax maudlin about the lack of companionship or the missing excitement.* It does not matter how valid or infrequent the complaint may be, because you're assumed to have the life that the rest of your family is vicariously fantasizing about and they don't want you messing with their dreams.*

It would be unwise to lounge around the breakfast nook checking the surf report in plain family view.* (I don't want to tell you how I learned this.)* You'll have plenty of time for yourself after all these malingerers finally depart the house and go about their daily business, but they know that too and there's no reason to flaunt your presumptive indolence.* DO NOT discuss your napping habits-- it's just snatching red meat from the jaws of a tiger.* DO NOT bitch about your golf game or the surf or any other leisure activity-- or even the non-commuting traffic-- unless at least one other family member has accompanied you.

You would think that other "guys" would tease you about your new domestic slavery labor.* However I was surprised to find out that it's the stay-at-home women who seem to be more antagonized by the mere thought that you could possibly learn to clean house as well as they do.* If you care for their company then it's diplomatic to solicit their helpful cleaning tips (whether you need them or not).* As for the guys who snicker at your new kitchen patrol command, I usually tell them "Ah-yup, them there new-fangled kitchens can seem pretty intimidatin' if'n ya don't spend any time in 'em."* They'll get onboard once they realize that you can barbeque WHENEVER YOU WANT TO.

If you have an engineering or tech background, you may be tempted to reorganize your entire household to comply with more efficient & accepted ISO 9002 business practices or the latest military-discipline doctrine.* After all, it reduces your workload and makes your life easier.* That alone should ensure domestic tranquilty!* However, do not appear to be trying to do things better than your spouse used to do them.* This competition is inherently unhealthy and will make her feel guilty & unsure of herself if you're managing too well.* So don't make any dramatic changes to the routine or, heaven forbid, reorganize the kitchen cabinets.* In fact it would help reassure her if she occasionally came home to find you in the middle of a plumbing disaster or an incinerated dinner (not that you can complain!).* When things have calmed down after a hectic day, don't hesitate to ask her to tell you again how she kept the bathroom so clean or what she'd like for dinner tomorrow.* Just don't let her come home after a hard days' work to find you passed out in the media room surrounded by beer cans and with the Playboy channel ESPN blaring on the TV.* No, I don't want to talk about how I learned that either.

Don't call or show up at her work unless specifically invited.* Even then don't chat for more than 15 minutes-- they'll wonder why you don't have better things to do or if you're checking up on her.* Lingering won't be a problem anyway because you'll realize that you've acquired a new violent allergic reaction to workplaces.

Watch how you handle the volunteer work.* It's fine to coach your kids' teams but you don't want to spend more time with your new volunteer friends than with your family.* Too many people will assume "Hey, you're the retired guy, you have the time to help with this!"* That may be true, but you may not necessarily share their priorities-- no matter how compelling they are.

Be careful about making large purchases.* It's her big paycheck now (even if you bought it out of your own allowance) and she wants a little more deference on how the spending happens.* (Of course this large-purchase rule doesn't apply to power cleaning equipment.)* It shouldn't be a problem if it's discussed in advance, but it wouldn't be smart for her to come home from working late to find you & your beer buddies sprawled around cheering for Monday Night Football in front of your newly-delivered $4000 media system.* And unless you've owned Harleys before, don't buy one for a while.*

Keep her involved in the big-picture financial planning.* It wouldn't hurt to gloat once in a while (especially in front of her friends) about how her humongous paycheck is bloating the retirement portfolio.

Make her look good at the company parties.* Brag to her bosses about how she's managing both your house and their business.* Tell everyone that you're the designated driver because she needs a break and besides drinking no longer has any attraction when you can do it anytime all day.

BTW it IS perfectly acceptable to let everyone see you exercising more, losing weight, smiling excessively, talking cheerfully, whistling, and generally enjoying life.* Spontaneous laughter & acts of affection are always appreciated, as is the occasional unsolicited comment of "Life is good!".* After all you have to set the example for what the rest of your family can look forward to when they reach their own ER.*
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 10:44 AM   #9
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dog_leg
Brewer asked:
"Would your wife be happy working, regardless of what you spend your time doing? "

Heck, I don't know what makes my wife happy - she is a woman.
What makes her happy today drive her crazy next year. :-)

Mabe I can clean the house everyday, cook dinner and massage her feet.
Beats captivity in a cube and faking comarade'.

D_L
Sounds like a frank conversation with her is in order. You'd definately want her to buy in to the plan.

FWIW, I am the working half of the couple. My wife is a SAHM, which is definately work, but well before we were ready to start trying I encouraged her to quit the day job. She eventually did so after I pointed out that the scosts of her working (both financial and quality of life for both of us) were considerably higher than her earnings. She quit, took about a month off to recover and then did some house stuff we had been delaying for lack of time. She also set up her small business. This is a side business that maybe nets $5k a year, but it keeps her active in her field, doesn't take much effort to keep going, and keeps her options open.

Somewhat surprisingly, her dropping out of the workforce has been good for my earnings power. Earlier this year I took a much more demanding job that pays a LOT more than my old gig. It is a bit tough to hack the commute, the hours and then come home and be daddy, but I am a lot happier and making a lot more loot.

I would discuss it with your wife and try to craft a win-win outcome. You being free to get the domestic stuff done so she can actually enjoy her time off is a big plus.
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 11:42 AM   #10
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Re: ER with a working wife?

You need to make sure you have a good breakfast prepared for her in the morning, and a lunch made if she requires it.

A tasty nutritious home cooked supper will increase your culinary skills and show you really care.

Ordering take-out is a no-no, or even going out for dinner more than a couple of times a week isn't recommended.
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 11:50 AM   #11
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Re: ER with a working wife?

There are some real success stories here about couples doing just what you are talking about. It definitely helps with bills and health insurance. It also makes a large shift in family or couple dynamics, as well as the way the couple or family will be perceived by others in your extended family, friends and community. Three generations ago, almost everyone just about live this way, but with sex roles reversed from what you are proposing.

My wife had only worked intermittently even before we had kids and not at all after. It never occurred to me that she would have secret career aspirations. I retired with 2 kids under 12. We were pretty busy and pretty happy for quite a few years. As the kids-boys- got older they naturally spent more and more time with me.

I think my wife was bored, so she started graduate school in music performance. This is a very big undertaking. Lots of book work, and unbelievable hours at the instrument. She had always played as a serious amateur, but now had decided she wanted to go pro. It took her a long time, but she finally finished. Having little help from her around the house, and little companionship while she racked up tuition bills was a source of stress for both of us. She sometimes felt that I should spend less time playing tennis and more time cleaning house. OTOH, I couldn't see how her way of spending time in any way trumped mine, so I was not always easily persuaded to her position. I felt that I hadn't quit working to become a male housewife, and also that I hadn't ever deceived anyone on this score. I do fine with child care, but putting me in charge of housekeeping is like making Genghis Khan the neighborhood Welcome Wagon guy.

I took 24 roses to her final concert at the University. I felt very proud of her and what she had been able to accomplish. Within 4 months she was gone from home. She needed to be in the city for her career, etc., etc. Which was true, but then given our mutual plans and life to that point, her career choice was decidedly peculiar, unless of course this was on the back burner all the while.

The university, just like the workplace, has no shortage of men who might like yet another attractive woman to help alleviate their boredom. So basically, I don't think being a retired husband of a working woman is without its challenges for both of you. This is made doubly true if the main responsibility for raising a child will fall on you.

I think ER is great for a single man. Any other combination of wife, work, etc. may be fine but also may present issues and exposures.

However, if your wife is a high earner, I guess you might be in a pretty good position re: spousal support, etc., should entropy prevail one again.

I think if were to turn back the clock, I would just keep working. Although admittedly it is hard to re-experience that awful feeling of "I gotta get out of here, NOW! that I had back then. It's just like deciding to pass a slow moving truck on a blind curve- it may be stupid, but you may have had it with going 15 mph!

But hey, go for it! And good luck.

Ha

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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 12:24 PM   #12
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Re: ER with a working wife?

HaHa--tough situation when both not on the same page, no matter what the speed.

Dog-- sure, no reason it can't work, but once again, only if you're both on the same page. We are in a similar situation to you except that its my wife who got the exit package and ultimately retirement and I've kept working, even though at a much slow pace. We had a joke for a while that she won, because she got out first! but its worked out fine. But both have to be on the same page.
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 01:28 PM   #13
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Dog, Now a few words from the other side, I work and husband is retired. My advice is to listen Nords advice and take it to heart. Nothing aggravates me more than to have him tell me he doesn't have time to, go to the bank, take dog to vet, grocery shop or any of those tasks more easily done during the week. I don't appreciate having to take a day off for things he could be doing, it's been a long tough lesson for him but he's finally seeing the light (along with threats of divorce). It's working fine now since he's learned the ropes. Good luck.
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 01:38 PM   #14
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Holy Mackeral: *

Want to thank all you guys, (especially Nords), for reinforcing the fact that we made a good decision that my wife would be a homemaker when we decided to get married and raise a family.





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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 04:14 PM   #15
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Like Outtahere, I am the working wife of a retired spouse, who also participates on this site. It is has worked just fine for us. He does all, I mean all, the cooking. Basically the kitchen is his and I stay out. And he takes care of the "boy" things, like vehicles, plumbing, drilling, etc.

He has made my life quite comfortable for quite some time.
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 05:31 PM   #16
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cut-Throat
Yes, this is a Great gig, if you can swing it.*

My wife's ex-husband was such a philanderer, that I can do almost no wrong! 8)
My friend, you are indeed in the "cat bird seat". I was mostly
faithful during my first 32 years of marital "bliss". Now, any
thoughts of "straying" are pretty well behind me. I wish I was
still "dangerous".

JG
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 05:34 PM   #17
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha


He has made my life quite comfortable for quite some time.* **
I have done the same. Unfortunately, DW doesn't see it.

JG
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 05:39 PM   #18
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MRGALT2U
I was mostly faithful during my first 32 years of marital "bliss".
JG, this reminds me of a story...

An extraordinarily handsome man decided he had the responsibility to marry the perfect woman so they could produce beautiful children beyond comparison.

With that as his mission he began searching for the perfect woman. Shortly thereafter he met a farmer who had three stunning, gorgeous daughters that positively took his breath away. So he explained his mission to the farmer, asking for permission to marry one of them.

The farmer simply replied, "They're lookin' to get married, so you came to the right place. Look 'em over and pick the one you want."

The man dated the first daughter. The next day the farmer asked for the man's opinion. "Well," said the man, "she's just a weeeeee bit, not that you can hardly notice...pigeon-toed."

The farmer nodded and suggested the man date one of the other girls; so the man went out with the second daughter. The next day, the farmer again asked how things went.

"Well," the man replied, "she's just a weeeee bit, not that you can hardly tell...cross-eyed."

The farmer nodded and suggested he date the third girl to see if things might be better. So he did. The next morning the man rushed in exclaiming, "She's perfect, just perfect. She's the one I want to marry." So they were wed right away.

Months later the baby was born. When the man visited the nursery he was horrified: the baby was the most ugly, most pathetic human you can imagine. He rushed to his father-in-law asking how such a thing could happen considering the beauty of the parents.

"Well," explained the farmer, "She was just a weeeee bit, not that you could hardly tell...pregnant when you met her."

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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 05:43 PM   #19
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Outtahere
Dog, Now a few words from the other side,* I work and husband is retired.* My advice is to listen Nords advice and take it to heart.* Nothing aggravates me more than to have him tell me he doesn't have time to, go to the bank, take dog to vet, grocery shop or any of those tasks more easily done during the week.* I don't appreciate having to take a day off for things he could be doing, it's been a long tough lesson for him but he's finally seeing the light (along with threats of divorce).* It's working fine now since he's learned the ropes.* *Good luck.
"Good luck" is right. This would never work with me.
OTOH, I pretty much dominate all relationships, so it's
my way or the highway. Like I said, not everyone can
deal with this and I know it.

JG
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Re: ER with a working wife?
Old 12-10-2005, 05:48 PM   #20
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Re: ER with a working wife?

Hey Ha! I have always thought of you as a "male housewife",
so I guess I was "spot on" as usual.

JG
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