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Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-22-2004, 04:29 PM   #1
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Mid 40's Female, RE

Hello.

I have been reading the forum for awhile, but just now posting because I am REALLY ready to ER (been thinking about this for a long time).

I'm 44, and am planning to hand in my resignation on Jan 7,2005. In countdown mode....

I am so going to miss the people I work with, but not the crap! I know I need at least a year off to figure out if I am really ER'ing or just taking a sabbatical. We'll see. I am having some guilt over DH continuing to work (he is 50). He likes his job, and has a reasoable amount of time off as a consultant, vs. my 80 hours a week corporate nightmare.

I've saved over 50% of our nest egg, plus paid for most of our house (now paid for), but am feeling guilty as he still wants to work. He is looking forward to having me home and working on some home projects that we have been planning for awhile. But I still can't shake the guilt. And I do worry about the balance of power which is ok now when my salary is double is his.

Our finances are in reasonable shape. No debt, we could live on a short term basis off of an annuity paying $45 K a year. But we've got a decent portfolio on top of that, plus I will get a pension when I turn 65 (inflation hedge). I'm sure others have been through the question "maybe more would be better". But my mind is made up, I just have to move past the guilt.

Sorry for the long first post. I am stressing about writing my resignation letter, as my boss is probably going to freak out (I'm supposed to be the poster child for 40ish women in the company).

Any ER women out there whose husband's are still working ( I see the opposite in most cases).

Kay

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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-22-2004, 06:07 PM   #2
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

I think most managers understand these days that employment is "at will." You shouldn't feel bad about retiring early and pursuing your dreams.
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-22-2004, 06:56 PM   #3
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

My DW stayed home when our son was born, and I continued working. There were some issues, but we worked them out. Then I retired early 5 years later, and neither of us want to go back to work now.

While she wasn't working and I was one of the issues was a money issue; the primary one was me grumbling about the visa bill being over our budget at times. That was dealt with by simply depositing the part of my pay for that and household bills into her account, and she dealt with the bills. That way it wasn't me saying anything about them! So yes, there may be issues when there is only one income, but they can be dealt with.

BTW, we have always kept seperate checking accounts because we each can not stand the way the other keeps a checkbook!
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-22-2004, 07:19 PM   #4
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

Welcome, Kay. * I know how you feel. * You're experiencing the first of the three phases of early retirement emotional states:

1) pre-retirement worrying
2) post-retirement jitters
3) continuous sighs of relief
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-23-2004, 02:15 AM   #5
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

Quote:
Welcome, Kay. * I know how you feel. * You're experiencing the first of the three phases of early retirement emotional states:

1) pre-retirement worrying
2) post-retirement jitters
3) continuous sighs of relief
Kay,

Wab concisely sets the scene. I know how you feel too. Except as the owner of a family business, when I pull the pin NEXT MONTH I'll be firing my wife and daughter! They say they are fine with it but it will be big changes for all of us.

Hope to see you in phase 2.

BumwannaB (morphing to BUM 12/31)
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-23-2004, 06:59 AM   #6
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

Kay, welcome to the board. I am not ER yet, so I can't advise. Yet I can't resist responding because I must be on the exact same road as you, just a little bit behind. I am convinced the female experience of ER is unique due to the generational differences between us and our mothers and fathers.

Quote:
I've saved over 50% of our nest egg, plus paid for most of our house (now paid for), but am feeling guilty as he still wants to work. *He is looking forward to having me home and working on some home projects that we have been planning for awhile. *But I still can't shake the guilt. *And I do worry about the balance of power which is ok now when my salary is double is his.
Very similiar finacial history for me and DH as well. Balance of power is definitely something that concerns me. Knowjng that I bring home more, knowing that I paid for the house, knowing that gave me the confidence to be a strong woman, and equal partner.

But there is alsothe fact that (unfortunately) as an achievment oriented person, I have not created an internal self-worth which is not tied to external achiements (money, power, professional status, academic credentials, etc.) I think that in feeding my ego the academic, professional, financial pursuits, I neglected to mature in other areas of growth and development.


Quote:
(*I'm sure others have been through the question "maybe more would be better". *But my mind is made up, I just have to move past the guilt.
I'm dealing with this too. We women are enjoying and have come to expect equality and equal opportunity, so I think its natural to be concerned about ER earlier than the spouse. I think man or woman though, you have to just get over it. You've worked hard, saved, invested, if you can afford it-- it's playtime... enjoy

Quote:
(I'm supposed to be the poster child for 40ish women in the company).
Companies like any profit center are in it for their interests. You are the poster child in that you make them profitable and make others more profitable too. Be a poster child for 40ish women in the country by having the smarts to achieve all that you have, and then being strong enough to go after what you want. Let other women see that they too can achieve success in corporate, and retire on their terms, when they want.

Quote:
(Any ER women out there whose husband's are still working ( I see the opposite in most cases).
Its only recently that the pay scales for men and women were more balanced. I think we are in relativley new territory where women could actually chart a path to ER as opposed to SAH mom/housewife. I'd love to hear from other women on this too.

Good luck on your journey.
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-23-2004, 09:27 AM   #7
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

Quote:
guilt ... guilt ... guilt ... guilt ...
Maybe this is the result of some male-female dichotomy but I don't think so.

If you read back posts here, you can spot males who clearly felt guilty before and after ER. The ones who couldn't get over it went back to work and don't have time to post any more. So you're only seeing messages from the ones who did get over it.

Let's be serious now.

If you've paid for most of the house, you've made and socked away more money than hubby, and you're never going to be skint again,

WHAT ARE YOU FEELING GUILTY ABOUT?

Do you have some obligation to your co-workers to be a good example? Some obligation to the company to work 80 hours a week to increase their bottom line? Some obligation to womanhood to work your tail off?

If so, why?

If not, what are you waiting for?

Quote:
I'd love to hear from other women on this too.
My wife ERd four years ago at the age of 44. (I worked full time for about two years after and work occasionally now.) She doesn't post on internet forums so you're not going to get a first hand rendition. But she looked after all sorts of renos in the house (now done!), sits on a hospital foundation board, sits on the library's strategic planning committee, and seems to spend a lot of time planning trips.

She has never felt guilty.
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-23-2004, 09:41 AM   #8
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

Quote:
and you're never going to be skint again
Hey, are you a Brit? The only people I hear using that term are Brits (my Scots family and some English in-laws).
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-23-2004, 10:00 AM   #9
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

Just a Canajan with a wide vocabulary.
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Here's another perspective.
Old 11-24-2004, 08:48 AM   #10
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Here's another perspective.

Quote:
I am having some guilt over DH continuing to work (he is 50). *He likes his job...
Welcome to the board, Kayelem!

Your husband will have to learn how to handle his own guilt over hiding at work while you're running the household without his help.

Oh, wait-- you mean YOU'RE feeling guilty?!?

The downside of being a career woman is that you've volunteered to uphold an impossibly high standard. I could probably work anywhere in corporate America as a slovenly, overweight, foul-mouthed, spittle-spraying, licentious, bibulous pointy-haired-boss and get away with it for years. Everyone knows a male co-worker like that. But I'm not sure that you could succeed at the same aspiration! So, perhaps some career guilt is a residual byproduct of hewing to a much higher standard. And the balance of power can only shift if you decide to give up some of yours.

My wife went through this four years ago when she had to leave a nasty career ultimatum just 25 months short of retirement. I was very supportive in my new role as the almost-ER prospective stay-at-home spouse, despite the fact that she'd get a years' head start on me. Women's reactions were shock & dismay that my spouse was letting down the sisterhood and setting the movement back a generation. Most guys' reactions were predictable-- "So, dude, now she'll have more time for housekeeping & sex, right?"

But there was never a moment of guilt at ditching an ugly situation. She's also left all the career stuff in the dust and she's much happier to have her life back. She's delayed her pension by 18 years but she's having far too much fun to miss it. Trust me, she hasn't surrendered any of her power. In fact I think she's strengthened & consolidated it. We've learned that many women have a full-time career for part-time & the "parent track", and none of them feel guilty!

I suspect it's the same across corporate America-- when there's enough money to fund the ER, to get your life back under your control, and to have more family time, then you're much less tolerant of working. You shouldn't have to feel guilty for accepting the rewards for all your years of hard work.

Your spouse is probably secretly hoping that you'll show him the way. And don't worry about turning your back on the sisterhood-- you're showing them the true path to ER. Between recovering your life, setting a good example, and teaching them all how to do it, I doubt you'll have time for guilt!
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-24-2004, 10:56 AM   #11
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

Kayelem,
Welcome and you've had lots of great advice here already. I've got a new approach for you: if some deep part of you really wants to feel guilt, then don't fight it. Just substitute the object of that guilt with something more wholesome.

Feel guilty about having neglected your exercise and fitness routines.

Feel guilty about not having had lots of quality time for yourself and your spouse. (I know what 80 hr work weeks feel like and there is never enough time...)

Feel guilty about all the times you haven't been able to be there with a friend who needed someone to talk to.

Feel guilty that you've denied yourself the simple pleasures of just having a long bath, a lazy day hanging out reading and thinking.

Feel guilty about that local non-profit which is languishing because they don't have someone with your talent available to sort out some key projects that would really allow them to make an improvement in their programs and touch a lot of lives.

Anyway, just another approach. When I ERd 4 years ago, I went through the same stuff, but I came to the conclusion that _not_ ERing would be the real crime, and that since I had the path open to me, I had an obligation to go down it and find new ways to serve and grow that I'd never find as a full time rat-racer.

(Later on you'll get past that, too. Now I'm really enjoying my time doing yoga and my new hobby, sculpture and blowing off all the other stuff. Time to feel guilty again? )

Welcome to the board, and Good Luck!

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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 11-24-2004, 03:48 PM   #12
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

Wow!

Thanks for the excellent advice/responses (did you ever notice this in the corporate world that when people can't write clearly they just string a bunch of words together with a "/")(looking forward to working on my writing skills in ER).

Seriously, I guess I should have expected this having been reading the board for a couple of months, but it's like you are all reading my mind about this big change...because you've been there or are going there.

Thanks so much....

BUMwannabe - see you in phase 2

daystar- I know you are right! In fact my husband says that he knows my boss will wish he was me. But he's got a non-working wife, 2 kids in high priced colleges and big mansion

wzd - The checkbook is now MINE,MINE,MINE. We used to keep separate accounts and I did the accountin (charging dh half the expenses each month), but when my hours went out of control, DH took over and we consolidated. I will be taking the responsibility back.

I'll also start researching any changes we need to make to the nest egg...

windedhare - thanks for the thoughtful comments. You were also nice to NOT point out that you have gotten your stuff together at a much earlier age than I did. I look forward to exchanging more ideas for this "new life" mode with you

nfs - your wife is my hero, my exact vision of my future. Thanks.

Nords - oh, what a laugh on the different male-female reactions. I think my husband is thinking the same thing (I currently travel 3-4 nights a week, get home exhausted etc.) Heck, I'm thinking the same thing!!!!!

ESR Bob - Yep (nods head). I think that list of current guilts is the real reason I'm doing this. Stop reading my mind please.
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE
Old 12-20-2004, 02:29 PM   #13
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Re: Mid 40's Female, RE

Quote:
Feel guilty that you've denied yourself the simple pleasures of *just having a long bath, a lazy day hanging out reading and thinking.
Disclaimer: This is a CHP (cocktail hour post)

I think ESRBob is getting in touch with his ER feminine side.

BUM
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