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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 01:20 PM   #21
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Re: Stuck newbie

ReWahoo,

We have discussed the following options ad nauseum:

-hire a European live in au-pair so that my wife is freed up to help with my consulting practice. We got pretty far along that path, but my wife nixed it near the time the girl was supposed to come over. Needless to say, the young girl was not happy.

-have my wife go back to work full or part-time

-have my wife work part-time assisting with my practice

-downsizing and me continuing to be the sole bread winner

She could probably earn 70-80k if she went back to work full-time. She's well educated with good work experience. She got treated pretty bad at her last job though and, rightfully so, doesn't get real excited about returning to that mess.

She doesn't seem to like any of these options. I think the downsizing is probably the best option because I strongly feel that less is more. She is going to have to give somewhere; otherwise, my heart or some other body part is going to give, and I'm not going to let that happen...it's like I'm fighting for my own survival...geesh...what's a family for?

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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 01:51 PM   #22
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Re: Stuck newbie

Find a place you could rent. Sell the McM. Then look around at what the market will yield and be really flexible. Either a distress sale or a fixer-upper. You cannot afford to build new without selling current. So by fixing yourselves on the interim rental, you maintain maximum flexibility to strike a fantastic deal on the permanent abode. Get the market dynamic working for you ... and quickly.

One of my moves required a 3 vs 1 decision (wife and kids aged 8 and 11). I was the ogre. One year later they loved the new place and would not move back (was offered another promotion to move back and declined). So you have to make the tough decisions and hold out hope that it is not necessarily a one-way street.
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 02:11 PM   #23
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Re: Stuck newbie

Road Ahead, I can't speak from personal experience since DH and I are almost always on the same page about living simply, saving, and not spending too much money, which is why we are now enjoying our first week of retirement at 52 even though each of us has not earned over $50,000 each!

But it does seem like counseling would be helpful, since this issue isn't going to go away. Perhaps a counselor can help you reach some sort of compromise. It especially concerns me that your young child is possibly being strongly influenced by your wife to be a material girl and to only be happy with the biggest and the best, even if it's at the expense of your physical and emotional well-being. And if she's like this at under five, just imagine what she'll want/
demand as a teenager!

Your wife sounds just like a character in a book I just finished reading called Rattled. You might enjoy it---at least it could give you a chuckle if you see your wife in it. It's about a woman in suburban New Jersey who has to have a big new house and all the comic consequences that arise
from this (like the developer built it on a rattlesnake den!)
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 02:21 PM   #24
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Re: Stuck newbie

kcowan, I agree with your take and think that's what this family needs. I hate being the ogre..I really hate it..but being a leader, and in my case, standing up for yourself, ain't easy... but my gut tells me it is an important step.

Tangomonster,appreciate your comments and the book reference. Would be hard to laugh since so close to home. Funny, she is from Jersey. Maybe the author IS writing about my wife. :
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 02:27 PM   #25
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Re: Stuck newbie

Just thinking from your wife's perspective for a moment. * People generally marry others with similar goals and values. *Together you had a child and built a home. *If you built a 5000 sf home LBYM was not always one of either partners' goals. *LBYM is not for everyone. *Asking your wife sell the house and start LBYM is a big request. *It may run counter to what she values. *It probably runs counter to what you valued a few years ago. *Just because your values change doesn't mean that her's will too. *Try to keep this in mind as you work out a compromise. *

Also remember that a 3rd party (therapist, minister...) is not necessarily going to agree with you unless you recruit them from this board :. *But they should help you work out a compromise.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR

I wish you the best of luck in this. Go slow.
Best advise you received thus far.
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 03:40 PM   #26
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Re: Stuck newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadAhead43
She got treated pretty bad at her last job though and, rightfully so, doesn't get real excited about returning to that mess.
Join the club.
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 04:03 PM   #27
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Re: Stuck newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy888
As woody allen said in a movie, I try not to keep up with the jonses, I BRINGEM down to my level!
He also said something about a dead shark.

Good luck Roadahead, you're gonna need it. People turn to LBYM because its a positive tradeoff for them. Right now, your spouse isnt seeing any upside to this, other than it making you a lot happier and less stressed and being around more. Either she isnt comprehending that benefit or doesnt see it as a benefit.

There are a lot of folks here with a spendy ex-spouse. There are also a lot of folks who found that divorce is a great way to put two people in severe financial and emotional distress that neither fully recovers from.

This is a lot more than selling a house or retiring early. Tread slowly, softly, and watch out for hairballs.
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 04:37 PM   #28
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Re: Stuck newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by boutros
People generally marry others with similar goals and values. *Together you had a child and built a home. *If you built a 5000 sf home LBYM was not always one of either partners' goals. *LBYM is not for everyone. *Asking your wife sell the house and start LBYM is a big request. *It may run counter to what she values. *It probably runs counter to what you valued a few years ago. *Just because your values change doesn't mean that her's will too. *Try to keep this in mind as you work out a compromise.
Very true. I have seen married people slowly change their values over time and eventually drift apart. One case was very similar to the OP's: a highly compensated husband working in the IT industry and his wife (and kids) who liked the good life. They married when they were young and grew distant over the years. Once the kids were out of the nest, they ended up divorcing. The husband is happier now, but then again, as CFB pointed out above, divorces can also be messy and taxing (no pun intended) affairs.

Another thing to consider is that your preferences seem to be still in transition, e.g.:

Quote:
I strongly feel that less is more.
vs.

Quote:
The $50k would almost certainly go to curtains and other accoutrements for the new place.
You may want to give it a bit more time to settle down before you make any drastic decisions. Then again, if your work is really killing you, it may not be easy.*
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 07:39 PM   #29
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Re: Stuck newbie

All good points. She is five years my junior and we did buy this house together. In fact, she didn't want to sign the papers...I had to come sign them by myself. And now, I am the one who wants out. What can I say? I changed my mind....I see things differently now. If it were 1962, I'd probably be heading for the nearest commune.
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 09:04 PM   #30
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Re: Stuck newbie

Following up on original post, when I said further family discussion would not be productive, I meant that continued dialogue in and of itself won't likely reach a mutually agreeable solution. Dialogue and discussion has to continue....but a 3rd party would help bridge differences and reach a compromise.

Your last post disturbed me in that your spouse would not accompany you to sign the papers on original purchase. That in itself suggests there has been lack of compromise in your relationship. Your spouse is not likely going to perceive your actions as being fair (both initially and now).

As others have suggested, go about this slow, and please do get a 3rd party involved before making a unilateral decision to put up the McMansion for sale. To the degree possible, you and spouse should be making the next big decisions based on mutual compromise. You will both have to decide if you can do that together....before jumping into a rental (good idea) and using the appropriate amount of time to find a suitable replacement (good idea not to new build).
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 09:21 PM   #31
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Re: Stuck newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by RoadAhead43
What can I say?* I changed my mind....I see things differently now.* If it were 1962, I'd probably be heading for the nearest commune.
It sounds like a very drastic change, doesn't it? Have you considered what may be behind it? Stress? Burnout? Midlife crisis? (If so, you can get in line right behind me* ) Finally, are you sure that your current state of mind will last? Sometimes a change of scenery or a long vacation can give us a different perspective and make seemingly insurmountable problems much more manageable.
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-28-2006, 09:41 PM   #32
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Re: Stuck newbie

From Mrs FI@35,
We have agreed to do the very thing you want to do. Almost every single person we know, says "Why would you sell your awesome house, and quit a high paying job/career?" Our thoughts are why not ? To me having my husband home is a way better quality of life than have him working long hours and having only a few hours of time together once he gets home from the office. To me our big house was a bit overwhelming. Like someone else mentioned the upkeep and bills are high, and we did it all ourselves, not wanting to pay someone else to do it.
We dont have children but I think your kids would more likely love to spend time with you than have you working to pay for a larger house.
But here is where no one seems to have made a comment. Maybe its not just the big mcmansion that your wife doesnt want to get rid of. It could be that while you work all day she has created a life for herself within the area with her friends, neighbors, etc. You mentioned she doesnt work and I dont either. So you sort of create your own " daytime life " and " daytime friends etc." Maybe she is just feeling that she will lose all that and have to start over.
Another thing I might suggest is that maybe you go out and just "look" at what is out there. *New homes being built with model homes to tour. I know its hard to beat a big house but sometimes just going in to model homes gets you excited to get something different.
I grew up in a small home with six of us, and I think that having a small place made us closer. ( sharing rooms etc. ) although now days it seems like kids have their own bathrooms, bedrooms and more. *That said, the big house always felt a bit cold to me, and a smaller home is much more cozy to me.
I think even with a 2200 square foot home, there is still plenty of space, just not double everything. When we lived in our last house we didnt use half of our bathrooms or bedrooms.
It is tough to downsize so much stuff, and I like your wife, likes stuff too, certain things were easy to get rid of and others werent, but it feels really good to get rid of things. You sort of just keep your favorite things and also you realize that a lot of stuff is just filler and you dont miss it one bit.
I hope you come to some conclusion that works for both of you. Both your wife and I are lucky to have husbands that support us financially and in our case I didnt have any problem supporting him back, I have always thought he worked too much and had to put up with too many office politics.
My suggestion is to really hear the reasons why your wife doesnt want to move, there might be a solution that works.
Either the model home tour will lure her in, and she will be excited about a new home and getting to re-decorate. *
Also there could be the possibility of moving somewhere less expensive than Philadelpia and keeping the big house but for a lot less money.
Good luck.
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-29-2006, 01:01 AM   #33
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Re: Stuck newbie

RoadAhead43,
....You sound like you are very unhappy. 5000 square feet of house and a half million dollar mortgage seem obscene to me. And aparently it is not bringing real happiness to you. Someone posted recently about living in a crappy little 1800 square foot tract house. Well a crappy little 1800 square foot tract house is exactly what we live in and we are very happy. Our daughters lived here with us during their teen years. We actually lived in some smaller and crappier places when they were younger. It seems to me that a good marriage and family is more important than Mcmansions or other material goods. The most important task in our lives is raising our children. If we raise them to be material oriented rather than people oriented we are failing in our task.
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-29-2006, 06:25 AM   #34
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Re: Stuck newbie

MrsFI@35,

My wife mainly doesn't like change, and she will agree with that statement. She lived in the same house that she was born in until she left to come move in with me. She grew up in a very small house. We bought this place 4 years ago and have put a ton of sweat equity into with the intention that we would raise our kids here. This is her "nest" so to speak. So I think it's my wanting to yank her from her nest and her resistance to change that are the key elements.

Neither of us have been very happy here. The neighborhood seems cold ( we imagine that everyone is too stressed, working to pay all the expenses), our social life is not what we want, and now I have the additional stress of carrying the costs. To add to that, my business has taken a downturn with the loss of an important client, so I'm faced with having to press even harder to keep my income up over the $200k mark. I have made over $200k/year for the last 8 years and I have to continue that level of earning to keep us comfortable here.

So, I'd kind of like to step off the treadmill a little and reduce costs and take some pressure off. I'm not asking her to go live in a shack. I'm more than willing to compromise by buying a quaint, nice house that may even exceed this house in terms of trimmings, detail, charm,etc, yet has much less square footage. We could probably find a nice house built in the 30s or 40s with plenty of the things we like; hardwood, custom woodwork, stonework, etc. Heck, our McM basically 5ksq ft of dry wall.

Just like you MrsFI, we use about 1/4 of the total square footage in here.

As far as building new, I understand the views on this. However, I see it as a possible compromise. She would definitely be more inclined to go that route. She really detests old stuff and renovations. Plus, my brother in law is a builder who did exactly what I want to do for his own family and now lives debt free. I figure the two of us could build something pretty nice. I would stop working for a year and help build the house. With the two of us working on it, I think we could minimize cost, but I understand it is still a risk.

JClark, it's funny, in some ways I've never been happier. I think it is my growth and personal "enlightement" that has led to my new values and goals, which are much improved over my old "go with the pack" mentality. The house and the trappings are more an annoyance. True happiness goes beyond stuff, I'm sure you will agree.

Thanks all for the discussion, very, very helpful.
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-29-2006, 09:01 AM   #35
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Re: Stuck newbie

Scrooge,

Wanted to reply to your post. I think my change of heart is due to several factors: age, maturity, intelligence and just plain being tired of the grind.

I for one think that our quality of life in this country( generalizing of course) is really bad. It's amazing how the marketing machine controls so many and people compromise their lives, community and health on a daily basis, making decisions based solely on money/ materialism. I guess it took me awhile (till age 38 or so), to REALLY see the charade.

Now, it is serious. I think our lifestyles (mine included) impact our communities, environment, our country and our world. I want to head in the opposite direction for my own happiness, for my kids, for my country and for my world.

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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-29-2006, 09:49 AM   #36
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Re: Stuck newbie

RoadAhead3,
I can’t offer much advice on your family issues but I fully understand your work situation. I was an independent IT consultant for 8 years before I just had enough and had to get out. I just burned out on running as fast as I could all the time just to keep up with the work, client relationships, new technology, billings, travel, etc. My health was going down hill and finally we just decided that we had enough and had to get out. We’ve sold the house and now live on a boat and after a year or so of decompressing we’ll decide what to do next. I’m not sure what lies ahead but there is a lot in life besides working yourself to death. If you can, try taking a couple of months off to clear your head and show your family there are good alternatives to what you’re doing now. People who have spent their entire life in the fast lane sometimes don’t realize how many other options there are in life and how rewarding a simpler life can be.
Good luck.

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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-29-2006, 11:30 AM   #37
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Re: Stuck newbie

Roadahead,

My situation was very similar to yours. Last year my wife and I were living in a McMansion (3500sf, $400K mortgage). I'm also in IT (partner in a small IT firm), my wife works but our pay is very inequitable (I make about 6 times what she does).

I came to realize that having a huge new house simply wasn't worth it to me. The house payment was huge, and I didn't like the idea of $400K in debt hanging over me. Although we make plenty of money, I just felt that we would be just as happy, or happier, if we could get rid of the big place and find a nice smaller home.

My wife was VERY against the idea of selling the house. And why shouldn't she have been? I was the one making the money and thus worrying about the debt. Getting out from under the debt of a big mortgage was a huge benefit to me, but there really wasn't much in it for her.

Well, it took about a year to convince her, but I patiently kept at it and finally she agreed to sell. We're now living in a 2000sf rental house in the same neighborhood (which we love) and not fretting over the flailing real estate market (NorCal near Sacramento). Six months after the sell, my wife agrees that it was the right thing to do.

We were able to stick the profits from the house into savings (tax free of course) and feel much more free financially than we have in years. The last bit of debt we have ($8K on a 2.9% car loan) will be paid off in a few months. We'll have a ton in savings, no debt and a lot of freedom to live our lives how we want.

I don't think there is anything wrong with material possessions, they can bring a lot of happiness, at least in moderation. But I've come to learn that freedom is more important, and I will never again let material possessions threaten my ability to live my life exactly how I want.

Good luck in working out your plans with your wife. You've got lots of good advice so far on this board. Although I would offer caution in the whole "third party" analysis for a couple of reasons: 1) It doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks. This is your life, you need to live it the way you want. 2) Anyone can always find someone to agree with them. Your wife could simply go out and find someone to back her position up (and there are probably more people in the world willing to back up a high consumption lifestyle than there are willing to back up LBYM.)
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-29-2006, 01:50 PM   #38
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Re: Stuck newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by ash
Roadahead,

Although I would offer caution in the whole "third party" analysis for a couple of reasons: 1) It doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks. This is your life, you need to live it the way you want. 2) Anyone can always find someone to agree with them. Your wife could simply go out and find someone to back her position up (and there are probably more people in the world willing to back up a high consumption lifestyle than there are willing to back up LBYM.)
I am stunned by the misunderstandings regarding 3rd party intervention. No "trained" 3rd party sides with either side nor offers an opinion about what is right! It's about guiding the discussion as a mediator between 2 parties having difficulty having a real conversation and understanding each other. Having said that, it takes both parties to want to do that...
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-29-2006, 03:16 PM   #39
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Re: Stuck newbie

I agree that a 3rd party counselor is the route to take.*

One approach that should work for the both of you is define your mutual goals and identify the risks of the current lifestyle.* Before the two of you can happily make major changes this process is necessary.

She sees you leaving a secure job and a lovely home that you both have invested in, she doesn't understand that you now see risks for her and your daughter.* Were you to die your insurance will probably pay the mortgage, but could she meet all the other costs?* How long could she maintain that lifestyle, and when the time came to sell the estate the leverage is with buyers.*

Assuming you leave your current position agree that under no circumstances will you mortgage the new home, that your business ventures will not risk the family nest.*
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Re: Stuck newbie
Old 07-29-2006, 04:48 PM   #40
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Re: Stuck newbie

3rd parties sure can be helpful but I've definitely seen plenty of 'trained' 3rd parties take a side or have a bias.
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