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Any advice to get wife to believe in ER?
Old 08-05-2007, 12:26 PM   #1
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Any advice to get wife to believe in ER?

I've been working 60 to 80 hours a week for the last 20 years and hit the wall about 2 years ago. I have been trying to convince my wife of the rewards of early semiretirement (Stolen from Bob Clyatt's book). I have maxed the 401k for 11 years, funded the 529 to cov(er the kids college, and my other investments could pay off the house in 3 to 5 years. I am now 42 and would need to work to cover living expenses until 59 1/2. But I could cut back to 20 to 30 hours per week(Work Less, Live More). I just can't get my wife to buy in to the concept. I could quit altogether if we downsized the house and invested the equity, but I think my health(mental and physical) would improve enough with a reasonalble work schedule. It would require that we budget our money(which my wife refuses to do now)and reign in our lifestyle(which is not extravagant, but we currently spend as we wish without going into debt). I have made a mindset transition from the pursuit of STUFF to the pursuit of time, and I can't get the wife to understand. Any advice or resources?
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:36 PM   #2
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I've been working 60 to 80 hours a week for the last 20 years and hit the wall about 2 years ago.


Some spouses can only feel the pain that is theirs. You are in a tough spot. You don't sound resentful, but if this continues how far away can that be?

Don't take my marital advice, but do you think that she might begin to see your point of view if she were also working 60-80 hours/week? It's possible, no?

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Old 08-05-2007, 12:42 PM   #3
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I would have to ask is how much is your wife invested in the idea of a big house and the like. Your comment is that she refuses to budget which lead me to think that she is quite happy the way things are now.
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:47 PM   #4
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She works 8 to 16 hours a week as a nurse and takes care of the kids. House chores are split about 50-50. Kids now in full day kindergarten. So yes maybe if she were working even full time she would see things differently. I think she is afraid that if I cut back she would have to work full time.
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:50 PM   #5
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I would have to ask is how much is your wife invested in the idea of a big house and the like. Your comment is that she refuses to budget which lead me to think that she is quite happy the way things are now.
She is quite happy with the big house and current cash flow. However, I feel that the workload is slowly killing me. Not to mention how much time I am away from the kids.
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:58 PM   #6
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Have you told her what you're telling us?

I have always been the saver and not the spender. But one year I got the desire for a pool. The hubby said, "well, you're working, you can pay for it."

I changed my mind about the pool, and decided to keep the bucks. Therefore, I was able to stop working at 41.

If she wants more stuff, she can work and pay for it. Your life is more important to your children than what you bring home for them to play with.
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:01 PM   #7
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Hey Beer Man and welcome...

Let's see... three posts and all are here.. you need to branch out a bit


I have never been married, so take my advice in that context.....

You MUST get to your wife what is important... right now it sounds like a big house and spending whenever and where ever is 'perfect' for her... as long as YOU bring in the money... a discussion of splitting the income 50-50 as you do the house work might go a long way to changing her mind....

I am amazed at all the guys at work who have a wife who works 'part time' or 'takes time off' whenever they feel like it... THEY have the freedom and the guy works his a$$ off to support their lifestyles... to me, if she is unwilling to change, maybe you have to make a unilateral decision and cut back on your own and bring it to a head......




(NOW... I now that will never happen... I just like saying it ... you will be working until you are 60 and that is that... sorry)
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:09 PM   #8
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Have you told her what you're telling us?

I have always been the saver and not the spender. But one year I got the desire for a pool. The hubby said, "well, you're working, you can pay for it."

I changed my mind about the pool, and decided to keep the bucks. Therefore, I was able to stop working at 41.

If she wants more stuff, she can work and pay for it. Your life is more important to your children than what you bring home for them to play with.
I have told her, but her response is to "enjoy" my money. She doesn't seem to understand that a new car(or whatever) won't make me feel less burned out. I have been trying put more $ into savings, so I can cut back sooner, but she sees that as miserly. Thinks I am turning into Scrooge because I'd rather skip a vacation and buy a less expensive car and put the difference in savings.
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:15 PM   #9
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Hi Beerman -
Welcome! I'm a woman who's worked more-than-full-time most of my adult life, so I have a hard time even understanding where women are coming from sometimes when they feel "entitled" to the husbands earnings. Sometimes I think I must just be stewpid not to have found such a situation myself.

But seriously it seems like some heart-to-heart sit-down time is required. Maybe with a marriage counselor?

Does she understand that the work is killing you - (and quite literally might, if the stress and exhaustion keep up?).

I wish you luck!
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:20 PM   #10
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If you've been working 60-80 hours a week for 20 years your wife is probably used to you being gone, and used to independence and the compensation of a nice house and plenty of money. This would be a big change for her too, having you home more, possibly interfering with how she orders her day, how she raises your children, and, she may be concerned that she's going to have to start making do with less than she's been used to.

Perhaps you could start by reducing your hours to 40 a week. It's a significant reduction from what you've been working, and it may not sound so drastic to your wife. After a year or two when it's apparent that this isn't going to send you to the poorhouse, perhaps you could reduce your hours again.

And, perhaps by then, she'll be used to having you around more. Your little ones would certainly benefit from having their Dad around more. You get so little time with them before they move out.



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Old 08-05-2007, 01:40 PM   #11
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The only thing I can add is that you could tell her "enjoying" your money now means saving and investing. Then tell her you'll get a $1M term life insuarnce policy so she should be financially secure if something happens to you.

Good luck. Cut back on your hours...now.
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Old 08-05-2007, 01:50 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the responses. Some different points of view are greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-05-2007, 02:55 PM   #13
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beer man

So you've been doing this for 20 years. What has changed lately to alter your opinion about work and time at home? Are you bored from doing the same thing for too long? I know from experience that when I worked the hours your putting in, DW complained, a lot, about me never being home. I listened, then continued working the long hours because I enjoyed it. That was how I defined myself. We had no children at the time.

Eventually the work was not nearly as much fun. I started working fewer hours. But guess what. DW no longer seemed to care as much whether I was home on time or not. You see, I had forced her to create a life for herself, by herself,without yours truly. Then we were blessed with a long wanted daughter. Time to redefine ourselves again. That made all the difference to us.

Here's the point. Change moves people out of the rut they're in. Suggestion: if you're fed up with your job, look for a new one. Look for one in another town, state or country, but REALLY shake it up. Your DW is just really comfortable with the way things are, your not. That situation is not sustainable, and the ultimate consequences you won't care for either. Time to pull both of you out of your comfort zone. If it doesn't work out, you can change again. But I hear the voice of desperation from you. I'll bet your DW doesn't feel that way, but the two of you are in this thing together.

Sermon over.
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Old 08-05-2007, 02:58 PM   #14
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I guess her priorities are clear when her immediate response was NOT, "That's a great idea. The children are growing up quickly so you really need to spend more time with them."

You are missing too much of your children's lives if you are working 60-80 hours per week. You will never get that time back.
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Old 08-05-2007, 03:52 PM   #15
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So you've been doing this for 20 years. What has changed lately to alter your opinion about work and time at home? Are you bored from doing the same thing for too long? I know from experience that when I worked the hours your putting in, DW complained, a lot, about me never being home.
Several changes: Lost a friend and coworker to cancer, my twins were born 5 years ago, another friend with cancer-remission-recurrence,brother died in a car wreck 2 years ago, and then one of my closests friends diagnosed with cancer 1 year ago. Now it just seems insane to work like I do. I would rather be home raising the kids, or at least there when they get home from school. Work has always been a mix of enjoyment and annoyance. My tolerance for the annoyance is gone, and the enjoyment is not as enjoyable. Feel like limiting the work time might make things more tolerable.
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Old 08-05-2007, 04:03 PM   #16
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Several changes: Lost a friend and coworker to cancer, my twins were born 5 years ago, another friend with cancer-remission-recurrence,brother died in a car wreck 2 years ago, and then one of my closests friends diagnosed with cancer 1 year ago. Now it just seems insane to work like I do. I would rather be home raising the kids, or at least there when they get home from school. Work has always been a mix of enjoyment and annoyance. My tolerance for the annoyance is gone, and the enjoyment is not as enjoyable. Feel like limiting the work time might make things more tolerable.

Explain to your DW that you are burned out. Ask her if she will go back to work full-time so you can stay at home with the kids. It is the 21st century.

Welcome to womens liberation (you might decide to keep this statement to yourself).
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Old 08-05-2007, 05:09 PM   #17
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I agree with Chinaco .A few weeks of nursing full time will turn anybody into a early retirement believer !
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Old 08-05-2007, 08:28 PM   #18
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Sorry for all of your losses. Our time on earth is limited. I think that it would be fair if you each worked 40 hours per week.

I used to interview people and had a few guys tell me with pride that their wives did not have to work. That they were not having someone else raise their kids and that they worked 2 and sometimes 3 jobs to provide for their families. Of course, I never said it aloud, but always wondered why it was important for them to have a mom, but not a father. I believe that it is very important for a child to have both parents involved in their lives.

I feel sorry for you that you have had to work that many hours for that long of a period of time. I hope that you are able to work something out with your wife. You deserve a better life. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:06 PM   #19
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All I can add is that you have to be firm that a change is immediately needed. You don't want to end up in the ER or going completely insane, and that would be no good to her or your child(ren), either. Keep doing the status quo is short-sighted, unsustainable, and will soon be damaging to your health and your relationship. It takes two people who support each other to make a marriage work. Good luck.
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:44 PM   #20
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All I can add is that you have to be firm that a change is immediately needed. You don't want to end up in the ER or going completely insane, and that would be no good to her or your child(ren), either. Keep doing the status quo is short-sighted, unsustainable, and will soon be damaging to your health and your relationship. It takes two people who support each other to make a marriage work. Good luck.


I really respect women whose husbands may make good money but the women get out and work hard too. Not just a "feel good about myself" job, but a "we need money so I will go make some" kind of job.

As a kid I did maintenance work for a doctor who like most doctors of that era worked his butt off. He and his wife bought apartment buildings as investments. Not only did she manage them, she often got down on her knees and scrubbed the floors after a moveout. That may not have been a really good use of her time, I don't know. But it was a very good demonstration of her dedication to their joint project.

I saw plenty of princesses too- in my other job as caddie at a country club.

I came out of childhood with a strong feeling that I didn't want any leaches attached to me. Once you are married it can be tricky though. Hard to know how best to play those hands.

Ha
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