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ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 03:32 AM   #1
 
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ER Conundrum

No, this is not about birth control, old John needs
some advice

I am 60 and my wife is 55. She works very hard.
The paycheck is nice, but I think it is mostly an
independence thing. She has her money. I have mine.
We each cover specific household expenses and all finances are separate.
The financial part of it works very well. The problem is: what is the next step? I don't want her to work forever, and I assume she doesn't either.

I was thinking if she could make it through the next
22 months until I start to draw SS benefits, then she
could cut way back or maybe ER completely. I have not
run all the numbers, but I'm pretty sure we could make
then without either one having a paycheck (she has no savings although she will have a pretty nice SS check, but that is 7 years away). Anyway,
my DW is not a long range planner in any sense, so that
falls to me.

Anyone else with a working spouse faced a similar
situation? How did you deal with it?

Thanks,

John Galt
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 04:16 AM   #2
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Re: ER Conundrum

Sold and ate real estate - literally - age 49 to 55 when my early pension kicked in. Much more complex than that - but looking back - the central move was selling the duplex and consuming profit and principle over the stretch - in as 'cheap a manner as possible'.
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 04:39 AM   #3
 
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Re: ER Conundrum

John,

My wife and I have discussed this and we have a plan, on when she is to pull the trigger. She does not want to currently, which is fine.

Either way, you are going to have to find out what She wants. And then using more than the back of an envelope and a #2 pencil (I'd suggest FIRECalc) see if it works for the long haul (however long you think - and I'd add 15 years to be on the safe side.)
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 11:17 AM   #4
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Re: ER Conundrum

John Galt, are you asking strangers for advice about when you should ask your wife to stop working? That seems like an odd approach on several levels....

It sounds like she's happy working and the extra income doesn't hurt. What's broke? And why not have this discussion with her first?
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 12:05 PM   #5
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Re: ER Conundrum

As everyone is saying, you have to ask her what she would like and then plan together on how to make it happen. This weekend my husband was daydreaming as to what we would do with the money if one of his hobby stocks hit big. He asked me what I would do and I said I would retire right now. He was surprised. I was surprised that he was surprised. I guess we had talked so much about me working part time next year that he though that part time was my goal--not retirement.
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 01:47 PM   #6
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Re: ER Conundrum

Quote:
As everyone is saying, you have to ask her what she would like and then plan together on how to make it happen. *This weekend my husband was daydreaming as to what we would do with the money if one of his hobby stocks hit big. *He asked me what I would do and I said I would retire right now. *He was surprised. *I was surprised that he was surprised. *I guess we had talked so much about me working part time next year that he though that part time was my *goal--not retirement.
Martha:

Which, as hard as it is to admit it, most males don't really listen
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 02:56 PM   #7
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Re: ER Conundrum

I don't know John....maybe if you talk to her you will find out that she wants to keep working so that the two of you can afford a bigger place to live
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 04:11 PM   #8
 
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Re: ER Conundrum

Hey, thanks for the feedback! I agree that it makes
more sense to discuss this with my spouse than to ask strangers for advice. Unfortunately, my wife is not a "planner". I am. This is partly why she has no savings. A real "live for today" type. Now, I understand this, and am even sympathetic. However, I can't just
sit back and let nature take its course. As far as men
not getting it..........okay, I am guilty as charged. But,
discussions with my spouse don't seem to produce any
real concrete results. I was hoping someone out there
had a similar problem. If not. that's okay. I will just
press on, or perhaps leave things as they are.

John Galt
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 07:01 PM   #9
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Re: ER Conundrum

We are younger, but I am/will be in same situation. DH works very hard for his paycheck, still hungry for career advancement and promotion. I want him to ER with me, but I think he is afraid to ER v. early.

Some of our conversations regarding v.ER go like this:
DH-"I think I will always work hard. I need to have a purpose and feel useful"
me - "your purpose is to be my companion, and we have lots of places we want to travel to, and we may have a bigger family:

DH- "How do you know 2.5M is enough. I'd rather have 6M"
me- WHAT?!? When is enough is enough?

DH- "But we can buy a bigger house, MBenz, fill in the blank"
me - But I dont want to work for a bigger house, etc
DH - But I am willing to because I want to get those things for you
me - Awww, that is so sweet, but I would rather have you/your time and attention. I dont need those things, I need you.

I guess since I am not FI yet, I can't really push him on this one. But its definitely something (LOL- amongst many others) that weights on my mind and in my heart.
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 07:35 PM   #10
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Re: ER Conundrum

Quote:
We are younger, but I am/will be in same situation. *DH works very hard for his paycheck, still hungry for career advancement and promotion. *I want him to ER with me, but I think he is afraid to ER v. early. *

Some of our conversations regarding v.ER go like this:
DH-"I think I will always work hard. *I need to have a purpose and feel useful"
me - "your purpose is to be my companion, and we have lots of places we want to travel to, and we may have a bigger family:

DH- "How do you know 2.5M is enough. *I'd rather have 6M" *
me- WHAT?!? *When is enough is enough?

DH- "But we can buy a bigger house, MBenz, fill in the blank"
me - But I dont want to work for a bigger house, etc
DH - But I am willing to because I want to get those things for you
me - Awww, that is so sweet, but I would rather have you/your time and attention. *I dont need those things, I need you. *

I guess since I am not FI yet, I can't really push him on this one. *But its definitely something (LOL- amongst many others) that weights on my mind and in my heart. *
Windedhare:

Sounds like your husband is not ready to retire.
Beings this is an early retirement board, you really won't get a lot of unbiased opinions from posters here.
Early retirement is not for everybody, and it could be that your husband falls into that category.
What usually happens in Corporate work, somewhere along the line circumstances change, and then the thought of "who needs this" takes over.
If he's happy with his work for the time being and you pressure him into retiring early, and he doesn't like it, well you can fill in the blanks.
Relax, and enjoy the fact that you have a faithful husband that also enjoys his work.
Regards, Jarhead
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 07:57 PM   #11
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Re: ER Conundrum

Jarhead,
As long as he enjoys his work, and I am "allowed" to enjoy vER, I can be the supportive wife. . You make good points and clearly he is not ready to ER. He has a whole world to conquer still!

And I do enjoy him v. much- he is my life. Maybe I am worried about feeling guilty over being ER if he is still working. Maybe I worry about our relationship changing once I leave my professional self.

--- Maybe I should stop worrying, its late and I am not getting any younger!!!!! hahahaha
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 08:00 PM   #12
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Re: ER Conundrum

Quote:
. . . DH-"I think I will always work hard. *I need to have a purpose and feel useful"
. . .*
I've heard this one in various versions since I first started talking about ER. The funny thing to me is that I was hearing it from other electrical engineers and managers that I was working with. I spent most of my career designing (or managing the design of) transistors and components for wireless products (cell phones, pagers, WLANs, etc.). I used to wonder how my colleagues could possibly view the job of building better transistors to allow shallow yuppies to complete more phone calls before their battery went dead as a higher purpose. But apparently they did.

I did spend some of my working career as a professor. Teaching was somewhat more rewarding than industry, but still not a worthy enough purpose to keep me from ER.
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-21-2004, 11:37 PM   #13
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Re: ER Conundrum

Quote:
I spent most of my career designing (or managing the design of) transistors and components for wireless products (cell phones, pagers, WLANs, etc.). *I used to wonder how my colleagues could possibly view the job of building better transistors to allow shallow yuppies to complete more phone calls before their battery went dead as a higher purpose. *But apparently they did.
Now that is a truly subversive 'tude.
M.
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-22-2004, 02:51 AM   #14
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Re: ER Conundrum

I used to wonder how my colleagues could possibly view the job of building better transistors to allow shallow yuppies to complete more phone calls before their battery went dead as a higher purpose.

That's very funny, SalaryGuru. I guess that us poor souls seeking some purpose from our time traveling through this valley of tears need to at times ask that we be cut a little slack re the logic we employ to do so.
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-22-2004, 04:31 AM   #15
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Re: ER Conundrum

Quote:
Hey, thanks for the feedback! I agree that it makes
more sense to discuss this with my spouse than to ask strangers for advice. Unfortunately, my wife is not a "planner". I am. This is partly why she has no savings. A real "live for today" type. Now, I understand this, and am even sympathetic. However, I can't just
sit back and let nature take its course. As far as men
not getting it..........okay, I am guilty as charged. But,
discussions with my spouse don't seem to produce any
real concrete results. I was hoping someone out there
had a similar problem. If not. that's okay. I will just
press on, or perhaps leave things as they are.

John Galt

Well then, how about proposing a plan. You could propose that she continue to work until you get social security and then she could retire. You both could spend more time in Texas, especially in the winter. See what she thinks.
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It's not always financial.
Old 11-22-2004, 04:46 AM   #16
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It's not always financial.

Quote:
I don't want her to work forever, and I assume she doesn't either.
Typical guy approach, John-- asking your buddies before you ask your wife. Are you afraid of being outgunned and looking for ER ammunition?

If she doesn't pay attention to financial planning, then she's probably working for more than financial reasons. (Either that or she totally trusts your analytical acumen.) She may actually enjoy the job's challenges or the people she's with or the patients that go through.

My spouse has just started to see the light at the end of the career tunnel and is probably about halfway through the adjustment process. She works when she wants to and she doesn't do it for promotion opportunities anymore, but she keeps seeing things that she wants to do! It's her life and I support her while she's working through the process-- especially when the work is in Bangkok.

Your role is twofold:
(1) Keep giving her the "you can stop working anytime" numbers. Eventually she'll realize that she's working only for job satisfaction. If that evaporates, she'll be ready to make the ER transition.
(2) Show her how good the ER life can be. It might be a sacrifice but grit your teeth and hang in there. Personally, when my wife is working, I surf as much as possible. It makes for interesting "How was your day?" conversation...
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-22-2004, 06:01 AM   #17
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Re: ER Conundrum

Quote:
Jarhead,
As long as he enjoys his work, and I am "allowed" to enjoy vER, *I can be the supportive wife. * . *You make good points and clearly he is not ready to ER. *He has a whole world to conquer still!

And I do enjoy him v. much- he is my life. * *Maybe I am worried about feeling guilty over being ER if he is still working. *Maybe I worry about our relationship changing once I leave my professional self. *

--- Maybe I should stop worrying, its late and I am not getting any younger!!!!! *hahahaha
Windedhare:
Probably a generational thing, but my wife never had an
outside job. (Running a household, and taking care of kids is a big job).
I was a little concerned as how she would handle it after our last one "flew the coop", but she has sailed through with not much problem.

As far as you feeling "guilty", that is something you'll have to work on.

Personally, the sexiest scent a woman can wear is the combination of "furniture polish, mixed with sauces"

Regards, Jarhead
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-22-2004, 06:31 AM   #18
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Re: ER Conundrum

Quote:


Well then, how about proposing a plan. *You could propose that she continue to work until you get social security and then she could retire. *You both could spend more time in Texas, especially in the winter. *See what she thinks.
John Galt: From what I have observed from your posts, you like Texas, and you like your area with the exception of the winter. You have a condominium in Texas. Am I missing something?
I find it uncomfortable to suggest how anybody should live their lives, but Martha's quote makes a lot of sense.
(And you asked).
Regards, Jarhead

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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-22-2004, 07:00 AM   #19
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Re: ER Conundrum

Back to your topic, can't give advise but will share a female perspective:
Quote:
The paycheck is nice, but I think it is mostly an
independence thing. *She has her money. *I have mine..
People generally dont like to talk about their own or loved ones mortality. But, we have been told women supposedly live longer than men, and she is 5 years younger-- maybe she would be more comfortable with her own cushier nest egg.

If the finances were truely separate, I'd need to feel like I could over *all* the bills on my own money. I look at it as more like a survival thing than an indendence/feminism thing.
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Re: ER Conundrum
Old 11-22-2004, 08:32 AM   #20
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Re: ER Conundrum

Quote:
Jarhead,
As long as he enjoys his work, and I am "allowed" to enjoy vER, *I can be the supportive wife. *
Winded Hare -- great addition to the thread and I think you raise the kinds of points that are at the heart of making the ER lifestyle work for a couple.

I think a lot of it has to do with guilt -- you (or the first to ER) feels guilt about not working while the other spouse still does.

As long as you both have a choice, it should be ok, though. *Do you think your husband really wants you to keep working to pay for more goodies or have more financial security/savings?

If so, I think you'd need to help him understand your feelings about work vs consumption, and see the benefit for him -- (if only the joy every husband knows of having a wife that is happy and well-adjusted vs fragged out). *Guilt is a useless emotion that needs to be rooted out with education and perseverance-- don't let him ;make' you feel guilty, but don't you go feeling guilt all by yourself, either. *

If he likes work for its own sake, then he shouldn't change anything and you shouldn't try to change him -- I think you;ll just need to accept a partial ER lifestyle tied to your home turf with vacations as/when you can swing it. *Patience -- at some point burnout will happen and then he'll be a lot more receptive to the ER option.

If he likes work for the sake of the additional consumer goodies he can buy, then you might have a problem. *As long as there are sufficient savings, sensibly invested, to support the basic ER lifestyle for you both, then you can probably rest easily and enjoy the extra goodies he wants to buy. *

(Notice I am never suggesting that you can change his mind about anything -- the best you can hope for is that he will accept and understand your decisions to work less, but he might come around to the ER thinking after a prolonged career slump/burnout/layoff kind of situation) *Also health problems, stress, poor lifestyle stuff could get him to open to the ER lifestyle. *You might try 'subversively' introducing healthful, exercise-filled fun lifestsyle options that could make him feel, 'this is a lot more fun and feels better than commuting and office life' and get the wedge stuck in that way.

Still, he'll need to come to his own conclusions in his own time, imho. *Work has a deep resonance for people in terms of how they see life, the value of their life, their reason for living etc, and I would say you mess with that at your peril.

Lots of people are ERd with a working spouse, and aside from long vacations/travel, it seems to have all the benefits for the individual involved.

Good Luck!

ESRBob
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