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Dual career retirement
Old 04-26-2010, 04:43 AM   #1
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Dual career retirement

In both my extended family and my workplace virtually all the couples are "dual career". We are just starting to see the "I'm retired s/he isn't phenomenon. Just wondering how other people handle the lifestyle change. I'm semi-retired but my DW is still at the top of her game and profession.

I'm also interested in how many people are or intend to use the postponement of social security for one half of the couple.

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Old 04-26-2010, 07:53 AM   #2
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Well I am part of a dual career couple just not a married couple . I retired than he retired . It was great to have that head start . I'm still retired but I do sell on ebay which takes about a day a week . He has decided to get a part time job . He got bored and there were only so many projects he wanted to do . I loved it . He fixed anything that needed fixing . Installed a new sprinkler system and took care of all the yard and replaced several light fixtures . I helped by being the endless supplier of possible projects .We really fell into an easy lifestyle and have had no problems with both being home . Of course our house has enough space so we never are on top of each other .

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Old 04-26-2010, 08:24 AM   #3
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If my wife does indeed enter the ministry in the next year or two (we'll probably know in a few months), there's a good chance that I will be retiring long before she does, basically helping to hold down the house and assisting her where I can. If her salary wasn't quite enough on its own, I'm sure that the addition of 72(t) income would put us over the top until 59 1/2.
"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 04-26-2010, 08:24 AM   #4
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DW still has about 6 years to go before she can retire with health benefits. I have been retired for 3 years and I try to take as much of a load off from her has I can. For instance I fix most meals, do most yard and housework and do all the shopping. (yes, a house husband).

That said I have more than enough time to goof off and do anything that I want to, so I'm happy and she is happy.

DW is a teacher, so we get to travel during the summers.
Yes, I have achieved work / life balance.
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Old 04-26-2010, 08:47 AM   #5
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I retired five years ago and DW waited until this year. It was her choice since we could have afforded to both retire at the same time. She wanted a little extra financial security and I certainly couldn't argue with that . I made things a little easier by chauffeuring her to work. The extra time also allowed her to cut back gradually favorably resolving the "what will I do all day" question.
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Old 04-26-2010, 09:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Emeritus View Post
Just wondering how other people handle the lifestyle change.
It wasn't really a problem. Spouse and I have similar backgrounds and we were used to following each other's careers. In fact each of us probably damaged our own careers by following each other's careers. Maybe the military does a better job with dual-career couples today. Maybe not.

In 1999 I was all set to retire in 2002, and her in 2003, when her assignment officer started coming up with "unrefusable offers". She ended up leaving active duty for the Reserves in 2001 and going "part time" for the next seven years. Her first week off, the state's school teachers went on strike for three weeks and she ended up in a neighbor hui keeping an eye on a half-dozen eight-year-olds. For that few weeks I felt kinda lucky to still be working.

Otherwise by the time I retired she'd already finished decompressing. She still had Reserve weekends and the occasional stint of active duty, but that tapered off over the years and she was more than ready to retire when the time came.

The one who's not working can probably earn a lot of brownie points by not sleeping in (too much), not hogging the bathroom in the mornings, and perhaps having dinner preps underway when the worker gets home. It's probably not a good idea to complain about the quality of the surfing, either. Otherwise we just renegotiated chores & schedules as necessary.

Originally Posted by Emeritus View Post
I'm also interested in how many people are or intend to use the postponement of social security for one half of the couple.
Our lifetime earnings records are within a few percent of each other, so it really doesn't make much difference. We'll probably both wait until 70-- her because of extreme family longevity, me because there's no urgent need for the money (nor for paying taxes on it) and I'm willing to try to hang around until payback.

But the decision point is still over a decade away.

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Old 04-26-2010, 09:55 AM   #7
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I've been retired about 2.5 years, DW is still working but year to year. Mostly she just likes what she is doing and the people she works with, plus she's 5 years younger. We had comparable salaries. It was nice to have the extra income over the past 2 years, but we would have been fine (in hindsight!) had she retired with me.

Our life didn't change a whole lot when I retired. I was interstate telecommuting the last 4 years I worked, so I'm still home. I just get to watch Netflix and the market a lot more. I expect the bigger change will be when we're both retired.

I'm kind of planning on delaying SS for both of us, but I suppose I need to claim early spousal benefits on DW's SS at least. My calculations show early SS would provide a tiny bit more income each year, but claiming late would provide a bit more financial backup if things went terribly wrong. That's a few years down the road anyway.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:18 AM   #8
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I will hopefully retire in 3 years while DW will probably continue working for a few years. She has a type A personality and still has a few ambitions to fulfill before calling it quit. But at least she will have the option to ESR or even ER at any time (quite frankly, at this time, I cannot imagine her staying home all day; she'd be miserable).

A few years ago we experimented with me working PT and her working FT and we both liked that arrangement a lot (I went back to FT when the economy started to look scary). So I think, it will work out just fine.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:32 AM   #9
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We quit work together in 2008. Then started looking for part-time work together late 2009. Right now, DW is working a lot more hours than I am, but that will change with time. When we feel financially secure again, we'll both stop together - or as close together as feasible.
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Old 04-26-2010, 10:59 AM   #10
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I retired last November 9th, and Frank retired about four months after me.

Those four months were very useful for me. I used (and really needed) the "alone time" while he was at work in order to adjust, to decompress, and to get to know my true self again. He wasn't very happy with having to work longer, so when we were together he vented a lot and I sympathized with him a lot. Poor guy!

Now that we are both retired, I encourage Frank to take as much "alone time" as he wants in order to adjust/decompress and so on. He apparently doesn't need as much time for that as I did. We spend much of our time together and he likes it that way.

As I understand it he plans to take SS at age 62, in 2016. I tentatively plan to claim SS at age 66, in 2014. But then, we are not married.

He might take a contract job at some point, if he needs the money or if there is something challenging that he really wants to do. As for me, will I take a job? Even a part time job? WHEN PIGS FLY! Different strokes for different folks, and I don't need the money....
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Old 04-26-2010, 11:16 AM   #11
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DW retired 4 years ago, I retired 2 years ago. She loved when she had free time and I was still working.:
We have traveled a lot together and she has adjusted to having me around all the time. She has an occasional part time job which is good for her psyche though not much for income. I, OTOH, just love not working. I didn't have to adjust to her being home, she got to make the adjustments.

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