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FIRE on Spouse's Dime?
Old 08-03-2009, 04:46 PM   #1
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FIRE on Spouse's Dime?

Let me start by saying that I've always been good with money. I've never had any debt other than a house and vehicle. DH is the same. DH is retired and brings in more than me per year. Half of what we have saved for retirement was contributed by me. Our home is paid for - DH made sure to pay it off early as a safety net for me. He is a cancer patient, diagnosed in 1997, and is doing well beyond everyone's expectations. Unfortunately, there is no "cure" yet for his type of cancer.

I want to quit my j*b and spend time with him while he still has relatively good health and we can do things together. I also want to quit because I just don't enjoy what I'm doing.

We would be living off of his income and not touching any of our savings. Living off of that one income would not be difficult...we've always lived below our means. Now to the real question - finally... I've always had my own money to do with as I please...now I would be asking DH for spending money. This would be difficult for me. Has anyone else been in this situation and how did you handle it? Did it cause problems?
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:12 PM   #2
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Now to the real question - finally... I've always had my own money to do with as I please...now I would be asking DH for spending money. This would be difficult for me. Has anyone else been in this situation and how did you handle it? Did it cause problems?
Been there, doing that.

DW retired three years before me. Here's what we did:

We tracked expenses (not down to every last penny, just major categories) to determine what our ongoing monthly requirements would be, then agreed which categories she would have responsibility for in the budget. We then worked out an amount to be transferred to her checking account every two weeks to cover these categories, including a some "walking around money" and a quarterly "bonus*" for some extra spending money. Each year she gets a raise to cover cost increases.

We've been doing this for 7+ years and it seems to be working OK. She rarely needs to ask me for money since I'm responsible for almost all the expense categories that fluctuate or are (curse the thought) "impulse buys".

*If any of you guys read this, DO NOT mention the word "performance" in any way, shape, or form when referring to this bonus.
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Old 08-03-2009, 05:25 PM   #3
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I didn't work outside the home until my son was 12 years old. I never asked my husband for money during those years. He put his earnings into a joint checking account and I wrote checks, used the credit card, took out cash, etc. whenever I wanted. He knew I was not profligate and never questioned me about my expenditures. I didn't consider it "his" money in any way, shape, or form. I was not out buying big ticket items like cars or fur coats or jewelry mind you. When I went back to work, my checks went into this same account as was our custom. I should say we got married young, and the things we argued about over the years did not involve money. I think things would be different for a couple who married later in life with individual assets and established careers.
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Old 08-03-2009, 07:18 PM   #4
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I'm the breadwinner in our family. DW is a SAHM, soon to be empty nester mom. We have never considered what I make as my money or what she made as her money (when she worked in the early years of our marraige). It was and still is "our" money. We always talk about big expenses before we indulge (computers, cameras, cars, stuff like that), so that we are on the same page before we spend. Neither of us have ever gone without the things we wanted, but neither of us have done a lot of indulging either. I will admit that she was a bit more of a spender in the early years, because she came from a family that didn't understand money (to illustrate: her dad died broke and bankrupt, but regularly spent $500 a weekend on golf, drinking and supplies for those habits). Once she began to understand the ins and outs of money, she began to be careful of her own volition, and is careful today.

So in our case, its not one or the other of us retiring on the other's dime. It is our money, and we have saved it carefully, together, over the years.

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Old 08-03-2009, 07:48 PM   #5
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Eh, it was/is de riguer for wives to "retire" after never having worked a day in their lives, so what's the big deal?
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Old 08-03-2009, 08:41 PM   #6
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[quote=Chaos Abounds;841628] He is a cancer patient, diagnosed in 1997, and is doing well beyond everyone's expectations. Unfortunately, there is no "cure" yet for his type of cancer.

I want to quit my j*b and spend time with him while he still has relatively good health and we can do things together. I also want to quit because I just don't enjoy what I'm doing.

quote]

Quit , Your husband & your time together is so much more important than money . If you have to spend a little of your savings so be it .The money you can make back . The time with your husband maybe not .
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:04 PM   #7
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What Moemg said. Even with all that we did to get our financial house in order in the end I am FIRED because of DH's inheritance. It is what tipped the scale and what we live on. There is a 13 year age difference between he and I. I am 54, he 67. My regular retierment age is 66 and 10 months. That would make him 79 and 10 months if I had stayed until the bitter end. FIREing from a job I was sick of was a no brainer when we did the math. Life is short. Precious. Live it.
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Old 08-03-2009, 09:48 PM   #8
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I think this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos Abounds View Post
I want to quit my j*b and spend time with him while he still has relatively good health and we can do things together.
renders this irrelevant, or at least #99 out of your top 100 priorities:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaos Abounds View Post
Now to the real question - finally... I've always had my own money to do with as I please...now I would be asking DH for spending money. This would be difficult for me. Has anyone else been in this situation and how did you handle it? Did it cause problems?
But to answer your question:

Eight years ago spouse abandoned her active-duty pension (she would've started drawing it six years ago) in favor of a Navy Reserve pension (that she'll start drawing in 2022). But the active-duty pension was far more expensive than its value was worth. She's always said "Tell me if I need to go get a job" but so far we're doing just fine.

She doesn't ask for money. She says "I'd like another couple of $20s" and I give them to her. She uses her credit card and I pay the bills. She phones to say "Get $400 cash and meet me at this garage sale right now" and I jump. She says "We should go to the home show and talk to contractors about how to fix the familyroom roof, and then I think we should celebrate our anniversary at a nice Italian restaurant" and we do.

Seems to work just fine!
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:31 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone. We always have considered it "our" money and it's all in one checking acct...but he always had his discretionary money and I always had mine and what one did with it was up to him/her. I know a lot of SAHMs don't have an issue with this but going from having a paycheck to not having one is a little different. I guess I'll just have to get used to it if I want to ER.
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Old 08-04-2009, 09:50 AM   #10
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Now to the real question - finally... I've always had my own money to do with as I please...now I would be asking DH for spending money. This would be difficult for me. Has anyone else been in this situation and how did you handle it? Did it cause problems?
We've been doing that for the last six, almost seven years and it's worked out fine. It helps that she is in some ways even more "financially conservative" than I am. In 21 years of marriage we've had perhaps five disagreements about money (which is really about priorities) and none of those were serious.

Like you, she was initially concerned about giving up "her own money" when she left the job that was exhausting to her but six months later friends and family were saying we both looked more relaxed than they'd seen us in years so we knew we had made the right choice. And I made sure to let her know that the retirement income was "ours" and not "mine".

As it turned out I chose to get another job for a while and she is "fence sitting" on getting another one and has applied for a couple, but if she does get one we'll reevaluate how important the job I have is if it means we don't see each other much. That's because my work hours are usually 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM. That income is also very much "ours" and not "mine".
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Old 08-04-2009, 10:25 AM   #11
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Perhaps you could get a part time job working a couple of days a week. This would give you extra money and help the transition to retirement.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:26 PM   #12
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We would be living off of his income and not touching any of our savings. Living off of that one income would not be difficult...we've always lived below our means. Now to the real question - finally... I've always had my own money to do with as I please...now I would be asking DH for spending money. This would be difficult for me. Has anyone else been in this situation and how did you handle it? Did it cause problems?
Not in your situation, but I also always had my own "mad money".
I can understand your dilemma, but this is a no brainer. If you both have enough to be comfortable, why not enjoy it together?
If it really bothers you, do something occasional on a part time basis for some extra spending cash.
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Old 08-05-2009, 06:12 AM   #13
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We track expenses in 3 categories in quicken: family, wife, husband. Anything we do together is family.

We then look at the wife and husband categories. Goal is for both to have the right to spend equally. So we make a cumulative tally - and whomever has spent less has a "mad money balance" they are welcome to splurge.

In reality, wife spends more - so I have the positive "mad money balance" - but my spending behavior isn't going to change.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:20 PM   #14
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Eh, it was/is de riguer for wives to "retire" after never having worked a day in their lives, so what's the big deal?
It sure as hell felt like work to me!
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:31 PM   #15
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It sure as hell felt like work to me!
If you never had to make the mortgage, I cannot explain how it is different from chasing the kids all day.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:24 PM   #16
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If you never had to make the mortgage, I cannot explain how it is different from chasing the kids all day.
I supported the both of us, and that included the mortgage, for the four years it took my husband to get his advanced degrees so you see I do know what it is to make a mortgage. At least when I was working, my day ended at 5pm. Not so when I was home with kids.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:34 PM   #17
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I supported the both of us, and that included the mortgage, for the four years it took my husband to get his advanced degrees so you see I do know what it is to make a mortgage. At least when I was working, my day ended at 5pm. Not so when I was home with kids.
I would say things are generally different these days. My day ends at 8:30 or 9 when the kids go to bed.
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Old 08-05-2009, 08:38 PM   #18
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I also supported my LH while he was in med school. We didn't have a mortgage as we couldn't afford a house...lived in a run-down, roach infested studio apartment(I guess I didn't support him too well!). No car. In any case, we didn't feel deprived. In fact, they were some of the happiest days of our lives. I think it all comes down to what you both agree is important. We both agreed that when we had children, we wanted them to have the one on one attention of a stay at home parent. Best decision we ever made and one that paid off as our son is very successful...MIT educated investment banker. I could sleep walk through what I do for a living now compared with full-time parenting.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:26 PM   #19
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We have always just put our money in a joint checking account. I didn't work when our kids were little and still always felt like it was my money, too.
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Old 08-06-2009, 02:21 PM   #20
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Thanks everyone. I'm probably over-thinking the whole thing. It's weird though...there is a 12 year difference in our ages and we've been married almost 19 years...but DH looks significantly older than me at this point so in the back of my mind I guess I'm always wondering if people look at us and think, "She married him for his money." Even though that isn't true...neither one of us had much when we got together...other than a strong work ethic. And I guess that me not working and living off of "his" money will make me feel like I'm not taking care of my share of the responsibilities. It's hard to explain...
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