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What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 07:12 AM   #1
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What Women Want

I was at a few gatherings over the last two weeks and heard some interesting tales and saw some even more interesting interactions. All of the participants are in their 50s. All men are in "professional" careers and all women are "no longer in the workforce." So much for the basics.

Couple 1 recently moved from Pennsylvania. They bought a 5,000 sq ft house and the wife is busily redecorating. The husband says it was the biggest mistake of his life. The mortgage is killing him and her spending is digging the grave. When they moved, he thought they were ready to retire. Now he has to work forever. She won't consider moving. A quote I heard -- "If he retired, what would he do all day?" I almost fell over to avoid laughing.

Couple 2 recently bought a retirement/vacation home on a lake. Husband wants to sell the big old house they raised kids in and retire to the much smaller lake house. His health isn't all that good and probably won't be able to work too much longer. She doesn't want to move because what would she do with all her furniture." He says the added expense of the lake house is straining their finances. An obvious miscommunication on the objective and plan forward.

Couple 3 got interesting when the husband said that a couple could live on $6K per year in Thailand. He thought it would be nice to go there and they could afford to retire and still have plenty of money for other travel and return visits to see the kids. She doesn't want anything to do with it. She likes where she lives now. He'll just have to keep working.

Couple 4 consists of a man about to be forced out from a well paying management position but with a good severence package and health insurance until 65. She wants to move near her new grandbaby. She's thinking 5,000 sq ft. He's thinking lake house. She says that he should find another job and keep working. I suggested that since she hadn't had a job for 30 years maybe it was her turn and he could stay home. That was not a popular remark with her but he loved it.

Here I saw 4 perfect examples of women who want to expand their lifestyle and maintain their leisure and freedom while keeping their husbands in the workforce. I know for a fact that 3 of the couples are better off financially (total savings and not just income) than me. I suspect all of them are. My DW seems just as incredulous that just because she fills her days with whatever she pleases that I would want to do the same.

Is this what women want?





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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 07:20 AM   #2
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Re: What Women Want


Anyone who asks the question "Is that what women want?" should know that even if you somehow had figured it out, they would just change it at their next meeting of 'the club', so it is fruitless to try to figure it out, in any event!

I loved this, too:
Quote:
I suggested that since she hadn't had a job for 30 years maybe it was her turn and he could stay home. That was not a popular remark with her but he loved it.
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 07:40 AM   #3
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Re: What Women Want

Uh, those men married those women, so it's what the men wanted.

My spouse enjoys her engineering job and intends to keep working as long as she can. I would never have married a woman who wanted to stay home all day.

Of course, I do not tell her about this message board nor discuss safe withdrawal rates and the little nest egg that we've got. If/when she is interested in these things, then I'm sure she will ask me about them.
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 07:53 AM   #4
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Re: What Women Want

Sound more like an ignorance thing than a "what women want" thing.

Each of those decisions was, at some level, a joint venture, no?
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 08:06 AM   #5
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Re: What Women Want

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich_in_Tampa
Sound more like an ignorance thing than a "what women want" thing.

Each of those decisions was, at some level, a joint venture, no?
The situation where the husband worked and the wife "didn't work outside the home" arose when children came and the wife stayed home with the kids. As the kids grew and left home, some wives just kept on keeping on. In other cases the wives became employed but easily drifted back into unemployment when elderly parents or husband job relocations made their working inconvenient. Yes, it was a "joint" decision but the end game for the husband's working life seems heavily driven by the wife wanting to maximize the higher, familiar lifestyle.

There will probably be some angst as the situations enter renegotiation. I have talked with my wife about "our" ability to retire if we cut expenses (sell the oversized house). She's ready to change the subject at that point. I suspect that the final decision will be made when I come home one day and say I've quit and am not looking for another job. I will encourage her to do so but she won't. At that point she can cut expenses or divorce me. Both options require selling the house.
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 08:12 AM   #6
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Re: What Women Want

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
Uh, those men married those women, so it's what the men wanted.

So do you think that they should have discussed retirement planning before they got married? I doubt if anyone plans that far ahead. I have never been married but I thought marriage was suppose to have a little give and take. Not just take.
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 08:32 AM   #7
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Re: What Women Want

Quote:
Originally Posted by DOG52
So do you think that they should have discussed retirement planning before they got married? I doubt if anyone plans that far ahead. I have never been married but I thought marriage was suppose to have a little give and take. Not just take.
The NYTimes had a recent article about questions couples should ask before marrying:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/fa...7FIELDBOX.html

Quote:
2) Do we have a clear idea of each otherís financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 08:41 AM   #8
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Re: What Women Want

it is always dangerous for a male to think he understands a female
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 08:44 AM   #9
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Re: What Women Want

"I suggested that since she hadn't had a job for 30 years maybe it was her turn and he could stay home."

My wife and I are discussing similar situation. I believe the best scenario from a new marriage (young) would be for both partners to work 20-25 hours/ week each. This way both are not too stressed/overworked, have plenty of free time, can equally participate in raising the children, etc... Unfortunately, many careers do not allow for this possibility. Nor does it provide for the cheapest health care. For us, I am working the first 20 years, a few years of overlap, and she'll be (hopefully) working the last 15 or so. This wasn't so bad since she's an elementary schoolteacher and was perfectly geared to raise children. It was difficult to give up her career nearly straight out of college, but we have no regrets with regard to raising our own children. Sure we would be better off financially if we had both worked, but not much.

DOG52: absolutely, everyone should discuss # of children, religion,career, savings,
spending, and retirement (preferrably ER before marriage!) Absolutely
should be required and documented right next to AID's testing. If one partner
changes mind and the other doesn't, too bad. Anyone for mandatory prenup?
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 08:49 AM   #10
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Re: What Women Want

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL!
The NYTimes had a recent article about questions couples should ask before marrying:
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/fa...7FIELDBOX.html
Marriage, like any other financial arrangement, should include a mission statement; with room for renegotiation if circumstances change radically.

I am amazed at how much time, momey and effort is spent on preparing for the wedding; and how little is spent on preparing for the marriage.

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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 08:56 AM   #11
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Re: What Women Want

We didn't discuss retirement when we got married 35 years ago. It was way too abstract back then. But we did discuss it in our early 40s, and while we disagreed on some issues, we agreed to continue living well but not grandly, to save systematically, etc.

Our biggest difference has always been that she enjoys living in houses I feel are more than what we need (though we usually agree on the location). But even that is starting to converge. She has expressed interest in learning more about retirement planning. When I told her that freeing up $200K in equity by downsizing would probably increase our annual income by $8000 for the rest of our lives, she paused and then said, "that would pay for a pretty nice vacation every year."

A teachable moment.

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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 09:05 AM   #12
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Re: What Women Want

Rich in Tampa:

Amen and Thank You Baby Jesus!!!!
Could you have your DW call mine to set up lunch. Our treat!
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 09:11 AM   #13
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Re: What Women Want

i repeat:
Quote:
it is always dangerous for a male to think he understands a female
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 09:18 AM   #14
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Re: What Women Want

Of course, we all know that we can't generalize from an experience of three.

I know a number of women who want their hard working husbands to SLOW DOWN. One is a nurse who retired several years ago and is married to a 70+ year old lawyer who keeps working and working. They are FI. There is no need for anyone to be working. Oh, he runs marathons too.

I also know male and female lawyers who could be FI but enjoy a lifestyle that will keep them working for the foreseeable future. I know one guy who makes a pretty big chunk of money each year. His wife is a teacher and would like to retire. He pressures her to keep working. They both like "nice things." I talked to him about retirement not long ago. I think he believes he will live forever, and at the same lifestyle, and so he has to plan accordingly.

And I know one couple where the wife doesn't work, she likes spending money, and I think she would prefer her husband to continue working.

I admit that I like living in nicer places with nicer things than Greg does. We would have been FI a lot sooner if I was as frugal as my spouse. But because I liked spending more than my spouse did, I kept working and he ER'd first.
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 09:22 AM   #15
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Re: What Women Want

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowTwitcher

DOG52: absolutely, everyone should discuss # of children, religion,career, savings,
spending, and retirement (preferrably ER before marriage!) Absolutely
should be required and documented right next to AID's testing. If one partner
changes mind and the other doesn't, too bad. Anyone for mandatory prenup?
That kind of discussion may seem logical now, but I just can't see a 22-25 year old discussing ER planning. Most are only interested in where they are going on there honeymoon.
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 09:27 AM   #16
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Re: What Women Want

Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowTwitcher
"I suggested that since she hadn't had a job for 30 years maybe it was her turn and he could stay home."

My wife and I are discussing similar situation. I believe the best scenario from a new marriage (young) would be for both partners to work 20-25 hours/ week each. This way both are not too stressed/overworked, have plenty of free time, can equally participate in raising the children, etc... Unfortunately, many careers do not allow for this possibility. Nor does it provide for the cheapest health care. For us, I am working the first 20 years, a few years of overlap, and she'll be (hopefully) working the last 15 or so. This wasn't so bad since she's an elementary schoolteacher and was perfectly geared to raise children. It was difficult to give up her career nearly straight out of college, but we have no regrets with regard to raising our own children. Sure we would be better off financially if we had both worked, but not much.
Funny, DW and I have ended up in much the same place, albeit via a different path. We got married at 23 but didn't have the first kid until we were almost 31. In the meantime, we noth worked, saved a sizable nest egg and finished graduate degrees at night (2 for her, one and a professional designation for me). But when we finally sold the condo and bought the house in preparation for kids, DW quit working a good 6 months before we were even ready to start trying for kids. This gave us a chance to try the reduced budget and gave her the chance to recharge, do some work on the house (mostly painting and dealing with contractors), and set up her business. We know that I will likely have a shorter, more intense career (with much higher earnings), and it will likely provide more than enough to FIRE on, but DW wished to remain active in her field, so she pursues it part time as a sole proprietor and can ramp up if and when she wishes. She'll probably pursue her career long after I hang up my spurs (I'd guess I have 10 to 12 years, max, before serious burnout issues arise). In the meantime, she spends most of her time with the kids.

Works for us, although it took some doing.
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 09:29 AM   #17
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Re: What Women Want

Another great example of - who you marry is the biggest investment you make in life.
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 09:30 AM   #18
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Re: What Women Want

It strikes me that some of these women may be filling an empty nest with spending. They may be afraid of another change especially if they have the type of husband that goes off and does his own thing. To be left in the empty nest with no support or companionship and to have no money to spend on things they enjoy may be hard for them to risk.
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 09:40 AM   #19
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Re: What Women Want

In the words of the famous philosopher M. Jagger, you canít always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need.
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Re: What Women Want
Old 12-31-2006, 09:43 AM   #20
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Re: What Women Want

This goes to show that married folks need to be aligned on specific monetary goals and values.

Personally, I shudder at the thought of gold digging, living off of some man (yes, that includes my husband). :P I have a friend who's 40-ish and has designed her life around trapping financially successful husbands and digging for gold.
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