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Wish I hadn't gotten my DH involved - advice?
Old 06-23-2013, 09:35 AM   #1
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Wish I hadn't gotten my DH involved - advice?

Prior to ER, DH was adverse to tracking expenses and even being involved much. So I did it all, and I worked from a net model - I budget the net amount of our paychecks and used that figuring with his high child support dropping off we would be fine. The good news - we are!

OK for the bad news - he wanted to evaluate our spending yesterday. We spent all day downloading CC and Bank transactions, categorizing, etc. FireCalc says we can spend 98K per year and our money will last 35 years 100%....at 99K is drops to 99.5% (we even calculated SS figuring no more work). We spent about 85K, s you would think great. But not him. He now wants to put us on a strict budget and get it way down.

I am so frustrated - this feels exactly like what happened to my mom and grandparents.....they were all excellent savers and ended up feeble with large bank accounts, having had no fun.

Do you think this will pass? Any advice? I feel like we are doing great, he is unhappy. Not sure what he expected. We still have a mortgage, which we will rid ourselves of in about 5 years when we downsize.

Total buzzkill weekend.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:00 AM   #2
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It take lots of time to arrive at a realistic spending model. And conditions change which means the model might need to be updated from time to time. I think it's great to have a dialog about spending which might avert a suddenly perceived crisis. But one weekend isn't enough time.

Maybe a gentle budget that puts both your ideas into affect would help to determine what it makes sense to do. It's easy to say we can only spend X on food or Y on vacation, but then one might start missing the things one liked.

I know my own spending model for us has undergone radical revisions over the recent years. Currently I target about 4% or lower portfolio spending with the outcome yielding our fun money for the year. It's a nice pile so that makes the targeting a lot more easy to live with. For several years we were above 5% until SS kicked in.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:29 AM   #3
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It sounds like you have had a tough weekend and I hope you guys can work things out. I think it's great that you are both committed to FI. I understand many couples struggle with money issues but it sounds like in your case the focus is around cutting the margins. The good news is that you generally agree on the big issues. Good luck.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:31 AM   #4
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A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

Seriously though, I would look at this as the first step in a process. Hopefully you two can come to a compromise between LBYM and enjoyment.
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Old 06-23-2013, 10:33 AM   #5
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What a wonderful problem. Your basic security level looks to be well in hand.

I try not to ever give advice, but to simply state what DW and I do in similar circumstances. In this case, our overall financial situation is based on an income that is but a fraction of that which you've outlined.

FWIW, here's what we did/do, and without mounds of paper, or involved analysis:

A three tier alternative annual budget plan that is flexible, but doable.

1. An Optimum budget... A spending plan that takes into account the bucket list and all of the top level items on the wish list.

2. A Nominal budget... The amount of money that allows for "normal" living, without the frills.

3. An Austerity budget... As in "living in a cave"... If things go wrong.

We assign a dollar amount to each option, and decide (generally), on the expenses that could be added or cut... travel, vehicle, eating out, vacation home etc. , then, at the end of each year, review our position and make adjustments accordingly.

Now, this may seem to be a no-brainer, but it provides a framework for making decisions without the back and forth discussions.

Our approach to the future may be different from most younger persons.

First, once a year, we estimate our actual income... in our case, small amounts, from bonds, stocks, annuity, and yes, social Security... and come up with that year's income.

The second step is to calculate our net worth, as a dollar amount.

The third step is to estimate the number of years we have left to live.

The last step is to divide the net worth by the estimated years that we have to live... and to take that result and add it to our ongoing income.

The result is the dollar amount that we budget for the coming year.
.................................................. .........................................

In our 24 years of retirement, this seems to have worked, as we are still using our own (frugal) Optimum budget... Always with the mental peace that comes from knowing thatwe have fallback positions.

Certainly not for everyone, but it seems to work for us...

The tricky part is estimating the years we have left, and we're the only ones who know that.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:01 AM   #6
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Marriage is tough, and IME involves a lot of compromise by both partners. I have no words of wisdom to offer, but you have my sympathy!
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:05 AM   #7
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Does your husband not want to have fun, or is it that he can have fun without spending much money?
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BellBarbara View Post
Prior to ER, DH was adverse to tracking expenses and even being involved much. So I did it all, and I worked from a net model - I budget the net amount of our paychecks and used that figuring with his high child support dropping off we would be fine. The good news - we are!

OK for the bad news - he wanted to evaluate our spending yesterday. We spent all day downloading CC and Bank transactions, categorizing, etc. FireCalc says we can spend 98K per year and our money will last 35 years 100%....at 99K is drops to 99.5% (we even calculated SS figuring no more work). We spent about 85K, s you would think great. But not him. He now wants to put us on a strict budget and get it way down.

I am so frustrated - this feels exactly like what happened to my mom and grandparents.....they were all excellent savers and ended up feeble with large bank accounts, having had no fun.

Do you think this will pass? Any advice? I feel like we are doing great, he is unhappy. Not sure what he expected. We still have a mortgage, which we will rid ourselves of in about 5 years when we downsize.

Total buzzkill weekend.
If it were me and I saw we spent $85k, I would've said "Awesome! We can increase our spending and still be safe". My wife and I plan to spend every dime that our projections say we can. We have saved like maniacs our entire married lives and the only reason we did that was so that we could spurge and enjoy our retirements. Work first, play later has always been my motto. When we retire, it's time to play.

As long as your budget has plenty of things that can be eliminated in case of portfolio emergency, why not spend away? We plan to travel extensively and that is a budget item that can easily be lowered substantially if the market takes a prolonged hit and we get worried.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:13 AM   #9
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My wife is excellent at money management. Does the expense budget, pay bills, etc.
Has records going back 20+ years. Can trend chart how much we spend eating out.

I don't get involved with the expenses, don't care to know the details when she does her thing every month.
I track and manage our investment accounts. That is my thing.

ER 4+ years now and in my mid 50's.
I will sometimes drive the wife crazy by wanting to review the expense details,
challenge her to put us on a lower budget, etc.

She gets all upset, we have a bad weekend, tells me I'm the reason our expenses are
running over budget ( she is normally right ).

I normally do this when I'm worried about our nest egg, what is happening in the market
or I'm thinking about the future ( maybe help one of our children with $ ).

We have zero debt and can leave off of $2k per month if we have too.
Now for us that isn't living, it's no fun but the wife and I can do it and we have when hit with a very large bill/expense that wasn't expected. Pay the Visa balance off every month....no matter what.....no matter how high it is. Then go back to normal spending levels while keeping the nest egg balance untouched.

I guess sometimes it's my fault that I don't tell her about some of my worries.
This will change when I'm in my 60's and I'm ok with drawing down the assets while increasing our
spending levels ( traveling more ) and still leave some for the kids when
it's our time to go.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
Marriage is tough, and IME involves a lot of compromise by both partners. I have no words of wisdom to offer, but you have my sympathy!
Ditto, ditto, ditto and ditto. A South Africa singing group called the Mahotella Queens tell it well in their song, Marriage is a Problem.



I listened to this over and over when my marriage was crashing, and even got some DJs at dances to play it. It helped some that I could not understand the worlds

Ha
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:25 AM   #11
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P
OK for the bad news - he wanted to evaluate our spending yesterday. We spent all day downloading CC and Bank transactions, categorizing, etc. FireCalc says we can spend 98K per year and our money will last 35 years 100%....at 99K is drops to 99.5% (we even calculated SS figuring no more work). We spent about 85K, s you would think great. But not him. He now wants to put us on a strict budget and get it way down.
The question is: why does he feel that way all of a sudden? Is he freaked out because he just retired and the paychecks stopped coming? He is freaked out by the recent movements in the stock/bond market? Did he think that you guys were spending way less than you actually were?
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:29 AM   #12
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Prior to ER, DH was adverse to tracking expenses and even being involved much..... FireCalc says we can spend 98K per year and our money will last 35 years 100%....at 99K is drops to 99.5% (we even calculated SS figuring no more work). We spent about 85K, s you would think great. But not him. He now wants to put us on a strict budget and get it way down.... I feel like we are doing great, he is unhappy. Not sure what he expected. .
Maybe it's not do much the amount but where the money is going that bothers him? Maybe seeing on paper what extras cost makes him think they were not worth the money.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:39 AM   #13
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A basic principle of getting along in any partnership is to shut up about how someone is doing her job. Micromanaging is never popular, and Barbara Bell's husband should wise up. He is free to spend less on himself if he wants to spend less.

He now knows everything he needs to know to assure himself that she is managing in a responsible way. If he nevertheless is unhappy with her management, he could always divorce her or get a legal separation of property and do it his way. Presumably he is not crazy, so he will shut up instead.

Ha
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:54 AM   #14
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A basic principle of getting along in any partnership is to shut up...............
Ha

That technique keeps me from getting slapped around as much as if I open my big mouth and say something.............
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:02 PM   #15
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One thing I would offer is that whatever budget you both end up with, make sure that agreement is truly agreed upon so that as long as you are on budget, there will be no questions/second guessing/sniping etc... Without that I fear there will be a lot of buzz killing.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:03 PM   #16
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I, along with DW support, have kept track via Quicken of all expenses for between 10 and 20 years. Since we are a dual income no kid couple with moderate tastes, we have been able to save money while at the same time never feel that we had to deprive ourselves. Now we are LBYM ER types who don't buy new cars, have shut down cable TV for laptop viewing, repair our own cars, and have very frugal cell phone service. We also tend to minimize our purchase of "stuff". When I looked back at the Quicken data, I saw a remarkable consistent spending pattern over the years. I was then able to discuss with DW if we will need significantly more in ER than we have been spending now or not.

With this background, I was able to compose a retirement scenario that lasts for 50 years, includes DW and my pensions, includes our SS benefits (but discounting 1/3 of the SS due to any reform), and includes our liquid assets with a ~ 2% WR.

I was very thankful to have my expense data available when ER options started to present themselves. This along with discussions with DW removed much of the angst/uncertainty especially of the emotional kind.

-gauss
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:09 PM   #17
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Do you think this will pass? Any advice? I feel like we are doing great, he is unhappy. Not sure what he expected.
Many people who are not closely budgeting don't really realize how much certain things cost and how much they add up. My DH is sort of that way. I suspect that your DH just didn't realize how much certain things cost and thought you were overall spending much less money than you or spending.
He may have a number in his his head that people "ought" to be able to live on be shocked that you are spending much more than that number.

I have found that with DH and I what does help is to go line by line through the budget and ask what could be cut. Of course, part of marriage is that each person's priorities may not be the same. So compromise is needed.

But one thing going through it does do is really make clear how much certain things cost. And, at that point, your DH may decide that certain things are worth it.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:11 PM   #18
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I, along with DW support, have kept track via Quicken of all expenses for between 10 and 20 years.
We kept/keep enough data on expenses to know what to expect for routine living. But in our 7 years of ER, we've found that special circumstances have constantly overwhelmed the routine expenses and were relieved that conservative living allowed us to handle the situations.

Examples include our oldest grandson being born with cerebral palsy and us setting up a trust which reduced our portfolio. Now DW's mom is entering nursing home care and we're helping buy her into a better place since the Medicaid situation in Illinois is awful. (If her mom is in a dumpy place, I'll never be able to talk DW into being away for extended vacations.) And then there is the funding of 3 grandkids 529b's.

With these kind of "opportunities" coming up from time to time, we find that it's a waste of time to track living expenses to a high degree of accuracy. But we do have a pretty good idea what we spend.......

In regard to OP....... If her hubby is considering possible "special needs" in the future and wants to live conservatively now, it's hard to argue with that strategy. But I certainly understand OP's feelings if she wants to do some things that won't fit in hubby's more austere budget and doen't vision any possible worthwhile uses for the money.
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Old 06-23-2013, 12:33 PM   #19
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Color me confused. If the OP does not know why the spouse feels this way, how are we supposed to know?

I think you are going to have to dig a bit deeper. These things must be done... delicately.


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Old 06-23-2013, 12:38 PM   #20
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Color me confused. If the OP does not know why the spouse feels this way, how are we supposed to know?

We hypothesize and then comment based on that?
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