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Anyone have trouble getting the spouse excited about ER?
Old 12-28-2007, 01:33 PM   #1
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Anyone have trouble getting the spouse excited about ER?

We have planned for it for years, and we have enough money to do it, but the wife just can't get excited about the idea of me hanging it up.

I'm 42, and the kids are 8 and 10, and we're living in a nice new house in a decent town. I'm miserable at my job and need to do something before I lose it, but she can't get over the lost income.

What do I need to do to get her excited about the ER plan again? I am really ready for an adventure, but she's seems to be stuck in her very comfortable "mom" lifestyle and doesn't want to leave it. When I ask her about all the cool things we had planned to do, now she counters with "but what about the kids?", and "I think it will hurt them to take them out of their schools" etc, etc.

In hindsight, I think I focused too much on the money and not enough on keeping her excited about the plan. Or, maybe it was just MY plan all along, and she was just humoring me? :confused:
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:36 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardude View Post
We have planned for it for years, and we have enough money to do it, but the wife just can't get excited about the idea of me hanging it up.

I'm 42, and the kids are 8 and 10, and we're living in a nice new house in a decent town. I'm miserable at my job and need to do something before I lose it, but she can't get over the lost income.

What do I need to do to get her excited about the ER plan again? I am really ready for an adventure, but she's seems to be stuck in her very comfortable "mom" lifestyle and doesn't want to leave it. When I ask her about all the cool things we had planned to do, now she counters with "but what about the kids?", and "I think it will hurt them to take them out of their schools" etc, etc.

In hindsight, I think I focused too much on the money and not enough on keeping her excited about the plan. Or, maybe it was just MY plan all along, and she was just humoring me? :confused:
Compromise. Rather than hang it up, try going half time. If you are at home 2-3 days during the work week, you will have a lot more flexibility to be with her and help the kids. After a year, she might start to see some of the benefits of having you around.
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardude View Post
We have planned for it for years, and we have enough money to do it, but the wife just can't get excited about the idea of me hanging it up.

I'm 42, and the kids are 8 and 10, and we're living in a nice new house in a decent town. I'm miserable at my job and need to do something before I lose it, but she can't get over the lost income.

What do I need to do to get her excited about the ER plan again? I am really ready for an adventure, but she's seems to be stuck in her very comfortable "mom" lifestyle and doesn't want to leave it. When I ask her about all the cool things we had planned to do, now she counters with "but what about the kids?", and "I think it will hurt them to take them out of their schools" etc, etc.

In hindsight, I think I focused too much on the money and not enough on keeping her excited about the plan. Or, maybe it was just MY plan all along, and she was just humoring me? :confused:
As an auto dealer principal, can't you work less than fulltime? Start by picking a day a week to be home with the family. Let her pick the day. 6 months from now, go for 2 days a week, etc............
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:26 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cardude View Post
We have planned for it for years, and we have enough money to do it, but the wife just can't get excited about the idea of me hanging it up.

I'm 42, and the kids are 8 and 10, and we're living in a nice new house in a decent town. I'm miserable at my job and need to do something before I lose it, but she can't get over the lost income.

What do I need to do to get her excited about the ER plan again? I am really ready for an adventure, but she's seems to be stuck in her very comfortable "mom" lifestyle and doesn't want to leave it. When I ask her about all the cool things we had planned to do, now she counters with "but what about the kids?", and "I think it will hurt them to take them out of their schools" etc, etc.

In hindsight, I think I focused too much on the money and not enough on keeping her excited about the plan. Or, maybe it was just MY plan all along, and she was just humoring me? :confused:
I'm 38 with kids same age as yours. I was very gung-ho on a plan to retire and move to a warmer climate and shake things up a bit for us but my wife is less inclined to want to break up the routine that the kids have now. I respect her and understand her reasoning so we've now got an agreement that we will wait until the kids are done high school before we try some of these new experiences. In the mean time, we bought a lake lot for summer fun that I believe also should make a great 10 year investment and we take vacations with the kids to varied and fun places during school breaks, all the while checking out the potential of these locations for a retirement experience. Rather than getting frustrated with the timeline, I look at it as a multi-year research project, one that will pay off in a retirement lifestyle that suites my wife and I well.

A fellow our age must also be careful in determining whether we are just going through a bit of a mid life crisis. It's temporary but very common in guys our age, and one of the symptoms is being more spontaneous in making major life changes than you may have been in the past.
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:36 PM   #5
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When I ask her about all the cool things we had planned to do, now she counters with "but what about the kids?", and "I think it will hurt them to take them out of their schools" etc, etc.
She does have a good question--what about the kids? Do you have a good answer?

You and she need to talk---now, anew, with your new circumstances. What do you want, what does she want, what do you both want for the kids. What kind of w*rk/parttime w*rk/semi-retirement/retirement situation can provide some of those "wants" for both of you and for the kids?

It doesn't have to be all or none, black or white, yes or no. You can all get some gratification from this deal.
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:45 PM   #6
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find out what the real concern is... is it really the lost income? is she worried that you will always be around and drive her nuts? is she worried you want to pick up everything and move, impacting your kids? is she worried you will get bored? is she worried that you don't have enough?

most people have a hard time with change, whether they think they do or not. as a 38yr old that left the fulltime stuff, i can say that you do go through a big change. both spouses working, changing to both spouses home together every day, is a big change that takes some adjustment for everyone. maybe she is just nervous of the unknown with that part of it? for me, the money was covered, as it sounds like you too. could be disbelief that you are actually there, or could be some other worry... (unfounded of course!)

make sure you have a bit of a daily routine, maybe go part time first as others have suggested, and make sure you have the finances covered. as you transition into it, and she sees it is working, then you should be home free...
good luck and congrats!
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:49 PM   #7
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When the kids are older, maybe she can go back to work. You may find her tune changes quickly when she has to put up with it, too.
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Old 12-28-2007, 08:55 PM   #8
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Actually, I am having trouble getting the idea of normal retirement past her. I am making too much money.
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:30 AM   #9
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At this point, she is too excited! We are on home leave right now from assignment in asia, and while I'm trying to do a practice ER run, she is in shop til you drop mode. If we ER and shop like this there is no way we'll make it...

On the other hand, I mentioned to my sis that we plan to ER in 18 or so months, and she is all worried...saying to DW "what kind of work is he going to do?" I guess she doesn't know what "retire" means...

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Old 12-29-2007, 08:48 AM   #10
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Old 12-29-2007, 09:05 AM   #11
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Old 12-29-2007, 09:15 AM   #12
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Mine used to have to spend 10-12 hours at home alone each day when
my housemate was on vacation. They definitely prefer the full-time care
they get now that I am almost always around.
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:01 AM   #13
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She does have a good question--what about the kids? Do you have a good answer?

You and she need to talk---now, anew, with your new circumstances. What do you want, what does she want, what do you both want for the kids. What kind of w*rk/parttime w*rk/semi-retirement/retirement situation can provide some of those "wants" for both of you and for the kids?

It doesn't have to be all or none, black or white, yes or no. You can all get some gratification from this deal.
Ditto to the above. It sounds like the two of you need to talk and come to a mutual decision that addresses her concerns. It doesn't seem to me that her problem has anything to do with not being excited about ER - - it seems to be the obvious outcome of specific, important concerns that have not yet been addressed. There is a difference between just refusing to work, and a carefully planned ER. So, talk to her and do the planning together so she will be on board with this.

As for the question, "Anyone having trouble getting the spouse excited about ER", my answer is "NO!!" Frank and I are not married. But, when I told him about my ER plans a few years ago, he got interested in ER and decided that he could do it in about the same timeframe. So, we are both pretty excited about it and planning for it together.

I worry that despite a bigger income, his savings aren't growing as fast as mine. But, he is 5-6 years younger than me and is not ruling out a low stress, part time job or maybe doing a little contract work now and then. Plus his social security (once he qualifies) will be a lot more than mine.
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Old 12-29-2007, 10:23 AM   #14
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Ditto to the above. It sounds like the two of you need to talk and come to a mutual decision that addresses her concerns. It doesn't seem to me that her problem has anything to do with not being excited about ER - - it seems to be the obvious outcome of specific, important concerns that have not yet been addressed. There is a difference between just refusing to work, and a carefully planned ER. So, talk to her and do the planning together so she will be on board with this.
Agreed completely. Despite my flippant comment above, the fact of the matter is that as long someone has dependent children in the household and there is a "primary caretaker," it's not a matter of simply deciding to quit work. You're not only affecting yourself, and you're not only affecting your wife and yourself.

On its face, your desire to quit (with reduced income) while she's still rearing the kids may seem a bit selfish to her. On the other hand, her desire to keep the gravy train rolling on the back of your labor may seem a bit selfish to you, particularly if you've run the numbers and come to the conclusion that you can securely "downsize" your income. I would think it's important to lay it all out on the table, including some longer-term plan you can both accept. Maybe that means you work X more years as you both learn to change spending habits to make living on the reduced income feel a bit more secure to her. Maybe that means you (and she) might agree to do some part-time gigs once the kids are grown up. Maybe it means you transition into jobs you'd prefer to do, even at lower pay.

In this situation I think it's important that neither side becomes intransigent and inflexible. It's also important that motives are aired. Is she more afraid of the loss of income, or a change in lifestyle if you're around more often? Does she like the house to herself for 40+ hours a week while you're at work? Similarly, are you looking to get out because you are miserable with this job? Are their other lines of work you could find that could help you stick it out for a few more years, even at somewhat reduced pay?

To some degree, my initial (and somewhat flippant) comment still stands: Maybe she can't relate to how much it sucks because she's not being subjected to it and she likes her role or taking care of the household while the healthy paychecks are rolling in? It may be hard for you to convince her while you still have kids in the house...but I think it would be reasonable to suggest that if you still have to work after the kids are out of the house, so does she. And if she doesn't want to do that, it's not really fair to expect you to do the same. Not that her job is easy, but she certainly seems happier in her role than you do in yours. And I'd like to think that in a committed relationship, your mutual happiness is important to each other.
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Old 12-29-2007, 11:52 AM   #15
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And I'd like to think that in a committed relationship, your mutual happiness is important to each other.
I love this phrase. Personally, I'd like to think that I had $10 million, and a bunch of sex-starved 25 year old girlfriends. And if I tire of liking to think this, I'd like to think that each year I would get younger, not older, and better looking, not uglier. I can probably come up with more things I would like to think if I ponder on it for a bit...

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Old 12-29-2007, 12:05 PM   #16
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What do I need to do to get her excited about the ER plan again? I am really ready for an adventure, but she's seems to be stuck in her very comfortable "mom" lifestyle and doesn't want to leave it. :confused:
I haven't heard you say that you're offering her the opportunity to leave her "mom" lifestyle. Rather, you seem to be saying that you'll leave your job and she'll maintain her "mom" job until the kiddies are grown and out, a decade or more away.

Have you explained to her that you want to take over primary responsibility for the kids after you RE? I don't mean doing all the chores. I mean splitting the chores, but with YOU being responsible for the kids. You'll be home everyday when they get off the school bus unless you make arrangements for her to do that from time to time. You'll closely follow their progress at school and give DW executive summaries. You'll put your schedule as secondary to the kids' schedule at all times, unless you work out a deal with DW so you can get away for a fishing trip with the boys, etc.

I bet she'd like that arrangement. Your RE would buy DW freedom to schedule her own time. You'd still be away from the dreaded j*b and making your personal schedule secondary to the kids' schedule would be a piece of cake for you.
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:07 PM   #17
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hm, perhaps she was just knodding and smiling as you "dreamed" about this stuff...

what do you mean about "adventures?" roving around in an RV and seeing the "country" for you and the kids? Your kids are at a tender age - 8 and 10 - then will soon shed their "kid" skin and start their teens...fun fun! moving them around etc sounds like you are signing up for resentment from them and mom!

i know some people who take a one year adventure - live abroad or travel - those seem very well planned out and both parents have to be signed on...but they return to the same house and community so not too much is missed - but if you do that i think the window is closing on the age the kids would be on board for something like that.

i agree w/ other posters that you two need some heart to heart discussions - don't start with the "why are you all of a sudden against this idea" - but start with the "honey, I hear your concerns, let's talk..." and then shut up and listen! she'll be butter...

then share your feelings..."well, the reason i am so excited about this is because of how unhappy i have been....tell her in detail the angst you feel and the wishes you had that could be accomplished by ER or some half-ER plan..." also - it may help to go over the money - she may not understand how the income end will work and is picturing a cardboard shack and govmt cheese...

good luck to you!
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Old 12-29-2007, 12:22 PM   #18
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I know a couple who had 2 early teen boys who were starting to get into a lot of criminal scrapes. The parents quit their professional jobs, bought a sailboat and took off with j.d's in tow. They traveled all the way to South America, and stayed out for several years. When they came back the kids re-entered the community much more successfully as young adults. They didn't try to pick up on school, in any case they were probably not the type for college. But they threw themselves into an entrpreneurial partnership that has made them both very well off before reaching age thirty.

However, the parents divorced, the father started drinking, and I have lost contact with the mother but I never hear about her. So it worked for 50% of the participants.

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Old 12-29-2007, 01:28 PM   #19
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I haven't heard you say that you're offering her the opportunity to leave her "mom" lifestyle. Rather, you seem to be saying that you'll leave your job and she'll maintain her "mom" job until the kiddies are grown and out, a decade or more away..........

I bet she'd like that arrangement. Your RE would buy DW freedom to schedule her own time. You'd still be away from the dreaded j*b and making your personal schedule secondary to the kids' schedule would be a piece of cake for you.
Perhaps good advice, but the OP did say his DW "seemed confortable in her mom role and seemed NOT to want to leave it". OP's deliberately usurping the DW's mom role might not be the best way to go.

It is though, something that could be discussed in one-to-one talks between them to clarify just what DW really DOES want.
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Old 12-29-2007, 02:01 PM   #20
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It is though, something that could be discussed in one-to-one talks between them to clarify just what DW really DOES want.
Sounds like what she wants is to preserve the status quo. It's easy to be addicted to large paychecks when someone else has to put up with the corporate BS to earn them.
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