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Couple ERs
Old 06-29-2004, 11:24 AM   #1
 
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Couple ERs

How many couples out there are BOTH ER's compared to just one of you? It seems that several of the folks on this forum are one of two who are R'd. Doesn't it make a difference when both are ER'd compared to just one of you ERd with the other one working? What's the point then if you can't be together enjoying the good life? Any thoughts on this one?
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Re: Couple ERs
Old 06-29-2004, 12:09 PM   #2
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Re: Couple ERs

I think there are times when only one spouse wants to leave the grind, and the other may still enjoy working.

I think the whole concept hinges on the agreement between the couple. As long as no animosity exists between the person working and the person who has ER'd, then no problem exists...
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Re: Couple ERs
Old 06-29-2004, 01:19 PM   #3
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Re: Couple ERs

We certainly have no animosity. Our 7-year plan was to get out together, literally on the same day. We worked for the same County Government, this was doable.

As things worked out, she was severely injured on the job. She will never be able to go back to her old job. She in effect was forced by circumstances into ER a couple of years early. I am saddened that she will live the rest of her life with disability and pain, yet at the same time I am happy that she is out of the rat race, and still in one piece.

We whine together daily that I still have to go into work, and she has to "wait" for me to get home. We are definitely of like minds that FIRE is a very, very good thing, and in max 3 more years, I will join her at home permanently.

To answer the Thread, our original goal was for us to FIRE at 51 and 50 respectively, I've since adjusted the plan slightly. We'll both be in the ER world when I hit 52, she is currently 48.
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Re: Couple ERs
Old 06-29-2004, 03:15 PM   #4
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Re: Couple ERs

My wife now works around 12 hours per week. Her office is 3 minutes from our home, and she goes in about 5 hours per week. The rest she does at home. She could retire if she wanted to, but she has chosen to continue and tells me that she plans to work part time into the foreseeable future because she enjoys her work and the people she works with.

We've talked about this at length. Where I see stress and management manipulation, she sees new "challenges". Where I see office politics and pains in the a**, she sees an opportunity to interact with interesting people. She works part time in a small office and has never learned to despise all the things that can accompany full-time work in a large bureaucracy. Plus I think the ER mentality is rather rare.

Anyway, this arrangement is working perfectly for us. We're both doing what we want, and our time together isn't an issue due to the specifics of her job. And she can quit anytime she wants. But I do think this is something that couples need to hash out very thoroughly before one (or both) takes the ER plunge.
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Re: Couple ERs
Old 06-29-2004, 04:58 PM   #5
 
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Re: Couple ERs

Well, there are plans and then there is reality. That is why some of our spouses still work.

My case - the spouse is 8 years younger, likes the job, likes the $ and is currently giving us the Health care Ins. Coverage, building up her SS payout etc. etc.

What's the point you ask ? - Well, I provide special services - Grocery shopping, Car washing, window washing - all sorts of services that my wife is now used to that she does not want to live without
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Re: Couple ERs
Old 06-29-2004, 05:06 PM   #6
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Re: Couple ERs

Mine still works. Loves the job. Enjoys the work social life.

Not younger though, she's three days older. Yes, I'm the victim of a cradle robber. We havent officially married yet, but it's a matter of weeks.

Same as cut-throat, we get medical coverage (necessary as she has asthma and would end up in the high risk pool), and we're maxing out her pension, 401k and roths with a bunch of her money.

By exercising the most pretax deductions possible, and combining our "incomes", we should have an interesting tax proposition next year. I have no w2 wage income, but plenty of dividend and interest income. She has w2 wage income, but no dividend or interest income to speak of. I have a large capital loss to employ. Looks like our taxes will drop about 20-25% from what we collectively paid last year as a result.

The argument that "two can live almost as cheaply as one' is well observed in ER...especially if one works and you leverage the benefits and retirement accounts. Her residual salary pays almost all the monthly bills, reducing my withdrawal rate to <1% going forward. We have no debt. When we reach SS age, even if there isnt any we'll have the balance of my portfolio with another 17 years growth, her pension, her 401k and our roths. SS would be icing on the cake. Spending is unlikely to be much of a problem...
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Old 06-29-2004, 07:25 PM   #7
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My spouse is a recovering workaholic.

My spouse is obligated to stick with the Naval Reserve for another three years. As long as she's indentured, she's been playing the game. She has to drill one weekend a month and she worked more when she wanted to. While it's earned us a couple free trips to Bangkok, it's cured us both of any residual desire to ever work again.

Two salaries sure does make a difference for ER. Two salaries each for almost two decades is a heckuva lot of compounding power, despite the long hours and separation. I certainly wouldn't trade a western Pacific deployment for the "privilege" of adding $100K/year to our retirement portfolio. $15K/year from the Reserves really eases the SWR and lets her indulge her home improvement addiction without guilt. We're drawing down our savings for another two decades (until her pension kicks in) but it's well worth the "cost".

We're together for all but 50 workdays/year so we don't feel like we're missing anything. She used to enjoy the workplace interaction & camaraderie but now it's just a dose of reality to remind her why she's not seeking employment. When she's at the office I do a lot more surfing, cycling, & stock research but we certainly make up for "apart time" when she's home!
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Re: Couple ERs
Old 06-29-2004, 08:43 PM   #8
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Re: Couple ERs

Ric,
I agree with you. We ER'd together, and have been traveling since. I cannot imagine her allowing me to run around Asia for six months solo, nor would I care to.

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Re: Couple ERs
Old 06-29-2004, 09:32 PM   #9
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Re: Couple ERs

We both consider ourselves retired now*. But our situation evolved. I retired in March 2003 (timing determined by a buyout opportunity). She retired from engineering in August (slightly earlier than original plan which was to retire in November). By November she had been approached with an opportunity to take a job as a park ranger and she took it. By March this year, she decided that she preferred reitirement.

* I still do some occasional consulting for two different friends who are trying to make their individual start-ups work. If I can help without it interfering with my play schedule, I do. I've never billed them, but they pay me (probably to make me feel obligated to help them again). My DW and I also work with the election board on voting days if we aren't traveling. We also work occasionaly for local events. This work pays but not enough to provide any motivation to do it. We do it because we enjoy it.
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Re: Couple ERs
Old 06-30-2004, 05:20 AM   #10
 
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Re: Couple ERs

My husband is 6 years older than me and retired 3 years before me (at age 51). We both worked in telecommunications and when he retired I had to work 3 more years until I was eligible for my pension and benefits. That 3 years almost destroyed our marriage. I hated my job so much and was so jealous of him during that period. Thankfully my company offered an early out I was able to take (at age 48). That was 3 years ago and everything around the house has been great since.

Both children are out of the house now (one still in college), we have been spending the last year traveling, trying to decide where we want to build our retirement home - taking our time deciding and also spending time fixing up our current home to sell.

Life in our house is very relaxed now that we are both ER'd!
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Re: Couple ERs
Old 06-30-2004, 07:42 AM   #11
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Re: Couple ERs

My wife (45) and I (50) ER'd last year. Been travelling for 9 months and plan on doing so for another 18. Will settle down and Buy or Rent then. Where? Still up in the Air.

SWR
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