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Getting Tired of The Questions and Snipes - Advice?
Old 10-15-2009, 04:33 AM   #1
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Getting Tired of The Questions and Snipes - Advice?

Hi all,

Newly registered to the forum, have enjoyed being a lurker for a while now.

I did the Megacorp thing for 20 years, the wife and I saved early and aggressively early in our careers, have built a nice nest egg, no debt, house paid off etc... My wife was in and out of her career the first 15 years with kids / part time etc... then she got a fantastic job and we had the opportunity for a big switch - I was miserable at the Megacorp thing she loves her job and it pays very well, we are well on track for FIRE for both of us in 10 years and live very comfortably on her salary. I have taken over the kid (two high schoolers) stuff, home stuff, cooking (which has been a hoot) etc... Also, worthy of note, I think, is that my 20 year Megacorp stint is what contributed by far to date to our 700k+ nest egg and most of the house equity, I'm 48 she's 46.

So, we (Wife and I) have thrived under this arrangement for three and a half years, have a great plan and we are both happier and more in love than ever. Here's my main problem - Family and some friends continue to make snide comments e.g. "How do you feel about being supported by your wife" "Better not let her go she's your meal ticket" "What do you do all day" "Why don't you do something" etc... etc... All this in spite of having many interests, activities and volunteering.

Any advice on how to deal with this? This is the only down side of our decision so far. I am getting better at just letting it roll off my back, but jeez you think people would worry more about their own situation rather than me so much.

Thanks, and glad to be here!
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Old 10-15-2009, 05:37 AM   #2
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Tell 'em "The arrangement works for us. Eat your heart out."

Sounds to me like they're just jealous.
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:33 AM   #3
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Sounds to me like they're just jealous.
What he said.

Of course, it may simply be a gentle form of "ribbing" and you are a litte too sensitive. If so, simply agree enthusiastically; have fun with it. If not, ask what is so wonderful about his or her life that gives them the right to judge others -- asking specifically about their plans for the future and other very personal stuff. Put them in the position they have placed you.
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Old 10-15-2009, 07:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Mickslick View Post
...I have taken over the kid (two high schoolers) stuff, home stuff, cooking (which has been a hoot) etc...

...Here's my main problem - Family and some friends continue to make snide comments e.g. "How do you feel about being supported by your wife" "Better not let her go she's your meal ticket" "What do you do all day" "Why don't you do something" etc... etc... All this in spite of having many interests, activities and volunteering.

Any advice on how to deal with this?...
Welcome to the forum

You're handling 2 teenagers and the homestead and volunteering and these silly questions are still being asked?
My long range "envy detector" is blaring.

dh2b gets ribbed like that too...he's still w*rking but I am FIREd and in a better $ situation than he is right now (post divorce including CS).
He takes it all in stride and just grins his best grin when the guys bust his chops about landing well with me. We split all expenses 50-50 but that's our business, not theirs.

My advice is to practice your best grin in front of the mirror every morning.
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:42 AM   #5
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I (female) was the main bread winner for most of my career. Though hubby worked (and will for 18 months yet) he occasionally got the same thing. He just smiled and said, we're a team, and I'm lucky she can do that.

It's a shame that many males are threatened by the wife making more. I suspect many would envy you. I know that when my husband said "why don't you just stay home- you've done your part" when I got downsized a few years ago, I was and am still greatful.

In your case, you owe no one an explanation. But if you want to give one, I'd say "I had a successful career for x years. Now it is her turn, and mine to be here supporting her and the kids".
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:43 AM   #6
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I don't hear many of the questions that you do but I do get the "what do you do all day" question quite frequently. Usually I reply that "I manage my investments" or " I do what you do every Saturday". Either response usually leaves them with a look of envy on their faces!
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Old 10-15-2009, 08:49 AM   #7
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"I do what you do every Saturday"
Perfect!
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:08 AM   #8
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We are friendly with a family in this situation. They were both in school at the same time, got married in their senior year, she started working, and went on to law school. By the time he graduated with his JD, the economy was a mess (early 90s) and there weren't a lot of jobs, they had their first kid, and her career had skyrocketed. They made the decision together that he would tend to the dirty diapers and the household chores while she continued to focus on her career. Sure, in between youngsters he eventually went to work but would quit to stay home when new ones came along. Then she got a dream overseas assignment with a cushy package, but no work for him. This is rare in the expat community here, but not unheard of. Both of them say that they are happy this way, whenever anyone asks. I would argue that if you are in the tax bracket that they are in, and you have 4 kids that would need childcare (some fulltime and some after school) then it can cost as much or more to work than to stay home. And, I believe it can be fulfilling to stay home, especially if you are active in your kids' lives, volunteer activities, and hobbies...and of course keeping the homestead in good working order, regardless of your gender.

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Old 10-15-2009, 10:08 AM   #9
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Its envy. Tell them the services you provide make your wife want to keep this arrangement. Let them read between the lines.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:24 AM   #10
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Hmmm - you Italian? Practice your best Marlon Brando/Frank Sinatra - Godfather/Chairman of the Board routine explaining how with your 1st 20yrs at mega corp you put yourself in such a position the you can make life/the world 'an offer it can't refuse.'

Be colorful, embellish and don't use too many hard figures or traceable facts.

Create a family legend that will resonate thru the ages.

heh heh heh - of course if they really tick you off - tell'em to go pound sand.
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:24 AM   #11
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In addition to some of the other comments, you might want to try saying something like:

Yes, it sure has worked out well for us! Of course, it took some planning and work - we never ran up any credit card debt, always put X% of the paycheck right into savings/401K, got the house paid off, and I spent considerable time learning about the best investment and tax strategies for us. Pretty boring way to spend some of our time, and sometimes we were jeaolous of our friends with all the new "toys", but the results were worth it for us!

If you want any tips, I'd be glad to share - just let me know. Of course, you have to be willing to cut your spending and sock away the cash and spend some time tracking investments and tax impacts, so if that's not in the cards for you I guess you'll need to find your own road to happiness. But this worked for us.


Attempt this at your own risk. Odds are that they will just be mad because this points out their own shortcomings, and they will take it out on you. You have to determine if it is worth the risk. Some people aren't happy unless they can drag you down into their hole, they find it easier than rising to your level. But one out of a hundred people might benefit from it. Maybe save it for the ones with a chance to actually listen.

-ERD50
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:38 AM   #12
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It's a shame that many males are threatened by the wife making more. I suspect many would envy you. I know that when my husband said "why don't you just stay home- you've done your part" when I got downsized a few years ago, I was and am still greatful.
It's not just that some males are threatened. As far as we've come, the bottom line is that men are still judged largely on their "breadwinning" and their careers. Being a stay-at-home parent or spouse is *far* more socially acceptable for women than for men. Now if someone doesn't care about that they can easily tell others to pound sand and that both partners are perfectly happy with this arrangement. I for one would be thrilled to be a man lucky enough to be in that position.

If a woman earns a good living and she enjoys having a husband who takes care of the house, runs the household errands and stuff (so she doesn't have to), more power to them -- it's just a shame there's still such a stigma attached to men in these roles as lazy, slacking ne'er-do-well bums because they aren't generating the paychecks that supposedly define their usefulness.

But in the end, some people may just be jealous that some people have this option instead of both spouses w*rking until age 70 to pay for all their stuff.
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 10-15-2009, 10:38 AM   #13
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- tell 'em to go pound sand.
What is that old saying? "You can pick your nose but you cannot pick your family."
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:43 AM   #14
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What is that old saying? "You can pick your nose but you cannot pick your family."
You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose...
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 10-15-2009, 10:44 AM   #15
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I was a SAHM for many years and I had lots of comments from people about not working. I decided to stop caring about what other people think.

I suppose it's even harder when you're a guy. Tell them you just don't need any extra money right now and you're enjoying the time to be at home and with family.

Tell them you're practicing retirement and getting very good at it!
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Old 10-15-2009, 10:47 AM   #16
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You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose...
Depends on the friend....
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:19 AM   #17
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.......heh heh heh - of course if they really tick you off - tell'em to go pound sand.
My neighbor is in a similar situation. He takes care of all of the home-related stuff...cooking, cleaning, upkeep, etc. His wife has a very good job, with good benefits and good pay, and she's the sole 'bread winner'. They each thoroughly enjoy there roles, and neither has any desire to change a thing! Their very happy and contented!

So when asked or razzed, he tells it like it is. If they persist to the point of being obnoxious, he does as Unclemick suggests....."ah, go pound sand"...or "kiss my.....". I know, 'cause I'm often the recipient of his remarks (and he of mine!)!!! Of course we both know that we're both kidding, 'cause it's always been a 2-way street over the fence!!
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:29 AM   #18
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I knew someone like others have said.... he made good money... but while he was working, she got her law degree... she started to rise quickly in the law firm... soon making more than he did... they had a kid.. so he took care of it... she rose more, becoming a partner at $500K and more... he was still in the $80s... so when they had their second kid, he took off work to bring it up... was off two years before coming back.. then took off to 'learn' cooking... wanted to open a resturant... that did not work, so he came back...

Our boss just did not understand... it was just fine for the ladies to go home to take care of the kids, but for some reason, it was different for the guy to do it... the boss did not like it at all...

Now, we did joke with the guy.... but he was just fine with it... and would smile and joke back... I kind of know his wife's salary because once he said something like 'wouldn't you like your wife to make 1/2 million a year?'....
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:45 AM   #19
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Old 10-15-2009, 11:47 AM   #20
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I never got angry. I always said "it works very well for us" with the broadest smile and solid eye contact. Sometimes I follow it up with "how is your arrangement working for you both?"
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