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Non-financial fears
Old 04-15-2012, 02:27 PM   #1
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Non-financial fears

Iím planning to retire/quit my job/whatever you want to call it in just a little over one year from now. Iíll be 60. My husband and I have run the dollars a hundred ways and we should be fine. So Iíve gotten over the money fears Ė at least mostly, but I still have some other concerns (translation: crazy paranoid worries) about actually leaving the workforce.

First the reasons why I want to retire: 1. My husband and I love active travel doing things like kayaking, hiking, camping. My husband is 8 years older than I am and we can see that there will come a time when we canít do this. Weíd like to do it now, while we can. 2. I have quite a few interests that Iíd like to pursue more than I can now including gardening, conservation, natural history, reading, bicyclingÖ 3. Weíd like more freedom to visit out-of-town grandchildren, friends etc. than our schedules provide. 4. I worked part time for a few years and loved being able to volunteer etc. My job no longer allows a part time option.

But the fears: 1. At 60, if I decide it was the wrong decision, Iím not likely to be able to get a job that either pays as well or that provides the match to my skills that I now have. 2. About 3/4 or more of the money that weíll be living on comes from my husbandís pension, social security and savings. Iím afraid of the balance of power that this causes. Weíve figured out how Iíll do financially if something happens to him so that isnít the problem. Iíve just seen a lot of really nice men be a bit dictatorial with their wives when most of the money is ďtheirsĒ. And my first marriage, though admittedly many years ago had this problem. Iím fairly sure this is just paranoia rather than anything in my husbandís nature (weíve been married 16 years) - still, Iíd love to hear from other women who found themselves in this situation. 3. Iím worried that Iíll fritter away my time rather than pursue the things I think Iíd like to do Ė or conversely so over-schedule myself that I donít really get involved in any of it.

So if any of you recently retired folks can address how some of these things worked out for you, Iíd appreciate the advantage of your experience.
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Old 04-15-2012, 02:58 PM   #2
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Fears, #3.

I don't think there is any such thing as frittering away time in retirement. One of my greatest accomplishments is learning to give my self permission to do what I want, not what is expected by me from someone else. To me, that is the essence of retirement.

I say, fritter away, we are all just going to die eventually anyway.
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Fears after Retirement
Old 04-16-2012, 02:29 AM   #3
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Fears after Retirement

You are correct in a lot of your questions and these are important considerations. The finances are the most stressful aspect of retirement so if that is covered then you are fine. Yes, one can be dictatorial about the finances. I tend to spend so my wife tends to hoard. We have a firm belief of paying cash for everything and never owing anyone anything. That gives you complete and absolute freedom and was how we managed to escape the US at a relatively early age. Also, you need to make sure you have a reserve for emergencies as you never can tell what the future will bring. The lifestyle choices are also equally important. I am an extreme sports enthusiast (previously I did whitewater kayaking, triathalon competitions, kendo, aerobatics (I am a licensed pilot for SEL and rotary aircraft), mountain climbing, parachuting, extreme snowboarding, biathalon competitions, orienteering, etc.) but now I am paying for my previous crimes against my body. My knees are completely down to bone on bone and I have 4 fractured neck vertebrae (healed but a lot of issues with pinched nerves etc.), an old broken wrist which never healed right, and a lot of other minor stuff. But, I can still do a lot and still enjoy things like hiking, mountain biking, gardening, ice skating, cross country skiing, and snowboarding. I plan to take up sailing this year. It is my wife's greatest fear that I kill or severely injure myself and partially why I cut way back. My wife unfortunately broke her tibia and fibula hiking in Sarajevo while I was snowboarding (they had deep powder so what can I say? I am not dead yet!). It looks like a very long road to recovery for her so at least for this year our travel plans are negated and I am more or less house bound to take care of her. I still manage to get 2 hours of exercise a day either hiking or biking which keeps me in shape. We have a swimming pool and it is just a bit short of opening temperature wise (covered and with solar heating but still it is only at 22 degrees C) but I have gone in a couple of times this weekend so perhaps my wife can start exercising in the pool later this week. Hopefully, she will make a complete recovery and we can resume our travels. However, this has also been a major expense for us and I am glad we had sufficient padding in our budget to cover it. Being retired military living overseas we must pay cash for all medical and the submit the receipts to the Military Tricare Overseas who eventually repay us at the rate of 75% of expenses (after a personal deductible of $150 a year). The problem is the error rate on claims is just around 400% (they get it wrong repeatedly) and it takes up to a year (or more) to get repaid so not the best benefit in the world. On the other hand medical here is cheap. But, you are right that it brings up to the front issues such as long term healthcare. It also forced us to install a lot of handicap friendly stuff in the house like handrails, shower seats, etc. I'll probably now build stair elevators for future issues as I can see this is a problem in the future. Keeping busy is not the issue. Learning to live with your spouse 24/7 can be a trial especially when one gets injure or sick and requires a lot of extra care. I now do everything until she recovers but don't mind it at all. It is things like that that reveal the true relationship. Anyway, we are happy and things are good for us and we don't regret retiring and leaving the US at all.
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:23 AM   #4
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Is all your money pooled in joint savings and checking accounts to which you have total access? I understand retirement accounts have to be in a single owner's name but does his pension check get deposited into a joint account? Social Security checks deposited into a joint account?
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Old 04-16-2012, 07:26 AM   #5
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It can be a problem for some but I think it comes down to the core values of LBYM or at least within one's means, and jointly thinking of the total income pot as "ours" not "mine" or "hers".

In our case the only pension is the one that I have, and from the get-go at retirement I made sure she knew it was "ours" and not "mine". And yes, she did have concerns about being a "kept woman" and I knew things would go south quickly if that became a perception. She quit her federal government job and moved to WV because I wanted so badly to get out of the Washington, DC area traffic. That required a lot of faith and trust in me and I wanted to make sure her faith and trust was not misplaced.

But one of the things we learned is that we are so "on the same page" about money, which is really about priorities, that sometimes it's a little weird and we wonder why so many couple argue about money. And it made me realize how lucky I am to be married to her.

There has to be room for each to do some spending of money with no explanation or justification other than "I wanted to". The problem comes if one repeatedly does that to the detriment of the other.

For example: a couple years after retirement I did want to take $3k out of the bank, pack up the car and "just head west 'til we hit the Pacific" and for a variety of reasons that are valid to her she didn't want to do that, and I didn't force the issue or go by myself. I told my sister about it and she asked why I didn't just go by myself. My response was that I thought it would be selfish to use that much of our resources to do something that only I wanted to do.

To me the issue came down to this: What's more important, going on a neat trip or my wife's trust, confidence and respect?

Nothing terrible will happen if I never see the Grand Canyon or the Golden Gate bridge. But if I lose my wife's trust a lot of bad things are going to happen. That makes the decision pretty simple.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:09 AM   #6
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This isn't just a woman's problem. My wife had a much better paying job at megacorp than I did, and her "money" is more than double mine.

It's not a problem. We have great fun with it. I am a kept man.
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:33 AM   #7
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#1 - I haven't been tempted to even think about going back to w*rk at the kind of position I had when I ER'd, so I'm not much help there.

#2 - Sounds like you and your DH need to sit down and have a serious talk (or two) about your concerns. Although I was the higher earning spouse in our marriage, we treat everything as "ours" and always have. But YMMV.

#3 - In the 18 months since I ER'd, I've gone through both extremes several times (sometimes in the same week). I found a book a few weeks ago called "The Joy of Not Working" which has helped me to accept that it is OK whatever I do, even if that's not much.

Good luck!
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Old 04-16-2012, 09:47 AM   #8
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You've already gotten good answers, so only adding one talking point you might use underlined...

1. At 60, if I decide it was the wrong decision, I’m not likely to be able to get a job that either pays as well or that provides the match to my skills that I now have. Yep, something we all have to confront...

2. About 3/4 or more of the money that we’ll be living on comes from my husband’s pension, social security and savings. I’m afraid of the balance of power that this causes. We’ve figured out how I’ll do financially if something happens to him so that isn’t the problem. I’ve just seen a lot of really nice men be a bit dictatorial with their wives when most of the money is “theirs”. I’m fairly sure this is just paranoia rather than anything in my husband’s nature (we’ve been married 16 years). Obviously this is something you'll want to come to agreement on as others have said, no matter how many discussions it takes. OTOH, I doubt my DW is unique in that she leaves all the investing decisions to me. I have tried to involve her, but she glazes over almost instantly. I wish she would show an interest, but she simply won't. If you're genuinely interested in being involved in the whole responsibility (as it sounds to me), and not just "having a (random) say" and otherwise being hands-off, your DH should be thrilled IMO.

No surprise of course, but there are single women here who manage for themselves, and there are women spouses here who are the primary financial decision makers.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:11 AM   #9
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But the fears: 1. At 60, if I decide it was the wrong decision, Iím not likely to be able to get a job that either pays as well or that provides the match to my skills that I now have. 2. About 3/4 or more of the money that weíll be living on comes from my husbandís pension, social security and savings. Iím afraid of the balance of power that this causes. Weíve figured out how Iíll do financially if something happens to him so that isnít the problem. Iíve just seen a lot of really nice men be a bit dictatorial with their wives when most of the money is ďtheirsĒ. And my first marriage, though admittedly many years ago had this problem. Iím fairly sure this is just paranoia rather than anything in my husbandís nature (weíve been married 16 years) - still, Iíd love to hear from other women who found themselves in this situation. 3. Iím worried that Iíll fritter away my time rather than pursue the things I think Iíd like to do Ė or conversely so over-schedule myself that I donít really get involved in any of it.
1. I think that "going back to a job that pays well" is off the table for most of us once we retire. Chances are, you would want to go back to work for 2 reasons: 1. you need the money or 2. you are bored. To avoid going back to work for the money, you can do what many of us do: build as many backups into your plan as possible. If you are merely bored, paid employment is only one way (maybe the worst way?) to keep busy.

2. When we were both working DW and I had incomes in the same order of magnitude. Since my wife still works and I am retired, her income is now much, much higher than mine (though I am asset-richer). I was worried about a shift in the balance of power when I retired but, thankfully, it hasn't happened. Of course each couple is different. Has your husband ever showed signs that he may develop into a financial dictator? Is he secretive with his money? Do you guys have separate bank accounts? Does he control your spending?

3. This one is in your hand. Only you can decide how you will spend your time. For some people, it may require a bit of discipline to stay off the couch but, again, this one is on you.
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Old 04-16-2012, 11:27 AM   #10
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But the fears: 1. At 60, if I decide it was the wrong decision, I’m not likely to be able to get a job that either pays as well or that provides the match to my skills that I now have.
I can really relate to this one. I retired at age 61 from a job as an oceanographer. There just aren't that many jobs in that field that pay well. The job I had not only was well compensated, but was in the particular sub-specialty that best suited me. I don't know how to do anything else, so if I ever wanted to go back to work the best I could probably do would be fast food.

What helped me when contemplating retirement was a LOT of introspection. Once I knew (absolutely and completely for sure) that retirement was what I wanted, I set a date (the first day upon which I qualified for retirement, pension, health, etc), worked towards being able to retire on that date, and then went ahead and did it. Honestly, I haven't looked back. I have been too busy looking forward as I invent my own retirement, day by day. It was the best decision of my life.

But you need to be sure before you pull the plug, IMO.
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:33 AM   #11
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Both Midpack and W2R have good things to say. I also was a senior biodefense scientist specializing in aerosol infections in animal models, particularly non-human primates. BUt, the climate in the military laboratory I was working in became more and more overbearing to the point we made some calculations and quickly learned we were financially secure so decided to pull the plug when I was 56. Like W2R I am so specialized it is extremely hard to find work but I was lucky in that really there are only a few of us with my skills so I was able top continue working as a consultant roughly 1 week a month back in the US. But, the budgets have all been culled in the military and research has already taken the hit so my gigs back in the US have ended after 2 years that work. Like Midpack says my wife is the major financial decision maker in our household even though most of our operational money comes from me (not exactly as the money to purchase the house was 75% hers and the majority of our 401K money is also hers as well). Still it works out well and she is still "working" as a very active day trader (IMHO a very expensive hobby but it keeps her mind sharp and active). I also have no regrets and am extremely busy doing things I like to do. I have become and extraordinary cook and have developed a taste for gardening. Mostly, I like adventure stuff so I get my fill of that as well. Then I am doing some writing and soon will take up sailing as a hobby so I believe I won't have enough time for everything. I also oil paint and had planned to spend hours and hours reading. I wouldn't seriously consider working again unless it was part time and paid a huge salary. We don't need the money and likely I would start thinking about buying an airplane or such if we had it so we are actually happier with modest incomes.
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:13 PM   #12
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Thanks for the responses. I have access to all accounts and there is really little reason to expect that my husband won't treat the money as ours. We will talk some more about this mostly to make me feel comfortable with it.

We are pretty close on our money philosophy - just different enough to keep things interesting but not so much that we have any major conflicts.
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:19 PM   #13
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1. Has your husband ever showed signs that he may develop into a financial dictator? Is he secretive with his money? Do you guys have separate bank accounts? Does he control your spending?
Actually, no to all of these except that we have separate bank accounts - though with each other's names on them. My first husband was controlling with money and I asked to keep them separate. But we keep a joint spread sheet showing the combined money - and trade back and forth over who pays what with no problem.

I suspect this is all mostly pre-retirement jitters. And I'm thinking the best way to deal with it is to think about all of the things that will be great about retirement.
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:25 PM   #14
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You've already gotten good answers, so only adding one talking point you might use underlined...
If you're genuinely interested in being involved in the whole responsibility (as it sounds to me), and not just "having a (random) say" and otherwise being hands-off, your DH should be thrilled IMO.
I've always been interested in the financial stuff. I had a pretty rough patch financially once and found that the sense of control I gained by educating myself was liberating.
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Old 04-21-2012, 12:31 PM   #15
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What helped me when contemplating retirement was a LOT of introspection. Once I knew (absolutely and completely for sure) that retirement was what I wanted, I set a date (the first day upon which I qualified for retirement, pension, health, etc), worked towards being able to retire on that date, and then went ahead and did it. Honestly, I haven't looked back. I have been too busy looking forward as I invent my own retirement, day by day. It was the best decision of my life.

But you need to be sure before you pull the plug, IMO.
thanks. Introspection is what I'm working on. Trying to face these what ifs and being certain before taking the dive. I expect it to be great. Lots of plans...
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:00 PM   #16
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3. Iím worried that Iíll fritter away my time rather than pursue the things I think Iíd like to do Ė or conversely so over-schedule myself that I donít really get involved in any of it.
This one is interesting. I retired 16 months ago. I planned what kinds of things I would try to do after I retired and I've pretty much done them. Some are one time things like specific house repairs. Others are were ongoing priorities like continuing education, volunteering, salsa dancing, cooking, etc. However, I would say that are aspects of your non-financial life that are impossible to plan for. You just have to do it and see how it works out. I think that we get so used to living according to someone else's schedule (and fitting in our hobbies) that we never learn how to live on our own schedule.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:52 AM   #17
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But one of the things we learned is that we are so "on the same page" about money, which is really about priorities, that sometimes it's a little weird and we wonder why so many couple argue about money. And it made me realize how lucky I am to be married to her.

There has to be room for each to do some spending of money with no explanation or justification other than "I wanted to". The problem comes if one repeatedly does that to the detriment of the other.
Very well written indeed and this is largely where we are. We do have our own bank accounts but when it comes to spending it, we are on the same page on priorities and making sure we respect the other person. If DH is not free to travel with me, I make sure he is supportive of my travels without him. If at any moment I think there is some doubt, I won't go without him. When it comes to investing it, then we make our own decisions.
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Old 04-30-2012, 08:01 PM   #18
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I'm 61 and DW is 60 and we are in the verge of retirement.
Financially, all our studies showed we are fine so long as we keep our lifestyle.
I have some non financial fears as well.
1. I have a very financially rewarding job to run away from and there is no way I can get back and make the same money.
2. I have a very responsible and high tech job and suddenly I fear I'll be alone.
3. Travel and all those trips can be tiring after some time.

But I figure, if I wait a few years, get sick or one of us dies, there will be this regret why not spend all that money to make like worthwhile.

If your DH is 68, experience tells me he will not be as spritely another 10 yrs
from now.( You are 60, so there is some gap). I fear, you'll wake up one morning he's sick, and here comes this big regret. If you have the money--
go for it.
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Old 05-01-2012, 10:49 AM   #19
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I fear, you'll wake up one morning he's sick, and here comes this big regret. If you have the money--
go for it.
Oh, I'm coming around to it. Some days I think I'll bail even sooner. There are so many things we want to do.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:20 AM   #20
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We realized one day we would have the same disposable income if we retired and left the US to live on must my military pension alone than if I kept working at my high stress and extremely hazardous job. As a GS-15 I was pay capped with no cost of living raises or anything else for 5 years. All govt workers are capped to the salary of a junior Congressman. Anyway, we bailed and are actually living very comfortably on just my military pension of a bit more than $3000 a month. My wife handles all financial matters and we live fine and don't suffer from any wants or desires.
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