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When planning for ER....tough spouse question
Old 05-15-2015, 04:27 PM   #1
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When planning for ER....tough spouse question

Here's a tough question....
My dh has been beyond stressed from work as an executive. However, it is extremely difficult for him to leave, change careers, etc.

Anyone ever have an issue with a spouse who is hating their job, but too scared of change? In four years our kids will both be in college, so the downsize and possible move and career change maybe more possible at that time. However, dh has always had the highest expectations and goals for himself. I tend to worry he cannot relax......I want a long retirement with him and afraid the stress will kill him just like it killed my father at 52!

Thanks for listening and can anyone relate?


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Old 05-15-2015, 05:15 PM   #2
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Tough situation, moneymama. Until I was convinced we were FI, I was scared to move out of my middle-management role even when I was super stressed out and hated going to work many days. Once I was sure we were FI, I ER'd within a few months and haven't really looked back (although I did give consulting a try - briefly - and I'm a very busy volunteer).

Can you talk about it and share your dreams and fears with him? Have you had the discussion about what FI looks like for you?

My father ER'd in his early 50s because his father dropped dead the day before his 60th birthday. He lived to 79 and always swore he would have been dead at least 15 years earlier if he hadn't retired and escaped the stress.
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Old 05-15-2015, 05:27 PM   #3
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Thank you. We talk about it a lot, but maybe I will need to have a serious talk again -- because I worry so much about him.

You're right, he is possibly waiting for FI, kids to graduate hs, then there will be far less pressure.

I just didn't know how type A, executives really feel. I certainly don't want to nag


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Old 05-15-2015, 05:45 PM   #4
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You might want to talk to a Certified Financial Planner to help you both get a good picture of where you stand financially, and to help the discussion of goals move along. My DW is an executive and that helped us get her thinking about her exit strategy.
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:38 PM   #5
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Be an f'ng nag! Neither of us were really the mid/upper management types... but I stressed out because I always felt the stress of the mid/upper management wanting us to violate physics...and the engineers were the ones stuck doing the impossible.

we both retired just before our 54th birthdays... but I had a pacemaker 2.5 years ago. If money is not the real issue... are you both emotionally able to step back from the lime light positions?... if so.. enjoy life. we are on the start of that journey... hiking NE this summer. Remember mid management ... you're still pee-ons.

the emotional part is really the wild card... assuming the money is adequate.
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Old 05-15-2015, 07:41 PM   #6
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In four years our kids will both be in college...
We chose to fund in state tuition for our two kids and once that ended it was like getting a huge raise! If that is what you are planning that can be be big $$.

If he cant quit for $ reasons hopefully he can find ways to relive stress (exercise, trail running & hiking helps me). My DW has been appreciative with me and tells me so...asks how she can help etc and that is good. Having to work with A-*ole's can make anyone feel stressed which unfortunately can still be the case these days.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:36 PM   #7
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Bingy -- you are exactly right -- I don't think he can step away from the limelight career.

To him, it was a goal he always had. I don't think he can walk away. I'm a teacher, I tell him all the time to retire and teach and we can have a different lifestyle. I think he would feel inadequate as a teacher, sad to say.

I know a lot of people with the same mentality. I just would hate to see him waste his life and regret not having a simpler lifestyle, with much less stress. He seems to want it, but wants the status of his current position too.

I never thought careers and work life could be so complicated and emotional!!


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Old 05-15-2015, 11:08 PM   #8
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You might want to talk to a Certified Financial Planner to help you both get a good picture of where you stand financially, and to help the discussion of goals move along. My DW is an executive and that helped us get her thinking about her exit strategy.
+1. Years ago my husband's job was transferred to another state. I didn't want to move but he was worried about being unemployed. I had a friend who was a CFP go over our finances and assure him we would be fine. He found another job pretty quickly and I went back to work so we actually came out ahead. Years later he was ready to quit full time work for good - no friend needed to do any convincing this go round, though we are easing into it by working at home and old enough to have our pension income now, too, to make the transition less scary. He had a high stress job and it just wasn't healthy for him to continue.

We made a retirement budget and compared it to the Consumer Expenditure Survey for a reality check and crunched the numbers in our own spreadsheets and the Fidelity RIP and so far, so good.
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Old 05-16-2015, 12:38 AM   #9
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Bingy -- you are exactly right -- I don't think he can step away from the limelight career.

I never thought careers and work life could be so complicated and emotional!!
There are many reasons other than money to stay at jobs. Many people get most of their self worth from their job. These are not only the exec levels, but lower levels too.

I've always been all in at work... the long hours, etc. Many of the people I know don't think this ER will last very long... but the CTO of the last place figured I'd be back full time in less than 2 months... just past that long out... and still have more things to do than I can finish.

First check you ER funding... is there enough.
Second... check with DH... what is his thoughts on ER? Are you two on different pages.. or different books? Maybe he could use a good layoff!

I had to convince DW that we really could do this (financially). We hit some outside FA to help bring this concept home. Our primary FA is an idiot (me)... so some more objective opinions helped.
In 2010 I was laid off (location closing) and was one of a few offered a relo. I could not take it due to aging parents (hindsight... absolutely the right choice.. could not have dealt with there need at a distance). If this layoff had happened 5 or more years before, I would have been a basket case... my self esteem was wrapped into my work. We are all expendable...

You need to understand where your DH is at. If he is all work, maybe encourage some extra curricular activities that will help him build an outside life... my DW did this for me (sailing for me). However... most of my sailing buddies think I will be back in work soon.

You need to realize that retiring can be emotionally traumatic... losing your identity. You may need to help DH transition.. and could take time.

I'm guessing you have a lot of discussion ahead of you. Good Luck!
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:09 AM   #10
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If your DH is not ready/willing, no amount of money will convince him to leave the career. If he is ready, a modest shortfall will not convince him to stay at the job. This is an emotion/life/self image issue rather than a money issue. I would leave money out of the picture when talking to him about this.


As bingy said, if and when he is ready you should expect a period of a few/several months of rough sledding as he goes through the transition. I hated my job and could not wait to get out, but I still had a hard time for the first few months.
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