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Old 11-07-2009, 08:16 PM   #41
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Muir,

Jumping in here, although I haven't read all the preceding posts. I feel your pain. You're in a bad situation. Your spouse ( I'm projecting from my own experience) thinks you "do not love her" if you resent the fact the she loafs while you slave. Your minister or rabbi will hand you a pamphlet entitled "the Gift of Inadequacy" and send you on your way ( you are the inadequate one, not the wife) if you go to him for advice.

She will not feel any pity or empathy for you. The only way out is to just quit working, or better yet, get laid off or just get fired, and not get another job. When the bills pile up, and HER lifestyle suffers, she will think about going back to work.

Caveat : if you end up making the little princess mad or sad, you risk losing 50 to 60 percent of all the assets YOU have earned in a miserable self-flagellating way for year after miserable year, if she files for divorce. Plus enormous child support payments.

You've got to make her feel the pain too, but don't make it look like you are doing it on purpose.
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Old 11-07-2009, 09:09 PM   #42
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Egads.
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Old 11-07-2009, 11:29 PM   #43
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Wow talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Well one can't complain about not getting a diverse mix of suggestions.
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Old 11-08-2009, 12:10 AM   #44
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Obviously, following John's advice would be idiotic. Why NOT just sell/mortgage everything you have, max the credit cards, move the money off-shore, and disappear to a tropical paradise?

On a more serious note, why NOT let her enjoy her 'ER' and give yourself a serious attitude adjustment to do your best to enjoy it too. Put some serious constraints on pre-ER spending, use a sharper pencil with your ER spending plan, and see if you can all get on the same page. Have your son work to save/pay some of his college expenses (when he's old enough)... He'll appreciate it more if he pays part anyway.
I retired when my youngest was just starting college and it really wasn't that bad a hit each year(each child was responsible for their personal expenses at a minimum). Originally, I was going to wait until they all graduated, but the more I looked at my spreadsheets and projections -- the more I saw it was possible to bail early... Good Luck!
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Old 11-08-2009, 11:11 AM   #45
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Thanks everyone. I think it boils down to just slowly keep trying to make ER a shared goal for both of us. If it happens it will only happen through communication. If it's honestly a shared goal then things like going back to work or LBYM will more naturally fall back into place.

It requires great patience on my part. Something I often lack and look forward to learning and practicing more in my post ER years. My sense of urgency is not hers on this goal. But perhaps in time it can develop that way.

Your thoughts have been helpful. Some have stung. Some have been downright shocking. Some have been very practical and encouraging.

It's pretty cool to be able to get this type of feedback. I like this little forum of ours.

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Old 11-09-2009, 11:25 AM   #46
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Assuming you've answered the whole can-we-leave-our-youngest-home-for-a-couple-hours-in-the-afternoon thing ...

Should your wife look for other work now that the job of raising the kids during the day is over? Absolutely, she should. Unless of course the "deal" was that she would work at raising the kids and then ER while you worked for another 20 years. I know that "raising" kids doesn't stop when they hit high school, but the reality is that the day-to-day requirements of being a stay-at-home parent are long-ended by that point. You and her will continue to "raise" your kids through high school, but you don't need to be home during the work day for that.

As to whether she actually could find a job, and how much she'd make, she won't know until she looks. Thinking that she won't find anything isn't an excuse to avoid looking for something. I suspect you'd be happy if she tried but couldn't find a job, and perhaps she would be more successful in a year or two if things improve.

The key point I see is that you both had an agreement whereby you'd both be working -- you worked for income, she worked at home to raise the kids. Now that the kids are all (or almost) in high school or older, her "job" has essentially been phased out and it's time for her to find another job to continue the equitable arrangement of both working and contributing toward the marriage. This would be no different than if you lost your job because your company moved overseas -- you'd be expected to find a new job.

You should not fault her in any way for whatever income she earns, even if she only earns very little and much less than you think she can. She's been out of the paid-workforce for a while and will not have as much earning capacity as someone who has been working for money the whole time. The point is that she should be making the effort to work at some job on a full-time basis, and unless you have another baby, it ain't going to be raising children.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:06 PM   #47
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Wannabee, NO sympathy for self-inflicted wounds. You talked her into ER as a SAHM and now are regretting it. I'm sure, if you put your mind to it, you might be able to convince her to come out of retirement for semi-retirement or even full-time work. But think first. Who takes off when your teenager is sick, has a day or half day off. What about the summer and school vacation periods? Having a new job and taking off to care for the sick, etc. is a good way to lose a new job. OR Fair is fair 50-50 split of these responsibilities. Is a latch-key teen really a good idea? How will he react to the 'sudden' abandonment? Are you going to pick up some household duties? Consider carefully, because when you both retire, there will be a tendancy to keep the status quo division of household chores. A short term gain for a long term commitment... At this point you probably feel you shot yourself in the foot originally. My suggestion is to be careful not to shoot the other one and keep the status quo for the high school years. With any luck - you can retire - have your son live at home while going to college - giving you a built in house-sitter for when you want to travel. Good luck...
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:11 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by MuirWannabe View Post
Thanks everyone. I think it boils down to just slowly keep trying to make ER a shared goal for both of us. If it happens it will only happen through communication. If it's honestly a shared goal then things like going back to work or LBYM will more naturally fall back into place.

It requires great patience on my part. Something I often lack and look forward to learning and practicing more in my post ER years. My sense of urgency is not hers on this goal. But perhaps in time it can develop that way.

Your thoughts have been helpful. Some have stung. Some have been downright shocking. Some have been very practical and encouraging.

It's pretty cool to be able to get this type of feedback. I like this little forum of ours.

MuirW
Wow, I want to be like you when (if) I grow up.
But one other issue sprang to mind. DH and I were DINKS with similar jobs and incomes, quite different from you. But one recurring theme during our 20-odd years of working lives was "I wish we had a wife". Just be aware that if it turns out your wife goes to full-time work, you will have to engage in a whole new set of negotiations on how the housework gets done. I remember fantasizing that if I had a "wife" I could actually eat lunch on my lunch hour instead of running errands that had to be done during working hours. I could come home to a clean(er) house and dinner, and not have to do grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning on the evenings and weekends. I wouldn't have to take precious leave to be home to meet a repairman. In our case, I'm happy with the decision we made because it turned out well (so far) but it did take considerable "communication" with DH for him to understand that just because he's male, didn't excuse him from doing a fair portion of the work at home. What is fair is open to interpretation and discussion, but trust me, it's likely that the amount of housework you already do (if any) must go up if your wife spends 40+ hours a week working outside the home.
But if you communicate and share the same goals, it'll work out.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:15 PM   #49
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:25 PM   #50
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In this economy I think part time jobs are easier to find . That would ease her into the workplace yet still give her some freedom .
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:44 PM   #51
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In this economy -- do someone else a favor and leave the job open for someone who really needs it. That's what we're doing... At least four people have jobs today because DW and I choose NOT to work. (We both worked harder than any two average folks). With double digit unemployment, it just seems greedy to have a job we don't need (or WANT)... So we're doing our part to reduce the unemployment rates. Too bad more aren't following our 'selfless' example. IF the country should ever achieve full employment and need additional workers, please give us a call at 1-800-JUST-Joking...
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Old 11-09-2009, 03:33 PM   #52
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Damn my husband is a lucky b@st@rd. That is all I can really say here.

You've gotten some good advice and I'd suggest you explore this more with a counselor if need be--just to keep it from getting heated.

You are reasonable, she is reasonable, you both love each other and want to spend more time doing what you want. Sounds like a good place to start, to me.

Good luck to you in this!
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:51 PM   #53
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Just a POV from a guy who has been through a few things. I think having a parent at home when a young teen gets off of school is pretty important. Those few hours between when they get off school and both parents get home can result in arrests, grandchildren, or other potential speedbumps on the road to early retirement. I'm not speaking to the job/no job thing here, but IMHO SAHMism doesn't necessarily end when the kids turn into teens. YMMV.

But just to throw my 2 cents in, I agree with the group that says you would come out further ahead by cutting costs and working together toward LBYM than you would by adding her (probably small to start with) income. If she wants a job, that's her choice, but I don't think it's the answer to your dilemma.
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:06 PM   #54
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Damn my husband is a lucky b@st@rd. That is all I can really say here.
Too Bad -- Does it have anything to do with your HULA talent? Care to offer a clue or two?

Perhaps we can name that tune, if you give us a few notes...
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Old 11-09-2009, 06:54 PM   #55
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Disclaimer: I have always been a full fledged career woman who has morphed into a SAHHE (stay at home household engineer*) less than 3 years ago when I FIREd.

I'm still having trouble figuring out why the Mrs. can't get a part time job while the teens are in school. It really escapes me.

Everyone should contribute to the good of the household, including things that reduce stress levels. Kids or no kids really doesn't make a difference with respect to a woman's employment. To me personally, it boils down to each partner contributing to the good of the union, to the best of their ability.

THEN: As far as the recession goes, yours truly found w*rk, low paying but still decent wages, with no real j*b experience in 1980. I wanted to help pay the bills when LH got a post college job offer and I didn't. We were a team.

NOW: Besides contributing my own income (not wages) to the bills and expenses, I run the household while dh2b w*rks. We are partners.

*new acronym alert
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Old 11-09-2009, 10:27 PM   #56
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Muir,

Jumping in here, although I haven't read all the preceding posts. I feel your pain. You're in a bad situation. Your spouse ( I'm projecting from my own experience) thinks you "do not love her" if you resent the fact the she loafs while you slave. Your minister or rabbi will hand you a pamphlet entitled "the Gift of Inadequacy" and send you on your way ( you are the inadequate one, not the wife) if you go to him for advice.

She will not feel any pity or empathy for you. The only way out is to just quit working, or better yet, get laid off or just get fired, and not get another job. When the bills pile up, and HER lifestyle suffers, she will think about going back to work.

Caveat : if you end up making the little princess mad or sad, you risk losing 50 to 60 percent of all the assets YOU have earned in a miserable self-flagellating way for year after miserable year, if she files for divorce. Plus enormous child support payments.

You've got to make her feel the pain too, but don't make it look like you are doing it on purpose.
Great post! Some people think they are "entitled", if you know what I mean.
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:58 AM   #57
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Bottom line. I want her to go back to work. We could sock her entire paycheck into our savings thus greatly helping the ER goal. I guess she may not be as motivated because her ER already began years ago. She seems less motivated to LBYM as well.
Bottom line: She left her job when you wanted her to, she found out she likes not working, now you want her to go back to work because that's what you want.

It looks to me like you changed your mind and now want to change the rules of the game.

When I retired DW was working at a good paying but high stress job, which she quit. I took a spousal benefit option that cut significantly into my retirement bennies so as to make sure she would be all right if I got The Big Ache shortly after retirement, as I've seen happen to so many others. She was apprehensive about leaving her job and intended to get another after things settled down after the move. But six months later, friends and relatives were saying "You two look more relaxed than we've seen you in years" so we knew we'd done the right thing. And you can't put a price tag on that.

Here is the key: I promised her that if she went along with the retirement and move, she would "never have to work again if she didn't want to".

And I will keep that promise. It's called commitment.

She went back to school, earned her BA that she started on 20+ years ago, and is now looking for a job that will be a good fit for her. If she finds one she likes, that's fine. If she doesn't, that's fine too. I'd much prefer having a relaxed happy wife than a stressed-out employed one working at something she doesn't want to do, working for... what?

The employment market here is bad, like just about everywhere else. A couple of years ago she applied for a part time $9/hour secretary job at a nearby university and they had multiple Ph.D's applying for it, so apparently a lot of other people ditched the city life for the more laid-back West Virginia lifestyle.

It helps that in some ways she is more frugal than I am, and can crunch the numbers with the best of them so we rarely have differences about money, which is really about priorities.
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:20 AM   #58
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Bottom line: She left her job when you wanted her to, she found out she likes not working, now you want her to go back to work because that's what you want.

It looks to me like you changed your mind and now want to change the rules of the game.

...

Here is the key: I promised her that if she went along with the retirement and move, she would "never have to work again if she didn't want to".

And I will keep that promise. It's called commitment.
That's a good thing. But did the OP say anything about his wife "never having to work again" as long as they lived, or was there some assumption that it only applied while being a mom was a full-time job in itself?

Having said that, as has been mentioned repeatedly in this thread, this is a terrible time to be looking for a job, and one should probably feel somewhat blessed in this situation if you *can* thrive on one income (particularly if it's fairly secure). As a couple that recently went through that for close to a year before finding success, we can surely attest to that. (Again, we had no kids in the picture which makes the decision for her to go back was easier and more of a no-brainer, I think.) My concern is that looking now when you may not have to could lead to getting very discouraged.

One more thought here. One of the things I liked about having a stay-at-home spouse was that all the errands that need to be done "during the day" get done. She could do all the stuff for us that I couldn't do during working hours. She could do the grocery shopping, go to the post office, take the cars in for maintenance, all that stuff. These are things which, with two full-time working spouses, will be a little more difficult to fit into the schedule. That could increase the stress and "hassle factor" of living as well, and the overall impact on quality of life (not measured in terms of income in this case) should be considered. Now I have to find time to do some of these things and do roughly half the housework (plus or minus a bit, since we try not to "keep score" on these things).

If you're both burned out and tired and sick of dealing with w*rk -- especially while you still have dependent children in the house -- who's going to do these things?
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Old 11-10-2009, 08:50 AM   #59
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Too Bad -- Does it have anything to do with your HULA talent? Care to offer a clue or two?

Perhaps we can name that tune, if you give us a few notes...
Well among other things, I am the driver of our FIRE goals, even getting a CFP in order to feel more comfortable with our investment plans, just so he can quit work first! That has always been my push--for him to get to retire, even if I'm not going to be able to do it at the same time.

This is such a 180 degree out from the OP's situation that I feel I should remind DH of his luck in luring in a young lass such as myself to work in his stead.

And yes, JustN, I do have some other, ahem, skills.
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Old 11-10-2009, 09:39 AM   #60
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And yes, JustN, I do have some other, ahem, skills.
Darn, I keep tellin' DW this is a G-rated forum.....thanks for making me a liar...........
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