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pulling the trigger for two
Old 07-29-2021, 11:59 PM   #1
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pulling the trigger for two

I was reading "pulling the trigger was tough" https://www.early-retirement.org/for...-109989-5.html and all the posts about "limited time left" and "suddenly health complications" and of course the usual "wish I did it earlier", were making me a bit anxious. I think I could step off right now (2-3% SWR), and yet I stay. The reasons are the usual ones which are well discussed, but also one which seems not so much discussed, which is my wife is not really comfortable with the idea of suddenly no one has a paying job. Y'all are a bad influence

There have been a lot of threads about "how do I know when it's time" and about reassuring yourself (or not!) that enough is enough and it's ok to stop. But of course for those who are not single, or otherwise have dependents, it's never really about yourself. Especially if you are the only earner in the household, it's a different situation in terms of security.

I'm not looking to convince anyone, besides I think hardly anyone gets convinced by some logical argument, especially not on emotional issues... and as many have pointed out, once the numbers are in order, this is a fundamentally emotional question! It's more that we gradually get comfortable with some idea over a period of time and eventually adapt. And of course everyone's situation is unique. Also of course the answer to any couples thing is "talk with your spouse." I know that. We do talk, and will talk more. So, I'm just interested in what others experiences were, when it's the other person who mostly has the qualms. How did it work out? What changed to make it seem more reasonable? From a whole family point of view. Especially if you were wanting to retire earlier than socially sanctioned... a 40ish talking about retirement trips the irresponsible / lazy / midlife crisis alarm in a way that someone in their 60s would not. Or maybe you were the unsure one, and were thinking what's gotten into Dearest Whoever!

Also to be honest I got sort of jealous by all these other people saying how their spouse had to convince *them*, or wanted to keep working but hey second income, or was eagerly counting down the days together, and maybe I just want to hear that I'm not totally alone.

Just to be clear this is in no way some sort of crisis for me, I'm ok going for another year or so. I just start thinking... how long is that "or so"? Exactly why am I doing this? How much harder is pulling the trigger when you're not the only one in the blast radius?
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Old 07-30-2021, 01:50 AM   #2
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DH and I REd on the same day. He wanted to stop working sooner, but I had a very significant bonus at stake and did not want to leave it on the table. It was a retention bonus with a known date and amount years in advance.

We hired an FA to confirm our financial readiness and also did our own calculations via Fidelity, Firecalc, I-orp, and other tools. All systems were go a couple of years before we pulled the trigger, but we continued to work knowing the timing and sizable amount of the retention bonus. Clearly, working for two more years and allowing our assets to grow rather than withdrawing from them also provided more resources.

Although DH would have been happy to RE sooner, the funding for our ER was primarily coming from assets and income I earned, so I was very opposed to his retiring before I did. We agreed that if for any reason, I decided to continue to work beyond the time when the retention bonus was paid, he could stop working then.

Immediately upon my retention bonus clearing, I gave my contractually required 30-day notice. Two weeks later, DH gave his required 2-week notice, and on the predetermined date, we both retired. Have loved every minute! No regrets whatsoever.

My boss tried to pressure me into staying longer than my contractually required notice period. I briefly considered it out of guilt, and quickly realized that time with DH was far more important than anything else, not to mention all the cool things we had planned to do together. Plus, since I knew Id be leaving long before I gave notice, I had my direct reports prepared to handle the workload after I left, and provided my boss with a very thorough coverage and transition plan. I rightly placed my loyalty where it belonged - to DH, myself, and friends and family, not to my boss.
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Old 07-30-2021, 04:46 AM   #3
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DW was a bit nervous when I was ready, and I set a date about 9 months out. We only need 2-3% WR as you say, and 4 years in she has been fine with it.
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Old 07-30-2021, 05:29 AM   #4
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My DGF had already effectively retired before me due to back issues.
As for me, I took a voluntary severance package, expecting to work again. It didn't happen and I discovered this site and calculated we could both retire.

I can imagine your situation and perhaps you can have an FA run your numbers with the spouse to make her more comfortable, not to mention running some retirement calculators with her.
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Old 07-30-2021, 06:00 AM   #5
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A major component of my father's retirement goal was to make sure my mother would always be financially taken care of. This has been my goal for my wife as well. We did have 2 income sources although not large since we were both teachers. Part of the plan was to eliminate all drains on the budget before we retired. The main one was the mortgage since we paid cash for everything including cars. It took a few years but that was calculated early on. I already had all the information on insurance, utility bills, taxes, etc. to determine annual expenses. I always made a point of keeping my wife informed on our financial status. Once that was done we had a better idea of what to expect during retirement.
Evidently it helped her feel more comfortable since she had all this financial information. Then one day, out of the blue, she came home and announced she was retiring the next month. It surprised me but I was glad she was ready and stress free that the plan was working. It puts a big smile on my face an makes my day every morning as she goes out to play tennis with her friends.
Thanks Dad.


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Old 07-30-2021, 07:11 AM   #6
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I think information is the greatest source of comfort.

Show him or her why YOU are comfortable to retire. Field questions and answers them. Address fears and concerns. Then update at intervals.

This is the process of getting two people on the same page and it keeps you on your toes also.
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Old 07-30-2021, 10:58 AM   #7
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You could say your nervous about running out of time.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:10 AM   #8
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OP--
How involved is your wife in the financial aspect of your lives besides "talking"?
Do you pay the bills together, does she know how to access funds and understand your investments? Did you make an investment plan together? Does she agree with your retirement budget and where the money is coming from? Have you accessed firecalc and other retirement calculators together so she sees the results?
We retired at age 60. I think I would have been much more nervous if in our 40's, even if the numbers were there. You are planning for a possible 50+ year retirement (it would not be illogical to think one of you could live to your 90s or more).
What does you wife say it will "take" to get her to feel comfortable emotionally? Are you able to trial retirement i.e live on retirement budget for a year or take a sabbatical from work.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:12 AM   #9
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Knowing someone who died suddenly without a day of retirement helps. Granted, it is anecdotal, but it brings home the possibility in a way that hypothetical scenarios do not.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:47 AM   #10
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DW was a SAHM so there was only me to retire. I handle all the financial stuff and if I thought that we had enough then she was fine with it. So in essence, it was totally my decision.

I worked part-time for about 5 years after we were FI because I enjoyed my work, liked the six-figure income and 50% time gave me plenty of free time.

In 2011 we simplified life some in that we went from two homes to one... so our spending was lower and we had the proceeds from the house sale in the bank. About the same time, I started to get tired of travel and the difficulties in scheduling time off... too many meetings that I made plans for were rescheduled at the last minute or even as the meeting was supposed to start.... so I decided I had enough and planned a graceful exit.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:14 PM   #11
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DW left her job 9 years before I pulled the plug.
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullwinkle View Post
Also to be honest I got sort of jealous by all these other people saying how their spouse had to convince *them*, or wanted to keep working but hey second income, or was eagerly counting down the days together, and maybe I just want to hear that I'm not totally alone.
You're definitely not alone. I was thinking about making my own post to my similar situation, but I'll use yours to tag along...

I'm 60, my wife is 53. We have hit "the number". All the calculators and spreadsheets say I could retire now. My wife isn't even close to wanting to to quit or retire from her job. She just started a very satisfying second career after being a SAHM for 15 years. She's happy to be working.
I'm ready to bail on my job. Burnt out. Don't care. BS bucket is overflowing. Same company for the last 20 years, which I barely recognize any more. Just done. I'm intentionally and steadily training several much younger subordinates to take over when I'm done. My personality has only ever been attached by the thinnest of threads to any job I've had.
But my wife panics when I talk about retiring. However, I know I'm just done with work and now, honestly, my mental health is at risk. So I've just recently explicitly been planting the seed that I want to (am going to) retire next year. We have the means and I would like at least a decade in retirement before kicking the bucket. Longevity does not run in my family.
I've learned in our marriage that our previous BIG financial decisions just came down to me pulling the trigger via an executive decision on my part. My wife has good reason to have anxiety with big financial decisions, because of her untrustworthy parents and rocky childhood. She will just never say, "ok, do it." It's only in hindsight that she ALWAYS says, "I'm so glad you did that! I feel so much better."
A good example is when I paid off the house. She didn't want to do it, even though we would still have ample reserve cash and had hit the investments retirement number. She often tells me, unsolicited, how happy she is that I paid off the house.
So I predict it will come down to that. I've already started the countdown timer on my iPhone (to June 30, 2022). I've just finished buying all my "toys" so that won't be an expense. The kids' finishing college in the next 3 years is funded. We'll have health insurance through her job for the foreseeable future; she works for the school district and is well-regarded and not a likely candidate target for RIF (Special Ed, where good staff are hard to come by). She LOVES her job and was born for the education world.
In the interim, I will just keep moving the finish line (for me) closer and closer for her, mentally, over the next year. She needs to adjust to it in her own way, but I know she'll never be at 100% "JUST DO IT". I HAVE already told her that I know once I've been retired for awhile, she'll say, "You should have left sooner!!!"
(It helps that I do all the cooking, yard work, bills, DIY home improvement, etc. She's the smarter one, much more-suited-to-a-real-career than I ever was!)
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Old 07-30-2021, 12:49 PM   #13
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My spouse did not think that I would do it.

I told her that I would retire as soon as I got the much anticipated golden handshake. In my heart I was not certain. I have several colleagues contact me about job and contract opportunities.

I was busy preparing our house for sale and with some negotiations with my former employer. After six months I lost all desire to return to any form of retirement. Then we left the country for nine months. My working career was truly over at that point. I do not think that DW believed it was real until that point in time. She kept asking me if I missed it....which I did not. Besides, we were both too busy looking forward to look in the rear view mirror.
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Old 07-31-2021, 01:30 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by pacergal View Post
OP--
How involved is your wife in the financial aspect of your lives besides "talking"?
Do you pay the bills together, does she know how to access funds and understand your investments? Did you make an investment plan together? Does she agree with your retirement budget and where the money is coming from? Have you accessed firecalc and other retirement calculators together so she sees the results?
We retired at age 60. I think I would have been much more nervous if in our 40's, even if the numbers were there. You are planning for a possible 50+ year retirement (it would not be illogical to think one of you could live to your 90s or more).
What does you wife say it will "take" to get her to feel comfortable emotionally? Are you able to trial retirement i.e live on retirement budget for a year or take a sabbatical from work.
All bills have always been automatic, but we go over the monthly expenses together. It has been a bit of work to do it in a way that doesn't seem judging... I'm just asking about these things so we know our situation, I am not saying "you spent too much!" She keeps careful track of what she buys, so I'm just catching up to her system. I also recently started a new thing which I think helps, which is that I also used to check asset increase only yearly, but now I do it monthly, and we go over that too, so it's not all red ink. Now sometimes when she's feeling insecure she asks to see the numbers again.
When I plug in equity appreciation it gets kind of nuts, and I do warn that it won't always look pretty, but meanwhile I think it's given us both a much more concrete idea of what compounding really looks like, than the "10% over last 20 years" and "graph goes up" stuff. It's interesting that this is the opposite of the usual advice about don't check it often... maybe just because times have been good.

She doesn't (willingly) read English, so the material I would read is not accessible, but I've translated what I can, even though some stuff like capital gains vs. dividends vs. interest etc. can get mangled in the translation. It's not that the words don't exist, but they're specialized financial words and can wind up meaning something different when you search for them in a different country. But, she discovered a friend from a good family was in ETFs and I think that legitimized it a bit... she was dubious about this index fund stuff but seems to have come around a bit. To many people equities means you are picking stocks (and even buying paper certificates to put in a safe).

But anyway yes, we've looked at the numbers and the projections and spreadsheets. But, they're just numbers, nothing concrete like owning land.
And it's market funny money... I mean it's total stock and bond index so it's not as funny as all-in on bitcoin, but it's still numbers in a computer. We've talked about the risk tradeoffs in all assets and she's not a dummy so she gets the theory just fine but you know it still feels insubstantial. Markets do crash. We are moving more bond-heavy and paying off the house and she approves of this direction. She does not approve of paying more taxes than necessary though, so the adjustment happens slowly. But, while she has all the accounts and passwords, she feels this is my plan, and she's right. I don't know what can be done about it, but I think taking her advice about the house is a good step.

For the worries... well someday we'll be old. Maybe we'll get expensive medical problems. Maybe we'll go to memory care. Who will take care of us? We have no kids so we'll need money instead. It's the same stuff from many of the "am I ready yet?" threads, so it's understandable. I'm not a worrier, but still wary of the unknown. But I figure, since even the bottom line in firecalc shows us increasingly well off, we should be able to afford it unless we really step up the spending, or get that expensive medical problem very soon. What else could happen? Well, suddenly husband is not a productive member of society. She admires competent men. Maybe I can be competent at other things. I think there is more to being useful than a good salary, but you know money puts a number on it.

I'd love a sabbatical from work... I took one once and loved it though she was worried in the beginning. But I think she knows as well as I, if I said "let's just try for a year"... after that year I'm probably not going to want to go back! Unless there is suddenly some money problem. Which seems unlikely, because we currently live on less than 1/2 of the 3% SWR so we'd actually have to get a more spendy to live on the theoretical retirement budget. I'd like to spend a bit more in retirement but I'm one of those who would have to work at it.

I haven't asked "what would it take" though... I should, though we don't tend to ask such direct questions but there are ways it can be nibbled away at.
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Old 07-31-2021, 04:35 AM   #15
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How about setting up a weekly/monthly " paycheck" to demonstrate that there is still "money coming in"? Live off of that for six months and set aside your real income. Maybe she just can't visualize not having the actual, physical paycheck from a company. Some people just can't get their head around getting paid unless you physically go out the door each morning.
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Old 07-31-2021, 08:22 AM   #16
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Not your exact situation, but it’s hard when two heads are involved with different risk tolerances and understanding.

I was done, done, done, but my job was very lucrative and provided our health insurance benefits. Our numbers were tight but doable but DH was against me not working. We were definitely not on the same page re lifestyle adjustments/sacrifices. But I could also see the toll my job was having on me physically and on our family.

Ultimately I set in motion a series of steps that led to me being laid off, with the knowledge that I would quit if it didn’t happen. I saw a therapist who was very helpful. You only have one life and there is a point where someone has to make an executive decision.

Luckily the market has been good to us and given us a large buffer. Every time I’m contacted by a recruiter and DH gets excited about me getting a job I remind him of how our life would change and he agrees it’s nuts. We are so, so much happier now.
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Old 07-31-2021, 11:14 AM   #17
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I've learned in our marriage that our previous BIG financial decisions just came down to me pulling the trigger via an executive decision on my part. My wife has good reason to have anxiety with big financial decisions, because of her untrustworthy parents and rocky childhood. She will just never say, "ok, do it." It's only in hindsight that she ALWAYS says, "I'm so glad you did that! I feel so much better."
Fait accompli definitely has its appeal, but it seems risky. Of course it's great when it works out, but if it doesn't... it could destroy trust. But sometimes it really is the only way. It's not for me but I wish you luck!

A few others have mentioned "intentionally fired" though I don't think I could do that either. And I agree that if the parents made unwise financial decisions back in the day, you have all the more to prove!
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Old 07-31-2021, 11:23 AM   #18
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How about setting up a weekly/monthly " paycheck" to demonstrate that there is still "money coming in"?
Actually we did something a bit like that by tracking change in total asset value monthly. So the paycheck shows up as +X and market index as +Y (and bond index is +0.0Z ). I think it helps, especially when Y is several times X. I just hope it won't backfire when Y is several times -X...
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Old 07-31-2021, 11:33 AM   #19
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We spent a half hour on the phone with our BECU investment services advisor on speakerphone last night.
DW had wanted a second opinion on the numbers I have been running, so we will meet with the advisor in early Sept so she can go over the numbers I gave her last night.
Maybe you could do that?
Someone else crunching the numbers won't have any emotional loading nor will they impart any to both of you.
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Old 08-01-2021, 04:23 PM   #20
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I convinced my husband to move to a lower cola area so he can open up his business and work part time. I also work part time and between the two of us, we make enough to pay our bills and then some. I have known early on that time is more important than the money....time to do what you want when you want to....you cannot buy that freedom. My husband is ten years older and will be taking early retirement at 62....between that and some inspections here and there, his contribution to the household will be more than enough. I will need to work part time for the next 15 years.....that makes me a little upset but I will get over it!
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