Author Topic: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire  (Read 9566 times)

overlord34

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My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« on: April 11, 2017, 09:58:15 PM »
Hi all,

38 y/o married, male, been working toward FIRE for several years now.  Once upon a time my wife was also intrigued but is no longer interested as of a couple of years ago (mostly my fault for being too extreme about our expenses). In theory I think she likes the idea of FIRE but she feels it's too restrictive and wants more spending flexibility.  She's not a spendthrift by any means but tends to spend more than I do when something will make her life more convenient or comfortable.

We have shared savings and we also have our own separate savings.  From my savings, I'm pretty close to FIRE for myself.  Recently however, she told me that if I do pull the plug at some point while she's still working, she's worried she might wind up resenting me because she'd be working and I wouldn't.  She's also concerned that we'd be living different lives if she's doing a 9-5 and I have my days free. 

It's unlikely she'd be able to save enough on her own to early retire since her earning capacity is limited (public sector job).  I also work in the public sector and earn a modest salary but it's still twice as much as she earns.  So I've done most of the saving in our relationship simply because it's been more within my means.  I'd love for us both to be FIRE, but if I decided to push back any FIRE date until I could save enough for both of us to early retire, it might take me several more years - both because I'm saving for 2 people and because her spending requirements are higher than mine.

Perhaps I'm being selfish and need to look at this as a situation where our marriage either means that we should both be FIRE or neither of us should be.  But she doesn't really seem to want FIRE as much as I do and if push came to shove, I think she'd prefer a normal retirement over making harder spending choices that would facilitate FIRE.  So those things make it harder for me to work toward pursuing FIRE for both of us.  And I've read some of the marital finance threads here and it doesn't seem that unusual for married couples to keep separate finances?

Any advice or thoughts on our situation would be greatly appreciated, thanks!




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englyn

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2017, 10:41:21 PM »
Of course, it's a decision you both need to make together. What are all the possibilities? Which ones are acceptable to you, and which to her, and where's the overlap?

Such as, can you save enough to FIRE her at your level of expenses, and leave her working just for any extra spending she wants? If she feels like the decision is one that she has had equal input into, could she be more confident that she won't have resentment, and/or any resentment is hers to manage? What would you need to do to reassure her that you wouldn't be living different lives, and how could you commit to doing that? Is there a way to build in flexibility, or to try out different options? (Could you take a sabbatical to try out how she feels about FIRE; would it be possible to try out a lower level of spending for 6 months, etc) Could she start skilling up now for a part time or freelance job that she could keep going indefinitely to reduce the extra amount you'd have to save, while still having the freedom to enjoy partial FIRE with you?

surfhb

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2017, 10:44:44 PM »
Whats wrong with working till you are both able to quit your jobs?    You married this person knowing you will both be making a life together, right? 

I think some people take the early retirement thing a little too extreme where it becomes an obsession.    Not saying this is you but you're only 39 and married to another human being.    Its not a race against time.    What does "several more years" actually mean?

Personally, I believe that when you are married it means that either WE are retired or WE are not retired.    There is no you and me.

« Last Edit: April 11, 2017, 10:54:17 PM by surfhb »

Frankies Girl

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2017, 11:02:36 PM »
I FIREd over a year before my husband. He loved it. Freaking loved it.

I got up and made him breakfast from scratch most mornings. I packed his lunch for him, including lots of snacks and home made food (which he enjoys).

I did 95% of the errands, meal prep, cooking and housework/yard work. He literally had his job to do, but came home every day to a cleaned house, a home cooked meal, and a happy and loving spouse. He was fine helping out more, but I told him one of the benefits of having a stay at home spouse was that he wouldn't have to do nearly as much.

And another benefit was that I could save us a ton of money by being a better shopper, cooking better food the majority of the time, doing a better job on tracking down deals and haggling over any work to be done, etc. So things she might have paid more money to provide conveniences for are no longer as necessary since you'll be taking over as a "convenience/comfort provider" - meaning she can save more of her money for herself.

It may sound like I was doing lots and lots of work, but in reality most everything took me under 2-3 hours a day, and could be spaced out as much as I wanted, so I was able to fit in lots of napping, loafing, piddling around with my computer or hobbies.

And the fact that I could get all the errands and chores done during the week meant we both had the weekends completely free for whatever the hell we felt like doing. Even the evening hours after he got home from work were better and more about quality time for the most part. So sure, you could lead separate lives, or you could maximize your available time together even more so with you able to get all the pesky day-to-day crap done when she's not there (and she doesn't have to do much of it at all).

If your spouse is dead set on you not being able to retire before her, then you may want to have a discussion about what exactly you will be doing while she's at work. If she thinks she'll still need to be responsible for a whole bunch of household chores while you do very little other than loaf/piddle with hobbies, then yes, that could be a big perception issue you need to deal with.

Of course, this is all predicated on the idea that you actually will want to take on all of that stuff in the interest of having the majority of your days free from working. It would really suck if you were wanting to quit work and pay a maid to clean your house, eat out or stop off at fast food to feed yourselves and rarely bothered to do things in general around the house (especially if you expected her to kick in on those costs) while pursuing your own agenda. I could see her point if this is more what might happen. But only you know what type of FIRE you're planning for yourself, and whether it is something that should be genuinely worrying your spouse.

There is the argument that you could work another few years to get to the shared goal that would enable your spouse to feel good about quitting.  If it is a difference of a few years, and the place you're at isn't a hell on earth, it might be worth it. But I don't think you should be held hostage at a job just because your spouse can't deal with the idea of you wanting to stop working. So really, it means sitting down and talking all this stuff through until you come to a shared agreement/compromise that you both can live with.
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sol

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2017, 11:42:41 PM »
I don't think I would want to retire without my wife, and you've already identified some of the reasons why.

If one of us retires before the other one, the working spouse may resent the retired spouse and the retired spouse may feel guilty living a life of freedom while being supported by the working spouse.  I don't think it really matters which is which.

But the opposite is also true.  If one spouse is ready to retire and one spouse isn't, doesn't the ready spouse risk resenting the unready spouse for forcing the ready spouse to continue suffering through an unbearable job, and doesn't the unready spouse risk feeling guilty about doing so?

It seems better to retire simultaneously if at all possible, or at least have these conversations openly ASAP so that you can prepare to deal with these issues.

Cranky

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2017, 05:21:10 AM »
While I think many couples keep some of their finances separate, I think you need a financial plan that accounts for the two of you as a unit.

One of you might want to keep working for any number of reasons, and that's an individual decision, but one that you need to fit into your plans together.

And a lot depends on what you plan to do in retirement. If you are sleeping until noon and watching tv the rest of the day, and still expecting me to come home and cook dinner, I will definitely not be enthusiastic about that plan. If you are retiring and handling a lot of day to day chores that make my life easier as well, you'll get a lot more support from me.

farfromfire

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2017, 05:48:24 AM »
Hi all,

38 y/o married, male, been working toward FIRE for several years now.  Once upon a time my wife was also intrigued but is no longer interested as of a couple of years ago (mostly my fault for being too extreme about our expenses). In theory I think she likes the idea of FIRE but she feels it's too restrictive and wants more spending flexibility.  She's not a spendthrift by any means but tends to spend more than I do when something will make her life more convenient or comfortable.

We have shared savings and we also have our own separate savings.  From my savings, I'm pretty close to FIRE for myself.  Recently however, she told me that if I do pull the plug at some point while she's still working, she's worried she might wind up resenting me because she'd be working and I wouldn't.  She's also concerned that we'd be living different lives if she's doing a 9-5 and I have my days free. 

It's unlikely she'd be able to save enough on her own to early retire since her earning capacity is limited (public sector job).  I also work in the public sector and earn a modest salary but it's still twice as much as she earns.  So I've done most of the saving in our relationship simply because it's been more within my means.  I'd love for us both to be FIRE, but if I decided to push back any FIRE date until I could save enough for both of us to early retire, it might take me several more years - both because I'm saving for 2 people and because her spending requirements are higher than mine.

Perhaps I'm being selfish and need to look at this as a situation where our marriage either means that we should both be FIRE or neither of us should be.  But she doesn't really seem to want FIRE as much as I do and if push came to shove, I think she'd prefer a normal retirement over making harder spending choices that would facilitate FIRE.  So those things make it harder for me to work toward pursuing FIRE for both of us.  And I've read some of the marital finance threads here and it doesn't seem that unusual for married couples to keep separate finances?

Any advice or thoughts on our situation would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
Sounds passive-aggressive to me.

You're not being selfish for wanting to retire early - and even if you are, that's definitely less selfish than someone who wants you to work so she feels better about herself. Although I don't know either of you, I am worried you will come to resent her when you're working years past your FIRE date for no reason other than keeping her resentment at bay. You will need to negotiate and reach some compromise, just don't forget that you deserve happiness as well, especially considering all the hard work you're putting into FI.

If all goes well, my spouse will retire 20 years after I do, and yet she is genuinely happy for me.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 05:56:36 AM by farfromfire »

boarder42

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2017, 05:55:29 AM »
I am in a similar boat b/c i make almost 2x what my wife does even though we're both engineers.  add to that the incredible company i work for with insane retirement benefits and I could FIRE at around 32-34.  I'm not going to FIRE then b/c that would require my wife to work into her mid to late 40s just to be able to sustain her portion of the expenses.  So i'm going to work til 37 or so, at taht point we're 100% FI and if my wife wants to keep working she can but she wont have to and neither will I.  I cant imagine FIREing without my wife and dont think its necessarily fair to do so.  Now once we are FI and if she wants to make the choice to work b/c she enjoys it thats much different.
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JustGettingStarted1980

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2017, 05:58:07 AM »
Don't forget the point to this whole FIRE thing --> Happiness.

Could you be happy if your spouse is not?  If so, is it sustainable?  Marriage is about compromise and finding a middle ground. Find it.

JGS

Laura33

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2017, 06:48:47 AM »
How do you guys do your finances?  If she makes half as much as you but is responsible for 50% of the household bills, it is going to take her much longer to be able to save "her" share.  In that case, something like a 2/3-1/3 split may provide a way to split the difference.

But regardless of how you do it, you guys need to talk and be on the same page first -- there are as many different ways to manage this as there are people, but you guys are a team, and that means you need to figure out what works for both of you.  I like the idea expressed above of figuring out what your basic FIRE budget is (the one you feel comfortable with), making sure you guys have that saved, and then if she decides to continue to work, it is simply for the "extras" that she wants.  But also make sure to talk through the emotions involved -- maybe she defines herself by her job, maybe she is scared of running out of money, maybe she has no clue what she wants to do if she doesn't go to to work every day, maybe she is just scarded of change, etc. 

And then definitely what Frankies Girl said:  if you do decide to FIRE before her, figure out a way that your decision would make her life better.
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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2017, 06:51:29 AM »
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ooeei

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2017, 06:52:27 AM »
How much more does she spend on things than you relative to your incomes?  Are we talking an extra $100-200/month on restaurants and frivolous things, or a new BMW every 3 years?  If you're roughly close in spending habits, I say wait it out and both retire at the same time.  When you say separate finances, are you talking salary too?  Like are you expecting her to spend half as much as you since she makes half as much?  That would seem unreasonable to me.  I'd combine the two salaries and split down the middle for each "separate" income.

If she wants to be a big baller and churn through money way faster than you, then you need to have a discussion about why you don't want to do that.  That discussion should include the worry of resentment in both possible outcomes, similar to what sol posted above.  Tread lightly though, and try to avoid much finger pointing.

If you have a very open conversation about how you value your freedom and time, and she clearly decides she'd rather buy lots of fancy things than retire early, I think you've done all you can to avoid resentment.

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2017, 06:59:09 AM »
I FIREd over a year before my husband. He loved it. Freaking loved it.

I got up and made him breakfast from scratch most mornings. I packed his lunch for him, including lots of snacks and home made food (which he enjoys).

I did 95% of the errands, meal prep, cooking and housework/yard work. He literally had his job to do, but came home every day to a cleaned house, a home cooked meal, and a happy and loving spouse. He was fine helping out more, but I told him one of the benefits of having a stay at home spouse was that he wouldn't have to do nearly as much.

And another benefit was that I could save us a ton of money by being a better shopper, cooking better food the majority of the time, doing a better job on tracking down deals and haggling over any work to be done, etc. So things she might have paid more money to provide conveniences for are no longer as necessary since you'll be taking over as a "convenience/comfort provider" - meaning she can save more of her money for herself.

It may sound like I was doing lots and lots of work, but in reality most everything took me under 2-3 hours a day, and could be spaced out as much as I wanted, so I was able to fit in lots of napping, loafing, piddling around with my computer or hobbies.

And the fact that I could get all the errands and chores done during the week meant we both had the weekends completely free for whatever the hell we felt like doing. Even the evening hours after he got home from work were better and more about quality time for the most part. So sure, you could lead separate lives, or you could maximize your available time together even more so with you able to get all the pesky day-to-day crap done when she's not there (and she doesn't have to do much of it at all).

If your spouse is dead set on you not being able to retire before her, then you may want to have a discussion about what exactly you will be doing while she's at work. If she thinks she'll still need to be responsible for a whole bunch of household chores while you do very little other than loaf/piddle with hobbies, then yes, that could be a big perception issue you need to deal with.

Of course, this is all predicated on the idea that you actually will want to take on all of that stuff in the interest of having the majority of your days free from working. It would really suck if you were wanting to quit work and pay a maid to clean your house, eat out or stop off at fast food to feed yourselves and rarely bothered to do things in general around the house (especially if you expected her to kick in on those costs) while pursuing your own agenda. I could see her point if this is more what might happen. But only you know what type of FIRE you're planning for yourself, and whether it is something that should be genuinely worrying your spouse.

There is the argument that you could work another few years to get to the shared goal that would enable your spouse to feel good about quitting.  If it is a difference of a few years, and the place you're at isn't a hell on earth, it might be worth it. But I don't think you should be held hostage at a job just because your spouse can't deal with the idea of you wanting to stop working. So really, it means sitting down and talking all this stuff through until you come to a shared agreement/compromise that you both can live with.

This has been my experience (and I think the main thing was that I was happier, over the great home-cooked meals and house chores being done)...and I second the suggestion to see if you can do a sabbatical of some sort to try it out.

And of course it all depends on what you two can work out...perhaps split the difference, where you keep working (or work part time!) after you own potential FIRE date, but she continues working a little while longer (and gets to luxuriate in the afterglow of your domestic prowess)...
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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2017, 07:10:07 AM »
I don't get a marriage where each person is 100% responsible for only themselves. If you had gotten sick ten years ago and were unable to work, would she have just kicked you to the curb since you couldn't pay your share of the expenses?

Are you responsible for your own laundry and cooking and buying the food you consume? Or do you have some sort of tit-for-tat chore division, like she does laundry for both and you do cooking for both? Genuinely curious, please explain more about this aspect of your marriage.

Also it's interesting how many males make more than females for sexism reasons (not always, but sometimes it's sexism). I agree that all income should be added together then split 50-50 for just that reason.

I agree with the plan where you need to both be FIRED at some basic level (rent, food, everything you do TOGETHER like travel or restaurants) and then if she wants extra spending money she can be responsible for that.
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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2017, 07:14:16 AM »
This sounds like a situation requiring compromise. If, for example, right now it would take ten extra years to FIRE with her spending habits, maybe you could work out the finances together to make it five.

A lot of my husband's and my money is separate, but our pay (after auto-deductions for retirement accounts) goes into a big pool from which we get equal amounts of spending and savings money. I make about twice as much as him, but we both get the exact same monthly allowance. What we do with that is wildly different -- I save most of mine and he spends all of his -- but it doesn't affect shared things like retirement savings, vacation savings, bills, etc. in the least. One of us may retire before the other, but it won't be until we are both *able* to.
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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2017, 07:29:21 AM »
I don't get a marriage where each person is 100% responsible for only themselves. If you had gotten sick ten years ago and were unable to work, would she have just kicked you to the curb since you couldn't pay your share of the expenses?

Are you responsible for your own laundry and cooking and buying the food you consume? Or do you have some sort of tit-for-tat chore division, like she does laundry for both and you do cooking for both? Genuinely curious, please explain more about this aspect of your marriage.

Also it's interesting how many males make more than females for sexism reasons (not always, but sometimes it's sexism). I agree that all income should be added together then split 50-50 for just that reason.

I agree with the plan where you need to both be FIRED at some basic level (rent, food, everything you do TOGETHER like travel or restaurants) and then if she wants extra spending money she can be responsible for that.

Sorry, but many males do not make more than females for sexism reasons in general. Though the issue is due to gender, it is actually illegal and quite rare that a man and woman with the same level of qualification, the same amount of work in the same location and job make a different amount due to their gender. If one can prove this is happening this can lead to a very pricey lawsuit for the employer. The 77 cents to a dollar comparison and other similar ones are where you add up all men's earnings divided by the amount of men and all women's earnings divided by the amount of women and compare. For comparison more recent statistics are actually showing that women are the majority of college and university graduates now and under 30 without kids women are actually outearning men in the same situation. EDIT This is the case in many western countries, this might not apply outside of these.

As for the OP:
I would say trying to work to be able to FIRE at the same time is the optimal option, however depending on how much she is willing to work towards FIRE this also may lead to resentment the other way as mentioned. If you have been making your own breakfast, lunches and dinners instead of eating out and spending as little non-essential as possible while she has been eating out left and right and spending freely with little to no intention to FIRE and now expects you to keep working for many many years so she can FIRE without having to actually make many adjustments herself this is bound to breed resentment the other direction. If however she already is pretty close to your dedication in getting FIREd or is willing to make reasonable adjustments I think it is only fair to help her get to that point.

A big one though is get to the bottom of if she actually wants to FIRE or will want to keep working no matter what yet still resent you if you don't.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 07:38:08 AM by prognastat »

lchu

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2017, 07:38:41 AM »
My wife and I had a similar conversation about being worried about resentment, although for different reasons.

My wife 100% loves her career (she is a music teacher and has wanted to be a music teacher her entire life) and unless there is a major upset to her work environment (change in administration, budget cuts, etc), she has a hard time imagining herself leaving the profession early.  For me, on the other hand, I enjoy teaching well enough as a "day job", but I would like more freedom to pursue a variety of interests than I can get while holding a full-time job.

We've had some mini-experiments with this when our vacation breaks don't line up.  It's tough to be the person going to work when the other person isn't and it's equally lonely / boring to be the person at home while the person you want to spend time with is busy.  Without good communication in place, I think it will take a lot of communication to reset the norms around the house if one partner is working full-time and the other isn't.  You've spent years developing routines and a division of labor that (hopefully) everybody is happy with -- it's going to take a while to change them!

Like others have said, keep talking about it.  What do you think your FIRE going to look like?  What are her fears?  How do you compromise between the two?  Partial retirement?  Mild career change?  Are you willing/planning to take on additional household duties?

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2017, 07:44:27 AM »
Would it it help the potential resentment if you agreed to take on all of the household chores (including grocery shopping and cooking if those are not things she enjoys) and maintenance as your "job"? That way, when she comes home in the evening she has nothing to worry about other than relaxing and spending time with you, and nothing on weekends either.

Alternately, would you be willing to pick up a (part time?) job doing something you'd enjoy or related to a hobby? I know lots of people around here (myself included) plan to work after "retirement." What about just doing lots and lots of volunteering (if you're into that)?

It might be worthwhile to determine the source of that resentment. Is it because she's spending butt-in-chair hours and you're not? Is it because she's actively bringing in income and you're not? A little bit of both? Some other reason entirely? Understanding this might help you develop a strategy for dealing with it.
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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2017, 07:49:26 AM »
Thanks everyone for all this great advice!

I do see where she is coming from because she wants to lead a "traditional" life like most people live.  So FIRE would be a hard thing for most people to accept.  And there's practical implications to FIRE too; less income coming in means it's harder to live the more traditional life she wants.  At the same time, sol and far raised a good issue about guilt and resentment if I have to delay FIRE or - gasp - scrap the idea altogether.

JGS - maybe I am choosing my unhappiness.  Either I'm unhappy where my spouse is not happy if I am FIRE, or I am unhappy myself if I'm not FIRE.

Frankies thanks for painting a picture for me about what FIRE might look like with one spouse working and one spouse not.  I would certainly see it as my responsibility to take on most or all of the household chores if I had my days free.  We've talked about that but not really with the level of detail about what a typical day might look like.  That might help.

Laura - 2/3 and 1/3 split might work, that's a good idea.  I think the emotional issues are as problematic for her as the practical ones.  She's worried that if I FIRE, she wouldn't be a unit, but rather living separate lives.  At the same time I do think it would be harder for her to be FIRE too because she sees it as more risky, not able to bring in enough income, and also she'd probably be unsure about what to do with her time.

Part of the problem also is that we live in NYC (work, family, and friends live here).  So what would be reasonable elsewhere is just harder here.  For example we live in a studio apartment right now that we own.  She wants a little more space and privacy so wants to move to a 1br.  If we sold this apt though and rented a 1br, we might pay $1000-$1300 more per month.  The 1br would also probably be located in a neighborhood where it's more difficult to park on the street so she'd want to pay to keep the car in a garage.  So these are the kinds of things where even if I could FIRE and pay for them, a 50-50 split might mean she'd be saving almost nothing.

I really like englyn's suggestion about considering FIRE'ing both of us at a certain level and then she can work if she wants to increase her expenses.  Or maybe a situation where even if she has to work, it only has to be on a part-time basis. 


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boarder42

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2017, 07:52:26 AM »
my wife and i have talked about the part where she would keep working so she could spend more money as well.  i think when it comes down to it she will see how much we have and need and will just cut the cord when i do.
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overlord34

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2017, 07:55:58 AM »

As for the OP:
I would say trying to work to be able to FIRE at the same time is the optimal option, however depending on how much she is willing to work towards FIRE this also may lead to resentment the other way as mentioned. If you have been making your own breakfast, lunches and dinners instead of eating out and spending as little non-essential as possible while she has been eating out left and right and spending freely with little to no intention to FIRE and now expects you to keep working for many many years so she can FIRE without having to actually make many adjustments herself this is bound to breed resentment the other direction. If however she already is pretty close to your dedication in getting FIREd or is willing to make reasonable adjustments I think it is only fair to help her get to that point.

A big one though is get to the bottom of if she actually wants to FIRE or will want to keep working no matter what yet still resent you if you don't.

This is great advice and really resonates with me, thank you!
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overlord34

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #21 on: April 12, 2017, 07:58:44 AM »
I don't get a marriage where each person is 100% responsible for only themselves. If you had gotten sick ten years ago and were unable to work, would she have just kicked you to the curb since you couldn't pay your share of the expenses?

Are you responsible for your own laundry and cooking and buying the food you consume? Or do you have some sort of tit-for-tat chore division, like she does laundry for both and you do cooking for both? Genuinely curious, please explain more about this aspect of your marriage.


We're not 100% only for ourselves.  We have a substantial amount of shared savings and regularly share chores.  We just decided a couple of years ago to split finances because I wanted to FIRE and she didn't.  This doesn't seem any different from the way I've read other couples on her keep their finances.

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TheAnonOne

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #22 on: April 12, 2017, 07:58:54 AM »
I can't even comprehend how couples split this stuff up.

We have 1 bank account that we both direct deposit into, shared investments  (except employer plans, and IRAs) and even then, it's all on personal capital together.

You are NOT FI if your wife isn't, the law sees you as one financial unit. You have subdivided that, presumably against the fact that you got married to consolidate.

Is this common? We share everything, and openly talk about issues as they come up.

Also, I make 4 times what she makes, so equality in income isn't at play here.

Genuinely curious, because to me, it certainly seems 'less' married to a degree. (Try not to read that in an offensive way, couldn't find better words for it)

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boarder42

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #23 on: April 12, 2017, 08:35:13 AM »
I can't even comprehend how couples split this stuff up.

We have 1 bank account that we both direct deposit into, shared investments  (except employer plans, and IRAs) and even then, it's all on personal capital together.

You are NOT FI if your wife isn't, the law sees you as one financial unit. You have subdivided that, presumably against the fact that you got married to consolidate.

Is this common? We share everything, and openly talk about issues as they come up.

Also, I make 4 times what she makes, so equality in income isn't at play here.

Genuinely curious, because to me, it certainly seems 'less' married to a degree. (Try not to read that in an offensive way, couldn't find better words for it)

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i think keeping seperate finances doesnt make you less married.  we combine things that are joint and we basically keep our own spending money seperarate.  now when we FIRE all our money is goign to be in one pool and shared so thats going to be different but we have joint Credit cards for joint purchases.  the only difference would be our spending money that we can do whatever we wanted with would come from the big joint pool of money. vs our current employers.
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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #24 on: April 12, 2017, 08:38:26 AM »
I can't even comprehend how couples split this stuff up.

We have 1 bank account that we both direct deposit into, shared investments  (except employer plans, and IRAs) and even then, it's all on personal capital together.

You are NOT FI if your wife isn't, the law sees you as one financial unit. You have subdivided that, presumably against the fact that you got married to consolidate.

Is this common? We share everything, and openly talk about issues as they come up.

Also, I make 4 times what she makes, so equality in income isn't at play here.

Genuinely curious, because to me, it certainly seems 'less' married to a degree. (Try not to read that in an offensive way, couldn't find better words for it)

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i think keeping seperate finances doesnt make you less married.  we combine things that are joint and we basically keep our own spending money seperarate.  now when we FIRE all our money is goign to be in one pool and shared so thats going to be different but we have joint Credit cards for joint purchases.  the only difference would be our spending money that we can do whatever we wanted with would come from the big joint pool of money. vs our current employers.

Right, 'less' married is a poor choice of words but certainly seems more separate in at least one degree.

What possible benefit does separately having spending money do for a couple? Do you not track spending at the end of the month together anyway? End of the year?

Seems like the exercise is either A. Untracked, and serves to increase spending or B. Tracked and is a total wash/pointless exercise.

boarder42

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2017, 08:46:10 AM »
I can't even comprehend how couples split this stuff up.

We have 1 bank account that we both direct deposit into, shared investments  (except employer plans, and IRAs) and even then, it's all on personal capital together.

You are NOT FI if your wife isn't, the law sees you as one financial unit. You have subdivided that, presumably against the fact that you got married to consolidate.

Is this common? We share everything, and openly talk about issues as they come up.

Also, I make 4 times what she makes, so equality in income isn't at play here.

Genuinely curious, because to me, it certainly seems 'less' married to a degree. (Try not to read that in an offensive way, couldn't find better words for it)

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i think keeping seperate finances doesnt make you less married.  we combine things that are joint and we basically keep our own spending money seperarate.  now when we FIRE all our money is goign to be in one pool and shared so thats going to be different but we have joint Credit cards for joint purchases.  the only difference would be our spending money that we can do whatever we wanted with would come from the big joint pool of money. vs our current employers.

Right, 'less' married is a poor choice of words but certainly seems more separate in at least one degree.

What possible benefit does separately having spending money do for a couple? Do you not track spending at the end of the month together anyway? End of the year?

Seems like the exercise is either A. Untracked, and serves to increase spending or B. Tracked and is a total wash/pointless exercise.

its all tracked on PC but leads to no fights or anything based on what we each spend our disposable income on.  Its basically how we were setup prior to being married and it worked well so we just kept doing it.  i would wager to guess 30% or more of couples here probably keep separate finances.
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jezebel

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2017, 08:47:44 AM »
I can't even comprehend how couples split this stuff up.

We have 1 bank account that we both direct deposit into, shared investments  (except employer plans, and IRAs) and even then, it's all on personal capital together.

You are NOT FI if your wife isn't, the law sees you as one financial unit. You have subdivided that, presumably against the fact that you got married to consolidate.

Is this common? We share everything, and openly talk about issues as they come up.

Also, I make 4 times what she makes, so equality in income isn't at play here.

Genuinely curious, because to me, it certainly seems 'less' married to a degree. (Try not to read that in an offensive way, couldn't find better words for it)

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+1  except the less married part.

How do you even calculate your FI number if you don't include your spouse in that calculation?  Even if my husband never wanted to stop working, I wouldn't think of either of us (as one financial unit) as being FI unless the family unit was FI, including any minor children if applicable. 

This doesn't make any sense to me.  I currently make almost 3x his salary.  If he wanted to keep working after we reached FI for some reason (extra $, likes working, etc), that's fine, but I don't see how you unilaterally get to your "number" and leave your lower earning spouse to basically fend for themselves.


boarder42

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #27 on: April 12, 2017, 09:04:20 AM »
I can't even comprehend how couples split this stuff up.

We have 1 bank account that we both direct deposit into, shared investments  (except employer plans, and IRAs) and even then, it's all on personal capital together.

You are NOT FI if your wife isn't, the law sees you as one financial unit. You have subdivided that, presumably against the fact that you got married to consolidate.

Is this common? We share everything, and openly talk about issues as they come up.

Also, I make 4 times what she makes, so equality in income isn't at play here.

Genuinely curious, because to me, it certainly seems 'less' married to a degree. (Try not to read that in an offensive way, couldn't find better words for it)

Sent from my SM-G935T using Tapatalk

+1  except the less married part.

How do you even calculate your FI number if you don't include your spouse in that calculation?  Even if my husband never wanted to stop working, I wouldn't think of either of us (as one financial unit) as being FI unless the family unit was FI, including any minor children if applicable. 

This doesn't make any sense to me.  I currently make almost 3x his salary.  If he wanted to keep working after we reached FI for some reason (extra $, likes working, etc), that's fine, but I don't see how you unilaterally get to your "number" and leave your lower earning spouse to basically fend for themselves.

yeah i think there is quite a large difference between simply keeping separate finances and then using that to say i'm supporting my part i'm FIREd.   While ours are seperate all of my personal calcs include the time at which we are both able to quit our jobs regardless of where the money came from to fund those FIRE accounts.  Mine account for over 70% of our total but who really cares, and i couldnt imagine saying welp i'm done now you work 10 more years b/c you picked to make less money than i did.
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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #28 on: April 12, 2017, 09:32:23 AM »
I'm glad I'm not the only one that thought the split view of finances and effort was alien. I clicked because I'm planning to RE and DW isn't, but that happens after we're FI. If resentment brews, she'll be able to join me.

Maybe DW and I are just too much on the same page when it comes to expenses, but we've always treated money as ours, not his or hers. Even when I made 3x what she did, I never viewed it as my money because it came on my paycheck. We're a team. We have a household to run. All that money is available to meet our joint goals. We communicate on those goals up front. Then we communicate again on any spending more than a few bucks, even if it's just a heads up that money is being spent that's in the budget, so we're both informed. It's almost zero effort and gives both of us a say, even if it's almost always just a "go for it". And by joint I mean union, not intersection, so some stuff is just me or just her. But all of it fits within our savings goals.

Chores are the same. We have a set of things around the house that need doing and we do them. Sure, we have preferences and tend to split things that way, but if there's laundry to be done and DW can't get to it, I'm doing it. There's no scorecard or tally. No trading. Nobody owes the other anything; she doesn't have to vacuum because I did laundry. We both just work to keep the house running and reap the benefits of everything being done. If I RE and DW doesn't, I may do more, but big deal. If two people can do it while working full time, one person can do most while not working and still have time to spare.

This only works as long as both parties are interested in making it work, but boy does it.

Case

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #29 on: April 12, 2017, 09:38:41 AM »
I FIREd over a year before my husband. He loved it. Freaking loved it.

I got up and made him breakfast from scratch most mornings. I packed his lunch for him, including lots of snacks and home made food (which he enjoys).

I did 95% of the errands, meal prep, cooking and housework/yard work. He literally had his job to do, but came home every day to a cleaned house, a home cooked meal, and a happy and loving spouse. He was fine helping out more, but I told him one of the benefits of having a stay at home spouse was that he wouldn't have to do nearly as much.

And another benefit was that I could save us a ton of money by being a better shopper, cooking better food the majority of the time, doing a better job on tracking down deals and haggling over any work to be done, etc. So things she might have paid more money to provide conveniences for are no longer as necessary since you'll be taking over as a "convenience/comfort provider" - meaning she can save more of her money for herself.

It may sound like I was doing lots and lots of work, but in reality most everything took me under 2-3 hours a day, and could be spaced out as much as I wanted, so I was able to fit in lots of napping, loafing, piddling around with my computer or hobbies.

And the fact that I could get all the errands and chores done during the week meant we both had the weekends completely free for whatever the hell we felt like doing. Even the evening hours after he got home from work were better and more about quality time for the most part. So sure, you could lead separate lives, or you could maximize your available time together even more so with you able to get all the pesky day-to-day crap done when she's not there (and she doesn't have to do much of it at all).

If your spouse is dead set on you not being able to retire before her, then you may want to have a discussion about what exactly you will be doing while she's at work. If she thinks she'll still need to be responsible for a whole bunch of household chores while you do very little other than loaf/piddle with hobbies, then yes, that could be a big perception issue you need to deal with.

Of course, this is all predicated on the idea that you actually will want to take on all of that stuff in the interest of having the majority of your days free from working. It would really suck if you were wanting to quit work and pay a maid to clean your house, eat out or stop off at fast food to feed yourselves and rarely bothered to do things in general around the house (especially if you expected her to kick in on those costs) while pursuing your own agenda. I could see her point if this is more what might happen. But only you know what type of FIRE you're planning for yourself, and whether it is something that should be genuinely worrying your spouse.

There is the argument that you could work another few years to get to the shared goal that would enable your spouse to feel good about quitting.  If it is a difference of a few years, and the place you're at isn't a hell on earth, it might be worth it. But I don't think you should be held hostage at a job just because your spouse can't deal with the idea of you wanting to stop working. So really, it means sitting down and talking all this stuff through until you come to a shared agreement/compromise that you both can live with.

This is totally spot on an optimized.
It makes more sense from a financial perspective because of tax incentives as well as insurance.

I can understand how a spouse would be jealous if one person stays home and the other doesn't.  However, it's potentially illogical and might reflect communication problems in the relationship.   It's important to have discussions addressing questions like these:
-Do you want to retire early?  If money isn't a factor?
-Do you want me to retire early?  If money isn't a factor? (might be a relationship problem if the answer here is 'no')
-Is it important for us to retire at the same time?

In the case of the original poster, it probably makes more sense for him to keep working and his wife to retire, since he makes more money.  But of course that doesn't factor in whether she wants to work or not.

bacchi

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #30 on: April 12, 2017, 10:19:47 AM »
How do you even calculate your FI number if you don't include your spouse in that calculation?  Even if my husband never wanted to stop working, I wouldn't think of either of us (as one financial unit) as being FI unless the family unit was FI, including any minor children if applicable. 

This doesn't make any sense to me.  I currently make almost 3x his salary.  If he wanted to keep working after we reached FI for some reason (extra $, likes working, etc), that's fine, but I don't see how you unilaterally get to your "number" and leave your lower earning spouse to basically fend for themselves.

If one spouse drastically outspends the other, what is the "number" based on? If one spouse wants to buy a luxury car or upgrade the house, is that included in the FI "number"?

Alice and Bob are working towards FIRE. Alice makes 3x Bob's salary and has saved much of what is needed to retire as-is with an enjoyable lifestyle. They both have cars, laptops, and the funds to travel occasionally. They plan to FIRE next month but Bob has decided he wants a $70k Tesla. That would require Alice working another year; if she informs Bob that she's going to FIRE as planned and he can continue working to buy it, is he now left fending for himself? Will Bob grow resentful that Alice isn't helping him buy the Tesla? If Alice continues working, will she grow resentful of Bob's unnecessary purchase?

What if Alice wanted the Tesla and wants Bob to delay FIRE for a year because she doesn't quite make enough money after taxes? If Bob suggests that Alice just work for another 18 months, is Alice now left fending for herself? Who resents whom?

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #31 on: April 12, 2017, 10:20:44 AM »
Thanks everyone for all this great advice!

I do see where she is coming from because she wants to lead a "traditional" life like most people live.  So FIRE would be a hard thing for most people to accept.  And there's practical implications to FIRE too; less income coming in means it's harder to live the more traditional life she wants.  At the same time, sol and far raised a good issue about guilt and resentment if I have to delay FIRE or - gasp - scrap the idea altogether.

JGS - maybe I am choosing my unhappiness.  Either I'm unhappy where my spouse is not happy if I am FIRE, or I am unhappy myself if I'm not FIRE.

Frankies thanks for painting a picture for me about what FIRE might look like with one spouse working and one spouse not.  I would certainly see it as my responsibility to take on most or all of the household chores if I had my days free.  We've talked about that but not really with the level of detail about what a typical day might look like.  That might help.

Laura - 2/3 and 1/3 split might work, that's a good idea.  I think the emotional issues are as problematic for her as the practical ones.  She's worried that if I FIRE, she wouldn't be a unit, but rather living separate lives.  At the same time I do think it would be harder for her to be FIRE too because she sees it as more risky, not able to bring in enough income, and also she'd probably be unsure about what to do with her time.

Part of the problem also is that we live in NYC (work, family, and friends live here).  So what would be reasonable elsewhere is just harder here.  For example we live in a studio apartment right now that we own.  She wants a little more space and privacy so wants to move to a 1br.  If we sold this apt though and rented a 1br, we might pay $1000-$1300 more per month.  The 1br would also probably be located in a neighborhood where it's more difficult to park on the street so she'd want to pay to keep the car in a garage. So these are the kinds of things where even if I could FIRE and pay for them, a 50-50 split might mean she'd be saving almost nothing.

I really like englyn's suggestion about considering FIRE'ing both of us at a certain level and then she can work if she wants to increase her expenses.  Or maybe a situation where even if she has to work, it only has to be on a part-time basis.

There are some fundamental disagreements on lifestyle here. It looks to me like you've planned for a bare-bones level of FI and want to quit working when you get to that place. Meanwhile, your wife wants a bigger apartment (this is "bigger" in NYC world, I'm not facepunching here), and possibly a parking space for the car. I'll take your word that this will cost an extra $1500 per month, but that increases the size of the 'stache you need by almost $500,000. (1500*12=$18,000. $450,000 at 4%)

That's a pretty big disagreement.

Are you absolutely clear on what you both want? Can you find some type of middle ground in terms of apartment size, neighborhood, etc?

MsSindy

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2017, 10:36:14 AM »
How do you even calculate your FI number if you don't include your spouse in that calculation?  Even if my husband never wanted to stop working, I wouldn't think of either of us (as one financial unit) as being FI unless the family unit was FI, including any minor children if applicable. 

This doesn't make any sense to me.  I currently make almost 3x his salary.  If he wanted to keep working after we reached FI for some reason (extra $, likes working, etc), that's fine, but I don't see how you unilaterally get to your "number" and leave your lower earning spouse to basically fend for themselves.

If one spouse drastically outspends the other, what is the "number" based on? If one spouse wants to buy a luxury car or upgrade the house, is that included in the FI "number"?

Alice and Bob are working towards FIRE. Alice makes 3x Bob's salary and has saved much of what is needed to retire as-is with an enjoyable lifestyle. They both have cars, laptops, and the funds to travel occasionally. They plan to FIRE next month but Bob has decided he wants a $70k Tesla. That would require Alice working another year; if she informs Bob that she's going to FIRE as planned and he can continue working to buy it, is he now left fending for himself? Will Bob grow resentful that Alice isn't helping him buy the Tesla? If Alice continues working, will she grow resentful of Bob's unnecessary purchase?

What if Alice wanted the Tesla and wants Bob to delay FIRE for a year because she doesn't quite make enough money after taxes? If Bob suggests that Alice just work for another 18 months, is Alice now left fending for herself? Who resents whom?

Because the Tesla is a new purchase, both Bob and Alice have to agree to it.... or it doesn't happen (it's a major purchase, not a new razor).  Alice should not have to work longer for Bob's indulgences.  Now, if Bob needed surgery, then that's a different scenario, and Alice better damn well want to work longer to afford it.  It's a difference between wants and needs.

BackyarBQ

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2017, 10:36:59 AM »
Ditto on the shared finances, shared goal, shared FI.

I make more than my wife too, but we max 2 457's, 2 403's, IRAs and wife has an HSA. If we didn't do this as a team, she wouldn't be able to fill her buckets, I'd be accelerating toward FI and we'd be paying higher taxes. Instead we max these accounts, live on the extra I get and keep working on our goal together. My favorite days are spending 12-15 hours working on our yard, house, or vacationing with her. There's no way I would want to be RE without my wife. But that's us, and we think marriage is about mutually assured success. With that said, we are pulling the trigger during 40, and should we need OMY or not, I will convince my wife to quit her job... and she will love doing what Frankies Girl did while I wrap things up.

Thoughts for OP.

If you are FI, does that mean you can cover the entire mortgage? Because if she is supporting her share, and she dies (unfortunate reality) you are not FI, you have to go back to work. Therefore you are dependent on earned income. If you are FI and can cover all expenses (minus her food and extra spending), how long does it take you two to save what's needed to meet her lifestyle needs? Ex... My FI number would be a lot different with a spouse who's family wasn't in Europe, but that's a cost I have to include, and I'm not FI unless my wife can see her family in FIRE whenever she wants. Should I be FI sooner because I can drive or take a 3 hour flight to see mine? Would that mean I don't go to Europe? No, it means we account for about 5k a year in travel. Yes, that means we have to save 125k for FIRE just to see family, that doesn't even account for our own vacations.

I guess you need to answer for yourself, that while you have met your personal goal... you've attached yourself to this human, who's happiness and success is part of you, and you two will have to compromise to satisfy and secure the other.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 10:50:16 AM by BackyarBQ »

MsSindy

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #34 on: April 12, 2017, 10:42:00 AM »
We have a similar situation as the OP, except no resentment.  We are also planning on retiring separately due to different wants and spending habits.  Once I caught the FIRE bug, I explained to DH how we could both retire early, but it would mean that we forego certain luxuries.  I laid out an extreme plan, a medium plan, and a ‘keep going as-is’ plan. 

While he liked the idea of ER, there were certain things he wasn’t willing to do.  For example, he doesn’t want to move from our big house (we built it, so emotionally attached), and he wants to keep his hobby habit ($1,000 per month).  I agreed to work longer so we could stay in the house (since this was an existing commitment made by both), but I wasn’t willing to work another 7 years so we could support his hobby habit.  He is willing to keep working, and says there isn’t much point in having all this time if he can’t do what he loves – I totally get it.  However, he also understands that it’s unfair that I should work extra-long so that he can fund an excessive hobby.

So, we’ve agreed on cutting back on things that are fairly painless (groceries, fancy cars, fancy phones, eating out, etc.) – this results in me retiring in 3 years and him in 5 years.  Longer than I wanted, but I’m okay with it and so is he.

To the OP: You need to think about what life will be like with you home and her at work – like FrankieGirl said, you need to paint a picture that is going to benefit her, too.  But, at the end of the day, she needs to make a decision that says, “I want ‘things’ and I’m willing to work for them…. Or NOT”.  It’s really her choice to make cutbacks on current/future spending decisions about the big things (bigger living quarters).  I’m hoping you guys are not nitpicking on small things like cable, but rather the big ticket items.  Things that you both already committed to should also be upheld, unless you both agree to dropping them.

Talk through it some more, find out what part she thinks she might resent, and see if there is something you can do to ease that (that doesn’t require you working longer!).  Or ask the question, if you think you might resent it (or miss out), then are you willing to forego some of the luxuries so you can join me?  This puts the decision/control with her.  You guys may be able to meet in the middle somewhere.


hoping2retire35

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #35 on: April 12, 2017, 10:48:35 AM »
Consummate your finances.

omachi

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #36 on: April 12, 2017, 11:01:31 AM »
Because the Tesla is a new purchase, both Bob and Alice have to agree to it.... or it doesn't happen (it's a major purchase, not a new razor).  Alice should not have to work longer for Bob's indulgences.  Now, if Bob needed surgery, then that's a different scenario, and Alice better damn well want to work longer to afford it.  It's a difference between wants and needs.

I'm not too hung up on simultaneous retirement, so I'd take a slightly softer approach. You want it, you're free to work longer to get it. Fully agree on necessities, though.

Now, I think if a Tesla had been something previously agreed to (for whatever reason) as a joint plan, then if somebody wanted to back out of that, there'd need to be convincing done. If the other person still really wanted that, I think it's unreasonable for the other party to back out unilaterally. Even if it's another year of work, it isn't worth the destruction of trust that would come with not doing what you'd agreed to.

L. WereBear

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #37 on: April 12, 2017, 11:08:11 AM »
Suggestion: If you can go part time try easing into that, so she can see how much easier her day is on the days you are home. This would also allow you some time to develop a semi-profitable side hobby if that interests you that could further ease financial tensions.
My experience with this is sort of from the other side. My spouse had to leave a recent job, and took a ~16 hour a week one for a dollar less an hour and no overtime, because it was becoming intolerable. We went from a 45/55% total income split to me earning about 80% of the income. It was not what I signed up for and I was anticipating my stress and resentment would go through the roof since some shared goals would be delayed. Well, it hasn't worked out that way. I love it. Money isn't great but having a reduced housework load and a happier partner has made things better.

Tiger Stache

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #38 on: April 12, 2017, 11:39:27 AM »
so if you're both stranded on a deserted island, and you worked building fires to signal passing ships and she didn't because she enjoyed the island, you'd leave her there by herself?

i don't understand not figuring her into your FIRE calculations.

BlueHouse

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #39 on: April 12, 2017, 12:00:29 PM »
I FIREd over a year before my husband. He loved it. Freaking loved it.

I got up and made him breakfast from scratch most mornings. I packed his lunch for him, including lots of snacks and home made food (which he enjoys).

I did 95% of the errands, meal prep, cooking and housework/yard work. He literally had his job to do, but came home every day to a cleaned house, a home cooked meal, and a happy and loving spouse. He was fine helping out more, but I told him one of the benefits of having a stay at home spouse was that he wouldn't have to do nearly as much.

And another benefit was that I could save us a ton of money by being a better shopper, cooking better food the majority of the time, doing a better job on tracking down deals and haggling over any work to be done, etc. So things she might have paid more money to provide conveniences for are no longer as necessary since you'll be taking over as a "convenience/comfort provider" - meaning she can save more of her money for herself.


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Secretly Saving

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2017, 12:04:42 PM »
I posted about a similar scenario a few months ago.  I'm 37 and ready to FIRE.  I want to go forward living and exploring and my spouse is not... like "let's work another 14-15 more years" kinda not.  The problem is that both of us could FIRE right now.  It stinks.

jezebel

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #41 on: April 12, 2017, 12:50:17 PM »
How do you even calculate your FI number if you don't include your spouse in that calculation?  Even if my husband never wanted to stop working, I wouldn't think of either of us (as one financial unit) as being FI unless the family unit was FI, including any minor children if applicable. 

This doesn't make any sense to me.  I currently make almost 3x his salary.  If he wanted to keep working after we reached FI for some reason (extra $, likes working, etc), that's fine, but I don't see how you unilaterally get to your "number" and leave your lower earning spouse to basically fend for themselves.

If one spouse drastically outspends the other, what is the "number" based on? If one spouse wants to buy a luxury car or upgrade the house, is that included in the FI "number"?

Alice and Bob are working towards FIRE. Alice makes 3x Bob's salary and has saved much of what is needed to retire as-is with an enjoyable lifestyle. They both have cars, laptops, and the funds to travel occasionally. They plan to FIRE next month but Bob has decided he wants a $70k Tesla. That would require Alice working another year; if she informs Bob that she's going to FIRE as planned and he can continue working to buy it, is he now left fending for himself? Will Bob grow resentful that Alice isn't helping him buy the Tesla? If Alice continues working, will she grow resentful of Bob's unnecessary purchase?

What if Alice wanted the Tesla and wants Bob to delay FIRE for a year because she doesn't quite make enough money after taxes? If Bob suggests that Alice just work for another 18 months, is Alice now left fending for herself? Who resents whom?

I don't see how forcing your spouse to pay for your Tesla after mutually agreeing to FIRE is comparable to what I said, so I don't have a response to this. 

use2betrix

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #42 on: April 12, 2017, 01:00:54 PM »
I could never imagine having "her money/my money."

My wife and I are young (28/23) and nowhere near FI, but I typically work and she doesn't. I have the earning power of about 5-6x what she does. Because of this, I would much rather her do everything around the house while I'm at work, so 100% of my time not working is doing stuff we enjoy together. I haven't cooked, grocery shopped, cleaned, or done laundry in years. She does everything while I'm at work and it's awesome. She cooks perfectly balanced and measured meals, helps me get ready for work in the morning, etc. in turn, we can spend my time not working at the gym, movies, weekend trips, or whatever else needs to be done.

I would look at one person RE as similar to our set up. If one isn't going to work, they better step up to make the other ones life much easier.

We're putting off our FIRE time, but we're making our time while I work much more enjoyable. Especially when I'm able to pick up 20-30 hrs of overtime and not have to worry about doing chores around the house and all that other stuff when I get home.

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2017, 01:09:29 PM »
That's tough. I can't really give you any advice, but I don't understand why people WOULDN'T want to retire early? Takes all of your stresses, and just throws them away. I've seen it save failing marriages, as the couples started doing more things together, and not letting their stress from work cause fights.

bacchi

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #44 on: April 12, 2017, 01:14:56 PM »
How do you even calculate your FI number if you don't include your spouse in that calculation?  Even if my husband never wanted to stop working, I wouldn't think of either of us (as one financial unit) as being FI unless the family unit was FI, including any minor children if applicable. 

This doesn't make any sense to me.  I currently make almost 3x his salary.  If he wanted to keep working after we reached FI for some reason (extra $, likes working, etc), that's fine, but I don't see how you unilaterally get to your "number" and leave your lower earning spouse to basically fend for themselves.

If one spouse drastically outspends the other, what is the "number" based on? If one spouse wants to buy a luxury car or upgrade the house, is that included in the FI "number"?

Alice and Bob are working towards FIRE. Alice makes 3x Bob's salary and has saved much of what is needed to retire as-is with an enjoyable lifestyle. They both have cars, laptops, and the funds to travel occasionally. They plan to FIRE next month but Bob has decided he wants a $70k Tesla. That would require Alice working another year; if she informs Bob that she's going to FIRE as planned and he can continue working to buy it, is he now left fending for himself? Will Bob grow resentful that Alice isn't helping him buy the Tesla? If Alice continues working, will she grow resentful of Bob's unnecessary purchase?

What if Alice wanted the Tesla and wants Bob to delay FIRE for a year because she doesn't quite make enough money after taxes? If Bob suggests that Alice just work for another 18 months, is Alice now left fending for herself? Who resents whom?

I don't see how forcing your spouse to pay for your Tesla after mutually agreeing to FIRE is comparable to what I said, so I don't have a response to this.

Forcing? Who is forcing?

Other than that, use your imagination. If this happened, what would you do? Whether it's a Tesla/kitchen update/workshop/jacuzzi or crappy boss/layoff/relocation, what happens when people or circumstances change?

2Birds1Stone

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #45 on: April 12, 2017, 01:32:18 PM »
These threads always go down the same path, lol.

There are plenty of happily married couples with separate finances. Just like some of you can't imagine having that arrangement, others like myself, can't imagine pooling everything together.

Different strokes for different folks.
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golden1

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #46 on: April 12, 2017, 02:03:54 PM »
Quote
I FIREd over a year before my husband. He loved it. Freaking loved it.

I got up and made him breakfast from scratch most mornings. I packed his lunch for him, including lots of snacks and home made food (which he enjoys).

I did 95% of the errands, meal prep, cooking and housework/yard work. He literally had his job to do, but came home every day to a cleaned house, a home cooked meal, and a happy and loving spouse. He was fine helping out more, but I told him one of the benefits of having a stay at home spouse was that he wouldn't have to do nearly as much.

And another benefit was that I could save us a ton of money by being a better shopper, cooking better food the majority of the time, doing a better job on tracking down deals and haggling over any work to be done, etc. So things she might have paid more money to provide conveniences for are no longer as necessary since you'll be taking over as a "convenience/comfort provider" - meaning she can save more of her money for herself.

It may sound like I was doing lots and lots of work, but in reality most everything took me under 2-3 hours a day, and could be spaced out as much as I wanted, so I was able to fit in lots of napping, loafing, piddling around with my computer or hobbies.

And the fact that I could get all the errands and chores done during the week meant we both had the weekends completely free for whatever the hell we felt like doing. Even the evening hours after he got home from work were better and more about quality time for the most part. So sure, you could lead separate lives, or you could maximize your available time together even more so with you able to get all the pesky day-to-day crap done when she's not there (and she doesn't have to do much of it at all).

This is exactly how I would handle it. 

I guess it is because I was a SAHM for 8 years, but I really don't think my DH would have a problem if I decided to retire at any time because when I was at home, our lives just ran so much smoother.  I would ask for a trial period to see how things went, with the condition that you could return to work if the resentment was building.

Just because you aren't employed doesn't mean that you won't be there to help each other. 

jezebel

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #47 on: April 12, 2017, 02:31:03 PM »
How do you even calculate your FI number if you don't include your spouse in that calculation?  Even if my husband never wanted to stop working, I wouldn't think of either of us (as one financial unit) as being FI unless the family unit was FI, including any minor children if applicable. 

This doesn't make any sense to me.  I currently make almost 3x his salary.  If he wanted to keep working after we reached FI for some reason (extra $, likes working, etc), that's fine, but I don't see how you unilaterally get to your "number" and leave your lower earning spouse to basically fend for themselves.

If one spouse drastically outspends the other, what is the "number" based on? If one spouse wants to buy a luxury car or upgrade the house, is that included in the FI "number"?

Alice and Bob are working towards FIRE. Alice makes 3x Bob's salary and has saved much of what is needed to retire as-is with an enjoyable lifestyle. They both have cars, laptops, and the funds to travel occasionally. They plan to FIRE next month but Bob has decided he wants a $70k Tesla. That would require Alice working another year; if she informs Bob that she's going to FIRE as planned and he can continue working to buy it, is he now left fending for himself? Will Bob grow resentful that Alice isn't helping him buy the Tesla? If Alice continues working, will she grow resentful of Bob's unnecessary purchase?

What if Alice wanted the Tesla and wants Bob to delay FIRE for a year because she doesn't quite make enough money after taxes? If Bob suggests that Alice just work for another 18 months, is Alice now left fending for herself? Who resents whom?

I don't see how forcing your spouse to pay for your Tesla after mutually agreeing to FIRE is comparable to what I said, so I don't have a response to this.

Forcing? Who is forcing?

Other than that, use your imagination. If this happened, what would you do? Whether it's a Tesla/kitchen update/workshop/jacuzzi or crappy boss/layoff/relocation, what happens when people or circumstances change?

I already said my initial comment that if one spouse wants to work longer for whatever reason (see above), that's fine.  And I was referring to the OP's situation, not yours.  If you are still not satisfied, please try consulting the many other posters who have expressed the same sentiment.

MrMonkeyMoustache

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #48 on: April 12, 2017, 03:00:16 PM »
Well, I'll actually chime in with this:

If money is an issue (you not brining in any, her being 100% responsible for her end), let's be realistic:

Once you go into "retirement", you can still do side projects for money, and maybe work a few hours a week if you wanted to. I already know damn well that when I retire, I'll still be doing some freelance programming work.

the_fixer

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Re: My wife is worried she will resent me if I early retire
« Reply #49 on: April 12, 2017, 03:59:54 PM »
If I were your wife I would also resent you in this situation and I think she is brave for speaking up and letting you know how she feels rather than not saying anything and letting it fester.

You are married and supposed to be a team you need to take her idea of retirement into account as it matters just as much as your desire to retire as early as possible.

She has wants, needs and desires as well that need to be met and once you understand them you can both decide on something that works for you as a whole.