Author Topic: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea  (Read 166095 times)

rjg

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Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« on: August 04, 2014, 09:57:02 AM »
So- I hate my career/job in web consulting. My wife and I currently live in NYC, make about 200k combined and spend about 9k/month. However, we have about 2.3 million in net worth. Much of that wrapped up in home equity unfortunately. We are both 39 and have a 3 month old.

I'm on fmla leave with the baby and am dreading the prospect of returning to work on a few weeks. When I look at our networth, it seems like it would be entirely possible to move out of NY, buy a place for 500-600 and live sustainably from 5-6k/ month. And that's without even getting too mustachian.

When I brought this idea up with my wife, she went ballistic. Went off about what a terrible idea it was and went off on a 30 minute rant that ended with her suggesting divorce if this was my plan. Among other things, she said told me that:
-I didn't grow up poor and don't know what it's like (I hardly think 6k/ month budget counts as poor!)
-she insists that our kid be sent to private school
-what if something catastrophic happens or our child has a disability that costs more money treat
-she thinks it sets a "bad example" if his dad "doesn't work"
-she only wants to live in a major city near the water such as LA, NYC, ..maybe Boston.
-she wants to live in Europe
-she wants us to travel a lot
-saud that I'm just burned out and need to find a job I like

So...anyone had a spouse that was so dead set against being financially independent? Or reacted this strongly to it? Any advice?

BlueMR2

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2014, 10:01:23 AM »
I'm on fmla leave with the baby and am dreading the prospect of returning to work on a few weeks. When I look at our networth, it seems like it would be entirely possible to move out of NY, buy a place for 500-600 and live sustainably from 5-6k/ month. And that's without even getting too mustachian.

I'd think it's likely to be possible, since my wife and I live comfortably on half that...  :-)   However, it might require pulling her away from the life and location that she loves.  That may not be the best thing to do.

CommonCents

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2014, 10:05:21 AM »
Had you talked before about private school and moving to Europe?  Seems like you both are proposing some big changes to each other.

Did she say why private school, living in big city etc?  Did she say whether she'd be ok with working while you perhaps stayed home?  (Perhaps not immediately, but after you built up a stash not tied to your home?) 

I really think the issue is that you have different dreams, and you need to get on the same page with agreement on what the dream is before you can figure out how to get there.

You'll probably both need to compromise, such as by building a big enough stash to cover possible additional expenses (like health care).  And maybe you should look for a new job you'd like better.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2014, 10:07:11 AM »
My wife is hardly on board with going full on mustachian, but her reactions have never been that strong. I think you need to really sit down and discuss this very seriously, and let her give you a vision of how she sees your future together. Maybe you can make the numbers work under her ideal conditions.

$2,300,000 * 4% = 92,000 / 12 = $7,667 each month.

I realize you said a large part is home equity, but maybe you could sell? Do some math and see what your net worth can provide you on a monthly basis, then see if it fits within her ideal lifestyle.

As far as you having to work to set an example for your child, that's a mindset that is clearly 100% against what you want for your future. This is the most crucial part of the conflict. If you simply don't want to work and your wife can never get over that I don't think this will end well. If she simply wants you to have a job and you're okay with a different (more fun) job, maybe that's the direction you can head in.

Good luck!

PloddingInsight

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2014, 10:09:52 AM »
How much of your net worth is home equity and how much of your spending is the mortgage payment?

Numbers Man

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2014, 10:13:28 AM »
It was probably too much at once. This has to be a process. And unfortunately, it sounds like a few years might have to pass before the light gets turned on for your spouse.

SummerLovin

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2014, 10:17:43 AM »
Read the current MMM post to help you better frame your discussion. You need to focus on what your goals are in life, and the best way to get there together.
I didn't see where you actually reviewed a plan to become financially independent, or how that would achieve what she wants in life.   
I agree with your wife to some extent, all I hear is that you hate your job, but not what you will do, where you will live, and how it will make your lives better.  It certainly can't hurt for you to find a job you like, or at least keep the one you have until you have a joint plan for FI.  or divorce if you really are that different.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 10:20:10 AM by SummerLovin »

Villanelle

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2014, 10:19:07 AM »
It seems like you tossed out a proposal to majorly upheave nearly every aspect of your lives.  Of course she freaked out. 

Are the things she mentions wanting things you currently have or have discussed?  if so, then I think it's pretty unreasonable to expect any reaction other than freaking out.  Even if it hasn't been discussed but it was a reasonable assumption based on past choices, etc., it's still a huge thing to suddenly hear that *everything* is going to be different now. 

I think you need to start much, much smaller. 

Perhaps start with getting a different job, even if it pays less, and show her that the $15k less in income (or whatever) can be made up with X, Y, and Z, and with X and Y being things that mostly affect you, and Z being a joint sacrifice.  Ask if she can get on board with that (assuming you can).  From there, work on slowly cutting costs and slowly bring up topics like other cities where you might both be happy but which have a lower COL.  Tell her and show her that her priorities are important to you, too, but that you want to work to meet in the middle.  Let her see that you are prepared to compromise and then hope that she is reasonable enough to do the same. Ask her what sacrifices she *is* willing to make, and show her what sacrifices you are willing to make, and see if you end up closer to something sustainable for both of you. And make sure she sees the upsides for her, not just the sacrifices.     

Cpa Cat

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2014, 10:29:49 AM »
Some people are very invested in status. Your wife seems to be one of them - hence there being no middle ground between rich and poor, and there being only a tiny selection of cities where she could possibly be happy. I don't know how you fight that. She basically told you that she'd rather divorce you than suffer the blow to her status that would result from you quitting your job and moving the family out of NYC.

At the risk of disclosing my true anti-mustachian lifestyle - my budget is $6,000 per month after tax (with an additional $12,000 per year for emergencies built in) in the midwest. For that amount, people own 4,000 sq foot homes with giant back yards (pool optional), send their kids to private school and maintain a countryclub membership, while taking regular vacations. It's a nice life.
 
But it's not status-heavy NYC rich. And we would suffer a significant lifestyle blow by moving to Europe (which we have considered, because I have citizenship). If status is what's important to your wife, then ER is probably out of the picture - especially since she has an ingrained problem with the male spouse not working.

MoneyCat

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2014, 10:34:50 AM »
You are in a rough spot.  I feel really badly for you.  It would be nearly impossible to FIRE with a spouse who opposes it to the point of threatening divorce.  People tend to change during the course of their lives and sometimes those changes can really threaten marriages.  I do not envy you for the challenges you face in trying to get your spouse on board with a Mustachian lifestyle.  Some people are so obsessed with status and material goods that a minimalist lifestyle is repugnant to them.

The Money Monk

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #10 on: August 04, 2014, 10:43:05 AM »
So- I hate my career/job in web consulting. My wife and I currently live in NYC, make about 200k combined and spend about 9k/month. However, we have about 2.3 million in net worth. Much of that wrapped up in home equity unfortunately. We are both 39 and have a 3 month old.

I'm on fmla leave with the baby and am dreading the prospect of returning to work on a few weeks. When I look at our networth, it seems like it would be entirely possible to move out of NY, buy a place for 500-600 and live sustainably from 5-6k/ month. And that's without even getting too mustachian.

When I brought this idea up with my wife, she went ballistic. Went off about what a terrible idea it was and went off on a 30 minute rant that ended with her suggesting divorce if this was my plan. Among other things, she said told me that:
-I didn't grow up poor and don't know what it's like (I hardly think 6k/ month budget counts as poor!)
-she insists that our kid be sent to private school
-what if something catastrophic happens or our child has a disability that costs more money treat
-she thinks it sets a "bad example" if his dad "doesn't work"
-she only wants to live in a major city near the water such as LA, NYC, ..maybe Boston.
-she wants to live in Europe
-she wants us to travel a lot
-saud that I'm just burned out and need to find a job I like

So...anyone had a spouse that was so dead set against being financially independent? Or reacted this strongly to it? Any advice?

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think if your wife blows up and suggests divorce at the mere mention of moving/career change, then there are some underlying structural/relationship issues you need to address

The fact that she goes right to the nuclear option of divorce threats at you just floating an idea is a bad sign. Also, with the attitude she has how would she treat you if you lost your job NOT by choice?

And being successful enough to save enough money that you can support yourself off your savings is a TREMENDOUS example, not a bad one.

I'm assuming she too expects to retire at SOME point. If retiring at X years doesn't set a bad example, how does doing it even faster and more efficiently?

But again, this is not an issue you are going to address with logical arguments because, as is evidenced by her overreaction, her reservations are related to some kind of deep-seated fears/insecurities.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 10:48:25 AM by The Money Monk »

uniFI

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #11 on: August 04, 2014, 10:46:09 AM »
It was probably too much at once. This has to be a process. And unfortunately, it sounds like a few years might have to pass before the light gets turned on for your spouse.

This.

To the OP, I feel your pain.  Sounds like you need to start floating this idea more slowly.  I recently started a thread on the same subject.  There are a ton of great suggestions people have brought up.

You may discover that your goals aren't so different.  You may have just triggered an emotional response to some other fear.  Give it some time and make sure she knows you care about what matters to her.

All that said, no one has figured out how to get 2 people to make a radical shift in perfect harmony and quickly!

The Money Monk

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #12 on: August 04, 2014, 10:53:17 AM »
It seems like you tossed out a proposal to majorly upheave nearly every aspect of your lives.  Of course she freaked out. 

Are the things she mentions wanting things you currently have or have discussed?  if so, then I think it's pretty unreasonable to expect any reaction other than freaking out. 


Adults should never "freak out" and threaten divorce when their partner simply broaches a subject. Yes it would be a major life change IF THEY DID IT, but he simply raised a "hey what if we..." situation. If you can't do that without your partner 'freaking out' then you will not be able to ever discuss any important issues with them.

We already have a term for freaking out when somebody brings up something you don't like: it's called a temper tantrum, and mature adults don't do it, children do.

MrsPete

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #13 on: August 04, 2014, 10:53:40 AM »
First thing that occurs to me:  You have a three-month old.  You're experiencing a lot of changes, you're acclimating yourself to a new lifestyle . . . and you're throwing out the idea of major changes?  Dude, your timing sucks. 

Next, I see that about half of her concerns deal with raising your child.  She doesn't want to do it "halfway", and she's thinking that lots and lots of money is necessary for that.  She doesn't seem to be particularly rational in these thoughts; I mean, being concerned that a healthy baby would suddenly develop an expensive disability isn't all that realistic. 

I say do NOTHING now.  Get yourselves past the newborn phase.  No good ever comes of making big decisions during a time of upheaval and change -- perhaps even crisis; newborns can make things feel like a crisis.  Perhaps New Year's would be a good time to visit your goals.  At that point the baby'll be sleeping reliably, you'll be in a schedule.  And give her some warning:  Tell her that you'd like her to sit down and set goals, make plans, etc. 

That would also be a good time to visit your life insurance and wills.  No matter how against frugality she may be, she will see the sense in protecting your child with those necessities.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #14 on: August 04, 2014, 10:59:35 AM »
I think it's always challenging when our values shift. You're valuing your time and freedom over money, and up until now your choices have been more aligned with income and success. So your wife may view this as a violation of the unspoken contract between you.

So you can forgive a momentary freak-out, right?

I'd circle back with her when feelings are cooler. Tell her that you understand what you suggested would be a really big deal, and that you are not expecting her to agree with everything you say, but you want to talk it through.

But then tell her how her reaction made you feel. You propose a more modest lifestyle and she threatens divorce? She treated you like a paycheck with legs, not a partner. This must have felt pretty crappy. She needs to be aware of how she came across.

Then talk about what you'd like the future to look like. Ask her what she wants. Then give yourselves some time (months) to revisit the conversation and see if you can agree on a destination. I'm not sure being sleep deprived with an infant is the best time to have these conversations.

Good luck. And congrats on the kiddo.

scrubbyfish

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #15 on: August 04, 2014, 11:02:17 AM »
Everyone has said excellent things, so I will just ditto all that, and offer this strange little story:

In my last relationship, we were both generally open to creative approaches, which is why I was stunned when he labelled one of my ideas, vehemently, as "stupid" and declared that we were never going to do it. At the moment, my jaw just dropped.

And then, when I had an awesome idea to meet his dreams, he dismissed that as "impossible" and, without my knowledge, proceeded to instead sign a contract with his ex-wife (mother of his children) to stay put.

Etc.

Now? He lives in the exact location I proposed, in the exact type of dwelling I proposed, using the exact approach I proposed.

I am boggled.

When I visited him last weekend, I asked him why he spat on my ideas when I proposed them originally. He just shrugged my question off.

I notice that this time, when I gave my ideas/opinions for his new place, he received every one of them with excitement, respect, and agreement.

This story won't help you at all. It's more like commiseration, I guess, over a partner who reacts vehemently to perfectly sound ideas -even to ones they might, even just one year later, totally love and choose for themselves! Ah, humans!

soccerluvof4

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #16 on: August 04, 2014, 11:02:48 AM »
It seems like you tossed out a proposal to majorly upheave nearly every aspect of your lives.  Of course she freaked out. 

Are the things she mentions wanting things you currently have or have discussed?  if so, then I think it's pretty unreasonable to expect any reaction other than freaking out. 


Adults should never "freak out" and threaten divorce when their partner simply broaches a subject. Yes it would be a major life change IF THEY DID IT, but he simply raised a "hey what if we..." situation. If you can't do that without your partner 'freaking out' then you will not be able to ever discuss any important issues with them.

We already have a term for freaking out when somebody brings up something you don't like: it's called a temper tantrum, and mature adults don't do it, children do.



+1

snickers

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #17 on: August 04, 2014, 11:04:54 AM »

From one Nu Yawku to another.   

 So much I can say but will hold my tongue.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 11:09:15 AM by snickers »

minimustache1985

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #18 on: August 04, 2014, 11:05:50 AM »
I pulled this up to read the suggestions as I'm trying to get my H more on board.  He likes the idea of me staying home when we have kids (in about 2 years, hopefully) but isn't too apt to cut our lifestyle to make that happen.  I don't have much specific to add but have found baby steps seem to be the best way to address things so far, I'm the cook and have started working leftovers in once a week, requested we go out to eat less (but not cutting it out entirely), etc, and he seems to be handling gradual adjustments like that well.

I'm just starting this journey of getting my spouse on board as well, but it seems to me you need to understand why she thinks it's a "bad example" if you don't work, and why private school is so important (after all, you could be pretty involved in his education if you were retired).  I understand the want to travel, but 6k/month should still allow you to do quite a bit of that.  As for her fears of something catastrophic, maybe look into more insurance?  Depending on what you already have it may not be necessary, but if it would help her sleep better it may still be worth the cost.

Noodle

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #19 on: August 04, 2014, 11:06:13 AM »
As a married person, it is fair and appropriate to share your feelings, especially when they have changed over time. For instance, you have come to a place where you really dislike the work you are in, and with a new baby, you are realizing that you want to free up time along with having security for your family.

It is not fair to go straight to a solution without consulting your partner, especially one that is radically different from the life you are living together now. (It wasn't entirely fair for your wife to lose it to that extent, but at least you now know how far back you need to rewind, ie to the beginning).

So apologize to your wife for jumping the gun and start the conversation over again. And ask how SHE'S feeling about your life as a family. There may be things she would like to change too. Once you know what problems you have to solve together, then you can start coming up with a variety of solutions and pick the one that works best for all three of you (baby too.) There are plenty of Mustachians who choose city living...some of them have posted on these boards. Maybe there's some part-time work/city living hybrid that will work for you and make her happier than relocation.

And I strongly recommend the book "Decisive" by Chip and Dan Heath about making good decisions. They have a lot of useful things to say about widening your options, giving things a trial run, etc.

SisterX

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2014, 11:11:28 AM »

Don't take this the wrong way, but I think if your wife blows up and suggests divorce at the mere mention of moving/career change, then there are some underlying structural/relationship issues you need to address

The fact that she goes right to the nuclear option of divorce threats at you just floating an idea is a bad sign. Also, with the attitude she has how would she treat you if you lost your job NOT by choice?

And being successful enough to save enough money that you can support yourself off your savings is a TREMENDOUS example, not a bad one.

I'm assuming she too expects to retire at SOME point. If retiring at X years doesn't set a bad example, how does doing it even faster and more efficiently?

But again, this is not an issue you are going to address with logical arguments because, as is evidenced by her overreaction, her reservations are related to some kind of deep-seated fears/insecurities.

One thing most people here don't seem to have considered: this could be post-partum related.  There are still hormonal changes going on (particularly if she's breastfeeding/pumping), she's likely sleep deprived and already dealing with the loss of part of her life.  It's not really talked about, but it kind of sucks after having a kid to realize just how much you miss your old, carefree babyfree life.  Moms seem to get hit harder with that than dads, at least in my experience, because the first year is all about mom.  They need mom CONSTANTLY, and it's something you know but don't quite know how much it will change your life until after it happens.  I know, I'm going through this right now.  I think, no matter how much you love your kid, there's a period of mourning for your old self.  Her resistance to this new idea might just be because it all feels like too much at once.  She lost her old babyfree life, and now you want to take away the vision she'd built up of her new life with you and baby.  Think of that from her side.  That would be really hard for anyone to deal with, but with sleep deprivation and all the other effects of being a new mom on top of it, wow.
Is she back at work?  She could be extra tired and hating her own job because it's pulling her away from the baby so much.  Even if she loves her job, she probably resents it a bit too right now.  I definitely had a love/hate relationship with my job when I first started back after baby, and resented my husband for being the one who stays home with her all day.  It gets better.  But if my husband had been working and suddenly said, "I want to quit," I'd have gone ballistic.  It would have felt like he was taking away MY option to stay home if working and mommying became too much.  I know that's not what you proposed, but that might be the way it sounded to her.
This sounds like, at the very least, it's partly attributable to the baby blues, at least to me.  If my husband had suddenly proposed something like this to me 3 months after our daughter was born, I'd have flipped out too.  Not because it's not a good idea, but because of the timing.  The only advice I can give is to proceed more gently.  Don't bring up all these changes at once, but start a series of conversations (loving ones, please) about what you'd both like for your future.  Feel free to say that you now realize how much you hate your job and that it wasn't until you had so much time away you truly realized what a weight it's been for you.  BUT, use that as a stepping stone for, "So how do we reconcile me hating my job with what you/we want for our future?  How can we both get what we want?"  As always, in a relationship it's about compromise.  Maybe she doesn't get to stay in NY, but is there another city with a lower COL where you can both be happy?  Can you find a way to budget living for at least a year in Europe when the kid is older and can benefit from it, where neither parent has to work so you can homeschool the kid and enjoy the time as a family?  (That's one of my dreams.  :)  If she does enjoy her job, make sure to factor that in as well when you're planning where to go.
If neither of you is willing to compromise, then your relationship is going to implode at some point.  You need to also decide if quitting your job immediately is more important to you than your relationship with your wife.  Not only your wife, but how divorce would affect the kid too and your relationship with him(?). 
Your wife might not be open to all these changes right now, but go slowly and I'm betting you can sell the dream.  Especially if you emphasize how much more time you'll all get to spend as a family.

Chranstronaut

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2014, 11:16:57 AM »
Now? He lives in the exact location I proposed, in the exact type of dwelling I proposed, using the exact approach I proposed.

I am boggled.

Some people just can't get on board with an idea that wasn't "theirs."  Cubicle life is full of people like this... I suppose it makes sense that these people are the same way in their relationship.  It's easy to sacrifice your pride at work in order to get something done when you aren't caught up in office politics; it's not a viable long term method of relationship management, though.

OP, sorry I have nothing to add, but can also commiserate.  When your paradigm is so different from someone else's, it can feel near impossible to communicate with them, let alone come to an agreement.  There is great advice here, and I have hope and support for you.

bogart

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2014, 11:24:08 AM »
First thing that occurs to me:  You have a three-month old.  You're experiencing a lot of changes, you're acclimating yourself to a new lifestyle . . . and you're throwing out the idea of major changes?  Dude, your timing sucks. 


This.  And the other stuff Mrs. Pete said.  Look, many people do find welcoming a baby to their family to be an opportunity to re-evaluate and make (other) changes, but if the changes are unwelcome -- well, a baby is change enough without needing to add to them.  Forget proposing to FIRE:  you're proposing that your wife quit her job and find another employer (if I'm understanding the implications of your plan correctly), that you two sell your home, box up (or get rid of) all your possessions, buy another home somewhere else (where unspecified, at least in your post), move and start over, and that your household shifts from being a two-earner family to a one-earner family.  I'd go ballistic too, if I thought you were serious, or I were feeling tired, or hungry.

Personally I'd either drop it altogether (for now) as Mrs. Pete suggests, or focus in on some small bits (e.g. if you were going to move out of NYC, where else would each of you think about living).

But to end on a positive note, congratulations on your new baby!

The Money Monk

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2014, 11:30:40 AM »
I'd go ballistic too, if I thought you were serious, or I were feeling tired, or hungry.




There is a huge difference between being totally opposed to an idea and throwing a tantrum. Nobody is saying she has to like his idea, or even do it, just be a civil adult about it.

Anyone who would 'go ballistic' and threaten to leave the person they supposedly care about most in the world because they are tired or hungry is a petulant child with no self control who should not be involved in any serious decision-making to begin with.


shotgunwilly

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2014, 11:32:28 AM »
Your wife is, no doubt, brainwashed.

rujancified

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #25 on: August 04, 2014, 11:33:20 AM »
First thing that occurs to me:  You have a three-month old.  You're experiencing a lot of changes, you're acclimating yourself to a new lifestyle . . . and you're throwing out the idea of major changes?  Dude, your timing sucks. 

Next, I see that about half of her concerns deal with raising your child.  She doesn't want to do it "halfway", and she's thinking that lots and lots of money is necessary for that.  She doesn't seem to be particularly rational in these thoughts; I mean, being concerned that a healthy baby would suddenly develop an expensive disability isn't all that realistic. 

I say do NOTHING now.  Get yourselves past the newborn phase.  No good ever comes of making big decisions during a time of upheaval and change -- perhaps even crisis; newborns can make things feel like a crisis.  Perhaps New Year's would be a good time to visit your goals.  At that point the baby'll be sleeping reliably, you'll be in a schedule.  And give her some warning:  Tell her that you'd like her to sit down and set goals, make plans, etc. 

That would also be a good time to visit your life insurance and wills.  No matter how against frugality she may be, she will see the sense in protecting your child with those necessities.

Everything ^^ up there!

Also, gotta say it:

Does she always react like this to upheaval/changes? If not, has she been screened/evaluated for PPD? If the reaction is totally out of character for her, there could be something beyond normal fear of big changes going on.

But yeah, your timing could have been better! Bring it up in smaller chunks. Say you hate your job and would like to do something different. Then take action there and see if that makes you happier. Incremental changes + happiness increases in one spouse tends to have a positive impact on the other!

DoubleDown

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #26 on: August 04, 2014, 12:20:56 PM »
Yes, my wife had a pretty similar reaction (maybe not quite as extreme, but LOTS of negativity and irrational fears). And we didn't even have a newborn or anything.

I say we need to give the OP a break here. Yes, the idea of moving your whole life is radical (and I can understand/appreciate the wife's shock at it), but that's kind of the point. When you realize you're sitting on $2.3 million in net worth and no longer need to work at a job you hate -- well, that's a radical and life-altering realization. Who here, when suddenly told they were being left $2.3 million in cash by an uncle who died that they never even knew, would continue working at a job they hate?

OP, I don't fault you for bringing it up as an idea to her. It was just an idea, and one with a helluva lot of merit at that. It's not like you listed your house for sale, quit your job, and forced her to sell her car and let her hair go gray rather than spend $20 on hair coloring. But of course you have to understand that the idea shocked her, and you're going to have to give her plenty of time to think about it.

Also, you need to know that whether or not hormones are at play, there are absolutely emotions, insecurities, and lots of other things working here that have absolutely nothing to do with logic or finances or math (I speak from lots of experience here). As an example, my wife is very much wrapped up in the "status" issue and other fears -- "What will the neighbors think of you, a grown man, not working?! People just don't quit working before 60, it's not 'right'! You'll die of a heart attack from giving up work like happens to so many men right after they retire!"

So, you are going to have many mountains to climb with her to reach a point where you are both having your goals/needs met. Like I suggested to UniFI in his similar posting -- it's a marathon, not a sprint.

Congrats on the newborn by the way!

DoubleDown

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #27 on: August 04, 2014, 12:31:34 PM »
Some people just can't get on board with an idea that wasn't "theirs."  Cubicle life is full of people like this

So true!

Have you ever tried the trick at work where, in a meeting, you say, "You know Cubicle Worker 7941, that idea of yours to move our 401k plan into a low-cost, indexed funds portfolio is excellent! We really should do that." Of course, Cubicle Worker 7941 never made that suggestion*, but is happy to take credit for an idea that is declared in public as excellent. It's amazing, this really does work, I've used it successfully more than once!

*Note that there is an assumption that there was some kind of related discussion going on about 401k plans or related company benefits; you don't just jump out with a crazy, unrelated thing in a meeting and then claim your coworker suggested it.

BlueHouse

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #28 on: August 04, 2014, 12:47:34 PM »
I'd go ballistic too, if I thought you were serious, or I were feeling tired, or hungry.




There is a huge difference between being totally opposed to an idea and throwing a tantrum. Nobody is saying she has to like his idea, or even do it, just be a civil adult about it.

Anyone who would 'go ballistic' and threaten to leave the person they supposedly care about most in the world because they are tired or hungry is a petulant child with no self control who should not be involved in any serious decision-making to begin with.

I'm not a shrink, but I think that the ballistic moments tend to happen when someone feels a loss of control (totally normal with a new baby).  As a previous poster says, "Dude, your timing sucks". 

The Money Monk

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #29 on: August 04, 2014, 12:52:16 PM »
I'd go ballistic too, if I thought you were serious, or I were feeling tired, or hungry.




There is a huge difference between being totally opposed to an idea and throwing a tantrum. Nobody is saying she has to like his idea, or even do it, just be a civil adult about it.

Anyone who would 'go ballistic' and threaten to leave the person they supposedly care about most in the world because they are tired or hungry is a petulant child with no self control who should not be involved in any serious decision-making to begin with.

I'm not a shrink, but I think that the ballistic moments tend to happen when someone feels a loss of control (totally normal with a new baby).  As a previous poster says, "Dude, your timing sucks".

moments of domestic abuse happen when someone feels a loss of control too. Doesn't mean it's ok.


Gin1984

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #30 on: August 04, 2014, 12:53:44 PM »
I'd go ballistic too, if I thought you were serious, or I were feeling tired, or hungry.




There is a huge difference between being totally opposed to an idea and throwing a tantrum. Nobody is saying she has to like his idea, or even do it, just be a civil adult about it.

Anyone who would 'go ballistic' and threaten to leave the person they supposedly care about most in the world because they are tired or hungry is a petulant child with no self control who should not be involved in any serious decision-making to begin with.
Have you dealt with having a child, the sleep deprivation and/or PPD?  Or are you a MD/PhD with experience in this field?  I can't imagine anyone doing well having a three month child and working and their spouse deciding their entire life should change.

Beric01

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #31 on: August 04, 2014, 12:55:59 PM »
I'd go ballistic too, if I thought you were serious, or I were feeling tired, or hungry.




There is a huge difference between being totally opposed to an idea and throwing a tantrum. Nobody is saying she has to like his idea, or even do it, just be a civil adult about it.

Anyone who would 'go ballistic' and threaten to leave the person they supposedly care about most in the world because they are tired or hungry is a petulant child with no self control who should not be involved in any serious decision-making to begin with.

I'm not a shrink, but I think that the ballistic moments tend to happen when someone feels a loss of control (totally normal with a new baby).  As a previous poster says, "Dude, your timing sucks".

I don't care how angry you are, threatening with divorce is a big no-no. He just brought up an idea. There's some deeper relationship issues going on than just FIRE, I'm gonna bet.

Mister Fancypants

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #32 on: August 04, 2014, 01:14:38 PM »
So- I hate my career/job in web consulting. My wife and I currently live in NYC, make about 200k combined and spend about 9k/month. However, we have about 2.3 million in net worth. Much of that wrapped up in home equity unfortunately. We are both 39 and have a 3 month old.

I'm on fmla leave with the baby and am dreading the prospect of returning to work on a few weeks. When I look at our networth, it seems like it would be entirely possible to move out of NY, buy a place for 500-600 and live sustainably from 5-6k/ month. And that's without even getting too mustachian.

When I brought this idea up with my wife, she went ballistic. Went off about what a terrible idea it was and went off on a 30 minute rant that ended with her suggesting divorce if this was my plan. Among other things, she said told me that:
-I didn't grow up poor and don't know what it's like (I hardly think 6k/ month budget counts as poor!)
-she insists that our kid be sent to private school
-what if something catastrophic happens or our child has a disability that costs more money treat
-she thinks it sets a "bad example" if his dad "doesn't work"
-she only wants to live in a major city near the water such as LA, NYC, ..maybe Boston.
-she wants to live in Europe
-she wants us to travel a lot
-saud that I'm just burned out and need to find a job I like

So...anyone had a spouse that was so dead set against being financially independent? Or reacted this strongly to it? Any advice?

Fellow NYer here.... About the same age with young children too.  Don't sweat the Divorce talk.... Every NY wife will throw that out upon the threat of moving from NY... Not to mention you hit up a new mom with all of this crazy talk.... Not to say it’s all crazy talk... I often feel the same way, especially when I was about to go back to work right after my kids were born.

Why go to a job that sucks instead of being with the babies when you can live anywhere else in the country and be a daddy?

Well the answer lays more in your how you decided to bring this up not in your goals themselves. I hit the very same road block when my kids were born. Before they were born you were going to work and had a set of plans and now all of a sudden you have a new set of plans yet up until now you didn't really discuss them with your wife. Your wife has a different set of plans and she probably didn't discuss them with you... I bet you didn't know you were moving to Europe did you? And she didn’t know you wanted to retire at 39.

We had general goals save and invest, but nothing we ever so concrete as we made enough to be on easy street, never really budgeted because it never mattered. We just coasted…

Well now you have a kid, you hate your job, she wants private school and Europe and you want FI and a lower cost of living... The real problem is you both hit each other up with these wildly different ideas without any coordination out of nowhere when you are pretty sleep deprived from having a 3 month old, congratulations by the way :)

So step back, realize you both need to figure out what it is that will make you both happy, explain to her you don't plan on being a bum, and there are alternatives to crazy ass work, but you need to understand you aren't going to be living like MMM as she wants some expensive shit too so there is some middle ground but the two of you need to realize that.

My wife would kill me if I were home all the time like MMM without a "real" job even if I had $30mm, so my FI plan has to have some "me doing something or else" involved...

Good luck and keep us posted

-Mister FancyPants

matchewed

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #33 on: August 04, 2014, 01:17:14 PM »
If the things she wants for your child and your future have never been discussed before you guys may have some communication issues to iron out. Like work towards getting on the same page in the present (the baby) and for your future. Take your time and be patient with each other. I agree that threatening divorce is generally not a good thing (and am in no way condoning the threat) but you two have had a very stressful time these last six months. Maybe take your time to focus on what is currently important while adjusting your current lifestyle to one that meets your values. Walking the walk so to speak. Then when things cool down you could start approaching discussion of changes in small steps rather than dumping it three weeks after the birth of a first child.

pksr

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #34 on: August 04, 2014, 01:18:46 PM »
Birth of kid, move, new job (or retirement), divorce - these are noted as some of the biggest sources of stress in life, and experiencing multiple at the same time is not additive but exponential.

I don't think a new mom wants to add any new stress, even if it's good news (e.g., we don't have to work anymore). From an algebra perspective, moving and quitting jobs may seem more stressful than divorce. But she also knows that by going to the nuclear option she's going to get you to chill for a while for her to recover from having a kid.

So waiting is in order, but there are a lot of things on your side. A 3 month old is super awesome, but nothing compared to a 1 year old with a real personality. Going to a super awesome private school is what a momma bird will want for a 3 month old. But once you start to interact with the kid like a person instead of an eating / pooping machine you need to protect, she may realize that time with the kid is far more important than the best private school.

I guess the good news is that you at least know where you stand. Not a great starting position, but every hand can turn into a winner, and with a light touch and the wisdom of this site you can get there.

bogart

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #35 on: August 04, 2014, 01:41:05 PM »
I'd go ballistic too, if I thought you were serious, or I were feeling tired, or hungry.




There is a huge difference between being totally opposed to an idea and throwing a tantrum. Nobody is saying she has to like his idea, or even do it, just be a civil adult about it.

Anyone who would 'go ballistic' and threaten to leave the person they supposedly care about most in the world because they are tired or hungry is a petulant child with no self control who should not be involved in any serious decision-making to begin with.

To be clear, I don't mean the "tired" or "hungry" that you or I feel.  I mean the "tired" or "hungry" that a new, possibly nursing, possibly also working f/t, mom of a 3-month old feels.  I've BTDT and it's on a different plane -- or can be (I won't presume that all women feel like I did, but I did, and I wasn't suffering from PPD or dealing with an unusually difficult situation, or kid.  Boy did that first year of motherhood knock me out.). 

But -- eh.  Honestly, if I weren't capable of dealing with 30 minutes of outrage and my husband threatening divorce, our marriage wouldn't be worth much.  (And I wouldn't dream of likening experiencing that to domestic abuse, not least out of respect for domestic abuse victims). Different strokes for different folks, I guess.   

okashira

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #36 on: August 04, 2014, 01:42:51 PM »
Good god. OP, I am sorry.

Folks, take this lesson, get on the same damn page with your SO before marriage/kid.

OP, you could divorce now and retire in a year. Assume that you get half the assets and a million is plenty to retire on.

I grew up with divorced parents and it can be okay....

sheepstache

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #37 on: August 04, 2014, 01:45:02 PM »
I'd go ballistic too, if I thought you were serious, or I were feeling tired, or hungry.




There is a huge difference between being totally opposed to an idea and throwing a tantrum. Nobody is saying she has to like his idea, or even do it, just be a civil adult about it.

Anyone who would 'go ballistic' and threaten to leave the person they supposedly care about most in the world because they are tired or hungry is a petulant child with no self control who should not be involved in any serious decision-making to begin with.

I think the main thing here is we're giving the OP the benefit of the doubt because he's the one telling the story.  We don't know whether his description of "going ballistic" is accurate.  And we don't know how he presented the idea.  Throwing around a pie-in-the-sky idea based on emotional reasoning ("I hate my job and/or am going through some type of crisis and want to completely relocate and change our lives") and ballpark numbers during a time of massive change and stress in the family is bound to get a reaction.  I mean if my spouse suddenly proposed moving to the west coast and joining some kind of scientology cult, my response would not be civil and would certainly encompass the possibility that he was free to do what he liked but that I would not be joining him.

Listen, I'm completely onboard with the thinking of everyone on this board, to wit that the consumerist ratrace is a joke and a trap.  But I respect that people have certain lifestyle expectations that go into their decision about who to marry.  If my spouse decided they want me to double my earning power so that we could start buying a bunch of crap and summering in the hamptons, that would seem grossly unfair.  It's not what I signed up for, and would probably be a deal breaker no matter how open-minded I am or how much I loved the person.   

okashira

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #38 on: August 04, 2014, 01:48:13 PM »
So- I hate my career/job in web consulting. My wife and I currently live in NYC, make about 200k combined and spend about 9k/month. However, we have about 2.3 million in net worth. Much of that wrapped up in home equity unfortunately. We are both 39 and have a 3 month old.

I'm on fmla leave with the baby and am dreading the prospect of returning to work on a few weeks. When I look at our networth, it seems like it would be entirely possible to move out of NY, buy a place for 500-600 and live sustainably from 5-6k/ month. And that's without even getting too mustachian.

When I brought this idea up with my wife, she went ballistic. Went off about what a terrible idea it was and went off on a 30 minute rant that ended with her suggesting divorce if this was my plan. Among other things, she said told me that:
-I didn't grow up poor and don't know what it's like (I hardly think 6k/ month budget counts as poor!)
-she insists that our kid be sent to private school
-what if something catastrophic happens or our child has a disability that costs more money treat
-she thinks it sets a "bad example" if his dad "doesn't work"
-she only wants to live in a major city near the water such as LA, NYC, ..maybe Boston.
-she wants to live in Europe
-she wants us to travel a lot
-saud that I'm just burned out and need to find a job I like

So...anyone had a spouse that was so dead set against being financially independent? Or reacted this strongly to it? Any advice?

1.) get a respected counselor
2.) get a lawyer

jubilantjill

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #39 on: August 04, 2014, 01:51:21 PM »
Dude, your timing sucks. 

I second this. You're on FMLA. She's probably just gone back to work and here you are saying you don't want to work anymore. You both need more sleep. Let the upheaval of a newborn settle then try again, slower this time.

Zette

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #40 on: August 04, 2014, 02:01:40 PM »
Start with laying out a plan for how you will retire at the "normal" age of 65, then show her how little would be required to reduce that to 60 -- and also travel in Europe :)   Once the idea of retiring a little bit early is comfortable (say in a year's time), you'll be in a better position to talk about more radical moves that would reduce that even more.

greaper007

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #41 on: August 04, 2014, 02:15:35 PM »
So- I hate my career/job in web consulting. My wife and I currently live in NYC, make about 200k combined and spend about 9k/month. However, we have about 2.3 million in net worth. Much of that wrapped up in home equity unfortunately. We are both 39 and have a 3 month old.

I'm on fmla leave with the baby and am dreading the prospect of returning to work on a few weeks. When I look at our networth, it seems like it would be entirely possible to move out of NY, buy a place for 500-600 and live sustainably from 5-6k/ month. And that's without even getting too mustachian.

When I brought this idea up with my wife, she went ballistic. Went off about what a terrible idea it was and went off on a 30 minute rant that ended with her suggesting divorce if this was my plan. Among other things, she said told me that:
-I didn't grow up poor and don't know what it's like (I hardly think 6k/ month budget counts as poor!)
-she insists that our kid be sent to private school
-what if something catastrophic happens or our child has a disability that costs more money treat
-she thinks it sets a "bad example" if his dad "doesn't work"
-she only wants to live in a major city near the water such as LA, NYC, ..maybe Boston.
-she wants to live in Europe
-she wants us to travel a lot
-saud that I'm just burned out and need to find a job I like

So...anyone had a spouse that was so dead set against being financially independent? Or reacted this strongly to it? Any advice?

I feel for you man.   I hated my job and quit when my son was 9 months old, I haven't worked in more than 5 years now.   It's not always fantastic being home, but it beats having to deal with newbie first officers, bitchy flight attendants and dodging thunderstorms every day.   

Why is she so hopped up on private schools?    I understand that you'd have to go private if you decide to live in most areas of the city, but you can move to any great suburb in the tri-state area and have public schools that rival most of the private schools.    You'd also be able to buy a veritable mansion for a quarter of your 2.4 million dollar home in the city.

Also, you guys are making loads of money with what I'm going to assume is a degree from a mid-level public college.   Unless you're banking on your kids going to a top med or law school, what's the point of private school?    It's really just about the connections you make or getting into grad school.    I know lots of very wealthy people that went to state schools.

You don't necessarily need to make lots of money to live in Europe for a bit.   We figure my wife could pick up a contract and we could rent an apartment in Europe for the summer.    If we rent out our house and use CC points, it will probably be about net zero.


Cinder

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #42 on: August 04, 2014, 02:23:04 PM »
Dude, your timing sucks. 

I second this. You're on FMLA. She's probably just gone back to work and here you are saying you don't want to work anymore. You both need more sleep. Let the upheaval of a newborn settle then try again, slower this time.

QFT

scrubbyfish

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #43 on: August 04, 2014, 02:32:20 PM »
When I had a newborn, and said newborn was premature and had disabilities, and I was super sleep deprived, and I had PPD (manifested more as anxiety), and was solely responsible for all income and infant care, and I was working in my own business, my boyfriend asked me to move with him to another city. I pondered it very briefly, and said no, primarily because in the current place I at least had some practical support from family members, and could afford my living space, whereas in the new city I would have increased expenses and reduced supports. I made a decision from a parenting point of view only. (A few years later I had a moment of kicking myself about that, because I was alone and lonely. I told myself, "Next time someone asks you to come live with him, you say yes." But that was only a moment. I stand by my decision to put my capacity to parent first.)

So, a few thoughts:

1. Even a person with all these circumstances can respond calmly and kindly.

2. However, a large part of the reason I could respond calmly despite all these variables was that I was not invested in that relationship. I think this is good news. i.e., Your wife may be panicking because she is invested in your guys' relationship, and wants a life with you. Okay, so throwing around the divorce word is not the ideal way to communicate that, but I still think her emotional response may actually give indication of investment/desire.

3. Post-baby is one of the most stressful times for a LOT of couples. Regardless of the gender of each parent, either or both will often feel shell-shocked, horrified at the thought of returning to work, exhausted, stressed, and scared -and experience a total re-evaluation of all things previously held dear. It's a wild time, emotionally, psychologically, physically, and logistically. If you want to stay married, I would make "stay married" your primary goal right now. Well, "keep child alive" and "stay married". No other new goals today. It's awesome that you do have additional options, but I would hold off on setting any of those as priorities right now.

Exflyboy

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #44 on: August 04, 2014, 02:40:39 PM »
Ok yes lets all take a deep breath.. feel better?..:)

OK the spouse flipped out, but think about it. She now has this hungry mouth to feed. She thought she was bringing this baby into a world of top private schools and well compensated parents with country club memberships.

Satisfied about taking on this HUGE responsibility, her SO then out of the blue decides "Hey, I'm gonna quit work and we're gonna live like hippies.. You cool with that?"..

OK an over dramatisation, but this is what she heard.

Now of course her response was overkill but you have to remember you poked the mamma bear!.. There is no one person that she will defend with any more ferocity than the well being of HER kid. You dear OP are just a well paid sperm donor at that point!

Yes your hurt and a bit confused why she would attack you like that and I think the PPD idea may well have some merit as well.

So my advice is slow down, focus on being a partner and raising your kid for a few months.. Explain to her how hurt you were about getting the nuclear option blah blah and pick it up again in a few months.

But do it as others have suggested, I.e ASK her what her long term plans are etc (which will be to earn a much money as possible to provide max security for her kid).. then work from there.

Good luck!

Frank


Gin1984

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #45 on: August 04, 2014, 02:48:34 PM »
Ok yes lets all take a deep breath.. feel better?..:)

OK the spouse flipped out, but think about it. She now has this hungry mouth to feed. She thought she was bringing this baby into a world of top private schools and well compensated parents with country club memberships.

Satisfied about taking on this HUGE responsibility, her SO then out of the blue decides "Hey, I'm gonna quit work and we're gonna live like hippies.. You cool with that?"..

OK an over dramatisation, but this is what she heard.

Now of course her response was overkill but you have to remember you poked the mamma bear!.. There is no one person that she will defend with any more ferocity than the well being of HER kid. You dear OP are just a well paid sperm donor at that point!

Yes your hurt and a bit confused why she would attack you like that and I think the PPD idea may well have some merit as well.

So my advice is slow down, focus on being a partner and raising your kid for a few months.. Explain to her how hurt you were about getting the nuclear option blah blah and pick it up again in a few months.

But do it as others have suggested, I.e ASK her what her long term plans are etc (which will be to earn a much money as possible to provide max security for her kid).. then work from there.

Good luck!

Frank
Frank has a very good point.  If I though ANYONE was going to harm my daughter the claws would come out.  This includes my best friend, my mother and yes, my husband.  I would remove anyone who was a risk to her.  If she saw your actions as harming her child, a divorce threat is not unlikely.

zippyc

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #46 on: August 04, 2014, 02:58:29 PM »
I haven't read everyone else's replies yet, so sorry if I'm repeating what's already been said...

We live in Seattle and have a lot of equity in our house (although nothing like yours) and I've been trying to make the same argument to my husband, but change isn't his strong suit, so here I sit for now.

Your wife had a baby 3 months ago. I promise you that the hormones are still surging through her body and probably will be for the first year (I've had 2, so this is from experience). The change of having a child is probably just about all she can deal with in the way of changes for now. She's also dealing with her ideals of what she wants for her child right now, but those things change as the child grows and reality sets in.

That being said, as your child grows, most likely she will start feeling some of the same things you are. At least that's what happened to me. You might just need to be subtle and give it time.

That's quick to suggest divorce, though. My husband waited until each of our kids was 6 months old before he suggested that was where we were headed (he wasn't getting enough attention). The second time I just laughed and said that it would pass and it did (that was almost 7 years ago the last time). :-)

My husband is the kind of person who starts with his mind made up and it takes a long time for him to consider that there might be a different or better way to do things. It can take me years to change his mind sometimes, but I slowly keep at it and back off when I know I've dished out more than he can handle. :-)

Don't panic, take a breather, and work on a different approach. And she's right, you should work on getting a more enjoyable job in the meantime, since it could be awhile before you make any big changes. Another thing you should do for now is to get some hard numbers on paper and start to get a real handle on expenses. You can do that on your own, to an extent and it will be a good start.

Best of luck with things and congrats on your new addition!!

rjg

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Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #47 on: August 04, 2014, 03:23:59 PM »
Wow- still reading/digesting but everyone's responses are truly thoughtful and insightful. Wish you guys were my neighbors! Thank you!! I'll post some follow up thoughts when I have more time.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2014, 03:26:08 PM by rjg »

dragoncar

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #48 on: August 04, 2014, 03:32:17 PM »
Now? He lives in the exact location I proposed, in the exact type of dwelling I proposed, using the exact approach I proposed.

I am boggled.

Some people just can't get on board with an idea that wasn't "theirs." 

That's why you need to hire Leonardo DiCaprio to get inside her mind.

libertarian4321

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Re: Wife flipped out when I brought up the idea
« Reply #49 on: August 04, 2014, 03:40:10 PM »
You are in a rough spot.  I feel really badly for you.  It would be nearly impossible to FIRE with a spouse who opposes it to the point of threatening divorce.  People tend to change during the course of their lives and sometimes those changes can really threaten marriages.  I do not envy you for the challenges you face in trying to get your spouse on board with a Mustachian lifestyle.  Some people are so obsessed with status and material goods that a minimalist lifestyle is repugnant to them.

Yup.

It's unfortunate, because at age 39, OP and his wife are doing very well.  If they decided to give up the rat race, they could live comfortably for the rest of their lives if they chose to do so.

In much of the country, they could buy a big, relatively new home for well under $250k.  They could live like kings even without a job.  I'm not an expert in OP's field, but I'm guessing that he could do "telecommute" consulting and earn extra money if he chose to do so (if only to placate the wife).

He's in a tough spot.  He's willing to think outside the box.  His wife is not.  She just wants to run the rat race like everyone else. 

Work hard climb the corporate ladder and buy stuff to impress "friends" and family who are doing the same, then die with a household full of stuff (in a tony neighborhood, of course) without ever having enjoyed life.  It is, unfortunately, the American way.

Hopefully, he can get his wife to take off her blinders and consider an alternative way of life.  It won't be easy, though.  He'll probably need to ween her off the rat race crack in increments.  I'd tell him to dump her materialistic ass, but that isn't so easy to do once married with kids.

Anyway, I hope he can slowly break her from the "expectations" track and get her to, you know, actually live her own life.