Author Topic: Wife now working Full Time (Yay!), but we are now farther from FIRE (Boo!)  (Read 833 times)

JGS1980

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Just a mini-rant here.

We are doing well as a family. No worries in this regard. We will likely FIRE sometime between 2024 and 2026 depending on a variety of factors. Nonetheless, I'm a bit frustrated.

My wife went to FT in summer of 2017, leading to increase in income by about 35K per year for the family. Not that it should matter, but I out earn the wife by about 4:1 or so now.

So overall we are able to add retirement savings (and the resultant tax savings) to the tune of about 30K extra per year, which is great! The Bad, you ask? Wife now spends 12K per year more than she used to spend before she took the FT gig.  The way she looks at it -> she works more, she can spend more.

Technically, this means we are even farther away from FIRE than before she went full time...and I got lifestyle inflation to deal with in the long term.

We've talked, she has seen the numbers, we'll see how things progress over the next 6 months.

JGS

leavesofgrass

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Re: Wife now working Full Time (Yay!), but we are now farther from FIRE (Boo!)
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2019, 01:17:42 PM »
What's she spending more on? Was she unhappily frugal before she went FT?

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Wife now working Full Time (Yay!), but we are now farther from FIRE (Boo!)
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2019, 02:06:47 PM »
Sorry, Iím missing the math. Sheís adding 35 but taking away 12, so sheís adding 23 more than before. How has that pushed you farther away from your date than we she was adding 0?

Hereís my advice, and you know, grain of salt: donít let your pursuit of FIRE add pressure that would destabilize your marriage. So what if it pushes it out a year or two? Honestly. Youíre still most likely FIRE 15-20 years for most in your peer group. Look at the big picture. If you can make it to FIRE with a healthy marriage intact, thatís a victory. But if you become a penny pinching, resentful micro-Manager in your marriage, youíll end up divorced and just so the figures on how far back that will set your FIRE goal. Youíre not in a race or a competition. Chill. Have healthy discussions about finances, but above all else, have a healthy marriage.

mm1970

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Re: Wife now working Full Time (Yay!), but we are now farther from FIRE (Boo!)
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2019, 02:21:15 PM »
Sorry, Iím missing the math. Sheís adding 35 but taking away 12, so sheís adding 23 more than before. How has that pushed you farther away from your date than we she was adding 0?

Hereís my advice, and you know, grain of salt: donít let your pursuit of FIRE add pressure that would destabilize your marriage. So what if it pushes it out a year or two? Honestly. Youíre still most likely FIRE 15-20 years for most in your peer group. Look at the big picture. If you can make it to FIRE with a healthy marriage intact, thatís a victory. But if you become a penny pinching, resentful micro-Manager in your marriage, youíll end up divorced and just so the figures on how far back that will set your FIRE goal. Youíre not in a race or a competition. Chill. Have healthy discussions about finances, but above all else, have a healthy marriage.
Yep.  But I can the point of lifestyle inflation.

Never underestimate the effects of full time work on your energy levels for...whatever.  All those extra hours you work are taking time away from everything else.  Sleeping, cooking, money-saving things, relaxing, fixing things around the house, cleaning.  It's not "free" in that sense, and working often costs money.  Transportation, clothing, extra child care, less scratch cooking, etc.

chasingthegoodlife

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Re: Wife now working Full Time (Yay!), but we are now farther from FIRE (Boo!)
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2019, 02:46:41 PM »
MrThatsDifferent has excellent advice. Also, divorce is expensive.

Was your wife working at all before taking this job? In a sense your household has just lost 40hours per week of in-home work and it doesn’t seem unreasonable that there is going to be some cost for that in convenience purchases, ‘rewards’ for coming home tired and getting on with the housework etc. plus of course petrol, work wardrobe and the like. Do you now share all household duties evenly since she is working full time? Do you have children?

Something about the way you point out how much more you make than your wife rubs me the wrong way. Are you feeling resentful about having more responsibility for keeping the household afloat? Do you feel your wife is buying luxuries for herself while you are denying yourself the things YOU really want?

Ideally you can talk about these things in a loving way and work out what’s best for both of you and your marriage. Perhaps part time work for your wife would give the best trade off. Perhaps you could reduce your own work hours a little bit now and use that time to do things at home that will reduce spending?

JGS1980

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Re: Wife now working Full Time (Yay!), but we are now farther from FIRE (Boo!)
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2019, 03:31:59 PM »
Sorry, Iím missing the math. Sheís adding 35 but taking away 12, so sheís adding 23 more than before. How has that pushed you farther away from your date than we she was adding 0?

Hereís my advice, and you know, grain of salt: donít let your pursuit of FIRE add pressure that would destabilize your marriage. So what if it pushes it out a year or two? Honestly. Youíre still most likely FIRE 15-20 years for most in your peer group. Look at the big picture. If you can make it to FIRE with a healthy marriage intact, thatís a victory. But if you become a penny pinching, resentful micro-Manager in your marriage, youíll end up divorced and just so the figures on how far back that will set your FIRE goal. Youíre not in a race or a competition. Chill. Have healthy discussions about finances, but above all else, have a healthy marriage.

Very good points MrThatsDifferent as well as Chasingthegoodlife, but watch out for assumptions.

I'm not a [complete] idiot. My wife is a lovely person, and I plan on staying married to her forever.  I'm actually a very "big picture" kind of person. The point of the rant is to show folks the consequences of lifestyle inflation. I'm not about to dictate to the boss what job or how many hours she would want to work.

Didn't mean to touch a nerve with the income ratio. I'm just a math geek and figured that would help folks get a realistic idea of the trade-offs here.

The math is that you need 25 times your yearly spend level. If your spend level increases by 12K, you will need 300K more saved at FIRE. As we are already on course to FIRE in 5-7 years, needing approx 10 times [300/30] her FT gains leads to the fact that her efforts are actually SLOWING us down.

She's not working more in order to make more money or in order to spend more money. She's working more in order to achieve more professional satisfaction. Spending more money appears to be a byproduct of FT work.

No "penny pinching" or "resentful micro-managing" here either. She does what she wants to do to make her happy. If she ain't happy I certainly wont be happy. The end result just happens to be more working time for both of us.

mm1970's comment on the effect of FT work on life energy is 100% correct.  There's only so many hours of every day, and weekends can often be spent with kids' activities or "catching up" with daily home tasks. My child care and home care tasks have gone up tremendously since she went from PT to FT (she has about 25 less hours at home per week). My estimate for kids/home work split is 50/50. She'd probably say 60/40. I think the end result of her going FT is that BOTH of us are more run down by the end of every week. But we are fairly good about splitting duties.

Where's it all going? asks LeavesofGrass
-since I don't micromanage, I don't actually know. That's for her to figure out and to adjust (or not) if she feels that fits with her life goals. Separate bank account not linked to Mint.

I'm honestly not at all worried about our end-game. We will get there just the same in the end. That being said, MATH is a very POWERFUL THING.

« Last Edit: February 08, 2019, 03:36:34 PM by JGS1980 »

walkwalkwalk

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Re: Wife now working Full Time (Yay!), but we are now farther from FIRE (Boo!)
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2019, 08:00:56 PM »
Isn't it more like 300k/18k? Or were you able to save more of your money that you made?

AMandM

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Re: Wife now working Full Time (Yay!), but we are now farther from FIRE (Boo!)
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2019, 08:29:51 PM »

The math is that you need 25 times your yearly spend level. If your spend level increases by 12K, you will need 300K more saved at FIRE. As we are already on course to FIRE in 5-7 years, needing approx 10 times [300/30] her FT gains leads to the fact that her efforts are actually SLOWING us down.

She's not working more in order to make more money or in order to spend more money. She's working more in order to achieve more professional satisfaction. Spending more money appears to be a byproduct of FT work.

OK, but if the extra $12k spending is really only a consequence of working, then you won't need to cover that $12k in retirement.  The math is that you need 25x your spending in retirement, which doesn't necessarily equal your current spending.

So if that $12k will disappear when your wife retires, you don't need that extra $300k and her FT pay net of the extra spending is a gain for your stache.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Wife now working Full Time (Yay!), but we are now farther from FIRE (Boo!)
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2019, 08:56:01 PM »

The math is that you need 25 times your yearly spend level. If your spend level increases by 12K, you will need 300K more saved at FIRE. As we are already on course to FIRE in 5-7 years, needing approx 10 times [300/30] her FT gains leads to the fact that her efforts are actually SLOWING us down.

She's not working more in order to make more money or in order to spend more money. She's working more in order to achieve more professional satisfaction. Spending more money appears to be a byproduct of FT work.

OK, but if the extra $12k spending is really only a consequence of working, then you won't need to cover that $12k in retirement.  The math is that you need 25x your spending in retirement, which doesn't necessarily equal your current spending.

So if that $12k will disappear when your wife retires, you don't need that extra $300k and her FT pay net of the extra spending is a gain for your stache.

Yes, exactly. The presumption that your wife will continue to spend $12k indefinitely seems illogical.

The idea is to have 2 budgets that you work off of: now budget and FIRE budget. With now budget, you look to optimize spending so you can save and invest the most will maintaining your desired lifestyle. With FIRE budget you project what life will be like when you FIRE and what your expenses are and that is the number you multiply by 25, not your current one unless you expect your life to be exactly the same. Thatís how you can discuss this safely with your wife. Whatís our dream life? Agree on that, multiply by 25 and then work backwards to figure out how long it will take to get that number. Do this all transparently with your wife, let her be part of that journey so she can see how current budgets relate to future dreams. Sheís smart, sheíll work it out.