Author Topic: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire  (Read 22368 times)

MilitaryMan

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Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« on: December 17, 2014, 12:29:32 PM »
Oy.  Been a reader for a while, but going through some old posts.  This one in particular tugs at my heart: http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/04/13/what-does-early-retirement-mean-anyway/ with idyllic descriptions of mountain bike rides, breakfast as a family, and 2 month long summer vacations.    Also reading “Your Money or your life” which is also like taking a punch in the face daily.

I'm a 35y/o with 3 young children.  Spouse and I, through high earning and reasonable, albeit not mustachian, lifestyle have about $1.25M net worth.   We could quit working now, move to Longmont and live like kings, actually like Mr and Mrs Mustache, on $50k a year forever enjoying our young daughters, per the 4% rule. 

But alas, I am an indentured servant to the military because of degrees earned and have to work at least another 9.5 years (age 45).  Or 12.5 years (age 48) until 60% pension + good affordable health care for my fam forever.

My job is actually quite enjoyable and rewarding.  But about 3 months ago its location changed and now I have a daily 70 min commute each direction. KILL ME.  My wife can walk or bike to work from our house.   My life satisfaction has taken a big dive with the new commute. 

So, what to do, gentle reader? I had always thought being in the military was a pretty good option, because, after all, everyone has a boss.  And every job has frustrations and red tape, blah blah blah, and the military is not the worst place to do a job, no student debt, service to country, higher calling, blah blah.  And then I happen across MMM and learn that NOT everyone has a boss! And NOT WORKING is actually an option.
 
I’ve tried suggesting to my wife that she stop working and we move close to my job.  Because that would greatly improve my quality of life.  So far she hasn’t bitten on that suggestion.  While she likes the impact MMM has on our family’s grocery bills and spending and my new interest in investing, she isn’t really sold on the idea of “retiring” in her 30s.  She sees these as her highest earning potential years (and she’s probably right – last year – a very good year, she pulled in $500k).  Also, as you can see the whole after- child-care-and-transportation-and-work-clothes-and-lattes-she's-probably-not-really-making-any-money argument isn't applicable to us.  I'm the lower earner, but my not working isn't an option. 

So I’m stuck working for at least the next 9.5yrs.  And the wife wants to keep working her overall rewarding, but also high powered high paying job.   

In the above mentioned blog post, MMM encourages “pedal to the metal to get to retirement in 7-10 years” rather than wimpy attempts at 50.  I guess I’m going to be wimpy and retire at 48 when my kids are no longer cuddly and small and cute.  But I don’t really have much of a choice, do I?

I’m curious what other mustachians would do in this situation.   Should I just hunker down and make the most of the life I signed up for, relishing the hours of books on CD I get to enjoy during my commute?  Should I compel my wife to leave a high paying job she enjoys so we can all spend more time together as a family, since we clearly have much more than enough (also how do I do this)?  At 48 will my best years be behind me?  Should I get out at 45 leaving the 60% pension and health care and other benefits on the table?  (would appreciate Nords take on this)

Longing for a simpler life.  Whining complete.

Edit:  "Paying back" the military is not an option.   

« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 05:52:28 PM by MilitaryMan »

mxt0133

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2014, 12:42:47 PM »
Something don't add up for me.  Your wife made 500K last year and your net worth is 1.25M?  How long has she been making mid six figures?  What is your yearly budget? 

As far as I know indentured servitude is not legal in the US, so the military might have paid for your education but you can always pay it back to get out.

Why don't you quit working and let your wife continue to work?  Am I missing something?

deborah

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2014, 12:53:23 PM »
It appears that you have choices. If your wife is earning such a ridiculous salary, I am sure you can afford to get out of the military, and become a SAHD, while she enjoys the job she is happy with. It also gives you the option of renting a very small crash pad near where you work, and using that a couple of nights a week, to stop your commute from killing you.

The question remains, however, whether you actually could live like MMM, retire to Longmont and live like kings. If you have a net worth of $1.25M it sounds like you currently live like emperors, and would find it difficult to retire.

TheMoneyBadger

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2014, 01:00:44 PM »
Can you provide some details about your options, if any, to get out?  It sounds like your wife wants to keep working (her perogative) and you'd like to get out and spend more time with your kids.  It doesn't sound like convincing her to retire early is going to get you very far.  If you have an option, even an expensive one, to get out then you could decide to get out and give up some of the nice benefits from your job.  If your wife keeps working and making even a fraction of last year's income, you'll have more than enough to live a luxurious lifestyle and pay for your degrees, healthcare, etc.

Basically, you want to retire, she wants to work, and you're trying to convince her to retire while you keep working.  Approaching it as a need to get her to retire seems unlikely to be successful.

MilitaryMan

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2014, 01:11:59 PM »
Cathy is right.  Can't buy my way out, Deborah and mxt0133 and TheMoneyBadger. 

And while it's not entirely relevant to my question posed, yes, we don't live a highly mustachian lifestyle (although compared to our peers we are frugal).   It would take some cinching of the belt to get down to 50k a year expenses and a move out of our high COL area, stop paying for childcare for 3 kids, etc.   We've made some changes since following MMM, eating out less, thinking harder about the accumulation of "stuff" but it's hard to be motivated for drastic changes, like moving to a smaller house, when I'm still bound to be working just as long whether I live in a big or small house. 

But I'm trying to focus on the other benefits of being frugal that MMM espouses other than just retiring early.  Like how I feel like a freaking rock star when I bring home groceries in the bike trailer.  Hiking as a family activity rather than obnoxious indoor chuckie cheese.  Planning and cooking our own meals, etc.

Thanks for the comments.  I know I'm ridiculous to complain.  We are extremely blessed and the military has been very good to me.  It's a privilege to serve.   Young kids can kind of change you though, you know?

TerriM

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2014, 02:36:52 PM »
So, what to do, gentle reader? I had always thought being in the military was a pretty good option, because, after all, everyone has a boss.  And every job has frustrations and red tape, blah blah blah, and the military is not the worst place to do a job, no student debt, service to country, higher calling, blah blah.  And then I happen across MMM and learn that NOT everyone has a boss! And NOT WORKING is actually an option.

No, you did come out with student debt--9.5 years of your life.  What is the $$ price to pay the military back for your education and get out?

TerriM

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2014, 02:38:22 PM »
PS:  Thank you for your service to our country.  We do appreciate it.  Even if we might be suggesting that you to cut it short.

iamadummy

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2014, 03:32:09 PM »
even at 48 wouldn't be bad

TerriM

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2014, 03:41:18 PM »
Can you have a talk with your boss regarding the commute?  Maybe you could negotiate days home, or 4 days at 10 hours instead of 5 at 8?

MilitaryMan

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2014, 06:05:44 PM »
TerriM, thanks for your kind words.  You are right!  I most certainly do have a student debt, a large one!  No option to pay back $$ and get out. 

Ways to get out would all be unscrupulous.  Likely faking an illness/injury, getting really fat (may or may not work), saying I'm a "conscientious objector" to war, etc.  I'm not looking to shirk my duties.  I accepted money for school and signed up with open eyes and of course, I'm proud to be serving.

I guess I'm just wondering if it's reasonable to ask my wife to stop working when I feel that would make our family life better as a whole.  Less stress, less commuting, (she travels a bit for work as it is now,) less time away from kids, less child care, etc.  And we could live quite comfortably on my salary alone.  Plus we've already built a nice nest egg during our time as dual incomers.  Kids are only young once, etc.

From the money standpoint, non-mustachians would of course think its heretical for her to quit her high paying job so my commute is better and we see our kids more.  But I guess I was thinking here in this community, where the idea of what is "enough" is much different, I might get a bit more back-up for my position.

But perhaps what is more important that the cash is that she is very happy in this job, gets a lot of self-worth and identity out of it.  Sounds like the answer from everyone is "no" - it's not reasonable to ask her to quit and move. 

TerriM - great suggestion about the 4 day work week idea.  I'm still getting settled, but that is definitely an option.  Not every week, but many weeks.  4 days commuting vs. 5 days makes a huge difference!

iamadummy - glad to hear 48 isn't so bad :)  just wimpy in MMM's eyes

Any thoughts on the serving the extra 3 years for the pension + retiree military benefits?  Again seems like a no brainer to just do the extra three in a job I overall enjoy.  But MMM has had some strong thoughts in blogs against wasting years of your life for pensions which aren't really needed.  What would you do?

lakemom

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2014, 06:09:39 PM »
9.5 years yet...are you a pilot or a doctor?  Could you get out on a hardship?  Could you transfer to a Reserve or Guard position?  Would your wife consider moving to a home that is half way between your two jobs.  I know that a commute is NOT what MMM recommends but sometimes needs must.  Have you done any outside the box thinking about your wife's job such as telecommuting and moving closer to your base?  Any other options that may appear, hard to throw out ideas when we have no idea what either of you do.  And as a military person are you guaranteed to stay put at the current base for the next 9.5 years or is another base possible in the next decade?  And how does your spouse feel about that if its a possibility.

As someone whose spouse is just a few years away from a military pension I'd say that once you've reached the point you've only 3 years left until the pension is earned (and I assume that you'd begin receiving benefits immediately as an active duty retiree?) that sticking it out the 3 years may be worth it.  At that point your cuddly kids will be teens whose own lives are so busy that you won't see much of them as it is AND when they are around they'd just as soon pretend that YOU didn't exist.  But really, its a choice that won't need to be made for nearly a decade so not something to lose sleep over right now. 

In the meantime, use your 6 weeks of paid time off judiciously to maximize time spent together as a family.  Such things as taking the Friday or Tuesday off that brackets a Federal holiday thereby having 4 days to spend with spouse and kids while only burning 1 leave day.  Once they start school always scheduling time off during their school breaks to spend together.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 06:19:16 PM by lakemom »

wtjbatman

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2014, 06:10:50 PM »
What are the education benefits of the military? Does it cap out? I can't imagine your wife's 500k a year income (?!) doesn't somehow make up for giving up on your G.I. Bill. And what's this 9.5 year commitment you keep talking about?

Just being honest here, but it's like you're hiding the details in an effort to just find people who will agree with you/commiserate with your situation. We can't help if we can't figure out why you are even trying to talk your 500k-earning-wife into quitting and moving when you must make... well I imagine a hell of a lot less than that :)

Homey The Clown

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2014, 06:22:45 PM »
Is there any possibility of your wife finding a job closer to your work?

Ricky

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2014, 06:32:39 PM »
So, what to do, gentle reader? I had always thought being in the military was a pretty good option, because, after all, everyone has a boss.  And every job has frustrations and red tape, blah blah blah, and the military is not the worst place to do a job, no student debt, service to country, higher calling, blah blah.  And then I happen across MMM and learn that NOT everyone has a boss! And NOT WORKING is actually an option.

Actually, you had it right the first time. I believe everyone has a boss. Even if you have your own business, you're answering to the needs of your customers.

So tell me what your question is here? You can't quit your job, and you can't move. So what exactly are we answering here? I presume you "can't" quit due to a contract or something? It's obvious you can't move, or wouldn't really be beneficial to do so. True Mustachians don't rely on pensions, and with you're wife's income, a pension would be irrelevant, especially considering your net worth already. If you can quit, then quit ASAP. Otherwise, if you can't, then I guess this was more of an outlet to vent above anything else.

mozar

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2014, 06:36:23 PM »
I don't really understand why you can't get out of a contract by paying back what you were given, but can you work part time? Or telecommute full time? Does it go the other way? Are they required to employ you? Your kids are in school anyway so just work those hours. And what does your wife do, hedge fund manager?

Siobhan

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2014, 06:58:20 PM »
Military to someone married to the military, you can bring the topic of "early retirement, raise the kids" up to your wife, but you have to accept she may reject it.  My husband is AD, I out earn him...by a lot (not nearly what your wife earns but more than he makes).  We've had this conversation, and in NO short terms I told him that it's not going to happen.  I didn't spend X years of my life getting degrees, X years building a career, and I DO NOT EVER...and I mean EVER, want to be in a position that I have to rely on someone else to take care of me or pay my bills.

We've all heard the stories...Susie Q gives up her career, pops out a few kids, raises them, then John Q decides to retire from the military and have a mid life crisis that involves sleeping with Bunny (the future Bunny Q), and divorcing Susie, leaving her near destitute (or on this blog, with half the stash...not enough to fully retire on for life though), with few employment options due to many years out of the work force.  Sorry, not going to happen to me.  And I have a feeling your wife may feel the same. 

Options, you are either a pilot, or a doc, and no, buying out your contract is NOT an option, so they are limited...but with sequestration you never know if they will offer to buy you out, offer contract ends or simply fire you for being overstaffed in the MOS (probably not in your potential fields, just like it won't be in SOF any time soon...they don't spend millions training you for nothing...but then again it's the government and we all know they do IDIOTIC things)

So, small loophole you may not know about, and one we've discussed using, is if you can prove income/net worth high enough to prove that your level of "I don't give a fuck" is high enough, they may separate you to avoid you being a liability to others.  Used by a couple of folk we know in the draw up effectively, however I doubt it will be the same going forward

Siobhan

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2014, 07:03:19 PM »
I don't really understand why you can't get out of a contract by paying back what you were given, but can you work part time? Or telecommute full time? Does it go the other way? Are they required to employ you? Your kids are in school anyway so just work those hours. And what does your wife do, hedge fund manager?

Mozar, it's the government...they OWN your ass.  You sign a contract that says you will serve X years in return for an education loan repayment (among other initiatives), then you can't go yellow belly and say "CRAP, I didn't sign up to go to war, I only signed up to get an education!!!"  Until that contract is fulfilled, you CANNOT get out without some shady dealings, or a government that decides you are no longer a necessary piece of issued equipment

Daisy

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2014, 07:09:48 PM »
We've all heard the stories...Susie Q gives up her career, pops out a few kids, raises them, then John Q decides to retire from the military and have a mid life crisis that involves sleeping with Bunny (the future Bunny Q), and divorcing Susie, leaving her near destitute (or on this blog, with half the stash...not enough to fully retire on for life though), with few employment options due to many years out of the work force.  Sorry, not going to happen to me.  And I have a feeling your wife may feel the same. 

True words. I sure hope everyone on this forum that decides to give up their careers and rely on another spouse making money to get them to FI is in a strong marriage. In that case, the plan works well.

But I have seen a recent case of two friends of mine married since college (both friends of mine) and the guy just had what we are all calling a mid-life crisis, cheated on her, wanted her to accept the cheating and stay living at home, and she said no so they are divorcing. She has been a stay at home mom for 4 kids for about 10-15 years going now and her engineering skills are completely rusty. She sure is worried about her future. They weren't on too firm financial ground before all of this started. The whole thing breaks my heart. He is a really good guy so the whole thing shocked me as well....not the type of guy you'd think would do this.

But, I do have a solution for any of these two income couples struggling with what to do with a $1.25M nest egg and $500k yearly income. You can contribute to the Lazy Daisy fund to help me get past my OMY situation. PM me if you want more details. You will be swimming in money by the time you are 48. I can help take some of that pressure off of you. ;-)
« Last Edit: December 17, 2014, 07:30:54 PM by Daisy »

MilitaryMan

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2014, 07:12:14 PM »
I don't know how many more times I can say "paying it back isn't an option".  I actually went back and edited my original post because I keep getting this "simple" solution presented to me over and over.  But here it is again: paying back the money isn't an option.  I'm on a contract now for the next 9.5 yrs.

What are the education benefits of the military? Does it cap out? I can't imagine your wife's 500k a year income (?!) doesn't somehow make up for giving up on your G.I. Bill. And what's this 9.5 year commitment you keep talking about?

Just being honest here, but it's like you're hiding the details in an effort to just find people who will agree with you/commiserate with your situation. We can't help if we can't figure out why you are even trying to talk your 500k-earning-wife into quitting and moving when you must make... well I imagine a hell of a lot less than that :)

Any details I'm hiding aren't in an effort to skew public opinion in my favor but more to protect our privacy.  Having been in the military so long I think I've probably overestimated civilians understanding of how things work and for this I apologize.  GI bill is something for veterans who have served and gotten out. (Or their kids).  That's irrelevant to what we're talking about here.   My education was paid for upfront while I was in an active duty status and now I'm under contract because of it.  There's no "cap".   I have a great deal of education that was funded by the military.  For which I'm grateful.  I've been in a while, still have 9.5 years remaining on my contract.  A certain number of years of school = a certain number of years of military service.  The most commonly known example would be ROTC.  4 yrs of ROTC undergraduate scholarship = 4 yrs of military service.  It's not always 1 for 1, though.

I don't really understand why you can't get out of a contract by paying back what you were given, but can you work part time? Or telecommute full time? Does it go the other way? Are they required to employ you? Your kids are in school anyway so just work those hours. And what does your wife do, hedge fund manager?

see above about paying back.  No, can't work part time.  No, can't telecommute full time.  yes, they are required to employ me - unless I am found incompetent or unfit in some manner.  My kids are not in school yet, too young.  wife - in that general field, yes

9.5 years yet...are you a pilot or a doctor?  Could you get out on a hardship?  Could you transfer to a Reserve or Guard position?  Would your wife consider moving to a home that is half way between your two jobs.  I know that a commute is NOT what MMM recommends but sometimes needs must.  Have you done any outside the box thinking about your wife's job such as telecommuting and moving closer to your base?  Any other options that may appear, hard to throw out ideas when we have no idea what either of you do.  And as a military person are you guaranteed to stay put at the current base for the next 9.5 years or is another base possible in the next decade?  And how does your spouse feel about that if its a possibility.

As someone whose spouse is just a few years away from a military pension I'd say that once you've reached the point you've only 3 years left until the pension is earned (and I assume that you'd begin receiving benefits immediately as an active duty retiree?) that sticking it out the 3 years may be worth it.  At that point your cuddly kids will be teens whose own lives are so busy that you won't see much of them as it is AND when they are around they'd just as soon pretend that YOU didn't exist.  But really, its a choice that won't need to be made for nearly a decade so not something to lose sleep over right now. 

In the meantime, use your 6 weeks of paid time off judiciously to maximize time spent together as a family.  Such things as taking the Friday or Tuesday off that brackets a Federal holiday thereby having 4 days to spend with spouse and kids while only burning 1 leave day.  Once they start school always scheduling time off during their school breaks to spend together.

bingo.  While I'm whining about my commute as a hardship, it's hardly a "hardship" warranting separation from the military.  A PCS move is a possibility, but not likely.  If Uncle Sam sends us elsewhere, wife will pick up and come, i.e. stop what she's doing.  This is another reason she is a bit adamant about earning as much as she can now - because she doesn't know when it will end, either because of a down turn in the market or because of a required move.  O/w appreciate the thoughts on using leave and those extra 3 years.
So, what to do, gentle reader? I had always thought being in the military was a pretty good option, because, after all, everyone has a boss.  And every job has frustrations and red tape, blah blah blah, and the military is not the worst place to do a job, no student debt, service to country, higher calling, blah blah.  And then I happen across MMM and learn that NOT everyone has a boss! And NOT WORKING is actually an option.

 If you can quit, then quit ASAP. Otherwise, if you can't, then I guess this was more of an outlet to vent above anything else.


yup, guess I should shut up now.  I'll just keep lurking, jealous of you folks living the good life in FIRE.  :)

MilitaryMan

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2014, 07:27:32 PM »
All excellent points, Siobhan.  Thanks for replying.  I will add that in your scenario Susie Q gets half of John Q's pension, and continued military health care, commissary/PX access, etc until she remarries.  But point taken.  My Susie would certainly be at a huge disadvantage financially if she stopped working now with her high earning potential to pacify me, and then our marriage, heaven forbid, fell apart.  Would be basically impossible to make up lost ground.

Hadn't heard about the "too rich to give a fuck" loophole.  But that's not my style.  Maybe I'm a  bit of a lazy bastard who'd like to sweep his driveway at 11am, but I will honorably serve out the rest of my commitment to my best ability. 

Okay, I'll stop badgering her about moving to a cheaper/simpler life closer to my work.  So I guess this exercise was more than just a vent.  Thanks, everyone, for your input!

TerriM

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2014, 07:51:05 PM »
MilitaryMan, I will accept that you can't get out.

I would do the 12 years if i were you.  But unless you're making a buttload of money by yourself, I'd let your wife have her career and when you retire, you will both be very well provided for.

If you really can't stand the commute (I assume you're driving), what about hiring a chauffeur or doing bus to taxi? :)  Then at least you can read both directions.  Not mustachian, but I bet you can afford it.

Obviously the other option is to move halfway in the middle and split the commute.

Daisy

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2014, 07:53:55 PM »
MilitaryMan, I will accept that you can't get out.

I would do the 12 years if i were you.  But unless you're making a buttload of money by yourself, I'd let your wife have her career and when you retire, you will both be very well provided for.

If you really can't stand the commute (I assume you're driving), what about hiring a chauffeur or doing bus to taxi? :)  Then at least you can read both directions.  Not mustachian, but I bet you can afford it.

Obviously the other option is to move halfway in the middle and split the commute.

I disagree about the moving. Why have two people miserable instead of one? It's nice to have one parent close to home for emergencies, repairs, etc. Plus, MilitaryMan's job may change locations again.

TerriM

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2014, 08:04:44 PM »
MilitaryMan, I will accept that you can't get out.

I would do the 12 years if i were you.  But unless you're making a buttload of money by yourself, I'd let your wife have her career and when you retire, you will both be very well provided for.

If you really can't stand the commute (I assume you're driving), what about hiring a chauffeur or doing bus to taxi? :)  Then at least you can read both directions.  Not mustachian, but I bet you can afford it.

Obviously the other option is to move halfway in the middle and split the commute.

I disagree about the moving. Why have two people miserable instead of one? It's nice to have one parent close to home for emergencies, repairs, etc. Plus, MilitaryMan's job may change locations again.

True, though there is a length of commute that most people feel is too much, and 70 minutes is definitely that.  I think for a lot of people, 35 minutes feel like a commute, but not necessarily a kill-me commute. 

But you're right that if OP's location may change again, it would be silly to move.  Then again, if it *could* change again, is there a possibility to make it happen now?

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2014, 08:37:15 PM »
First, thank you for your service: I appreciate it. And your willingness to meet your obligations and not try and wiggle out of your previous commitment.

That said....have you had a heart to heart with your CO? Can you possibly pitch your case to someone that would snap you back out of the 70 minute commute to your previous position?

Can you cross train or add a skillset that would entice them to redeploy you closer? Are you tight with anyone up the chain of command who could counsel you on ways to do this?

And (forgive my ignorance) but does weekend warrior status count as active military to where you might be able to deploy closer to home with that?

Barring any of that....if your wife can't/won't find something closer to your new base you might have to just beg Santa to get you reassigned?

I wish you and your family the best of luck with this. And thank you again.

mozar

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #24 on: December 17, 2014, 08:42:56 PM »
A chauffeur is a good idea. I'm just curious about not being able to get out of a contract. I'm a civilian who doesn't know much about military contracts. I had a co-worker who had a bachelors degree, masters and phd paid for. She was 5 years into 15 years contract I think.

Can you talk to your co-workers about what they do? I find it hard to understand that the employer can't accommodate anyone with children or alternative needs no way no how.

DoNorth

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2014, 08:45:33 AM »
Looks like you have pretty limited options.  I'm guessing you did FLEP or one of the PhD options?  nothing else really has an ADSO that long.  They gave me the NPS option as a junior O-3, then the retention bonus so I ended up with a hefty commitment after ROTC.  After deploying to Afghanistan, I ended up working in Garmisch, GE as a FAO with a 5 minute walk to work in the Bavarian alps...cool international community, lots of outdoor stuff and Austria was only 30 min away.  You're probably locked into your career field, so the only reasonable thing you could do is push for the best assignments with excellent quality of life and short commutes; unless you're locked into some location or are trying actively to stay for your wife's job.

 I medically retired as an O-4 with 75% of my high three just shy of 13 years of service.  Interestingly enough, the docs said it could have gone either way...I probably could have pushed to stay in the military with some caveats and just as easily boarded out (which happened).  Immediately after retirement, I accepted a gov position (35min beltway commute).  Two months into it, I discovered MMM and decided I would FIRE at the first possible moment.  The wife and I are about to make the last mortgage payment on our house in Michigan and will leave DC as soon as humanly possible.  9.5 yrs seems like a long time, but everybody says the second 10 goes much faster than the first 10.

Noodle

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2014, 09:47:43 AM »
To go back to the original question, it sounds like you went straight to the nuclear option (wife leaves job she likes, is good at, and is earning piles of money at, plus family alters lifestyle to live MMM style on one income, plus, I am assuming, you would be wanting to move closer to your job, so you are now looking at packing up an entire household which, as the non-working spouse, she would end up doing the majority of the work for). That is a ton of change for someone who is already arranging her life around your career.

I think you should rewind from the "solution" phase and go back to the "problem" phase and discuss the main issue, which is that you have very little flexibility in your job, and that you are worried about missing the early stages of your children's lives now that your commute is so long. Then come up with a variety of solutions and go with the best.

I would not worry about the three extra years to pension until you get much closer. The solution may seem more obvious at that time.

oldfierm

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2014, 09:58:30 AM »
I'm a similar age to you, also an officer in the military.  I have nothing constructive to add, other than to say that once when I was particularly unhappy in a DC/policy/cubicle job, I looked at the list of available jobs, found the one that would be the hardest for the detailer to fill, and asked for it.  Three months later I was loving life in Guam, and never looked back.  Have had great assignments since. 

Of course, I get the impression that a huge part of why you are staying put and accepting such a long commute is to make your wife happy.  I can't imagine she would enjoy giving up the career she's built to move around the world.  If the military makes you do it, of course, that's a different story.  But my wife wasn't working at the time, so it was very easy for me to ask for a location change. 

It seems to me that this is just as much about your relationship with your wife and finding a common ground between the two of you as it is about the military.  I only say that because I've seen the work available (at least in my service) and most people I know can find something they enjoy doing - don't like what you are doing now?  Just wait a year!  I will say though, of my peers who have gotten out, in most cases it was because their spouse's were super educated, had great career potential, and weren't willing to give that up.  In your case, of course, you don't have that option. 

Good luck!  Sorry for the lack of constructive advice!   

MilitaryMan

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2014, 10:51:32 AM »
Love hearing from some other military members, past and present.  And what your experiences have been.  Thanks!

We'll just keep making the best of it, keeping in mind the good suggestions offered here. 

During this holiday season there are plenty of our service members who WISH they were working only 70min from their wife and kids. 

Mazzinator

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2014, 11:21:34 AM »
Thank you for your service! I am an army wife who gave up her career as an architect to spit out 3 kids. We have been married 15yrs and he has 13yrs in. I do qualify for support, as stated above, should he loose his mind and cheat on me! Although i'd be in jail for murder first ;-) we move every 2 yrs, sometimes more often, and currently live on Oahu (so it does have some perks)

I also know you could "get out" by some shady crap (my husband is a lawyer and sees things like that all the time). Misconduct.do something "bad" enough to get discharged, but not "bad" enough for jail time. And mostly this is within the medical community (sorry) most doctors can and do moonlight and get big fat job offers so they stop showing up to work meetings and such to get discharged. Who cares is it's not honorable, because they already have a job.

Anyways...good luck! And sorry you have to suck it up until retirement. Save as much as you can, then you both can retire and move into disneyland forever!!!

RFAAOATB

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #30 on: December 18, 2014, 11:34:25 AM »
Now I may be a lowly enlisted wretch so take what I say with a grain of salt, but consider getting geographic bachelor quarters at your work site and going home on the weekends.  Since you like your job a lot more than I did mine, stick it out for the pension and healthcare.  Forget retirement, my mid-life goal is a shiny gold bar.  You're already way up there.  Maybe get enough pull to get your kids into West Point.  Don't forget to max out your TSP as well.

Catbert

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #31 on: December 18, 2014, 12:02:33 PM »
A chauffeur is a good idea. I'm just curious about not being able to get out of a contract. I'm a civilian who doesn't know much about military contracts. I had a co-worker who had a bachelors degree, masters and phd paid for. She was 5 years into 15 years contract I think.

Can you talk to your co-workers about what they do? I find it hard to understand that the employer can't accommodate anyone with children or alternative needs no way no how.

My guess is that he is a doctor.  Not a job you can do from home.

TrMama

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #32 on: December 18, 2014, 12:43:28 PM »
Is a leave of absence an option? Even if it extends your service further into the future it would get you the time you want with your kids while they're small.

As for adding the extra 3 years to get a higher pension I'm actively discouraging my DH from doing that. He's Canadian military (so things may be different for you), but the Canadian government just keeps reducing veteran's benefits for injured CF members. There is no way in hell I want the additional risk of him getting hurt/PTSD/stress induced heart attack/etc if there's a good chance we'll get the shaft wrt medical benefits. The second his contract is up, we're out.

mginwa

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #33 on: December 18, 2014, 01:28:02 PM »
It sounds like you have a really wonderful life, you just have a horrible commute. I think you know that, which is why you call yourself Complainy Pants, but that doesn't mean the uncomfortable bits are any less uncomfortable.

First off, I think you are being a little bit overly-focused on what you "should" do in the MMM worldview, and you're sort of working yourself up about it. MMM may call himself retired, but he's really more self employed while financially independent. There's a weird wrinkle in your personal journey toward independence, financially or otherwise, in that you have this very real and binding time commitment. It's ok, it's just different in a key way from MMM's personal experience. You clearly already believe it would be dishonorable to cheat your way out of the military. So really, that's off the table. It's ok, it's just part of the life choices you have made for yourself. But think of it this way: you already are financially independent. You're now paying a debt of honor and doing real service. Maybe that sounds hokey, but so what? It's a very admirable reason to do something, and you even enjoy it.

Your wife is also already financially independent. How awesome is it that she decides every day to wake up and keep doing the job that she loves! She gets personal, professional, and financial rewards from it, and you should be giving each other high fives every single day for having such an awesome life. OK, you're paying for childcare. So what? It's a worthwhile tradeoff for her, a necessary one for you, and remember, you're already financially set, so while it makes your annual expenditure numbers higher than the MMM family, so what? His message is about better decision making and giving yourself the freedom to live a life you love, and the part about only spending $25k a year is mostly about exploring tactics.

I'd suggest this thought exercise: let's say you did honorably retire from the military tomorrow. What would you do with your time? What would be your favorite activities to do with your kids? What else would you do with your time? Forget golfing all day or being a beach bum, but focus on the best parts of the life you want for yourself and then figure out how to make your current, already wonderful life closer to that ideal. I think you need to solve the commute problem, but there's no reason you are going to have to grind through it for the next nine years. You may have to do it for a year until you can switch jobs, and that sucks, but it's manageable. I like the 4-day-week idea. Even with that, can you start your drive earlier so you have a workout post-commute, pre-work near where you work? (Not sure if you're facing 70 minutes of traffic or 70 minutes of long distance.) Can you join or form a carpool? Even something as simple as books on tape could help a lot. When I have to occasionally deal with icky commutes I tell myself I'm just hanging out with my traffic buddies. You need to just get some tactics in place to deal with the problem while you have to, and remind yourself that it actually is temporary for you. You also need to work on reframing the situation in your own mind a little bit. Focus on what was attractive about this job when you took it. But this issue is important to you! If it wasn't, you wouldn't be stressed out about it! However, you might also be tired and need a vacation. Take a couple weeks off (weeks, not days) and you might all of a sudden have the energy to solve this sucker.

One note though: the 3 extra years for pension option is not your concern right now, it's your future self's problem. When you get closer to making that decision, you'll either feel the extra security is worth it, or decide you are so financially comfortable that it doesn't really add anything to your life. Aim for whatever financial independence means to you, and when you get to that point, you will be able to decide based on the personal and professional rewards your job offers, and not the pension. I think that's the ultimate Mustachian way to go.

surfhb

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #34 on: December 18, 2014, 01:41:53 PM »
Omg!    Stop your bitching!    ;)

Just finish another 12 years and you're golden.    Enjoy your family and life and just remember how sweet life will be at 48.    You'll have another 40 years or so after that to do whatever you want.   

I'll be 46 soon and only wish I was in your situation

MilitaryMan

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #35 on: December 18, 2014, 02:56:52 PM »
It sounds like you have a really wonderful life, you just have a horrible commute. I think you know that, which is why you call yourself Complainy Pants, but that doesn't mean the uncomfortable bits are any less uncomfortable.

First off, I think you are being a little bit overly-focused on what you "should" do in the MMM worldview, and you're sort of working yourself up about it. MMM may call himself retired, but he's really more self employed while financially independent. There's a weird wrinkle in your personal journey toward independence, financially or otherwise, in that you have this very real and binding time commitment. It's ok, it's just different in a key way from MMM's personal experience. You clearly already believe it would be dishonorable to cheat your way out of the military. So really, that's off the table. It's ok, it's just part of the life choices you have made for yourself. But think of it this way: you already are financially independent. You're now paying a debt of honor and doing real service. Maybe that sounds hokey, but so what? It's a very admirable reason to do something, and you even enjoy it.

Your wife is also already financially independent. How awesome is it that she decides every day to wake up and keep doing the job that she loves! She gets personal, professional, and financial rewards from it, and you should be giving each other high fives every single day for having such an awesome life. OK, you're paying for childcare. So what? It's a worthwhile tradeoff for her, a necessary one for you, and remember, you're already financially set, so while it makes your annual expenditure numbers higher than the MMM family, so what? His message is about better decision making and giving yourself the freedom to live a life you love, and the part about only spending $25k a year is mostly about exploring tactics.

I'd suggest this thought exercise: let's say you did honorably retire from the military tomorrow. What would you do with your time? What would be your favorite activities to do with your kids? What else would you do with your time? Forget golfing all day or being a beach bum, but focus on the best parts of the life you want for yourself and then figure out how to make your current, already wonderful life closer to that ideal. I think you need to solve the commute problem, but there's no reason you are going to have to grind through it for the next nine years. You may have to do it for a year until you can switch jobs, and that sucks, but it's manageable. I like the 4-day-week idea. Even with that, can you start your drive earlier so you have a workout post-commute, pre-work near where you work? (Not sure if you're facing 70 minutes of traffic or 70 minutes of long distance.) Can you join or form a carpool? Even something as simple as books on tape could help a lot. When I have to occasionally deal with icky commutes I tell myself I'm just hanging out with my traffic buddies. You need to just get some tactics in place to deal with the problem while you have to, and remind yourself that it actually is temporary for you. You also need to work on reframing the situation in your own mind a little bit. Focus on what was attractive about this job when you took it. But this issue is important to you! If it wasn't, you wouldn't be stressed out about it! However, you might also be tired and need a vacation. Take a couple weeks off (weeks, not days) and you might all of a sudden have the energy to solve this sucker.

One note though: the 3 extra years for pension option is not your concern right now, it's your future self's problem. When you get closer to making that decision, you'll either feel the extra security is worth it, or decide you are so financially comfortable that it doesn't really add anything to your life. Aim for whatever financial independence means to you, and when you get to that point, you will be able to decide based on the personal and professional rewards your job offers, and not the pension. I think that's the ultimate Mustachian way to go.

So much wisdom in someone with only "stubble"!  I'll sit down with the Mrs. this evening after girls to bed and work through that thought exercise.  Many thanks


mozar

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #36 on: December 18, 2014, 06:56:18 PM »
Can you charter a plane? You can afford it!
I just don't buy that your employer is not flexible. I have been a government contractor for 6 years and I've seen all kinds of arrangements. 730am-330pm, Telecommute 4 days a week and come in on Sundays, a guy who had 5 months of leave built up so he took off every other day, heck I even knew a woman who went in rained, she just didn't show up!

Joan-eh?

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #37 on: December 18, 2014, 07:36:01 PM »
It is true that there is a notion that there is ONE way to be Mustashian. But I disagree with this notion and any inflexible view of it.  Cults can do that. :-) I actually think that it's about living within your means, saving well to be entirely self sufficient, and being aware of our spending, values, etc - it's about focusing a huge spotlight on one's assumptions, biases, habits so that you spend time how you want

I posted elsewhere that I spend 25,000 or more on taxes and condo fees. I thought I'd be face punched! But actually the great conversation was about that something's are worth spending on.  I, for example pay "too much money" on housing, but have a five min commute to a job I love. I pay to have someone clean my house (how antimustachian !)  but what I earn in an hour, pays for 5 hours of cleaning. This makes sense to me for my context.   This philisophy will play out differently for everyone. There are always trade offs.  IN FACT, for me,  I am starting to think I would rather work and hire someone to cook, clean, laundry, run errands...etc. I'd rather pay my whole paycheck to have someone else do that, so I can choose to spend my time how it want (I happen to enjoy my work).  For someone with young children, I would spend money so that as soon as I'm home, I would be available to them and relaxed, not doing other house chores, I know some stay at home parents, who are so consumed with the chores of being home because they can't outsource anything. They don't spend quality time with their children.

All to say: I personally think is more about how to spend time  rather than how to (or not) to spend money.  It's backward.

Hope another perspective might help.  Good luck!

arebelspy

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #38 on: December 18, 2014, 07:48:48 PM »

It is true that there is a notion that there is ONE way to be Mustashian. But I disagree with this notion and any inflexible view of it.  Cults can do that. :-)

I haven't actually seen one agreed upon way to be Mustachian. I don't think anyone actually claims that, even MMM himself.


I actually think that it's about living within your means, saving well to be entirely self sufficient, and being aware of our spending, values, etc - it's about focusing a huge spotlight on one's assumptions, biases, habits so that you spend time how you want

I think that's basically what most people think is roughly the idea of Mustachianism. :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with two kids.
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We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

iris lily

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #39 on: December 18, 2014, 08:11:39 PM »
I'm going to join in one face punching stream: for god's sake, if your spouse is bringing in $500,000 annually why is your 'stash only 1.5 milion?
Buddy, you need to grow that MF stache. Then come back in 3 years and talk to us.

goatmom

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #40 on: December 19, 2014, 04:58:10 AM »
Thank you for your service! Guess I am just curious but it is pretty hard to rack up 20 years of educational committment.  My dh had some pretty serious payback - West Point, med school, residency, Fellowship but still was eligible to get out before 20. He didn't, but he thought about it. Now we are glad he stuck it out - healthcare and a check for life. Not bad! Also you can use that gi bill for one of your kids - that can be worth about $200,000 if you play your cards right. Also 10 percent off at Lowes.  Perks.

NICE!

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #41 on: December 19, 2014, 08:04:19 AM »
OP - I didn't see you reply to the chaffeur or bachelor pad ideas. I personally believe those are both excellent options. I'd be slightly against the chaffeur as you are in the military and image is extremely important. You don't want enlisted personnel having that image of an officer. However, geo-bachelor status is extremely common, particularly for people close to retirement or who have teenagers they don't want to uproot. You can probably find a room for rent with a nice older person, which would be quiet and supplement his/her income. Stay there 1-4 nights x week. Your choice. Alternatively, I know a Pentagon commuter who had a 1.5 hour drive and he did that with a buddy. Got them into the HOV lane in MD and the passenger got to sleep/work/whatever (probably sleep, they left at 0400).

Just FYI everyone, if he received an Olmstead Scholarship it is likely that he ended up with a 6-year commitment for that. If he did law school while active duty, he bought a 6-year contract there. A free PhD can add a ton of time, too. If he is a highly specialized doctor, I could easily see this many years. For example, I once met a doctor at Walter Reed was was not just a heart specialist, but had an additional layer added on top of that. I don't know how medical education works at all, but suffice it to say this woman was in school for a decade or more. I know a good portion, if not all of that, was served while on active duty.

Most, but not all, commitments can be served concurrently.

Also, for the non-military types...and even the occasional enlisted person who is unaware of how things work on the O side, officers can often end up with commitment after commitment without it dawning upon them. This is usual due to educational opportunities or taking a new assignment, but it is really easy to find yourself more than a decade in before you are commitment-free. For example, I had a commitment for my undergrad but was given an assignment before I satisfied that, then I had a brief (1-year) window where I could've left (this was about 6 years in). I ended up taking the next assignment, which gave me another 2 years required, then an awesome educational opportunity, which will put me at 12 years in before I have another window where I can leave.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 08:22:54 AM by NICE! »

TerriM

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2014, 08:12:42 AM »
Thank you for your service! Guess I am just curious but it is pretty hard to rack up 20 years of educational committment.  My dh had some pretty serious payback - West Point, med school, residency, Fellowship but still was eligible to get out before 20. He didn't, but he thought about it. Now we are glad he stuck it out - healthcare and a check for life. Not bad! Also you can use that gi bill for one of your kids - that can be worth about $200,000 if you play your cards right. Also 10 percent off at Lowes.  Perks.


Wow!  You guys have it good now.  When my dad went to college, he joined ROTC, paid his own tuition 100%, and *still* had a 4 year commitment and paid my college tuition as well (either the GI bill didn't offer tuition assistance for kids or he didn't know about it....)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2014, 10:07:13 AM by TerriM »

kimmarg

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2014, 08:17:39 AM »
Given that you are where you are, try to improve the commute. I worked a 90 min commute to a military post. (Same deal, SO has job in other major city post is where it is).  You can get "Mass Transportation benefits" which can be used for subsidized vanpool. I drove/rode in a 12 passanger van with 10 other people. It was completely subsidized and saved my sanity. We each drove one way on one specified day a week. So I was up-and-at-em and caffinated Monday mornings at 0-dark-thirty for my turn to drive in. THe other 7 legs a week (we worked 4 10's) I slept or read a magazine or listened to a podcast or knitted.  I still wouldn't recommend the commute time to anyone but the vanpool made it bearable.

TerriM

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #44 on: December 19, 2014, 10:08:13 AM »
I was half joking about the chauffeur, but with a wife making $500K, I figured they could afford it.

But there's gotta be *something*.  Bus, van, something that would allow him to read instead of driving.

mozar

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #45 on: December 19, 2014, 07:45:02 PM »
I vote for a driver. You can skype your kids for those 70 minutes.

chasesfish

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2014, 06:56:57 AM »
This one is really interesting and there isn't an easy solution.

I think you're going to have to tough it out for a year or two while banking the obsence income your wife is earning.  During that time, you'll need to keep showing her the math of "Investments of X yields this much in passive income", plus your salary, plus your pension.   

If its about the money, the math will win over time.  If she really loves her work, which some people do, you'll have to both keep working on quality of life decisions while you fulfill your contract.  I think the comment someone made about a driver becomes half serious when you start getting past $2mil in net worth.

Exhale

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2014, 08:18:38 AM »
Many great suggestions already.

My contribution to this conversation is to invite you to think creatively about how you can spend quality time with your children (since that seems to be your biggest concern/goal).

My own father had to work two jobs throughout my childhood and so I didn't see him as much as I would've liked. However, he came up with a great way to counteract that problem by devoting one day every weekend to us kids (he also made a point of some alone time with each of the three of us - usually at bedtime). Added benefit: my SAHM loved having the time off.

This means that during the week you do your job (and get chores out of the way) so that on weekends you can be present for your kids. You probably know this, but you don't have to do anything fancy with the kids: just follow their interests, go for long rambling walks, build forts out of boxes from furniture stores, raid the local library, cook lunch together, walk dogs at a shelter, etc.

I was a nanny for a very wealthy and busy couple. Every Saturday morning the dad and his young son would walk to the local coffee shop where they'd get their drinks, chat, draw silly things on napkins, watch people and then amble back home. The son cherished this ritual and didn't feel deprived by not seeing his dad other mornings. Apparently his dad would ask him "Are you happy [name of son]?" (they were a very direct family) and then they'd discuss how the son was feeling. I found out about this because one morning the son asked me if I was happy and we discussed our feelings (became a daily ritual for us).

In other words, the good news is that quality wins over quantity. Good luck as you find a way that works for you and your family. Your kids are lucky that you're valuing this and seeking ways to spend time with them.

« Last Edit: December 20, 2014, 08:47:01 AM by Exhale »

MilitaryMan

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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2014, 08:27:57 AM »
I don't see the geopad thing as a good option.  That would mean days on end without seeing my kids.  And we'd have to even further outsource the raising of the kids then we already do.  Right now I'm the "evening parent", doing dinner, evening play time, etc until the wife gets home normally shortly before baths and bed. 

Personal driver sounds insane and not something I had ever thought about.  It's funny that some posters are giving me face punches for not having more NW given our high income and others are recommending a chauffeur or private jet!  I guess it's good to have opinions on both ends of the spectrum.

Public transportation is an option, as are mass transit benefits (gov't subsidizes a portion of the cost).  But it takes longer.  Closer to 2hrs each direction.   In a situation where time is my limited commodity moreso than money it's a hard choice to make.  Once I'm spending 4 hours a day commuting, that basically removes any exercise time, which is an important part of my daily routine. 

I have a neighbor who has a 4 hour bus commute daily, but she gets on her laptop during that time and her company counts those hours towards her daily worked.  Sounds nice, I guess.  But that's not an option for me.

I have a carpool option with just one person I'm trying to make work.  Again, you're kind of chained to someone else's schedule, and of course picking up the other person adds a bit to travel time.  But it does break up the monotony.  His schedule hasn't allowed us to carpool at all this month.  Maybe next month we'll be able to do it 1-2 days a week again.

I can't read in moving vehicles without getting pretty sick, anyways, so it's hard to re-capture that time for good.  Maybe I could do push ups and air squats in the bus aisle?  :)

Exhale, you're right!  focusing on quality time is so important.   I'm sure I could do more to work on that. 



 

TN_Steve

  • Bristles
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Re: Complainy Pants - wish I could retire
« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2014, 11:05:13 AM »
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I can't read in moving vehicles without getting pretty sick, anyways, so it's hard to re-capture that time for good.  Maybe I could do push ups and air squats in the bus aisle?  :)


I have the same sensitive inner-ear, which leads to me always driving (can't even ride shotgun for long).  Unfortunately, we love to dive, which poses a problem.  On dive trips, trans-derm scopolamine works, but not a good option for daily use.  In addition, on a liveaboard in very heavy seas that overwhelmed my patch, I was introduced to a voodoo remedy--albeit while I was laughing at the idea and loudly calling out "BS."    My wife (an MD) was also rolling her eyes.  Of course, it worked, and I use it as an alternative to Scop, or in trying conditions, as a supplement: http://tinyurl.com/electric-wrist-band Might want to take a look for your carpool or transit rides.

EDIT:  Darn.  The linked product has been changed (within the past 10 years) so that you can't replace the battery.  Concept still valid, but look around a bit.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2014, 11:11:48 AM by TN_Steve »