Author Topic: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)  (Read 5682 times)

Peanutty

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I guess this is maybe a partial case study, but moreso I feel like I don't have anyone in my life I can fully disclose my financial situation to in order to get unbiased (or at least less biased) advice. Looking for thoughts and opinions on what others would do and how to handle this between DH and I.

We are a Canadian family of 5. I've been working the corporate gig for 10 years (intermingled with 3 parental leaves) and really the whole decade has been spent feeling that I am in the golden handcuffs while my soul is slowly being crushed. DH and I have similar high-pressure careers with long hours and frankly, excellent compensation, but as a family of 5, between work, commuting, school, daycare, food, chores, etc. I feel like I'm "working" from the moment I wake up (5:45am) until the eldest child is in bed (8:30pm). And by 8:30pm I'm so mentally exhausted I have approximately 30 minutes to myself to decompress before I am also in bed. And then weekends are spent catching up on everything we didn't get to during the week (laundry, cleaning, groceries, etc.) and trying to squeeze in true family time and also relax. It's just... not the balance I want. At all. I feel like the walls are closing in around me with the current lifestyle.

So, issue 1. My DH doesn't seem to mind the grind nearly as much as I do. Or at least, outwardly he says he does not mind. But frequently is quite grumpy and complains of exhaustion and never having time for his friends or exercise. So I think it is wearing on him as well but he's more inclined to just put his nose to the grindstone and work hard to keep the money flowing in.

Brief financial overview. We have been very fortunate and also diligent with our savings and investing. At this point, if neither of us were working, we could theoretically bring in ~$60,000/year tax free between dividend income and government support for the kids. My DH is reluctant to start tapping into the dividend income for another 5-10 years. He wants it to keep reinvesting and growing the investment base for future security. He also doesn't want to stop working entirely which would negate some/all of the government support for the kids. Ok. Separate from that dividend generating pot we have approximately $700k of equity tied up in real estate between 3 properties in a market that is unstable at best. We also have been contributing to corporate RRSP matching plans, and have $400-500k wrapped up in registered accounts (including TFSA, etc.). If DH is adamant about growing the other investment pot (he is), one option I floated was to draw down from our registered accounts for the next 5-10 years until we can start living off the dividend income. Lukewarm reception on that.

The properties. One property is net neutral from an income generation perspective. I think we could keep that. One investment property was a terrible decision before I really got clear about my life goals and how much the pursuit of money and "luxury" was dragging me down. I'm inclined to sell it asap and pull out whatever equity remains (maybe $200k). Our personal home - we are not mortgage free. Have about $190k to pay down. One option for us would be to sell our home and move to a lower cost of living location (not currently aligned with DH as to where that may be) and be mortgage free. I think being mortgage free is required to live on the ~$60k/year as a family of 5.

I'm just slowly dying here living a life I don't want to live. I see a way out but it's fairly rash and requires concerted effort and radical changes. Sell two properties. Consider moving. Quit our jobs (or angle for a modest severance package). Stay home with the kids and pick up interesting and fulfilling work as desired. But DH is more inclined to just grind it out, keep saving for our future, and have both of us keep working at least until the $190k mortgage is paid down and not touch any of the major investments for at least another 3-5 years.

Am I taking crazy pills? What would you do if you were fairly confident your financial position was good enough to make drastic life change to focus on your family but your spouse desired more security (possibly there is really no upper limit to the security he requires? I don't know). He really doesn't desire luxury and frankly, is naturally more mustachian than me on almost all purchases and investment decisions. I think he is just truly terrified that the money will "run out" or not be enough to get us through retirement somehow. I don't see it being realistic, though.

HELP please!!! And thank you for reading if you made it this far. :)

Captain FIRE

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2016, 10:16:22 AM »
What are his specific objections? Does he disagree about:
- How much is needed in retirement?
- How much "extra" cushion is desirable?
- How much income you can expect?
etc.

There are a lot of threads about bringing spouses on board.  I'd suggest:
1) Education (for yourself): Find and read those threads and suggestions.  Don't reinvent the wheel.
2) Education (for him): Bring out the graphs or powerpoints, whatever appeals to him best, so you both agree on things such as how much historically you've spent, earned with passive income etc.  You may disagree about how much is needed in the future, but at least get a handle together on these facts, which may surprise him (and possibly you too). 
3) Discussion: Get to a place you are both comfortable on things such as how much cushion is needed, whether it's 3% withdrawal, mortgage paid off without selling properties, etc.  This is a compromise on both your parts.  You'll want to consider things such as whether you plan to pay for schooling for kids, what you both envision doing in retirement, etc.
4) "Survival" measures: Consider what could help you right now.  Would it be hiring a house cleaner to free up some time?  Going part-time?  Getting your SO to help more?  Cutting back to one extracurricular per kid?  Explore what may help you cope while you're working in tandem on the points above for a longer term resolution. 

Remember you've been thinking about this, but for him it's likely new and terrifyingly different from the "normal" path, and take it slowly.

Peanutty

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2016, 10:26:19 AM »
Thank you Captain FIRE!! I have read some of the previous threads. I will go back and re-visit. I think I've been stewing over this for 2 years and I don't feel like I can talk to anyone in "real life" about it, but I'm reaching my limit of just holding it inside and periodically arguing with DH about it. Apologies for partially (or fully) reinventing the wheel with this thread.

That is good advice to get clarity on what specifically is holding him back/what we disagree on.

We have looked at our spending in some detail. The issue there is I feel (perhaps too optimistically) that our spending profile would be drastically different if we FIREd. No more daycare. No more mortgage or underwater rental property. No commute/monthly parking. Lower cost of living property taxes. Less money spent on those crutches that get you through two full time workers (house cleaner, take-out, etc.). Less money spent on clothes. Almost everything revolves around our careers at the moment, spending included.

Peanutty

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2016, 10:28:16 AM »
I would propose the following:

1)  Sell the non-performing rental property and use the net income from that to pay off your current mortgage

2)  You "take a sabbatical" (if your DH is not open to the idea of you shifting to FT SAHP role) or move to part-time/intermittant work.  Agree on a time period for this trial period -- for example, maybe until your kids are all in school full time (losing the cost of childcare will greatly offset the loss of your income), or until the last one is out of needing before/after school supervision. Try to come to an agreement about what kind of work/income you will be targeting if/when you go back to work full time or part time (suggest this because if you are definite about not wanting to go back to high stress/high compensation corporate gigs you should be clear about that at the beginning so that you don't have conflict down the line.

3) During your time off/shift to part time work, focus on maximizing your family finances/minimizing expenses.  You will find lots of ways to economize and improve investment returns when you aren't so stressed out/run down.  Keep DH aware of what you are contributing to the bottom line, both financially and in terms of freeing up time for the fun side of life.  Get all the daily grind stuff done during the week, while he is at work, so that weekends are totally free for fun with family and friends.  Make sure he has time every week to do stuff alone that is important to him (work out, beer night, etc.) Go on weekly date nights.  Improve your family's quality of life, and have frequent discussions about how much better things are now that you aren't working!  Find ways to continue doing things he values, but at less cost -- e.g., does he like to travel?  You can continue to do so, but utilize travel hacking and other money-saving strategies to keep the cost down while maintaining the same level of enjoyment.   

It sounds to me like you are in a perfect situation to go to one FT income, so I would focus on that rather than trying to bring him around to FIRE as an immediate goal.  If you can reduce the stress on him overall, he will probably end up being happier and more productive at work, and that will lead to promotions/raises, etc.

Don't despair!  You are in a great position already.  You just need to tweak it a bit to get the right work/life balance and open up your DH's eyes to other possibilities.  He may never buy into the FIRE philosophy, but that doesn't mean you both have to run yourselves ragged.

And BTW, it does get much easier as your kids get older.....

Thank you for this!! I will think about it today and bring it up with DH tonight as an option. :)

scantee

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2016, 10:42:20 AM »
There's a FIRE motto that you need to retire to something rather than from something. Retiring from something means you risk taking all of your stresses and personal issues with you to your new environs. You know the phrasewherever you go, there you are? I think that is an apt description of your current situation and encapsulates some of the dangers for you in just chucking it all in the hopes that a change of scenery will fix everything. Your plan seems totally focused on getting away from something, in this case your soul-sucking job, rather than retiring to a life you've envisioned that is happier and more fulfilling. With that in mind, I suggest you start doing some soul-searching about the life you imagine for yourself once you're not tied down to your career.

The financial aspects of achieving that life are important, and you'll get good advice here on which decisions people think are best, but they don't address what you'll do with yourself once you no longer have your career as a main component of your identity. Do you plan to parent your children full-time? Or do you want to continue to work part-time or consult? If you work part-time, will it be in your current field or something new? Will you use your new time to be active in their schooling?  How about hobbies, do you have them and how much time do you want to spend on them? Are there new hobbies you'd like to explore? What is the value of your existing support system in your current area? If you sell your house and move to a LCOL area how will you develop a new support system? Do you have friends who are available during typical working hours that you can spend time with or are you fine being alone a lot? What about mental health issues? If you're prone to either anxiety or depression, suddenly leaving your job could exacerbate those conditions.

And on and on....you get the drift.

You need to sort through these issues first and have a clear sense of what you want to retire to if you hope to make a convincing case to your spouse. For partners that are FIRE-anxious, I think it's best to go to them with a really specific plan about what you're hoping to achieve and how you think the numbers can work such that you leaving your job won't plunge the family into financial ruin. This plan needs to be super detailed, with a clear description of your goals and various paths to achieving those goals.

My suggestion is that you table this issue for a few months while you clarify your own thinking about what is important to you and how retiring early is a necessity to getting the life you want.  Gather all of the opinions you get here, sort through them to decide what you think works best for you. Revisit this issue with your husband when you have a very clear sense of what you want to retire to and how you think your family is ready for it very soon. I suspect he will be much more receptive to that conversation than the ones you've had previously. He might not be totally on board, but hopefully receptive.

I have financial advice for you too, but I don't have to type that up at this moment. I'll be back!


Bicycle_B

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2016, 10:43:14 AM »
Peanutty,

You are going to be fine.  So glad you broke the ice and began posting.  A new day will be coming soon.  Far from being crushed, your soul will soon be cavorting in a meadow with your kids.  Before long DH will be radiating the joy of having a spouse who triggered escape from the rat race at a pace he could handle, with the result of a better life for all 5 Peanuts in the family.

It's a good sign that one of your first responses in from lhamo, whose wisdom is enough by itself to merit reading these boards.  +1 to everything she said!!

I am not married myself, so congrats to you on being so thoughtful of your spouse.  It sounds from your description that you are likely to be able to do this thing together. 

Financially, it seems obvious that there is enough money, but not enough money for everyone to be happy without making decisions that change the current schedule/life plan.  So the key isn't which specific financial decision is wisest, it's which wise decision will be emotionally the most satisfying. 

Once DH's worries are fully articulated, you should consider posting a full case study.  That will help you prepare an exact plan for the next stage, and map out a safe route forwards.   

Since you yourself are emotionally near a possible breaking point, I suggest finding ASAP any way possible to get just a little bit of partial relief that allows you time to breathe, think, plan concretely, and if appropriate get professional counseling on the emotional side.  Could be turning down a new work responsibility, or some other method.  At minimum, carve out a little time per week to plan and discuss these possible financial changes, rather than pull the trigger by blowing up or melting down at work.  Going slow enough for DH means having him fully on board.  Going fast enough for you probably means starting with just enough time to think.  If you can get just a little time for modest changes sustainably, the bigger shifts will follow.  (One person's thought, anyway!)

Last thought: Since he's more frugal, perhaps if you're willing to spend less in a way he can respect, he'll feel you're putting in effort on your own, not just asking him to shoulder the burden. If you can give the emotional payment up front with small things before a major change is made, you will build momentum.  Anyway, good luck and keep us posted.

« Last Edit: September 15, 2016, 10:51:38 AM by Bicycle_B »

PharmaStache

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2016, 11:14:33 AM »
If he wants to keep working FT, let him work FT :)  My husband doesn't "believe" in the whole FIRE thing, so off he goes to work every day until he can retire and get his pension at 55. 

What does he think about you working PT?  Are PT jobs available in your field?  What about opening a small business?  Or going back to school to retrain for a career that is something you could do PT or casually?  I like my job and am well paid, so I plan on working for a long time but never again in a FT capacity. 

little_brown_dog

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2016, 11:34:19 AM »
Oh peanutty I feel you! Before when both of us were working full time, I would cry at night sometimes because I felt so trapped. Around and around. Day in and day out. The horrible commute, the toxic job, the never ending list of things to do at 9pm at night or jammed into our all too brief weekends. I am a very optimistic, energetic person but the grind was completely suffocating in both a very immediate and existential way. Once I dropped to part time, everything – almost overnight – got easier. I was happier and because I had more free time during the week to do chores and errands, my husband got more free time too (on the weekends). Then I did the complete SAHM thing for a while, which was great, but when a chance to do some very part time work from home popped up, I jumped on it. Now its the best of both worlds.

Is part time work an option for you? It seems like he is just being very conservative…but perhaps if you drop or switch to part time work that will appease him. The novelty of a part time schedule might be really to your liking and you will be able to keep earning income for a while. If you can’t arrange part time work, can you live off his income alone (and just save less) or do you actually need 2 incomes to cover your expenses and lifestyle?

TrMama

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2016, 01:23:38 PM »
Ugh, I feel for you.

I have a few questions for you, apologies if I'm making false assumptions:

1. Is your DH less bothered by the grind because you shield him from the grind of the kids/home? Are you evenly splitting both the physical and mental work of parenting? If not, stop doing more than your 50%. Let him make, and take, the kids to their Dr appointments. Let him shop for and pack their lunches. When I stopped shielding my DH, suddenly he was more understanding of what I was so tired and grumpy all the time, plus it alleviated some of my workload. He'll never understand your point of view if you don't let him walk a mile in your shoes.

2. How old are the kids? Are you sleeping through the night?

3. Has your DH been able to define how much will be enough? If not, get him to nail down a realistic number. Otherwise, it sounds like he'l never have enough and you'll be stuck in an endless loop.

4. Have you consistently articulated your discontent to him over a long period? My DH used to be the one who wanted FIRE and I was resistant. However, after watching (and listening) to him struggle with a variety of orthopedic problems over several years I realized that he's worn out from his physical job and it isn't a viable long term plan. Now I'm his biggest advocate for getting out of the workforce. Just like the parenting stuff, don't shield him from your discontent.

Peanutty

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2016, 02:13:35 PM »
Thank you so much to everyone who has replied. I am thinking hard about all of this advice. A few things that really stand out for me at this point are keeping my foot in the door and protecting myself a bit from the inevitable uncertainties of life as lhamo pointed out. It's a sobering thought but realistic, and I appreciate so much that you put that back into the front of my mind, lhamo. This is actually my second marriage and when my first marriage ended I was so grateful I had a good career to support myself. What would happen if I gave that up and things in my relationship changed unexpectedly, then where would I be?

Also TrMama, point 1 on your list was basically a full on epiphany for me. Yes I am shielding him from a lot, mostly on the mental side of parenting and home-making. Hugely so, I would say actually. I have been thinking this over since last night and am in the midst of putting together basically a huge list of the things I'm mentally keeping track of to keep the house, finances and family ticking along smoothly. It's really quite a huge list. And I'm sure I'll keep adding to it as I think of things over the next few days.

The kids are 7, 3 and almost 1. And no, we're not sleeping through the night around here. Everything is more manageable with adequate sleep and it's good to remember that I am quite sleep deprived (even though I just feel used to waking up every night at this point!!).

I would be open to going part-time, but I have to think more about the realities of making that happen financially with the childcare constraints. Full time daycare costs are pretty huge for the 3 kids (approaching $3k/month). Taking them down to part-time care could be an option, but I'm not sure if my part time salary would make it worth while - my salary would scale according to the hours worked, but I feel like part-time daycare still somehow ends up at 3/4 of the full time cost. Eliminating the daycare costs entirely and attempting to do some freelance/part time work from home... I'm not sure if it would be realistic but I could explore it. Maybe I could pick up some contract work and put in a few hours a week during the evenings when DH is home and/or when kids are sleeping.

hunniebun

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2016, 02:38:47 PM »
Hi Peanutty - I very much feel for you and your situation. You are so blessed in so many ways...but I know what the soul-crushing fatigue feels like, and I know that it can seem like a trap. Ie. you need to figure out a plan of action, but when do you do all this and having meaningful discussions with dh when every minute is already accounted for in your day.

I love the comment about the shielding our spouses. I do this ALOT too. The mental energy required for budgeting (me), dealing with all school requirements (me), booking dr./dentist appoints (me), meal planning and prep (me), vacation planning (me), remembering b-day gifts, holiday planning, general house tidying (me, me, me) on top of my paid work gets to be a bit much.  Is your employeer at all flexible?   I am asked for and am currently working .9, which is every second friday off. Really, I just do all the work in the 9 days, and take the 10 day off (without pay) so it is pretty much a win for my employee, but I am hoping it will be give me a little breathing room to  a) get our budget and expenses reigned in and b) maybe have some time (even a few hours) to do something just for me.  Sadly, today I have a sick kid, so it hasn't work out as planned, but hopefully next time. 

I think you have a lot of options, with your investments, properties etc. to have one of you work less or not at all.  Grinding it out for 5-10 years is a long way off.  For your mental health and sanity I hope you find a solution using some of the good advice here!!!  Good luck...and you are not alone!!!  Insane working mother's of the world with husband's who don't want to FIRE unite! LOL!

Goldielocks

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2016, 04:06:08 PM »
Here is something you have not thought of, that made a huge difference to me.. allowed me to earn a large work promotion....

Hire a live-in nanny.
  All you need is a spare room, and government pre-approval for the live-in caregiver program.   If you live in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary (and other cities, I'm sure) there will be a great many nannies already in Canada, looking to transfer to a new employer, all experienced and vetted by the government, that you can interview in person if you post the position locally.  Vast majority speak excellent english (a requirement of the program).

The cost will be the same or less than what you would be paying now in child care (unless you live in QC, maybe).

The nanny takes care of all kid items, and school shuffles, and clothes / toys / food, light housekeeping (healthy for kids), and some light meal prep.  This is an amazing help.   If you run late or have meetings, you have the option for overtime pay with kids.

Most nannies "disappear" at 6pm into their rooms (as they don't want to work anymore!), and will often choose to be away from the home from 6pm Friday until late Sunday night, staying with friends.  Note, these are typically the nannies that have worked for a couple of years with Hong Kong clients, and are used to tiny tiny homes and brusque employers.

Some nannies drive too, but those demand more $$'s....  Our nanny costs, net, were the same as 2 kids in daycare, but we also paid for a Christmas bonus and things like her  license or $'s towards a personal cellphone.   We had a terrific 40 y.o. woman with lots of energy and long work experience.   She was kid-focused.




TrMama

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2016, 05:20:31 PM »
Ditto the advice to strongly consider a nanny, either live in or live out. The cost will likely be the same as you're paying now, but it will simplify your life enormously. In addition to time savings (no more packing the baby up every morning ;-) YOU will set the rules. We we finally ditched daycare I was shocked by how easy our lives became. No more following someone else's rules. No more awkward daycare Xmas and year end parties. The kids can eat whatever you choose and you don't need to worry about the allergy lists. One less org to notify when the kids got lice, etc. Plus, I got to drive to work alone.

The list you're making for your DH is a great start. When I tried to stop shielding my DH, he resisted. He thought I was doing a bunch of busy work at home that no rational person should do. I worked up a spreadsheet of all the household chores, how much time each took, how frequently it was done (taking out the trash and doing the dishes look like the same amount of work on a list, but they are not equivalent) and who did them. I was doing something like 20hrs/week of home stuff to his 5hr/week. That got his attention.

The other thing we were miscommunicating about was that he thought I liked doing certain chores. Why else would I go grocery shopping religiously every Sat morning at 7am? Only someone who really, really liked grocery shopping would do that, right? He never considered my motivation was to avoid hungry, crying kids at home and long, crowded lines at the store. He also didn't think daycare pickup/dropoff should be his job since I had to drive to work anyway. He was quickly disabused of the idea that I liked any of these things.

On that note, set up grocery delivery. The delivery fee is super cheap. Arrange for delivery when your DH is home so he can put the stuff away.

Ditto any prescriptions. Most pharmacies deliver for free. They can leave the items in the mailbox.

tthree

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2016, 01:04:47 PM »
Financially you are in a great place!  Congrats on all your hard work to get here.

Sounds like you need a nanny......like yesterday. In the Canadian city where we reside most people with 3+ kids either: (a) have a nanny, or  (b) have family watch their kids.  A live in nanny should be cheaper than daycare for 3+ kids.  Or even if it's sightly more your sanity should be worth the difference:)

Ceasing to shield your DH and getting him to "step" maybe an option.  You will be the best one to answer to answer this question.  In my case this is not an option.  If I could get DH to comprehend 25% of what I do, AND then ask him to do it he'd probably be out the door.  That sounds awful, but he's really not an awful person, he's just not a homemaker.

Were you home with all three kids 24/7 on your last mat leave?  If so you (and your husband) have a good idea of how a SAHM family would operate.  If not, I would be hesitant to give up your job completely.  If you are already doing all of the things AND working, doing only all of the things is going to look like nothing to your DH.  Being a SAHM to three is a HUGE undertaking.

Recently I started working part-time.  As you mentioned OP, this is not the most financially wise option, as we still pay full time childcare.  But it was the only viable solution in our case.

Mrs. S

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2016, 10:14:15 PM »
You might want to shift to a lower stress job with timings which work better for you. It might result in lower pay but seriously you do what is good for  you and your mental health. I face similar issues with work simply because there are a lot of shitty people in my line of work. Shift down in gears and accept the fact that you believe you can FIRE so you should be able to ease into retirement. Mr. S believes he might want to work post FI and I am more than happy to have him working coz that means we delay eating into the stash. Don't link your retirement to your husband's retirement. Living on a tighter budget is far better than feeling like walls are closing in on you.

Villanelle

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2016, 12:18:15 AM »
A nanny sounds like a brilliant solution for you, as it would likely save money *and* remove some of the things from your plate.

That said, I think that sitting down with your DH and proposing the that you take a sabbatical is also a great approach, but needs to be done carefully and thoughtfully.  You should hash out a plan with your DH that includes lots of specifics. What are you willing to sacrifice to make this happen?  Again, be as specific as possible.  Have a spreadsheet with all the savings (childcare, your commute costs minus perhaps a bit for more chore running, expensive work clothes and dry cleaning if appropriate, etc.) but also consider less obvious areas of savings.  Do you current eat out regularly or buy prepared foods for the time savings?  If so, then commit to cooking dinner 28 of 30 nights a month (if you are willing to do that, or whatever number is appropriate) and estimate those savings.  Likewise making lunches for you and the kids and your DH, instead of eating out or buying school lunches.  Also include savings from any items you currently hire out (cleaning, laundry, anything), but if you do that, you need to be prepared to actually take on those things.  That is going to require a lot of honest introspection. Are you willing to add more of the domestic stuff to your responsibilities, in exchange for shedding with job?  Also, consider what else you are willing to sacrifice.  Can you put in the effort to thrift all the kids' clothes, and commit to slashing that budget by 50%?  Buying them fewer expensive toys, and a 20% savings on that budget?  Thrifting your own wardrobe, and cutting down it's size, for another 20% savings on that line item?  Showing that you are willing to sacrifice things to make this work will probably go a long way, so consider what splurges you current have that you are willing to cut.  Since you are the one who wants the change, it's probably going to be a much easier sell if you shoulder more of the obvious sacrifices.  If you can't give up your weakness for shoes (as a random example) or your need for your kiddos to be dresses in new, not-cheap clothes, then the message you are sending is that while you say you want this, it actually means less to you than owning a lot of pretty shoes.  So look at every option, see what you are willing to give (without expecting a matching compromise on his side, since his compromise is going to hopefully be agreeing to go to a single income), and propose that. 

If he's still unwilling to bend, if it is truly bad, I'd likely then be ready for a bit of a come to Jesus conversation.  Here's the spreadsheet I've made with everything I do outside work 9assuming you work and commute similar hours) and here's what I've put together for what you do.  Feel free to add anything I've forgotten.  Okay, it looks like I do 15 hours more per week of stuff for our family.  What 7 hours are you willing to take on?  Because I can't keep up this pace.  And I *won't* keep up this pace.  I need help and since you aren't open to me not working, the only other possible option is for you to do more.  (This approach does have some dangers, of course.)  Be ready to examine the details of your chores, and be open to efficiencies.  If you are spending 4 hours a week grocery shopping because you go to 5 different stores, maybe that changes.  Or if you make lunches for the kids in which there are rice sculptures in the shape of tigers, that's not fair to count toward minimum requirements to keep the house running.  If you prefer the house to be pristine, again, that's a personal choice.  Those things can be cut, and should be, if you are at your wits end with this. 

And I think it is fair for your DH to want some sort of escape hatch if they plan isn't really working.  So maybe you commit to do this for 18 months, and then reassess.  Of course during those 18 months you'll get together frequently and talk about what is and is not working, but I'd go in to this telling my DH that if, after 18 months something about this was still terribly awful to him, then you are willing to explore getting back in to the workplace.  This way, you are only asking him to commit to a trial period, not to an irrevocable action that he fears could be a giant mistake. 

poppan

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2016, 01:22:16 AM »
I feel I could have written your post. Ironically it is because my DH and I are getting closer to FIRE that these thoughts gain credence in my mind. If we truly needed my income I think I would suck it up and keep working. But the growing stash opens this door, a choice!

I have made the decision to quit because this is not the life I want to live. Our finances support it. DH will keep working; in our case one of us has to and his job has greater work-life balance and he actually likes it. It helps that I could show that if I kept working, we could retire earlier, but only by four years. (This despite the fact that I am the higher earner -- it is due to the power of compounding, even at the conservative 4% growth number I used.)

I have not quit yet -- we need to put our financials into place, including selling a property. But in the meantime I took the advice of a friend who advised me to work to improve my current situation now and not wait till everything's perfect. I don't think you're doing that and people have made some really good suggestions, but I still think it's worth calling out as something positive to focus on. What I want is to spend more time with my family now. And I'm finding ways to do it. For example, I never let myself volunteer for field trips before but now I take the day off and just do it. I am at work less. I am a semi-crappy worker at this point -- not to the point of firing, but just more like everyone else whereas I was a superstar before. Maybe it's not every company but I have worked for mega corps my whole life and was always surprised at the amount of tolerance for mediocrity, well now I am capitalizing on that.

Hopefully you find a way to better balance even before you leave the workforce. BTW, see if you can get your DH take the night shift on alternate days as part of his share of work. I was always amazed at how much more stress I could handle on a decent night's sleep.

MyPlanBLife

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #17 on: September 19, 2016, 07:19:44 AM »
I think lhamo's post is brilliant, and makes such sense.  My biggest belief about those who endlessly run in the hamster wheel is never-ending exposure to that day-to-day stress will catch up with you physically!  The stress will cause your body to break down...heart attack? cancer? migraines? emotional eating/no exercise/dangerous weight gain/diabetes...?
Your hubby might want you to continue your crazy high-stress life, but your body might get you to stop in the form of a lump in your breast.
I say don't wait another minute!  Take that sabbatical, take charge of the family life so hubby can enjoy working & coming home to a happy, stress-free home, and ENJOY every day.
#ThisIsNotDressRehersal  #LiveWell

scantee

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #18 on: September 19, 2016, 08:41:30 AM »
I know I said I'd return with financial advice, but I completely agree with lhamo so I won't repeat her great advice.

In regards to the shielding comments: yes, yes, yes. Are you familiar with the idea of emotional labor? Reading this article and this discussion of it last year really opened my eyes to the breadth of work* that I and a lot of women do to make our families function. Most of this work is unseen and unacknowledged and leaves us feeling taken advantage of in addition to being exhausted. After reading those articles, I sat down and made a list of all of the household management tasks that I am primarily responsible for and then made a similar list for my husband and, well, my list was several pages and his was a few lines. And we both work full-time and make similar amounts of money so there is no structural reason why this inequity should exist.

As far as the nanny, yes, having one will almost certainly lighten your load, but it will continue to shield your husband from the burdens you're carrying. It is possible that having a nanny will be just one more thing for you manage. I mean, who will search out good candidates? Who will do the interviewing? Who will call references? Who will figure out how to pay for the nanny? Who will manage her once she's been hired? You, I'm guessing.

I will be the first to admit that I contributed as much to this negative dynamic as my husband did (does?) because it's often easier for me to just do everything than to negotiate and stand up for myself day in, day out. But I am not doing that anymore and, yeah, it is kind of painful but it is necessary and I am a lot happier as a result.

*If your husband balks at doing traditional women's work, that's fine, there is more than enough other work for him to take over completely. House and yard maintenance. Car buying maintenance, and repairs. Financial management.

Goldielocks

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #19 on: September 19, 2016, 09:02:17 AM »
Some great posts so far.

+500 about the one on stress. At early 40's I can't handle it anymore and my health is shouting at me.

Re- husband.. Good comments, but what would you do if the deaf to answer is 'No'. He won't take on more because he doesn't see the need or does a great job of protecting his own sanity?  ( you get words but no ownership transfer of tasks?)

It's not fair but that is life. Would that be a NOGO for you, if not, create some options.

skyblue

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Re: DH and I disagree re: FIRE and lifestyle - advice needed! (Canadian)
« Reply #20 on: September 19, 2016, 09:48:55 AM »
I was in a very similar situation to yours.  In case my experience could be helpful to you, here goes.  We have only one child, but the long commute and horrific stress and lack of real, unstressed time with my young daughter and overwhelming feeling that I was not living a life I wanted to live became unbearable.  I muscled through it, paying the expensive daycare/preschool costs, until she started (free) Kindergarten.  At that point, with the support of my husband, who actually made less money than me but is very fulfilled by his job, I quit my job and found a work-from-home 20-hour a week job at about 1/4 of the pay I was making before.  We buckled down financially and no longer got to do things like have a housecleaner, have 2 cars, go on plush vacations, eat out at nice restaurants at will, buy things without thinking much about the cost.  Our lives are 1000% better.  I take my daughter to school (now in 4th grade), then go home and work from 8:30-2:00.  I spend an hour or so around lunch doing housework and handling other domestic to-do items.  At 2:00 I'm off the clock, pick her up, and spend the rest of the day a focused, unstressed, generally happy mother to a 9-year old girl.  More domestic tasks can be accomplished in the afternoon while she's playing soccer, doing homework, playing with a friend.  My husband (who takes bus/rides bike to work due to one-car situation), comes home in the evening to a calm, positive household where things are working and we feel free.  We sleep well.  We can relax and do fun things on weekends.  We're not in panic mode.  I am not missing my daughter's childhood and in fact I'm a big part of it.  My husband has time to do things he likes, get exercise, and still be a present parent and husband in the evenings and on weekends because so much of the domestic grind has been done, by me.  He knows how much I do and makes sure that I have time for myself on weekends and evenings as well.  It's a full, good life.  It is not all perfect;  I hate housecleaning; my job can be dull; there are moments when I feel like a '50's throwback.  But it works for us.  I still have my foot in the working world and as my daughter gets older I can ramp back up if I want.  My friends who quit their jobs altogether to be SAHM's do not have the same options and many feel boxed in now as their kids get older.  Our savings rate is exponentially lower than it was when I was making 4x the salary, but this is ok for us, at this stage.  There will be other, different stages in the future, as there have been in the past.  Raising a child is not a static situation.  I wanted to be with her when she was young.  We would do it again this way without hesitation.