Author Topic: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?  (Read 9364 times)

LAL

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How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« on: April 21, 2016, 09:37:37 AM »
I've stayed at home since having kids and have enjoyed it. I am not sure I'm going back to work.  My DH is going back to work because he likes it.  He's taken a sabbatical of a year and has no desire to retire early he's declared.  We'll talk as we go through the process.  He's also changing careers and really looks forward to what he does.  I pressed him about retiring permanently early but he said he wouldn't know what to do with himself.  The kids can drive him nuts.  That being said he may scale back at some point we're 36 and 38. 

But everytime I see or talk to my mom she says "i'm tired of telling people you stay at home.  When are you getting a job?  Why aren't you working?  You need your own money.  You need to be a productive member of society."

Do you guys ever hear that from your families?  What do you say?  I mean if I told her we had enough for retirement now she'd laugh.  My dad is still working at 85 and they bring home enough to not qualify for Roth IRA when you add in SS, pensions and paid medical for life.  She's "retired" but she's not thrilled by it.  As my mom put it, the money earned working means we aren't touching our "retirement"money.  Also saving for retirement while at retirement age is nuts.  I pointed out that they no longer need to save for retirement she gasped and nearly fell over dead.  The idea of spending everything coming in is ridiculous.  Who does such thing? FWIW my in-laws are pretty much the same way.  My FIL at 65 works because he has nothing else to do (I asked him at Christmas and he said he doesn't want to retire).  My MIL like my mom took early retirement at 55 and hates it. 

What do you tell your families?  I'm never working again?  We have enough?  I'm sure by my parents and in-laws standards we don't have enough.  But it doesn't matter since I'm married to another SWAMI. 

How do you tell your families who are SWAMI that you don't want to be a SWAMI?

Friar

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2016, 09:40:43 AM »
Please forgive my ignorance but what is a SWAMI?


dagagad

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2016, 09:45:43 AM »
I don't think you are going to convince your mom to change her ways at this point. I'd probably take the angle that you want to spend as much time with the kids as possible while they are still young. I'd ignore the financial side except to say you are financially comfortable.

I say that because for most people it will be harder for your mom to openly berate you (I'd assume) for KIDS reasons rather than money and status reasons. Frame it like that and she might back off.

Tjat

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2016, 09:45:49 AM »
Since it's family, some attempt to rationalize is hard to avoid. I would say,

"We're financially independent and can choose to spend our time pursuing our interests over money. I don't "work" but spend my time doing X, Y, Z. If we don't need the money, why should I spend my time doing something unnecessary that I don't enjoy as much as X, Y, Z?"

Of course if X, Y, Z is sitting on the couch reading Kardashian tweets, it may not be the strongest response.


SWAMI = Satisfied Working Advanced Mustachian Individual

AZDude

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2016, 09:49:26 AM »
Just tell her different people lead different lives. Mothers annoy their children via bad unsolicited advice. Its part of the job. One day you can do the same to your own children. Until then, just enjoy being FI and accept that other people will not understand.

Friar

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2016, 10:19:10 AM »
SWAMI = Satisfied Working Advanced Mustachian Individual

Of course, such a simple acronym for the uninitiated!

Thanks Tjat - that explains why Google yielded no answers.

slappy

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2016, 10:23:47 AM »
SWAMI = Satisfied Working Advanced Mustachian Individual

Of course, such a simple acronym for the uninitiated!

Thanks Tjat - that explains why Google yielded no answers.

Haha. I was going to google it, too! :)

dandarc

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Psychstache

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2016, 10:35:51 AM »
Ask your mom what makes you a more productive member of society: being an active, present parent in your children's lives, or being a middle manager who moves TPS reports from your bosses desk to your subordinates.

Having a job =\= being a productive member of society.

catccc

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2016, 11:00:43 AM »
Your mom just needs to butt out, problem solved.

Seriously, though, I might employ some active listening techniques to try to get out of her what her problem is with you not working, and get her to understand how your current situation meets your needs.

Jakejake

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2016, 11:05:39 AM »
Can you tell your mom you are working freelance as a "retirement consultant" or "financial adviser"?

She doesn't need to know that the only person consulting with you is your husband.

dougules

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2016, 11:50:11 AM »
Tell your mom that you're applying to be a trash collector so that she can brag to all her friends that her daughter (or son, you didn't say) is gainfully employed and a productive member of society. 

If she brings up the "productive member of society" BS, just tell her that you were a productive member of society for X number of years and that you've done your time.  You're living light now, so you've already given back to society the little bit you need to live for the rest of your life.  Plus, as has already been pointed out, raising the next generation is giving back to society as much anything if not more. 

Do your parents and parents-in-law still work because they love it, or just because they feel they are obligated?

Kaikou

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2016, 12:09:26 PM »
Probably generational thing and/or cultural prompt

elaine amj

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2016, 12:52:26 PM »
Please forgive my ignorance but what is a SWAMI?

Haha - this post also promoted me to do a Google search - which came up with all kinds of wacky results lol. I remember the term from the forums and used to remember the acronym....but forgot it when I read this thread. I ended up looking it up in the Forum FAQ before reading the thread because it was bugging me.

OP: I would just tell them you and DH have discussed it in depth and decided you both really want for you to stay home with your kids for now. You can keep that up even after the kids start school because they'll still keep you busy. And there's a lot of stuff out now saying how beneficial SAHMs are for teens. So you have a decent length of time to get everyone used to your being a SAHM.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 12:54:29 PM by elaine amj »

2Birds1Stone

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2016, 01:34:29 PM »
I flat out told my dad I won't need to work past 40 years old, he was thrilled. Not sure if he believes I'll follow through but he knows approx how much I make/save and is VERY supportive. My SO'd parents can NEVER find out, they will work longer than us.

dougules

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2016, 03:29:13 PM »
I flat out told my dad I won't need to work past 40 years old, he was thrilled. Not sure if he believes I'll follow through but he knows approx how much I make/save and is VERY supportive. My SO'd parents can NEVER find out, they will work longer than us.

I told my dad a few years ago that we were on track to retire in our 40s, and I expected him to start picking the plan apart like meat off a chicken carcass.  Instead he lit up and thought it was great.  He's still working at 66 and I think he's not really enjoying it. 

LAL

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2016, 05:28:59 PM »
Both parents work and are defined by their jobs.  They were SWAMIs a long, long time ago. But it's expected that we do something "productive".  They drive 20 year old cars because they like to.  They work because it's contributing.  I'm not contributing and saving money. I think they find it hard to move away from working because it defines who they are.  Money is not the issue and hasn't been for a long, long time.

I mean my MIL just told my DH he needs to get off his behind and work.  Sigh.  He likes working but I don't like hearing her hassling him about downshifting when he should be "climbing" the ladder. 

We both want him to like whatever he does, I've felt we've always been frugal so that we could have choices and we have. I read the scientist thread, and most people we know in our career tracks are super frugal.  They work because they LOVE it. I guess our parents fall into that category.  And DH is pretty much the same.  He'd work if we won the lotto and had tons of money to feel productive.

I just don't like being prodded about it. 

AMandM

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2016, 06:17:05 PM »
It sounds like nothing will satisfy your mother other than you taking a job, because she believes everyone must be productive and earning money is apparently the only thing she sees as productive.

If that's right, you have only three possibilities that I can see:
--Argue against the idea that everyone has to be productive.
--Argue against the idea that your current life is unproductive.
--Stop trying to satisfy her.  Tell her clearly, once, that you and your husband have agreed on this life, and then refuse to discuss it any more.  If she's actually worried about your financial security, you can add that you and your husband have your financial ducks in a row.

#3 is likely the only feasible path, but it's tough, because your mother will probably keep bringing it up and you will have to keep saying, "I'm sorry, Mom, but as I said I'm not discussing this."  Hnag in there!


dougules

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2016, 06:53:30 PM »
At a certain point your going to have to tell your mom and MIL in gradually less and less diplomatic terms to STFU. 
« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 06:58:52 PM by dougules »

Dezrah

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2016, 12:04:36 PM »
The whole thing is so strange to me. I am so used the opposite happening where people wonder why both spouses would bother working.

We were visiting my husband's grandma once. He was a few months away from graduating from law school. She asked me if I had plans to quit working when he got a job. What? No. We don't have any kids. What on earth would I be doing at home that would be more worthwhile than the money I earn as an engineer?

She's a cool woman though. There was no judgement in the question or her reaction to my answer but I still was taken aback.

NoraLenderbee

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2016, 01:56:16 PM »
Since when is raising children and being a good parent NOT productive???
I'm childless and I work full-time, but I doubt I actually contribute more to society than my mother did raising four upstanding citizens and contributing to the community through volunteer work.

Inaya

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2016, 02:08:22 PM »
We both want him to like whatever he does, I've felt we've always been frugal so that we could have choices and we have. 

That's where we are right now. Hubs is still trying to figure out what he wants to do in, and I make enough (at a job I mostly enjoy) to support both of us and still save. So why force him to do something he hates just for the sake of "being productive"? I do feel like people judge us silently (him for not supporting me; me for enabling him), but I always think people are judging me silently so eh.

merula

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2016, 02:19:17 PM »
When I read this, it sounded a lot to me like Mom is concerned about Daughter being financially dependent on her husband, and that Mom knows either from personal experience or growing up in the 50's/60's that being financially dependent on another person isn't a great plan. (I'm making assumptions based on the ages in the original post.)

I think it might work to say "Mom, I worked and I saved and I have plenty of money that is my own, no one else's. I'm doing this because I can afford to, husband's job notwithstanding."

little_brown_dog

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #23 on: April 22, 2016, 03:05:01 PM »
Many people pretend to look down on those who don't have to work because they are jealous. They make up false narratives about sahps and others such as "lazy" because they would otherwise have to acknowledge that those people might be doing something "right" (living modestly, saving) and that they might be doing something "wrong" (overspending). Now when people say things like "oh that is so nice you get to stay home" I just agree enthusiastically. If they ask when I am going back to work I tell them the truth "when I feel like it or when I need to." If they press I just drop another truth bomb "we don't need any more money" - that usually ends the conversation.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2016, 04:00:22 PM by little_brown_dog »

LAL

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #24 on: April 22, 2016, 09:44:34 PM »
My mom told me again today that I need to work not for money but to define my self-worth.  Not dependent on husband, but rather that if I don't work who am I?  How can I never work past 30?  I am going to not be defined by being lazy and unmotivated.  What example am I teaching my kids by never working again?

I am not accomplishing anything.  I have no defining contribution.  What self esteem or work is there from not working?  I can't say no we just don't want to live to consume. 

I can't even tell her it's money.  She's mortified by the idea of even in retirement spending any more than need.  She still saves her pension and retirement income. 

AMandM

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2016, 04:58:29 AM »
What example am I teaching my kids by never working again?
[...]
I am not accomplishing anything.  I have no defining contribution.  What self esteem or work is there from not working?

Your poor mother reduces working, accomplishing something, making a contribution, valuing yourself all to just earning money.  I don't know if it's possible to help her see that you do all those things without a paycheck. 

Since you presumably don't spend your whole day watching soap operas, you must be setting an example to your kids of how to use your time meaningfully and how to appreciate the good things in life.  Your actual activities are also teaching them lots of stuff: housekeeping, DIYing, riding a bike, grocery shopping, listening to music, and a thousand other things.

You know that your accomplishments and contributions, and hence your self-esteem, aren't measured in dollars.  You know your mother and we don't, so you are the one who can judge whether there's any point to letting her keep reiterating her criticisms. Personally, having been in a somewhat analogous situation (though on a different topic), I tend to the view that berating you doesn't actually do her any good, and for her to repeatedly harass you is disrespectful.

LAL, I'm so sorry, this must be so hard to deal with.

former player

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2016, 08:38:36 AM »
Both your mother and MIL have the same problem, that their husbands are still working, which means 1) they can't reap the benefits of being a retired couple, 2) they feel that they have to support the notion of working past FI in order to support their husbands and marriages, and 3) they take out their (hidden from even themselves) resentment on you.

The obvious answer would be for their husbands to retire: whenever the subject of your working is raised with them query them about what they would like to do when their husbands retire.

SwordGuy

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Re: How to tell your SWAMI family you don't want to be a SWAMI?
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2016, 10:21:59 AM »
Your mom may just want bragging rights to her friends.   She may not actually care what you do as long as she can brag about it.