Author Topic: I have a problem and am afraid of what it is!  (Read 2639 times)

tooqk4u22

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I have a problem and am afraid of what it is!
« on: July 31, 2017, 10:28:26 AM »
So here is the thing, every time I think we are getting to a point that we are close to being able to FIRE something changes and when the math is redone it turns out it is further away than I thought.  Some of these "Changes" are due to the following:

1. Increased Spending/Lifestyle Inflation for following:
  -DW is not quite on board with FIRE or more accurately isn't quite ready to give up some of the more mainstream lifestyle things.  This has lead to lifestyle inflation of some kind as when one wants it and its a family of five then it tends to cost more. For the record its not crazy stupid increased spending or major differences in how we want our lifestyles to be - but as you all know even a few little things can easily add up to multiples of thousands of dollars a year (think of the mainstream advice to give up your daily starbucks kind of things or meeting up with her friends for drinks/meals periodically). Also I know that she could work to pay for this stuff but my view is that the FIRE funds should be sufficient to provide for the lifestyle standards of both spouses not just one. 
  -3 kids all growing getting into different things and activities, eating more, wanting more, new clothes (normal kids stuff, some wants, some needs). Every year has been different and generally increasing in costs (although it helps to know that this isn't permanent).
  -I am Tired of carrying the baton so to speak.  Because I am the one who wants to FIRE then I am the one that focuses on the spending and no the math of "Well shit, if that expense continues then it means I need x more investments".  It gets tiring to always be focusing on this and trying to "Manage" the rest of the family in this direction and as result I begin giving in (or giving up).

2. Confidence in SWR - I am not there on 4% but maybe 3.5% but then that turns into 3%.   

3.  Worries about healthcare and specifically the inability to quantify a reasonably recurring cost for the future.

4. Guilt - I think about my kids future - if I keep working then college could be taken care for them, maybe help with housing at some point, or providing experiences that otherwise wouldn't be able to. 


As I think about all the items and excuses I am starting to wonder if the problem is far more nefarious....what if deep down I AM JUST NOT READY TO GIVE UP WORK, even if I hate it dearly.  I might be addicted to my paycheck and may be sabotaging myself intentionally. 


Anybody else feel this way or did feel this way as you approached FIRE?



Goldy

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Re: I have a problem and am afraid of what it is!
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2017, 11:11:04 AM »
I have very similar thoughts to you on this and have been mulling it over for some time.  We are getting very close to FI and should hit our number in about 18 months but I can already feel the one more year syndrome starting.  The way I have comprised with myself is to keep working until we are FI and then keep working as long as I continue to enjoy the work.  This additional work would fund a lower SWR but would also allow for me to indulge a bit more in things that interest me.  Some of this would no doubt lead to a bit of lifestyle creep but I'm ok with a little bit of that.

Goldy

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Re: I have a problem and am afraid of what it is!
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2017, 11:15:44 AM »
I think my biggest issue is actually not having a plan for my time in retirement.  If I had something exciting and fulfilling I'd probably jump sooner but for now life is good.

Lady SA

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Re: I have a problem and am afraid of what it is!
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2017, 11:38:51 AM »
1. Increased Spending/Lifestyle Inflation for following:
  -DW is not quite on board with FIRE or more accurately isn't quite ready to give up some of the more mainstream lifestyle things.  This has lead to lifestyle inflation of some kind as when one wants it and its a family of five then it tends to cost more. For the record its not crazy stupid increased spending or major differences in how we want our lifestyles to be - but as you all know even a few little things can easily add up to multiples of thousands of dollars a year (think of the mainstream advice to give up your daily starbucks kind of things or meeting up with her friends for drinks/meals periodically). Also I know that she could work to pay for this stuff but my view is that the FIRE funds should be sufficient to provide for the lifestyle standards of both spouses not just one. 
  -3 kids all growing getting into different things and activities, eating more, wanting more, new clothes (normal kids stuff, some wants, some needs). Every year has been different and generally increasing in costs (although it helps to know that this isn't permanent).
  -I am Tired of carrying the baton so to speak.  Because I am the one who wants to FIRE then I am the one that focuses on the spending and no the math of "Well shit, if that expense continues then it means I need x more investments".  It gets tiring to always be focusing on this and trying to "Manage" the rest of the family in this direction and as result I begin giving in (or giving up).

Regarding the trying to manage the whole family and feeling undermined and discouraged, sounds like budgeting each spouse a set amount of "fun money" per month to use guilt free is a good solution for at least the short term. The frustration you are feeling at each "frivolous" purchase your wife makes would be alleviated. Then this amount of fun money is also projected out into the future and included in your lifestyle budget that needs to be included in your FIRE number.

Do you and your wife have budgeting meetings? Do you talk to each other about finances and life goals? Sounds like you are approaching this as opponents at odds with each other. Maybe if you frame your frugalness in terms of life goals (ie don't be a burden on family, accumulate enough money for a dignified life, be able to provide for your children, etc, whatever FIRE is to you), your wife can see the bigger picture beyond the monthly "my husband is annoyed at me for getting coffee with my girlfriends". If you both get on the same page in terms of those types of goals, she may get on board with some lifestyle adjustments. You can also include your kids (depending on how old they are -- 3yo not so much, but 9-10 yo could handle it I would think) in some budgeting exercises for their activities. Ie give them a budget and let them choose what activities they want to do out of that budget. They might come up with some fun ideas on their own for free activities to do to make their "budget" stretch farther.

If your kids are older and in school, your wife could look into getting a part time job during the school day to help cover expenses and reduce the load on you.

As I think about all the items and excuses I am starting to wonder if the problem is far more nefarious....what if deep down I AM JUST NOT READY TO GIVE UP WORK, even if I hate it dearly.  I might be addicted to my paycheck and may be sabotaging myself intentionally. 

I know for myself, I am definitely addicted to a paycheck. We're ~7-10 years from fire, but to me, a paycheck means stability. I know exactly how much money is coming in and it feels nice to have "external" money coming in to pay for my stuff instead of using my own money--I know that's a weird way of looking at it but yeah. I dread the day of not having a paycheck anymore and its years away! You are not alone. Our plan is to get most of the way to our FIRE number, and then scale down to part time work to at least cover expenses to ease our way into ER. My hope is having a few extra years of (lower) paychecks will help with increasing my lack-of-paycheck comfort level.

Dicey

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Re: I have a problem and am afraid of what it is!
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2017, 12:19:21 PM »
Try reframing these issues.  How much better would it be for your kids to have a parent at home with them during these crucial years? Once they're off to college, you're going to see a lot less of them, possibly for the rest of their lives. What an opportunity this could be!

Next, if you're the SAHP, you can use your time to achieve new levels of frugality by picking up some of the household tasks and challenges. For example, you could teach your kids valuable life skills such as how to cook, clean, and do laundry so they'll be well prepared for college and adulthood. If you're not working, you'll have time to research all kinds of money-saving college hacks for and with your kids.

Since you presumably have enough stashed at 4%, just letting it grow untapped will significantly reduce your withdrawal rate, without lifting a finger or adding any new money. Find an easy job that will replace just your take-home pay and do that instead for a few years.

You could also take a sabbatical now, and gear up for a few working years later, when the kids are in college.

Here's a favorite quote: "Retiring too early is a mistake you can recover from. Too late, and there is no recovery."
Don't know who said it, but they were wise indeed.

BoonDogle

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Re: I have a problem and am afraid of what it is!
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2017, 01:30:37 PM »
Tooq, you and I have very similar situations.  I am married with 4 kids.  Wife is not fully on board either.  I sometimes fret over every increase in spending as well and feel like we are pulling in opposite directions.  However, I have drawn a line in the sand for FIRE and I plan to walk away on that day whether I am at 4% or 6% SWR.  My plan is to work part time afterwards at a much lower stress level until I am comfortable with my withdrawal rate.  Do you have any plans to work part time after FIRE?

On the college issue, don't worry too much about it.  Whatever you have saved when your kids go to college, turn it over to them and the rest is their responsibility.  They will have some skin in the game and should be thankful you paid part of the bill.  There is no reason they can't work part time and learn some frugal habits while they are in school.

Maybe emphasize the benefits of FIRE to your wife in terms that appeal to her.  What does she enjoy?  Tell her you would like to spend much more time doing some of those things once you FIRE.

If you dislike your work as much as I do, I doubt you are sabotaging your own plans.  Good luck to you!

patchyfacialhair

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Re: I have a problem and am afraid of what it is!
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2017, 01:58:10 PM »
Paying for college and healthcare are my two biggest concerns, but they aren't paralyzing.

I'll be 49 when my kid is 22 (presumably done with undergrad around that point), and we both agreed that we'd pay for tuition/fees at one of our state colleges, but the kid would be responsible for books, car, housing, etc. However, if we're not making enough money for whatever reason, we'll cover what we can cover and be supportive in other ways (i.e. let the kid stay home rent free provided they're working and studying). After that's done (planning on two kids so maybe push this 2 or 3 years later), we'll consider FIRE if it's feasible.

Healthcare is another issue, but FIRE is so far away that we're talking at least 2 presidents from now. Plenty can change in that space but whatever happens there will determine whether one or both of us keep working.

All that being said, I get where you're coming from. Our expenses are much more than they used to be, and we're about to start paying for childcare, and our cars are getting old, and...insert adult worry here. My advice is to embrace how expendable you are in this world and just soak up the good parts of life while you're here. It's what I'm doing.

tooqk4u22

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Re: I have a problem and am afraid of what it is!
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2017, 09:58:33 AM »
1. Talk to your wife.  If you are feeling overwhelmed by your spending......

Regarding the trying to manage the whole family and feeling undermined and discouraged, sounds like budgeting each spouse a set amount of "fun money" per month to use guilt free is a good solution for at least the short term. The frustration you are feeling at each "frivolous" purchase your wife makes would be alleviated.

Its funny how some of you are taking it as very negative, conflicting issues between DW and me - that's not how it is.  Its also not about specific spending (the starbucks was just an example, she actually prefers DD haha).

It comes down to individual preferences - we talk, budget, and are on same page about most stuff but just because your a couple doesn't mean there aren't differences.   Like if I am a vegetarian and spouse likes steak most nights...there really is no way to reconcile that....sure they can dial back the steak eating but at the end of the day they still want steak and to make them be vegetarian isn't fair to them. 

Its all about compromise.  But I wanted to vent and see if anybody else had similar views or circumstances.  As I said, she can and is willing to work for the added luxuries, but it is I that wants us to have enough for both to FIRE as desired.

Regardless, I am thankful I am in the spot we are in - these obviously are "real world" problems.