Author Topic: Is it fair for me to retire early?  (Read 21641 times)

fiveoh

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Is it fair for me to retire early?
« on: January 19, 2014, 08:26:01 PM »
Kind of in a unique situation and need some advice.  My wife is a gov worker and can start collecting a pension @ approx. 50.   This is equal to about 65-70% of her salary.  The state pension here is actually one of the better run ones and looks to be in good shape. 

Anyway, running the numbers for us BOTH to retire early(without the pension), it wouldn't happen until we were 48.  The extra 2 more years gives us WAY more cash flow and security with the pension.  So it's not really worth it for us to do that. 

So if she keeps working until 50, I could theoretically retire about 10 years before her with our current savings rate.  We would have a nice cushion of extra monthly income and by the time she retires our investments + her pension would = a good amount more than our current expenses. 

I showed her the spreadsheets today with the numbers and she balked at the whole thing.  Not because of the numbers but basically feels it is not "fair" that I get to retire so much earlier.  I can see her point but I really don't want to work another 10 years since I don't have to.  We would have way more than we would ever need. 

Am I being unreasonable here?  Should I plan to keep working until she retires?  Obviously, I will have to do what I feel is best for my marriage and we will discuss it some more.  I just wanted to get some other opinions. 

tariskat

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2014, 08:37:51 PM »
If I was in her shoes, I'd expect you to make dinner, clean the house more than me, generally keep life organized, and possibly pick up a hobby that takes you outside of the house.  I'd basically expect a stay-at-home husband.

LibraryGirl

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 08:55:24 PM »
If I was in her shoes, I'd expect you to make dinner, clean the house more than me, generally keep life organized, and possibly pick up a hobby that takes you outside of the house.  I'd basically expect a stay-at-home husband.

This.  I don't think you are being unreasonable to want to retire earlier, but if you want this you need to show her why your early retirement will be beneficial to both of you as individuals and as a couple.  Don't just talk to her about the numbers and show her the spreadsheets.  My partner is probably going to retire about ten years before I do.  This is partially due to pension and partially due to him being older than I am.  I think it's completely fair, because he will always contribute to our lives just as much as I do, even if it isn't financially.  When I wasn't working, I took most of the household responsibilities on.  I know he will do the same when he isn't working.

There's also middle ground between working full-time and not working at all.  My partner will probably be cutting back his hours during his last couple years of work.  I'll be at the point where I'll have plenty of vacation time, so we can spend more time travelling or enjoying time together before either of us are fully retired.

thepokercab

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 08:55:49 PM »
Perhaps you both have a different idea as to what "retirement" means for you?  Could she be picturing you sauntering on the patio all day, while she goes off and works? Because, if my wife thought that's what I would be doing, she'd be against it as well. 

I'd approach her on the subject by talking about the new things you would be doing if you quit your current job.  Maybe it means starting new projects that you enjoy, that may or may not at some point start generating income?  Or maybe it means taking on all of the work in the house.  Do you have kids?  It could also mean being the stay at home dad.   Maybe if she thinks of it less as retirement, and more like a career change, for lack of a better term, she'd be more warm to it. 

Freckles

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2014, 09:08:09 PM »
Make a list of all the things you could do if you weren't busy working all day and try again.  Make dinner every night, fix/improve things around the house, the laundry, the bills, the housework.  Her evening routine could be come home from work, slip into the warm bubble bath you have waiting for her, and then come down for the dinner you made.  I'd sign up for that!  :)

randymarsh

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2014, 09:10:22 PM »
If you can only retire if your wife keeps working, then I don't think she's being unreasonable and that's not really retirement at all. You're dependent on a working spouse.

sheepstache

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2014, 09:22:09 PM »
It's an interesting question.  If I'm guess-understanding right, your household income contributions are currently equal-ish?  But her pension is so unequally substantial that once she hits 50, that will be a proportionately much bigger contribution?

It makes sense about it not making sense for both of you to work til 48.  Is there an age before that, though, where your investment contributions would generate a more equal share of the household resources?

There's nothing wrong with the house husband idea, but only if it appeals to you.

steveo

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2014, 09:23:53 PM »
If you can only retire if your wife keeps working, then I don't think she's being unreasonable and that's not really retirement at all. You're dependent on a working spouse.

This is my thoughts as well.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2014, 09:45:52 PM »
I see your point, fiveoh, and in your shoes I'd be frustrated too. But I can also see why she'd be upset at having to work for ten years longer than you, especially if she doesn't much enjoy her job (assuming that's the case).

Do you both enjoy / not enjoy your jobs? Are there kids to look after? Is there any possibility of both going part time instead of you quitting entirely? (If she wanted to go part time or similar, how would it affect her pension?)

Rural

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2014, 03:45:45 AM »
At a guess, she works two shifts now: one at work, and then the second when she gets home. Do you do the same? That is, do you do your half of housework, cooking, laundry, organizing, finances, childcare if you have kids? If not, you need to demonstrate that you can and will do your half while you're still working before she's likely to believe that you would or could do it all if you weren't.

Gray Matter

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2014, 04:51:10 AM »
Yes, you're being unreasonable.  I can't see any circumstances under which I would continue working for another 10 years so my spouse can retire early.  I suppose if I really loved my job, but honestly, I can't imagine loving any job that much.

T-Rex

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2014, 05:08:14 AM »
That is asking a whole lot of her. I can't imagine it turning out well unless you spent those 10 years doing things she could see, like restoring her car, renovating the house, and making dinner every day. Otherwise I think she would be feeling like an indentured servant.

markbrynn

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2014, 05:31:16 AM »
I think OP should be able to make it work, but it requires finesse.

I work full time and make good money. My wife quit her job a few years ago because my job was taking me on the road a lot, and we were tired of living apart (she started coming with me). If I got a job locally (so she could also work) it would be for less money, making our overall situation worse. My wife still doesn't work, though we now have a kid, so she does plenty related to looking after him. In any case, I was happy for her to not work since it made sense for us. I definitely have had an expectation that she would take care of most household work since she has so much more free time than me, but otherwise I am happy that she can enjoy her freedom.

The key point in my situation (and OP's) is that having the second person work does not change the retirement date for the first person. So, why would OP's wife begrudge him retiring if she's going to have to work until 50 whether he retires or not? Doesn't she love him and want him to be happy? The only thing that makes sense to me is that his wife would probably prefer some assurance that his retiring is also going to make her life better (OP doing more chores, being a more relaxed husband, planning fun stuff for the two of them, etc.).

And there's always the possibility that OP's wife would like OP to work longer to have loads of money to lavish themselves with fancy trips and clothes and toys, which are things that we're not supposed to care about around here, but many still do.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2014, 06:28:59 AM »
     My DW would say "WTF? No way!" probably not reasonable. Could point out that guys die about 7 years sooner and shoot for that one.

fiveoh

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #14 on: January 20, 2014, 06:41:18 AM »
Perhaps you both have a different idea as to what "retirement" means for you?  Could she be picturing you sauntering on the patio all day, while she goes off and works? Because, if my wife thought that's what I would be doing, she'd be against it as well. 

I'd approach her on the subject by talking about the new things you would be doing if you quit your current job.  Maybe it means starting new projects that you enjoy, that may or may not at some point start generating income?  Or maybe it means taking on all of the work in the house.  Do you have kids?  It could also mean being the stay at home dad.   Maybe if she thinks of it less as retirement, and more like a career change, for lack of a better term, she'd be more warm to it. 



I tried this but I guess I'm going to have to hammer it home a little.  I'd really like to volunteer at a local state park, get more involved with youth programs at our church, spend more time with my kids, etc but she doesn't see these as work(neither do I) and feels its un fair. 


Make a list of all the things you could do if you weren't busy working all day and try again.  Make dinner every night, fix/improve things around the house, the laundry, the bills, the housework.  Her evening routine could be come home from work, slip into the warm bubble bath you have waiting for her, and then come down for the dinner you made.  I'd sign up for that!  :)



Unfortunately she wants to be the one doing those things and not working...




If you can only retire if your wife keeps working, then I don't think she's being unreasonable and that's not really retirement at all. You're dependent on a working spouse.

I see your point and agree with you to a certain extent.(hence this post)   Does that mean she shouldn't let me enjoy myself and give back instead of continuing to work and build wealth we don't need?

It's an interesting question.  If I'm guess-understanding right, your household income contributions are currently equal-ish?  But her pension is so unequally substantial that once she hits 50, that will be a proportionately much bigger contribution?

It makes sense about it not making sense for both of you to work til 48.  Is there an age before that, though, where your investment contributions would generate a more equal share of the household resources?

There's nothing wrong with the house husband idea, but only if it appeals to you.

That's exactly right.  We both make mid 40kish.  However, I work for a small company and have NO retirement plan(no 401k, nothing) and we didn't start saving until 2-3 years ago.  In a perfect world we both could retire early but mathematically its not realistic.  If we kept up this pace of savings, the investment contributions would be equal to her pension at roughly age 45 for me.  The thing is it would be a lot more than we would need at that point, and I feel like I'm wasting my time by continuing to work.   

fiveoh

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2014, 06:50:08 AM »
At a guess, she works two shifts now: one at work, and then the second when she gets home. Do you do the same? That is, do you do your half of housework, cooking, laundry, organizing, finances, childcare if you have kids? If not, you need to demonstrate that you can and will do your half while you're still working before she's likely to believe that you would or could do it all if you weren't.

We split housework/kids responsibilities pretty equally.  I've actually tried to take on more of that since its slow for me at work right now.   
That is asking a whole lot of her. I can't imagine it turning out well unless you spent those 10 years doing things she could see, like restoring her car, renovating the house, and making dinner every day. Otherwise I think she would be feeling like an indentured servant.

I don't want this type of scenario so if she's not going to be ok with it, I'm not going to do it.  At this point, I'm just struggling with should I try and convince her otherwise or is it going to make her feel like this no matter what. 

I think OP should be able to make it work, but it requires finesse.

I work full time and make good money. My wife quit her job a few years ago because my job was taking me on the road a lot, and we were tired of living apart (she started coming with me). If I got a job locally (so she could also work) it would be for less money, making our overall situation worse. My wife still doesn't work, though we now have a kid, so she does plenty related to looking after him. In any case, I was happy for her to not work since it made sense for us. I definitely have had an expectation that she would take care of most household work since she has so much more free time than me, but otherwise I am happy that she can enjoy her freedom.

The key point in my situation (and OP's) is that having the second person work does not change the retirement date for the first person. So, why would OP's wife begrudge him retiring if she's going to have to work until 50 whether he retires or not? Doesn't she love him and want him to be happy? The only thing that makes sense to me is that his wife would probably prefer some assurance that his retiring is also going to make her life better (OP doing more chores, being a more relaxed husband, planning fun stuff for the two of them, etc.).

And there's always the possibility that OP's wife would like OP to work longer to have loads of money to lavish themselves with fancy trips and clothes and toys, which are things that we're not supposed to care about around here, but many still do.


Thanks for the insight.  I feel just like you said about her retiring at the same age whether I do or not and wanting me to be happy. 

Seems a lot of people are saying if I pick up more of the stuff around the house it might help change her mind.  I'll have to spend the next few years working really hard so she can see that. 

A large part of the reason I want to retire is so that we can spend summers together with our kids(she has off) and go camping for a month or travel, etc. 

And yes, even though she is somewhat frugal, when I asked her why I should keep working, one of her responses was: So we can buy nicer cars, a bigger house, more clothes blah blah  :(   We don't buy much of that stuff now(although we aren't as mustachian as some on here), so I'm not sure why she thinks more "Stuff" will bring her happiness.  ugh. 


Half-Borg

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2014, 07:02:17 AM »
How about you work 'til you could theoretically retire and then just reduce hours? You can build up overtime and take the summers off to enjoy your kids and to more housework, but you would still be working and contributing to your finances. That way you can build up a higher saftey margin, or buy fancy cars and big houses, while still enjoying some of your freedom.

FrugalSpendthrift

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2014, 07:25:24 AM »
Unfortunately she wants to be the one doing those things and not working...
Why don't you offer to let her retire now, and you can continue working for 10 years?

Cinder

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2014, 07:35:30 AM »
Unfortunately she wants to be the one doing those things and not working...
Why don't you offer to let her retire now, and you can continue working for 10 years?

I think that relates to the fact that his job doesn't have as many benefits.  I think you need to work out a few scenarios on paper.. 

1) You retire 10 years earlier
2) You work till she retires
3) You both work till some point between you retiring 10 years earlier then her, and her 'retire at 50' date, in which your 'stache which you both build up are equivalent to her pension/benefits. 


fiveoh

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2014, 08:15:45 AM »
How about you work 'til you could theoretically retire and then just reduce hours? You can build up overtime and take the summers off to enjoy your kids and to more housework, but you would still be working and contributing to your finances. That way you can build up a higher saftey margin, or buy fancy cars and big houses, while still enjoying some of your freedom.

Not really possible at my current job.  I could look for something similar to this at that point and may end up doing this.
Unfortunately she wants to be the one doing those things and not working...
Why don't you offer to let her retire now, and you can continue working for 10 years?

From a financial standpoint we would be giving up a lot by doing this. 
Unfortunately she wants to be the one doing those things and not working...
Why don't you offer to let her retire now, and you can continue working for 10 years?

I think that relates to the fact that his job doesn't have as many benefits.  I think you need to work out a few scenarios on paper.. 

1) You retire 10 years earlier
2) You work till she retires
3) You both work till some point between you retiring 10 years earlier then her, and her 'retire at 50' date, in which your 'stache which you both build up are equivalent to her pension/benefits. 



I will do this.  I'm thinking if I work somewhere in between(say till 5 years before she retires) and start pulling more weight around the house, she might go for it. 

It's going to be really hard those last 5 years knowing that I don't have to be working though. 

Appreciate all the input/comments so far.  This is why I love this board. 

markbrynn

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2014, 08:18:51 AM »
Step 1: Make sure that the conversation is about your joint retirement, happy times, supporting, loving, etc. It is not about you vs. me, otherwise you can forget about it. It should be about how to build a happy pre-retirement and retirement, period.

Step 2: Figure out if there is another reasonable scenario for you to reach retirement age together. Change jobs to something higher paying? Extra income from side work? Cut expenses further? Is it really necessary for your wife to work until she's 50 or is there another option?

Assuming Step 2 ends up with your scenario.
Step 3: Ask your wife what her needs are. The answer should not be "for you to work as long as I have to." Figure out how she feels about the numbers you've run. Independent of your retirement age, is she comfortable with the numbers. Discuss what stuff she wants to buy or do. Discuss the possibility that you can go back to work if there is some need for extra money.

Step 4: Discuss what life would look like with you retired (or semi-retired). How would that benefit her? Would you be an annoyance to her or a big help in making her life easier until retirement?

Maybe I love my partner more than the average person, but I just don't get why OP's wife wouldn't be happy for him. Just because they both can't escape the rat race doesn't mean they shouldn't be happy that one of them can.

Good luck.

sheepstache

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2014, 09:05:45 AM »
I wrote this after fiveoh's first reply so it might be repeating what others have said, but 'll post anyway.

So you would end up working 8 extra years if you worked til 48?

1. You need to give her a lot of time.  Most women haven't had to sort out their feelings about being a main breadwinner vs. having a working partner.

2. I would combine what Rural said with what I said about being a house husband.  Everybody is mentioning chores around the house and you haven't talked about it, so that suggests it's not the direction you're thinking.  Whatever you're thinking your contribution is going to be, I would start doing it now.  Don't just make a list of what you could do: do it.  If it's something that you could do part-time now, like being with your kids or volunteering, really throw yourself into it.  Become an indispensable coordinator at your church's youth program.  Be practically too busy to have your regular job.  Otherwise it's just going to be too difficult for her to imagine.

It's sexist, but we tend to assume that women are naturally good at this stay-at-home spouse stuff like childcare and community work whereas we assume that men are not good at being supportive.  So you need to offer a demonstration.  Also sexist, but some men tend to get a boost from being the sole breadwinner, whereas society tends to see a women supporting a family as being an indentured loser (oddly, it sees stay at home wives the same way.  it is sort of hard to win.).  And men's sexual attractiveness tends to plummet if they're not earning money or in a position of respect.  The whole thing is clearly not about whether she's willing to work til 50 on her own behalf, but the dynamic of the relationship with you, so you need to be focusing on that.  Make absolutely sure you understand her misgivings in detail.  Is it really about buying more things?  Or is it the potential for a different lifestyle?  Or is it the security of having more in the bank?  Or?

3. Take the advice a lot of stay at home wives should have considered: Are you willing to bet your material well being on your marriage?  What if falls apart before she's 50?

4. Are you willing to bet your family's material well-being on one person's job?  What if she gets fired?  Or her health breaks down?  Would you be able to make up the resources in the time left? 

Quote
A large part of the reason I want to retire is so that we can spend summers together with our kids(she has off) and go camping for a month or travel, etc. 

Could you switch jobs to get that kind of flexibility, even if it meant a pay cut?  If this is a school job, could you just get a job at the same place?  If you want, you could total up all the summers you've had to work that she hasn't and knock that off your retirement date :)

Daleth

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #22 on: January 20, 2014, 09:10:27 AM »
A large part of the reason I want to retire is so that we can spend summers together with our kids(she has off) and go camping for a month or travel, etc. 

Have you told her that? Also, have you looked into switching careers once you hit the age where you actually could retire, such that you COULD have summers off, go camping etc., even though you're still not technically retired? For instance, have you looked into being a schoolteacher, or some kind of consultant where you set your own hours? Or perhaps landlording, so that although you don't have to get up every morning and go to an office, you're still working (renovating a house, doing showings for prospective tenants, fixing stuff that's broken)?

And yes, even though she is somewhat frugal, when I asked her why I should keep working, one of her responses was: So we can buy nicer cars, a bigger house, more clothes blah blah  :(   We don't buy much of that stuff now(although we aren't as mustachian as some on here), so I'm not sure why she thinks more "Stuff" will bring her happiness.  ugh.

Is that why she's working right now? Why IS she working--does she like her job, does it give her any sense of purpose...? I'm guessing she's a teacher since she works for the state and has summers off. Is she burned out?

If she's not enjoying her career or her particular job in that career, is there any way to tweak her situation such that she can make it more enjoyable or more meaningful while still qualifying for her pension? For instance, if she's burnt out from teaching maybe she could get into administration (which might require an additional degree--a part-time master's or something--so maybe you could work an extra couple of years to enable her to do that, so that her last decade of work is happier). Or maybe she could stay within the same system but move to a different school. Random thoughts based on not knowing your circumstances, but I think brainstorming could be helpful to you guys.

Rural

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #23 on: January 20, 2014, 09:54:38 AM »
Would you be an annoyance to her or a big help in making her life easier until retirement?


Here's a big thing. I don't know your situation, but my second shift workload goes way up when he's home (I know this because he's off summers and I'm not anymore). In our case it more than balances out because he's still finishing the house he built for us -- when he's "off" we both work harder than when he's working. But. If he were (just) sitting around making a mess all day? That would not be a happy-making prospect. Now, I'm not saying that you are like this, but consider whether it's possible yourself, and even if it isn't, consider whether she has a misconception that it is. That could be part of the problem.

Also, if you've only been saving for 2-3 years, maybe the two of you need a better (longer) frugality track record together for her to be comfortable?

historienne

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #24 on: January 20, 2014, 11:26:16 AM »
Fair is in the eyes of the beholder here, but I just wanted to chime in and say that my husband and I have this exact deal.  Admittedly, it works for us in part because he makes much more than me about 2x my salary) so he can save up a nice retirement fund in a shorter time.  But I plan to work till 67, and he plans to retire at 42.  We plan on living solely off my income until I retire.

What makes it work for me is that he is committed to using a good chunk of his newfound free time to take care of household stuff and (this is key) I am 100% sure that he will actually do this and that it will actually make my life easier and more pleasant.  I also am sure that it will be good for our daughter, who will get more parental attention.  My husband is not someone who is going to make dinner but then leave me with a mess in the kitchen.  I am really looking forward to having him shoulder almost all of the household duties!

fiveoh

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #25 on: January 20, 2014, 12:22:46 PM »
A large part of the reason I want to retire is so that we can spend summers together with our kids(she has off) and go camping for a month or travel, etc. 

Have you told her that? Also, have you looked into switching careers once you hit the age where you actually could retire, such that you COULD have summers off, go camping etc., even though you're still not technically retired? For instance, have you looked into being a schoolteacher, or some kind of consultant where you set your own hours? Or perhaps landlording, so that although you don't have to get up every morning and go to an office, you're still working (renovating a house, doing showings for prospective tenants, fixing stuff that's broken)?

And yes, even though she is somewhat frugal, when I asked her why I should keep working, one of her responses was: So we can buy nicer cars, a bigger house, more clothes blah blah  :(   We don't buy much of that stuff now(although we aren't as mustachian as some on here), so I'm not sure why she thinks more "Stuff" will bring her happiness.  ugh.

Is that why she's working right now? Why IS she working--does she like her job, does it give her any sense of purpose...? I'm guessing she's a teacher since she works for the state and has summers off. Is she burned out?

If she's not enjoying her career or her particular job in that career, is there any way to tweak her situation such that she can make it more enjoyable or more meaningful while still qualifying for her pension? For instance, if she's burnt out from teaching maybe she could get into administration (which might require an additional degree--a part-time master's or something--so maybe you could work an extra couple of years to enable her to do that, so that her last decade of work is happier). Or maybe she could stay within the same system but move to a different school. Random thoughts based on not knowing your circumstances, but I think brainstorming could be helpful to you guys.

Yes I told her that I wanted to spend the summers together.  She said the same thing "become a teacher", haha.  I can't see myself doing that and/or liking it.  I'd probably prefer to stay at my current job. 

Yes, teacher.  Likes the job at times but other times its just a lot of work.  I'm not sure burnt out is the proper term at this point but definitely stressed.  We definitely need to talk some more on it and maybe figure out something that works better for both of us.

 
Fair is in the eyes of the beholder here, but I just wanted to chime in and say that my husband and I have this exact deal.  Admittedly, it works for us in part because he makes much more than me about 2x my salary) so he can save up a nice retirement fund in a shorter time.  But I plan to work till 67, and he plans to retire at 42.  We plan on living solely off my income until I retire.

What makes it work for me is that he is committed to using a good chunk of his newfound free time to take care of household stuff and (this is key) I am 100% sure that he will actually do this and that it will actually make my life easier and more pleasant.  I also am sure that it will be good for our daughter, who will get more parental attention.  My husband is not someone who is going to make dinner but then leave me with a mess in the kitchen.  I am really looking forward to having him shoulder almost all of the household duties!

Thanks for sharing!  Gives me hope. 

Villanelle

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #26 on: January 20, 2014, 01:19:26 PM »
What about a part time job, doing something different than you are doing now?  And you say that she wants to do all the house things?  Does she really want to do them, or does she want to do them because that's how [she feels] they will be done properly?  If it's the latter, while it might be an uncomfortable conversation, perhaps you can figure out ways to do things so that she feels they are done "right", and in doing so, decrease her burden?

I know this isn't very mustachian, but could your part time work be used to hire a housekeeper or pay for some other item that would make her happier?  It seems to me like it isn't just a case of you retiring and living off her income.  It's also that there would be lifestyle adjustments that wouldn't be necessary if you kept working.  So perhaps those things can be discussed.  What if you agreed to work for 2 more years, instead of 10, and that money could be used for a wonderful vacation each year?  Or a housekeeper?  Or a babysitter and monthly date night?  Or whatever would make her feel better about the whole thing.  She says she wants nicer cars, more clothes, etc.  That may not make sense to you, but I'm not sure it's fair to dismiss it, either.  So if you can find a way (part time work or a few more years of work) to create a fund to give her those things, maybe she'll be a little more willing to buy off on your retirement. 

It seems like there a lot of middle ground between you quitting completely 10 years before her, and you waiting until she finishes those 10 years and reaches full pension.

abhe8

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #27 on: January 20, 2014, 01:52:39 PM »
well, no, op, its not "fair." since her working is what will provide the majority of your retirement income, then you "cant'" "retire" now. you can quit and be dependent on your wifes income and pension, but that is not financial independence on your part, that is going to a one income family. and that is far different then your "working for no reason except to make things fair." you are working because you don't have the financial means to not work. it sounds like you and yoru dw need to discuss your financial goals and also your lifestyle goals and household division of labor. maybe when looking at all of those factors you can come to a mutually satsifactory agreement.

(and that is said by a dw who makes 4x the hourly rate of her dh. and whose dh is abotu to quit his job to stay home and do the majority of the housework. i'm thrilled and can't wair. but i would i no way be game of my dh wer epresenting it the way you are .)

Cinder

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #28 on: January 20, 2014, 02:14:33 PM »
You could even become a substitute teacher.  If you have something going on just decline the sub calls.  Lots of areas don't have enough people to sub.  You can even end up reliably getting some 'long term sub' positions on occasion.   

geekette

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #29 on: January 20, 2014, 02:36:20 PM »
If you're just considering paycheck, I haven't "worked" in decades.  However, while my husband was still working, I did EVERYTHING around the house (except dishes.  He just liked doing them.  Go figure).  All household chores, home maintenance (or hiring, coordinating, and supervising bigger jobs). Bill paying, groceries, cooking, cleaning, laundry, investing, tax prep, pet care, car stuff, EVERYTHING.  We were both happy and each had a good bit of time for fun.

Are you prepared to work at home? or do you just want to play?

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2014, 02:49:33 PM »
To keep it fair, learn DIY stuff that you don't know already. Work on your house. Work on friend's houses.

OR use the time before you hit 40 to plan a business. Something you want to try but never wanted to take the plunge of unreliable startup income.

Is there something both of you would enjoy working on part-time? You could get the business started and built up while she works the gov job, then when she retires you can work on it together?

For example, I'm a decent carpenter and looking to get a lot better over the next few years working on my house and restoring my parent's 1920's house. I also have a strong background in lighting and interior design with current job. My wife has a really good eye for organization and maximizing space. I could see us working part-time on remodeling/organization or fix-and-flips. She'd do a lot of the planning, and I'd do a lot of the execution.

imustachemystash

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2014, 02:52:50 PM »
I can understand your wife's feelings.  I work in the public schools as a speech therapist and it can be grueling for those poor teachers.  In our situation, my husband makes 4x my salary and I told him that since he has earned most of the money, he can retire first.  I plan on working part time when he retires just to cover our health care costs.  Maybe your wife could do a job share with another teacher and work part time?  Another thought is maybe she could do a teaching exchange for a year?  My dad did this and we got to live in New Zealand for a while.  Lastly, you could tell her you will keep working until you reach FI and then let her know you want to do a career change. Pick a hobby that you are interested in (but not primarily because of monetary compensation) and find a job doing that.  My husband is interested in drawing and when we are FI, he plans on selling his artwork because he won't be working only to provide an income.

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2014, 02:58:22 PM »
Look at it this way -- if you both make the same salary and have an aggressive savings rate, then she is already carrying a much heavier burden toward ER for both of you (since she's saving her salary plus is putting in the time for the pension).  For you to retire 10 full years before her seems like you're getting most of the benefit, but she's putting in most of the work and sacrifice.  I wouldn't go for that if I were her. 

sheepstache

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2014, 04:24:07 PM »
I just realized we are all overlooking the obvious.  OP, can you shave your mustache and wear a dress?  Boom, now you can work in her place every other day, it's totally even.  Students'll never notice the difference.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 07:19:56 PM by sheepstache »

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #34 on: January 20, 2014, 05:00:50 PM »
Fair is in the eyes of the beholder here, but I just wanted to chime in and say that my husband and I have this exact deal.  Admittedly, it works for us in part because he makes much more than me about 2x my salary) so he can save up a nice retirement fund in a shorter time.  But I plan to work till 67, and he plans to retire at 42.  We plan on living solely off my income until I retire.

What makes it work for me is that he is committed to using a good chunk of his newfound free time to take care of household stuff and (this is key) I am 100% sure that he will actually do this and that it will actually make my life easier and more pleasant.  I also am sure that it will be good for our daughter, who will get more parental attention.  My husband is not someone who is going to make dinner but then leave me with a mess in the kitchen.  I am really looking forward to having him shoulder almost all of the household duties!

This one above is confusing to me?? Obviously every situation is different, but when I see the facts noted here, I would think you let the higher wage earner work a few more years and you can both retire at 45-50. Why would the lower wage earner work 25 years longer than the higher wage earner? Maybe you love your job and never want to quit. Maybe he hates his soul crushing career. Maybe you both want to contribute an equal portion of the retirement assets and it will just take you longer. I don't mean any disrespect, I just don't understand the logic based on the facts presented. Good for you though for being ok with it. It sounds like it will make your life easier which is great.

I will be in a similar situation in 5-10 years depending on some variables. I bring home 90%+ of the income in the household and can't wait to get the hell out of my job. My wife has no real interest in quitting work then, although we could both easily retire once we reach FI. She's slowed down drastically to take care of our two young kids over the last 4 years, but wants to work more once she can.  I plan to build and manage a nice rental real estate portfolio, fix up our house a bit, do all the household chores, hang with the kids and get them where they need to be, etc. We've discussed it a bit, and I think she's on board with the idea on the surface, she just doesn't understand where the money is going to come from. I think I need to explain the 4% rule a little better.

OP - I think there are two ways this becomes "fair":
1) You've contributed a very large percentage of the retirement funds and feel you've done your share. This doesn't sound like it fits your current situation.
2) You continue to contribute to the family in the "stay at home dad" function but also in the financial function. If you can find a way to generate some income and add to the retirement funds, I think it would go a long way towards convincing your wife this is best for the entire family.

tomsang

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2014, 05:55:25 PM »
You say from a financial standpoint, she says from a time standpoint.  So if you are concerned with financials why don't you let her retire now and you work for 20 years? 

The point is fairness.  She doesn't think it is fair for you to retire 10 years early. If the shoe was on the other foot would you be willing to work 10 years past your expected retirement age of 48 or 50?  If you did so, she could be retired today.  The word retired when one spouse is working is an interesting term, but that is a different subject.

From a financial standpoint we would be giving up a lot by doing this. 
Unfortunately she wants to be the one doing those things and not working...
Why don't you offer to let her retire now, and you can continue working for 10 years?


Big Boots Buddha

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #36 on: January 20, 2014, 06:49:28 PM »
I dont think its unfair. Billions of women all over the world do this and no one minds. When a man wants to do it, hes being unfair to his wife?

You both worked. If I read that correctly you pulled up the spreadsheets for your retirement, which makes me think you are the one doing most of the retirement planning. And most importantly, you are a couple! Its not about, what can I get. Hopefully your wife is happy that you get to retire. If shes not, you have bigger problems.

iwasjustwondering

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #37 on: January 20, 2014, 06:52:10 PM »
Billions of women around the world retire early?  No, they don't.

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #38 on: January 20, 2014, 07:38:59 PM »
I think you should both work until you can both retire (even if its before the pension date). If she wants to keep working past that to have a nicer house or more stuff, then that's her choice.

olivia

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #39 on: January 20, 2014, 07:41:27 PM »
well, no, op, its not "fair." since her working is what will provide the majority of your retirement income, then you "cant'" "retire" now. you can quit and be dependent on your wifes income and pension, but that is not financial independence on your part, that is going to a one income family. and that is far different then your "working for no reason except to make things fair." you are working because you don't have the financial means to not work. it sounds like you and yoru dw need to discuss your financial goals and also your lifestyle goals and household division of labor. maybe when looking at all of those factors you can come to a mutually satsifactory agreement.

(and that is said by a dw who makes 4x the hourly rate of her dh. and whose dh is abotu to quit his job to stay home and do the majority of the housework. i'm thrilled and can't wair. but i would i no way be game of my dh wer epresenting it the way you are .)

Ditto, you're not retiring, you're relying on your wife to pay the bills, and then you're relying on her pension to support you once she can finally retire.  So unless she's fine with you being a stay at home dad and you're willing to do all the household work (and it doesn't sound like it) then I don't think it's fair. 

If you hate your job, look into a career change.  Or try to move up the ladder so you can make more money and truly retire early.

geekette

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2014, 08:08:55 PM »
Billions of women around the world retire early?  No, they don't.

+1

fiveoh

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #41 on: January 20, 2014, 08:19:55 PM »
Well I appreciate all the suggestions, advice, and criticism.  We are going to sit down and discuss this further, later in the week, to try and figure out what we both want in the future.  I can post the results on here if anyone is interested. 

quilter

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #42 on: January 20, 2014, 08:21:54 PM »
I went out three years before DH. We were FI with no debt and he stuck it out the last three years for healthcare. This was before the ACA.

I got a part time job and took over all the household chores. Lawn mowing, cooking, cleaning, getting the oil changed.  When he came home from work he was free to do whatever he wanted. I still had plenty of time to do what I wanted. My part time job money went right in a travel account.

 I would not have done it if we were not FI and debt free. Too risky in today's crazy workplace.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #43 on: January 20, 2014, 08:48:28 PM »
Quote
3. Take the advice a lot of stay at home wives should have considered: Are you willing to bet your material well being on your marriage?  What if falls apart before she's 50?

That!  Seems to me it would be extremely risky for you to retire 10 years before her.   Let's assume you end up divorced (for whatever reason - one of you has a midlife crisis, she loses her attraction to you because she sees you as a slacker (unfair, but women often resent stay-at-home dads and marriages break up over it), you have an affair with one of the soccer moms - whatever, just know this stuff happens).

So - where does that leave you if you divorce?  You may or may not have access to part of her pension, depending on your state (but warning, they write those QDRO rules in a way that you can still get kinda scr*wed out of your fair share - I was married to my ex during the years in which 80% of his pension was earned (the pension we both planned to retire on), but I'll only get about 30% of the pension, instead of the 40% I should get.) 

I guess the question is - if you retired early, what would happen to you if she divorced you?  Would you still be able to be retired on your own?  If not, I wouldn't do it.

Noodle

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2014, 11:52:53 AM »
I think to call yourself "retired," you have to have the assets to fund yourself in hand. The situation under discussion is speculative  based on the idea that your wife will actually make it to 50 in her current job to collect said pension. From the various details you have shared it seems like you are mid-30s...right? 50 is a long way off.

I think there are two problems with your current scenario--one is practical, and many others have mentioned it. Counting on a financial payout 15 years in the future is pretty risky. Anything could happen from just coming to hate the job to developing a disability or serious illness, not to mention divorce. What if your wife got sick at say 45? You'd be looking at having to go back to work just at the time you needed to be home to take care of her. Plus, if I were your wife I would feel really trapped if I knew the family was depending on me not just to work, but to stay at my current job for over a decade.

Then the other issue seems to be that you have different versions of your post-retirement lifestyle. You are perfectly happy to stay at the current lifestyle (needs) forever, and your wife clearly has some wants that she is deferring for now, or at least wants the option to have wants. Seems like you need to negotiate that before you start talking about funding said vision.

I wouldn't base too much of my argument around "fair" just because that was your wife's first reaction. It may have been shorthand for a whole bunch of concerns which are totally legit.

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2014, 01:06:04 PM »
I think to call yourself "retired," you have to have the assets to fund yourself in hand. The situation under discussion is speculative  based on the idea that your wife will actually make it to 50 in her current job to collect said pension. From the various details you have shared it seems like you are mid-30s...right? 50 is a long way off.

I think there are two problems with your current scenario--one is practical, and many others have mentioned it. Counting on a financial payout 15 years in the future is pretty risky. Anything could happen from just coming to hate the job to developing a disability or serious illness, not to mention divorce. What if your wife got sick at say 45? You'd be looking at having to go back to work just at the time you needed to be home to take care of her. Plus, if I were your wife I would feel really trapped if I knew the family was depending on me not just to work, but to stay at my current job for over a decade.

Then the other issue seems to be that you have different versions of your post-retirement lifestyle. You are perfectly happy to stay at the current lifestyle (needs) forever, and your wife clearly has some wants that she is deferring for now, or at least wants the option to have wants. Seems like you need to negotiate that before you start talking about funding said vision.

I wouldn't base too much of my argument around "fair" just because that was your wife's first reaction. It may have been shorthand for a whole bunch of concerns which are totally legit.

Bingo.  I personally wouldn't want to retire unless I could fund my own retirement if something bad were to happen to my wife, our marriage, or her pension.

jennaw

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #46 on: January 21, 2014, 02:51:03 PM »
Some people have mentioned what would happen if you were to divorce but I haven't seen any mention of what would happen if she were to die before you. Has she selected the option to have a reduced pension that would provide for continuing payments to you following her death? Also, what would happen if she were to die before she reached age 50? Have you done the math on how this would affect your finaicial situation?

I don't think you can claim financial independence until she is actually receiving the pension.

MrsPete

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #47 on: January 21, 2014, 03:34:25 PM »
I can see why she'd feel this way, even if the numbers do make sense.  I mean, what I'm hearing is that you came to her and said, "Hey, baby!  I'm gonna quit work -- but you keep getting up at the crack of dawn every day." 

The post that resonates with me is the one about "right now she's pulling two shifts -- one at work, one at home".  Even if my husband were to promise that he'd begin doing all the cooking, etc., I wouldn't believe it.  When he cooks a meal, he manages to mess up everything in the kitchen, and I end up cleaning it up.  When he does laundry, he ruins things.  I would not fall for the "you'll have nothing to do at home" line. 

I'd suggest that you run some numbers and bring it to her with this idea:  We know that you need to keep working another 10 years for your pension -- that's in the best interest of our long-term family goals.  However, from my paycheck we've amassed enough that I think I can cut back in some ways, also for the good of the family.  I'd like to generate some ideas that would let me work fewer hours.  Then together see what you can decide.  Perhaps you could work part-time and pick up more household duties, and you could both see that as "fair".

I wouldn't have considered the problem of divorce or her early death.  I do know a number of couples who've looked at one another after the children have left home and have said, "Who are you?"  It's always wise to protect yourself financially.  When she reaches retirement she'll have to choose (and can never alter her decision) about whether to accept 100% of her pension herself, or whether to take a lower amount but give you survivor's rights.  You should seriously look at how this would affect your life, if you should be left alone. 


sol

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2014, 04:29:30 PM »
I'm not sure why everyone is so hung up on "fair" in this situation.

Was it fair that my dad had to work 14 hour days for 30 years while his wife worked occasional part time jobs here and there?  Was it fair when my grandpa spent 20 years in the military while his wife collected the benefits?

Families aren't about what's fair, and any partnership that is threatened by unequal division of resources shouldn't have formed a partnership in the first place.  Families are about doing what is best for the cohesive unit, as a whole, not what is fair to any one party.  In truth, what is best for the unit is almost ALWAYS "unfair" to one party or another.  Wife needs to get over it, accept that she's the breadwinner in the family and that's not a position anybody chooses but someone always gets stuck with.

I expect this thread would have gotten very different responses if the gender roles were reversed.  Whole generations of American men worked long hours at jobs they hated to support stay at home spouses, and nobody ever claimed that situation was unfair to the men.  Quite the opposite, in fact.

ace1224

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Re: Is it fair for me to retire early?
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2014, 04:40:35 PM »
I loved having a sah partner. Loved it. He only works now so we can have fu money faster and pay off the mortgage early, technically I make enough for us to live off one income and retire at 50 depending on how much of the child's college we choose to pay for.

I can see why she's initially cranky bc I was but then when I stared coming home and my second "job" was already done it was AMAZING! A clean house with dishes and errands already done was great!!!  Maybe you can compromise by getting a part time job for a bit and show her that you're going to take over the home duties and then after a year or two you can quit the part time job and sah full time. Running a household takes a lot of work and is a job in and of itself I think