Author Topic: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)  (Read 36252 times)

Dr. Doom

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #50 on: May 16, 2014, 02:38:52 PM »
@DD, thanks for sharing the thread.  Yep, there are a lot of parallels.  High COL, want to downsize to allow for better breathing room and safety margins, burnt out on your industry, stayed a couple of years longer than necessary already, some issues with SO and her expectations of how the RE life is going to play out, some 'what will the neighbors' think type concerns. 

We've always been a tight knit team, the two of us, fighting against The Man and saving a lot of money while simultaneously accepting that the majority of our lives is spent doing Shit We Don't Want To Do.  We commiserate, tell war stories, support each other, and march onward through battle to death.

Single FIRE effectively breaks a partnership model that has worked for us over the last decade.  It's going to be a big change.  I'm sure some of the apprehension is around this.  She knows I'm insanely active and won't sit on my ass drinking Schlitz all day.  I'm like a small puppy -- I run around until I get tired, take a quick nap, and go at it again -- exercise, guitar, house cleaning, cooking, whatever.  But still, the fact remains that I won't be formally working in a job I hate like she is.  She appears to perceive this development as the beginnings of a wedge issue.

I just read RootOfGood's suggestion to discuss taking just a year off, so it doesn't seem like RE will be forever.  Maybe that will help. 

Big congrats on your retirement btw, DD!  Since it's been a few months, can you share how things are working out between you two?  Is she adjusting to your new life together?

For now I'm going to put on my Optimism Hat and assume that we'll get there too, and things will work out. 

Dr. Doom

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #51 on: May 16, 2014, 02:46:07 PM »
  I need to channel The Dude from the Big Lebowski before we have another go at this.

This tip really pulled the forum together, man.

You're out of your element ksaleh! You have no frame of reference! You're like a child!

The dude abides, man. This aggression will not stand.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

Dr. Doom

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #52 on: May 16, 2014, 02:52:07 PM »
My question to you is:  Are you sure there isn't some other really big issue you thought was resolved (or that you don't know about)???
I am not clear - are you married?  Does she want to be married?  Does she want kids?  Is there something else that is hanging around in her mind that she doesn't really want to talk about, but ER plans would make impossible?

If this is the case, then perhaps the financials are not really in order (like if she really wants kids), but she can't explain why they are not in order without really upsetting the apple cart . . .

So, we're married without children.  There are medical issues which take that question off the table, for better or worse.  It's not a sensitive subject, so no worries, just want to get the facts out there.

As for the broader question, maybe...  Impossible to know really.  It could be that she secretly wants to save enough money so we can live in a Pemberley style estate and is just too embarrassed to tell me.  (That's Mr. Darcy's mansion in Pride and Prejudice, btw.  Crap, I think I'm risking having to change my handle now that I'm referencing Austen.  Would Dr. Doom ever read about the trials and tribulations of ladies seeking security through marriage? Hell no.)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #53 on: May 16, 2014, 08:31:26 PM »
Really enjoy reading your blog, but didn't see this thread until now. Wow.

This isn't helpful at all, but damn we're married to exact opposites in this respect. My DW and I have been spending the past few days rejiggering and optimizing further, all with the goal for me to finally quit my POS job and go full-time SAHD. I need to spend more time with the numbers but we are close, even though it means adding a few years to the FIRE clock.

I can understand the insecurity aspect (sort of, I'm too analytical to not believe the math, doubly so my wife, since process improvement is her job) but the quasi-vindictive revenge/commiseration angle is just bizarre. As if you can't be a great, nay better, sounding board when you're not tired and stressed yourself?

Good luck, but take care of YOU.

ch12

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #54 on: May 16, 2014, 08:36:25 PM »
The salesperson in me feels that you haven't teased out her real objection yet... And the Oprah in me is a little concerned that she's brought up the end of your relationship a couple times now...

+1

but also, Neil Strauss taught me that people throw out ultimatums when they feel powerless. Life has taught me that his observation is true. Try to figure out what would make her feel like she has some measure of control on this situation.

deborah

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #55 on: May 16, 2014, 09:37:42 PM »
If there is a problem believing it is true, I wonder whether it would be worth you (as a couple) meeting some people who are FI already - just to have living breathing humans in front of you who can say - yes this is us - we did it. It is a pity you are not going to the Ecuador thing. I don't know if there are any in your area (as I'm in Australia, I'm sure that rules me out!). Meeting others could also give both of you some map about what the future could hold.

How do you as a couple usually work through difficult things? What are you (yourself) doing differently this time (maybe going too hard- it's hard not to when it is so important) that could be making it more difficult? What could you do now that has worked in the past in similar situations? You've probably asked yourself all these questions already - sorry to hassle you.

My brother retired at about 40, and my mother is always saying that he is a bad example to his children (especially as he has too much money and is spending it on them too unwisely - in her view), so your wife possibly has people around her or in her past who have been as negative about early retirements as my mother.

Have you mapped out in detail what you would like to do - and how she would fit in that dream? Is going part time do-able for at least part of your plan? Are you prepared to change that plan to include the things she wants to do?

My partner retired before I did. We didn't talk about the timing, but I figured that he was older and had worked longer than me, so it was fair for him to retire first. I regret a bit that I didn't retire when he did - although working an extra year certainly was beneficial in the long term financially. By the time I retired he had got used to having the house to himself during the day, and I had to work around it. He had habits and routines, which might have been different if we had both retired together. We had said that we would visit places together when we retired. That hasn't happened - once he retired he became an official in the regional overarching body for his sport, and travels to meetings twice a month. His mother and my parents are also getting frail, so we each travel separately quite often.

But, these are minor things. We are very happy - as happy as we have ever been. It could have been much worse if I had been forced to retire when he did. Maybe we wouldn't still be together. At that time I didn't know what I wanted to do in retirement. After he retired, I read a lot of books about retirement, and worked on my plans.

While I was unhappy at work, I didn't really know what to do. And there really aren't many books on the subject - they usually start and end with the financial side of retirement (which is probably much easier). Maybe your library has something useful. Certainly, the most useful I found was http://www.amazon.com/Color-Parachute-Retirement-Second-Edition/dp/158008205X

horsepoor

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #56 on: May 16, 2014, 11:22:30 PM »
Wow - a very real "misery loves company" situation.  I think it was mentioned back when you started this thread, but is there some sort of middle ground you could seek?  She apparently admits herself that her job makes her miserable, but yet, she relies on it for identity and status.  Could the soft sell be more "hey, we have as big of a stash as we need; we don't need to worry about that any more, so you could take any sort of job that would be fulfilling to your needs, but lower in stress so you come home happier at the end of the day.  The pay is no longer a concern!"  Perhaps you could then go part time for a little bit, and commit to handling every aspect of the move (not clear on if she could continue to work once the move happens?).  It doesn't seem like it has to be an all or nothing deal.  I do hope you can work it out though.

TomTX

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #57 on: May 17, 2014, 06:02:20 AM »
Perhaps simplifying the explanation would help.

"Honey,  you need to know that we have "Fuck You" money* saved at this point."

"What?" or "Huh?"

"We have enough money saved that anytime you get too stressed out with your boss, you can say 'Fuck You!' and walk out the door. Neither of us has to work anymore."

(pause/discussion)

"It's not Ferrari and yacht money, but we can move over to your sister's neighborhood anytime. Spend more time with the kids."

(pause/discussion)

"If you really don't like it after awhile, we could start working again somewhere better. Or take classes at (Local college) for awhile. Whatever. We have time and flexibility"
 


*Okay, some will argue about using the term this way, but it has more emotional impact than "Financial Independence/Retire Early" - FIRE will put an emotional spouse to sleep or shut down. "Fuck You Money" has more impact.

ender

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #58 on: May 17, 2014, 07:44:41 AM »
I'm closer to you in terms of how I want to live out the rest of my life -- pursuing other interests, building skills, slowly expanding social circles.  Similar work issues to you -- it's very rare for me to work fewer than 40 hours a week with the commute factored in.  Usually by the end of the day, the best part of my energy is gone. 

One way around this is to get up early and do "your stuff" before work ;)

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #59 on: May 17, 2014, 12:36:43 PM »
This may be a silly question, but . . .  .

Why are you still in your big expensive house, when you have no children to occupy the extra space, and you are planning a move to an area she would presumably prefer to be in (close to her sister)?  Why not do the move first?  It is something you are both planning to do anyway.

Advantages - you get the trauma of selling the present house and buying the new house over with.
  You get the advantage of reduced costs up front, and then can see the financial advantages re retirement planning.
  She gets to spend more time with her sister and sister's kids.
  She can start integrating into the new neighbourhood.
  She might start seeing activities she would like to be more involved in if she had more spare time.
  Gardening season is here, time to enjoy the new garden (if she likes gardening) or find a house with low-maintenance gardens (if she doesn't).

Disadvantages   ????

And as I am an older woman whose kid is grown up and gone (so functionally childless) and I have been retired for less than a year, you can pass on from me that there is lots to do when you no longer work.  And with her work history, there will be all sorts of people and organizations that will want to take advantage of her work skills in volunteer positions.  That has definitely happened to me.  She can imagine herself as a character in a Jane Austen novel, they did not have to work, they had income (think of "the funds"). 

Plus all the things she put on hold because she was too busy or too tired can now be done - I am busier now than when I worked, but all the busy things are things I *want* to do.  My friends and I all laugh at my angst of last year, I was so traumatized when I knew it was my last year at work.  I thought I would be so bored in the winter (summer is gardening, no problem) but I was so busy that I have projects needing me to find time to finish.  At this point I have told myself I have to say "no" to anything more.

I know Americans get ridiculous (= pathetic) holiday time and don't even take what they get, but can the two of you take a decent chunk of vacation together and just stay home and enjoy begin together with no work responsibilities for a few weeks?

Dr. Doom

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #60 on: May 17, 2014, 01:00:48 PM »
This may be a silly question, but . . .  .

Why are you still in your big expensive house,...

Yeah.  I deleted a very long post on Thursday the 15th which detailed blow-by-blow an argument that we had.  (I decided that the construction of it was too emotional and way way oversharing -- bold statements considering some of what I've written already in this thread.)

I'm comfortable sharing the skeletal details, though, and it's worthwhile for me to do it here.

The subject of the argument?  Accelerating the move.  For most of the reasons you mentioned, all of which are great.  I very much want to reduce expenses, she would like to spend more time with her sister, we both would like to spend more time with our nephews.  I don't see any downside to taking action on this immediately.

As an added bonus, the market is hot right now.  We could sell this place in a week.

The problem is that talking about moving triggered a discussion about RE because I mentioned that if we moved, I'd stop working.  (I would then be 40 miles away from work, and there's simply no way I'm doing that for even a single week..  Blah.)

So we have to resolve this issue prior to any move.  Unless I want to lie to her and say we can move and I'll keep working.  Then quit after we move.

(Ahhh, lies.  The foundation of every healthy relationship.  I'm kidding here.  I think.)

Right, she loves the Austen novels and movie adaptations. Sometimes she mentions wistfully that the girls basically have it made.  Especially post-Darcy Elizabeth.  It'd be a fun analogy to draw with her, that she can live off pounds per annum... On a related note, don't know if you watch Downton but Maggie Smith's character, Lady Grantham, at one point asks "What is a week-end?"  Because of course she has no concept of the 5-day workweek, being that she's an utterly loaded woman of wealth and privilege.  My SO could be asking the same question in a year or less.  I can't imagine she'd dislike that.

I'll share some of your story with her, and I'm glad that you're enjoying your own adventures in post-office-life.




RetiredAt63

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #61 on: May 17, 2014, 01:45:37 PM »
Seriously, I have to keep track of the days of the week - weekends are irrelevant, just two more days of the week which may or may not have activities scheduled.  Since I don't have to do errands on my days off, I can now avoid the busy times.

I dumped my cable last September, I was way to busy to watch TV, and never got it back, so I don't watch Downtown Abbey.  Please tell her that if it would help  ;-)

And now I understand the lack of move - but  I commuted 120 km each way (that is 75 miles, I'm glad I never calculated it before this)(up from 100) my last three years, into a city, so it is doable.  Especially if you could switch to part-time and avoid rush hour.  And it would show commitment on your part, you are willing to commute for a while so the move can happen. How would it affect her commute?

Other benefits - mornings are relaxed, I go to bed when I want to (might be 9:30, might be midnight), I am learning a new musical instrument, I do more volunteer activities so am definitely contributing to society, I am using my education and experience, just in different ways now.  Volunteers in a community used to be stay-at-home moms, now they are mostly retired people.  I know many who retired in their 50's, so it is not all a 65 and over crowd.

Good luck.  I don't know anyone who has been retired a while who doesn't love it.  But you have to be ready to get out and do things.  Those who are self-starters seem to do best.  My FIL sat and watched TV almost all day almost every day once he retired, that is not a life.

Actually, a lot of the people I do things with during the day are self-employed or are farmers.  Is there any sort of part-time business she would like to start up?  If you have the money to be retired, you have the money to support her in a start-up as long as the starting costs are not exorbitant.  It would also give focus to what you wanted in the new house, would she need a home office or work area?


don't know if you watch Downton but Maggie Smith's character, Lady Grantham, at one point asks "What is a week-end?"  Because of course she has no concept of the 5-day workweek, being that she's an utterly loaded woman of wealth and privilege.  My SO could be asking the same question in a year or less.  I can't imagine she'd dislike that.

I'll share some of your story with her, and I'm glad that you're enjoying your own adventures in post-office-life.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #62 on: May 17, 2014, 01:51:26 PM »
Reframe things, she would not be retired, she would be a woman of independent means. 

And what are the things you would be doing together that you can't do now?  Carrot, not stick.

Daisy

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #63 on: May 17, 2014, 03:36:38 PM »
I guess there are benefits to being single and making your own decisions in respect to FIRE.

Many times I have wondered if I would have gotten to FIRE quicker if I had a husband to help share the costs and bring in more income. But I see that being married brings a different set of concerns that I hadn't thought about. I'd have to convince my SO. I guess I always assumed the SO would be onboard...who wouldn't want to RE?

I would be doing flips if my (fictional) husband came and told me we had enough money to FIRE and I wouldn't have to go through the daily grind any more. Sigh...

Maybe it's an age-related thing? I can't remember what your ages were. I didn't have any firm plans to FIRE in my 30s. The daily grind just gets to you after more years.

Oh well, back to my soon approaching OMY situation...

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #64 on: May 18, 2014, 10:20:51 AM »
Rereading this, it seems that the issues are goals and communication, not FIRE.

At times there is a "my way or the highway" tone coming through, not sure if this is something she is perceiving or just an artifact of your communication style.  For example, you say the move would mean a 40 mile one way commute for you, that you are totally unwilling to even contemplate doing, but nothing about how it would affect her commute, or what her commute is like now.  I've done longer commutes for less positive reasons, so this does sound fairly arbitrary without more background as to why it is so totally impossible.

If I were hearing my husband say his imminent retirement is more important than the things that matter in my life (i.e. we are not really much of a team in life), I would be keeping my job so I had it when the divorce hit me.  I hope this is not the case.

Another possibility might be that she has personal/social reasons to keep this job.  Was it something she had to do a lot of education/training for that she might think is being wasted?  Is it something that she had to prove to herself she could do?  Was it something she achieved against opposition (family or society)?  These could all be reasons that she is reluctant to stop even though she is not happy at work.  Or maybe, even though there are parts that are draining, there are also aspects that she finds very rewarding. 

You two need to really open up the avenues of communication, maybe see a counselor so this can all be discussed with a third party present who can keep the conversation on track, and emotionally safe for her, and figure what barriers are holding her back from what she was originally happy to consider.

Zikoris

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #65 on: May 18, 2014, 10:30:22 AM »
Rereading this, it seems that the issues are goals and communication, not FIRE.

At times there is a "my way or the highway" tone coming through, not sure if this is something she is perceiving or just an artifact of your communication style.  For example, you say the move would mean a 40 mile one way commute for you, that you are totally unwilling to even contemplate doing, but nothing about how it would affect her commute, or what her commute is like now.  I've done longer commutes for less positive reasons, so this does sound fairly arbitrary without more background as to why it is so totally impossible.

If I were hearing my husband say his imminent retirement is more important than the things that matter in my life (i.e. we are not really much of a team in life), I would be keeping my job so I had it when the divorce hit me.  I hope this is not the case.

Another possibility might be that she has personal/social reasons to keep this job.  Was it something she had to do a lot of education/training for that she might think is being wasted?  Is it something that she had to prove to herself she could do?  Was it something she achieved against opposition (family or society)?  These could all be reasons that she is reluctant to stop even though she is not happy at work.  Or maybe, even though there are parts that are draining, there are also aspects that she finds very rewarding. 

You two need to really open up the avenues of communication, maybe see a counselor so this can all be discussed with a third party present who can keep the conversation on track, and emotionally safe for her, and figure what barriers are holding her back from what she was originally happy to consider.

I think you're overlooking the big problem here - she's trying to prevent HIM from retiring. He's said multiple times he has no issue with her continuing to work if that's what she wants, he just doesn't want to do it himself. Why on earth would he want to commute 40 miles each way every day when he has easily enough money not to?

For the life of me, I can't imagine being with someone who actively wanted me to be miserable, and laid down an ultimatum that unless I stayed miserable our relationship was over. What the heck kind of person does that to someone they supposedly love?

RetiredAt63

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #66 on: May 18, 2014, 01:03:41 PM »
@Zikoris
From original post:
It seems like we're in a great position, yeah?  But somehow it doesn't feel that way.  The issue is that my SO
a) doesn't want to retire (even though she doesn't like her job much -- she certainly doesn't love it)
but...
b) doesn't want to keep working if I am not.


So I guess what we are all wondering is: what is the dynamic here?

a.  if she doesn't like her job, and they have the money to retire, why is she not keen?  Does she like her job (just complains about it) or have points to prove in it, or does she not believe they have enough money?

b. Makes perfect sense to me, if one is retired, nice if the other is retired, they can do things together.  But deborah and her husband took a different route.  And ch12 pointed out that people throw out ultimatums when they feel powerless - so what is she feeling about all this?   


So, they need to figure out what the issues are - it is not about money, it is about a bunch of other things, which is why I think all we can do here is tell them to figure out what is going on.  That means OP needs a bunch of discussions with her, we are a money forum.


And there are always two sides to a story, we have only heard his view of their situation, so we can only make suggestions based on what he has presented.  At this point we don't know what she thinks about the whole thing.  I would love to sit down with her with a cup of tea and talk about it (and the joys of retirement), but that's not happening.

Dr. Doom

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #67 on: May 18, 2014, 01:11:08 PM »
At times there is a "my way or the highway" tone coming through, not sure if this is something she is perceiving or just an artifact of your communication style.  For example, you say the move would mean a 40 mile one way commute for you, that you are totally unwilling to even contemplate doing, but nothing about how it would affect her commute, or what her commute is like now

You're right.  I didn't mention this.  Her commute would remain roughly the same -- we looked it up together and found it'd be within 5 minutes of the current duration, give or take.  She currently takes commuter rail into the office.  After the move, she'd simply be taking a different train to the same place.

@Daisy, we're both 37 years old if that helps.

Listen, lots of people are wondering what's really happening here, and I unfortunately can't answer most of the questions because we have obvious communication issues on the subject -- she won't share exactly what she's thinking and refuses to discuss making changes to our current life paradigm.  Maybe this is due to my tone or approach, and maybe it's not.  Maybe she's dating the gas station attendant and doesn't want to be apart from him.  Who knows?  This is why ultimately we're going to need counseling to work through this.  I think for the time being we've reached the end of healthy and productive speculation, IMO, and I don't want to tread further into tabloid territory.

At any rate, I'm going to let this thread go to sleep for a while.  I'll try for an update in a few months and hopefully there will be good things to report.

On a more positive note, thanks again to everyone who provided thoughts and feedback -- it's been very helpful to read through peoples' take on the situation and I'll be following many of the suggestions.  I'm sure we'll come out of this together better than ever.





DoubleDown

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #68 on: May 18, 2014, 01:28:37 PM »
I just read RootOfGood's suggestion to discuss taking just a year off, so it doesn't seem like RE will be forever.  Maybe that will help. 

Big congrats on your retirement btw, DD!  Since it's been a few months, can you share how things are working out between you two?  Is she adjusting to your new life together?

For now I'm going to put on my Optimism Hat and assume that we'll get there too, and things will work out.

Yeah, I did the same thing with taking a year off (fortunately my work allows that). Although I consider my retirement to be likely permanent, it was a fail-safe in case I changed my mind or if we had a repeat of 2008/09 and the markets tanking. I'm not sure it made it any easier for my wife to accept -- jury's still out on that I guess.

I'd say after about 7 months, my wife now is no more nor no less apprehensive about my retirement. She's just really risk-averse, and does not understand or accept the whole notion of FI (despite 1000 explanations). She'll always throw up some bogeyman argument about how uncertain the future is and all the things that could go wrong -- or how we could have so much "more" if I kept working. Explanations of "but I don't need or want more" do not make an impression.

I like your optimistic approach. And I know a lot of people in this thread are saying "there must be something else at the root of this, it's not just about the money (or whatever)." But I'll be contrary, based on my own experience: I don't think there's necessarily anything else underlying. Some people just are not on board with the notion of FIRE, for whatever reason, and there will be no convincing them. They either accept it, or they don't.

So, I don't mean this as a downer, because I think it's empowering to exert control over the things you can: But honestly, I think you might find that you just have to make a decision on what is most important to you: FIREing without her joining you in it, or continuing to work to satisfy her needs. Sometimes people are hung up on things that are irrational (to us, at least). But once you've been over and over all the concerns, you're just left with two people who disagree, and you can then only make a choice for what is most meaningful for you.

I could think of 1000 things I might not be able to convince a spouse over, such as having or not having kids; living a frugal life frugal or not; whether or not the death penalty is just; voting Republican or Democrat; and so on. Some of those things we might just accept differences of opinion (like voting), and our relationship can continue on relatively harmoniously despite the differences. But some, like having children, are deal-breakers. You can't make the other person have kids (at least not ethically, like tricking them by not using birth control). In those cases, you can only decide which is more important: staying with the person you are with, or choosing to find a relationship with someone else who can honor your goal of having kids.

In my case, we reached an agreement that I would FIRE, and she would continue to work as her preference. So thankfully it did not come down to "it's me or FIRE, take your pick." But if it had, I probably would have concluded that I could not stay with someone who would force me to work another decade just to satisfy their need for more stuff/status/whatever. I would have resented it too much. So, I would have FIREd anyhow, and if they chose to leave me over it, so be it.

Good luck!

Daisy

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #69 on: May 18, 2014, 02:22:02 PM »
Dr. Doom - best of luck on your plans. I do hope that you take your wife's concerns into account before you make a drastic change - for the sake of your marriage. Assuming no other strange thing is happening, counseling may help. Maybe discussing with her a time frame when she thinks you could try a little time off will help.

I mentioned the age thing because I just didn't have exact plans to FIRE in my 30s. I actually wasn't financially ready for FIRE, but to be honest I may not have been emotionally ready either. It just wasn't on my radar. Depending on your career situation, it may not be desirable. I was happy and fulfilled at work in my 30s and felt a lot of respect and comraderie at my job, even though I am sure there were aspects of it at the time that I complained about. Plus, no one around me was ER-ing so it could be a bit isolating to pursue this life.

I always saved money and knew that at some point in the future (my 50s), I'd want to have enough money to do something different. It wasn't until I switched into a soul-sucking job at about the age of 40 that the spreadsheets started to kick into high gear. I knew I needed a way out.

waltworks

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #70 on: May 18, 2014, 03:28:15 PM »
Just an idea, but is there a hobby/activity that you could do as a "job" part time that would make your SO feel less upset about your "retirement"? Something that will get you out the door at the same time, give you a few co-workers or co-volunteers to bitch about occasionally, some social contacts with people you wouldn't otherwise meet, the occasional deadline to meet to keep you on your toes - ie, all the benefits of a job, without the downsides of worrying about how much money you make or what the boss thinks of you?

I guess that sort of legerdemain is a bit underhanded but if she really wants to keep working, and can't stand the thought of YOU not working... I don't see any other way you can pull it off.

That, or suggest some kind of crazy round the world trip. Or a fake kidnapping ala Larry Burns!

Seriously, this is the struggle I think a lot of people will face eventually, whether it's a partner than can't imagine a life beyond work or themselves. Good luck.

-W

NewStachian

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #71 on: May 19, 2014, 06:46:30 AM »
Maybe you don't need to "retire" but need to "change careers". Either take all the stuff you have lined up, like you mentioned, and phrase that as a new career you're pursuing (for free), or downshift to a part-time job for very little pay in the area you're looking to focus in your retirement. Maybe the slow transition will make it easier and you can pitch it as a happy medium?

That's at least how I'd approach it. I'd still highly recommend the counseling route if she's on board with it.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2014, 07:03:03 AM by NewStachian »

deborah

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #72 on: May 19, 2014, 02:26:16 PM »
You may need to pick your counselor well. I haven't been counseled about this but I would think that many would view you wanting to retire as being non-supportive etc. That might make things worse.

LadyStache

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #73 on: May 19, 2014, 06:44:46 PM »
You may need to pick your counselor well. I haven't been counseled about this but I would think that many would view you wanting to retire as being non-supportive etc. That might make things worse.

I think she's the one who's actually not being supportive here. He said she can retire or continue working when he retires; she's the one demanding that he continue working even though he has no need/desire to do so. Counseling seems like a great idea to me.

ch12

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #74 on: May 19, 2014, 10:00:49 PM »
You may need to pick your counselor well. I haven't been counseled about this but I would think that many would view you wanting to retire as being non-supportive etc. That might make things worse.

I think she's the one who's actually not being supportive here. He said she can retire or continue working when he retires; she's the one demanding that he continue working even though he has no need/desire to do so. Counseling seems like a great idea to me.

From the one side that we're seeing here, it looks like your wife is being totally unreasonable. We all want you to settle this with your wife, and the best way to do that is to get a third party.

I don't care about who is considered "supportive", everyone. I just want him to talk it out and come to a mutually acceptable agreement.

deborah

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #75 on: May 20, 2014, 04:18:31 AM »
My brother had a counseller who had so much baggage she didn't consider his point of view at all. As FI is somewhat unusual, a counseller with this sort of baggage may be worse than none.

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #76 on: May 20, 2014, 07:11:24 AM »

I like your optimistic approach. And I know a lot of people in this thread are saying "there must be something else at the root of this, it's not just about the money (or whatever)." But I'll be contrary, based on my own experience: I don't think there's necessarily anything else underlying. Some people just are not on board with the notion of FIRE, for whatever reason, and there will be no convincing them. They either accept it, or they don't.

Quote
In my case, we reached an agreement that I would FIRE, and she would continue to work as her preference. So thankfully it did not come down to "it's me or FIRE, take your pick." But if it had, I probably would have concluded that I could not stay with someone who would force me to work another decade just to satisfy their need for more stuff/status/whatever. I would have resented it too much. So, I would have FIREd anyhow, and if they chose to leave me over it, so be it.

Good luck!

I just wanted to chime in with agreement that there doesn't have to be some other motive. 

DD, I had this same problem with my spouse.  I was dying to leave work, and she just didn't believe in it, even though she's as frugal as I am.  She just thinks that if you're able to work, you should be working.  She also said the same thing your DW said, which is that she didn't want to quit working, but she would be jealous if I did.  Feeling trapped and powerless, I finally made an ultimatim of my own:  I think we should separate our finances (we've been together and had our finances combined for 22 years) since we seem to have different goals.  The result was almost instantaneous.  That was a couple of months ago, and my last day of work will be June 2.  I don't know what the "key" will be for your wife, but I did want to tell you that there is hope.  :-)

DoubleDown

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #77 on: May 20, 2014, 09:30:04 AM »
I finally made an ultimatim of my own:  I think we should separate our finances (we've been together and had our finances combined for 22 years) since we seem to have different goals.  The result was almost instantaneous.  That was a couple of months ago, and my last day of work will be June 2.  I don't know what the "key" will be for your wife, but I did want to tell you that there is hope.  :-)

That's excellent, and congratulations on your very fast-approaching retirement! And that's quite a change, separating finances after 22 years -- it's great you were able to find something that works for you both. I came into this marriage with separate finances (both previously married with kids and our own established finances), so that hasn't been an issue for us. I think my wife is like your spouse, she thinks that people (especially men) should go to a 9-5 job until some arbitrary time when they're old.

Cressida

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #78 on: May 20, 2014, 10:10:17 PM »
I finally made an ultimatim of my own:  I think we should separate our finances (we've been together and had our finances combined for 22 years) since we seem to have different goals.  The result was almost instantaneous.  That was a couple of months ago, and my last day of work will be June 2.  I don't know what the "key" will be for your wife, but I did want to tell you that there is hope.  :-)

That's excellent, and congratulations on your very fast-approaching retirement! And that's quite a change, separating finances after 22 years -- it's great you were able to find something that works for you both. I came into this marriage with separate finances (both previously married with kids and our own established finances), so that hasn't been an issue for us. I think my wife is like your spouse, she thinks that people (especially men) should go to a 9-5 job until some arbitrary time when they're old.

Gah, I hate stuff like this. Why should men be expected to work any longer than women? If everyone's contributing equally to the household then there should be no gender distinctions. (I'm female.)

Villanelle

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #79 on: May 21, 2014, 07:56:30 AM »
Could you look for a Meetup (or similar) group in your area for early retirees?  If she'd be willing to attend that (perhaps with a promise from you that it would not come with any pressure at all from you and that there would be no FIRE discussion at all afterwords, unless she initiated it), she might b able to see that this is actually something that plenty of people do, and they they continue to have full, vibrant lives after quitting their paying jobs.  I doubt this would be a total solution to your issue, but it might help her to see and associate with people who are FIREd, to see that they aren't unicorns or lazy slobs.

It does seem like there's lots of fear.  Seeing numbers on a page is one thing and only addresses the strictly financial piece.  Far is often calmed when we can see the realities of that of which we are afraid.  Even finding a MMM couple in your area to meet for dinner might be eye opening for her.

hs

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #80 on: May 25, 2014, 08:36:32 PM »
My husband was very upfront with saying that he doesn't ever want to retire. As he sees it, he is just getting to the point where he can make a difference in the world. I told him that I was very happy for him to keep working as long as work fulfilled him. I just didn't want him to feel stuck in a job where he is overworked in terms of hours and underutilized in terms of skill set. Some of his role models kept working until their eighties, because they were brilliant and making real change. We are a long ways from FIRE, but when we sat down and looked at our finances, we had about 18 months of living expenses. That is FU money, still. My husband has a few projects with university professors that he'd really like to work on more, but which pay about zip. Who do you want to work for, the guy who has made world-changing breakthroughs or the guy you call "the scum of the earth"? Having even a mini mustache can give you a lot if FU freedom.
In terms of location to move to, hire out the time and trouble of the move.  I refused to move right after we married because I was dealing with impending business disaster (it looks now like we'll be okay) and working 60 hours per week. I just couldn't take the upheaval. My husband moved in with me in what was previously my apartment. He then organized pickup of assorted junk and I only dealt with it for about 5 hours over 2 days. Let me suggest that you book a nice hotel room for both of you, and arrange for movers/junk removal/take a day off to box things yourself/move the glass yourself.
When moving, what about experimenting with location? You could always rent for a year. I would look at 3 factors: ease of commute to her work, proximity to her sister, and proximity to fun things in town. I personally pay more per square foot to live in walking distance to lots of fun things to do. My commute is 30 minutes, each way, and it sucks, but it would be much worse if I didn't have a reverse commute.

urbanista

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #81 on: May 25, 2014, 11:16:37 PM »
I finally made an ultimatim of my own:  I think we should separate our finances (we've been together and had our finances combined for 22 years) since we seem to have different goals.  The result was almost instantaneous.  That was a couple of months ago, and my last day of work will be June 2.  I don't know what the "key" will be for your wife, but I did want to tell you that there is hope.  :-)

That's excellent, and congratulations on your very fast-approaching retirement! And that's quite a change, separating finances after 22 years -- it's great you were able to find something that works for you both. I came into this marriage with separate finances (both previously married with kids and our own established finances), so that hasn't been an issue for us. I think my wife is like your spouse, she thinks that people (especially men) should go to a 9-5 job until some arbitrary time when they're old.

Gah, I hate stuff like this. Why should men be expected to work any longer than women? If everyone's contributing equally to the household then there should be no gender distinctions. (I'm female.)

The big "IF": if everyone's contributing equally to the household. That's often not the case. Women still do the bulk of housework/chores/looking after children even when both spouses work, on average[/t]

urbanista

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #82 on: May 25, 2014, 11:26:51 PM »
I finally made an ultimatim of my own:  I think we should separate our finances (we've been together and had our finances combined for 22 years) since we seem to have different goals.  The result was almost instantaneous.  That was a couple of months ago, and my last day of work will be June 2.  I don't know what the "key" will be for your wife, but I did want to tell you that there is hope.  :-)

That's excellent, and congratulations on your very fast-approaching retirement! And that's quite a change, separating finances after 22 years -- it's great you were able to find something that works for you both. I came into this marriage with separate finances (both previously married with kids and our own established finances), so that hasn't been an issue for us. I think my wife is like your spouse, she thinks that people (especially men) should go to a 9-5 job until some arbitrary time when they're old.

This is the first time you mention kids from previous marriages. What are the age of the kids?  Totally speculating here, but it may explain a lot. When I imagine myself in your wife's shoes, I can easily see why I wouldn't want you to retire while I still work. Because there is a risk that you may run out of money, and then I would have to support not only you but also your kid(s). I don't mind supporting my husband in case he FIREd and then run out of money after some years, but I definitely wouldn't want to support his kids from the previous marriage in this situation.

It may also explain why your wife doesn't want to talk about it. This is not something you can easily admit without the risk of compromising the relationship.

Cressida

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #83 on: May 25, 2014, 11:37:10 PM »
I finally made an ultimatim of my own:  I think we should separate our finances (we've been together and had our finances combined for 22 years) since we seem to have different goals.  The result was almost instantaneous.  That was a couple of months ago, and my last day of work will be June 2.  I don't know what the "key" will be for your wife, but I did want to tell you that there is hope.  :-)

That's excellent, and congratulations on your very fast-approaching retirement! And that's quite a change, separating finances after 22 years -- it's great you were able to find something that works for you both. I came into this marriage with separate finances (both previously married with kids and our own established finances), so that hasn't been an issue for us. I think my wife is like your spouse, she thinks that people (especially men) should go to a 9-5 job until some arbitrary time when they're old.

Gah, I hate stuff like this. Why should men be expected to work any longer than women? If everyone's contributing equally to the household then there should be no gender distinctions. (I'm female.)

The big "IF": if everyone's contributing equally to the household. That's often not the case. Women still do the bulk of housework/chores/looking after children even when both spouses work, on average[/t]

Oh, so true. (Yes, "on average," I know.) I do stand behind my statement, but of course it's too often true that we retreat to traditional gender roles and said statement then doesn't apply. I believe that if we didn't have traditional gender roles, all of these spousal arguments would become somewhat less fraught. Too bad we're nowhere near there.

I feel strongly about this issue so I was compelled to respond, but I do recognize that it's not totally relevant to the OP, so apologies for the slight derailment.

TomTX

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #84 on: May 26, 2014, 08:23:51 AM »

The big "IF": if everyone's contributing equally to the household. That's often not the case. Women still do the bulk of housework/chores/looking after children even when both spouses work, on average[/t]

If I recall the corollary study - the men who did more housework ended up with less sexy time with the wife.

Daleth

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #85 on: May 26, 2014, 08:52:00 AM »

The big "IF": if everyone's contributing equally to the household. That's often not the case. Women still do the bulk of housework/chores/looking after children even when both spouses work, on average[/t]

If I recall the corollary study - the men who did more housework ended up with less sexy time with the wife.

I highly doubt that... are you familiar with this line of calendars: http://www.amazon.com/Women-Cambridge-Womens-Pornography-Cooperative/dp/0811855511

:)

iris lily

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #86 on: May 26, 2014, 09:00:36 AM »
OP, this is one of the best thread on the MMM site. I LOVE these repeated Austen references, living on "funds per annum" indeed! And you are right that the aristocracy always considered "the weekend" vulgar because who among the privileged had to concern themselves with that? On Sunday you went to church, otherwise, the days blended.


I think your insight into your wife's head is pretty damned interesting, good for you. This is a brilliant summary:

We've always been a tight knit team, the two of us, fighting against The Man and saving a lot of money while simultaneously accepting that the majority of our lives is spent doing Shit We Don't Want To Do.  We commiserate, tell war stories, support each other, and march onward through battle to death.

Single FIRE effectively breaks a partnership model that has worked for us over the last decade.  It's going to be a big change.  I'm sure some of the apprehension is around this.  She knows I'm insanely active and won't sit on my ass drinking Schlitz all day.  I'm like a small puppy -- I run around until I get tired, take a quick nap, and go at it again -- exercise, guitar, house cleaning, cooking, whatever.  But still, the fact remains that I won't be formally working in a job I hate like she is.  She appears to perceive this development as the beginnings of a wedge issue.


I wish you well in getting over this impasse.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 09:04:26 AM by iris lily »

iris lily

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #87 on: May 26, 2014, 09:10:30 AM »

This is the first time you mention kids from previous marriages. ...
It may also explain why your wife doesn't want to talk about it. This is not something you can easily admit without the risk of compromising the relationship.

Thud.

yep, this is new information. OP, you BOTH have children? What?

When you said that you didn't have children, I truly thought "the guy doesn't have children."

tmac

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #88 on: May 26, 2014, 10:01:24 AM »

This is the first time you mention kids from previous marriages. ...
It may also explain why your wife doesn't want to talk about it. This is not something you can easily admit without the risk of compromising the relationship.

Thud.

yep, this is new information. OP, you BOTH have children? What?

When you said that you didn't have children, I truly thought "the guy doesn't have children."

Hold the phone.

Different poster. OP is Dr. Doom, not DoubleDown.

iris lily

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #89 on: May 26, 2014, 03:26:16 PM »


Hold the phone.

Different poster. OP is Dr. Doom, not DoubleDown.
a-ha! thanks for this.

Back to our regularly scheduled thread...

Dr. Doom

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #90 on: August 20, 2014, 08:47:53 AM »

It's been three months since I've posted on this and I wanted to share an update.

When I last left the thread, I'd mentioned the plan was to try counseling in an attempt to improve our communication overall.  The idea was that if we're communicating better, we can talk about FIRE more openly and without meltdowns.

Toward the end of May I suggested counseling and she was extremely resistant to it.  She wanted to know the underlying reason I thought we had communication issues.  I admitted that it was due to our struggles discussing "the early retirement thing."   She asked if I thought our communication was okay in other areas, and I said, with honesty, yes.

To sidestep the counseling request, she agreed to talk to me about FIRE once a week for half an hour, Sunday after dinner, as if we had an appointment with someone. 

Our sessions have been pretty good.  We've talked over a whole range of topics at this point including some rehash of finances and the driver behind FIRE and what I'm planning on doing with my time and health care and why I would ideally like to do it together rather than just me ditching work while she's still grinding.
Also I’ve uncovered at least two of the reasons why she’d been so reluctant to FIRE with me.

1)   We both grew up on the poor side of things but I grew up “US” poor and she grew up “Portuguese Village” poor.  There’s an underlying difference in hardship.  I went through social struggles related to wearing hand-me-downs at school and using meal-tickets to get lunches.  But she went through physical struggles:  really cold nights with no heat, days when there wasn’t enough to eat.  Part of her simply fears being poor again.  Working and pulling a good income is a way for her to combat the internal voices which sometimes suggest that not working could result in a return to those conditions.  See?  I’m not poor!  I’m earning all of this money and saving it! I’ll never be uncomfortable again!  And the voice shuts the hell up.

Going over the finances a few more times has helped her to feel more comfortable on this end of things.  We've oversaved by quite a bit, will be drawing 3%ish off annually with a paid-off hosue, and have decent buffers built into the plan.

2)   She’s a really loyal person.  In her current role, she hasn’t had a backup in years and worried about the company’s ability to survive without her.  In other words, anytime she thought about leaving she felt really guilty.  This has also been at least partially fixed – they hired someone in June to shadow her and the cross-training is going well.

But the real breakthrough came last weekend because she had to work a whole lot of hours unexpectedly to oversee troubleshooting efforts on a whole bunch of technical issues for her company.   We had to skip an anticipated visit with our nephews because of this. Also, it’s the third weekend in a row that this has happened.  She’s starting to believe that unexpected work of this kind is the 'new normal' for her role.

A bit of explanation is probably required here:  In June she was promoted at work.
I told her she probably didn't want to be promoted, for all of the reasons you would expect I might advise against it (a disproportionate rise in responsibility and hours as compared to the increase in compensation, less technical work and more idiotic politics, have to be more careful what you say in the office, etc -- the list goes on and on) but she took it anyway.

And she's unfortunately really unhappy in her role.  She asked to be demoted last week and her request was denied.  Her hours have shot up.  Expectations have risen. So she suddenly really wants out.   

I also asked her to read my blog, where I'm documenting the details of my 14+ history of employment, and she's no longer wondering why I don't want to work anymore.  She said the posts clear things up in a way that just casually griping about work in the evenings has failed to do so, because they cover so much ground and much of the content is all too true and, despite my feeble attempts at humor, kind of depressing.

At any rate, yesterday she comes home from work with the news that that her bonus is dispersed in March (as if I don't already know this...)  And she says : "I'm with you.  Let's do it.  I'll take the final check, and we can downsize.  Let's start planning on making this a reality.  I don't want to look for another job for a while.  Maybe ever.   I want to just leave this <company> forever and have some fun before we go toes up."  There's real excitement in her voice.
Maybe that's just the burnout talking, but for now, she's fully onboard.  She also figures that cross-training on the new hire will be mostly complete by March which will reduce the guilt of leaving the job behind.

I probably don’t need to state this, but I’ll do it anyway:  I’m pretty happy/relieved/excited about these developments. 

As far as I'm concerned, this is the last piece of our RE puzzle. 

March 2015, here we come.

Thanks again for all of the suggestions -- I used many ideas in our discussions.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #91 on: August 20, 2014, 08:59:18 AM »
Happy for you Dr.

Very cool.

Villanelle

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #92 on: August 20, 2014, 09:01:20 AM »
Congratulations!  That's such wonderful news!

I would advise her to make sure no one gets a hint that she's considering leaving, until she has that bonus check in her hot little hands.  It wouldn't be all that unusual for them to let her go, if they know she's planning on leaving anyway, in order to save themselves the bonus $.

rujancified

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #93 on: August 20, 2014, 09:05:49 AM »
Awesome update! Love to see the great communication most of all!

Grid

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #94 on: August 20, 2014, 09:29:26 AM »
Wow.  That's amazing news!  Congrats!

Nancy

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #95 on: August 20, 2014, 09:53:05 AM »
Congratulations!! I really enjoy your blog. You're quite funny.

Eric

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #96 on: August 20, 2014, 10:20:37 AM »
Wow, that is great news Dr. Doom!  I'm happy for you and I'm sure that doing it together will be much more rewarding.

I also asked her to read my blog, where I'm documenting the details of my 14+ history of employment, and she's no longer wondering why I don't want to work anymore.  She said the posts clear things up in a way that just casually griping about work in the evenings has failed to do so, because they cover so much ground and much of the content is all too true and, despite my feeble attempts at humor, kind of depressing.

I can't say I'm surprised that this is what sold it for her to understand why you have to get out.  Your detailed work posts are written with such detail and style that they make me frustrated for you.

dude

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #97 on: August 20, 2014, 11:16:27 AM »
Congrats!  I hope my wife has a similar epiphany one day, though she knows full well I'm ER'ing on my timetable whether she wants me to or not!

okashira

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #98 on: August 20, 2014, 11:46:01 AM »

It's been three months since I've posted on this and I wanted to share an update.

When I last left the thread, I'd mentioned the plan was to try counseling in an attempt to improve our communication overall.  The idea was that if we're communicating better, we can talk about FIRE more openly and without meltdowns.

Toward the end of May I suggested counseling and she was extremely resistant to it.  She wanted to know the underlying reason I thought we had communication issues.  I admitted that it was due to our struggles discussing "the early retirement thing."   She asked if I thought our communication was okay in other areas, and I said, with honesty, yes.

To sidestep the counseling request, she agreed to talk to me about FIRE once a week for half an hour, Sunday after dinner, as if we had an appointment with someone. 

Our sessions have been pretty good.  We've talked over a whole range of topics at this point including some rehash of finances and the driver behind FIRE and what I'm planning on doing with my time and health care and why I would ideally like to do it together rather than just me ditching work while she's still grinding.
Also I’ve uncovered at least two of the reasons why she’d been so reluctant to FIRE with me.

1)   We both grew up on the poor side of things but I grew up “US” poor and she grew up “Portuguese Village” poor.  There’s an underlying difference in hardship.  I went through social struggles related to wearing hand-me-downs at school and using meal-tickets to get lunches.  But she went through physical struggles:  really cold nights with no heat, days when there wasn’t enough to eat.  Part of her simply fears being poor again.  Working and pulling a good income is a way for her to combat the internal voices which sometimes suggest that not working could result in a return to those conditions.  See?  I’m not poor!  I’m earning all of this money and saving it! I’ll never be uncomfortable again!  And the voice shuts the hell up.

Going over the finances a few more times has helped her to feel more comfortable on this end of things.  We've oversaved by quite a bit, will be drawing 3%ish off annually with a paid-off hosue, and have decent buffers built into the plan.

2)   She’s a really loyal person.  In her current role, she hasn’t had a backup in years and worried about the company’s ability to survive without her.  In other words, anytime she thought about leaving she felt really guilty.  This has also been at least partially fixed – they hired someone in June to shadow her and the cross-training is going well.

But the real breakthrough came last weekend because she had to work a whole lot of hours unexpectedly to oversee troubleshooting efforts on a whole bunch of technical issues for her company.   We had to skip an anticipated visit with our nephews because of this. Also, it’s the third weekend in a row that this has happened.  She’s starting to believe that unexpected work of this kind is the 'new normal' for her role.

A bit of explanation is probably required here:  In June she was promoted at work.
I told her she probably didn't want to be promoted, for all of the reasons you would expect I might advise against it (a disproportionate rise in responsibility and hours as compared to the increase in compensation, less technical work and more idiotic politics, have to be more careful what you say in the office, etc -- the list goes on and on) but she took it anyway.

And she's unfortunately really unhappy in her role.  She asked to be demoted last week and her request was denied.  Her hours have shot up.  Expectations have risen. So she suddenly really wants out.   

I also asked her to read my blog, where I'm documenting the details of my 14+ history of employment, and she's no longer wondering why I don't want to work anymore.  She said the posts clear things up in a way that just casually griping about work in the evenings has failed to do so, because they cover so much ground and much of the content is all too true and, despite my feeble attempts at humor, kind of depressing.

At any rate, yesterday she comes home from work with the news that that her bonus is dispersed in March (as if I don't already know this...)  And she says : "I'm with you.  Let's do it.  I'll take the final check, and we can downsize.  Let's start planning on making this a reality.  I don't want to look for another job for a while.  Maybe ever.   I want to just leave this <company> forever and have some fun before we go toes up."  There's real excitement in her voice.
Maybe that's just the burnout talking, but for now, she's fully onboard.  She also figures that cross-training on the new hire will be mostly complete by March which will reduce the guilt of leaving the job behind.

I probably don’t need to state this, but I’ll do it anyway:  I’m pretty happy/relieved/excited about these developments. 

As far as I'm concerned, this is the last piece of our RE puzzle. 

March 2015, here we come.

Thanks again for all of the suggestions -- I used many ideas in our discussions.

Amazing update!!
I had not followed this thread before. I read the whole thing today, let me tell you, I almost had goosebumps after reading this final updates. Congrats.
Hope she comes up with a "FU Story," to share as her final offering to mustachianism! ;-)

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Reader Case Study: Convince SO that I can FIRE (with or without her)
« Reply #99 on: August 20, 2014, 11:47:44 AM »
YESSSSSSS!!!