Author Topic: Unique situation  (Read 11962 times)

climatechanger

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Unique situation
« on: May 20, 2014, 10:49:18 AM »
I am 35 yrs old, married with no children.  My wife is disabled and brings in $45000 per yr from long term disability and CPP ( from Canada).  I am self employed and bring in between 40 - 70 yearly.  We live a simple life and have always lived WELL under our means.  I track our spending closely and we only spend between $35-40,000 a yr and that is not worrying about a budget.  We have no debt, our above average house ( around $450000 ) is paid for, and have $215000 invested in equities. 

My question is - should I be working?  We seem to have no problem living within my wife's disability income without even trying. That income is very secure ( unfortunately ) Am I just saving for savings sake? Or should I save longer? Our new wheelchair accessible house I built is now paid off so I can save a lot - fast.   But why bother if its not needed.  Being childless, I would like to budget to die close to broke as possible.

What should I do?

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2014, 10:57:43 AM »
I don't know if I would call 35-40K for two living simply, but sure, why not?

Even if the disability stream is disrupted down the road, by then the stash would have compounded quite a bit.

Or, work PT to get a little extra money doing something you enjoy independent of remuneration.

matchewed

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2014, 10:58:19 AM »
You need to start with the goal. What is the goal? If it is dying with as close to $0 as possible then that is easy, become destitute. I'm exaggerating a bit with that last point but what you need to plan for is life now and life in the future. When you're dead who gives a shit about the money? Focus on the live stuff first because there are plenty of things to do with your money for when you die. So what is the plan for life now and for the next sixty years? How will you afford that life? What happens if something happens to you but not your wife, vice versa?

BFGirl

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2014, 11:16:40 AM »
If you aren't totally miserable in your job, you might want to see what you can save over the next few years.  I don't want to be a downer, but what happens to you if your wife dies or decides to divorce you?  You will have some assets, but you have no source of income and $215,000 (or 1/2 in case of divorce)  may not generate enough income for you to live on.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 11:20:58 AM by BFGirl »

SDREMNGR

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2014, 11:42:01 AM »
If you are dependent upon her disability and she dies, then you are screwed.  I would pursue FI until your savings will pay for you without your wife's disability payments.

socaso

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2014, 11:43:17 AM »
Depends on how much you like your job and whether there is something else you'd rather be doing. Personally if I didn't have a good idea with what I'd want to do with my free time once retired I'd keep working and saving until I had a clear picture of what my retired life was going to be like. My dad retired early because he was fed up with his job and the first couple of years were a bit boring for him but he's so busy now I hardly ever talk to him!

climatechanger

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2014, 11:48:44 AM »
If you are dependent upon her disability and she dies, then you are screwed.  I would pursue FI until your savings will pay for you without your wife's disability payments.

No, I would have $215,000 + $450,000 house + $130,000  life insurance = $795,000    I wouldn't consider that screwed!

climatechanger

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2014, 11:54:26 AM »
I don't know if I would call 35-40K for two living simply,

I guess wrong choice of words on mustachian forum.  In all honesty we buy what ever we want.  But that want only causes us to spend 30% of our income when our society in general prefers to spend 130% of the income.

CommonCents

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2014, 12:33:04 PM »
If you are dependent upon her disability and she dies, then you are screwed.  I would pursue FI until your savings will pay for you without your wife's disability payments.

No, I would have $215,000 + $450,000 house + $130,000  life insurance = $795,000    I wouldn't consider that screwed!

No, but unless you sell your house and downsize, you can't consider that  for producing an income.  So with $215K+$130K and using 4% rate, it'd throw off $13,800 per year.  Can you live on that by yourself?  If not, I'd keep working.

(Also, you may want to rethink the costs of carrying insurance on your wife and see if you should keep it.  Also keep in mind it'll get more expensive to maintain as she ages, so what works now for you may not later.)

Cpa Cat

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2014, 12:52:20 PM »
I lean toward working longer, for the reasons mentioned above: divorce/death.

However, since you're self-employed, could you just work a marginal amount? Set your own hours? How easy would it be for you to resume working if you left the job completely for a decade or two? Could you instead cut down to a $15,000 sort of gig where you're working part time and keeping your foot in the door and your skills fresh?

climatechanger

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2014, 01:38:34 PM »

However, since you're self-employed, could you just work a marginal amount? Set your own hours? How easy would it be for you to resume working if you left the job completely for a decade or two? Could you instead cut down to a $15,000 sort of gig where you're working part time and keeping your foot in the door and your skills fresh?

I am trying to do that, unfortunately there are a lot of overhead expenses to cover in my trade - meaning working less increase the amount of work ( percentage wise )I have to do basically for free just to be able to work less.  Which also makes the books look bad if I decide to sell business.

Isn't the point of the mustachian lifestyle to retire as soon as possible - not just  to retire when your unhappy with work.   I like my work, but more - I like spending time with my wife, outdoors, volunteering in the community.  There is always something better to do with your time than work, even if you love it.  Unless it is so important in directly making others lives better that you'd do it even if you weren't getting paid.

I have always lived my financial life by planning for the worst and hoping for the best.  Divorce would be the worst financially.  But do I really need to spend by time saving twice as much as I need simply in case we split, which is so not on our radar.  If it was going to happen it would have 8 yrs ago when she got sick.  She is happier when I'm home.  Shouldn't that decrease the odds of the worst if I retire?

MsSindy

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2014, 01:54:14 PM »
If you are dependent upon her disability and she dies, then you are screwed.  I would pursue FI until your savings will pay for you without your wife's disability payments.

No, I would have $215,000 + $450,000 house + $130,000  life insurance = $795,000    I wouldn't consider that screwed!

In addition, you would need to figure in what you could sell the business for.  I would look at worse/best case scenario and make your judgement from there.  If you have a solid marriage and other than the disability, your wife is in relatively good health, plus what you could sell the business for, it looks like you'd have a pretty good cushion and low risk.  In worse case, your wife passes early and you still have sizeable assets - maybe enough to live on if you've sold the business, and I presume you would/could downsize the house.  So it does seem that you have a fair bit of cushion.  Also, if you HAD to earn money sometime in the future, could you?  by doing consulting, contracting or the like - just something to make up any shortfall?

CommonCents

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2014, 01:55:45 PM »
It's not about retiring as soon as you can, it is also about preparing for the future.  Many on this board could retire immediately - but not permanently, until they build their stash to the magical 4% figure (in combination with pensions or part-time work per their plan), which it doesn't seem like you've done.

Right now, we've pointed out some potential flaws with proceeding as you've suggested as it is riskier than continuing to work until you build a stash sufficient to support yourself.  It is possible her payments could be cut, she could die, or you could divorce, in which case, your assets are insufficient.

I would advise someone solely dependent on one pension the same way - run the numbers, and make sure the other person could survive if the pension earner dropped dead one day.  If they can't, because they'd have reduced survivor's benefit, I'd advise to keep working until they can be self-supporting with their stash.  You'd get no survivor benefits, so you're even worse off.

Honestly, I think your post below suggests a certain ostrich-like behavior, that you don't want to contemplate the possibility of bad events happening and just want a certain answer that agrees with you.  But particularly with her disabled, her health is compromised and she very well could die early before you.

totoro

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2014, 02:05:50 PM »
How much could you sell your business for? 

If you sold and had to work again could you work for someone else without the self-employed trade overhead?  Could you go to someplace like Fort McMurray if need be and earn a load of money in a short amount of time?

Could you suite your home if you needed extra money?

How much do you want to stop working?  Would it increase your quality of life and that of your wife's significantly?

It sounds like your wife's disability is something like MS.   I know that if my partner had these symptoms I probably would want more flexibility with work.

stpetesean

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2014, 09:06:28 PM »
If I were in your position I would stop working and enjoy life with my wife.

catccc

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2014, 09:19:20 PM »
If you are dependent upon her disability and she dies, then you are screwed.  I would pursue FI until your savings will pay for you without your wife's disability payments.

No, I would have $215,000 + $450,000 house + $130,000  life insurance = $795,000    I wouldn't consider that screwed!

No, but unless you sell your house and downsize, you can't consider that  for producing an income.  So with $215K+$130K and using 4% rate, it'd throw off $13,800 per year.  Can you live on that by yourself?  If not, I'd keep working.

(Also, you may want to rethink the costs of carrying insurance on your wife and see if you should keep it.  Also keep in mind it'll get more expensive to maintain as she ages, so what works now for you may not later.)

This.  I would keep working.  $345K is not much of a nest egg when you spend 40K/yr.

climatechanger

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #16 on: May 21, 2014, 06:34:49 AM »
How much could you sell your business for? 

If you sold and had to work again could you work for someone else without the self-employed trade overhead?  Could you go to someplace like Fort McMurray if need be and earn a load of money in a short amount of time?

Could you suite your home if you needed extra money?

How much do you want to stop working?  Would it increase your quality of life and that of your wife's significantly?

It sounds like your wife's disability is something like MS.   I know that if my partner had these symptoms I probably would want more flexibility with work.

Realistically I could only get about $20 -30,000 for the business.  I have a partner now which does give me a reasonable amount of flexibility but if my wife wakes up tomorrow and can't use her legs at all or is blind ( she does have MS, so anything is possible ) I couldn't expect my partner to pick up that much slack. 

Yes I could always go to work for someone else.  Being a HVAC tradesman, companies are always hiring. 

The house should be factored in the the equation. I live in the country so renting out a suite is not too likely but  I could easily downsize by $200,000 in my area. 

BFGirl

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #17 on: May 21, 2014, 07:13:41 AM »
I am so sorry that she has MS.  It is a devastating disease.  If you haven't done it already, you should probably get some powers of attorney done so you can take care of financial matters in the event she is unable to.  Additionally, at some point she may have to have nursing home care if you can no longer care for her in the home.  You should probably speak with someone to get some advice on disability/Medicaid planning.  There may be some ways to protect your assets so that a portion of them wouldn't have to be spent down in order for her to qualify for Medicaid.

Unless you just want to spend time with your wife and don't care if you have to start over financially, I wouldn't quit your job unless you have some sort of plan in place.

CarDude

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2014, 07:26:27 AM »
If I were in your position I would stop working and enjoy life with my wife.

Completely agreed. Trust me; you don't get these years back.

matchewed

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2014, 07:35:15 AM »
How much could you sell your business for? 

If you sold and had to work again could you work for someone else without the self-employed trade overhead?  Could you go to someplace like Fort McMurray if need be and earn a load of money in a short amount of time?

Could you suite your home if you needed extra money?

How much do you want to stop working?  Would it increase your quality of life and that of your wife's significantly?

It sounds like your wife's disability is something like MS.   I know that if my partner had these symptoms I probably would want more flexibility with work.

Realistically I could only get about $20 -30,000 for the business.  I have a partner now which does give me a reasonable amount of flexibility but if my wife wakes up tomorrow and can't use her legs at all or is blind ( she does have MS, so anything is possible ) I couldn't expect my partner to pick up that much slack. 

Yes I could always go to work for someone else.  Being a HVAC tradesman, companies are always hiring. 

The house should be factored in the the equation. I live in the country so renting out a suite is not too likely but  I could easily downsize by $200,000 in my area.

Regarding the home. The house can only be factored into the equation if you plan on selling it for the value you've quoted or turning it into an income stream. Other than that it shouldn't be counted as something you can draw income from for the purposes of deciding to FIRE or not. It is just a house, it doesn't produce any cash for you unless you sell it or rent it. Remove it from the equation unless you plan on doing one of those things. And I mean plan on it, not keep it as a maybe possibility.

BFGirl

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #20 on: May 21, 2014, 07:36:58 AM »
If I were in your position I would stop working and enjoy life with my wife.

Completely agreed. Trust me; you don't get these years back.

While I agree with this sentiment, a few more years of savings and some disability planning might be able to extend the time she can remain in the home.  If at some point she loses mobility and can't transfer herself from a wheelchair, then having the financial means to install a lift system in the house could allow her to live in her own home longer and have a greater sense of independence and thus a better quality of life.  I think her quality of life in the latter stages of her disease should be factored into the decision.  I see this EVERY day at my job and those who have the financial resources to pay for equipment and skilled nursing care in the home generally have a much better quality of life than those who are in nursing homes.

totoro

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #21 on: May 21, 2014, 07:40:40 AM »
Thanks for the additional information.

The MS could get worse, but it also could get a lot better.  I have a friend with it and have seen her go into remission with few relapses.  She was also able to have a child. 

Sorry to be so direct, but the biggest risk to your financial future is divorce.  That is true for all married couples looking to retire early though and if you are happily committed the risk may be small.  Just something to keep in mind because if you stop working then get divorced you will have to go back to work again.

I guess that brings up the MS again because it can be stressful for a couple to deal with a long-term disability.  You may both be in a good place with this, but if you are having high stress because of the illness it might be good to look for some solutions like support groups/counselling and home support.

If you stop working now this is going to affect your CPP.  You might want to look into that - you can phone the government and talk to them if you have your SIN and tax return info from last year.

The great thing is you have options.  Your wife was very lucky to have long-term disability that is not time limited.  You are in a position to stop working now if you are not concerned about divorce knowing that if it occurs you are employable.

The questions now are how much do you want to stop working, will you will be stressed without a bigger safety net, and what would you do with your time if you did quit?  If you would just love to stop working and have lots of ways to fill your time and it would increase quality of life for both of you I would be tempted to take it.

For the posters wondering about medical coverage, the OP is in Canada and MS and medically necessary treatments are covered through our national health plan.  Treatments which might not be covered are experimental ones or drugs that have not been approved.  Some people go overseas for a treatment for MS which removes plaque from neck veins and this is not covered (or wasn't when my friend looked into it).

totoro

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #22 on: May 21, 2014, 07:46:33 AM »
If I were in your position I would stop working and enjoy life with my wife.

Completely agreed. Trust me; you don't get these years back.

While I agree with this sentiment, a few more years of savings and some disability planning might be able to extend the time she can remain in the home.  If at some point she loses mobility and can't transfer herself from a wheelchair, then having the financial means to install a lift system in the house could allow her to live in her own home longer and have a greater sense of independence and thus a better quality of life.  I think her quality of life in the latter stages of her disease should be factored into the decision.  I see this EVERY day at my job and those who have the financial resources to pay for equipment and skilled nursing care in the home generally have a much better quality of life than those who are in nursing homes.

Again, this is Canada.  There is funding for this type of equipment.  It is governed provincially and coverage ranges but it is possible to get this covered by a grant in my province if you have need.  In addition, there are grants for adapting your home for a disability.

BFGirl

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2014, 07:47:29 AM »
Sorry,  I had forgotten this was Canada.

CarDude

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2014, 07:52:10 AM »
If I were in your position I would stop working and enjoy life with my wife.

Completely agreed. Trust me; you don't get these years back.

While I agree with this sentiment, a few more years of savings and some disability planning might be able to extend the time she can remain in the home.  If at some point she loses mobility and can't transfer herself from a wheelchair, then having the financial means to install a lift system in the house could allow her to live in her own home longer and have a greater sense of independence and thus a better quality of life.  I think her quality of life in the latter stages of her disease should be factored into the decision.  I see this EVERY day at my job and those who have the financial resources to pay for equipment and skilled nursing care in the home generally have a much better quality of life than those who are in nursing homes.

Again, this is Canada.  There is funding for this type of equipment.  It is governed provincially and coverage ranges but it is possible to get this covered by a grant in my province if you have need.  In addition, there are grants for adapting your home for a disability.

This is precisely why I was encouraging a fellow on a different thread to stay in Sweden rather than move back to the US. Most posters on this board are from the US, and are used to having to struggle and pay for essential life services piecemeal since they aren't used to social safety nets, which all of our fellow rich countries implement. Most of the posts in this thread have been variations on the theme of foregoing retirement and irreplaceable time with a spouse in declining health out of fears of financial ruin, and this fear just isn't as visceral in countries where people are used to taking care of each other. And while I understand the reasons behind that thought process (I do live in the US, after all), it makes me sad.

BFGirl

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2014, 08:02:11 AM »
If I were in your position I would stop working and enjoy life with my wife.

Completely agreed. Trust me; you don't get these years back.

While I agree with this sentiment, a few more years of savings and some disability planning might be able to extend the time she can remain in the home.  If at some point she loses mobility and can't transfer herself from a wheelchair, then having the financial means to install a lift system in the house could allow her to live in her own home longer and have a greater sense of independence and thus a better quality of life.  I think her quality of life in the latter stages of her disease should be factored into the decision.  I see this EVERY day at my job and those who have the financial resources to pay for equipment and skilled nursing care in the home generally have a much better quality of life than those who are in nursing homes.

Again, this is Canada.  There is funding for this type of equipment.  It is governed provincially and coverage ranges but it is possible to get this covered by a grant in my province if you have need.  In addition, there are grants for adapting your home for a disability.

This is precisely why I was encouraging a fellow on a different thread to stay in Sweden rather than move back to the US. Most posters on this board are from the US, and are used to having to struggle and pay for essential life services piecemeal since they aren't used to social safety nets, which all of our fellow rich countries implement. Most of the posts in this thread have been variations on the theme of foregoing retirement and irreplaceable time with a spouse in declining health out of fears of financial ruin, and this fear just isn't as visceral in countries where people are used to taking care of each other. And while I understand the reasons behind that thought process (I do live in the US, after all), it makes me sad.

Yes, I see heartbreaking cases everyday in the USA where there are few if any resources to help those truly in need.

totoro

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2014, 08:22:23 AM »
Yes, health care should be covered as a basic human right in my opinion.  I have to admit I don't really understand why this is not covered in the same way in the US.  It just does not make sense to me.

skunkfunk

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2014, 08:43:33 AM »
Retire now. Worst case scenario you aren't screwed, you can sell that house and move to a low COL area if the worst happens. 800k is plenty to live on if you move somewhere cheap.

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2014, 08:52:59 AM »
Retire.

The "Rule of 72" is helpful.  Take 72 and divide by 7 (7% being a theoretical stock appreciation rate).  You get 10, which means every 10 years your stocks should double.  If you use a 6% rate it takes 12 years.  So in 10-12 years the equities could be worth around $430K.  If you add in 30K now from the sale of the business that'll get you to  $490K.  In 20-24 years that could be $980K.  At that point you're within real close proximity of having enough to retire on your current equities.  in 30-36 years you could be at $1,960K which will cover your retirement years very well, you'll be 65-70. At that point you could be getting OAS, partial CPP and pulling from your funds. Consult a trusted financial adviser for confirmation please, don't just trust random internet guy.

As a neglected safety margin I did not calculate the benefits of downsizing.  Nor did I include the $5000 you're currently getting from your wife in excess of your expenses. I presume the extra is going into TFSA though and building additional buffers.

Hopefully your wife lives a long time, then financially you'll be fine (her payments and your equities will be great).  If not though you'll need to rejoin the workforce in your prime working years (45-55) which won't be a problem.  With all respect possible if the worst happens then returning to work won't be your biggest problem.

Cpa Cat

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #29 on: May 21, 2014, 08:58:06 AM »
If my husband as diagnosed with MS, I would quit my job instantly.

It could get better, it could get worse. The most likely scenario is that there will good times and bad times. I would want to take full advantage of the good times and support my spouse during the bad times.

climatechanger

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #30 on: May 21, 2014, 05:46:01 PM »
Retire.

The "Rule of 72" is helpful.  Take 72 and divide by 7 (7% being a theoretical stock appreciation rate).  You get 10, which means every 10 years your stocks should double.  If you use a 6% rate it takes 12 years.  So in 10-12 years the equities could be worth around $430K.  If you add in 30K now from the sale of the business that'll get you to  $490K.  In 20-24 years that could be $980K.  At that point you're within real close proximity of having enough to retire on your current equities.  in 30-36 years you could be at $1,960K which will cover your retirement years very well, you'll be 65-70. At that point you could be getting OAS, partial CPP and pulling from your funds.

My wife former employer (provincial government) also contributes to both her and their side of her pension contributions, so when she turns 65 she'll switch over from LTD to full pension of $28,000 before adjusting for inflation.


If you stop working now this is going to affect your CPP.  You might want to look into that - you can phone the government and talk to them if you have your SIN and tax return info from last year.


I didn't think about that.  Thanks.  I'll give them a call.

theSchmett

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #31 on: May 22, 2014, 03:57:45 AM »
If you are self employed but don't REALLY need the money, take that income and hire some people to work under you. Manage them, train them, and grow the business until it makes more money, and it will run without you.

That's what I would do.


NewStachian

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Re: Unique situation
« Reply #32 on: May 22, 2014, 04:37:36 AM »
Isn't the point of the mustachian lifestyle to retire as soon as possible - not just  to retire when your unhappy with work. 

The point of a Mustachian lifestyle is to optimize happiness by decoupling it from spending. I think the question is how do you want to spend your days? Would you rather not work and spend them with your wife? If so, then I'd retire now. You can always start something down the road if you ever lose her disability income stream. You might not be instantaneously FIRE at that point, but as you pointed out you'd be in a good financial situation.

If you enjoy your job, then keep doing it. Again, it all comes down to how you want to spend your time. I think you can go either way on this one fairly easily.