Author Topic: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?  (Read 3345 times)

SimpleCycle

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Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« on: October 04, 2019, 01:17:32 PM »
Edit: This post is from October 2019, update at the bottom.

I'm looking for some feedback on our current situation, and advice from anyone who has been where I am before.

DW (42) and I (39) have two children (2 and 4).  She is a data scientist earning big money, and I am a healthcare analyst earning about a third of what she earns.  I've been FIRE-curious and frugal for a long time - I was a poster on the Simple Living Forums in the early 2000s.  Part of what has motivated this is that I've never found my place in the workplace.  DW on the other hand is very career motivated and doesn't have much interest in the RE part of FIRE, even though she understands and endorses the benefits of being FI.

We've always saved a lot, but we've never closed in on FIRE, mostly due to lifestyle inflation that has occurred along the way.  We met as grad students and shared similar money values, but once we moved to the city we've done a certain amount of situational lifestyle inflation (too much eating out) and intentional lifestyle inflation (we wanted a SFH for our family).

We live a pretty big fancy lifestyle right now.  We're still frugal in many areas (cook at home, pack work lunches, swap babysitting with neighbors, one car family) but the big stuff (housing, daycare, travel) is what is holding us back from FIRE.  All told, we are probably 6-8 years away from FI using our current saving and spending, and possibly longer to RE because we have to contend with healthcare options.

But I find myself really wanting to leave the grind of full time work as soon as possible.  My current job is really wearing on me, and I don't have a lot of faith that I can find a full time employee opportunity that will be fulfilling and low-ish stress.  I'm also not sure I'm cut out to SAH with the kids by myself, as I am an introvert and worry I'd be lonely and they'd be understimulated.  DD is in full time (free) pre-K anyway, and I'd like to keep DS in his preschool at least part time.  There are a few things I've always wanted to do as side hustles, but I have a hard time imagining any of them would make enough money to justify me pursuing them full time.  If I could do anything in the world (and someone would actually hire me for it) I'd do freelance health policy work, but again, I have a hard time figuring out how I'd actually make that a real career.

Without my salary we're probably more like 10-12 years to FI.  And all the pressure of breadwinning is on DW, and there is added risk if she were ever to lose her job without the backup of my salary.  She also doesn't seem to feel very positively about me leaving my stable, decent paying job, even though we agree that my current levels of stress about work are unsustainable and not worth it.

So I feel really stuck treading water in a job I don't love, without a good enough reason to leave but without a good reason to stay either.  I feel like I'm putting effort into frugality and saving without being able to reap the benefits until I reach some magic FI number sometime in the future.  I'm frustrated and trying to figure out what I need to do to move forward.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2020, 03:13:56 PM by SimpleCycle »

SwordGuy

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2019, 02:10:30 PM »
So, if I understand you right, you're spending too much on housing and travel; complaining that FI progress is too slow; you're thinking that a good plan is to cut your income significantly by quitting your job; leaving your spouse to do all the work for twice the number of years.   Is that right?

Well, hell, if I was your spouse I wouldn't be too happy about it either.

You have lots of options other than stiffing your spouse out of half a dozen years of FI time.

Cut your housing expenses.

Travel less expensively or less often.

Find a different full time job, even if it's in the same career path.   

Try one of those side hustles as a side gig and find out if you can make it work.   If you are prudent it will shorten your time to FI regardless and if it really works your current job problem is solved.

Recognize that not everyone (in fact, damn near no one) gets to work at a job they truly love, so just soldier on and deal with it, just like most everyone else.   Stress levels can be managed by doing a good job but not giving a damn otherwise.   You probably have FU money and you could work elsewhere, so just don't put up with shit at work.   

Sorry for the facepunch, but it seemed to be needed.

Here4theGB

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2019, 02:25:39 PM »
I'll preface by saying that we don't have kids.  In our early/mid 30's my wife's career started to really take off.  Both engineers making a good living, but it didn't take too long for her to start making 2x what I did, then 5x, then 10x, and now beyond that in our 40's.  My salary became little more than a rounding error and working my job was no longer worth the stress, hours, and travel to either of us, so I quit.  Sitting around the house taking care of everything for our massive 2 person household didn't feel right either, especially to people on the outside who liked to voice their opinion on the matter.  I ended up going to grad school and getting a degree in something that I thought I would find more interesting.  Upon graduating and getting a new job in a new field, I immediately figured out that when you're FI, a job is a job is a job.  I've completely lost motivation to work, but don't just want to sit around the house while my wife works either.  We're FI now, but the wife wants to continue to work as she loves her career.  My compromise to myself was to work a lower level analyst type position until she decides she's had enough, which hopefully will be in our late 40's.  I work 40 hours a week, have no work phone, laptop, access to email, etc....I go in, do my job while trying not to think about it and put it out of my mind as soon as I walk out the door.  My employer is actually thrilled with the situation since they're getting a highly educated, skilled, and experienced person to fill a role that would normally be filled with a younger, level 2 type recent graduate.  Boss just knows that he can't call me after hours or on the weekends.  It's a good fit for both of us and after a couple of years, seems to be the best thing I've been able to put together.

Having said all that, if I were in your exact shoes, I'd try and dial back the fancy lifestyle a bit and try the SAH thing.  If you don't like it or it doesn't work, you can always go back to work.  It could turn out to be the best thing you've ever done for yourself and/or your kids, or not, but it sounds like the PERFECT time to at least give it a try and see what it's all about.  I wish I would've had a parent around as a child, mine were always at work.

nancyfrank232

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2019, 02:55:27 PM »
Find a new job. The other downsizing options donít work for both of you

StarBright

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2019, 02:57:13 PM »
No real advice, just commiseration.

Am in a similar situation with a spouse who is passionate about and loves their job (and isn't interested in FIRE or dialing back) while the stress from my job slowly wears me down. Our kids are a bit older than yours, our youngest started full time K this year.

Things I would try to keep in mind if I was you:
  • In your early 40s you are in the definite downward trend of the "happiness U curve" - statistically likely to be the least happy decade of your life (no matter the circumstances). So some of this is just biological and the only way out is through. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-and-the-pursuit-leadership/201804/miserable-and-middle-aged-is-something-wrong-you
  • If one of the big money things weighing you down right now is child care, it sounds like you are only two years away from shedding a huge chunk of that. 2 years isn't so bad! When that expense goes away you should aim to put it towards savings
  • When you have some nice time together, please talk to your wife about how the stress of your job is affecting you. She may have some ideas that you haven't thought of. I have found that my husband's passion for his job and lack thereof for mine has been the largest hurdle of our marriage -  it takes constant communication to work through and around it.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 05:18:42 PM by StarBright »

SimpleCycle

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2019, 08:23:06 PM »
Thanks @StarBright and @Here4theGB, your perspectives are helpful.

@SwordGuy, I get what you are saying.  I think my frustration comes from feeling like DW both doesnít want to retire early and isnít serious about making changes so that we can reach FIRE faster so I can retire early.  So if she wants to keep working in perpetuity, why canít I use some of our financial flexibility now?

nancyfrank232

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2019, 09:45:14 PM »
So if she wants to keep working in perpetuity, why canít I use some of our financial flexibility now?

Thatís a question that you and your DW need to discuss

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2019, 11:48:29 PM »
Hey SimpleCycle, another option is to try to demonstrate the possibilities you are learning here, like how you can be a frugal badass DIY part of the household.  I've never known a spouse to be disappointed when the husband does something badass like cooking a healthy dinner at home (especially if you show that you are interested and willing to continue to improve on health and taste), hacking cheap espresso drinks in the morning, or minimizing their work to improve health as a way of saying - this is better for the family overall vs. me being miserable and unhealthy until I'm 65.

I'm not 100% sure of what you want, or maybe what your perfect life would look like, so you need to better define that realistically so we can better help you.  You've said that you want to downshift your SO spending so you can ER, which is a recipe for disaster, since that is where your future family income is if you pursue your dreams.

BlueHouse

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2019, 08:16:30 AM »
This sounds so much like what my sister and her husband experience.  She's extremely successful and loves her job.  He's never reached the same level of success or excitement. 

When they first were married he had a (n unsuccesful) business and worked from home.   Her co-workers called him "lawn-boy" and it didn't go over well.  Later, he started a small business doing something marginally related to his skill set.  Never made a ton of money, but he got to put on a suit and look like a professional enough of the time that the neighbors felt that he was pulling his weight. 

Around the house, he takes care of EVERYTHING to the point where I am concerned that sister doesn't know enough about her own finances!  He even fills out her expense reports and makes sure she is reimbursed correctly (hundreds of thousands some years).  He spends a ton of time planning out their vacations down to every minute detail.  For her personality, this is a lifesaver.  She probably would be dead with the stress of job and all the administrivia and never taking a vacation if it weren't for him. 

feelingroovy

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2019, 09:00:48 AM »
Have you done the math on how much you are really bringing home?

The tax hit alone from the second, lower paying job can almost make it not worthwhile. If you add in daycare and paying for conveniences, sometimes the second spouse earns nothing.

Is the daycare just for the 2yo?

Could you find a part time job that was only during preschool hours?

Are you a good household manager like Bluehouse's BIL? My husband has always felt the same way about work and never earned much though he has skills to do so. But he wants to RE so he can do hobbies. He has no interest in taking on any household management that makes my working life easier. Under those circumstances I have no interest in being a sole bread winner. Too much stress and feels too risky until we are FI. He finally has a job he can deal with so we have reached a comfortable place.

Glenstache

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2019, 10:56:54 AM »
I think that the headline for the post didnít really fully pass into the text. ďWhat is the point of all this money?Ē FIRE shouldnít be a goal unto itself, or the transition will not go well. The point isnít even necessarily to stop working. The point is to develop the financial situation to do what you want to do. If your spouse is planning on (happily) working for the next decade, then so long as the decisions donít adversely affect your relationship, all that changes is the $$ amount when you decide to RE. In other words, for her it doesnít sound like FI is the trigger for RE.

At baseline it sounds like you will be unhappy in the current situation. If she is a data scientist, make some spreadsheets that track time to FI under different income scenarios, including other work options for you. Are there non-profit organizations you could work for, or other companies with less stress? Have a conversation based on what you value in life. The numbers are the easy part in your situation.

mistymoney

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2019, 10:59:44 AM »
Why is DW not keen on the idea?

Are you currently doing 50% of the housework, chores, errands, etc. and 50% of the child rearing - bathing, stories, tidying up, etc?

If not, then that is where to start.

Wanting to quit work while also refusing the SAHD role is kind of a red flag. Saying you'd be lonely taking care of your children - but you want to be at home without taking care of them....how not lonely?

I think there may be issues here outside of your working that you and DW need to address.

BlueHouse

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2019, 11:42:30 AM »
This sounds so much like what my sister and her husband experience.  She's extremely successful and loves her job.  He's never reached the same level of success or excitement. 

When they first were married he had a (n unsuccesful) business and worked from home.   Her co-workers called him "lawn-boy" and it didn't go over well.  Later, he started a small business doing something marginally related to his skill set.  Never made a ton of money, but he got to put on a suit and look like a professional enough of the time that the neighbors felt that he was pulling his weight. 

Around the house, he takes care of EVERYTHING to the point where I am concerned that sister doesn't know enough about her own finances!  He even fills out her expense reports and makes sure she is reimbursed correctly (hundreds of thousands some years).  He spends a ton of time planning out their vacations down to every minute detail.  For her personality, this is a lifesaver.  She probably would be dead with the stress of job and all the administrivia and never taking a vacation if it weren't for him.

I want to add on to this: 
The mustachian community is the most enlightened I've ever encountered in terms of gender roles.  It's just not like this in most of the world, so I recognize that BIL is influenced by what other people think.  I must assume my sister is as well, or she probably wouldn't have told me about the "Lawn-Boy" nickname.   Having a place to go on a semi-regular basis in a suit in a car was really important to my BIL's ego.  So I would create a "job" that you do from home to help with those gender expectations. 

It also aggravates me greatly when people see their home/circumstances and ask "what does your sister's husband do?"  He is a lawyer by education, but he hasn't practiced law (or taken the bar exam in their current state) in over 20 years. 

SimpleCycle

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2019, 01:03:59 PM »
Thanks everyone for the thoughts.  I should probably have made it clearer that we are a same sex couple, so thankfully the gender expectations of "he should be the breadwinner" don't come into play in our relationship.

I currently do almost all the household management and at least half the childcare and housework.  I take care of the finances, meal plan,  grocery shop, do almost all the kid appointments, and take care of house maintenance via DIY or hiring somebody.  We have biweekly cleaning (facepunch) and split the remainder of the housework.  She travels 2-4 days a month and obviously I'm solo then.

Any scenario where I gave up my current job for something more flexible would involve me taking on more childcare, and I would welcome that.  DD currently goes to an after school program and I'd be able to just pick her up instead.  DS is at a wonderful nature-based preschool where he is thriving and we are both hesitant to pull him out because he has had such a good experience there.  And DW also isn't particularly supportive of the SAH option either.  Honestly I am not sure why.  She's very indoctrinated into "everyone should love their job and work is part of what gives life meaning" and that is just not true for me.

I think @Glenstache, you got to the heart of the issue.  This isn't really a numbers issue - we have enough financial flexibility to work this out a lot of ways, even though we haven't hit our FIRE number yet.  It's really a conflict over what my role should be in the family and how paid work figures into that.  To me it would make a lot of sense for me to work part time (although my current company doesn't offer part time) and do more childcare and have more time for the household management without it cutting into my workday.

I think it's also true that I am not clear on what I want other than "not this".  I think that is a big part of the problem, as I wouldn't really get behind an aimless non-plan either.

Glenstache

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2019, 01:56:20 PM »
Thanks everyone for the thoughts.  I should probably have made it clearer that we are a same sex couple, so thankfully the gender expectations of "he should be the breadwinner" don't come into play in our relationship.

I currently do almost all the household management and at least half the childcare and housework.  I take care of the finances, meal plan,  grocery shop, do almost all the kid appointments, and take care of house maintenance via DIY or hiring somebody.  We have biweekly cleaning (facepunch) and split the remainder of the housework.  She travels 2-4 days a month and obviously I'm solo then.

Any scenario where I gave up my current job for something more flexible would involve me taking on more childcare, and I would welcome that.  DD currently goes to an after school program and I'd be able to just pick her up instead.  DS is at a wonderful nature-based preschool where he is thriving and we are both hesitant to pull him out because he has had such a good experience there.  And DW also isn't particularly supportive of the SAH option either.  Honestly I am not sure why.  She's very indoctrinated into "everyone should love their job and work is part of what gives life meaning" and that is just not true for me.

I think @Glenstache, you got to the heart of the issue.  This isn't really a numbers issue - we have enough financial flexibility to work this out a lot of ways, even though we haven't hit our FIRE number yet.  It's really a conflict over what my role should be in the family and how paid work figures into that.  To me it would make a lot of sense for me to work part time (although my current company doesn't offer part time) and do more childcare and have more time for the household management without it cutting into my workday.

I think it's also true that I am not clear on what I want other than "not this".  I think that is a big part of the problem, as I wouldn't really get behind an aimless non-plan either.

Itís okay to try something new and fail at it, or have it be a failure for you. Bring your partner into this decision/transition as an active partner. Buy in makes all things easier, and if they are someone you have chosen as a life partner, they are probably going to have some pretty good insights. There is a certain inertia to jobs in that they become fur lined ruts (eg, a rut, but kinda comfortable to stay). Work out a plan and then do it. At worst you go back to some equivalent to your current job.

use2betrix

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2019, 01:57:13 PM »
I am all for a stay at home person in a couple if it can be managed.

My concern in your circumstance, is that you can absolutely acknowledge that it doesnít seem that your version of staying at home wouldnít be in a sense of cost efficiency (no more daycare) or a huge jump in family productivity. In that case, I can certainly understand why your partner would have the reservations.

I am 31 and my wife is 25. We have been together about 7 years, and she has worked maybe a total of 1 of those years. Much of it is due to my constant moving for my career (and her coming) but also largely due to the earning income potential differences. If she worked full time, she would probably be fortunate to get a job making around 10% of my income.

With that in mind, I wouldnít want her to get a job at even $50k/yr. My bosses know her very well and have spoke with us several times about hiring her, but to me, itís just not worth it.

The reason for this is because of EVERYTHING she does while Iím at work. I work about 50 hrs/wk at the job site and around 10 hrs/wk at home. While Iím working she does all the cooking (waking up and packing lunch, making dinner, etc.) all the laundry, errands, grocery shopping, cleaning, dog walking, etc. She is an absolute machine, and it makes it so much easier for me to also focus on work because of this.

Also - because of how much she gets done, we spend like 90% of the time doing things together we enjoy. More time for the gym, movies, relaxing at home, and all sorts of other activities.

In my opinion, if a couple isnít FI yet, than I would have a hard time suggesting a spouse that stays home unless they were going to do it to still significantly improve the qualify of life for the one that has to continue working.

mistymoney

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2019, 08:56:48 AM »
Thanks everyone for the thoughts.  I should probably have made it clearer that we are a same sex couple, so thankfully the gender expectations of "he should be the breadwinner" don't come into play in our relationship.

I currently do almost all the household management and at least half the childcare and housework.  I take care of the finances, meal plan,  grocery shop, do almost all the kid appointments, and take care of house maintenance via DIY or hiring somebody.  We have biweekly cleaning (facepunch) and split the remainder of the housework.  She travels 2-4 days a month and obviously I'm solo then.

Any scenario where I gave up my current job for something more flexible would involve me taking on more childcare, and I would welcome that.  DD currently goes to an after school program and I'd be able to just pick her up instead.  DS is at a wonderful nature-based preschool where he is thriving and we are both hesitant to pull him out because he has had such a good experience there.  And DW also isn't particularly supportive of the SAH option either.  Honestly I am not sure why.  She's very indoctrinated into "everyone should love their job and work is part of what gives life meaning" and that is just not true for me.

I think @Glenstache, you got to the heart of the issue.  This isn't really a numbers issue - we have enough financial flexibility to work this out a lot of ways, even though we haven't hit our FIRE number yet.  It's really a conflict over what my role should be in the family and how paid work figures into that.  To me it would make a lot of sense for me to work part time (although my current company doesn't offer part time) and do more childcare and have more time for the household management without it cutting into my workday.

I think it's also true that I am not clear on what I want other than "not this".  I think that is a big part of the problem, as I wouldn't really get behind an aimless non-plan either.

thanks for the clarifications.

Many families are one-income, but if for whatever reason your wife is not willing to be the sole breadwinner, I think that must be respected.

But - you have a lot more flexibility than you are acknowledging here! Figure out what kind of job or industry you would enjoy - or at least enjoy a bit more than what you are doing now. Then make steps to get into that role.

At the very least, you need to sit down for a conversation with your wife about both of your expectations going forward. You are looking at 10-12 years to reach your FIRE number - but if DW has a working mindset - is her expectation that you also will continue working if she does?

You may not like that her current expectation is that you continue working - but you two need to come to a consensus on what number is FIRE for your family, and at what point either of you would be ok with the other quitting. Things will also change as the kids get older, and the kids's lives become more complicated.

She may indeed love her work, but the expectation that she continue working for another 20 years while you RE now would be too much for most to handle comfortably. Working is still a job with a lot of constraints on your time, no matter how much you may enjoy it. And 20 years is a really long haul and it may be that your wife starts feeling 'done' in about 5. or 10. I also wouldn't want to be tied into for the long haul for a partner to retire 20 years earlier than I.

So - I think a lot of conversations are in order! Talk!

mistymoney

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2019, 09:01:16 AM »
I am all for a stay at home person in a couple if it can be managed.

My concern in your circumstance, is that you can absolutely acknowledge that it doesnít seem that your version of staying at home wouldnít be in a sense of cost efficiency (no more daycare) or a huge jump in family productivity. In that case, I can certainly understand why your partner would have the reservations.

I am 31 and my wife is 25. We have been together about 7 years, and she has worked maybe a total of 1 of those years. Much of it is due to my constant moving for my career (and her coming) but also largely due to the earning income potential differences. If she worked full time, she would probably be fortunate to get a job making around 10% of my income.

With that in mind, I wouldnít want her to get a job at even $50k/yr. My bosses know her very well and have spoke with us several times about hiring her, but to me, itís just not worth it.

The reason for this is because of EVERYTHING she does while Iím at work. I work about 50 hrs/wk at the job site and around 10 hrs/wk at home. While Iím working she does all the cooking (waking up and packing lunch, making dinner, etc.) all the laundry, errands, grocery shopping, cleaning, dog walking, etc. She is an absolute machine, and it makes it so much easier for me to also focus on work because of this.

Also - because of how much she gets done, we spend like 90% of the time doing things together we enjoy. More time for the gym, movies, relaxing at home, and all sorts of other activities.

In my opinion, if a couple isnít FI yet, than I would have a hard time suggesting a spouse that stays home unless they were going to do it to still significantly improve the qualify of life for the one that has to continue working.

But what did your wife think about it??

use2betrix

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2019, 09:09:32 AM »
I am all for a stay at home person in a couple if it can be managed.

My concern in your circumstance, is that you can absolutely acknowledge that it doesnít seem that your version of staying at home wouldnít be in a sense of cost efficiency (no more daycare) or a huge jump in family productivity. In that case, I can certainly understand why your partner would have the reservations.

I am 31 and my wife is 25. We have been together about 7 years, and she has worked maybe a total of 1 of those years. Much of it is due to my constant moving for my career (and her coming) but also largely due to the earning income potential differences. If she worked full time, she would probably be fortunate to get a job making around 10% of my income.

With that in mind, I wouldnít want her to get a job at even $50k/yr. My bosses know her very well and have spoke with us several times about hiring her, but to me, itís just not worth it.

The reason for this is because of EVERYTHING she does while Iím at work. I work about 50 hrs/wk at the job site and around 10 hrs/wk at home. While Iím working she does all the cooking (waking up and packing lunch, making dinner, etc.) all the laundry, errands, grocery shopping, cleaning, dog walking, etc. She is an absolute machine, and it makes it so much easier for me to also focus on work because of this.

Also - because of how much she gets done, we spend like 90% of the time doing things together we enjoy. More time for the gym, movies, relaxing at home, and all sorts of other activities.

In my opinion, if a couple isnít FI yet, than I would have a hard time suggesting a spouse that stays home unless they were going to do it to still significantly improve the qualify of life for the one that has to continue working.

But what did your wife think about it??

Well - considering that purpose of this forum for the vast majority of people is to no longer work, she is pretty content living that lifestyle already..

mistymoney

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #19 on: October 06, 2019, 09:23:31 AM »
I am all for a stay at home person in a couple if it can be managed.

My concern in your circumstance, is that you can absolutely acknowledge that it doesnít seem that your version of staying at home wouldnít be in a sense of cost efficiency (no more daycare) or a huge jump in family productivity. In that case, I can certainly understand why your partner would have the reservations.

I am 31 and my wife is 25. We have been together about 7 years, and she has worked maybe a total of 1 of those years. Much of it is due to my constant moving for my career (and her coming) but also largely due to the earning income potential differences. If she worked full time, she would probably be fortunate to get a job making around 10% of my income.

With that in mind, I wouldnít want her to get a job at even $50k/yr. My bosses know her very well and have spoke with us several times about hiring her, but to me, itís just not worth it.

The reason for this is because of EVERYTHING she does while Iím at work. I work about 50 hrs/wk at the job site and around 10 hrs/wk at home. While Iím working she does all the cooking (waking up and packing lunch, making dinner, etc.) all the laundry, errands, grocery shopping, cleaning, dog walking, etc. She is an absolute machine, and it makes it so much easier for me to also focus on work because of this.

Also - because of how much she gets done, we spend like 90% of the time doing things together we enjoy. More time for the gym, movies, relaxing at home, and all sorts of other activities.

In my opinion, if a couple isnít FI yet, than I would have a hard time suggesting a spouse that stays home unless they were going to do it to still significantly improve the qualify of life for the one that has to continue working.

But what did your wife think about it??

Well - considering that purpose of this forum for the vast majority of people is to no longer work, she is pretty content living that lifestyle already..

but was she presented with the option?

KBecks

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2019, 09:28:35 AM »
Two thoughts -- 1) find a different job that you might like better -- shorter commute -- more interesting work. Maybe you need a change of scenery and people to reinvigorate you.

2) You really need to talk with your wife about your shared long term goals. 

3)  When your kids are in school, consider working at a school to get summers off and similar hours to your kids, if you are both OK with you downshifting.

use2betrix

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #21 on: October 06, 2019, 03:33:21 PM »
I am all for a stay at home person in a couple if it can be managed.

My concern in your circumstance, is that you can absolutely acknowledge that it doesnít seem that your version of staying at home wouldnít be in a sense of cost efficiency (no more daycare) or a huge jump in family productivity. In that case, I can certainly understand why your partner would have the reservations.

I am 31 and my wife is 25. We have been together about 7 years, and she has worked maybe a total of 1 of those years. Much of it is due to my constant moving for my career (and her coming) but also largely due to the earning income potential differences. If she worked full time, she would probably be fortunate to get a job making around 10% of my income.

With that in mind, I wouldnít want her to get a job at even $50k/yr. My bosses know her very well and have spoke with us several times about hiring her, but to me, itís just not worth it.

The reason for this is because of EVERYTHING she does while Iím at work. I work about 50 hrs/wk at the job site and around 10 hrs/wk at home. While Iím working she does all the cooking (waking up and packing lunch, making dinner, etc.) all the laundry, errands, grocery shopping, cleaning, dog walking, etc. She is an absolute machine, and it makes it so much easier for me to also focus on work because of this.

Also - because of how much she gets done, we spend like 90% of the time doing things together we enjoy. More time for the gym, movies, relaxing at home, and all sorts of other activities.

In my opinion, if a couple isnít FI yet, than I would have a hard time suggesting a spouse that stays home unless they were going to do it to still significantly improve the qualify of life for the one that has to continue working.

But what did your wife think about it??

Well - considering that purpose of this forum for the vast majority of people is to no longer work, she is pretty content living that lifestyle already..

but was she presented with the option?

Oh yeah, she desperately wanted to take up all her free time for a paltry income at a construction site  that would significantly decrease our quality of life.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2019, 05:26:07 AM »
She also doesn't seem to feel very positively about me leaving my stable, decent paying job, even though we agree that my current levels of stress about work are unsustainable and not worth it.

If you both agree on that your current stress levels at work are unsustainable, you need to change that. Talk to your wife and make a plan on how to reduce those stress levels. I think you could suggest to your wife that you take a sabbatical from your work, maybe for a year, or half a year.

If you can arrange a sabbatical, then you don't loose your secure job. But you do have time to think about what to do later. Hopefully you can recover from your stress. If a sabbatical is not possible, you would have to quit your job. But present it as a period of timeout, because you are so stressed.

During that time you can take over all the household tasks, so that you don't need to hire someone to wash your home.
The idea is that at the end of that year, you two can reconsider and find out whether you need to find a new job, or rather continue to be unemployed.

Laura33

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2019, 06:59:05 AM »
DW also isn't particularly supportive of the SAH option either.  Honestly I am not sure why.  She's very indoctrinated into "everyone should love their job and work is part of what gives life meaning" and that is just not true for me.

I think it's also true that I am not clear on what I want other than "not this".  I think that is a big part of the problem, as I wouldn't really get behind an aimless non-plan either.

You sound like you think you are stuck.  So the first thing to change is your mindset.  Where you are today is a choice:  you have chosen to go with the flow and continue working in a job you don't like in order to make your wife happy.  If that choice is no longer working for you, you have the power to make another one.

It seems perfectly reasonable to me to tell your wife that you are not happy and expect her to listen.  She doesn't have to "get it"; she can be as confused as she wants over why you don't fit her "it's all about the job" expectations.  All she needs to understand is that she is not you -- that what she finds fulfilling, you find stifling and soul-deadening.  And you need to be willing to speak to her, as directly as necessary, until she understands that and really understands that continued full-time employment is a sacrifice you are making for her.  Because any relationship requires both partners to be happy with the choices and compromises they make.

But the other thing I would recommend is that you stop thinking of this as either/or -- as either you both quit ASAP, or you both work full-time.  When you have fundamentally different life goals, that is a recipe for misery.  There is no rule that says you both need to want the same thing, or that you need to do the same thing at the same time.  So if you continue to present your options as "I want to cut back so we can both FIRE sooner," and she doesn't want to FIRE at all, well, how successful do you think that's going to be?  And the reverse is also true:  it is equally unfair for her to expect you to work full-time for as long as she wants to.  But that's the argument cycle you've gotten yourselves into, because you are seeing everything as one extreme or the other.

So how about looking for something in-between?  What's wrong with looking for a new job, in your area of interest, that is part-time and lower-stress?  Seems to me that your current desire to quit is "running away from."  And that's never a good reason to FIRE, because even if you quit, you'll have empty days and be bored and find yourself just as unhappy in a year, just for different reasons.  What you need is something that interests you enough that you don't feel like you're just biding your time, waiting for your life to pass so you can start living it.  Because that's a sucky way to spend another decade, even if you do manage to FIRE at the end of it.  Find something that interests you, now.  Start job-hunting, now.  Start focusing on those side hustle ideas, now.  Who knows if any of them will pay off financially?  But that's not the goal. The goal is to help yourself build a satisfying life that gives you some purpose that you look forward to every day.  Once you figure that out, then you will be in a much better position to figure out what combination of paid work/hobby/kid time/home chores works the best for you -- and that's what you need to be able to paint a picture for your wife of how much better both of your lives will be when you execute that plan, so you can get her buy-in.
« Last Edit: October 07, 2019, 07:02:14 AM by Laura33 »

SimpleCycle

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2020, 03:13:03 PM »
@Laura33, your post was incredibly helpful to me.  It definitely helped me to be more flexible in my thinking - that it doesn't have to be "We both go all out toward FIRE" or "We both work until retirement age".  And it helped me work on my messaging to my wife.  We started talking about a financial point where I could "downshift" to a different type of work or part time work in my current field.  She was much more supportive when I talked about it that way, as it didn't seem to trigger her anxiety that I was going to quit my job and never work again, and she could see the substantial benefits to our family life of me working less and taking on more childcare.

I also made sure she was clear on where our finances are - that we're 8-10 years out from FIRE (without any downsizing), and how much total my income adds to our bottom line annually.  That actually reassured her a lot, as she doesn't really plan on retiring in 10 years or 12 years even though we will be FI by then.  She could change her mind, but suddenly having me stay in my job seemed less important since me quitting doesn't really change her plans or our financial standing that much.

Finally, I also made an effort to make things better at work, which really paid off.  I renegotiated some priorities with my boss, so that I got to do more of the work that is meaningful to me and that I am good at.  I figured if I was going to keep working for a while and wasn't ready to make the leap to a new position or part-time, I had an obligation to improve my work situation so that it was more sustainable.  By February things were really feeling much better and my feelings about my job had gotten a lot better from "I want out of here" to "this is not my passion but it's doable".

And then COVID happened, and everything was turned on its head!  We got through the spring by working in shifts and never seeing each other since one of us was always holed up in the home office.  In July the kids were able to resume daycare and camp and we got some breathing room.  School announced it would only be 2 days a week in person in the fall, and facing the specter of going back to shifts or hiring even more outside help so we can keep two careers going started to seem crazy to both of us.  So for now, I am leaving my job to take care of the kids this fall.  I think it's a great opportunity for us to try out me not working outside the home and see how it works for all of us.  And I think it will really be a net positive for our family, not just me.

So thank you to everyone who gave me advice, especially those who pointed out we had more flexibility than we were seeing.

feelingroovy

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2020, 08:03:32 PM »
Wow, congratulations. Your mindset shift and communication shift and renegotiation at work sounds all great. And it sounds like how it all ended up was a real turning lemons into lemonade story.

SwordGuy

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #26 on: August 01, 2020, 08:14:31 PM »
Bravo!

lhamo

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2020, 09:46:12 PM »
Good for you for figuring all this out!  I missed your original posts, but wanted to wave to another former SLN-er -- there are quite a few of us who found our way over here....

SimpleCycle

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #28 on: August 02, 2020, 06:50:26 PM »
@lhamo, I recognize you from over there!

Laura33

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Re: Values clarification, or what is the point of all this money?
« Reply #29 on: August 12, 2020, 08:59:34 AM »
Congratulations!  I'm glad you guys put in the work last fall and winter so that you were in a place where you both felt comfortable that you quitting was an option when the pandemic hit. 

And the good news -- such as it is -- is that if you do decide to go back to work, "I had to quit because I had two small children and no daycare thanks to Covid-19" is going to be a really, really common story.  ;-)