Author Topic: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?  (Read 4083 times)

ZiziPB

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FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« on: August 12, 2019, 02:27:56 AM »
Interested to hear from anyone here who is FIRED but their spouse/SO is not FI and still working. How do you handle your finances, housework allocation and spending time together (or not)?

Greystache

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2019, 07:42:48 AM »
I retired only 6 months before DW. During that time, I did 100% of the housework except for couple weeks when I was traveling. Our finances are 100% integrated.

ItsALongStory

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 08:29:20 AM »
I am the working spouse in this scenario, my wife has been retired for years. She does most of the house work, I take care of the yard, DIY projects and any financial stuff. She is very picky about certain things and would rather just do it herself. That said, she does travel a lot (probably gone about 14-18 weeks per year) so during those weeks it's just me as I only get 3 weeks off.

Our finances are technically joint but I do not have the death benefit on her retirement as we met after she had retired. As a result of that I am building up my own financial picture as quickly as possible so I too can retire.

infromsea

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2019, 09:21:47 AM »
I am Working/FIRE and have a remote position, working from home 100% of the time.

After my first retirement I took about 7 months "off" and we slowly developed a routine that has kept up.

Since I'm home 90% of the time I take care of 90% of the housework/yardwork etc. I don't mind it.

S/O enjoys her job and plans to keep at it for a few more years and often gets home a little later than I'd like to eat dinner so I often cook (which I also enjoy) and have dinner waiting for her OR I cook ahead and put lots of leftovers in the fridge. I do 80% of the grocery shopping and the S/O chips in when/where needed.

I'm particular about how the house is kept (neat/clean/everything in it's place and wiped down) so I don't mind keeping it that way. On the weekends, we spend 1 hour cleaning the entire home (it's small and easy to clean!) and she helps me with that. If it's been a busy week, I might cut the grass while she cleans the inside of the home (at times we reverse that, she cuts the grass so she can spend more time outside, and I clean inside), we share responsibilities that way. I do most of the laundry and, if I leave a basket of clean clothes, she'll often grab them and fold them, but it's not a "rule" that it works that way. We often spend a Sat or Sun cooking big meals together, sharing in the cooking and cleanup.

Daily I "go through the house" and put things away/tidy up/sweep if needed. If the S/O or kid gets a little too sloppy I remind them that I'm not their maid, even if I am always here (example, take your dirty clothes to the laundry room so I know when to start the next load) and they are good about listening to that.

I think working this part of the relationship out takes time and good communication. One question we asked was "what part of the house/cleaning/upkeep do you LEAST like?".

Asking that of each other and getting answers will help set the boundaries. I don't like folding whites so the S/O grabs them if she sees them. She doesn't like to sweep AND mop so we split that part of the SAT house cleaning session, it all works out in the end, with experience and a few good chats.

It could be easy to get this balance "wrong" and the stay at home person feel taken advantage of. I still bring home a healthy salary and STILL take care of all of the above, BUT, I don't have to drive to work OR deal with the public nearly as much so I don't get frustrated, plus the S/O is very appreciative and communicates that often so it works out well.


Candace

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2019, 09:58:39 AM »
I'm FIREd, though I recently took some very part-time work (only a few hours a week, maybe five or ten at most). My husband still works. I'm responsible for most of the housework, simply because I have a lot of leisure time and it makes sense. However, I hate vacuuming, so he does that and is fine doing it. He's responsible for most of the outside work, but I end up pitching in quite a lot.

This is a second marriage, and our finances have always been separate, at least in name. In the end of course it's essentially one big pot, because we're a team. I came into the relationship with a stash and he had next to nothing. He's just not a saver, but he doesn't spend a lot of money either. He spends almost nothing except on stuff for both of us (vacations etc.) I've always accepted that planning for the future was just my responsibility.

Spending time: we spend every evening and pretty much every weekend together. This is where I've made a lot of compromises, because I used to have more time with just friends when I was single and in my first marriage. He just rolls differently, and I've accommodated. He's self-employed, and because his expenses are low he can take a good amount of time off for vacations. Last year we were on the road, I think, about two months total out of the year. This year it will be probably seven weeks. I'm okay with this, but I wish he could take more.

He sees himself working "until". I hope to persuade him to cut back his hours and make some changes so we can travel more. We'll see. I'm not sure if I'd go on a significant trip without him. For me, that's a tough one.

SachaFiscal

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 10:16:48 PM »
I'm retired but my husband still works.  We spend evenings and most of the weekend together just like we used to when we both worked. I have more energy on the weekends than he does now, so I go do things with friends for a few hours on the weekend sometimes while he decompresses and chills on the couch in front of the T.V. I've learned that I can't plan more than one or two outings on the weekend because my husband needs a lot of downtime (like I used to when I was working full time).

I do all the grocery shopping and cooking.  I do all the cleaning and household chores except helps with loading the dishwasher and sometimes helps with laundry and taking out the trash. I have a lot of time during the weekdays so I take classes and study which fills the time.

I sometimes travel to see my family without him but mostly we travel together, he actually has quite a bit of vacation time. He's very happy with our lives and is glad I retired when I did. He likes his job and he can focus on it without having to worry about meals and chores.  Also I'm not super stressed anymore so I'm more fun to hang out with...haha.

Financially, we are supporting ourselves on his salary alone (not tapping into retirement funds yet). He wants to work for at least 5 more years and then maybe more if he still likes it. Right now we have enough to live comfortably if he lost his job or quit. But to fully support our current lifestyle with all the extras, we probably need to save a bit more.  I think within 5 years our investments will have grown enough to be able to support our current lifestyle and to pay off our house which we'll want to do when he retires.

soccerluvof4

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2019, 04:55:33 AM »
My spouse and I Fire'd together about 4.5 years ago but we were concerned with 4 kids about Healthcare and did not like the ACA option so we decided one of us would take on a job with that being priority one along with a great 401k plan. My DW actually was the one to get the offer and almost all her check goes to what I mentioned and fortunately she loves it. Before that I was always the bread winner and she took care of everything with the kids and around the house. Now the opposite is true. I do all the cooking, chase the kids , took over everything for the day to day except when she wants to do some of that stuff because she likes to. All our finances are together. I have it down now and 2 are off to college where I have been even doing some side gigs for cash.

Malcat

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2019, 06:33:01 AM »
I downshifted to very part time a few years ago and DH works full time, and how we organize our time and energy hasn't changed.

That's not to say that we haven't changed how we use our time and divide up chores, but the way in which we communicate and decide on how to organize our lives is the exact same, so it all just happens seamlessly.

If a couple has good communication tools and a sense of balance, then it's not hard to pivot and adjust to new circumstances. I definitely do more around the house now, he used to do all of the cooking, and now I do. We spend less time on weekends doing errands, because I can get a lot of nitpicky things done while he's at work so that our weekends are more quality time. I didn't feel I *had to* take over more tasks because I was working less, but that's naturally what happened.

We just organically fell into a new balance because we openly talk about it, so no unspoken or unmet expectations or resentments. I didn't decide to cut back from work in a vacuum, he was 100% on board with the collective decision. In fact, he was on board with my cutting back way before I was.

Our incomes also make absolutely no difference to the equation, so there's no sense of him pulling his weight by "being the breadwinner", I actually still make more than he does. We don't base our division of labour on some abstract sense of "fairness", we divide according to a shared goal of making the most out of each day.

Our balance works because we work collectively to make it work, and if it doesn't work, we change it.

norajean

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2019, 07:24:09 AM »
Doesn't really seem retired and free to pursue anything if one spouse is still working. The non-working one is really just the housewife/husband.  The worker will be living life "in the noose" and coming home with all the stress, etc.    Nothing wrong with it, but it is far, far from being retired in my experience.

Malcat

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2019, 07:58:00 AM »
Doesn't really seem retired and free to pursue anything if one spouse is still working. The non-working one is really just the housewife/husband.  The worker will be living life "in the noose" and coming home with all the stress, etc.    Nothing wrong with it, but it is far, far from being retired in my experience.

I think that's why OP is asking for advice on how to manage it.

I absolutely agree though that for the non-working spouse, their world will still be heavily dictated by the working spouse's job.
I'm taking some time off right now, and although all of my days are free, my schedule still mimics DH's workday, and is highly structured around a normal working life.

In our case, there is no "noose", DH has no interest in cutting back, working full time is a big part of his best life, and he comes home with probably less stress than I have after a day of no paid work, and I'm perfectly happy with our lives still maintaining a traditional work-week structure for the next decade or so.

For some couple's it's full FIRE or bust, for others, it's something different. Everyone needs to figure out what works for them.

infromsea

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2019, 08:32:45 AM »
Good discussion points Norajean and Malkynn!

Norajean- you are not wrong BUT, Malkynn has good points in response. I often feel frustrated because the S/O works and I want to tear off into the world and become a bit nomadic/move to a place more conducive to our lifestyle (less traffic, more nature, better hiking trails etc.) but the S/O wants to put in a few more years at her current location. She's in healthcare office management and wants to wait until a couple of her docs retire before she's ready/willing to leave that location.

That means I sometimes feel "stuck". That led to me getting the work from home job (it's not work, not in any real sense) BUT, with the extreme flexibility it offers and my "FU money", it means I can do the job in my own way and, if the employer doesn't appreciate my performance, we can part ways, no harm no foul. Still, there are days I resent not being as "Free" or flexible as the dual FIRE folks we often hear about. I'm working on that though, realizing that my pessimistic POV and baseline level of happiness will often cause me to find fault no matter my situation.

I think the key thing is to seek peace and contentment no matter the situation BUT, it's easier to do when you HAVE to do something/be somewhere. Example, I served a year in Afghanistan, in tight spots, dirty conditions, small areas etc. I was able to endure and smile through the entire process as I made a choice to be there. In my current situation, it feels (at times) like the choice isn't mine, that's the tough part of it. To counter-act that, I realize that I made other choices that "put me here" and I try to come to terms with those choices and look to the future of freedom, I'm young, there is time and my "situation" is so laughably "good" I often feel guilty about not being "MR. Rodgers" every day...

All that said, the S/O is growing weary of her work-place and the added constraints placed by the corporate side of the house, I suspect our "next move" may come sooner than we think, I just hope that after our agreed upon 3-5 years of her doing what she's doing, she doesn't move the goalpost on us and want to go "just a little longer" my patience will be tried at that point.

Until the next fork in the road comes, I continue to take days to myself, take short trips alone (spent two days on the AT last month) and/or we take more trips together, shorter in duration than a traditional vacation but still enough to get her out of the office and me out of the house, we'll continue in this manner, as Malkynn said, working out our own process, continuing to save more for eventual "Full FIRE" and doing what works for us, if only I can be patient in all of this...


Malcat

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2019, 08:59:35 AM »
So, your issue isn't that one of you is retired and the other isn't, your issue is that your goals aren't aligned and you haven't both bought into the current plan 100%.

Yeah, that's always going to be a problem, regardless of what the situation is.

Goldielocks

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2019, 11:15:19 AM »
I FIRED 2+ years ago.  DH still works, but for a very modest salary and leaves home at 8 and is home by 5:30 every day.  (not long or stressful hours).

I do all the housework (except his laundry) / take cars in to shops / meals/ finances, lawn care, home maintenance.   I pretty much did all of that before I retired, too, so having time to sit at night / weekends is wonderful.  He never complains if I am feeling lazy and don't get stuff done, however.

We are not pulling from investments, i have a part time job (avg 6-10hr/wk x 36 weeks) to make up the money difference we need in our monthly expenses.

I volunteer, hike, got a dog, garden, help my kids (older teens).   I don't feel "trapped" by his working because I do take an overnight trip (back pack / visit friend) now and then.  We frankly are tied to the kids' school schedules anyway and I don't have the excess money because I FIRED on a lean budget.   So his working is not a problem.

We have joint accounts, and individual, identical personal spend accounts with a modest sum put in there each month.  Just like before FIRE.  That works best I think when there is a large income difference or when there are kids involved so one person needs to be more available for kid duty.   FWIW, I was the primary income earner, and he was at home for 11 years (but still not doing the housework, grr), so switching roles now is quite nice.


infromsea

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2019, 09:10:34 AM »
So, your issue isn't that one of you is retired and the other isn't, your issue is that your goals aren't aligned and you haven't both bought into the current plan 100%.

Yeah, that's always going to be a problem, regardless of what the situation is.

Your not far off the mark but the real problem is that I have "contentment issues" and can seem to find some reason to "be somewhere else" no matter where I am... It's not something that is "fixed" easily or quickly, but I'm working on it...    :)

Cheers!

Tim

Malcat

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2019, 09:36:15 AM »
So, your issue isn't that one of you is retired and the other isn't, your issue is that your goals aren't aligned and you haven't both bought into the current plan 100%.

Yeah, that's always going to be a problem, regardless of what the situation is.

Your not far off the mark but the real problem is that I have "contentment issues" and can seem to find some reason to "be somewhere else" no matter where I am... It's not something that is "fixed" easily or quickly, but I'm working on it...    :)

Cheers!

Tim

Yep, life's an asshole that way.
The cruel thing to discover is that being happy is actually incredibly challenging and is so much more complicated than just removing the barriers. Good luck working on it, I know it's a lot harder than it seems like it should be.

ItsALongStory

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2019, 10:41:18 AM »
So, your issue isn't that one of you is retired and the other isn't, your issue is that your goals aren't aligned and you haven't both bought into the current plan 100%.

Yeah, that's always going to be a problem, regardless of what the situation is.

Your not far off the mark but the real problem is that I have "contentment issues" and can seem to find some reason to "be somewhere else" no matter where I am... It's not something that is "fixed" easily or quickly, but I'm working on it...    :)

Cheers!

Tim
My wife refers to it as cabin fever but this is basically what you're describing. I'm hoping the slow travel plans we have sort of address the needs. It will be tough for her not to buy random souvenirs and other crap cause we can only fit so much into our vehicle.

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MKinVA

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2019, 10:58:33 AM »
I am basically the stay at home spouse since retiring 2 years ago. I always did the cooking, cleaning , etc., so nothing new there. My husband is still working and will for maybe 5 more years. I pretty much do what I want and right now working my 5 year plan to get out house ready to sell for maximum profit, waiting out the lives of some of our animals (with great joy, I assure you), and getting my health back after breast cancer. Since I had worked from the time I was 18 til 57, I am happy to hang around the house for awhile. We do travel on short trips and I can certainly travel without him if the opportunity arises. The biggest challenge is having friends who are available during the day.

TartanTallulah

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2019, 03:02:00 PM »
We had many years with me working and my husband as a SAHP. We took responsibility for different parts of the household finances (I balanced the bank accounts and made investment decisions, he shopped around for the best deals for utilities and insurances), I did the shopping and cooking while my husband did all the other housework and domestic maintenance (it irritated me that he wouldn't cook for the kids and left them to forage, but he couldn't get his head around providing meals so I just made sure there was food in the kitchen that the kids could use to make their own meals and they've all become very good home cooks), and apart from when one of the girls had a serious health problem and needed us to take shifts looking after her I could go to work knowing that I wouldn't be called away by a family emergency.

Although my husband is an easy, undemanding person to share space with, I would remark from time to time that I would like, just occasionally, to be able to spend some time by myself in my own house. That being so, I planned to ensure that my husband got some home-alone time when I took early retirement and he continued to work part time. It turned out that there was no need for me to plan, as I was offered some freelance work after retirement and we both have some home-alone time during the week, DH more than me because I also go out walking and running. We share the housework (whoever sees that a chore needs doing just gets on and does it) but if I wasn't working at all I'd expect to do all of it.

The biggest issue is that I can take as much time off work as I want whereas my husband is tied to an annual leave allocation so we have fewer holidays than we'd have if we were both retired.

Candace

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2019, 09:34:05 AM »
As a bit of an aside-- I'm RE, and my husband is still working. He is self-employed and often works at the local Panera. Sometimes I go with him. So I'm "working" on whatever suits my fancy, while he's doing paid work. To me, it feels like leisure time. We're there as I type. A fun song just came on their mass-market soundtrack, and I started bouncing in my chair until he noticed and bounced in his a little bit.

These are the moments that make FIRE so great, even though my husband is still working. Yes, I'd like it if he could travel more, but this works for us for now.

Villanelle

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #19 on: August 23, 2019, 11:56:47 AM »
This might be me.  I'm not sure if I'm RE.  I quit a job for what I thought would be a 2-3 year hiatus while I move overseas as a trailing spouse.  Nine years later, we are back in the US and at the moment, I'm not looking for a job.

Our finances have always been completely merged, so nothing changed.  Due to DH's longer work hours, I always did the bulk of the housework, but now that's shifted a bit and the bulk has gotten bulkier, which seems quite fair to me.

I also spend a lot of time writing, entertaining a dream that maybe someday it will be a money-making endeavor (or not).  I have no illusions that I'll make significant money at it.  If it ever even gets to that point, I'd just be thrilled for a few thousand dollars are year, which would likely be mentally called our travel budget. (It's travel we'd likely do anyway as we plan a fairly fat FIRE but it would be fun for me to think I made the money that paid for that specific thing.)  For the first time in my life, I'm treating my writing fairly seriously in that I've committed to doing it for specific times each week.  I think that really helps because up until now, even though I wasn't doing paid work, I had a lot of responsibilities associated with my husband's role and it was fairly stressful and kept me quite busy.  Without that, but not living a true FIRE life, I think I might be adrift.  Even if the writing is only ever just a hobby, having it as a focus, with associated goals, give me the thing to RE to, if I do in fact never work again.  It's work for me, in its own, wonderful, self-determined way. 

I think that because mentally I don't consider *us* retired, and I'm not even sure if I'm retired or just not working, I don't struggle with living a different life phase than my husband.  It would feel weird for me to trot of to Europe for a month without him, while he's still going to work and paying our bills, since we are FI. (Well, we are in a bare minimum way, but it's not something we'd choose).

sui generis

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2019, 09:51:01 AM »
My husband actually has more money than me, but he is weird and likes his job and working so has not retired early.

housework
This is a sticking point for him.  He really doesn't want to "not pull his weight" and just take advantage of me being retired and having extra time, then using my extra time to do work that we should be sharing equally.  I think there is more sensitivity here because he's the male and I'm the female.  And I have to admit, he's right - I don't want to turn into a housewife.  That's not why I retired early!  OTOH, it's totally true that I have more time and getting those things done for us on a leisurely basis for me benefits *both of us* more than if he is rushing to do them on a Sunday night.  I've only been RE for one year and most of that have been unusually busy, so this is still something that I think we will be feeling out over the coming years.  It's not at all a point of contention, but somewhere we could still optimize better.

finances
Our finances are not merged.  Partly because I want to really have confidence that I have REd and that I haven't just become a housewife and needed his money to make this happen.  If my own stache starts to appear not to be enough, I do plan to find paid work and not just rely on the fact that I know he has enough to carry us both.  This is really important to me, so I still track everything and we contribute equally to household expenses and joint fun.  The only little difference here is healthcare.  I am on his healthcare, and that is critical to making my finances work...here in America.  If I wasn't with him, I would be employing different strategies on healthcare, including probably moving abroad.

spending time together
I try to guard our time together from my obligations (volunteer work mostly) more fiercely, since I have more flexibility.  Usually that means Sundays since he works so much he puts in a lot of time on Saturdays usually.  We cook together every night and dinner time is sacred.  Travel is a big reason I wanted to RE though, so I definitely do (and plan to do) a lot without him.  I just finished hiking a long trail (3 weeks, but he was able to join me for 3 days) and I have a girls' trip planned in November.  I even like to travel alone, so I'll probably do some of that, as well as spend more time with my own family and friends that I wouldn't normally have time to spend with.  This is no concern for him, though I do try not to plan to travel to a place without him that he particular would like to go.  But my interests are much more broad than his, so that's not too hard.

I think given my volunteer commitments - a lot of them political - it's been a bit of a unique circumstance that has kept me in a pseudo-working position for some of my RE.  Of course, as soon as my team saves the country in 2020 ;) I'll have a lot more time on my hands and the situation may change.  But with 4 or more decades (hopefully) ahead of me, it will constantly be changing anyway, and I am so interested to see how this goes and how it evolves over time!  The best thing is I have a lot of confidence in our ability to evolve with the situation.

markbike528CBX

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #21 on: August 27, 2019, 10:57:44 AM »
One year in for me retired.  DW works 4hrs as a teacher's aid, and sometimes substitutes for teachers (she has a masters and certificate).
However, If she doesn't like the schedule, she might quit this school year.

We keep our finances separate to the extent that what she does with her salary is her business and I specifically don't want to know, as I'd probably nitpick her spending.
I pay for groceries, property taxes, utilities and bigger ticket items  as well as travel.

This was our second summer off and it is going OK. 
I do want to go do some motorcycle riding, as that is one of the things I had planned on doing post-FIRE.

If she quits, I plan on a SEPP (72t) from a traditional IRA that  would replace her salary (and maybe a little more).  Plan on direct deposit to her account (if I can set it up that way) or a monthly transfer.

thriftyc

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Re: FIRED with a working spouse/SO?
« Reply #22 on: September 02, 2019, 03:09:59 PM »
I am going to FIRE next month.  Wife will be keeping her part time job that she loves.  All of our finances are combined and have been since day one. My household duties will extensively increase - and am looking forward to helping out more around the house.