Author Topic: Facing it ...  (Read 3382 times)

albireo13

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Facing it ...
« on: August 21, 2020, 07:29:31 PM »
Well, 1 week to go before I retire.
Now I am full of unsettlement.  My wife is trying to schedule up my days already.
She is working another 2-3 yrs (her choice) and is concerned I will be frittering away my days.
She wants me to be volunteering and/or doing part time jobs.  She already has a list of volunteer work for me.

Help!!

Bird In Hand

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2020, 08:43:13 PM »
Do you normally do whatever you wife says you should do?  If not, I don't see why you should start now.  If so, I don't know why you're asking us for help - just keep doing what you've always done. :P

But seriously, congrats on the imminent retirement.  I'm sure it's normal to feel some anxiety, and even to fritter away some time.  I hope you can work out the details with your wife.

ysette9

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2020, 09:00:35 PM »
I think it is important to have a heart-to-heart with her and get her on the same page as you. First, many people in the FIRE world talk about the importance of decompression for the first 6-12 months. You need this. Be clear about your needs (whatever they may be), so this doesn’t fester and cause problems later.

Secondly, be really clear and have a heart-to-heart with her about how you intend to spend your time in retirement. It annoyed me to no end that when I was a kid my father had more vacation time than my mother, so he would take off time to be at home to burn off his vacation. My mother would get super jealous and pissed at this because she didn’t get as much time off so she would fill up his Honey Do list. He would spend his vacation time doing chores around the house, which I felt was really unfair. I’d caution you to make sure your wife doesn’t see your not working as needing to fill your time with unpaid work.

That isn’t to say that you shouldn’t do more around the house now because you should. But you worked hard to earn this freedom and you deserve to have some of it at least to spend as you see fit.

deborah

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2020, 10:55:41 PM »
There’s a dynamic when one person works and the other is at home. Especially if the one at home is female. They are called the housewife for good reason, because they’re expected to do everything around the house. There’s also an expectation that even when both parties work, the wife will do more than the husband. Again and again the statisticians have found that husbands do less, but think they do a greater share than they do.

So, how much does your wife do of the daily/weekly chores? If she REALLY only does half, and you REALLY already do half, then you need to have a talk about retirement and your expectations of your new life together.

If she actually does more than half, you’d better think about how you want to divide it up so you now do at least the % that she’s always done. And then have that talk, conceding that you’ll need to pull your weight, but that you will be retired, and do want to be able to do some other stuff as well - it’s one reason you’re retiring.

SO retired a couple of years before I did. We agreed that he’d do as much as he’d always done, so I was still making the meals... It really annoyed me when I came home after a hard day, and he was just sitting there, playing computer games. But that’s what we’d agreed. If I hadn’t, there would have been many arguments. As it was, I kept my annoyance to myself because I knew that he’d earnt his retirement and I’d chosen to continue working, and we’d discussed it before he retired, so I knew what would happen. I was still annoyed though.

You sound like you haven’t had that discussion, and that you need to. But you also need to be prepared to give some ground if that’s what it takes.

rmorris50

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2020, 05:59:32 AM »
Well, 1 week to go before I retire.
Now I am full of unsettlement.  My wife is trying to schedule up my days already.
She is working another 2-3 yrs (her choice) and is concerned I will be frittering away my days.
She wants me to be volunteering and/or doing part time jobs.  She already has a list of volunteer work for me.

Help!!
What DO you plan to do in retirement? I think deep down most people want to see ambition, and I use that word extremely loosely, especially in retirement. In other words just do something, and do something you love. Just communicate to your wife what YOU want to do and own it, she’ll hopefully come around if she doesn’t like it. Doesn’t have to be super intense either. And let your wife know some time spent doing nothing is actually productive.

You now also have time to do special little things more for her!

My biggest concern with my husband is he really doesn’t have friends outside work. He gets his social interaction through work. So my only “ask” of him would really be to find SOMETHING, anything that gives him that interaction. Book club, tennis club, teach, volunteer, I don’t care, just have some social interactions even if they are small.


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Bird In Hand

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2020, 07:36:23 AM »
So, how much does your wife do of the daily/weekly chores? If she REALLY only does half, and you REALLY already do half, then you need to have a talk about retirement and your expectations of your new life together.

You sound like you haven’t had that discussion, and that you need to. But you also need to be prepared to give some ground if that’s what it takes.

That's all well and good, but you're inferring/assuming a lot about division of labor in the OP's household.  Maybe he does all the work around the house, maybe it's split along lines he and his wife are comfortable with, maybe he's under-contributing from his wife's perspective, or maybe they outsource everything.  We don't know.

What we do know -- taking OP at face value -- is that his wife is pre-emptively filling his retirement days with part-time work and volunteer gigs, and he doesn't seem pleased about that (see: Help!).

I definitely agree that he and his wife need to talk this over and get on the same page.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2020, 08:07:29 AM »
Make sure you negotiate some idle time for the first 6-9 months.  The decompression stage is a real thing.  Expect an existential crisis as you learn to define yourself without a career.  You need time for soul searching.

albireo13

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2020, 03:23:15 PM »
Thanks. 
My wife is type A and goes until she collapses each night.
She doesn't understand what down time is or even time for introspection.
Everything is on a schedule. 



elaine amj

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2020, 05:22:36 PM »
It can be tough. DH is in general pretty productive and likes to get things done. My mother (who is retired and lives with us) likes to be productive too. All her hobbies are productive, useful ones like gardening, cooking, sewing, etc. She doesn't see much point in "unproductive" hobbies like reading for pleasure (my favourite hobby). She finally backed off on that when I spent some time explaining the sheer pleasure I get from a well-written phrase (not something she gets any pleasure from - she doesn't care for fiction, just self-improvement books).

When I FIREd 2 yrs ago, the three of us were all at home together all day. I wanted time to decompress and basically do nothing. Thankfully I also had the urge to improve my fitness and made it my goal to spend 2-3 hrs a day in physical activity.  That quickly took up giant chunks of my time so they didn't complain too much when I didn't do much the rest of the time.

Every once in a while my mother would complain a bit about my unproductivity. One day I sat her down and asked her why working would be more "useful"? Yeah I would bring more money in, which is always nice. But since we have enough for our modest needs, why is "more" useful? I enjoyed my job - but it's not like I was saving humanity or anything. I put in all the effort to save enough and plan my life to be able to FIRE. Why shouldn't I enjoy the fruits of all that work and sacrifice (albeit minor sacrifices since we have always been comfortable with our low spending)?

All that said, I have increased my "useful" activities in the last few months and both DH and my mom are much happier. I am more tired. So now DH says I need to space things out better. Lol - can't win.

I hope you manage to work things out with your wife. The one thing that helped me is that DH was genuinely proud that we were able to FIRE and he would brag about me to other ppl.

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Malcat

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2020, 04:37:40 AM »
Have you communicated to her clearly what your decompression needs are?

soccerluvof4

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2020, 07:41:32 AM »
I agree strongly with those that are talking about Decompression having experienced the need myself. In addition having a sit down and perhaps supported with a list of things that YOU already have planned or would like to get done.

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2020, 12:47:32 PM »
Wow.  I've gotta admit I cannot relate to any of this.  I worked my ass off for 20 years of work and a small business, I think I did a great job.  My wife worked her ass off for 20 years of taking care of a house and 3 kids, she definitely did a great job.  We were both careful with spending.  The kids got older and became much less work, and when she did that "well, I guess I'm supposed to go back to work now" talk I said no need to if she didn't want to (I don't know why someone would want to...) because we were on track to FI pretty soon anyway, and that her going back to work would only speed that up by a year or two and that its not like the kids are work-free in middle & high school, and she was happy with that response.... Now that we've hit our number she now pushes me to RE (I've GREATLY slowed down, working much fewer hours and from home only and am definitely getting closer to being done).

She laughs at my wasting time watching baseball, bowling with my son, playing guitar and tinkering with projects around the house, which I assume she'll continue to do.  I'll laugh at her doing puzzles, napping on the porch, hanging out with her sister, and getting involved in community politics, which I assume I'll continue to do.  We'll enjoy a couple/few hours a days together either just us or at kid stuff, and the occasional trips together which hopefully now can be more than occasional. 

I throw out there the things I like to eat and sometimes they get made.  She keeps a honey-do list going with no dates from which I complete the things that look interesting and ignore those that don't (sure I'll remodel the downstairs half-bath, that would be kind of interesting ...but there's no way I'm refinishing the hardwood floors throughout the house, what a pain and a mess).  I'm not saying there were never times someone felt they were doing more work, but I think 99.9% of the time we each thought the other was doing their best when times were tough, and more than enough when things were easy.  We would encourage each other sometimes to do some volunteer type thing...but that was always b/c the other was involved and just thought it would be fun to be involved together.

I guess I really don't get what would lead a spouse to pushing the other to be productive at something that did not directly help the family itself.  I want and push my kids to be 'productive', but why would I have those feelings toward my spouse, am I afraid my wife is gonna "grow up" to be lazy, have trouble finding purpose and be unsuccessful in life?  ;-)


Ladychips

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2020, 03:54:54 PM »
I don't know how you talk to you wife about what you want to do when you don't really know yet.  I mean we read lots of stories about post fire people who had a plan going in...and it all changed once they were there.

So, my suggestion (I'm not saying it is a good one) is to let her plan all she wants.  And then when you retire, you do what you want.  She can't actually control your time. 

Good luck and I hope you'll let us know how it goes.

Loren Ver

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2020, 04:24:45 PM »
Wow.  I've gotta admit I cannot relate to any of this.  I worked my ass off for 20 years of work and a small business, I think I did a great job.  My wife worked her ass off for 20 years of taking care of a house and 3 kids, she definitely did a great job.  We were both careful with spending.  The kids got older and became much less work, and when she did that "well, I guess I'm supposed to go back to work now" talk I said no need to if she didn't want to (I don't know why someone would want to...) because we were on track to FI pretty soon anyway, and that her going back to work would only speed that up by a year or two and that its not like the kids are work-free in middle & high school, and she was happy with that response.... Now that we've hit our number she now pushes me to RE (I've GREATLY slowed down, working much fewer hours and from home only and am definitely getting closer to being done).

She laughs at my wasting time watching baseball, bowling with my son, playing guitar and tinkering with projects around the house, which I assume she'll continue to do.  I'll laugh at her doing puzzles, napping on the porch, hanging out with her sister, and getting involved in community politics, which I assume I'll continue to do.  We'll enjoy a couple/few hours a days together either just us or at kid stuff, and the occasional trips together which hopefully now can be more than occasional. 

I throw out there the things I like to eat and sometimes they get made.  She keeps a honey-do list going with no dates from which I complete the things that look interesting and ignore those that don't (sure I'll remodel the downstairs half-bath, that would be kind of interesting ...but there's no way I'm refinishing the hardwood floors throughout the house, what a pain and a mess).  I'm not saying there were never times someone felt they were doing more work, but I think 99.9% of the time we each thought the other was doing their best when times were tough, and more than enough when things were easy.  We would encourage each other sometimes to do some volunteer type thing...but that was always b/c the other was involved and just thought it would be fun to be involved together.

I guess I really don't get what would lead a spouse to pushing the other to be productive at something that did not directly help the family itself.  I want and push my kids to be 'productive', but why would I have those feelings toward my spouse, am I afraid my wife is gonna "grow up" to be lazy, have trouble finding purpose and be unsuccessful in life?  ;-)

I really like this @Much Fishing to Do good modeling for your kids too :D.
DH and I don't have kids, but we also don't voluntell each other either. 

calimom

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2020, 07:51:15 PM »
My favorite response to someone telling me what I "should do" is "Thanks  "I'll keep that in  mind!" It's not insulting to the advice-giver and doesn't commit to anything.

Some might disagree and it's fine, but you can decompress and do nice things for your spouse like making dinner on most days they work.

And seriously, well done, you! Retirement!

o2bfree

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2020, 01:30:40 PM »
Thanks. 
My wife is type A and goes until she collapses each night.
She doesn't understand what down time is or even time for introspection.
Everything is on a schedule.

If you think your wife's type A tendencies are causing you grief now, what'll happen when she stops working? She seems to have a strong need for a sense of purpose, and being retired could make her really anxious and depressed. Maybe you could bring this up with her, that she may need to think about why she needs to be busy all the time. She can't relax and is always trying to "get" something...what is it exactly? Just activity for activity's sake? If so, why?

My mom is type A, with the same "go until you drop" MO and lack of introspection. Now she's old and depressed because she physically can't do as much anymore and doesn't have the mental resilience to deal with her situation. She's also difficult to be around because she never learned to consider things from other points of view. She complains a lot about things that are inconvenient because she's old and has a hard time with them, whereas those things are fine for everyone else, including other folks her own age who know to slow down and take the time to work through them and listen to others who are there to help. Instead she gets angry and frantic when she doesn't understand something or things aren't going her way.

Whatever it is my mom was always trying to get by staying so busy all the time, she never got because she's definitely not happy.

Steeze

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Re: Facing it ...
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2020, 02:33:18 PM »
Sit down and think about a reasonable time frame for you - 3,6,9,12 months to decompress, relax, figure out the next phase. Then have a conversation with your spouse about how long you plan on setting aside for decompression. Think about what you are willing to do and not do during that time frame. Use that time to figure out a new schedule.

Also - volunteering isn't volunteering if your not the one volunteering :) Someone 'forcing' you to volunteer is a lot like working without getting paid. If you are going to volunteer then you should find something that interest you. For me that might be maintaining hiking trails for the local land conservation group, or sweeping / cleaning up the local skate park once a week. My uncle used to teach ski lessons at the local ski area for free (through their ski-school) for local kids who wanted to try skiing for the first time.

If I was retiring first I would probably plan on doing more than my half of the chores just to avoid any hard feelings. Aside from that - you should be working on YOUR bucket list from here on out. Congratulations !!