Author Topic: Retirement is like divorcing your job  (Read 8823 times)

rubybeth

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Retirement is like divorcing your job
« on: October 22, 2014, 08:46:27 AM »
I had kind of a work-related meltdown just a couple days ago when talking to my DH. I don't get the recognition I deserve, no raises, yadda yadda yadda. He was really kind and understanding, and because he is in grad school to become a marriage and family therapist, he shared an idea with me that I think might resonate with others, so here goes.

DH offered me this way of thinking about FIRE as a kind of divorce from my job. Typically, when men decide to get divorced, the divorce is done and wrapped within 1-2 years. When women decide to get divorced, the actual divorce might not happen for another 5 to 15 years. The reasons should be obvious, but just in case not... there's generally less for men to lose in a divorce so it can happen quickly, and women need to start planning much earlier in order to make their getaway, so to speak. They might go back to school and complete a degree, start a new career or their own business, etc. in that time period, all the while, knowing they are getting divorced eventually. When they finally tell their husband they want a divorce, they have already been laying the groundwork for many years. So DH said I am like the woman preparing for a divorce from my job. I already know when I want to quit, how much I want to have saved, etc. I just haven't informed my employer of this impending divorce. I will likely quit before many of my older colleagues even start thinking about retirement (most are 5-10 years older than I am and make $10k+ more per year than I do).

For some reason, I find this idea really freeing, probably like women who decide to get divorces from their spouses. :) Thoughts? Other ways to think about retirement, quitting a job, FIRE, etc.?

nereo

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2014, 09:25:06 AM »
... that's a really sad thought - that some people spend 5-15 years in a marriage they have every intention of leaving. 

persoanlly, i try not to let my work ever reach the level of involvement of a marriage.  I try not to let any job define me as a person - therefore I think it is easier (for me) to leave my job that it would be to leave my spouse.

PloddingInsight

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2014, 09:27:05 AM »
... that's a really sad thought - that some people spend 5-15 years in a marriage they have every intention of leaving. 
To me the really sad part is that people spend 5-15 years in a marriage that their spouse secretly intends on leaving.  Maybe it's because I'm a guy, though.

shotgunwilly

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2014, 10:17:56 AM »
... that's a really sad thought - that some people spend 5-15 years in a marriage they have every intention of leaving. 

No kidding. What a terrible, terrible thing to do. To yourself, and especially someone else.

CommonCents

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2014, 10:23:10 AM »
... that's a really sad thought - that some people spend 5-15 years in a marriage they have every intention of leaving. 
To me the really sad part is that people spend 5-15 years in a marriage that their spouse secretly intends on leaving.  Maybe it's because I'm a guy, though.

No, it's sad for me too, so I start to question it (because I don't want it to be true and can't believe it's really true).  However, requesting proof/studies is off topic from the post...

hdatontodo

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2014, 10:25:04 AM »
With At Will employment, the employer can fire you on Christmas Eve after knowing for only a few days that he had to do layoffs by end of year. But then again, why ruin his Christmas by worrying about firing you after it, when he can bite the bullet now and enjoy his.

frugalnacho

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2014, 02:00:24 PM »
LOL @ men have less to lose in a divorce.  I'm not an expert, but based on my anecdotal evidence men get ROYALLY FUCKED over by the courts during divorce including financial ruin as well as having custody unfairly ripped away from them.   The system is certainly not tipped in mens favor.

Also secretly planning a divorce for 5-15 years in the future is flat out evil. 

NoraLenderbee

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2014, 02:08:39 PM »
Hey gang, there was a divorce thread that just got locked because it became too fractious.
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/divorce-wmfd-(weapon-of-mass-financial-destruction)/

To rubybeth: It might be too late to get your thread back on topic. Perhaps it would make sense to start another thread about divorcing your job, minus the generalization about men vs women (which gets people going, as you can see)?

frugalman

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2014, 02:19:38 PM »
Back on topic. You are renting your time at your work, for a paycheck. You should try to enjoy it and be happy there as much as possible, while you are growing your stache to full FI status. In the event that you've given it your all, and it is NOT enjoyable, time to quietly look for another job.

I now have 435 days left until retirement. I told my boss today. They may fire me next week, and that would be OK too. I have plenty of FU money stashed.

GetItRight

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2014, 02:31:19 PM »
DH offered me this way of thinking about FIRE as a kind of divorce from my job. Typically, when men decide to get divorced, the divorce is done and wrapped within 1-2 years. When women decide to get divorced, the actual divorce might not happen for another 5 to 15 years. The reasons should be obvious, but just in case not... there's generally less for men to lose in a divorce so it can happen quickly, and women need to start planning much earlier in order to make their getaway, so to speak.

I think you've got that obvious reason a bit backwards. There is a lot more for men to lose in a divorce than women, in most cases. Alimony, child support, the insanely biased family court system, etc... Getting married is risky for men, having children is very risky for men, getting divorced is often devastating financially for a man but if there are kids or it's in an alimony state it can be a gravy train for women. There are exceptions where the woman was the breadwinner and the man a lower earner or SAHP, but in the majority of cases when there are children the woman puts her career on hold to raise the children. In several states, notably Florida, divorce/alimony/child support reform has been attempted with significant support yet not passed. Proposals of eliminating alimony or child support and simple 50/50 custody so long as no violence/abuse/etc. are repeatedly stalled or shot down.

If retirement were like divorcing your job it would be like quitting your job but still getting paid by your employer, for women at least. For men I don't know what you'd compare it to, maybe working for free or having to keep paying your employee after she quits.

I think about eventual retirement more as when I can finally quit the work that I don't like and keep doing the work that I do like... Whether that be in the same field or company or expanding on existing monetization of my hobbies. For me the goal or retirement is the freedom to not have to work, and instead to just do the work that brings me satisfaction. For now, I don't hate my job so that's enough that dreaming about what I'll do once FI carries me through the bad days.

frugalnacho

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2014, 02:34:55 PM »
Marriage is supposed to be permanent, or at least until death.  A job is always temporary.  You are expected to leave and find a new job frequently.  And you are fully expected to permanently quit at some point.  I would say it's more analogous to terminating your summer fling on the 4th of July.  They knew it was gonna end...just not so soon.

Beric01

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2014, 02:50:48 PM »
Marriage carries the understanding of lifelong commitment (though unfortunately not so much these days). A job is employment at will, both on the part of the employer and the employee. Either party can end the relationship at any time. There is no "till death do us part" going on, or even a stated time period unless the employee is a contract worker.

Analogy doesn't check out.

LOL @ men have less to lose in a divorce.  I'm not an expert, but based on my anecdotal evidence men get ROYALLY FUCKED over by the courts during divorce including financial ruin as well as having custody unfairly ripped away from them.   The system is certainly not tipped in mens favor.

Also secretly planning a divorce for 5-15 years in the future is flat out evil.

100% agreed, and the primary reason I have no great desire for marriage at this time. That and the 50% divorce rate - worse than Russian roulette!

MandyM

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2014, 03:07:38 PM »
Even though the analogy may be a bit off (till death do us part vs the temporary nature of a job), I still like the comparison. I plan on quitting in 2, maybe 3 years and I often feel guilty discussing the long term outlook of my office when I know I'm not going to be part of it. Logically, I realize that none of my coworkers are guaranteed to be around either, but it still feels a bit disloyal.

RetiredAt63

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2014, 03:11:13 PM »
To try and get this a bit back on track - of course the analogy is not perfect.  But I do know of cases where, when a SAHM went back to school, people commented that there might be a divorce in the future - and there was.  Basically the couple was getting her ready for the job market before the separation/divorce, when things were calmer, instead of after.

Also, we only see the times when the situation ends in divorce, not the ones where everything works out OK.  So maybe her prep allowed things to change for the better in the marriage?  Just as posters here have pointed out that having FU money allows them to do things at work that make the work experience more positive, and so they don't have to leave.

So perhaps the analogy would be better as preparation for an uncertain future, where the person worrying about the future feels unprepared?  And has to do lots of advance planning?  Presently, when most SAHPs are SAHMs, the analogy holds.

Plus, in general (note the in general) I find more women than men do long-range worrying/planning.  Perhaps because we have a longer life expectancy?  I know my financial resources need to last me another 30+years.  So we may do more long-range worrying in general - what will I do when the children are in school/in high school/gone?

Also, there are lots of jobs out there where we get involved - with our job,with our colleagues, with the effect our job has on society (teachers, doctors, etc.).

So maybe people could quit being quite so literal?  And starting a new forum war?


Side note - laws differ, and there are a lot of Americans on this forum. IMHO, based on the Ontario and Quebec divorces I have seen (and I have have seen too many), the men did *not* get screwed.  Neither (mostly) did the women.  Things were generally pretty equitable.  The few I saw where the wife was a SAHM or making a lot less than her husband, it was the wife whose income went down, not the husband's.  So could we please stop the bashing?  And if the laws are horrible where you are, don't complain here.  Do something there.

BPA

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2014, 03:19:46 PM »
Back on topic. You are renting your time at your work, for a paycheck. You should try to enjoy it and be happy there as much as possible, while you are growing your stache to full FI status. In the event that you've given it your all, and it is NOT enjoyable, time to quietly look for another job.

I now have 435 days left until retirement. I told my boss today. They may fire me next week, and that would be OK too. I have plenty of FU money stashed.

Cool!  I have 422 days left.  I'm a woman though, so I might just stick around for another 5-15 years getting all I can out of my employer.  ;)

I'm thinking you must be January 1, 2016?

tracylayton

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2014, 03:26:00 PM »
I think if the analogy makes you feel better, than that's what's important. Thanks for trying to share it. Also, I think that back in the 60's and 70's there were a lot of stay-at-home mothers (wives) who knew they couldn't make enough money to support themselves while they had small kids. So, I think it was more likely for someone to hang in there until their situation changed.

Tyler

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #16 on: October 22, 2014, 06:19:14 PM »
I find the gender differentiation distracting, but I've noted before that divorce and leaving a job can share similar aspects of guilt, fear of finding a new job/mate, personal identity, and dependency.  I do think that the divorce metaphor maybe works better relative to quitting a bad or abusive job than to retiring.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2014, 09:28:26 AM by Tyler »

HappierAtHome

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #17 on: October 22, 2014, 08:46:20 PM »
I found this analogy really helpful. If you think about the social stigma surrounding both divorce (dependent on your culture/community) and retiring early, there are some real similarities there.

Beric01

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2014, 08:54:47 PM »
I found this analogy really helpful. If you think about the social stigma surrounding both divorce (dependent on your culture/community) and retiring early, there are some real similarities there.

There is so much wrong with this post.

For starters, divorce indicates an utter failure of a marriage, and I don't see how anyone can think that's a good thing.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2014, 09:36:43 PM »
I found this analogy really helpful. If you think about the social stigma surrounding both divorce (dependent on your culture/community) and retiring early, there are some real similarities there.

There is so much wrong with this post.

For starters, divorce indicates an utter failure of a marriage, and I don't see how anyone can think that's a good thing.

I think you've proven my point about the social stigma of divorce, so presumably we at least agree that people sometimes judge other people for getting divorced :-) and many people on this forum have experienced social stigma for retiring early.

Beric01

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2014, 09:49:19 PM »
I found this analogy really helpful. If you think about the social stigma surrounding both divorce (dependent on your culture/community) and retiring early, there are some real similarities there.

There is so much wrong with this post.

For starters, divorce indicates an utter failure of a marriage, and I don't see how anyone can think that's a good thing.

I think you've proven my point about the social stigma of divorce, so presumably we at least agree that people sometimes judge other people for getting divorced :-) and many people on this forum have experienced social stigma for retiring early.

My point was that divorce is a bad thing - if not for the divorce itself, then that the marriage happened in the first place. I'm not going to stigmatize divorcees themselves, but I don't think the act of divorce indicates a successful marriage was had.  I'd like to find a person who, having gotten divorced, still wishes they had married.

The only arguments I know against early retirement revolve around it being "unpatriotic" or "boring" or "depriving oneself". But talk to the retirees and vast majority of them are very happy.

There's a marked difference.

EscapeVelocity2020

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #21 on: October 22, 2014, 11:05:37 PM »
Getting this thread a little back on track, I actually used this metaphor in a thread not too long ago...
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/voluntary-uncoupling-from-your-career/msg293160/#msg293160
Quote
Here I am, on the cusp of retirement (at 40), and yet I feel like I owe something to society.  I feel as though I am letting 'people down' if I take a well played 20 years and then spend the next (hopefully 50 or 60) doing whatever the hell I feel like (which may or may not 'profit' society at large, most likely it will be somewhat neutral).  I liken this to divorce, not being evil or greedy in and of itself, but knowing that there will be slings and arrows for the choice (viewed as 'self-centered' or whatever), because it's the 'path that should not be voluntarily taken'.

So, has anyone else retired early or is considering retiring early and figured out how to explain this to your family and friends?  I like this softening/modern idea of 'voluntary uncoupling' for divorce, and maybe a similar idea of divorce/voluntary uncoupling should be applied to a career you don't need to be 'stuck' with?

HappierAtHome

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2014, 12:28:47 AM »
I found this analogy really helpful. If you think about the social stigma surrounding both divorce (dependent on your culture/community) and retiring early, there are some real similarities there.

There is so much wrong with this post.

For starters, divorce indicates an utter failure of a marriage, and I don't see how anyone can think that's a good thing.

I think you've proven my point about the social stigma of divorce, so presumably we at least agree that people sometimes judge other people for getting divorced :-) and many people on this forum have experienced social stigma for retiring early.

My point was that divorce is a bad thing - if not for the divorce itself, then that the marriage happened in the first place. I'm not going to stigmatize divorcees themselves, but I don't think the act of divorce indicates a successful marriage was had.  I'd like to find a person who, having gotten divorced, still wishes they had married.

The only arguments I know against early retirement revolve around it being "unpatriotic" or "boring" or "depriving oneself". But talk to the retirees and vast majority of them are very happy.

There's a marked difference.
I had a wonderful marriage - and a wonderful divorce. The marriage and the person I married were not mistakes but over the years we each ended up wanting different things in life. This happens with marriages the same as it happens with careers/jobs. Doesn't always mean that leaving is a bad thing for either - often it means you are each moving on the a better more fulfilling life.

I know quite a few people in the same position as you - yes, they divorced, but they look back happily on their marriage and think it was worthwhile even if it did end.

Maybe I know a disproportionate number of happily divorced people :-P

And I'm happy to note that due to this forum, I know (of) quite a few happily ER'd people!

LalsConstant

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2014, 07:32:21 AM »
LOL @ men have less to lose in a divorce.  I'm not an expert, but based on my anecdotal evidence men get ROYALLY FUCKED over by the courts during divorce including financial ruin as well as having custody unfairly ripped away from them.   The system is certainly not tipped in mens favor.

Also secretly planning a divorce for 5-15 years in the future is flat out evil.

THANK YOU.

This is just a terrible analogy.   A marriage is a lifelong commitment and the most sacred of promises.  Unfortunately we have traded that notion for that of marriages being arrangements of convenience.

oldtoyota

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2014, 07:42:04 AM »
I agree that the analogy is not perfect and raises emotional and ethical questions.

At the same time, I understand the husband as telling the OP to separate herself from her job so she can see it as a tool to help her reach her end goal. If I am wrong about that, OP, let me know.


rubybeth

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #25 on: October 23, 2014, 12:27:47 PM »
I agree that the analogy is not perfect and raises emotional and ethical questions.

At the same time, I understand the husband as telling the OP to separate herself from her job so she can see it as a tool to help her reach her end goal. If I am wrong about that, OP, let me know.

Yes, this is how I see it, thanks for putting it better, oldtoyota.

I can ask DH about the reference/source for his original statistic about women deciding to get divorced many years before telling their spouse. That really wasn't meant to be the focus of my post, though, sorry if that upset anyone. It was just interesting to me because I don't plan to FIRE within 2 years, but rather about 12 years, so the timeline is much longer. I agree that marriage should be for life, and I'll be keeping DH around a long time. :)

Prepube

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2014, 05:37:35 PM »
I prefer to think about these things much more positively and much less sexistly (I know that's not a word).  My marriage and divorce in the 80's prepared me in the most fantastic way for my marriage in the 90's which has been much more longlasting.  If you are out there, ex-wife of mine, thank you!  All of my prior jobs have also prepared me for my next steps.  I know what I want from life (thanks to all the relationships and jobs) and I know the things I don't want to repeat.  Its not like "divorce" at all!  The progressions of my life's experiences toward a more positive attitude has been nothing but good.  I love all my old jobs (that I hated) because they taught how I do not want to be, and how I want to strive for something better.  Same for the relationships.  Its all a progression toward a better life... Then you die, so what the fuck anyway.     

domustachesgrowinhouston

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Re: Retirement is like divorcing your job
« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2014, 08:49:10 PM »
Even though the analogy may be a bit off (till death do us part vs the temporary nature of a job), I still like the comparison. I plan on quitting in 2, maybe 3 years and I often feel guilty discussing the long term outlook of my office when I know I'm not going to be part of it. Logically, I realize that none of my coworkers are guaranteed to be around either, but it still feels a bit disloyal.

Ive known people that take it very personal when people leave, but ive never really understood it. I have an engineer working for me that told me his intention is to retire as soon as possible. I keep hinting that he should read MMM ;). If he achieves it, ill be very happy for him and then ill hire another engineer; unless i retire first that is. Either way, we'll hopefully still be friends.  So i guess im saying, it doesnt seem at all like divorce to me (to the op) and i wouldnt bother with feeling guilty about it (to mandym).