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Spouse early retirement


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Old 17th February 2019, 6:50 PM   #1
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Spouse early retirement

So, my spouse has a fairly extensive education and has put a tremendous amount of time and effort into his career, but he is really unhappy in it. He fears early retirement (we are both early 50’s) mostly because of a lack of income and feeling like he is not making a societal or monetary contribution by his efforts. We are incredibly lucky that we have no debt and we are currently on track with retirement planning even without his income. Additionally, a year ago I transitioned jobs and took a part-time, work-from-home job that was actually more lucrative than my previous role. Seeing that I could make that leap has inspired him a bit but he is very cautious by nature.

I want to encourage him to take this option but I don’t want him to resent me for giving him bad advice if it turns out he either doesn’t like being a consultant or he doesn’t feel as successful. If you retired early or changed jobs in your 50’s, would you mind sharing your fears, goals and success or failure stories? I really think this could be a wonderful thing for him and our future but I would love additional insight.
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Old 17th February 2019, 8:58 PM   #2
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Hi... I (Early Retired) last January. I was 52 when I retired. It was the BEST decision I ever made. I am very much enjoying my retirement. I've devoted the extra time to refurbishing my fixer-upper home and traveling.

I don't really have any fears as I've planned out my finances and budgeted for all possible contingencies.

My goals are to finish my fixer-upper home. I haven't decided if I'll keep this home or sell it and move onto the next project. I guess it depends on how my body feels once I complete it. I will also continue exploring (travel / adventure) the Southwest United States. I very much enjoy the natural beauty of the desert and there is a lot to see. Quite a few items on my bucket list need to be checked off and I now have the time to do just that.

There haven't been any failures, but there was one unexpected expense last month. I dipped into my savings (rainy day fund) and will put the money back over the next 3-4 months. Just a small bump in the road, if you will.

I really hope your husband takes your advice and early retires. You only get one life, money doesn't make you a success, enjoying your life the way you want, does!!

Just my two cents.

Edited to add: Please feel free to PM me if you have specific questions or need specific advice on a subject. I'll be glad to assist.
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Last edited by Happy Lemming; 17th February 2019 at 9:00 PM.. Reason: Additional text added
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Old 17th February 2019, 10:14 PM   #3
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It maybe his line of work. Depending on what you do once you pull the cord there is no going back.

I get his caution
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Old 18th February 2019, 2:37 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by georgia girl View Post
If you retired early or changed jobs in your 50’s, would you mind sharing your fears, goals and success or failure stories? I really think this could be a wonderful thing for him and our future but I would love additional insight.
My wife retired at age 50 from a stressful job she no longer enjoyed and it's been pretty much all positive for both of us. She's much happier, which means we're much happier. Like Happy Lemming, we've traveled, worked on our house and enjoyed time with kids and grandkids.

Can he take a LOA to test the waters? That's what my wife did, though it became clear pretty quickly she wasn't going back...

Mr. Lucky
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Old 18th February 2019, 10:45 AM   #5
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Great responses, everyone! I do think he is going to be so much happier.

Marc, his concern is that it’s a one-way street in his current position but as Mr. Lucky pointed out, a leave of absence is possible. It just so happens that he has that option but it’s short (4-6 months). Still, he is thinking about exercising it. He goes back and forth and I don’t want to push. Once he tells his employer he wants a LOA, he is also concerned that will pigeonhole him for future promotions/opportunities. In the next breath, however, he admits he really doesn’t want any of the ones on the horizon. My husband is normally very thoughtful but decisive. Seeing his difficulty on this one really strikes to me how very hard this is for him.

I feel somewhat selfish sitting here thinking about how good life can be with his early retirement when it is his career we’re talking about. But, we met some friends out this weekend and one of their acquaintances (who was part of the group) explained that the husband semi-retired at 54. It helped my husband to see that no one perceived that guy as a “quitter” but instead as a guy who had a great perspective on life.
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Old 18th February 2019, 3:17 PM   #6
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@georgia_girl,

I'm not there yet, but I've read up extensively on retiring early (at least in 50s as opposed to 60s), and it makes a lot of sense for most people I think.

It gives you some 'good years' (from at least 55-65) where you aren't confined by work and you can do some physical hobbies, bike, travel, etc. I mean, what's not to like about that?

I'm sure your husband is an interesting guy. Think of how you can fill your day without work (or caring for kids).

Daily exercise, cooking, reading, learning new languages or taking on new hobbies, socializing, volunteering, traveling, I mean, there is a TON we can fill our days with instead of just working all the time.

I hope to slow down at 50. We'll see!
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Old 18th February 2019, 4:12 PM   #7
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I've know several people that have retired early and picked something up part time after they had some time off. Im told they really enjoy doing something totally unrelated to their past profession.

For myself technically I could retire being debt free with investments paying off but it now feels like the pressure is off in some odd way. I am enjoying work right now and squirreling more dollars away. If I did retire I would have to get a part time because I would always feel unproductive.
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Old 19th February 2019, 8:38 AM   #8
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I am sure he would end up doing “something,” maybe teaching at a college level one class a semester (a local community college has already asked), finishing up some remodeling projects at home or volunteering with some of our local nonprofits, so I think he would get the intellectual stimulation and self satisfaction he is looking for. I honestly just don’t want to see him working full-time. It feels like we are wasting precious time when we could be out enjoying life. Particularly as I work just over half-time, it would be great to do more of the simple things that we really enjoy.

He says he is going to decide this weekend on asking for a leave of absence and he’s now leaning towards it! I shared all of your stories and I think that hearing how our acquaintance retired early has inspired him. His business likes six weeks’ notice for LOAs but it can be sooner, if it’s an emergency. His isn’t an emergency and he would actually offer two months’ notice, being done April 30th. He is also going to ask for the whole six months so he can really make up his mind. That means he wouldn’t go back until Nov. 1st. To get paid out your unused vacation and sick time, you have to give them four weeks’ notice, so he would have to know by the end of October that he wasn’t going back. If he only did four months, it would be too soon.

I will let you know if he asks for it! YAY!
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Old 19th February 2019, 9:19 AM   #9
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I retired at 55, work part time teaching, wife cut her time back to 25 hours a week.

3 word of advice, healthcare, healthcare, and healthcare. That is the barrier you need to scale.
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Old 19th February 2019, 9:22 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by georgia girl View Post
I am sure he would end up doing “something,”
In my experience...

He will have to ...

We need a purpose in life, a reason to get up, shower and be present in this world and without it we cease to exist or cease to be content and happy.

I have had 2 employees retire out of my company, one died within 6 months of retirement, the other is just crazy in the head.. dementia I guess..
The first, his wife said after retirement he did all the things around the house he never had time for when working and after all that was done he had nothing to do so he napped in a chair half the day and died of a heart attack, she said it was the retirement that killed him...
He never found a new purpose...

Not trying to be a Debbie downer but a successful retirement will include a new purpose in life.. a reason to get up and be present and a reason to live out the rest of your life happy and content...

Good luck.. I hope your hubby enjoys retirement.. that is why we work.. right ?
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Old 19th February 2019, 9:51 AM   #11
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BTW, after reading my post I realized it was a bit gloomy..
I didn't mean it to be.

I just wanted to bring up something that has been my experience as you both transition to a wonderful new phase in your life.

I know when I retire I will just be retiring from my job not from life.
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Old 19th February 2019, 10:05 AM   #12
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I agree with @Art_Critic that it's important to retire TO something, but I think most people have enough interests to where that shouldn't be very hard.

Some people become obsessed and consumed with work and their work status, and fail to develop any meaningful outside hobbies. So yeah those people should probably work until the day they die.

BUT...for allll the rest of us, it's probably a VERY good thing to retire, or at least downshift to part-time/consulting work, and give ourselves at least ONE "good decade" to really see the world and tackle new challenges, and grow as people. I'll bet OP's husband is one of these people.
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Old 19th February 2019, 10:10 AM   #13
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I'm 56 and my youngest just turned 13 ...

No early retirement on my horizon.
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Old 19th February 2019, 1:00 PM   #14
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I'm 56 and my youngest just turned 13 ...

No early retirement on my horizon.
Kind of in the same boat, I'm late 60's and my youngest is in college (one of four I've paid for ) and still at home.

There is an upside, having a child later in life helps keep you young. I'm actually starting to like SOME hip hop and rap music...

Mr. Lucky
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Old 19th February 2019, 1:17 PM   #15
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Georgia Girl,

I retired a few years ago (early 50's) and for the most part have had no regrets. I have had plenty of time for my wife and kids, cooking and grilling, reading, volunteer activities, shopwork, getting errands done, helping others who need help (without any concern for estimates billing or all the other overhead/headaches I had while running my business). My wife continues to work because she still enjoys it and that helps us financially because of the health care benefits.

We sold the larger house we didn't want to maintain any longer and have been quite happily back the way we started out together 25 years ago--in a townhouse. We have had to make very few financial sacrifices because of the reduced income but in nearly every case we really have not regretted the so-called "sacrifice". Instead, we honestly can characterize these sacrifices as instead being just a choice. That choice is having peace of mind (I am out of the rat race) versus being in the rat race but being able to spend more money on stuff.

No regrets here whatsoever .

Best wishes as you and your husband decide about this next phase in life.
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