Can My Wife Retire Early?

Can My Wife Retire Early?

Hey everyone, it’s time for our annual update on Mrs. RB40’s Early Retirement plan. The last time I updated this post, it was at the end of a crazy year. 2020 changed the way we worked. Mrs. RB40’s office closed down and she had to work from home. RB40Jr schooled from home. Our home is small so it got pretty crowded. However, Mrs. RB40 really enjoyed working from home. She didn’t have to commute and she can take breaks to do various things around the house. She adapted and she was able to contribute very effectively. Her boss encouraged her to take some challenging assignments and she aced them. As a result, she is moving up in her organization. She is very excited about the opportunities and she is not ready for early retirement. You know, some people just aren’t made for early retirement. Mrs. RB40 enjoys working and contributing to society. She also LOVES having a steady income. It makes her feel secure. This is great for our family because we can put off withdrawal from our savings. The employer-sponsored health insurance plan is extremely helpful as well. We don’t have to deal with healthcare until she stops working.

However, the question remains. Can our finances survive dual early retirement? Can my wife retire? Today, we’ll go over our finances from last year and see what it’d be like if Mrs. RB40 was retired and had no income. At least then we’ll see if she could retire if she wants to. It’s good to have that option. Lastly, I’ll share Mrs. RB40’s updated ER plan. Let’s do a quick recap first.

Quick recap

Here is a quick recap of our current situation. Actually, it’s probably easier to look at our earnings and follow along.

  • I started working full time as a computer hardware engineer in 1996. After 16 years, I retired from my engineering career in 2012 to become a SAHD/blogger. The income wasn’t stable. We had some good years and some slow years. 2021 was not a good year with blogging, but I made up for it with my scooter charging side hustle. You can follow along here if you’d like – my blogging income page.
  • Mrs. RB40 joined the Peace Corps for 2.5 years after college. She started working full time in 1999 but didn’t make much. She went back to school and got her Master’s degree in 2007 and improved her income significantly. If she keeps working, she’ll have a good pension income as well as Social Security benefits.

It’s been 10 years since I retired and life has been fantastic. Some readers, aka the internet retirement police, insist that I’m not retired because my wife is still working. However, I disagree. Why does it matter if Mrs. RB40 is still working or not? This wouldn’t be an issue if I was 65. Most couples don’t retire simultaneously. Mrs. RB40 could have retired with me in 2012. It would have been okay because the stock market did extremely well over the last 10 years. However, we wouldn’t have been able to invest and triple our net worth as we did. Everything is working out much better with a staggered retirement. It’s a good model as long as both people are happy with the arrangement.

Anyway, let’s look at 2021 in detail and see if Mrs. RB40 could have retired last year. Did we need her income to fund our lifestyle?

Can we maintain our lifestyle if my wife retires?

2021 was actually a great year for investors and people with stable jobs. The stock market did so well and gave our net worth a nice little boost, about 13%. That’s way lower than the SP500 index fund, but we have other investments that didn’t do as well. I don’t think our property price increased much either. Portland had a lot of problems over the last few years.

Fortunately, our household income also increased by about 14%. Mrs. RB40 did well at her work and she is steadily moving up. My blog income decreased a bit, but my side hustle income was way higher than expected. We also controlled our spending and didn’t inflate our lifestyle too much. 2021 was actually a very good year. I went to see my parents in Thailand. In the summer, we went camping at Yellowstone and went to relax at the beach. Mrs. RB40 told me that many people at work are struggling with the changes. But we already set up our lifestyle to be comfortable in many situations. That’s why we enjoyed 2021 quite a bit and didn’t stress out much.

All in all, 2020 was a good year for our cash flow. We spent way less than we made and saved 57% of our gross income. In addition, our net worth increased by 13% last year. Anyway, this is how we fund our modest lifestyle in 2021.

This worked extremely well for us, but it would have been a different story if Mrs. RB40 was retired. First, we’d lose her earned income. Second, we’d need to purchase health insurance. Let’s crunch the numbers.

If my wife was retired in 2020…

First of all, our household income would drop significantly if she didn’t work full-time.

  • Online + side hustle income: about $49,000
  • Passive Income: about $60,500
  • Total income (pre-tax) without Mrs. RB40’s job = ~$109,500

Second, we’d spend way more money on health insurance.

  • 2020 total spending: about $43,000
  • Healthcare: estimated $12,000 (This is actually a very high estimate. I’m pretty sure we’d pay way less on healthcare.gov.)
  • Taxes: estimated $12,000 (if Mrs. RB40 didn’t work)
  • Total Expenses ~$67,000

A quick look reveals that income is higher than expense so the financial side looks good. We’d still have a surplus without her paycheck. All in all, 2021 would have worked out just fine.

In conclusion, Mrs. RB40 could have retired in 2021 if she wanted to. We’d continue to save and our net worth would increase by a good amount. Here are the numbers from previous years. 2021 was pretty good.

She doesn’t want to retire yet

For now, Mrs. RB40 doesn’t want to retire yet. It doesn’t look good for me because this site is about early retirement, but life isn’t all about me. If she wants to work, then she shouldn’t retire. Early retirement is a great fit for me, but it isn’t for everyone.

Most people want to be productive members of society. We are wired to contribute and a job makes people feel important and useful. Work gives your life some structure. You have goals and missions to accomplish. That’s why I believe 99% of the population should work in a job they enjoy rather than retire early. Working is just easier as long as the environment is nice. Early retirement sounds exciting in theory, but it’s not a good fit for most people in real life. You have to set up your own goals and structure. Most people can’t handle that kind of freedom.

Work is central to most people’s lives and Mrs. RB40 is no exception. Here are some reasons why my wife doesn’t want to retire yet.

  1. Mrs. RB40 likes work. She is a model employee. Mrs. RB40 excels at her job and receives excellent annual reviews. She continues to perform very well at work so why retire? Nobody wants to quit when they’re a star. Also, she is moving from middle management to upper management. It’s an exciting time for her. The extra income is quite nice too.
  2. Mrs. RB40 wants great healthcare coverage. Her employer-sponsored healthcare is very good. We all have some minor health issues and we really appreciate the solid health insurance policy. I don’t think we can do better with HealthCare.gov.
  3. Mrs. RB40 likes being busy. I enjoy relaxing and doing things at my own pace. My perfect day would be to hang out at home, blog a bit, read, play video games, and cook. Mrs. RB40, on the other hand, seems to find something to do whenever she has a day off. She’d garden, bake cookies, fold origami, visit the museum, volunteer, or rearrange the furniture. I suspect she’d be bored if she doesn’t go to work.
  4. Mrs. RB40 likes being a productive member of society. She has a social conscience. I don’t mind doing my own thing and I don’t care what other people say. She cares about other people’s opinions. Being retired is not how she sees herself at this period of life (the 40s.)
  5. Mrs. RB40 does not have a post early retirement plan. Currently, she doesn’t know what she would do if she retires. She has many interests, but she doesn’t have a passion project. Also, she’s not sure what to do with unstructured freedom. I suggested that she work at Retire by 40, but she doesn’t really care about blogging or personal finance. It’s not her passion. It would just be another job for her even though she’d probably be very helpful.
  6. Mrs. RB40 likes being social. She has friends at work. Adjusting to a smaller social circle is one of the most difficult things about early retirement. I did fine because I’m an introvert. Mrs. RB40 is an introvert, too, but she likes being social occasionally. Also, I have online friends through blogging. It’s not the same as in real life, but online social interaction is adequate for me.
  7. Mrs. RB40 enjoys making money. She loves seeing her retirement account grow every year. She also likes buying nice work clothes. Now that she brings home the bacon, she feels like she can afford nicer stuff occasionally. Fortunately, she is very careful where the money goes. If she didn’t have any income, she probably wouldn’t spend any money.

These are some of the reasons why she isn’t quite ready to retire yet. That’s perfectly fine with me because she’s doing very well at work. She’s not stressed out all the time like in her previous job and she rarely brings work home.

Why change?

We are in an ideal situation right now. Our household income is solid and our net worth continues to grow every year. Mrs. RB40 enjoys work and I like being home. This SAHD/blogger lifestyle is a much better fit for me. Mrs. RB40 wouldn’t be happy in this environment just as I wasn’t happy in a corporate setting. Life is good for both of us, so why change? Let’s keep it going like this while it’s still good.

Early retirement is an option for Mrs. RB40, but the timing just isn’t right yet. She is still doing well at work. She is excited about the opportunities and she is forging ahead. She isn’t going to retire in 2022. Instead, we’ll come up with a new plan.

New target – 6 months sabbatical 2022

Planning is tough when things change so often. For now, Mrs. RB40 enjoys her job so it doesn’t make sense to retire. Instead, she’ll take 6 months off in 2022 and see how it goes. We’ll travel for about 3 months and enjoy the rest of the time off at home. (Hopefully, things will be opened up by then.) It’ll give her a taste of early retirement. We’ll evaluate the situation again at the end of the year.

For now, she plans to work until our son graduates from high school. That’ll be the summer of 2029. It’ll still be early retirement. We’ll still be healthy enough to travel and enjoy life for a few years.

Alright, that’s it for today. We’ll evaluate the situation again early next year to see how 2022 went. Stay tuned to see if Mrs. RB40 will really take 6 months off in 2022. Thanks for reading!

*Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital to help manage your net worth and investment accounts. I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. It’s a great site for DIY investors. They have a really good retirement calculator.

  

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.
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102 thoughts on “Can My Wife Retire Early?”

  1. Today, we call it FIRE. Ten years ago it was called it a one income household. You are not retired! I have followed many FIRE people at this point and have come to realize most people are not truly FIRE. And often time you don’t realize this until reading most of their blog. One income household is VERY common. I have come to realize most FIRE people are one income households, seems like a misrepresentation to me. Is the goal of these websites to educate or to make money and drive traffic?

    Reply
    • The big difference is we don’t need the income to support our lifestyle. My wife can retire today if she wants to. It’s all about choices.
      For most one-income households of yesterday, the income-earner needs to keep working or else they wouldn’t make it.

      You can run your life the way you want. I hope you and your wife retire at the same time so nobody will say you’re not retired.
      Cheers

      Reply
  2. Taking a year off to travel sounds like a dream come true to me. It’s wonderful that you guys work together as a team, and that you are extremely supportive of one another. Your son has wonderful role models. I applaud your wife for continuing to pursue what is meaningful to her. And screw the early retirement police! I often hear people talk negatively (including my coworkers) of early retirement as if it is expected we will simply sit in front of our TVs all day, but all you have to do is talk to an early retired person and you’ll often find them working on meaningful projects like yourself, MMM, Mad Fientist, etc. Thanks for continuing to inspire us folks who are still far from FIRE.

    Reply
    • I just realized that Brandon (Mad Fientist) also has a working wife. I think she’s an optometrist or something. It’s pretty cool there are a lot of early retired men out there with working wives now.

      With two young children and a lot of backend stuff to do with Financial Samurai, my wife really does not want to go back to work. The time we have with our children is fleeting. We gotta make the most of it!

      BTW… unfortunately, my editors cut out your story I included for my book! I included another blogger side hustling, whose wife is a doctor. This was for my side hustle chapter. Sorry, I tried!

      Sam

      Reply
      • No worries.
        Everyone has to find their own path. Most people are happy to work and contribute as long as the working environment is good.
        You’re lucky that both of you left corporate life at around the same time.

        Reply
  3. As long as her work continues to bring her joy, I am all for it. It’s great for you all to know, the day she no longer wants to work, she can quit with confidence.
    Stick to your goals and you will never have to worry.

    Reply
  4. What a great situation to be in where working is a choice and not a necessity. I’ve been wanting to retire early for a year now but maybe I’m not fully appreciating the costs that’ll go into my lifestyle if I decide to retire now. The biggest expense being what you highlighted in your blog, which is healthcare costs. I’m very conflicted but maybe I should be like Mrs. RB40 and wait one more year. I mean, it can’t hurt to be paid and have subsidized healthcare!

    Reply
  5. Looks like you guys have the perfect deal. Not sure what the retirement police wants from you guys hahaha.

    Honestly if she likes working she should just continue. That’s great. I also like work (somewhat like), don’t see myself ever completely retiring and that’s fine.

    If she retires “against her will” she will probably end up back to work in a few months.

    Cheers man

    Reply
  6. Hi Joe,
    I am from India. I too Retired early, when I was just north of 41 (on March 6, 2020), after working as an engineer for 18 years, and having planned my retirement for more than 10 years.

    I have followed your posts for about a year now, while I was in my last leg of FIRE journey to explore on real experiences of people who have done it.

    Coming to your wife’s retirement post, if I may opine, by reading your post, I gather she may not want to retire at all. Anyone who derives a sense of “stability and identify” and is an “extrovert plus social” person, may have adverse response even if temporarily you are able to show her the positive’s of early retirement. In long term it may disturb your retirement too. It’s human phychology, in short term even if she gets convinced and retires, probability will be high to be unfulfilled in long run. I believe you should not pursue this. On the contrary, I suppose you may want to encourage her to work till natural retirement age of 65, and if she sees any merit in early retirement, she would discuss with you on her own, and take it from there. After all, she is watching your retirement journey for 8 years, and if she is still not convinced with the aspects ( pros and cons both ), you should take the cue. Short term the human brain may get convinced by data driven persuasion, however, the normal self usually takes over pretty soon. Claims that she has the freedom to decide, but then nudging her every year in one direction is called data driven brain washing. Apologize to be the devil’s advocate, and candid about it.
    I also think, it’s not about the internet retirement police, you are fairly not impacted by such external distractions. If you are trying to convince your wife for early retirement, looks like you may be impacted by them afterall, I am afraid? Imagine, your wife nudging you every year to go back to the workforce, and have a tracking like you displayed in the post, would you like that? In fact, she is supporting your life ideology of early retirement, and that is commendable in itself. Repay her by encouraging her to work till 65. Will go a long way….who knows she decides otherwise.

    Great fan of your posts and content. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Arun Aich
    India

    Reply
    • Thanks for a different point of view. We’ll try to take a year off in 2022 and see how it goes.
      I think it’ll be good for both of us to travel and enjoy life a bit. When we come back, she can go back to work if she’d like. I won’t bother her about ER after that. She loves traveling too so she’ll enjoy it.
      Also, our son will be older then. He can take care of himself more and I can spend more time with my parent if needed. It’ll probably be fine to spend 2-3 months apart then.

      Reply
  7. Man, I was so looking forward to hearing the announcement that your wife would finally retire early this year! I totally get the one more year syndrome. I had the one more year syndrome for one year. But then I finally pulled the ripcord when I negotiate a severance.

    Maybe she negotiating a severance is the key to finally retiring early?

    It does make sense to delay early retirement until the world opens back up. Doesn’t sound like the world will until maybe August this year.

    Might as well work as much as possible while we’re still waiting for herd immunity. That’s what I plan to do until August 2021.

    Sam

    Reply
  8. I think one of the reasons the Internet Retirement Police is after you (if they really are) is that the title asks “Can My Wife Retire Early?” and the answer fairly early on is, “Mrs. RB40 could have retired with me in 2012.”

    So I think it gets more nuanced if as you qualify the question as “Can we maintain our lifestyle if my wife retires?” That brings along the idea of drawing down on savings to cover the income gap. So even if expenses are higher than income, it could work out as long as you have the nest egg to support it.

    I need to do this kind of analysis on our side, because we have similar questions.

    If “getting paid” isn’t an issue, she may be able to find charity work that gives her the socialization, purpose, and identity… but that may be tough while traveling, so maybe a 2023 idea?

    Reply
  9. I definitely identify with Mrs. RB40 and have a feeling I’ll be just like her, though I’m more than willing to reduce my hours as opposed to fully retiring, as long as I’m doing something I enjoy. If not, I’ll do something else, but I like earning money and having some structure. Also, why sacrifice great health benefits?

    You will both figure it out. Why not tell her it’s retirement optional? You guys can take off for a year, then reevaluate.

    Reply
    • Yes, we’ll figure it out after we come back. She doesn’t know what to do at this point. Too many options.
      She can continue to work and advance, look for a new job, go back to school, or just semi retire.
      She’s all over the place.

      Reply
  10. Excellent reasons and plan- I like the idea of taking a year sabbatical or break in order to explore the world and take RBJR to school in Asia or around the world.

    Some people really like the social interaction of work and the structure of the day, you’re right.

    I’m reading Blue Zones right now and it’s interesting. I still think Part Time work would be ideal, gives you some structure a few days a week and more time to do what you like.

    Reply
  11. Joe, we’re in the same boat. Although I retired in May, my wife has a desire to continue working. We have crunched the numbers together and there is no reason financially she couldn’t stop but she enjoys work and her colleagues. Each person must make their own decision which needs to be respected. I do however look forward to when she does retire; in the meantime – I’m enjoying my time. Good update – thanks for posting.

    Reply
    • That’s great. I think staggering retirement is the best way to go. If one person likes work, then it’s better to keep working. There is no guarantee retirement will be better. Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  12. sounds like you have a good plan in place and you have options. that’s the key. travelling around the world sounds like a good idea for an adventure. i’m right there with you that if what you have right now is working for both of you why change?

    Reply
  13. If she doesn’t like working there then she could put her passion to work elsewhere, whether for another company or starting a business herself. Your financial situation can weather her being out of work for a few years while she builds her business (or does nothing).

    Reply
  14. Hi joe! I enjoy reading your posts and your transparency. Question, I just started investing my non-retirement savings in s brokerage account. Do you invest only in stocks with s taxable account or do you also invest in funds? I guess I’m unsure of tax implications with funds.

    Reply
    • I have both individual stocks and funds in our taxable account. The funds are taxed similarly to stocks. You pay tax on the dividend and capital gains when you sell.
      I wouldn’t worry about the taxes much. You’ll figure out how to do it. It’s not hard.

      Reply
  15. Hi Joe, you folks are really doing very well. It’s great your wife likes her job, and enjoys what she is doing. Yeah, early retirement may not work for everyone. Have a great 2019, and hope your incoming moving is smooth.

    Reply
  16. our situation is kinda similar, but we would still be a little lean with zero w-2 income. i don’t mind my job which is a win and mrs. me hasn’t worked much the past 2 years except some side hustle stuff. we could sell our house for a pile of money and move closer to where we grew up but don’t want to do that right away. we’re ok with the status quo until we’re not. you staying in portland when you move?

    Reply
    • You got it. We’re ok with the status quo for now too.
      We’ll probably stay in Portland until our kid is done with high school. After that, I doubt we’ll stick around.
      I need to help my parents in Thailand and Mrs. RB40 probably needs to help her parents in CA. Long term planning is tricky. I’ll write about it soon. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  17. I’m in the same situation. My wife doesn’t need to work but she is still connected to her job. Although it is very stressful, she has trouble letting go of her vision of herself as a worker.

    Reply
  18. I think you are underestimating the health insurance costs. My actual insurance premiums in CA are 2x higher than your estimate and then there are copays and deductibles on top of that. At your level of passive and blog income, you won’t qualify for subsidies… Best not to count on subsidies anyway since they might go away.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your input. I checked Healthcare.gov and that’s what I got for the premiums. You’re right about copays and deductions. They’ll add a few thousand $ on top. Passive income isn’t all taxable so our taxable income isn’t that high. We’d still qualify for subsidies, but you’re right about not counting on it. Hopefully, Mrs. RB40 will stay working for a few more years. The health insurance thing is a big issue in the US.

      Reply
  19. In 2006, I took 8 months off when my contracting gig ended and before I took my last job prior to early retirement. During that time, I was testing the waters and there were a couple of things that felt uncomfortable to me that needed “work” prior to actually quitting for good. The first is that I needed to learn to say NO to things that other people wanted to volunteer me for that weren’t sparking my interests. When you don’t have a ready excuse, it can be easy to get roped into things that are other people’s idea and sometimes frankly you are getting taking advantage of. The second was not having an answer to “What do you do?”. The younger you are, the harder that one feels.

    I still have no answer, and I suspect this one is the real sticking point the younger you are. My current answer is “Freeployed” and “Recreational Employment” has been suggested. Luckily for her, you are an expert on this and have lots of ideas to really help figure out this important question of your life.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your input. I think Mrs. RB40 has the same issue. I’m signing her up to do various things and she’s not really into it. 😀
      My current answer to the second question is that I work from home. Occasionally, I’d say I’m not working at the moment. It’s just easier than saying I’m retired.

      Reply
  20. Very cool progression on your income covering your expenses.

    Question for your wife as I look into the future.

    Does she/did she not miss spending more time with your son? How does she balance work and parenthood? Now that he’s in school all day, it’s easier to work and be away. But what about the earlier years when he wasn’t in school?

    I just want to spend as much time with him as possible before K. But maybe I’m weird??

    Reply
    • I’ll ask her to answer your questions. I think it was easier for her because I was at home. She could trust me as a caretaker so she didn’t have to worry about that aspect.
      I enjoyed being a SAHD more now that he’s in school. It was getting too hard as a sole SAHD when he was home full-time.

      ** She said she spent just the right amount of time with Junior when he was younger. She’s happy with it and doesn’t regret anything.

      Reply
      • That’s good to hear. Yes, being a SAHP parent is exhausting. I’m 21 months in and feel it’s been worth all the exhaustion so far though. I’d be nice for him to go to preschool 2-3 days a week when he is 2 years, 9 months.

        Reply
        • Preschool came to the rescue just in time for me. It was starting to get unbearable to be a full-time SAHD. It is so much easier doing it part-time. Since you’re already splitting it with your wife, you probably won’t see as big of an impact. Your son is so lucky. You’re a great dad.

          Reply
  21. It seems part of our lives are running in parallel at the moment. My wife has said that she’s not ready to stop work, but is currently taking a break from it. Your post has made me think that I should find out more about what she thinks about it – I have an idea, but better for her to tell me directly rather than me working on assumptions. If she doesn’t mind, I’ll see if I can turn it into a post.

    Reply
    • Yes, that would be a good post. I wrote most of this post, but I let Mrs. RB40 rewrite part of the last section. She gave her input and didn’t rewrite too much. It’s hard for her to share her feeling on a blog. 🙂

      Reply
  22. As long as she is happy there is really no reason to change especially if she didn’t like the trial mini-retirement as much. Sounds like she is in a great situation at work again and if she wants to continue like that it just improves your finances even more till she is ready to retire.

    Reply
  23. This is awesome Joe. There’s no better feeling than having the option for Mrs. RB40 to retire but yet choose to work. My wife and I are hoping to fall into the same situation as you as we edge towards the age of 40 (we’re 29 right now).

    Reply
  24. I think the main reason to have your wife keep her job as long as possible- is the medical insurance policy that you both benefit from through her company. We have a lot of friends that are self-employed and that is a real problem for anyone not part of a large group plan right now. We think its worth it to keep a job sometimes just for the insurance coverage!!

    Reply
  25. This has got to be one of my favorite post from you. I feel my goal is to be on Fire/FI but no intention to quit my job. The listed you have on this post makes me feel I can do both which is freedom and still hold a career!

    Reply
  26. It sounds like a great situation for both of you guys. She likes to work and socialize with her co-workers, doesn’t sound ideal for her to retire now as long as she enjoys what she doing now. You are enjoying your early retirement by staying at home and blogging. No need to change anything for now, both of you are settled with your lifestyles.

    Reply
  27. You couldn’t ask for a better position to be in than that! Having the ability to retire if desired but not wanting to shows that Mrs. RB40 really does enjoy her job.

    Although my wife is currently not working, I have a feeling that she wants to get back out there. Very similar to Mrs. RB40, she enjoys a lot of the “perks” that having a job provides.

    Have a merry Christmas, Joe!

    — Jim

    Reply
  28. I am probably very similar to Mrs. RB40 and so is Mrs. ROB. She would go crazy if she just sat around. Plus, I really like my job and the intangibles like going to travel abroad and getting paid for it I can’t get in other places. We are still at least 7 years from FIRE anyway because of student loans and PSLF, but I don’t know if I will ever “retire.” If the Mrs. likes working I hope she continues to have a great time.

    Reply
  29. Joe,
    I’d love to be in your shoes. Unfortunately, my wife has never worked a job in her life. Even better, she has a Korean history degree from a University in Korea. We’ll have to figure out how to get something started for her so that I can retire while she works some years down the road. Enjoy your early retirement, Joe!
    Darren

    Reply
  30. I love that you two have built a life where you can have the choices that you each want. If she wants to keep working, that’s awesome that she can, and does at a place she enjoys. That’s what most people would aspire to when FI isn’t on your horizon.

    I’m ready for a break too, but I think it won’t come until after Christmas. Lots of family responsibilities to deal with this season but I really hope that I can have that in our rearview mirror by the end of Winter.

    Reply
  31. That is what FI is all about, having the freedom to do what you want, and if working is what your wife enjoys, there is nothing wrong with that:) I like to keep busy too and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

    Reply
  32. Congrats to you Joe, I agree with all the other comments that you and your wife are living the dream. Anyone in the internet retirement police squad or elsewhere that disparages this is assuredly jealous.

    And also congrats on the big blog income this year!

    Reply
  33. I think you are all set, and there is nothing wrong with working if you enjoy it 🙂

    We are in a similar situation. Mrs CK quit her corporate job before me and now teaches at the community college. She gets plenty of time off, and loves helping the kids while expanding their engineering program. So the rewards go beyond monetary.

    It also does provide us with the best health insurance we’ve ever had. We’re both fairly active, and it is nice to be able to go to the doctor when we have an injury without worrying about deductibles.

    I do think she will be ready to move on to full retirement in a few years, but for now it’s a win win situation for us 🙂

    Reply
  34. I am in a somewhat similar situation… I hit my dividend crossover point this year, and could call myself FI.. But I like my job, and keeping busy with everything. My wife is not so happy about working, she prefers taking care of DGI jr, and is thinking of going back to school for her masters. She is the one who is not FI yet (we married last year so still consolidating finances)

    So she cut her hours at work. We may cut them even further down the road as we are definitely pondering her being the SAHM.. I suck as being a SAHD btw – I took a leave from work a few months ago, and find it incredibly difficult to find any time for blogging when parenting required 110% of attention… So I have a newfound respect for you as a SAHD..

    Reply
    • It’s much easier now to be a SAHD because our kid is getting older. It was really tough when he was little. He needed so much attention. Mrs. RB40 couldn’t handle it for more than a few days.

      Reply
  35. I think your statement “You never know what the future will bring” justifies staying the course.

    If her workday vibe is positive why cut off another income stream? As you suggest a buyout/reorg could make her job less pleasant. But online income isn’t a for-sure thing going forward either– who knows what could happen with all the new entrants and a possible declining attention span? Even passive income could turn, a good example is how seniors who only invest in CDs have fared over the past decade.

    The main idea is that losing any of these income streams requires no adjustment to your spending. You built up a nice three-legged stool, I’d say keep it!

    Reply
    • You’re right about online income. I find that it tapers off so I have to keep finding new sources.
      Everything is good right now so we’ll keep investing and focus on the future. At some point, we’ll be comfortable with taking some money out of our savings.

      Reply
  36. Joe, part of the problem is that we really don’t know what to call our particular situation and that is why we came up with the term Victory lap Retirement as we had to call it something. I was so happy to escape the corporate working but I’m still working doing seminars, published a book, running a blog. But I don’t really consider it work in the traditional sense as I’m not overly concerned about the money aspect I just like doing what I’m doing. My wife still works and she really enjoys it so why would we ever take that away from her via retiring. it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. The key is to create a lifestyle for yourself that is meaningful and fulfilling, it’s not more complicated than that.

    Reply
  37. “Mrs. RB40 likes being a productive member of society. She has a social conscience. I don’t mind doing my own thing and I don’t care what other people say.”

    I knew there was a reason why I admired you, Joe. Congratulations on the great year you and Mrs. RB40 had in 2017. Merry Christmas, my friend.

    Reply
  38. THAT is the kind of employment people should be seeking – a place where she’s actually happy and likes what she’s doing.

    I’m more like you though, but I am guessing that in retirement I’ll find a bunch of projects I want to tackle around the house and online and such. But plenty of video games, too haha

    Reply
  39. I love that she’s not retiring just because she can. This is why the FI is more important than the FIRE. Knowing you can retire means you are living in your terms. Do whatever makes you he happiest. The two of you are both #Winning congrats!!!

    Reply
  40. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your family, Joe!

    I really liked this article. It not only shows the online retirement police that their argument is flawed but also gives us such a great insight into what you and Mrs. RB40 are like as a couple and two individuals. It’s great that you don’t want to force early retirement on her. I wouldn’t be happy if Mr. FAF did that either. Just do what makes you and your family happy! ^.^

    Reply
  41. My wife is the same way. I wouldn’t be surprised if she keeps working after we are at the FIRE numbers. I would love to just hang around home all day but she is one of those weird people who like to be “productive member of society” too.
    Just do what I would do…send pictures of all the fun you are having while she is stuck at work. (you will need: balloons, beer, party hats, etc)

    Reply
    • It’s really great to be a productive member of society. We need those people to keep the economy humming. 🙂 I don’t want to torture her like that. Anyway, I’m not having that much fun while she’s at work.

      Reply
  42. It sounds like you all have the perfect situation at this point. Mrs. RB40 likes her job, you like being able to be at home. Sounds like a win/win situation for everyone at this point 🙂 Now if things change that will be different but until then enjoy it 🙂

    Reply
  43. It’s weird Joe but I think Jared and I are (or hope to BE) mini versions of you and your wife. Jared wants to do the SAHD / early retirement thing but I’ll always want to be involved in some active side hustle (if not several of them until I’m 79!!)

    If MsRB40 doesn’t want to go, more power to her! That health care is mmm mmm good.

    Reply
  44. Hi Joe!

    “If she wants to work, then why should she retire?” Retirement or financial freedom is about doing what you love without having to work for money. Some people choose to travel or relax, while others choose to start new paid or unpaid ventures (e.g. “work”). Being in a position to choose your lifestyle and activities is one of the greatest accomplishments!

    “She has too many interests, but she doesn’t have a passion project.” I feel exactly the same way here, and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that. 4 years ago I took an 8 month “mini-retirement”. (In Canada, we have job-protected, partially subsidized parental leave!) It was a great opportunity to try out many of those interests while spending tons of quality time with my young family. It had the net effect of delaying my future retirement by 6-12 months due to reduced income, but MAN was it worth it!

    “Why change”? It’s about being deliberate in your choices. Sounds like her latest career move WAS the change she was looking for! Kudos to you both for pursuing activities that keep you engaged and enjoying life.

    Here’s some food for thought: What about serial retirement? You mentioned she might feel differently under different circumstances, but FIRE is not an all-or-nothing proposition. If Mrs. RB40 ever gets bored or unsatisfied with her 9-5, then she could always consider a mini-retirement or sabbatical before looking for other meaningful work.

    Reply
    • The mini retirement sounds really cool. I think she’d be willing to try that at some point. We’d need to move to a bigger place, though. I need a bit more space if she’s around all day. 🙂
      I don’t know about going in and out of ER. It’s be tough to get a new job. I guess it really depends on your field.

      Reply
  45. Sounds like you guys can afford it but yeah a lot of people are not into early retirement. But if she ever does RE, maybe she can help you make the blog into a multi-million dollar empire 🙂 ? Or she can start her own?

    Reply
  46. Our situations are really similar Joe! Mrs. Tako likes her job and all the social interaction, so she keeps doing it for now.

    The only real constant is change, so I suspect one day that won’t always be true, but I try to plan for really difficult situations like a layoff, or ill health. So far it’s worked out OK.

    If something truly bad happened, we could simply reduce expenses and go back to work. But that’s really a worst case scenario.

    Reply
    • Working at a job you like is a great thing. To Mrs. RB40, that’s better than early retirement. You’re right about change. Life will change so we need to enjoy our ideal situation while we can. It sounds like your family is doing very well too. That’s great!
      I don’t plan to go back to work for somebody else. I’m sure I can come up with some self employment gig. Working for myself suits me.

      Reply

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