This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
My wife and I had an interesting conversation recently – she understands that I am a somewhat “quirky” (how I like to think about it) person and she was wondering what my life would be like if I were single. I described a very tongue–in-cheek fantasy world initially, which, although amusing (to me) was probably not all that realistic.
In reality, I would probably turn somewhat hermit-like. My goal would move from a more conventional lifestyle which is currently dictated in order to keep my marriage together, to an extremely independent way of life that is very non-conventional.
Rather than my current stream of paying off a significant mortgage, and investing for retirement after that, I probably wouldn’t have taken on a mortgage in the first place. Living by myself, I think I could tolerate significantly less enjoyable conditions than would be tolerated by my spouse (I once rented a room in Toronto in a house with about a dozen other people which turned out to be very roach infested, and overall very disgusting) in order to save enough to pay cash for a place of my own.
Instead of a house in town, I would prefer to be somewhere where I could grow a portion of my own food for part of the year, which isn’t possible right now with my 10’ x 10’ backyard area. I would build a tiny house and find a reasonably priced plot of land to live on, which would reduce my normal housing costs as well as a purchase cost significantly over what I currently pay.
I think I could support this lifestyle on very little (less than $10,000 per year) so I would be able to quit full-time work several years sooner than I currently am planning (at 45). For leisure, I’m not sure what I’d do – I might decide to work a few months of the year to be able to afford to go South to golf or travel or learn new skills (or whatever I felt like doing).
Is this an ideal life? Not really – I love my wife, which is why I’ve compromised these very non-conventional plans to a point where both of us are happy with the way we’re living (I hope). It would be ideal if I were single at this point. I figure I have to work full-time an extra 5-7 years to retire with a more conventional retirement (although much earlier). To me, this trade off is worth it – I’m generally surprised my wife tolerates what could be perceived as weirdness to the extent she does, but as I write this we’ve been married for 800 days.
Have you made any significant compromises in your marriage around spending and retirement? How would your life be different if you were single (or in the case of single people, married)?