Solo Mission?

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.

Last week I read a “prepping” (think zombie apocalypse) blog, where one of the writers wrote about ways to get your spouse more involved with bunker building and food hoarding. The same could be said of people who are much more militant with their finances than is socially accepted. I’m not sure how organic a change in thinking it would be to go from a conventional retirement date of 65-70 that someone would normally expect to leaving the workforce 20 years early.

For my wife and I, our retirement goal changed after I had done a significant amount of reading and decided that I didn’t really want to work until my late 60’s – I would prefer to retire as early as possible. My wife and I talked about this subject for a long time. My preference was to retire as early as possible, she didn’t really care, she just didn’t want to have to “feel poor” (by not being able to buy clothes when she wanted to, or go on vacations, or have other stuff).

Working out the numbers, we felt that 45 was a good number to use as a goal for retirement. Age 45 would allow “fixed” expenses, plus a bunch of (mostly unnecessary) fun expenses, which would make both parties involved happy. I can retire early enough that I will hopefully be able to do the things I want to do, while still spending close enough to a “normal” person to not drive my wife crazy.

In some ways, early retirement would be easier to do as a single guy with as low of living standards as I have. I could live in a room in a house and save a much higher percentage than I currently am. I wouldn’t have a house to pay off, and could probably have exited the workforce at 35 or so instead of 45. The problem with this strategy is, I like women, and there would be very few of them (in my admittedly small sample size) who would accept this lifestyle as normal and see me as a dating prospect.

I really don’t see any way that I could have “talked” my wife into accepting a lifestyle where we don’t spend the majority of money that we make. If she was a huge consumerist, this plan wouldn’t work. I also don’t see a situation (with my spouse) where we would completely split our expenses, with me saving a huge portion of my money and her living paycheque to paycheque. There would be some animosity between the two of us at some point, which I think would sour our relationship quite a bit.

The compromise we came up with works for us. We don’t want to fight about money, and our plan has allowed us to worry very little about it over the course of our relationship. We have a decent amount of money saved, and know that most major expenses we have covered. We don’t have stress at the end of the month when bills come in, we know that we should have a pretty good nest-egg for retirement, and we have enough money to do some “fun” stuff.

Would you go it alone if your spouse wasn’t on board with an Early Retirement plan?

7 thoughts on “Solo Mission?”

  1. on the nosey! Right now, it’s not worth dealing with others holding back my goals. But in the near, not-too-distant future, it quite literally won’t matter =P

  2. No – I would work my whole life if it meant staying and being with my wife, but she would not want this either. She is no major consumerist – in fact, she puts most other women to shame in my opinion – but she certainly spends more than I do.

    We compromise – as in all successful marriages – and have decided to pay as much off on our mortgage as we can until late 2015. At that point, we remortgage to a the bare minimum payment, and then begin to invest our current savings + the difference between our old mortgage amount and the newer one. We will use the Canadian Couch Potato strategy.

    If it were me, I would simply invest it all now, as I believe our investment returns (in the long run) will surpass any savings to be had by paying down the mortgage sooner. I realize that is no guarantee of course, but I feel the odds would be in our favour. Nevertheless, as I said before, we compromise, and my wife feels more comfortable knowing that we will always be able to pay the mortgage under the current strategy should something happen to one of us re: losing a job.

  3. Tough call. . .
    I’m a single guy who is turning thirty this summer. I am fortunate with my career situation as it provides me with the opportunity to make a decent living. I also lucked into housesitting in my work town for 6 months of the year meaning that I only pay pills, which are low anyways. I’ve been able to save 66% of my salary easily and can do so for the foreseeable future. I like the way I live and I certainly wouldn’t call it deprived. I have a car for when I need it, several bicycles for fitness and sport, xc skis and snowshoes for the winter, etc, etc. I live a healthy lifestyle and eat well.

    ALL THAT SAID, my love of saving has probably hindered my social life. I can’t get excited to go out and go to bar (I also dont drink, ha!). Sure a restaurant meal once a month is great, but I cant justify doing that once, or more, a week. AND sadly, of the women I’ve met over the past few years, none share this view.

    It is seemingly difficult to find a female in my demographic, where I live, that shares my values on work expectancy and saving to retire early. I can forgo $100 jeans for $20 ones easily, but it is tough meeting females that share some of my other interests who don’t think a $90 Lululemon hoodie is a necessity.

    Sorry for my rambling, but this subject of giving up what I think is correct with regards to economics just to be more “attractive” has been weighing on me for a couple of years. . .

  4. @Paul – “Sorry for my rambling, but this subject of giving up what I think is correct with regards to economics just to be more “attractive” has been weighing on me for a couple of years. . .”

    yes. Exactly the same boat, minus a few years. It’s also hard at 80% =P

  5. Money was the main reason I left my marriage. One of us was spend, spend, spend and if there is no room left on the credit cards then go to the bank to get the limit raised on the line of credit.

    I am not a bunker dwelling hermit but increasing the line of credit to get a new faster snowmobile is not my idea of good financial planning.

  6. In some ways I am indeed on a solo mission to ER. I am married, very happily so, but my wife views my ER obsession with something akin to bemused acceptance. I intend to quit work next year, she doesn’t… She enjoys her work and intends to work another 10 years, perhaps joining me in a jobless existence in her early 50’s. Really, I have the best of both worlds – I can leave my miserable career now, focus on improving myself physically and mentally, while my wife’s income (plus dividends from our high six figure portfolio) will continue to bolster our networth. After years of dreaming, it is finally going to happen.

  7. I don’t have a goal to retire early. I just started down the road of entrepreneurship. I am like my mother who at 70 is still enjoying her business. I feel the goal for me is not quitting and sitting on the beach, but more so pursuing activities I enjoy like travelling and business.

    In terms of frugality well I just don’t get why people spend more then they have or not save and complain they don’t have money to travel. It is about priorities. I prefer to spend my money on travelling and other interests rather than on clothes and other things.

    I am not sure about not being able to date because of differences in spending habits. I think you just have to find someone who is similar. But that being said, if I am out on a date and someone won’t go for at least sushi and a beer, then they are not my cup of tea. I believe in enjoying life, I just watch the bottom line and stick my individual investing goals.

    I think when you are not enjoying today tomorrow seems awfully long time away. Enjoy life. Just realise that it doesn’t cost all that much to enjoy life to its fullest.

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