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?