Is retiring early really the best thing for our family? That’s the question Mrs. R2R sought to answer.
Since the Route to Retire blog started in May of 2015, I’ve been hoping to get the other side of the R2R equation (Mrs. R2R) to be a part of the conversation here.
It’s easy to get the opinion of one person on the subject of financial independence and retiring early. However, it’s a completely different story to hear what that person’s better half has to say about the subject.
Sometimes you have a saver and a spender in the relationship. Maybe you have someone ready to retire early and someone who really enjoys working with no plans to ever stop.
Getting both people in a relationship on the same page as far as money goes isn’t always going to work. It took Mrs. R2R and me a while to converge on the same path with our game plan.
It’s about time we get to hear what the other side is thinking.
It’s taken nearly three years of hounding and antagonizing (my specialty!), but I finally convinced Mrs. R2R to write her first post for Route to Retire.
So without further, here’s Mrs. R2R on her thoughts on retiring early…
Is Retiring Early Really the Best Thing for Our Family?
“You want to do what? Retire early?! You’re crazy! People don’t retire early unless they hit the lottery or they have worked for the government for 30 years and started when they were 18 years old. People like us don’t retire early.”
That was my first reaction when Mr. R2R told me he wanted to retire by the time he was 45 years old. I mean, we have a young daughter whose expenses are only going to grow as she gets older. Her clothes are going to get more expensive, make-up, school functions, college and Mr. R2R’s worst nightmare – a wedding. Plus, all of our other expenses.
How are we going to afford a house, food, and living expenses?
And to be perfectly honest, I like our lifestyle as it is NOW. We do save a big percentage of what we earn but we still have enough for a nice lifestyle.
We have a nice house in a nice neighborhood. I like the vacations we take and the little weekend trips. I like being able to go out to eat every once in a while and take our daughter to activities like plays, amusement parks, and the zoo.
How in the world are we going to be able to afford any of this stuff if you retire early? We WON’T!
So I thought.
I didn’t want to hear about retiring early… especially at the age of 45. We have hopefully at least another 40 years to live and support ourselves. I was worried that if Mr. R2R retired early we would blow through our savings and investments.
Even if I kept working part-time and we had the income coming in from our rental properties, it still wouldn’t be enough money coming in to support us. In the long run, we would end up working in our golden years when we were “supposed” to be retired. Or we would have to give up the “good life.”
So, the convincing begins
Growing up and even up to a few years ago, I didn’t really think about retirement. We were too young to think about it. Yes, we contributed to our employers’ retirement plans but that was about as far as the retirement planning went.
I just thought we would work until the age of 65 or even older and then quit when we could… if we could. That’s the way people live their lives and they’re comfortable with it. That’s the safe way to live.
You keep working and you have enough money to live the life you want. And nothing was going to convince me otherwise.
Mr. R2R needed me to be on board with this plan for early retirement (and our marriage) to work. So, we talked, we argued, we repeatedly went over (and are still going over) our finances, our savings, and our yearly spending. We talked to a financial advisor, but I was worried and even cried.
Even after months of talking and looking at the numbers, I still wasn’t sure that we could do this or that I even wanted to.
It’s hard to convince someone that giving up a very nice salary is a good idea and good for our family. A salary that makes us able to afford all of the above – a salary that helps us live comfortably without worry, unlike so many we know.
Many people we know live paycheck to paycheck and I don’t want to be one of them. That’s what I thought early retirement was… but then something happened!
For Christmas 2016, Mr. R2R and I both had an entire week off with our daughter. This was our first and only “staycation” we have had.
During this week, we didn’t go on vacation and, other than some family visiting, we didn’t have any plans or other obligations. Just an entire week off to spend time together.
Over this span of time, I saw how happy and stress-free my husband was – how happy we all were. There was no stress of having to go to the office for eight hours. We were able to sleep in, stay in our pajamas, and have breakfast together.
We could go wherever we wanted and whenever we wanted. We were able to just talk and hang out. I know it may sound silly to say “we were able to talk.”
There are times when we put our conversations on hold for a day or two (or even more) because we just don’t have time for a discussion. Maybe Mr. R2R is at the office or working at home or I’m running our daughter to her activities, helping her with her homework, or whatever life throws at us.
During this week off, though, Mr. R2R even had enough time to write his blog post without cutting into “family time.”
These are just some of the things we don’t get to do a lot because of the lack of time we have. At the end of this wonderful week, I was completely convinced that my husband – no, our family – needed FIRE.
Am I completely convinced that retiring by 45 will work? No.
Am I still scared? Terrified.
But, there are two things I am certain of… the first is that whatever Mr. R2R puts his mind to he will accomplish. And the second is that my husband would only retire early if he was certain it was the best thing for our family.
I am, however, 100% convinced that we have to try to become financially independent as soon as possible. Mr. R2R is not happy with going to work every day. And I want my husband to be happy. I want our family to have as much time as possible to spend together. I want him to retire by 45!
I am now certain that we can live without the nice salary, but we cannot keep living the life we are now.
So the plan is, in less than two years, we are going to take the plunge and Mr. R2R is going to retire early! I’m sure there will be ups and downs along the way, but I’m excited to see where this journey is going to take us!
What do you think? Do Mrs. R2R’s feelings on retiring early sound familiar or completely different than your relationship?
Thanks for reading!!