Is Retiring Early Really the Best Thing for Our Family?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?

Is Retiring Early Really the Best Thing for Our Family?
Ok, the discussions weren’t this intense, but they could have easily gotten to this point…

“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

Is Retiring Early Really the Best Thing for Our Family? - So, the convincing begins
Mrs. R2R wishes I was this romantic of a frog when begging!

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!


The Epiphany

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.

Is Retiring Early Really the Best Thing for Our Family? - The Epiphany
Wait a minute! Maybe this does make sense!

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!!

— Jim

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Is Retiring Early Really the Best Thing for Our Family?

12 thoughts on “Is Retiring Early Really the Best Thing for Our Family?

  • March 6, 2018 at 7:20 am

    We definitely have gone through several iterations of “is it possible?” and “could it ever work?” I think we both thought FIRE was a pie-in-the-sky idea not attainable by us mere mortals, but after we started saving and chipping away at debt, we realized that it is certainly in the realm of possibility 🙂 Great post, Mrs. RTR!

    • March 6, 2018 at 9:12 pm

      I’m still scared that it’s not possible… sshhhh, don’t tell Mrs. R2R! 😉

      — Jim

  • March 6, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    Good to see Mrs. R2R posting too!

    While there are plenty of reasons to be cautious about retiring early, it’s nothing to be terrified of. Plenty of us have done it, including earlier generations (they just didn’t blog about it),

    It’s far more common than you might think!

    • March 6, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      So true, Mr. Tako – it’s slowly gaining more and more traction in its own corner on the Internet… let it grow, baby!

      — Jim

  • March 6, 2018 at 5:57 pm

    Very cool to see the other side of R2R. My wife had a similar reaction when I first told her about early retirement. She was 5 months pregnant so it was understandable.
    It took a while to convince her, but she could see I was very miserable at work. I had to make some kind of change. I don’t think she was really convince until I quit my job and started making some money online. 🙂
    Good luck!

    • March 6, 2018 at 9:26 pm

      Haha, I could only imagine how that would go over with your wife being 5-months pregnant. Worked out for you guys though, so nice job on that.

      I better start making some more money on this blog before my wife goes back to her doubts about this whole plan! 😉

      — Jim

  • March 7, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    I had a similar reaction when Chris brought this up years ago. He had just read the 4 Hour Work Week and was like – I want this! And I was like NO! I didn’t get it. We had a family, he wasn’t single. I felt safe with his corporate paycheck and healthcare benefits. I didn’t want to change any of that. THEN WE HAD TWINS! God works in mysterious ways, lol. I instantly became overwhelmed and I wanted/needed my husband around more! I opened to the idea of early retirement/financial independence and just plain living differently! Then Chris’s dream finally became our dream!

    I’m excited to follow your journey to Panama!

    • March 7, 2018 at 8:36 pm

      Wow, I didn’t realize that’s how things came about for you – that’s great how that worked out for your guys!

      — Jim

  • March 9, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Great to hear from Mrs. R2R, Jim. I think ALL of us have those anxieties. The spouse who isn’t as close to the investment details is only rational to ask “Can we really do this?”. Kudo’s to Mrs for wanting Mr to be happy. Another benefit of Staycations!

    PS – it’s now official. You’re the 3rd best writer in the family. We want more of Jr. & Mrs. R2R!! 🙂

    • March 9, 2018 at 3:10 pm

      Haha, that’s right – let’s hear it for staycations! 😉

      Good news for you, Fritz – my daughter told me yesterday that she’s going to write another post. She said this one’s going to be longer so get ready for some good reading!

      — Jim


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