right now, we’re beyond lucky. money is virtually never a source of tension in our relationship. a huge part of that is because we’re on the same page exactly about our goals and what sort of spending is acceptable to us (experiences and travel more than things, but a few things are okay if they support our outdoor hobbies). but of course the other part is that we’re fortunate enough to earn more than we need — enough that we save well more than 50 percent of our after-tax income, not counting what we also put against our mortgage in order to have it paid off before our 2017 retirement goal date.
but of course in retirement, our income will go way down. possibly more than 80 percent down. we’ve budgeted and planned and made a slew of spreadsheets, and in theory we are okay with that. but can we really know what it will be like to go from having way more than we need to exactly what we need?
will money become something that stresses us out, or — worse — that gets between us?
we have a plan to live on our retirement budget starting next year, to try to test our scenarios a bit, and ensure that we’re budgeting an amount that’s realistic. but we can’t really know, because a lot of things that will be true in early retirement just simply can’t be true while we’re still working, like not having any more meals or trips to cities paid by our companies or clients. we live in a small town now, after leaving the big city to jumpstart our early retirement savings, but we still crave regular city time. right now that’s provided for free by our work travel, but won’t be when we quit. and there’s no simulation we can run for that to guess what it will be like. what if we can’t afford to travel or visit cities as much as we want, we get stressed out about it, and we start taking it out on each other? (or, the scenario we fear most, what if obamacare goes away, and we suddenly have our budget turned upsidedown by health care costs?)
of course, as with all things in life, there’s no way of really knowing. all we can do is plan as best we can, go forward with eyes wide open, and stay positive. best laid plans and all…
as we shared last week, it would be a far bigger risk not to go forward with our early retirement vision!
we’re curious, from others who’ve successfully gotten to early retirement, what new tensions have popped up for you? what changed that you weren’t expecting? please share your insights!