the process

will money become a source of tension?

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!

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Categories: the process

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11 replies »

  1. I can’t really comment to much on the completed FI, but I can comment on my FI plan. One of Mrs. Even Steven’s concerns is health insurance, despite the fact that I have that factored into our budget. She also has some concern over housing since our FI plan uses our current real estate investment as a source of income(We basically live mortgage free at this time). I think all are valid concerns and as we get closer to each milestone and date, we are making an effort to re-evaluate what is the best option for us.

    • Health insurance stresses us out, too. Whether you like Obamacare or not, at least it makes budgeting for health insurance simpler… but it could go away!

  2. The potential instability of the ACA freaks me out, too, especially talks of eliminating subsidies. I think the fact that you both are thinking about this and talking about it now speaks volumes about how you’ll handle it in the future should a problem arise.

  3. We definitely talk about money a lot more now (post-retirement) than we used to! But even during our years of saving, it was at least a weekly conversation. It can be a source of stress, if we disagree on a certain strategy, but I think at our core, we’re both on board with the budget and goals. We take time (because we have time!) to figure it out together. We are taking advantage of the ACA subsidies at the moment. It would certainly take some shopping around and restructuring of our expenses if they were to go away! Do you have plans to do any side hustling for income post-retirement? Maybe having some money coming in would alleviate some stress? We’re toying with the idea of doing Airbnb in a future house…

    • You found a throwback post! ;-) it’s funny, because we’re less worried about this now than we were a year ago. Probably just more time focusing on money together under our belts. It also doesn’t hurt that we’re significantly ahead of schedule on our savings plan, so we’re feeling better about having a bigger cushion in retirement. And yeah, we definitely have ideas about income coming in during retirement. Maybe fun jobs like ski patrol, or selling crafts which I’ve done the past. Or of course we could do more consulting on a very very limited basis. :-) Thanks for weighing in with your perspective of already having been retired for a year! Hope you’re settling in well in NC!

  4. Hi Mrs. ONL, I found your blog a week or so back and started reading from the start since yesterday. I like to read about the thought processes behind decisions as the decisions themselves are very personal. I am more interested in the mindset and how to control habits. This blog is simply superb in this respect and is my favourite now. Wish you & Mr.ONL the best and please continue inspiring us!

    • Oh my goodness, let me know how far you get! As you’ve already discovered, no doubt, there is a LOT here. ;-) Thanks for your kind words, and for reading! Your note made my day. :-D

  5. Reading your blog from the beginning (found you through your What’s Up Next podcast about FIRE and health). I think you are retired now? One of the biggest adjustments for military families is the transition from being gone a lot to *always* being home. Are you two tripping over each other, or have you adjusted?