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A piece of early retirement advice

FIRE blogs often focus on the money side of the FIRE equation. Some also focus on what can be done in the new time freed up from retiring early. But not many seem to talk about how your early retirement dreams might affect your partner, or how your partner's plans can impact your early retirement.


For example, I had plans to travel, but that didn't tie in with Sally's plan to continue with her teaching job. Then, when Sally compromised and took a year off, we went from spending around 3½ hours together each day to more than 12 hours of our daily awake time together. That's a big difference.


On top of that, our financial independence and my decision to retire early coincided with the time when we became empty nesters, another big change in the family/couple dynamic.


Here are some other challenging "partner" things I discovered when I retired early:



It seemed that Sally and I went from a couple busy with our careers and raising our kids to a couple who suddenly had a lot more time together but seemingly less interests in common. Before early retirement, we didn't have this problem, we simply didn't have time for such things.


Ahead of retiring early, I'd spent time planning how the finances would work and thinking about the things I'd do in my new free time. But I don't once recall thinking how me quitting work to retire early could effect our life as a couple. Perhaps I'm unique in missing/ignoring the potential effect on the couple relationship, but I suspect I'm not alone in this.


So, if I were to give just one piece of retirement advice, it's that in your pre-retirement thinking and planning, pay attention to how your plans will work with the plans of your partner. Early retirement has given me the freedom to do things, but this doesn't always work if they aren't things that Sally is interested in.


Still smiling, we figure most things out

As I've previously posted about this, instead of reinventing the wheel, I'll link to those earlier posts should this be something you want to read some more about:





From my experience, the affect of early retirement on relationships is an important topic that doesn't get much airtime. It's easy to focus on the early retirement finances and what will I do questions, but it could be a mistake to not think just as much about how your early retirement plans and ideas might effect the people you care about most.

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Great topic! I am quite a bit away from early retirement, but working towards it. This is something that often pops into my mind though. I have a much more clear vision of what I think early retirement is going to look like. However, my wife doesn't tend to even think that far out into the future. I think it's very important to identify each person's hopes and/or goals to work towards something that works for both people. So often we are just going through the motions of life, especially when raising children. Everything tends to become so routine. I'll have to check out some of your other posts on this topic! Thanks!

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It seems to me that you're well ahead of me in that you're already thinking of how the dynamics might pan out for you and your wife. It won't necessarily make everything easy, but at least you have an awareness and can figure it into your plans ahead of time.

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My husband and I worked slightly different schedules- he left earlier in the morning and got home before I did. He says me being home all the time has ruined his naps 🤣.

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Contestando a

Haha, that's funny. Sally seems to sleep at least 3 hours more than me, so it doesn't seem to have disturbed her sleep!

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Hi David, some good insight and advice there, thank you.


I have a question about your place in France, and what happens when both kids are back with you at Christmas and other times? How do you organise the space so that 4 of you can stay in a 2 bedroom place? I'm interested as we have thought that we may live in our central London apartment at some point once both kids are at university / jobs.


Thanks, Ian

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Hi Ian

In our 2 bedroom apartment, we have:

  1. Our bedroom, which has a double bed

  2. The second bedroom that has two single beds which can be pushed together to form a double (the mattress zips together so that it works properly as a double). This is hardly ever used except for when we have visitors.

  3. In the living area, the sofa converts to a double bed if needed. I've slept on it, and it does the job, although I wouldn't want to spend weeks and weeks on it.


When it's just us and the kids, they share the second bedroom with the single bed set up. If our daughter comes with her partner, then they have the second bedroom…


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philippayne58
philippayne58
19 abr 2021

This is a very important issue which many of us overlook.

My wife "retired" 5 plus years ago and has her life now very well organised with charity activities etc. I think my difficulty will be fitting in with her established activities but not "interfering" with her existing activities.

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Hi Philip, I think half the battle is recognising it in advance because, that way, you can plan for it rather than it being a surprise, so you seem to at least be on the right track with that.

Perhaps the best is where both parties have their own interests and then some common interests too - there's some good separation but also togetherness.

Part of my experience has been that what I wanted didn't tie in at all with what Sally wanted. For example, me wanting to travel didn't fit at all with Sally wanting to continue with her job - we could do one thing or the other, but not both. And now that we're both not working…

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Hi David, an excellent topic to cover and one I failed to address adequately in my retirement planning. I retired 2 years ago and at the time developed a plan with a mentor using the wheel of life tool, a key reason for retiring was to enable Maureen (my wife) and myself to get out more, she has a chronic health condition which limits our leisure time outside the house to when she is feeling well enough to leave the house. With work commitments, the English weather and Maureen's health, prior to retirement this wasn't very often.


So far so good, however, the mistake I made was assuming that I needed activities to fill a typical 40 hour working week,…


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Thanks, I'll have a look

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