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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:

Is being a couple the hardest thing about early retirement planning?

Early retirement couple - it's not easy

Life as a 24/7 couple

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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