How To Convince Your Spouse To Work Longer So You Can Retire Earlier

How To Convince Your Spouse To Work Longer So You Can Retire Earlier

Want to retire earlier? Don't want to both retire early and live the dream life? Then learn how to convince your spouse or partner to work longer! This way, you can kick back and live the early retirement dream lifestyle!

One can either work hard for their wealth, inherit their wealth, or marry into wealth. No way is the right way to get rich. Although the most honorable way is probably getting wealthy with your own two hands.

When I wrote the post, “Stay At Home Men Of The World, UNITE!“, I was being a little silly. The post was just a fun way of forecasting life as a stay at home man as I sought to build my online media business.

Years later there's still a huge bias against men who are stay at home dads or non-breadwinners. However, I’m noticing more and more men retire early while getting their wives to still work. So impressive!

Therefore, please know you can retire earlier if you can work out a compromise with your spouse. For stay-at-home dads with fragile egos, this post is especially for you.

Encourage Women To Work Longer So Men Can Retire Earlier

Men who work traditional day jobs love to poke fun at men who don't. Women, on the other hand, don't seem biased at all against men who don't work. In fact, I know several men and women who don't work who ended up being secret lovers!

One of the strategies to retiring early is to have a working spouse. I have a couple lady friends who retired at 32 and now enjoy playing tennis and drinking chamomile tea during the day at my club as their husbands work their private equity jobs.

One lady worked in advertising, and the other lady worked in corporate retail. When I asked whether either of them missed working they laughed in unison and said, “Not at all!”

More Men Are Retiring Early Because Of Working Wives

During my time away from Corporate America from 2012 until now, I also met a lot of guys at Golden Gate Park (where I also play tennis) who retired early because their spouses worked. One husband's wife is a cardiologist at UCSF Hospital. Another guy's girlfriend is an executive at Salesforce.

No doubt both their partners are doing well. All of the early retiree guys employed nannies to take care of their children during the day so they could play tennis as well. Gotta love it.

Thanks to the strengthening equality of men and women in the work force, more men are able to break free from corporate bondage to live alternative lifestyles.

Men can be the stay-at-home parent now. Men can drink beers at the country club after a round of golf with their buddies and not have to worry as much about money anymore. The equalization of the sexes for career advancement and pay have been a big boon for men as well.

Personally, I'm feeling the pressure of having to go back to work now that the pandemic is over. I've had a great run from 2012 until now. I traveled the world, wrote a WSJ bestselling book called Buy This, Not That, and played a lot of pickleball and tennis.

However, now with two young children in school full time, it seems irresponsible not to get a day job again.

In this article, I'd like to share some tips from early retirees who successfully convinced their spouse or partner to continue working so they don't have to. 

How To Convince Your Wife To Work Longer So You Don't Have To

Here are some healthy tips on how to convince your spouse to work longer so you can retire earlier.

1) Advice from a male ex-CEO of a small company

“Treat your spouse like an A+ employee. Even though you guys are a team working towards a greater goal, you secretly want your spouse to be your worker bee so you don't have to.

Give your spouse glowing performance reviews at year end. Sit down with your spouse during the new year and plan out her objectives. Reward your spouse with getaway vacations, shows, and fine dining to keep them constantly motivated throughout the year.

The most important thing you must do as a doting partner is give her a sense of purpose. Unless her work is feeding starving children or trying to eradicate poverty, work is pretty meaningless after a while for everyone. We work because we want/need to make more money so we can live a better life.

Give your partner a sense of purpose beyond herself. That purpose should be you!” We all know it's becoming increasingly hard to retire early on even $5 million as a family.

2) Advice from a male early retirement blogger

“I've convinced my wife to work at least until she's 55 so that I can stay at home and be an early retirement blogger. My community has grown and if she stopped earning a paycheck we would have a more difficult time raising our family.

I'd run the risk of having to go back to work and losing my community's respect since they'd realize I couldn't have retired early on my own. That would be very embarrassing. My hope is to make enough money online where she doesn't have to work either, but I've still got a long ways to go.

Every week I tell her she's great at her job. I also remind her that we need her paycheck so I don't have to go back into an industry I hate. Thankfully, she likes her job and is good at it.

So I asked her to just keep on working until she can no longer take it. I keep her in the loop on how much I'm earning online and tell her that if I have to go back to work, all this money will disappear. She gets it, and is happy to support my endeavors.” I call this type of Financial Independence Retire Early, WiFi, or Wife Financial Independence for short.

3) Advice from a female MBA grad who worked 4 years in corporate retail

“I met my husband in business school. We didn't click right away, but when we both ended up working in San Francisco, we reconnected. I worked at the corporate headquarters of Williams Sonoma, and he worked at a venture capital firm, and then as a C-level exec at a fast growing consumer electronics company. After he started making good money, we decided to start a family.

It's a full-time job raising two kids. Your patience will be tested every single day, and it gets lonely sometimes when you're the only person in the house. Pool boy, anyone? We employ a day sitter to help around the house.

I always thought I wanted to work forever until I had kids. Harvard was no joke and it was expensive too. It is kind of weird for men to say they've retired early when they have a working wife, because no wife says they retired early if their husbands have to work. But, more power to them.

My husband was very supportive of me staying at home to take care of our little ones. He trusts nobody more than me.”

Related: The Best Time To Work May Be During Or After A Pandemic

4) Retirement advice from a male tennis junkie at Golden Gate Park

“My wife is a cardiologist at UCSF. She works with stents and stuff like that for people who eat way too unhealthy and exercise far too little. She's seen a lot of bad patients or patients who end up dead from a heart attack within several years of seeing her. It's not a pretty site.

Given I think my wife loves me more than any other man, I decided to make her a deal. I told her that if she let me stop working, I would work out at least four times a week, stop eating pizza, and regain the physique I had when we first met 23 years ago. Many of her friend's husbands had let themselves go by the third year of their marriage.

She agreed to my proposal back in 2006, and I've kept up my end of the bargain by playing tennis almost every day and getting back into fighting shape. She makes good enough money as a doctor that it's kind of pointless for me to make more for us.

We lead pretty simple lives by spending free time at public parks and eating $25 meals for two on date night. Life is a good balance now.”

5) Retirement advice from a male artist who used to work in finance

“Like you Sam, I burned out by the age of 35 after 10+ years in the financial services world. I developed chronic back pain and gained about 40 pounds due to all the stress. Thankfully, I saved a decent amount of money and my wife was receiving promotions throughout her career in consulting.

The only problem was that she also doesn't really like her job. She doesn't hate it, but if it was up to her, she'd join me as a non-starving artist (but maybe we would do a little starving if she didn't work).

I told her that there was no point in both of us being miserable, and she agreed. She loved me so much that she let me escape the pains of working 70+ hours a week.

I made her a promise that if I could retire early, she'd come home to a clean house, with all our errands for the week done, and a foot massage at her request. She smiled at the foot massage reference because that's what I gave her the first time we met.

She enthusiastically agreed that I should get laid off. Healthcare is no problem since I'm part of her plan. We're much happier as a team now and are trying to have a baby.”

Life Is Easier As A Team

never laugh at your wife's mistakes

The best line I remember as a teenager when trying to convince a girl to do something for me was the phrase, “If you love me then…...” I used it and it was also used plenty of times on me.

I've discovered through my interactions with early retirees with working partners, the line still holds true today. It just takes more convincing given adults have much greater responsibilities.

The best way to convince a spouse to continue working so you don't have to is to give them constant positive reinforcement of how awesome they are for sacrificing for the both of you.

Even if they are miserable at their job, if they really loved you, they'd be happy you're free. Give your spouse greater meaning to work, and they'll work longer.

Eventually, you'll be able to upgrade to a dual early retiree household. But before then, make sure your spouse works his or her tail off for you so that you can live the life of leisure! There's no point both of you being miserable at work!

Recommendations To Build More Wealth

1) Manage Your Money Better For Free

One of the best ways a couple can build wealth is to stay on top of their finances together. Check out Empower's free financial tools that allow you to see all your accounts in one place online using your desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

The tool tracks your cash flow, tracks your net worth, offers free investment analysis tools to optimize your portfolios, and let's you see whether your retirement is on track with their award-winning Retirement Planning Calculator. Best of all, it's free!

2) Negotiate A Severance Package To Be Free

I recommend everybody negotiate a severance if you want to leave a job you no longer enjoy. If you negotiate a severance like I did back in 2012, you not only get a severance check, but potentially subsidized healthcare, deferred compensation, and worker training.

When you get laid off, you may also be eligible for up to roughly 27 weeks of unemployment benefits. Having a financial runway is huge during your transition period.

Conversely, if you quit your job you get nothing. Both my wife and I were able to negotiate a severance to be free. It felt amazing to walk away with money in our pockets from jobs we were going to quit anyway!

Check out the book How To Engineer Your Layoff: Make A Small Fortune By Saying Goodbye. Use the code “saveten” at checkout to save $10.

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For more nuanced personal finance content, join 60,000+ others and sign up for the free Financial Samurai newsletter. Everything is written based off firsthand experience to help you achieve financial freedom sooner!

93 thoughts on “How To Convince Your Spouse To Work Longer So You Can Retire Earlier”

  1. Hate to say you sound quite light in the loafers or just a loafer in general. Real men go out and support their family by working hard, sacrificing and saving in order to retire early and do so with dignity and the satisfaction of well earned success, not by staying home to play house and tennis. As a retired Teamster I am distressed at the demasculinization of men in today’s society and we are a weaker nation as a result. Strong male figures in traditional family roles is the cornerstone of how America was founded, built and prospered to become the greatest nation we used to be. If we don’t preserve what made this country great in the first place we will forever regret not realizing and reinforcing the factors that made America the envy of the entire planet. Just because something works for you does not mean it is good for a productive and healthy society. Stop allowing yourself to give in to your self defeating mentality and be a real man for God’s sake. Your sons will be better men because of it ( if you are blessed with any).

  2. larrybejamin

    I talked to my girlfriend about it and she wasn’t having it. I’ll keep trying and maybe some day I can convince her.

  3. Great discussion. Depends on jeolousy etc. . .generosity. Quality of experience. I am sick from work. Day off.
    Funny comments. . .so when a person falls in love gets married. R they in love with the salary deal or the equality.
    Would wifey divorce us if we got into car accident. Probably. Right

  4. Wife loves her job…private school teacher…we use her job for its reasonably-priced health insurance until Medicare kicks in around a decade from now, with the rest of her salary going straight into her retirement account.

  5. I love this post!

    My wife is also a doctor. I retired at 38 to be a writer and also a stay at home dad. She brings home about $400,000 a year. There’s no way she should retire early after going through so much schooling.

    She’s got us to support! I give her as much encouragement as possible and remind her about the greater good of her profession.

    1. Wow. Manipulative golddigger. If i was her doctor i would advise her to find a man who loved her and cared about her health. A one year sabbatical rest as being a doctor can be heartbreaking as well as overwhelming. . .depends on bedside manner amd scope of practice.
      Using my friends computer to write this. Touche golddiggers unite!!!!!!

  6. I enjoyed this article! Exactly the type of thought-provoking yet somewhat tongue-in-cheek post that keeps me coming back to the Financial Samurai website. Last year I stepped down from a high-paying full-time corporate job to give me more time to focus on building my own online business, which is all about teaching people how to invest and trade in the financial markets so they can advance on their own paths to financial freedom. This change also allowed my wife and I to move closer to family and friends.

    “Start Your Own Website, Be Your Own Boss” is great advice. Just don’t expect it to be easy. You’ve got to be passionate about the subject, product, or service and the process of building that business up from scratch. I also feel strongly that you should have a strong financial cushion built up before taking the leap – at least a year or two of living expenses, so as not to put the financial burden and pressure all onto your partner during the time it takes to create a revenue stream from your own business, and to feel that you are still contributing during this time – even if their job is stable.

    I wouldn’t want to do leisure activities all day, every day, even if I could – what I want is to do work that I enjoy and that provides value to others, and to have the freedom to design the life that my family and I want for ourselves. I still do part-time remote work for my prior employer, and part-time work for a family business. Down the road, I could shift my focus towards whichever income stream is performing better, or potentially towards child care or homeschooling too. My wife has a good job in the healthcare field that she enjoys and finds fulfillment in. The stability of that paycheck is an important part of the whole picture for us. Life is truly easier as a team. Collaborate with your partner to design a lifestyle that works well for both of you.


    I am lucky because my boyfriend is 8 years younger and has no plan to retire early. I expect his salary to increase substantially in the next 10 years, affording me the opportunity to retire early. I am working on my passive income streams to replace at least 50% of my current salary. That, put together with his salary should allow me to retire. I just have to ensure I convince him of how great it would be if I didn’t have to go to a job every day – all the benefits I could provide him.

  8. I’m 32 and I plan to retire at 40-45. My wife already knows this and she plans to retire at 65-70. We keep our finances seperate as I have been saving and investing in rental property very aggressively since I was 21 with the goal of retiring asap. I have a net with of 900k and I’m retiring as soon as I can get to 80k a year of passive income. So in a sense I’m not asking her to work to support us because I’m actually retiring myself. Yes retiring together is ideal but that would mean I would have to work into my 50’s and I’m Not ok with that.

  9. I thought this site’s content was great, even the comments were entertaining.

    It’s funny to me having one partner work while the other partner does not. Sure, lots of scenarios can make this appear “cool”, but the relationship will change dramatically.

    Plus if you have an active mind, your going to be board as all hell when you no longer have to think about something during the day. The purpose of your life is really elusive at that point. That’s a scary, dangerous life circumstance.

    Factor in a life partner and/or family and you’ve got a potential hot mess brewing.

    Go find work that matters. Life is much more enjoyable and rewarding that way.

  10. So, stepping back a bit, do you think men calculate a potential relationship’s networth before making a commitment? And how does that correlate with the desire to free the men from the potential necessity for earning more/working harder to keep a current lifestyle? What does that say about the men’s character then if that’s a consideration?

    In short, is the popular desire for “independent woman” just a euphemism for “I don’t want to care for her or my future family if she’s not making half the income and carrying the children”. To me, it seems if the man’s asking for children, he should at least be willing to be more career-focused for a while and not say “instead of living on dual income, it’ll have to be 1.5 for a while and I won’t even desire to make up the difference..because it’s your biological lot” Or just give up on the children thing altogether.

    Or am I just trapped in gender roles? And men wanting to retire early while the spouse works is just a matter of course these days?

    1. Laundry, grocery shopping plus personal assistant jobs like face moisterizer, panty hose, lipstick . . .plus housecleaning. . .husband doesn’t like to stay at home husband plus he has to give sex. . .instead of cheating off with the guy pack. . .plus emotional support. . pet care.
      Hubby quits. He works as a bartender at strip club place. Lol. He hates being house husband for successful wife. Its personal preference not gender. Why you want the job? :)

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  13. haha! Love this post! I’m pretty sure FS had tongue firmly planted in cheek for some of it, but there is some wisdom there as well! Like some who’ve responded, there is an age difference between my spouse and I (7 years). I can (and will) retire at 54 with a pension and a nice, fat 401k, the combination of which will allow me to easily replace my pre-retirement share of our household expenses. We have separate accounts and pay our bills according to our incomes (i.e., 2/3 me, 1/3 her). Why should I continue working if I can still cover that share while not working? And where’s the injustice if she works until she herself turns 54, as I did? Fortunately for me, she’s been increasing her savings and plans to increase it even more when she gets a pretty fat raise very soon, so perhaps she can accelerate her savings to a point where she can retire much sooner (maybe 2-3 years after me). I do want her to join me as soon as possible, if for no other reason than that I know she will not take kindly to me globetrotting without her!

      1. Same strategy we are following. My wife can fire her job in eight years, when she turns 52. As for me, I’m firing my job tomorrow, and am absolutely scared out of my pants, which I assume is a normal reaction for an obsessive compulsive dude like me.

  14. Is this supposed to be funny or is this meant as a serious post? I truly don’t know. How condescending. “Sit down with your spouse during the new year and plan out her objectives”?!?!? My husband and I try to have regular talks about our financial goals to make sure we are on the same page, but if he tried to “plan out” MY objectives, my first objective would be divorce or a foot up his @$$. As for the fathers who hire nannies to care for their children while they play tennis….disgusting. Why even have children at all if you are going to send such a clear message to them that they are such a low priority?

    1. It depends if you are laughing or not.

      In Japan, if a husband comes home before 6pm, the wife shoes him away because he should be out drinking with clients and colleagues and doing business.

      1. Suggested retitle: How to trivialize your life and exploit your spouse for the bemusement of an online community who won’t be there at the lonely end. It’s a little clunky but would better inform readers of the brand of advice you’re offering. Cheers to the day your article was presented to you as “exhibit A” in denial of your pathetic alimony case.

  15. Justin @ Root of Good

    Here’s how I convinced my wife to continue working while I’m retired: I told her to stick it out for another year or so, or at least as long as they keep dumping money and extra time off on her to keep her around. It’s a gravy train, and some pretty tasty gravy at that! I take care of the home front, she puts in 40 hours per week. She still gets a few months off per year (and almost six months off next year!) and full time pay and bonuses (and 401k match and free family health insurance and…).

    I also told her we’re fine financially if she wants to hang it up whenever. Bad day? Tell em to go F themselves and walk out. So far she’s kept that particular dirty word to herself. I think she’s trying to transition herself out slowly since the company has been kind to her.

  16. I asked my fiance if I could stay at home and be a ‘kept woman’ after we get married in a few weeks. He said sure, but I have to volunteer or have a hobby.

    I’m not going to, though. I am still young and like working. I also like saving money. It’s just nice to know that he would support me :-) (I know, I know…ask him again in 10 years and he might not be as willing haha)

    1. Awesome you have the option to take it down a notch if you want! Just make sure you have him sign a document that he agrees to you being a kept woman whenever you want.

      After 10 straight years of work,something happens to people’s enthusiasm for some reason!

  17. K. P. Phipps

    I was fortunate enough to early retire several years ago. Coincidently, my lovely wife decided to get a job that same year. As it turns out, this arrangement has been a tremendous win/win for us. She absolutely loves her job, while I give thanks to God every morning that I don’t have to drag my sorry butt to work.
    She is fully committed to keeping me in the lifestyle that I have grown accustomed to. I work out and stay in shape, due to the fact that my primary responsibility is to service her frequent sexual needs.

  18. When I was younger a similar situation presented itself to me as my then girlfriend had an opportunity to move to another country for work and wanted me to go with her. However I loved my job and there were minimal employment prospects in the new country. She volunteered that she would financially support me indefinitely, job or no.
    The conversation turned to marriage and kids, she said I could be a kept man and be a stay at home dad. I did however came from a culture where the man traditionally was the breadwinner of the family so of course my pride would not have any of it.
    She decided not to go for the job, and it became a point of contention for our relationship going forward and we ended up breaking up a the next year.
    Now that I’m older I often look back and wonder what could have been, I definitely see myself more open to the idea now. Sigh…live and learn I guess.

    1. It’s tough to just get up and move with a girlfriend with no job prospects.

      What does she so now and is she a very wealthy woman with a kept husband?

      Sounds more like a love lost situation more than a money lost.

      1. Last I heard she did move overseas for work, I don’t know however if she ever got married or not.
        While I did care for her very much that relationship was very volatile so it was emotionally draining. And at the time we were both spendthrifts and not had a lick of financial sense between us. If we ended up together it would not be a stretch to imagine us being in a very deep financial hole right now. Would probably be added to the divorce statistic that states “money problems” as the cause of separation.
        Ah to be in young again…

  19. I find it sad that the early retirement blogger (quoted above) feels such a need to deceive his readership. What value is the ‘respect’ of his readers if said ‘respect’ is based on lies? That kind of thing really gives early retirement a bad name..

    1. I think it’s really more of a gray area, frankly. There’s this fun term called “Internet Retirement Police” where people on the internet dictate who is considered retired or not. If you are retired, can you work part-time? If you are retired, can you consult or blog? If you are retired, can you have a sugar mama?

      Gray areas, but it makes it fun!

      1. I’m sure you are right that this is a grey area. However when one is misrepresenting their true situation, I think the grey is starting to look a bit more black. e.g. note the blogger being ’embarrassed’ if the truth came out. I don’t have any horse in this race (not having a particularly rigid definition of retirement) but making a living pretending to be something you’re not doesn’t seem to me like a fun or comfortable way to live.

  20. Only #5 rings true for me and is what I’ve promised my wife.

    As for #1, from the “male ex-CEO of a small company,” this guy sounds like a royal douche bag. Who could treat their wife like this? Amazingly condescending.

    My suggestion: Get your nest egg to a nice 4% SWR level before you contemplate this path.

      1. I think the douche part was not treating her like an A+ employee (although the word employee is pretty condescending in this context). It was in saying that your wife should treat you (the unemployed freeloader) as her purpose in life. That is not just condescending but incredibly narcissistic in my opinion.

        1. Mysticaltyger

          I agree completely. Some of the people above really give early retirement a bad name. Narcissistic, misrepresenting themselves on their blogs, etc.

  21. Awesome insight on the early retirement from a man’s perspective.. Although part of you I feel is doing this in jest I like the serious intent and feel that it is important to have communication and as you say work together as a team :)

  22. This is going to be a controversial article.

    In my mind, when a spouse wants to become completely supported by another, it’s a complete betrayal. They’ve checked out of the marriage completely and are really saying “I’m throwing you to the wolves. I don’t care about you, I don’t care about how hard you have to work, just hand me money. Only my life, my time, and my happiness should be valued in this marriage.”

    But, since my main goal is FIRE, this perspective may not be the norm. My wife supports me and knows how much it means to me. If my spouse did not want to work anymore, she wouldn’t just be saying “I don’t want to help you anymore”, she would be actively sabotaging my dreams.

    Nevertheless, it still makes me incredibly angry to even hear about this happening.

    1. That’s an aggressive viewpoint Jason! But what if your spouse could give you other things in return instead of working e.g. two hour full body massages and a gourmet meal and all errands in the house fully taken care of? I think that would be a nice tradeoff if you made enough money no?

      1. No. None of these suggestions count for anything. In fact, I’d be insulted and angry if my spouse even brought them up as legitimate options. If they actually want to work as a maid, a cook, or a masseuse, those are legitimate careers, and the spouse should pursue them full-time, outside of the home.

        The only legitimate home-based activity (not including an actual work-at-home job) that would mean anything is child-rearing. But, that ends immediately after they’re in full-time school.

        I think the important part of this whole decision is pressure to perform. If one spouse is under pressure, the other should be under equal pressure with whatever activity they have. Otherwise, there’s no empathy and understanding of each others situation.

        Note that this also rules out a spouse that claims legitimate employment and all they do is take a simple job for appearances sake alone. I’ve seen this countless times and it always makes my blood boil.

        1. But back to one of the points: Isn’t it better for ONLY one spouse to be miserable, rather than have both spouses be miserable working if one could be free? That’s pretty selfless to me for one to sacrifice to let another lead a better life.

          1. It’s also selfish to ask your spouse to work while you don’t. This makes things ambiguous, so I don’t think we can evaluate the situation that way.

            From another angle, a non-working spouse can cause problems financially and relationship-wise, both in the short-term and long-term. Why would either spouse want that? It’s clear to me that this just shouldn’t be done.

            1. Excellent points Jason.

              Or in my situation a spouse who was once very career motivated with high income potential to now settle for a salary equal to avg US household income because she”likes” her work. I carry the financial load while she gets fun-ployment

              I once had the early retirement dream. Now It looks like 10 more years of corp America. Best case.

  23. Not sure if I can really think about that yet, as I am still single and in my mid-20s, but I think the biggest factor that would keep me up at night would be whether or not I had built up a sufficient resume before retiring so thatI could go back to work if needed (or wanted, like in Sam’s case of finding some consulting work to spend a few months).

    I feel that the biggest risk, as others mentioned related to divorces, is not being able to get back into the work force in a similar level position if the situation requires it.

    I think others also mentioned it’s important to keep your skills relevant so that you’re not stuck if forces beyond your control push you to bring in some more income.

    1. For sure. Keep the skills up-to-date, no matter how wealthy your spouse is.

      The x-factor during my early retirement phase was finding fulfilling consulting work. And I think many early retirees can find consulting work because they still have relevant skills, are mentally checked-in, and have good productivity.

      It’s scary to pull the rip chord completely, but if you have your ducks in a row and estimate realistic worst case scenarios, things aren’t so bad.

  24. I’ve thrown around the idea with my soon-to-be wife who currently earns more than me (though to be fair, I earn a significant amount as well, so it’s not as if I’m chopped liver). If/when we have kids, and decide one of us should stay home, I’ve argued it should be me for the following reasons:

    1) She makes more money. (Though I’ll add that my ceiling is a lot higher as we progress through our respective careers.)

    2) I have the ability to make money from home, whereas she does not (not an entrepreneurial bone in her body – and I will refrain from making an inappropriate joke about this…).

    With that said, I don’t think it would work all that well. I think she would have some level of resentment given that I actually like my job more than she likes hers, and I’d be home “playing” with the kid(s) while she slaves away to pay the bills.

    Funny how that usually isn’t the case when the roles are reversed (and the man is the sole breadwinner).

    1. To be young, full of hope, and in love Eric! Just give it about 10 years, and you might see more appeal to this post!

      Great that your lady makes more than you, especially in Chicago where life isn’t too expensive. What are you guys going to do with all your money?

      1. #1 priority will probably be to start saving more in retirement accounts. We’re pretty much getting ready to blow most of our liquid savings (aside from emergency funds) on our condo and wedding later this year, and up until now, retirement savings hasn’t been much of a focus.

        Nothing comes close to SF obviously, but relative to the rest of the midwest, there are parts of Chicago that are very expensive. We happen to be moving to one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city, where condo prices are 10%+ over housing bubble prices from 7-8 years ago. Unlike SF of course, there is decent housing that IS affordable. :D

        And Chicago, I believe, has the highest sales tax rate in the country at about 10%. In the right neighborhoods, things are far from cheap. Again, it’s all relative – hard for me to say this to a SF resident. :)

        And then there’s kids…yeah. Not here yet, but probably on the way in the next few years.

        But as long as we both keep working (or my internet ventures take off), we’ll be doing fine in terms of money.

  25. Even Steven

    My wife took one look at the article title and said “I retire when you retire” and the wife has spoken. I agree everything must be done in a team, that’s the positive I put on this.

    The advice from the early retirement blogger made me cringe a little bit. I also don’t think retiring early is staying at home with the kids or staying at home to run an online blog/business.

    1. Sounds like a logical and strong wife!

      You can do a hybrid by retiring from Corporate America and work from home an hour a day so that both of you guys are working. Lots of little things you can do if you want to do it. Just keep supporting her!

  26. Thanks for the advice. Can you somehow password protect this post so that working spouses can not see the content?

    1. The post is already password protected from working spouses. Because if working spouses were really working, they wouldn’t be surfing the internet reading this post! :)

  27. My boyfriend is well aware of my aspirations to be financially independent, but he can’t really see the big picture right now as we still have student loan debt. He thinks he’ll get bored if he retires early, so he’s all for working past 40. Good news for me =). Ideally I would like to retire together and travel, so we’ll see if he thinks this is a possibility he likes further down the road, when we actually have more savings!

  28. Dee @ Color Me Frugal

    I just had to google machiavellian to understand the last comment! it means “devious,” basically! New word for me today. I agree with the overall sentiment of this post that if you can afford it and both partners are in agreement, do it! But I think it takes a clot of clear communication about expectations and about how both partners are feeling about the situation.

    1. Steve@EscapeVelocity2020

      Oh but Machiavellian means so much more, just the long Italian Dante-ness sounds scheming and diabolical! Like Lamborghini basically means car…

  29. Amen to AC and Zee and maintaining financial independence. I wish I had maintained at least some semblance of earned income during my ex-marriage.

    But then, every couple is different and it’s great if one partner can find fulfillment outside the home and the other partner within the home. Their happiness rubs off on each other. And it makes sense for the bigger paycheck to be breadwinner–which in this day and age still tends to be male. But if the cost of the bigger paycheck is misery, then it’s worthwhile to reassess the financial mechanics of the relationship. I love the MBA grad’s observation that husbands “retire early” and wives just stop working.

    That said, I can’t help but find the flavor of this post so machiavellian. I’ve always despised that phrase, “If you love me, then…” It’s so self-serving and sinister. No need to be so damned devious and coy in talking to your mate. Just have the conversation and discuss what both partners can live with to be as happy as they can be.

    1. For most people, it’s definitely best that each spouse be financially independent given one never knows. I’ve consulted with plenty of spouses in the past two years who actively wanted to boost their income streams given they were stay at home parents.

      “If you love me then…..” was a childhood phrase. As adults, we are much more cunning now!


    My goal is to retire “with” my spouse. I don’t know if I am old fashion or perhaps not selfish enough, but the thought of asking my spouse to work longer so I can play golf just does not seem right to me. Our goal is to officially be able to “retire” the day we drop our youngest off to college (youngest is currently 4). However, at the present moment (I am 33) I do not see myself ever officially retiring, I don’t see the point, I don’t mind what I do, I get to travel to awesome locations, I could live pretty much anywhere in the world (the only reason we don’t is because we value our kids growing up in America) and the work is not physically demanding.

    1. I think that is a good goal, to retire together at the same time.

      But what if you could retire early and hang out with other early retirees? You guys could travel around the world together, play sports, eat lunch, go to shows. If you had a whole support network of early retirees with working spouses, life could be great!

    2. I’d have to agree with on this one. I would much rather that we retire together than one of us. She’s my best friend, not someone I hope to take advantage of financially.

      I would much rather experience financial freedom with her than be some stay at home dad. Sure I could do day to day things to keep me entertained, but if I want to go travel through Central America for 3 months, I want to be able to share that with my fiance.

      1. Ahhhh, the honeymoon period of the fiance. Things are kinda different after 7-10 years of marriage. Just like how work is kinda different from year 1 vs. year 10. But, I’m excited for your journey and I agree that such a scenario is ideal.

        3 months traveling w/ your best friend would be awesome, hopefully.

        1. Not so different here. We will be married 12 years in August, married pretty much straight out of college and he is still my best friend. I can’t imagine that either of us would be happy to retire without the other one. We are both looking forward to retiring around 55 at the same time and after both kids are out of college.

  31. Zee @ Work-To-Not-Work

    There would have been a time where I would have loved to retire early while letting my wife (who doesn’t exist yet) be the breadwinner. But as much as I like the idea of power couples working together I am sadly aware that even the best teams get broken up every now and then.

    I know a lot of people that I never would have expected to get divorced end up splitting. Some after only a few years, others after 10-15 years. Some of them were couples where I wouldn’t have been too surprised and others where I was shocked because I thought they were “made for each other”.

    I think it works for some people, for example if one person is a CEO at a huge company and the other just works a regular 50k per year job. The regular job will contribute so little money in comparison that the financial aspect of working that job shouldn’t be a motivator. Also if that couple does break up both will probably still be financially set to not need to worry too much.

    I just don’t think I could put my financial future in someone else’s hands. If I quit my software job at 31 and tried to get back in at 41 because something happened, it would probably be near impossible with the way technology changes.

    I need to meet some well off CEO’s.

    1. Yes, being out of the work force for 10 years and NOT constantly maintaining or upgrading your skills would be a disaster in many fields, perhaps all. Definitely a good idea to keep doing something you enjoy that has some type of potential income stream during retirement for sure. Never know what may happen in the future.

  32. Ten years ago I would have found this offensive as a working female. However, I wouldn’t mind working if my partner wanted to explore writing a book or dedicate himself to homeschooling the children. I will also admit there is a lot to be said about a doting partner ;-) I would be working regardless, because my job pays stupid well. Through the years, I have been offered opportunities to quit my job as the other person worked; however, I knew it was a gamble, because the relationship needs to last. Plus, they weren’t millionaires. There are a lot of divorced women (and men) trying to get back into the job market after ten years of “retirement.” I certainly don’t want to wind up starting back over at the bottom again.

    1. Tell us more about why you’d be offended as a working female! Are you offended by the guy retiring early or the gal retiring early?

      I’m trying to empower men to no longer be afraid to be stay at home dads or early retirees while their wives work. So much prejudice against men still. Gotta level the playing field!

      1. Do YOU have children? Have YOU actually tried staying at home for a longer period of time takung care of babies and young children, or home schooling at ES level? These are full time jobs, not retirement options. This article appears superficial to me as a working woman and mother. It just sounds like you want to use ( take advanrage) of working women. As for working men, they too are being used if their wives or lovers decide to “retire” on their money at 25 (or 30 or even 40) in full health and without major family responsibilities like young children or sick elderly parents.

        1. No, not plural. Yes, I have.

          Being a stay at home spouse is the MOST IMPORTANT JOB in the world. It is long hours, stressful, and vital.

          This article is superficial, because it is my attempt at satire. And to make those who say “I’m retired” while they have a working spouse question whether they are really retired. And to let women think about how men think as well.


          How To Get A Rich Man To Be Your Husband

          Marrying Your Equal Is Better Than Marrying Rich

  33. It seems logical for half of a high earning couple to quit.

    Especially with the marriage penalties we know about. And it seems that two spouses earning 117k each get taxed 6.2% for social security as corporate employees, but one working spouse earning 234k only gets taxed 3.1%. (Can this be right!?)

    I’m fine with the taxes on principle as a 2%er. But raises every other year on one 100% dedicated salary-earner’s salary will cover another salary in just a few years. Add the tax savings, car savings, health savings long-term from the reduced stress…. why are we both still working? Hmmm.

      1. I’m sure you didn’t forget, you just had a different important message to get across this time! :)

    1. Ahh I think I got sucked in too! Girlfriend / potential future wife convinced me that her staying at home with any kids would be the optimal outcome.

      Need to work out how to walk this one back!

  34. I lived that early retirement life while my wife continues to work. She loves her career and may work forever, although I hope not. It is not quite as ideal as you make it. There were many times, I wanted to just take off, but could not. This was true despite her 4 weeks vacation because of the responsibilities of work. So I started a couple of businesses and I had responsibilities too. I think the ideal is for both partners to be independent. I think I will reach this in just a few more years.

  35. No Nonsense Landlord

    This article is right up my alley. I will be retiring in 2 years, my girlfriend of 24 years is 12 years younger. She wants to retire with me, but it’s probably best to try my retirement first, then if it works she can retire early too.

    But it’s a great retirement fail safe to keep her working.

    1. For equality’s sake, shouldn’t you ask her to work 12 years longer since you’re 12 years older? It does sound like a good idea for you to try early retirement first.

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