The following is a guest post from a long-time Financial Samurai reader named Joona. He shares his secret to retiring at age 41 with a $4 million net worth, a wife, and two kids ages three and six.
I really love hearing about early retirement case studies and how my writing has helped people reach their financial goals. After all, I’ve been writing about my own case study of achieving financial independence since 2009. It’s been a fun journey full of twists and turns.
Previously, I had written about how retiring early with $5 million is extremely difficult for families in expensive coastal cities. Therefore, reading this case study on retiring early with $1 million less is particularly insightful. Take it away Joona!
Retiring Young With $4 Million And Two Kids
There’s an old saying, “Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat.” When I first heard the saying, I was offended. I had just finished going to law school for three years and had $100,000 in student debt.
But after five years of working as an associate, I recognized the truth in the saying. The hours were long, but I wanted to make partner by my 35th birthday. I didn’t. I also wanted to have my first child at age 35, but that didn’t happen either.
After 11 years of grinding it out as an associate, I finally made partner at age 37 in 2019. I also had my first boy a year earlier. I thought my life would be much better with more pay, less grunt work, and more schmoozing.
But being a dad changed my perspective.
Instead of looking forward to going out for expensive steak dinners with the finest bottles of wine until 10 pm, I felt guilty leaving my wife alone to take care of our son. Instead of spending five hours on the golf course with prospective clients, I longed to see my son’s first milestones.
The pressure to be both a present father and a great lawyer was making me miserable. Something hand to change.
How Much Money I Made As A Lawyer
For those curious, here’s how much I made as a lawyer. I didn’t work for a big law firm like Cravath, Wachtell, or Sullivan & Cromwell. Instead, I worked at a boutique law firm that had more humane hours but paid less. It was the tradeoff I was willing to make.
Year 1 after law school at age 26 – $100,000
Year 2 – $110,000
Year 3 – $130,000
Year 4 – $145,000
Year 5 – $160,000
Year 6 – $170,000
Year 7 – $170,000
Year 8 – $180,000
Year 9 – $190,000
Year 10 – $200,000
Year 11 – $250,000
Year 12 – $300,000
Year 13 – $340,000
Year 14 – $430,000
Total earnings after 14 years: $2,875,000
The amounts may sound like a lot, however, I went to law school for three years and took on debt. Further, today’s starting salary for 1st year Big Law associates is around $200,000 plus a $25,000 stub bonus.
Maybe I could have made a million dollars a year after 20 years. But I wasn’t going to stick around that long to find out.
My saving rate averaged about 55% for my entire career. During the last two years of work, I saved 75% of my after-tax income. When you have a goal to escape, saving money because extremely easy.
Net Worth Progression As A Lawyer
Here’s my rough net worth progression as a lawyer. By the end of year four, I had paid off my law school debt. I also didn’t have any undergraduate school debt because my parents paid for it.
70% of my savings went towards three Vanguard index ETFs. The other 30% of my savings went toward buying a multifamily property for rental income.
Year 1 after law school at age 26: -$10,000
Year 2: +$20,000
Year 3: +$50,000
Year 4: +$120,000 (paid off law school debt)
Year 5: $200,000
Year 6: $300,000
Year 7: $550,000
Year 8: $850,000
Year 9: $1,030,000
Year 10: $1,350,000 (bought multifamily property)
Year 11: $1,620,000
Year 12: $1,900,000
Year 13: $2,200,000
Year 14: $2,500,000 (today)
With an estimated $2,500,000 net worth, I decided to call it quits. Being a partner at my law firm for three years was enough for me to leave with no regrets. I reached the pinnacle of my profession and the only thing I would leave behind would be money. Therefore, I Fat FIREd.
The Goalpost Is Always Moving In Terms Of How Much You Think You Need
Many of my fellow partners are striving for a $10 million net worth or higher before retiring. They believe somehow, they will be happier with 10 figures instead of seven. But I know more money doesn’t make me happier. I’ve been at the same level of happiness for over five years now.
What I’d gain would be more free time with our now two children. They are ages eight and six. The one thing about having kids is that it makes time go by faster because they are changing so quickly. Before I know it, they’ll be heading off the college.
Due to inflation, a $2,500,000 net worth isn’t what it once was. Sam has written that to be a real millionaire, you need at least a $3,000,000 net worth. But for me, it was good enough to say goodbye, so I did.
The Secret To Retiring On Only $4 Million With Kids
Here’s the thing. I didn’t just retire early with a $2.5 million net worth. After all, there have been two income earners over the past 14 years. My wife, whom I met in law school, is also a lawyer and has no plans of retiring any time soon.
Ever since we first met at the campus cafeteria, we’ve been on the same page about our careers and financial goals. It’s one of the reasons why we get along so well.
She was two years behind me in school and still has the same fire for being a lawyer as when I first met her as a third-year student. In comparison, I was starting to burn out after my 11th year. She’s up for partner this year and plans to work until she’s 60.
My Independent Wife
Since we first met, my wife has always been an independent woman who has sought to build her own wealth. She’s also been extremely into finance since high school. Neither of her parents had job stability, which often made her worry. Partly as a result, we’ve always had separate banking accounts.
Here’s another life hack. We also aren’t technically married, which saves us between $15,000 – $25,000 a year in marriage penalty tax. We realized we didn’t need a certificate to prove our love for each other. As a result, we’ve saved over $250,000 in marriage penalty taxes during our relationship.
My wife wanted to see how much wealth she could accumulate on her own. And like me, she didn’t understand why one plus one doesn’t equal two in the government’s eyes. As a high-income earning woman, she feels the government is wrong to penalize women for wanting well-paying careers.
Over the past 12 years of her career, she has been able to accumulate a net worth of about $1.5 million. In other words, our combined net worth is about $4.0 million.
Related: The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Married Couple
Is A $4 Million Net Worth Enough To Retire Early?
We have about $2.8 million in investable assets generating anywhere between $60,000 – $120,000 a year in passive investment income. The income range depends on capital distributions from various private real estate funds we own.
On the low end, can I live off $60,000 a year in gross investment income or about $50,000 a year in net investment income? I can. But I don’t.
We reinvest 100% of our investment income and capital distributions every year in order to generate even more passive investment income.
Given I’m only 41, I want to keep building our investment income so that by the time my wife retires in 20 years, we’ll really be set.
So how do I survive and take care of the kids?
Well, that’s easy. My wife makes about $350,000 a year as a lawyer. If she makes partner, she will likely make $500,000 or more in the next several years. Even if she doesn’t get promoted, she will likely continue to make $350,000 – $400,000 for the foreseeable future.
With a $350,000 gross income, after taxes, she brings in about $270,000. Given our budget is only about $160,000 a year, we’re left with about $110,000 to invest in stocks, real estate, bonds, private funds, and to save for our children’s education.
But aren’t you just a stay at home dad and not retired?
Absolutely. I’m a stay at home dad who happens to have worked for 14 years and amassed a $2.5 million net worth on my own.
I no longer work because I don’t need to. Instead, I want to decompress and spend more time with my children before they leave the house.
$160,000 Spending Budget Breakdown
Here’s a rough estimate of our $160,000 a year budget. We’ve been spending about $160,000 for the past two years so we feel confident that we’ll be able to maintain this budget for four people going forward.
I tried to be as concise as possible. In the past, when I would do our budget, I discovered we actually spent way more than we thought. With this budget, I think we could easily cut $20,000 a year if we need to.
Based on the figures we live a pretty normal middle-class lifestyle.
We send both our children to public school and live in a comfortable three bedroom, two bathroom home with a backyard and an office. Our house is about 2,200 square feet. We’re also saving $20,000 a year for college in a 529 savings plan.
After sixteen years, our youngest will be done with college and our expenses will likely drop. However, we’re still budgeting in some expenses to help our kids after college just in case they have a difficult time launching on their own.
Spending $160,000 a year requires earning a gross W-2 income of about $213,000 based on a 25% effective tax rate. Therefore, our target passive income target by the time my wife retires in 20 years is about $220,000, inflation adjusted.
Early Retirement Is Easier With A Working Spouse
I’m very proud of my wife’s career aspirations. Unlike me, who is completely burned out from the corporate world, she’s still highly motivated. But given she is two years younger than me, maybe she’ll feel differently after a couple of years as a partner.
Saving and investing aggressively for 14 years probably makes up for 70% of the reason why I was able to retire at 41. 30% of the reason is due to my wife. I could happily live off $2.5 million as a bachelor if it was just me and one child.
The balance in our household is good as I take our kids to and from school. Further, I pay all the bills, order or prepare most of our meals, and keep up the house in order. I’m also the one who arranges all the repairs and maintains our rental property.
The Rise Of The Female Breadwinner
For many households, the situation is the opposite. Men are often the ones who need to be the breadwinners while their wives stay at home to take care of the children and household.
Thankfully, in our increasingly equal society, more mothers are becoming breadwinners. They should be as the majority of college-educated adults are women.
Spending as many years possible working after spending so many years in college and graduate school is the rational thing to do. For me, 14 years of work after law school was enough.
I hope our daughter can one day find a career she loves and make a great living as well. I’m proud my wife is setting a great example for her. If her husband decides to stay at home and raise the kids, I might just help out too!
At the end of the day, my wife trusts nobody with the kids more than me. It gives her a lot of peace of mind that I’m the one taking care of them while she is working. When she was growing up, her parents were always working.
The Confidence To Retire Early With A Working Spouse
I will admit I wouldn’t have felt comfortable retiring early if my wife also wanted to retire early with me. $60,000 to occasionally $120,000 in gross passive income is not enough to fund our $160,000 a year ideal budget. We’d also have to pay over $2,000 a month for health insurance if we didn’t have subsidized healthcare.
If my wife wanted to join me in early retirement, I think we’d need closer to a $7 million net worth. With around $6 million in investments, we should be able to generate over $200,000 a year in gross passive income to fund our lifestyles.
If my wife works for another six-to-eight years and if our investments cooperate, we have a great chance of getting there. And by then, my wife will still be in her 40s to enjoy the early retirement life with me if she so chooses.
It’s true what Sam says. Your financial independence number is not really real if you don’t change your lifestyle. In my case, having a working wife has given me tremendous courage to leave my law career behind.
Consistent Encouragement Is Needed
I’m only eight months into my early retirement lifestyle so take my perspective for what it is. But so far, I’m enjoying the much slower pace of life. One surprise I discovered is my chronic interior elbow pain finally went away after two years. If I knew my anxiety and chronic pain would have gone away, I would have retired a year earlier.
Sending my kids to school and picking them up to go to soccer practice and other events gives me purpose from Monday through Friday. So does making sure all our household items are in order.
I go for bike rides and hikes every day, which have improved my mood and overall happiness. I’m also spending more time looking for investment opportunities.
So far, my wife likes the balance. Me not working has reduced her mental load so she can spend more time focusing on work while at work. When she comes home, she loves being able to unwind, which was harder while I was working.
I’ve done my best to follow the tips of other men who also retired early and have working spouses. For example, I’m always encouraging before she starts her workday. I’m also always there whenever she needs to vent about work issues. And if she needs me to run an errand, I’ll do it no problem.
The more I can anticipate her needs before they come up, the better.
Surprisingly, I don’t miss the money. The freedom I’ve gained from early retirement has more than made up for the lost income. Given I saved and invested most of my money anyway, earning more money no longer improves our lifestyle.
Manage Your Happiness In Retirement
Finally, if you plan to follow my lead, I recommend being careful about showing too much outward joy as an early retiree, especially on your spouse’s bad days. Instead, try to mirror your partner’s mood so any resentment about your new lifestyle never grows.
At the end of the day, you want both partners to continue living their desired lifestyles. Over time, views about work and retirement will change though. So stay flexible.
During the tougher days, we remind ourselves that we’re doing what’s best for our children and ourselves. In addition, if we ever need to earn more money, I can always do some part-time consulting or go back to work.
But for now, both of us trying to make the most money possible doesn’t make sense. I’m not ready to go into decumulation mode just yet. But I am happy to step away from the grind.
When the time comes for my wife to retire, I’ll be there waiting to show her around.
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Readers, what do you think about retiring with a family on $4 million? Do you think you could do it? Are you noticing more men retire early while their wives work? Is the secret to retiring early having a financially responsible spouse who loves their job?
For those of you who found this story un-relatable, here’s a story about how one woman overcame money trauma and retired with only $600,000.
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I think Joona’s article was courageous, inspiring, and a model for a strong and supportive modern man and marriage.
Speaking from the perspective of a high-dual-income family with three young kids living in coastal California, I can attest that even with a spouse making $350K/yr, this is not an easy choice. First of all, Joona had a real opportunity cost, he could be making $500K+/yr (those who chimed in about their wives retiring probably didn’t have spouses with such high opportunity cost). Second, sitting in another country, or even another US state, this sounds like a lot of money but it’s really not in coastal California. Whatever you think our cost of living is in your mind, quadruple it, especially with todays high inflation. Example, In my neighborhood: cost of tomatoes, $5/lb, cost of milk: $8.99/gallon, cost of a food truck burrito: $14, cost of cappuccino: $5.5, cost of Disneyland tix $350/pp, cost of 1 week of camp per kid = $350-$500/pp.
Joona: One thing you should consider is that your expenses will increase with growing children. They will want to take extra-curricular lessons, swimming/soccer/piano/tennis, whatever,… and just for that, my money-councious family ends up spending $1000-1500/month between our three kids.
How do i survive?? He asks, “my wife still makes 350k” a year. This guy is surely a cynic. Lets see how it goes when the high earning wife gets tired of this BS
This article is bit misleading… The reality is that anyone can retire if the other spouse is earning $350k per year… That is basically what my wife did 5 years ago. She doesn’t work anymore.
It’s the most ridiculous anything I have read about finances, ever. Hey I retired and my wife makes $350k m. I mean sorry we aren’t married. We have Millions. I also made a lot each year. Look at us. This isn’t advice. It’s nonsense.
Have to agree with this. This fire movement is for people that live in bubbles. What bothers me the most is the bragging tone of it all.
Financial Samurai says
I think you’ll enjoy this post. 10 Years Of FAKE Retirement Later: My Biggest Takeaways
Paper Tiger says
I will offer one more take on the retired or not retired debate. I would simply ask the author one question to determine which one it is. Are you financially “independent”? In other words, if your partner were to leave you would you be forced to go back to work because you can no longer support the financial demands on you by yourself for the rest of your life?
If the answer is no, I would not have to go back to work then I would say you have been and are retired. If the answer is that you would have to go back to work then you are not financially independent and have simply left the workforce for a period of time and now have to go back in order to provide for yourself.
One of the big keys to retirement is having financial independence assured for a lifetime without relying on having to work for more money.
This situation is set up for trouble. The clock is ticking on the marriage. Women are by nature hypergamous (looking for the better deal) and can not at heart respect a man who is not chasing excellence. Her desire/attraction levels will collapse.
Remember, men are success objects to women, and women are beauty objects to men. Fundamental laws of attraction since time immemorial. Men and women are not equal.
To retire is to expire for a man. You are running a huge risk. You are surplus to requirements from her and evolutions perspective at this point.
Do not let it happen, chase excellence.
Divorce law is brutal.
Women are people, too says
You really have no clue about women. I sincerely hope you learn to let go of your bitterness (and, from the sounds of it, move on from your recent messy divorce).
Sounds bitter, but my bet is on what tony predicts
OK, read all the comments and enjoyed them. I can’t speak to those who are earning middle-class incomes with middle class lives (the 125K single earner, for example). But, I do think Fin Sam describes the choices being faced by people in stressful and high-earning jobs and the choices they want to make.
FinSam started with the willingness to walk away from money in order to optimize life differently, and what you can do with the other choices you have when you walk away. He also included how you spend your time, the impact of children, the wealth you need, the risks you take, the earnings you had and the spending you want. I’ve been reading for a while, and, his advice fits the questions I have been asking myself (and my spouse).
I am older than the the OT, and Fin Sam, my kids are older (youngest leaves the nest this year). I have used the perspective here to guide some of my choices (the no more than 10% on a second home, as an example). Others don’t work for my family (rental income, side hustles) and haven’t been necessary. How one spends time is important (especially as life circumstances change). And, we do need the perspective of both spouses.
Maybe Joona’s wife could write a post (or Joona could interview her?)
Tarik Pierce says
Very interesting read. I think the author has a great setup with plenty of passive income to fund an early retirement.
First off, why do you need to get married? Your current arrangement is working perfectly fine. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Getting married will put additional strain on your relationship. You don’t need to get the state involved with your family. Be a great dad and love your partner. My advice is don’t get married under any circumstances. There are no benefits for any man.
Secondly, $4 million dollars won’t be worth as much in the future due to hyperinflation. You might want to consider investing in cryptocurrency aside from traditional assets. Bitcoin is my top holding and has outperformed all other asset classes by a wide margin. It seems like you may have to return to the workforce in the next 10 years if something goes wrong in your household or you want to increase your lifestyle. Once your kids grow up you may want to live an extravagant lifestyle and check off all items on your bucket list. You’ll need capital to do this however inflation will eat up a lot of purchasing power in the future.
Congrats on your success. I’m 35 and have 2 kids just like you. You are an inspiration! Hope I’m doing as well as you in the next 6 years God willing. Take care.
Long time reader, follower too, invested in Fundrise, Driftwood capital, and others.. But this is inaccurate post IMO. Its not retiring on $4M when your spouse works as very high income earner and doesn’t plan to leave for 20 years.. Lets hear from a family of 4 that both wage earners leave the workplace at 40-something for good with no plans for ordinary income again..
I agree completely. The “retiring early” part is misleading. You aren’t truly retired if you have a spouse who works full time with an extremely lucrative career. I thought this story would be about him quitting his job and retiring with two kids and a stay-at-home wife.
I could have written this article and wouldn’t have called it “retiring”. I stopped working at 40, with a family worth of 2.8 million and a high earning spouse (higher than described in this article) with two children, 9 and 7. We had bigger expenses (because we could). Spouse has worked for 12 more years (still working, but differently), our network has grown to over 10 million, excluding our residence and we are comfortable.
But, I’m a woman. I’d not have called it “retiring”. I don’t regret the years at all. For me, spending the time with my kids when they were becoming they people they are now was entirely worth it. Women do this all the time and, what our “retiree” should be thinking about is what his life looks like when the children are grown.
Financial Samurai says
Thanks for sharing! I want women to be able to say and do what they want. As a father to a daughter, this is very important to me.
Since you’ve gone through it, what did you guys do after your children left the house? Or to clarify, how old are you and your children now?
I imagine just doing a lot of traveling and decumulating of our wealth, while popping in frequently to see our adult children, wherever they are :)
Oh yes, I am just now embarking on the “what do you do when your children leave” question. My youngest starts college this year. So, I have not yet figured it out. And, my friends who made similar choices are also just starting to figure it out (some starting in the middle of the pandemic where choices were limited).
I was in an occupation that is entirely unresponsive to returning workers, especially ones near retirement, so returning to work is not an option. Some of my friends have. I amuse myself with significant hobbies (in my case photography, in friends cases renovation). Some have taken that renovation into a business (flipping, renting houses, . . . ). Others serve on school, not-for-profit boards. Some of the lawyers are doing significant pro-bono work (two I know just helped two refugees get green cards). Others are playing and planning lives of travel and fun, though delayed by the pandemic.
Traveling is a big part of what I am seeing people do — a retired couple I know in their 70s are now going to spend two months in Italy. Traveling does cost money, though, increasing the cost of retirement. Most of the folks I know are pretty high net worth (10-50 million, the few with more than have taken on major philanthropic roles that occupy their time significantly).
Financial Samurai says
Two months in Italy sounds great! We play to do 2 months in a new city every summer once both our kids are over 5, so they can remember their travels.
Or, you might want to write the next great American novel! I just finished mine and it’s come out on June 28, 2022. I hope you preorder a copy! :)
Nomadic Samuel says
That is great that you’re both doing what you want. I think 4 million is a very reasonable number to be honest. 10 million seems to be thrown around a lot these days but if your lifestyle doesn’t require that I like the idea of retiring earlier.
Gary Grewal says
What an interesting story, at first I was judging at the “only $4 million”, which is a huge number, and was impressed that your spouse is still working. Didn’t even know the marriage penalty tax was such as thing. Mirroring your spouses mood sure seems like a great way to buffer the working/non working!
This is interesting article and a good read. It looks like the author is assuming there is a 0% chance of divorce when in fact, it’s likely they will get divorced based simply on statistics. (They have a common law marriage.) Being married to an independent woman who makes millions, and knowing many more highly successful women, none that I know would put up with a stay home dad for 5 minutes. I would seriously suggest the author consider getting his job back before it’s too late. When his wife makes partner and starts bring home the $$$, she isn’t going to find the stay routine attractive in any sense.
Financial Samurai says
Curious if you are speaking from experience with regards to not putting up with your husband as a SAHD? If so or if not, why do you think women won’t “put up with a stay at home dad for 5 minutes” when men do so all the time with stay at home moms? That doesn’t seem like equality to me.
BTW, they can’t get divorced because they aren’t married. They were able to save hundreds of thousands in marriage penalty taxes as a result.
I can only go by my friends. Most couples both work, even though they could live with only 1 person working. In those where both don’t work and the woman stays at home, 90% of the time, the man is not happy that the woman decided to “retire” early and quit her job to look after kids. Often there is no joint decision – the man comes home one day from work and the woman says “oh I retired today” to take care of the kids. The men in these situations are easily able to take care of the family on their income, but they resent the fact that the wife quit, which basically means they have another mouth to feed. And they also eventually come to see the spouse as indolent, opportunistic and boring bc all they know/talk about is kid stuff. I’m not talking about a spouse that takes a year or two off for kids- I’m talking about the lifer. Interestingly, the few married men I know who are happy their wives don’t work are the most “old fashioned”, least progressive men I know – they expect cooking, cleaning, dinner, etc. it’s like they are from the 1950’s.
I’m not a divorce lawyer, but I’m pretty sure if these two split, eg,
Next month, the assets would be divided 50-50 and there would be a child support obligation and it would be calculated as if he was employed. They have a marriage at common law.
Financial Samurai says
Fascinating stuff! I think every household’s situation is different.
Personally, I am really glad my wife left work in 2015 and joined me on this post work journey. There’s nobody I trust more than my wife to be a caretaker of our children, so it makes me happy that she wants to stay home and care. At the same time, she also does A LOT of the backend work wrt Financial Samurai e.g. filing taxes, bookkeeping. Further, she helped edit my upcoming book, Buy This, Not That, six times.
And yes, I have joked about having my wife go back to work before. And that is because I didn’t fully appreciate how much work she does at home. It is also b/c I took her taking care of the kids for granted.
Relationships are a work in progress, which is one of the key messages of this post. It’s interesting, but several prominent personal finance bloggers have divorced after gaining financial independence. Coincidence or not, all I know is that I don’t want to divorce while the kids are still living with us so I will constantly work on our relationship.
I hope others do the same!
If you get divorce after gaining financial independence, that usually (not always) means you are no longer financially independent. If you have $4 million and 2 elementary school kids and get divorced — and most states are no fault divorce, so can’t legally stop someone from divorcing you if that’s what they want — then you end up with a spousal support payment, a child support payment until they turn 18, 529 plans to contribute to for a decade and $2 million some portion of which in a house. Not good in a high cost city.
Financial Samurai says
Gotcha. Good thing I follow and espouse this concept!
If you love your spouse, you’d makethem financially independent.
I’m probably in a bubble, because there’s nobody close to me in real life who have gotten divorced. And I’m in the prime age for divorces.
I think times are changing. Where I think we see this is the cliche that the woman is working / hard working the man is a “dead beat.”
I won’t disagree that it goes against “traditional” laws of attraction. I think it requires understanding from both parties and communication, but if that’s there, this can be successful.
Now this will be controversial but in some cases, ESTABLISHED women also might have an easier path to higher earnings. There is a push to get women to top levels. If the woman is good at what she does, she may have the easier path to the top whereas the man still has to beat out in the politics. From what I’ve seen in my field
I agree with this to an extent. I am a partner in an engineering firm with 16 partners. 15 are older white guys. We are actively working to add diversity of color and gender to “the room.” Not only because of our own desires but some of our Clients and some regulations are demanding it. I won’t say we are lowering the bar to partnership to achieve this, but lets say we are more actively looking inside and outside our organization for great folks who will add diversity.
Paper Tiger says
First, common-law marriages are only recognized in 8 states so depending on where they live, this may not be a big issue. Either way, because they chose to keep most of their assets under their individual names, those assets would remain with each of them if they broke up and only assets titled in both of their names would be subject to an equitable division in most states.
Second, I retired early 7 years ago and my wife continues to work in a hard-charging, high-paying job and plans to do so for another 5 years before joining me in retirement. As we were both in the same industry and career path, life was very stressful and also a lot of compromises had to be made to accommodate each of our career progressions and the timing was never perfect. When I retired, it opened things up for my wife and allowed her to really focus and pour into her career so she is incredibly grateful that I can pick up most of the other responsibilities while she chases her career aspirations. No two situations are the same and just because other couples can’t seem to manage relationships and career goals unless they are both working, doesn’t mean it can’t work for others. It has certainly worked out very well for us and I think this couple has a great handle on it as well.
Yes, every household is different. High earning spouse doesn’t resent me at all and likes my work demands not constraining our lives (which they did when I was working). My earnings weren’t significant enough to sustain our spending level so my working was less relevant (when I “retired” my income was only 20% of his, officially). But, being the sole earner sustaining a pretty high-flying lifestyle did create stress for him, which couldn’t be entirely mitigated by the promise that we could always live a simpler life if he did not want to work, either.
This article is completely misleading – the author cannot be considered “retired” by any stretch of imagination with a wife that is still working full time.
Very underwhelming article – completely missing the point in my humble opinion. Whether it is $4M or $10+M Networth this article is pointless as many others have similarly commented.
To be honest, I am a bit disappointed. Normally, Financial Samurai does a great job moderating and posting articles that are useful.
Completely unrelatable. I’m actually surprised that the net worth isn’t significantly higher with 2 people earning so much money. This isn’t a story.
Financial Samurai says
With all the feedback in the comments, I thought I’d address some of them in my latest podcast episode. Here’s the Apple iTunes link.
Ok this should be retitled – how to become a stay at home dad with $4M. What he did was impressive but his wife still works. If a women did the exact same thing, no one would let her say she was retired, she would be permanently branded as a stay at home mom.
I would let her say she is retired if that is what she believed. I’ll also happily let her say she is a stay at home mother if roles were reversed. Give women a chance to be what they want to be.
Just a note, I’m two years ahead of her in my career.
I agree!… this is not a typical senario where you have two income earners making that much money. It would maybe be a story if the wife wasn’t working making $300k+ a year and they both retired. If my wife made that much I could probably retire with much less than 4 Million in the bank. I just can’t relate to this story at all.