How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

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Thecoalminerswife
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Location: Newcastle, Australia

How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Thecoalminerswife » Mon Jun 13, 2016 6:46 pm

I was sent a link to the ERE site a year or so again by a young friend who is working herself into the ground as an anaesthetic doctor. She told me that there were very few people she could share her interest in simple living with (especially after she had dinner with a group of other doctors, all of whom had young children - and all they did was complain that they couldn't find a decent birthday cake for their toddlers for less that $120 !) Since then I've read this and other sites recommended by Jacob each morning while having breakfast. Ultimately, I think Jacob could be a reincarnation of my father. He espoused the same financial philosophy and, as a consequence, we are reasonably aware of what we need to do/have in order to give ourselves FI choices.
My brother has recently retired from his job at 56, my sister and her husband are very financially sorted but love their jobs, and I made the decision to drift out of the workforce last year (with the total support of my husband). My quest now is to get him to drift away from his work lifestyle. At present he works 14+ hours each day in the mining industry in Australia. He earns good money but his life consists of either working flat out or recuperating. I'm playing the support-peson role. He's on the treadmill.
I've been crunching numbers, seeking advice and trying to convince him that there is life on the other side! He was raised with the cliched Protestant Work Ethic and his identity is very much tied up with his work. He is exactly the type of person who needs to read what Jacob (and other ERE-ers) have to say. Alas, so far he hasn't.
Our financial situation is:
House $800,000 (no mortgage) Adult children living in it while we are living away with husband's work.
Two cars (Audi, Subaru) No debt
Savings $400,000 (as an escape fund in case he came home one day and said "Enough")
Share $50,000
His superannuation (retirement fund accessible at 57) $700,000
My superannuation $180,000
We are both 55.
We've been together for ten years. He has three adult sons. I have no children. He's been buttoned down working and providing since he was 20. I've been foot-loose and fancy free and have often left decent jobs, travelled, gone to uni as a mature-aged student, relocated etc. I can live with ERE principles. He wants to have the same standard of living in retirement as he does now.
Any suggestions?

George the original one
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by George the original one » Mon Jun 13, 2016 7:51 pm

> his identity is very much tied up with his work

You can't change that. I suspect the best you can do is to get him thinking about the life he'll live when he can draw the superannuation.

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Eureka
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Eureka » Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:21 am

Hi Thecoalminerswife,

Your way of dealing with life resembles mine in the way you quit good jobs, travel, study and learn new things, don't care too much about money and high standard of living.

But the man in your life seems very different. If he works that much, you barely know him? Will you even get along if you've got to spend all the time together? Or how do you imagine life after he resigns?

How are you spending your time now? Do you study, travel, pursue your passions? I think you should lead by example rather than trying to convince him in words.

Good luck,

Eureka

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vexed87
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by vexed87 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 2:35 pm

My SO is exactly the same, her job is her identity. As GTOO says, you can't change it, at least not forcibly. It's usually a reflection of personality type. See if you can get your DH to do an MBTI test for more insight into what makes him tick.

IIRC, the ERE book had a pretty good chapter on convincing an uninterested partner about the merits of ERE... there's no easy way and I'm still working on my partner, showing her I have a better way takes lots of time and subtle diplomacy.

At the end of the day, if he loves what he does, you can't make him give it up because he will resent you for it, but if you can get him to tap into other interests, the rest may take care of itself.

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Sclass
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Sclass » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:57 pm

Hi,

I paid a lot less tax in retirement than while I worked. This mean I didn't exactly need to make as much as I'd been paid as an employee to have the same level of income.

Not sure about your tax code. I'm in the USA and it worked out very well in my favor. I really needed a lot less than I'd calculated before quitting. There's nothing like trying.

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Dragline
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Dragline » Wed Jun 15, 2016 5:06 am

Well, you'd have to make it seem like its his idea, I would guess. ("Jedi mind trick.")

Does he ever talk about planning to retire and what else he would like to do besides work? It seems like there is a natural "break point" when he turns 57, but I know people older than that that just want to keep on working. Sometimes we forget around here that for some people in the world, work is what makes them feel happy/fulfilled/secure/etc.

Did
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Did » Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:38 am

I think when you are working in the big job on the big dollar it can seem impossible, and if someone suggests such a life then the usual reaction is scorn. Perhaps use some of his big salary to buy books on simple living, YMOYL etc and leave them around the house. Decluttering books can be a more gentle introduction as well. I think I always yearned for simplicity but believe or not a decluttering book really got me thinking. Tim Ferrises book can be really motiviating, even if the implementation is more ERE (and you guys have the cash there is no question about that - all work he does now is strictly by choice).

I loved the stories in this book and I kept reading it when trying to make a change myself

https://www.amazon.com/Choosing-Simplic ... Simplicity

No doubt you talk about concepts you learn from your reading, like:

1) the notion of time wealth and "cashing it in" by taking time off work (see Ferris/Ralf Potts podcast). (See also New Rich, Ferris).
2) mini retirements (Tim Ferris).
3) less is more / decluttering (maybe go mad on this in the house and see how much better it is)
4) being "efficient" rather than frugal - should appeal to an engineer/practical type. What, it costs you HOW much to live???? Geeze.
5) true hourly wage calculation and revelation that the cost of something is the amount of life you have to exchange to get it - given this is it worth it? (Waldon, Your Money or Your Life).
6) Fear setting (Ferris)
7) Cross-over point concept (YMOYL) - maybe draw up a graph of your costs versus investment return and think how to restructure your lives so working is voluntary at least (better to do this first anyway....).
8) One Jacob post I kept returning to do is about how asking how little it is you need to retire, not how much. But of course there are others as you know being here.

Continue to walk the walk and lead by example. Stop spending yourself (see Jacob's makeover). Note how the happiest things you do probably don't cost anything.

People CAN change. Most people who have made this journey do. It can take years - a lifetime even, I think. It's a journey.

SimpleLife
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by SimpleLife » Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:30 pm

People will do more to move away from pain than toward pleasure. Seems like his job isn't currently painful enough for him to motivate him to retire. Circumstances could change with a new boss, etc. Time may be the only thing that does it for him. Personally I have no idea how people can stomach working most of their lives. Though FI for a while I still plan on working for a few years until 40 and even that seems too long...

Thecoalminerswife
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Thecoalminerswife » Fri Jun 17, 2016 1:34 am

Thank you, everyone for your helpful ideas and encouragement. I will take on board the suggestions made by (it seems) people more successful than us at getting off the dreaded treadmill. I agree with Did that while working in a well-paid job it can seem impossible to envisage any other way. In the last few months, though, he has been much less resistant to my suggestions that there is another way. I think SimpleLife got it right when he said "his job isn't painful enough for him to motivate", I think it's becoming more so lately.
I've also seen the little progress has been helped by my husband's long-term mentor in his industry who, sadly, lost his wife six months prior to his retirement date. He's been encouraging DH to "get a life" and has talked at length to him about his own regrets. Inch-by-inch, perhaps?
Meanwhile, I am absolutely living by example - enjoying life post-working madness,encouraging frugal-isa living at home and trying to become educated about investments (although I'm still very timid about all that - so money sits in the bank at the minute).
And, thanks, Eureka. I've had the same thoughts exactly! I know any transition out of the madness that is his life now is going to be a bit rocky, and I am a tad fearful about how it might play out, but I don't want either him (or me) to live with regrets about not enjoying our life together.

Did
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Did » Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:27 am

Extremely sad about the mentor's wife. That is a major motivator for us: enjoy the craic now as there is no guarantee of a long life. None.

It may well be that the mentor has passed on his last and most valuable bit of advice, albeit in tragic circumstances. If he knew what he knows now, would he have spent the last 15 years in a mine, or adventuring with his wife?

While hindsight is a wonderful thing, it is often a tragic near miss that sets people on the path to voluntary simplicity and a restructured life that allows them to spend their time as they see fit with the people they love.

Thecoalminerswife
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Location: Newcastle, Australia

Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Thecoalminerswife » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:42 pm

Latest update: The coal miner has left his job!!! After reading lots of ERE stories (especially the Ex-Lawyer), his mind was on a path to FI ... I just needed to be patient enough to wait for his body to catch up. SimpleLife was right - once his job became "painful" enough, and he had something positive to focus on (we're travelling to Europe in the next couple of months and he's planning to walk the Hadrian's Wall track). Since resigning from his "last full-time, permanent job" in April this year, he looks 20 years younger. He's sleeping well. He's exercising more. He whistles and sings around the house. I have my husband back!! He's also had lots of phone calls offering him work. Part of our discussions about achieving the 4% SWR was that if he wanted to do any (casual or temporary) paid work, it needed to be something that he would for nothing (using Jacob's definitions). He's picked up a few little gigs, enjoyed the experiences and has better understood that the hard slog of the treadmill is in the past for him now. Happy days!! Thanks to everyone for their comments/encouragement/challenges regarding our financial and work situation. I did live by example. I did use reverse psychology. In the end, though, he came to the decision to retire early in his own time and in his own way. Bravo to him :))

halfmoon
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by halfmoon » Sat Jul 08, 2017 7:20 pm

WOW. What an uplifting post! :D :D

Did
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Did » Sun Jul 09, 2017 12:40 am

As I think the Ex-Lawyer I'm thrilled for you both. Please keep us all in the loop on your post quitting life.

Frugalitifree
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Frugalitifree » Sun Jul 09, 2017 8:44 am

Superb. Good luck to you both

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Eureka
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Re: How to convince my husband to get off the treadmill

Post by Eureka » Sat Jul 15, 2017 1:46 am

So wonderful for both of you! Big congratulations!
Looking forward to following your new journey.

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