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Change In Lifestyle Means A Change In Retirement Status

A Change In Household Can Drive Up Expenses – How To Adjust Financial Independence Goals

I was feeling a little liberated there for a bit, having reached financial independence and about to live off my dividend incomes and pursuing some side-work to supplement the rest.

And then suddenly my lifestyle changed, drive-by attack by a woman, my household size increased as did my expenses. I went from being a single guy living in a studio in Portland to being in a relationship and living in Walnut Creek, California in a 2×2 apartment.

Sitting Around While Your Partner Works

As you can imagine it’s not easy to be in a relationship with another professional and be the one who puts their feet up on the sofa while the other person works full-time. What happened to having a good old sugar-mamma?!

Sure, I could claim that I’ve put in my dues, that I don’t want to spend a lot of money, that I’m comfortable lounging around and doing my own non-job thing as long as my expenses are covered. That’s a bit selfish though, isn’t it.

Ironically, you could get away with this if a child was in the house or you had a church of pets to take care of. Somehow when there is a mutual interest and you’re spending your non-job time partially on it then it’s suddenly excusable to be the retired bum.

It Takes A Progressive Partner To Be Okay With Your Bum-Status

I’m sure it’s possible to meet a partner who is willing to continue working and recognize that you choose to be retired. 

The problem is that when 2 people get together the expenses generally increase. Back in the day 2 people would get together to help offset expenses. Rent/mortgage would be divided, more cooking would be done in-house and the 2 people would entertain each other rather than eat out etc.

Nowadays professional household seem to step-up in overhead when combined. They upgrade to a larger house in a better family friendly neighborhood, 2 fancier cars are purchased. Nannies and maids, gardeners and poolmen are suddenly needed to run the household.

What My Overhead Was And What It Is Now

I was spending under $2k/month in my bachelor days living in Portland. I didn’t eat out much, my entertainment was the city of Portland and writing for this site. I biked everywhere, I did some indoor bouldering and I socialized with friends on days off.

Now I am in a relationship where there are 2 cars, a large apartment in NorCal, 2 gym memberships, dance lessons, Pilates lessons, dining out, going to the movies, socializing with wealthy friends, driving hours in traffic to get from one place to the next, flying back and forth and buying gifts for people.

Figuring Out What My New Level Of Financial Independence Should Be

You might get sick of hearing it but I’m all about financial independence. It’s the only way right now that I can feel that I have autonomy over what remains of my time on this planet.

I spent most of the day today writing for this website, making a little side-money consulting while chilling at the library and now I’m sipping a glass of wine at a cafe at 7pm working on this post.

It is a bit of a control-freak mindset to want to have so much control over my time/money, I realize that. But I don’t want to always be in an urgent care for 10 hours straight seeing patients back-to-back at 5 patients an hour.

I have a net-worth of around $650k which likely will drop down to $450-500k once the market corrects. I will have a condo that can make me some money and I will still have dividend income coming in.

This was all groovy when I was spending a touch over $1k/month. Now that her and I will spend closer to $6k/month my net-worth would either have to be higher or the income it generates would have to match my expenses in order for me to claim financial independence again.

Starting Over Again On A Path Towards Financial Independence

My partner just finished paying off a gang of debt so she’s still building up an emergency fund cushion for herself.

If we decide to buy a house then we’d need a down payment first because we couldn’t afford to buy anything in cash in the SoCal or NorCal area.

Now that it’s 2 of us saving it should go faster. And as they say, the first $100k is the hardest, as is the first $1 million. She isn’t of the early retirement, financial independence mindset, so I doubt that she would be interested in aggressively saving. 

I want to save and invest enough, or create a passive income that will cover my half of the expenses. I figure my half will be around $3k. It’s always good to have a little bit of a buffer.

If I can bring in my share, whether working a job or creating it passively, then it shouldn’t make a difference whether she contributes her share by working or doing the same as me.

Creating A $3k/Month Passive Income Stream

I have $150k in real estate, $100k in taxable investments and $400k in retirement accounts.

I would rather not access the retirement accounts, which means I don’t want to start taking income from them. I could, and I’ve talked about how to do it before but I’d like that money to continue growing for a while longer, tax-free.

Option 1: Work longer, invest more into the market.

Using this strategy I would go back to working full-time, set aside around $13k/month for another 5-6 years to get close to having around $900,000 invested in my taxable account.

I would also be able to vest in my pension, which needs another 2.5 years of me working part-time/full-time.

Option 2: Start Investing In Real Estate

Easier said than done. But I could start with my condo, take home about $500/mo from that, which means I need another $2,500/month.

Investing in rental income properties means dealing with some stiff competition. I know one neighborhood in Portland that might leave me with a little bit of positive cash-flow (St. Johns), a decent option but not ideal if I don’t end up living in Portland.

Option 3: Mix and match investment income, real estate income and some side-work

I would continue working full-time for 1-2 years and invest my income in the market. No particular goal here, save & invest.

I would rent out my condo now and try to find one more cash-flow positive piece of real estate deal.

Finally, I would work a little on the side to generate some income to get me close to that $3k goal.

4 replies on “Change In Lifestyle Means A Change In Retirement Status”

Love can really upset the apple cart! It’s not a bad thing, but it’s interesting to see how drastically your life and the cost of living it has changed in short order.

I wish you two nothing but the best, and I hope this arrangement proves to be mutually beneficial.



Best of luck with your relationship. It will be interesting to see how your views change over time as to what’s fair and desirable. Hopefully your mindsets toward finance and FIRE will start to converge. I wouldn’t have much fun being retired if my husband were still working full-time because I want him by my side on our adventures.

Is there no opportunity for PT work in UC? Half time or 2-4 days per week would give you tI’ve, income, and give you good progress forward renewed FI.

Might there be kids in the future? They play havoc with expenses as well, especially if your SO isn’t on the low spending bandwagon and wants lessons, private school, etc.

It’s a big change for sure, though I figure I made it to FI once, I surely can do it again if things go even slightly according to plan.

As for the job, I could do it at a part time level and work long enough to build up my savings but that would take too long. I am leaning towards going all out at a full-time speed to get to my desired savings level.

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