Should I call it quits?

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ThankYouJack
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Should I call it quits?

Post by ThankYouJack » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:22 pm

I'm a part-time web developer and enjoy what I do for the most part, but was recently assigned a time consuming, somewhat stressful project and stay quite busy with other stuff - young family, household responsibilities, hobbies. My spouse who works full-time and enjoys what she does, makes 2.5 times more than me and we save ~50% of our pay. We're fortunate to be "Ramen Noodles FI" and will likely be fully FI in 5-10 years depending on the market.

My spouse will probably continue to work as she's driven professionally and I may go back to part-time work then when my kids are in school. I've always been fortunate finding work and often decide to step down or reduce my workload. But I've never stopped completely so that would feel different in good and bad ways. Part of me feels like I would rather "retire" now while my kids live with me and go back to work when I'm older, my kids are gone and I have a lot more time. Also my spouse has good job security, if she did loose her job she would likely get a nice package and find another pretty quickly.

Anyway, I still need to discuss more with my spouse but wanted to post here to get any feedback, especially from those who have been in a similar situation.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:33 pm

One of the best decisions my wife and I ever made was for me to become a Stay At Home Dad. At the time, we missed my income a bit, as she and I made roughly comparable income. Since then, released from the burdens of worrying whether the kids were being short-changed, her career has zoomed.

Do it. :beer
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bloom2708
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by bloom2708 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:42 pm

If you are ahead on saving/investing, then your collective family has created options.

One of those is you (or spouse) being a stay at home parent. Many choose to do this at different times.

I am one that would hesitate using the term "retired" when you spouse is still working. I know it is just words, but these things tend to have sensitive areas on both sides.

If you stay at home, to me that means you absorb all/most of the household chores, shopping, yard work, school shuttling, volunteering at school and all the related stuff. You are working for the homestead so your wife can work for income.

I did this for a year. My wife is now doing it. You maybe are already doing much of the household stuff. So, maybe the only change is you have more hours dedicated to that and less income.

I do miss the second income. We can't/don't save as much. We still max my 401k, HSA, 2 x Roths.

I would talk it through very thoroughly with your wife. Even talk about terms. Can I say I'm retired? Am I a stay at home dad with kids in school?

What gives from the budget? Something has to be reduced. Saving less, spending less, getting rid of bills that you could do now with more time.

My wife might say "I'd like to work again part time..." You might do the same after some time passes. If you've earned the options, then discuss with your spouse and make it happen.
"We are not here to agree with you; we are here to provoke thoughtfulness." Unknown Boglehead

veindoc
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by veindoc » Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:51 pm

Is there an option B? A consistently low stress job. Sounds like you had no complaints until this new assignment. How long is this assignment anyway? Could you just stick it out? Isn’t this what we try to each our kids- to stick through difficult things. Having said that, I stepped back to raise my kids. I had a hard time delegating tasks to babysitters. They either let my kids watch too much tv, fed them too much junk or didn’t encourage enough outdoor time. Whatever it was I felt I could do better because I was looking at the whole picture not just that day.

Being a stay at home parent also was great for my husband. It’s nice to have a full-time house person to deal with housework, repairs and permission slips from school.
If your wife is career oriented, it frees her up to “do her thing.”

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ThankYouJack
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by ThankYouJack » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:33 pm

Thanks all. Good food for thought. We're going to take our time thinking over this one.
bloom2708 wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:42 pm


I would talk it through very thoroughly with your wife. Even talk about terms. Can I say I'm retired? Am I a stay at home dad with kids in school?

What gives from the budget? Something has to be reduced. Saving less, spending less, getting rid of bills that you could do now with more time.
Good point, I would say I'm a stay at home dad and not retired. The only big thing being reduced would be retirement savings. But we got an early and big start on it, so that shouldn't be a huge deal .
veindoc wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:51 pm
Is there an option B? A consistently low stress job. Sounds like you had no complaints until this new assignment. How long is this assignment anyway? Could you just stick it out? Isn’t this what we try to each our kids- to stick through difficult things. Having said that, I stepped back to raise my kids. I had a hard time delegating tasks to babysitters. They either let my kids watch too much tv, fed them too much junk or didn’t encourage enough outdoor time. Whatever it was I felt I could do better because I was looking at the whole picture not just that day.

Being a stay at home parent also was great for my husband. It’s nice to have a full-time house person to deal with housework, repairs and permission slips from school.
If your wife is career oriented, it frees her up to “do her thing.”
Option B could be part-time freelance consulting which I've done in the past.
The assignment is 2+ years and increases workload quite a bit where I'll be working nights and weekends (since my days are already pretty full). So it's pretty much more of a time thing than a stress thing.

I was driven to work very hard growing up so I think it's a very valuable lesson, but I also think taking advantage of opportunities and living life to the fullest is also something that should be encouraged. So I wouldn't think my kids would think I'm lazy or taking it easy, but trying to enjoy life as much as possible (especially spending more quality time with them).

JoeRetire
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:42 pm

If you and your wife can still achieve all of your financial goals while cutting your income so much, then it's just a personal lifestyle decision.
Make sure you and your wife are in agreement first, then decide.
I was driven to work very hard growing up so I think it's a very valuable lesson, but I also think taking advantage of opportunities and living life to the fullest is also something that should be encouraged. So I wouldn't think my kids would think I'm lazy or taking it easy, but trying to enjoy life as much as possible (especially spending more quality time with them).
Going from part-time work to no work sounds more like YOLO than working very hard to me.

But we each get to decide how to spend our life.

JBTX
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by JBTX » Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:52 pm

ThankYouJack wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:33 pm
Thanks all. Good food for thought. We're going to take our time thinking over this one.
bloom2708 wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:42 pm


I would talk it through very thoroughly with your wife. Even talk about terms. Can I say I'm retired? Am I a stay at home dad with kids in school?

What gives from the budget? Something has to be reduced. Saving less, spending less, getting rid of bills that you could do now with more time.
Good point, I would say I'm a stay at home dad and not retired. The only big thing being reduced would be retirement savings. But we got an early and big start on it, so that shouldn't be a huge deal .
veindoc wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:51 pm
Is there an option B? A consistently low stress job. Sounds like you had no complaints until this new assignment. How long is this assignment anyway? Could you just stick it out? Isn’t this what we try to each our kids- to stick through difficult things. Having said that, I stepped back to raise my kids. I had a hard time delegating tasks to babysitters. They either let my kids watch too much tv, fed them too much junk or didn’t encourage enough outdoor time. Whatever it was I felt I could do better because I was looking at the whole picture not just that day.

Being a stay at home parent also was great for my husband. It’s nice to have a full-time house person to deal with housework, repairs and permission slips from school.
If your wife is career oriented, it frees her up to “do her thing.”
Option B could be part-time freelance consulting which I've done in the past.
The assignment is 2+ years and increases workload quite a bit where I'll be working nights and weekends (since my days are already pretty full). So it's pretty much more of a time thing than a stress thing.

I was driven to work very hard growing up so I think it's a very valuable lesson, but I also think taking advantage of opportunities and living life to the fullest is also something that should be encouraged. So I wouldn't think my kids would think I'm lazy or taking it easy, but trying to enjoy life as much as possible (especially spending more quality time with them).
Seems like you like to work but just don't like the stress and load of this assignment. If it bothers you I'd see if I could either scale back or maybe even bow out in the most agreeable way possible.

I have somewhat similar situation to yours. My wife is now primary breadwinner and I worked contract part time the last few years. Just started back a full time job. It's a double edged sword. I like to stay engaged and like the additional savings (and now benefits!) but it does stretch us logistically and there are times I don't like work hanging over my head. My hope is as time passes and things settle to work more at home

megabad
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by megabad » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:09 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:42 pm
I am one that would hesitate using the term "retired" when you spouse is still working. I know it is just words, but these things tend to have sensitive areas on both sides.

If you stay at home, to me that means you absorb all/most of the household chores, shopping, yard work, school shuttling, volunteering at school and all the related stuff. You are working for the homestead so your wife can work for income.
+1 to this. I also think it is important for children to understand that parent is not simply "retired" or unemployed and has chosen to dedicate his/her life to the home life instead (which is plenty of work as well). Other than that, the decision is very personal. I am not sure I could completely stop working personally, but I can understand the desire to reduce stress and spend more time with family.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 4:35 pm

I would do it.

I realized how much I missed when my children were young when DW and I started watching our grandchildren until they started preschool. I can't get those times back.

Grandkids were a hoot. And, we're are closer for it.

Broken Man 1999
“If I cannot drink Bourbon and smoke cigars in Heaven than I shall not go. " -Mark Twain

thx1138
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by thx1138 » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:12 pm

Maybe ease into it? A few years after our kid showed up I went half time for a year while we were in a different location for a year. It was actually “too much” time off right away. But it was life changing to not be full time.

Once we were back in our home state I went to 3/4 time and have been doing that for a few years now. I’d never go back to full time I think. I pick up a larger fraction of household chores now as my wife really can’t scale back her hours in her career.

I am extremely fortunate to be in a position to tell my employer how much I want to work and they are OK with that (obviously assuming we plan ahead together to make everything go smoothly). If for some reason that relationship broke down I have alternate employers who would be happy to take me on in a similar arrangement and independent consulting is also an option. So this isn’t something everyone can do (e.g. my wife’s career doesn’t really allow it). It sounds like with some planning ahead you have the option to scale back more rather than go cold turkey right away. Might be worth considering.

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LilyFleur
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by LilyFleur » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:19 pm

I worked for the first female vice president at a Fortune 500 company for a while. We had a chat about raising children, and she said she thought it was much easier to go to work than to be the stay-at-home parent.

If your spouse recognizes the contribution that your time with your children brings to the family, and to your children's future success, you are fortunate indeed.

I took 14 years to be the stay-at-home parent, and I wouldn't change that for anything.

veindoc
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by veindoc » Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:32 pm

ThankYouJack wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 3:33 pm
I was driven to work very hard growing up so I think it's a very valuable lesson, but I also think taking advantage of opportunities and living life to the fullest is also something that should be encouraged. So I wouldn't think my kids would think I'm lazy or taking it easy, but trying to enjoy life as much as possible (especially spending more quality time with them).
I don’t think being a stay at home parent means you are lazy or taking it easy. My mother stopped working outside of the home when I was 4 and she is one of the hardest working people I know. My cousin and I were reminiscing about how my mom treated us when we were sick. She basically would hold vigil in the room the entire night with ice packs, Vick’s vapor rub, water and what ever else. I’m sure she didn’t sleep. Then she would carry on the remainder of the day. When my kid is sick asking for water and the last thing I want to do is get out of bed, I think of my mom. She also shuttled us everywhere we needed to go and never complained.

I was just thinking ideologically. My sweet kids have turned into judgmental monsters and are quick to call me out. I don’t lie, I don’t curse, I don’t procrastinate. And god forbid if I lose my keys. If I did any of those things they would be sure to call me out on it in about two seconds. This is what I was referring to when you mentioned quitting because of a difficult assignment. What would you tell your kid in that situation? Are you quitting for the right reasons?

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ThankYouJack
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by ThankYouJack » Fri Jun 14, 2019 9:44 pm

veindoc wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:32 pm
I was just thinking ideologically. My sweet kids have turned into judgmental monsters and are quick to call me out. I don’t lie, I don’t curse, I don’t procrastinate. And god forbid if I lose my keys. If I did any of those things they would be sure to call me out on it in about two seconds. This is what I was referring to when you mentioned quitting because of a difficult assignment. What would you tell your kid in that situation? Are you quitting for the right reasons?
My kids are still pretty young so I doubt they’d think much of it. But If they asked I’d probably tell them that we’re in a fortunate situation and I’m able to stop working for a bit to spend more time with them.

Dyloot
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by Dyloot » Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:16 pm

I assume there are lots of opportunities for a web developer. If it’s time to move on, I’d pivot, learn something new and exciting, and cultivate a new gig (or gigs).

crre
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by crre » Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:52 am

yes, you should. definitely.

we were in exactly your situation 20-some years ago: three young kids, i was making approximately 3 times what my husband did, and there was a lot of stress all around. the day my husband quit his job life instantly became better for all of us. we didn't really feel a monetary hit, as childcare ate most of his salary anyway. the kids benefited from having a full time parent, he benefited from losing all the stress of a job he wasn't crazy about, i benefited from having my half of the household responsibilities taken off my hands, and we all benefited economically from me being able to concentrate on my career.

looking back, i wouldn't change a thing. however, it wasn't all smooth sailing. some things to watch out for:

having made an unusual decision, especially for the late 1990's, everyone thought my husband was a saint. he wasn't. yes, he was and is an amazing husband, father, and human being, handsome, kindhearted, caring, responsible, funny, and a fantastic cook. but he's my husband and therefore by definition sometimes gets on my nerves. it was maddening to constantly hear from my colleagues, my boss, my mother, sisters and neighbors how lucky i was. i mean, i was lucky previously but no one mentioned it. as soon as he took on full time childcare, people didn't shut up about it. and it went to his head a bit, as many of them would say it to his face. it took us a while to get our balance back.

over the years, i naturally fell a little bit out of the loop, to the point where i didn't know all of my kids' teachers, friends and activities. i had to make a much more conscious effort than previously to stay involved in their lives, as it was easy to leave everything to the stay-at-home parent. something for your wife to think about and strategize for.

having said all of that, it was absolutely the best decision we ever made. go for it.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Jun 15, 2019 6:58 am

what she ^ said :D

We made our decision in 2001, when it was much less common, and there was a learning curve for our colleagues and neighbors. It was odd sometimes being the only male volunteering at the school. However, thanks to a number of factors, in today's world, you won't be alone.

I don't know you or how you'll respond, but I feel that I really blossomed as a SAHD. I was a pretty good software developer, but I enjoyed the Dad role so much more. I was obviously a Dad before, but it is different when that's your "job."

There was a year or two where our combined incomes declined, and then my wife's increased income swamped my previous income. Financially and family-wise, we have zero regrets.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

basspond
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by basspond » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:11 am

One of us worked 1/2 time while the other took most of their vacation to be home with the kids during the summer. During the 1/2 time we were able to build retirement benefits and remain relevant in our professional careers. It was a lot of work but we were able to handle it mainly because we were younger. But once they started school it was a lot easier.

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Watty
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by Watty » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:46 am

ThankYouJack wrote:
Fri Jun 14, 2019 1:22 pm
I'm a part-time web developer and enjoy what I do for the most part, but was recently assigned a time consuming, somewhat stressful project and stay quite busy with other stuff - young family, household responsibilities, hobbies. My spouse who works full-time and enjoys what she does, makes 2.5 times more than me and we save ~50% of our pay.
A couple of points to consider;

1) Do a dummy tax return as if you did not have your income and then make up a spreadsheet to figure out the impact of not paying daycare, commuting costs, etc. We did this when we were deciding for my wife to be a stay at home parent and the cost was not as much as you might have thought.

2) If you are out of the job market for 5+ years it will be hard to get back in it at anywhere near your current pay level. This means that you will be depending a lot more on your wife's income so you should review her life and disability insurance. You also need to take a hard look at how strong your marriage is since if you get divorced after being out of the job market for a long time that can leave you in a bind.

3) People sometimes focus on having a stay at home parent when they have young kids but in some ways it can be just as important when the kids are older. There are lots of options for day care and after school care for young kids but very few for teenagers and teenagers can get into a lot more trouble when they are left unsupervised for long periods of time like during during the summer school break. Remember when you were a teenager. :D

lostdog
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by lostdog » Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:54 am

It doesn't matter what other people think. Who cares what label you put on your life. If your wife is fine with it and won't resent you, you're good. It sounds like she genuinely enjoys her career.

If you have the means to stay at home and take of your kids, go ahead. Life is short, do the things you enjoy, don't do things you don't enjoy just to get the approval of others.
I don't invest looking in the rear view mirror and I know absolutely nothing about the future. I invest in Vanguard Total World Stock Index.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:06 am

Watty wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:46 am
3) People sometimes focus on having a stay at home parent when they have young kids but in some ways it can be just as important when the kids are older. There are lots of options for day care and after school care for young kids but very few for teenagers and teenagers can get into a lot more trouble when they are left unsupervised for long periods of time like during during the summer school break. Remember when you were a teenager. :D
Absolutely! I ran a local business when I transitioned to being a SAHD. Between Montessori, a nanny, and me being in town, the kids were well taken care of. It’s not that difficult to be a good care provider for young kids. The job is more nuanced for pre-teens and teens. I quit my other local paying activities before the kids hit middle school.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

cableguy
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by cableguy » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:24 am

Sounds like you are in your 20’s or early 30’s. Don’t stop working. You haven’t provided any numbers but you probably aren’t ready to retire. Your wife could lose her job. College expenses. Inflation. Keep working. Keep saving. If you don’t have kids I’d say stop working, sail around the world, etc. But you have kids.....go to work. Your kids will see you going to work...which I personally think is also important when raising kids....

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:36 am

cableguy wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:24 am
Sounds like you are in your 20’s or early 30’s. Don’t stop working. You haven’t provided any numbers but you probably aren’t ready to retire. Your wife could lose her job. College expenses. Inflation. Keep working. Keep saving. If you don’t have kids I’d say stop working, sail around the world, etc. But you have kids.....go to work. Your kids will see you going to work...which I personally think is also important when raising kids....
That might be good advice, and there are some who give that advice equally to each gender, but I have to say that I see it less often given to mothers.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

thx1138
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by thx1138 » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:33 am

Watty wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:46 am
3) People sometimes focus on having a stay at home parent when they have young kids but in some ways it can be just as important when the kids are older. There are lots of options for day care and after school care for young kids but very few for teenagers and teenagers can get into a lot more trouble when they are left unsupervised for long periods of time like during during the summer school break. Remember when you were a teenager. :D
Yes. I'm expecting to transition to half-time in a few years which will align with our daughter getting towards middle school and one of the things I expect to spend that time on is being more mentally present outside of school hours. That whole "little kids, little problems - big kids, big problems" thing also means I think that parents really need more reserve available to be "present" at a level that is helpful to an older child compared to the little ones.
TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:36 am
cableguy wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:24 am
Sounds like you are in your 20’s or early 30’s. Don’t stop working. You haven’t provided any numbers but you probably aren’t ready to retire. Your wife could lose her job. College expenses. Inflation. Keep working. Keep saving. If you don’t have kids I’d say stop working, sail around the world, etc. But you have kids.....go to work. Your kids will see you going to work...which I personally think is also important when raising kids....
That might be good advice, and there are some who give that advice equally to each gender, but I have to say that I see it less often given to mothers.
I think you are right about that. It is quite the opposite in our house though. Since we have an only daughter we almost view it as more important that my wife be engaged in her career as an "example".

Although funny story - I have a co-worker where both parents are engineers. The mother ended up with a situation that involved a lot more career impacts like work travel and such than the father. A young female cousin that knew the family very well commented at some point when the mother was away again, "I don't think I want to be an engineer when I grow up, I wouldn't get to spend enough time with my family". Kids don't always get the message we think we are sending!

bltn
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Re: Should I call it quits?

Post by bltn » Sat Jun 15, 2019 9:54 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:36 am
cableguy wrote:
Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:24 am
Sounds like you are in your 20’s or early 30’s. Don’t stop working. You haven’t provided any numbers but you probably aren’t ready to retire. Your wife could lose her job. College expenses. Inflation. Keep working. Keep saving. If you don’t have kids I’d say stop working, sail around the world, etc. But you have kids.....go to work. Your kids will see you going to work...which I personally think is also important when raising kids....
That might be good advice, and there are some who give that advice equally to each gender, but I have to say that I see it less often given to mothers.
Tradition.
Father earns the living. Mother takes care of the kids.
There s no reason not to reverse the roles if both parents agree. Or for both continue to work.
I do think from a purely financial point of view, both parents working, with young children, provides for more financial security for the future. There will be times in all careers when the job becomes more difficult and less fun. And when a spouse earns a good income,and a nice savings has already been started, there will be an opportunity for one to evaluate the merits of continuing your job versus contributing to the family with housework/yard work and childcare. I think there is some value to having a parent provide the interaction that a child needs rather than a caregiver. My daughter, who is in her 30 s, is very career driven, as is her husband, makes a good argument that raising a child with a caregiver and limited but meaningful parental interaction will be fine. Probably true.
I had a father who worked 55 hour weeks, 6 days a week, 51 weeks a year, until he retired at age 75. My mother stayed at home and devoted her considerable personal skills to raising her children and taking care of the family. I ve never considered stopping working, even after gaining FI. I ve expressed my regret in not spending more time with my kids when they were growing up. Both my kids tell me I spent plenty of time with them. They don t consider this an issue.
My personal tendency would be to continue to contribute to the family financially.

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