The Better Half – Thoughts From MrsFireStation

Blossoms

Today we have an extra special guest – for the first time ever we are joined by the wonderful MrsFireStation – who will share her own thoughts on Captain Sparky’s escape from corporate life and our new life of leisure in early retirement …

My background …

I’ve been a stay-at-home Mom for 18 years and our son is a senior in high school and will graduate in just 3 weeks.  I worked in banking and insurance after college for two different MegaCorps, until our son was born. I always thought I would go back to work at some point, but it didn’t really make sense because Sparky was doing very well with his career and busy with meetings and a lot of travel.  I felt like it would make more sense to stay home and manage our household.

When we started thinking about early retirement …

I remember we met with our financial planner who asked what our financial goals were. Our son was in first or second grade at that time, so it was almost a dozen years ago.  We both agreed that our #1 priority was to pay off our mortgage, then save for our son’s high school & college, and then build our nest egg for early retirement.  It wasn’t our most immediate priority, but something we began focusing on for the longer term.  I knew from working in a bank that it would take a lot of discipline to achieve the early retirement goal.

The keys to reaching early retirement …

We made a decision to wait before we had our son – we were married 7 years before he was born.  He’s an only child and that has helped us financially too.  We were able to pay off our student loan debt soon after college and made a point not to  spend more than we made.  We also lived pretty frugally – we had a small condo, only owned one car, and didn’t borrow money that would put us in debt.  When we went to buy our first house, Sparky’s parents helped us out with the down payment, although we were pretty set for the size of house we bought.  We didn’t stretch into a house that we couldn’t afford.

How I knew we were going to make it …

After about five years of aggressive saving, I knew we were on the right track because our financial planner told me “You don’t need to bother cutting coupons out of the Sunday paper anymore.  It’s not going to make a big difference and you probably are making less than minimum wage for the time you spend.”  I was amazed.  Up until that point, I was in the mode where I watched every penny.  We were careful with every spending decision and to save every cent and make decisions that could get us to our early retirement goal. It felt like we had reached the summit of financial freedom!

Before MrFireStation quit his job …

I wanted to make sure we double checked the numbers and had considered everything we needed to financially.  We met with our financial advisor and went over many different spending scenarios and market probabilities depicted on graphs.  I am a visual person, so it was important for me to see things clearly on paper and feel completely comfortable with our early retirement date.  Once we knew that all of the numbers worked and could answer “what if” a hundred different ways, I was 100% on board.

Do you consider yourself retired?

Not yet.  I will probably think of myself that way when our son leaves for college in the fall.  I still feel like I need to be there everyday to take care of what he needs, even though he is pretty independent and technically an adult since he turned 18.  As a Mom, I won’t feel officially retired until he is living at college and not under our roof.

How has it been since he has been home (6 weeks)?

It hasn’t changed my lifestyle as much as I thought it would so far.  During the week, we have both been pretty busy doing our own things and we haven’t done that much together so far on weekdays.  It has been a smooth transition without any real bumps in the road.   He definitely hasn’t driven me crazy yet!  I love that MrFS has taken some responsibilities off my plate – grocery shopping, projects around the house, and yard work.  In the past, I saw it as my job to try to take care of everything at home.

I also like that we have had more time to get things done around the house.  We had a couple of projects underway in our lower level (finishing two rooms & putting in a bar) and we were able to make unbelievable progress in getting things complete.  Having MrFS home added a lot of horsepower to the projects and we were able to get out to furniture stores and make decision really quickly.

Now projects don’t have to wait for the weekends. I thought he would want to at least take a couple months off to do nothing after leaving MegaCorp, but he has jumped right into going through stuff and getting organized.

We have been very fortunate …

Overall, I feel immensely blessed in so many ways.  First, I was given the wonderful opportunity to be a stay at home mom all of these years, when I know that not everyone has that benefit.  This gave me time to volunteer time at church, help at our son’s school, and get involved in many different activities.

I also feel blessed that we have been successful in working together toward common goals, including early retirement.  Now that we have financial freedom, I feel blessed that we can do what we want and live life on our own terms.  Because all of these blessings, I feel that we have a responsibility to give back and help others and I look forward to new things to get involved in when our son leaves for college this fall.

Image Credit: Pixabay

31 thoughts on “The Better Half – Thoughts From MrsFireStation

  1. Sounds like a great team and teamwork throughout the years! nicely done. Thanks for sharing Mrs.FireStation. Captain Sparky? I’d like to hear the story behind that nickname.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing your story! I feel like I am at the early end of this, staying at home with two little kids right now, and also using some of that free time for volunteering at our church and reducing expenses. Congrats on your son’s upcoming graduation, and on reaching this financial milestone!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been an exciting year for us, but what I wouldn’t give to spend more time with our son being at home and little again! They grow up very fast – every age is fun, but I do miss the ‘cute years’. πŸ™‚

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    • Yes – when our son was little, staying home was the hardest job in the family. Now he is 18 he doesn’t require much help. He has money, can drive, is off with his friends, etc.

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  3. So nice to hear from you, Mrs. Fire Station! I’m with you on needing to see things visually for them to really sink in. Good luck in this home stretch to high school graduation, and in sending your son off to college! I’m sure it’s an exciting time tinged with sadness. πŸ™‚

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    • Yes, it is a bit of a mixed bag of emotions with him leaving for college in the fall. I’m happy, sad – a little bit of everything. You are excited for the next time of their life, but miss the times when they were little.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey there Mr & Mrs FS, I’ve recently stopped work too, at 50, and up to about week 5 as well. So far I’ve started a blog, taken an overseas trip, started making home brew cider, and generally relaxed a lot. My other half, Ms MM is still working as she’s a few years younger than me and isn’t ready to give up work yet but is fully supportive of my decision to do so. The benefits for her…great dinners cooked every night, the housework done, usually, many of those ‘little’ jobs done before the weekend, and a far more relaxed other half. I look forward to reading your stories as you enjoy your new found freedom. Cheers, Martin

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny that we are so close in our age & early retirement planning. I’m sure your wife appreciates you taking care of things at home. Mr FS hasn’t made dinner yet πŸ™‚

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  5. Hi Mr. and Mrs. Firestation,

    Congrats on reaching the early retirement goal and mile stone. Its great to hear how the plan has progressed. There should be a decal similar to the “families that pray together stay together” but along the lines of “families that save together”. Look forward to reading the next chapter of the journey.

    Dr. J

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cute idea! Try to sell the decal and you will be able to put more bucks in your retirement account! πŸ™‚

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  6. I enjoyed learning about Mrs. Fire Station! I think it’s wonderful how you were able raise your son as a stay at home mom, and have a lot of respect for how you were able to make it work financially. I’m sure it will be difficult seeing your son off to college, but you both must be so proud of him! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we are very proud of him. I was lucky that my husband had a really good job and I could stay home with our son. We’ll miss our son this fall.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mr. TJL is our Mrs. FIRE Station! I am so jealous that he gets to raise our daughter that I am aiming for FIRE by the time she is eleven. Then we can all go on the road or eat ice cream at noon or participate is some obnoxious school trip! I am excited to show her the world, not just that mommy goes to work everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow – congratulations to be able to think about retiring when your daughter is so young. Those should be fun times! Ice cream for lunch πŸ™‚ What kid wouldn’t love that program!?

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  8. Lovely to meet you Mrs Firesstation! Thanks for sharing your perspective, sounds like you guys have worked together as a team which is a testament to your marriage.
    As a mum I feel for you when you son goes to college, it will be a happy time as you’ll be proud of him but I bet you will miss him dearly too.

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    • No doubt about it, I will miss him greatly. I am happy he will not be leaving for out of state – he’ll be only 30 minutes away. That will be great!

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  9. Hey Mrs FS.

    Behind every great man, there is a great woman. It sounds like you 2 make a great team, both equally as important to hit your goals. We (Jasmin and I) will have a similar set up once we finally get this IVF baby, she will look after the kids, and I will continue working. Maybe we will both be bloggers by that point πŸ™‚

    I’m sure you would both agree that how you deal with your finances is a great bonding experience together, you dream & plan together, it makes your marriage strong. Congrats on having an awesome marriage.

    Sounds like Mr FS is pretty lucky to have you (and vice versa). Very nice to read your thoughts.

    Tristan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Tristan – it takes a team to raise a child and reach your FIRE goals. Me, my husband, our families & financial planner all contributed in their own way!

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is certainly our year of the change. Tomorrow our son finishes high school, tonight he got together with his original kindergarten class!

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