Mrs 15HWW’s Take On Early Semi-Retirement

When Mr 15HWW first started this blog, he excitedly said to me “Dear, maybe someday you should do a guest post! Some readers could be interested in your views.”

Interested?! Really?!

I’ve never been a good writer like Mr 15HWW even though I was once ‘managing’ 3 blogs at my peak (those were the days…). Furthermore, I’m not as humorous and definitely not as knowledgeable as him in personal finance. Frankly speaking, I am really surprised with Mr 15HWW’s determination and effort in maintaining this blog and also by the increase in readership. So, as this blog nears its first birthday, I decided to show Mr 15HWW some support and attempt a post. *Flex my finger muscles*

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Many people dream of early retirement and that’s probably the main reason why you are following this blog. However, how often is one willing to make ‘sacrifices’, not to mention asking the spouse to do the same.  When Mr 15HWW first mentioned the idea of early semi-retirement to me, I wasn’t exactly receptive to it. I had 2 main concerns:

1. We have to spend even less to achieve an early semi-retirement and wouldn’t that make life painful?

I thought we were already a frugal couple even before all this early semi-retirement talk. And it seems that the only way to save more money would be to buy cheaper stuff and dine out less at restaurants.This really freaked me out as I wasn’t prepared to make this big sacrifice and live a pauper’s lifestyle. =(

But after months of brain-washing teachings, Mr 15HWW made me realise that spending less wasn’t about making this big sacrifice. In fact, from the monthly expenditure updates, you could see that I was still indulging in my girly “sin” of shopping and buying dresses. We are also enjoying our meals at restaurants occasionally and even giving out some treats to friends and relatives.

Just as going on a diet is not about starving ourselves, spending less is about being more selective and aware of our purchases and reducing our general appetite for more stuff.

It’s a conscious decision not to own a car, at least for now. This helps to set aside >$1,000 and we could then use half of these “savings” to dine out. And even when we dine out, we generally don’t order the exorbitantly priced drinks since we get little value for them. The savings could mean that even if we were to stick to a dining budget, we could eat out 5 times instead of just 4 times a month.

We also don’t make a purchase just because it is cheap/on promotion. Our mantra is to buy it only if you need it. Moreover, we don’t just go for the cheapest option available and sacrifice on quality and comfort. For example, Mr 15HWW often discourage me from buying those cute-but-unnecessarily stuff from Daiso, the always $2 store. Yet, he approves the purchase of a dress that costs $70 from the mall, as long as I really love it! =)

2. I love working! What can I do after semi-retirement or even retirement?

My initial definition of retirement = do nothing at home.

I’m sure many people share the same thoughts as me, but Mr 15HWW has a totally different take on this. When he speaks of retirement, he doesn’t mean not working at all. Rather, it gives you the CHOICE not to work for money and spend your time as you wish, when you’re still young, healthy and full of energy.

I didn’t understand why there was a need to have this option until I started climbing up the corporate ladder. To be fair, my bosses aren’t that bad; it’s just that the corporate world is like a big theatre filled with actors and actresses. Everyone has a role to play and the role of the bosses is to irritate/push/nag/scold employees like us. A typical threat I often hear is “If you don’t achieve this sales target this month, you might just lose your job!”

When you are young and still have value in the employment market, you have little fear. There are always takers for you. But if you are like some of my colleagues who are nearing retirement age, have young dependents at home and still choose to lead a lavish lifestyle, you can only silently swallow your pride and work harder. Also, I realised bosses like to ‘bully’ those who seem to have no other options but to work here. Observing this scenario playing out in office, the idea of a 15HWW begins to appeal to me, a whole lot more.

Last but not least, the ultimate push that convinced me to take this route with Mr 15HWW is the cliché 4-letter words – LOVE. My family and loved ones are my priority and an early semi-retirement means that the both of us can spend more time together. Little work-stress, no money-related argument and we can do what we enjoy doing most, isn’t that great?

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Living in a materialistic world that is obsessed with consumerism, it’s not easy to convince your other half to take this less-travelled route with you. I suppose Mr 15HWW should be pretty proud that he managed to convince me to be on this journey with him =) We are still working hard and hopefully we will see the fruits of our hard work in a few years’ time.  

 

Afterword from Mr 15HWW: For those who wonder how I manage to convince the Mrs to allow me to do all these unorthodox stuff, there you have it. It wasn’t exactly very hard and the key principle is to set an example and not nag too much at her. Maybe I can talk more about this in another post, especially for those who miss my writing. =p

Hope most of the readers enjoyed this guest post as Mrs 15HWW spent a really long long time to prepare this post.

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    26 thoughts on “Mrs 15HWW’s Take On Early Semi-Retirement

      1. Mrs 15HWW

        Thanks PIB for your kind comments! I would love to write more but like what Mr 15HWW mentioned, I really spent a long long time at it.

      1. Mrs 15HWW

        Hi Richard, we could do it because Mr 15HWW is a better dancer leading this dance. I often find myself forgetting the steps and he will somehow lead me back.

    1. B

      Good to see Mrs 15Hww coming out and giving on her views about working towards a common goal.

      Nothing beats that anymore 😉

      1. Mrs 15HWW

        Thanks B! Yes, it’s important for a couple to have a common goal and we work towards it together. It will help us to achieve the goal earlier.

        1. PIB

          Yes I definitely agree. Mr 15HWW must be proud of being able to convince you to follow this route. Its tiring to tread alone. Having someone by his side who is aligned to similar values will definitely bring the goal of financial independence into fruition at a much faster pace.

    2. SG Young Investment

      Very good post Mrs 15HWW. Its great to be able to have common dreams together as a couple. You have each other to hold on too throughout life.

      This world is indeed a materialistic world where temptation to spend is everywhere. I always think its hard for ladies to take the less travelled path as the world sort of target ladies to spend a lot. All the best you both of you 🙂

      1. Mrs 15HWW

        Hi SGYI, u are soooo right! As much as we can deny, ladies are judged based on our appearance, clothes, bags and shoes. All these mean $$$. I won’t say I’m 100% immune to all these temptations but I try to look for a cheaper alternative. E.g a Kate spade bag instead of Chanel. At least u still look presentable in this corporate world.

          1. Mrs 15HWW

            Hi JW, yes it’s a price difference of $3-4k. My sister-in-law helped me to get the Kate Spade bag from the States and it costs only USD100. Great bargain!

            1. SG Young Investment

              Actually, men want their wifes to dress good too. May not be all the men but I sure am one of them. There are cheaper alternatives which look high class too. May not be the best brand but who cares. As long as its nice and quality is good that’s good enough.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Anon,

        Thanks for the high praises to the Mrs. I think she feels blessed too. =p

    3. Createwealth8888

      Depending on how many strings of dependency are attached to the wage earners; one cannot be as carefree as they like and just living out Today without the guilt feeling.

      With more strings attached one will need to plan. No?

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Uncle 8888,

        Actually, planning is in our blood?

        We understand that everybody’s situation is different and what we are doing might not be applicable to some.

        We are lucky not to have elderly dependents (yet), and since we are endowed with this privilege, we have decided to make full use of it and plan to pursue our dreams which includes an early semi-retirement.

    4. Derek

      Hi Mrs 15HWW,

      I enjoyed your article. Do keep it coming ya and give Mr 15HWW a run for his money. LoL

      Cheers!
      Derek

    5. AK

      Hi Mr and Mrs 15HWW,

      I am late in reading this and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. 🙂

      One advantage of being single is that I don’t have to convince my partner to share my vision and to work towards it together. I have seen many examples of couples who have divergent views and lifestyles. Husband working, wife spending. Wife saving, husband splurging. So, to see the two of you marching in step with one another is really heartening and I said to myself that I must leave a comment.

      So, GAMBATTE! Fighting! Add Oil! Stiff upper lip and soldier on! Well, you get the idea. 😉

      Mr 15 HWW, you better be careful that I don’t poach your guest blogger for my blog. She is a gem. Lucky you. ;p

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi AK,

        With friction, it will be harder to optimise our strategies to hit our goals. But friction is inevitable since one can’t be 100% aligned with each other? So good that we can somewhat reduce it by being largely in step with each other. =)

        Poach her? She must be on cloud nine now. Shall see when she decides to write something again. =p

      2. Mrs 15HWW

        Hi AK, thanks so much for your kind comments! Indeed, most couples have diverging views when it comes to money, they say it helps to balance so that u don’t over scrimp or spend. My mum always say I’m a very ‘thrifty’ person, plus Mr 15HWW frugalness we make a super ‘niao’ couple!

    6. Teckpu

      Hi guys

      Great post. Would your principles and goals still be applicable if you are planning to have children in the future? Bearing in mind this would inevitably push back the timing for your intended semi retirement

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Teckpu,

        Thanks for your comment.

        We are planning to have children in the not too distant future.

        Actually, without children, I reckon we could have the option to pursue semi-retirement when we are 32/33.

        So by shifting the target to 35, hopefully we have already accounted for the additional cost of children? And anyway, it’s not the end of the world if we can’t meet this target. =)

    7. Sgpropertyinc

      Haha what an enjoyable read mrs 15HWW. Thanks for making the effort to share with us your thoughts. As a fellow lady, I totally agree with you on the importance of still looking presentable and good for our husband. We don’t need to buy branded stuff for clothes, as long as we look good I’m them. For bags, I often buy very new second hand branded bags, so there is resale value too. As for eating out, that’s one of my major expenditure. Have yet to figure out how to reduce it. As for making passive income, rental from property is still my fav. As well as from reits. As you can see, they are my passionate topics when I cover them in my blog – http://Www.sgpropertyinc.blogspot.com

    8. Jomel

      This is the first time I have seen a female blogger talk about personal finance, being thrifty etc. Thank you for making me feel that I am not alone 🙂