Save. Spend. Splurge.

Ask Sherry: How did my partner manage to retire early? And how do we keep the romance alive?

You asked, and I am answering every Friday once I have enough questions!

You can ask any question using the form here.

What e-reader do you use? On what device do you read your books?

I use the Kobo, and bought a Kobo Glo sometime last year when my old Kobo from years ago, finally kicked the bucket.

I like LIGHT e-readers because I have to hold them, and I like big screens, so this is a challenge. I’m always eying the newest e-readers but won’t bring myself to splurge until this one truly dies.

What did your partner do for a living that allowed him to retire early?

He worked in the same field as I did. It’s how we met.

Remember though – he has enough to live on if we live on a SMALL modest budget of $20K a year. He isn’t spending like crazy, he is spending very little to keep his lifestyle, knowing 2 things:

  1. He can always go back to work and make bank. Basically, the day he stops bringing his half of the bills, is the day I find him a job.
  2. He will eventually go back to work but this time as a professor -This will bring in some ‘fun’ money he can live off on and we can use to travel, etc

I myself, could retire today as well, but I don’t want to live on his budget.

I like to eat out, spend money, buy nice things, and I am willing to put in more years of working because I don’t hate my job (he LOATHED HIS JOB), and I’m young, so I know I have plenty of time to half-work/half-chill and still save a lot to be financially secure.

I also like to travel, and go to NYC once a year with one of my favourite people in the world (my close girl friend), and I usually spend a good $5000 in total on just 4 days there, eating it up, shopping… having a blast.

It is all this stuff that he CANNOT do on what he has retired on, a bare bones budget. He just simply hated his job so much, he waited until the last minute, said “eff it”, quit, and became a student to give this a shot.

If he cannot make it work, he will go back to work, end of discussion. He knows it.

I’m not as dramatic as he is. I love my job, so … I don’t see the point, but it is my passion whereas this teaching thing, is his.

I already told him that I’d like to go on a massive trip in 10 years to Japan, and just live there for a month, seeing the whole country. He is on board, but he has to have the money saved, and he knows he doesn’t based on his current savings. He will need to do it as a celebration for becoming a professor (before starting), or go back to work for a bit to cover the costs.

This is why I am not a fan of this ‘early retirement’ schtick. No one really retires early and sits around counting pennies, watching their garden grow. People want to do start, start other careers, and it is why I don’t really feel caught up in “early retirement” because it for me, is just another way of saying you’re ending your FIRST career.

You’ll always work – at your hobby, at your family, on yourself.. and working for money, even on a side hustle / hobby like this blog, is still WORK to me. I wouldn’t be retired if all I did was blog all day, I’d just be a full-time penniless blogger.

Also, I think I’ve read on your blog that he was preparing to become a professor – a professor of what? Thanks.

Physics. He has always loved math, and he’s going back to school for it.

I know right. PHYSICS. WTF.

Do you and your partner schedule intimate time or date night for just the two of you? How do you manage/maintain that aspect of your relationship with everything else that’s going on?

Schedule? No schedule. I once asked if we should have a schedule, and he said “WHAT? ..” he found it so silly because it was like trying to schedule in a romantic part of your life.

These days, no schedule but whenever the mood strikes us and Little Bun is conked out fast asleep, we have a second bedroom with a bed…..

We maintain the romantic part by realizing that it isn’t all flowers, date nights and showering each other with gifts.

What we find romantic, is in the gestures for each other – that he cooks and bakes for EVERY event in our house and for Mother’s Day or my birthday, does all the dishes for it so I don’t have to.

I also appreciate the romance in that he is truly my equal for many things.

It isn’t just once a year that he cleans or does things, he deep cleans the fridge, stove, radiators, pipes, shower stall, etc twice a year without my even asking because he just knows it has to get done.

He also does a lot of household chores and even stuff that is on MY list (laundry sometimes, vacuuming, etc), he will pick up the slack when he sees that I am unable to do so. In return, I do things like take on more Little Bun care, calm him down, handle his drop off and pickups at daycare, etc.

It is a give and take. Most of my tasks are very Little Bun centered right now, but he takes on more of the other stuff in return.

I don’t need romance to be overt or over the top, I just need it to be there in other ways that I KNOW I am cared for, loved deeply and trusted.

Some women need flowers, candy and gifts. I don’t need any of that. I can buy all of it for myself.

He cares in other ways that matter deeply to me, and while we still have fights mostly because I feel exhausted from Little Bun constantly clinging to me, he LISTENS. He has definitely been taking a more active role and distracting Little Bun, and that for me, is true romance.

I also think our romance is a long, slow burning candle, not a hot passionate flame. That stuff dies out fast, but the true love (I think I have found in my case), lasts forever.

We’d be that couple still holding hands at 90 with a solid relationship.

Still have a burning question?

You can ask any question using the form hereย and all of my previous Ask Sherry posts are here.



  • Kellie @ Big Style Finance

    The early retirement concept is an interesting one, isnโ€™t it. Iโ€™ve met so many people who are trying for it and they tend to fall into one of two categories, either the retire as soon as they have the bare minimum, or they suffer from one-more-year syndrome.

  • Sense

    I’m in a similar, related field in academia and I’m super curious about this becoming a professor plan, I have to say. From what I’ve experienced and heard from friends (in the US and NZ), it takes…a very long time to get a PhD (I’m in one!! It’s been 5.5 years!!), and then go for a post-doc (or three), for many years in a different country or part of the world (because a) you have to take what’s available at the time you graduate, b) ‘they’ like you to have international experience and c) this helps you to build a large collaborative network). Then, and only then, do you even have a shot at a tenure track job leading to a professorship. And even then, unless he has some secret inside track, the odds of getting a tenure track academic job leading to a professorship are quite low for even the best candidates–there are very few jobs and loads and loads of great people applying for them, all over the world.

    It doesn’t stop there. Once you get that job, the workload prior to being granted tenure is EXTREMELY heavy. The academics I know on the tenure track are single or have stay at home spouses who do all of the heavy lifting at home and many profs-to-be spend little to no time with their spouses/children for decades (this is both men and women). The pressure to get funding, research published, etc., is enormous, so everyone works like crazy. However, there are sabbaticals and flexible schedules, etc. I really hope he has done his research and knows what is ahead, for both you and Little Bun, and for himself.

    On the other hand, if he just wants a teaching job at a local community college or similar, that is a completely different beast. Jobs are still competitive, but probably easier to get, from what I’ve seen??

    • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Maybe that’s what he will do. I don’t think he wants to teach in something gruelling and stressful. This is FUN for him or so he says. We will see. He has until next year to prove to himself and me that this is fine. Otherwise he comes out of retirement.

      • Sense

        Oh, I am so relieved. “Planning” to get a tenure-track job hasn’t been a reliable, viable career track for most since the 60’s. There are just too many PhDs for the limited positions available. I was a bit worried he wasn’t aware of the situation. Maybe he’ll get lucky, but it’s great that he is flexible about the outcome.

        After the last 11 years surrounded by academia, and seeing 99.9% of people (all of them brilliant and amazing at what they do) struggle immensely, with most failing to get tenure track jobs after years and years of applying, has taken a huge toll on me. I wouldn’t want anyone (nor their families) to go into it blindly. For me, my subject is fun and interesting, but the rest of it (toxic culture and people and job security issues) is decidedly not. I’m out after my PhD.

        Best of luck! I hope it stays fun for him ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Sense

          Also–in many sciences, he could probably get a teaching job at a community or junior college with “just” a Master’s degree. I know a few people that do this. ๐Ÿ™‚ They still say it is very stressful (a lot of hours preparing lesson plans and grading, and many extra unpaid hours going into care and concern for students), but maybe that is partially because it doesn’t pay very well. They continue to do it because a) they can’t get a tenure track job and b) they have a huge passion for teaching. If he is not super worried about $$, maybe it won’t be as stress-y!?

          • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

            YES! That’s it — he wants to teach for fun and just talk about the subject for fun. Apparently he researched it and he can get a job as a basic teacher earning a basic salary, as it is difficult to find French-speakers in this area for French universities… we shall see.

        • Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

          He doesn’t need the money, frankly.. so this is supposed to be fun. SUPPOSED TO BE. The stress of his studying and perfectionism is sort of wearing on me to be honest. I’m going to let him go full hog at this but if it causes more stress and tension and I am crying more, we are going to have a talk.

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