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When She No Longer Supports You

This article was written by in Family and Life. 72 comments.


This is a guest article by Sam, the author of the blog Financial Samurai and the founder of the Yakezie Challenge and Network. He writes a column for Consumerism Commentary every other Tuesday.

Patrick is one of the most ambitious people you’ll ever meet. After graduating summa cum laude, Patrick joined Morgan Stanley and made his first $100,000 in the stock market at the age of 23. At age 26, he bought his first condominium, and the very next year he made Vice President. Because Patrick is accustomed to getting in the office at 5:30 am and working until 7:30 pm every single day, he finds boredom on the weekends. Like clockwork, his body wakes up automatically no later than 6:00 am, and Patrick twiddles his thumbs every Saturday and Sunday until his friends wake up at 9:00 am. Sick of the boredom, Patrick decided to start a business during the morning hours and has spent the last year trying to launch it off the ground.

At the age of 30, Patrick married his longtime college sweetheart. He admired her for her kindness and her patience. She is a smart woman who has a steady but un-lucrative career in retail. Yet, after a couple years of marriage things started going sour, not because of the stress from their jobs, but because of the lack of private time outside of the office.

No off switch

Patrick has the same intensity on the weekends pursuing his online business as he has during work. Janice, his wife, on the other hand, loves to sleep in and relax on the weekends. That’s what weekends are for, she would always tell Patrick. She’d ignore him whenever he nudged her at 8:00 am to go out and play. Remember, by this time Patrick has already been up for two hours working on his side business.

Janice is musically gifted and is able to play both the violin and the piano. Yet, she no longer practices and plays her sweet music. Patrick has encouraged her to keep up her talents, but she is too tired during the weekends after a long week of work. It’s disappointing to Patrick because he regularly works 60 hours a week, and then comes home and puts in another three hours a day on average to ensure that his online business grows. Patrick understands that he shouldn’t expect the same type of intensity from his wife, but he can’t help but feel disappointed in her lack of passions.

The breakdown

One Friday night after Patrick had spent several hours working on his new site design after work, he asked Janice to come take a look and tell him what she thought. Patrick was sure the latest version would be the one. Instead of being encouraging, she told Patrick that a competitor’s site was so much better, and that he should work on it some more. This is when Patrick completely lost it. He didn’t yell at Janice, instead he began to cry. After working so hard, for so long, the person he loved the most had told him his work wasn’t good enough.

Patrick’s entire purpose for building his online business is so that they can have a business of their own during their early retirement years. Sure, the online business is Patrick’s vision, but the overall purpose is for both of them. He is so driven by the desire to take care of Janice that he is willing to put everything he has, time wise and emotionally into his project. Yet, he is so frustrated that Janice doesn’t invest the same amount of effort outside of work as he does. Patrick has no parachute in other words, and can’t depend on Janice to save enough money for them. The onus is almost entirely on him and that’s a lot of pressure.

If only things were like before

There used to be a time when Patrick admired everything about Janice. Now, things have faded. He’s sad that she doesn’t share his same zeal, which for the longest time was fine. But, he’s drawing the line now that she is no longer supportive of his efforts. Patrick can’t go on accepting the way things are and wants things to change. He wonders whether his drive to make a sustainable business online needs to be toned down for the sake of their marriage. Most of all, he just longs for Janice’s support again. Things were so good when they were younger. Now, so much has changed.

What would you do if you were Patrick? Do you think he should extend his early-forties retirement goal and his drive to create an online business so there’s less pressure? What should Janice do to ameliorate the situation?

Published or updated October 2, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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Rank: Nickel
About the author

Sam writes about personal finance at Financial Samurai and is the founder of the Yakezie, one of the largest personal finance and lifestyle networks in the world. Follow Financial Samurai on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Beth

Before we paint the wife as the villain here, who is doing the housework? I’ve noticed that a lot of PF blogs take for granted that while hubby is working 60-80 hours a week, someone else is cooking his meals, doing his laundry, etc. I’d like to hear HER side of the story when you say she doesn’t “put in as much effort” as he does. (If they have a maid and always eat out, that’s a different story…)

Just to play devil’s advocate here, it could seem to Janice that Patrick loves money more than he loves her, and that some far-off retirement is more important than living well in the present.

Also, if Patrick is bored now, how is he going to suddenly adapt to not working at all in his forties? Many of the studies I’ve been reading recently show that even wealthy individuals plan to work longer and work during retirement to stay active and involved, or start a new business venture. Perhaps Patrick may consider doing the same thing?

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Some good thoughts there. They are Dual Income, No Kids so the housework is minimal and they don’t live in a huge place.

What Patrick is doing is trying to start to work on an online business which will free them in their 40′s to work just 0 to 4 ours a day max and live “the good life.”

You’re right in that they need to work on living more in the present.

Cheers

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avatar Beth

Housework is minimal? Perhaps compared to looking after a family, yes, but I’m a single lady, and I know how much work it is just to keep up my small apartment with a full time job!

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avatar Yana

I know just what you mean, Beth. There is never nothing to do at home, either as far as housework or financial management. We too live in an apartment. Running a home and a household is a job. Yes, kids and a larger place make much more work, but there is plenty anyway! I think some people simply do not do it.

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avatar Michael

If Patrick can’t let his wife sleep in for more than two hours on a weekend, what makes anyone think he’s going to be able to sit by with 0-4 hours of work when he retires?

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avatar cubiclegeoff ♦896 (Dime)

Lack of communication. Patrick seems to be so involved with his own thoughts that he isn’t seeing the marriage as being a joint effort. He may want to retire early and run his business but she may not see it that way or she may not know all his reasons. He seems to be working for himself under the guise of working for them.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

That is a good possibility, although Janice for sure wants to retire early as well. She’s been wanting to quite her job for the past couple of years and she just turned 30.

Communication though… that’s what it’s all about!

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avatar Stevedh

Oh well, my macho image be dammed, I have to agree with Beth. There’s a lot to read into this article and I could be seeing things not really there but it seems to me; There is an awful lot about what kind of wife she should be and very little about what kind of husband he should be. Ambition must have a purpose, but your life must have a balance.

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avatar Beth

I’m curious about that myself. Re-reading the post I wonder if Janice is supposed to be a “yes man” or if he actually values her opinion. As the CEO of a company, I imagine that he’s had to been frank to his employees about what things are going well and what things need improvement. As a “good wife”, is Janice supposed to praise him for everything he does even if that praise isn’t genuine, or should she show him the same level of respect and honesty that he likely gives and receives at work?

You can’t always have it both ways :( Sometimes supporting someone means you have to tell them things they don’t want to hear.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Janice is a working professional and he respects her for her work. The issue is support outside of work.

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avatar Money Beagle

I wonder what he would do if he retired early. Is he suddenly going to be OK with sitting around and having a day full of nothing in front of him if he were to retire at 40? I think he should lose the side business, or at least take from it what he’s currently put into it, relax the retirement at 40 idea (since it probably wouldn’t make him happy anyways since he loves to work) but then focus more of his free time on his wife and what she wants to do.

Marriage counseling sounds in order too as they need to find a way to make sure their marriage has the same goals, which clearly it does not at this point.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

They both want to retire early. Patrick just feels that he’s doing most of the leg work in getting them there. Janice doesn’t have to put extra outside of her day job, which hasn’t bothered Patrick until she no longer supported him like she used to.

If Patrick doesn’t get his venture off the ground, they will be stuck working until they are 55 at least and then neither will be really happy.

Should the husband not always stand by her wife and vice versa, no matter what?

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avatar Beth

I would still like to hear Janice’s side of the story. This post is obviously sympathetic to Patrick and doesn’t present a balanced or unbiased portrayal of what’s going on.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Ca we not just sympathize with the husband? I don’t know if women know how hard it is to be a man. We have loads of literature and shows supporting women. Maybe we can empathize with the man for today and try and see his situation?

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avatar Beth

Look, I don’t think either men or women should receive an advantage because of their sex. I just think that if you want people to give an honest opinion on a situation, shouldn’t they look at both sides of the story? If this story were about an unsupportive husband, I would still want to hear his point of view!

avatar Emma

Since when is this a battle of the sexes? I don’t think sex/gender has a whole lot to do with this situation. We’re wrapped up in all these preconceived notions about what it means to be a husband or a wife rather than what it means to be partners.

If it helps, pretend the gender roles are reversed, or pretend the couple is homosexual instead (i.e. remove the gender roles altogether). Is one partner failing to support the other? Are both partners working together for their mutual financial future? Those are the questions we should be asking.

avatar Mary

Way to paint the wife as the bad buy! I would have done the exact same thing and been honest if I thought the website needed improvement. Would Patrick have sat down and cried if one of his executives was honest and upfront about something that could be better? No, he probably would have appreciated the honesty. Sorry, but online businesses come and go all the time. If all Patrick wants is a pat on the back, then I wonder if he’s missing a big piece of hte puzzle.

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avatar Money Smarts Blog

Patrick needs to find someone who is as incredibly self-centered as he is.

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avatar Julie

Seriously. Poor, pitiful Patrick – woe is he! I’m all for supporting the man and being sympathetic to his plight. But all I hear is the way he wants *her* to change to accomodate what he thinks is the “right” way to meet their goals. His way of “supporting” his wife is by ignoring her opinions and desires to throw himself into something that’s truly HIS work. Did he ever sit down and say, “Hey, we want to retire early. What can we do to make this happen?” Or did he rush head-long into his solution, expecting her to nod and smile because Patrick knows best?

In short:

“Should the husband not always stand by her wife and vice versa, no matter what?”

No.

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avatar Dr Dean

As I am a gynecologist, my tendency is to see the wife’s side, as I hear the issues daily re poor communication skills of spouses-that is my disclaimer……

I agree if they want the marriage to succeed, they need counseling. Even the great FS, can’t solve this one on a blog….

If they were in my office, my recommendations would be (if they wanted to keep the marriage):
1) A vacation with no cell phone or internet access for a minimum of 1 Week
2) A date night once per week with the same limitations.
3) A life planning mini-retreat (a couple of hours) once per month or two, to allow give and take over goals, and make sure they are MUTUAL Goals, not just one sided.

I speak from experience, of someone who has a full time medical practice, and an up and running internet business that takes a lot of my non-office time. It is hard to keep the relationship going, and it takes time. You can’t have good communication without un-interrupted time!

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Some excellent, excellent advice Doc! Will suggest.

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avatar Randy Barnett

“A vacation with no cell phone or internet access for a minimum of 1 Week” They would probably kill each other. Maybe they should start small. I REALLY like the idea of a life-planning retreat. I’ve done this a few times (not enough) with my wife. Try to establish some common goals and then try to establish some common paths to those goals.

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avatar Steven

I have say that reading this story, it’s Janice that I feel sorry for. Patrick sounds like he needs to work on learning the concept of life/work balance, or else his life will fall apart. He is putting unrealistic demands on himself and expecting his wife to do the same to herself.

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avatar Penny Frugalista

This story is oddly framed — she obviously has a different sleeping pattern, so what that has to do with her supporting her husband in his entrepreneurial efforts, I have no idea. My husband is the one who’s refreshed after 5 hours of sleep — I’m not. But I also do freelance work in my spare time. Do we resent each other for these things? Hell no. We’re two different people, as obviously these two are. And in most households, it takes BOTH spouses to save for retirement — and many times, one spouse IS contributing more — but the “onus” shouldn’t be on anyone. It’s a team effort.

I’d agree that there’s likely an underlying communication issue if her comments are constantly belittling, but if it was just a one-off comment, he’ll live. And if she was just giving her honest opinion — she’s entitled to that, too. If you want to make it a gender issue, perhaps he should be of a stronger constitution — after all, he is a man, right? Like Emma says above, what if the gender roles were reversed? I’m willing to bet this article wouldn’t even exist.

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avatar OrchidGirl ♦16 (Newbie)

I think Janice and Patrick need to sit down for several long talks about what is important to them, what they need from each other, what their long term goals are and how both of them what to achieve them. Patrick thinks Janice is not supporting him, but Janice might feel like all she does is support him – they just interpret different things as supportive. Patrick might need more verbal encouragement, but if he doesn’t make that clear to Janice, how does he expect to get it? Janice might be busy keeping the house clean, having a delicious hot meal on the table each night, and dealing with a lot of the minor day-to-day household things to free up her husbands time and she views that as supportive.

Also, Patrick shouldn’t feel bad if he can’t make a great website on his own – no one is great at everything. Janice was doing him a favor by being honest (although maybe she could have phrased it better), and Patrick can use that knowledge to perhaps hire someone to help him with it. If I was trying to start a business to earn serious money (not just a hobby income or something like that), I would want honest feedback and not just be told everything I do is wonderful.

Finally, Patrick needs to think about how he is being supportive of his wife. Does he know what her goals are? Sure, most people would say they would like to be able to retire by 40, but does Janice really like how they are going about getting there? Is encouraging her to play the piano and violin more giving her the support she wants or needs? (I know for me that sometimes I need to take a break from one thing, and explore something else. It doesn’t mean I’ll never return to it though.) Relationships go both ways. If Patrick wants more support, he needs to communicate what he wants and find out what she wants in terms of support too.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

That is probably the case.. where Janice IS supporting Patrick, just in different ways and something PAtrick overlooks or doesn’t appreciate.

Patrick knows what Janice’s goals are, and that is to lead a relaxing, yet fun life together. He’s sad that she was so talented growing up playing music, and now it’s all gone b/c all she does is work as well. He’s sad for the fact that society and the job made her not do the things she loves anymore.

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avatar ruckerz

“…. and now it’s all gone b/c all she does is work as well”

What are her attitudes about work (does she feel as if she ‘needs to have a career’?) Does she need to continue working? Patrick can relieve her of such responsibility (he works much and is maybe over $100k in income) and allow her to pursue her passions again (music, or whatever …).

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

@Emma’s comment on “since when is this a battle of he sexes” is the best comment I’ve read so far. Congrats for getting tithe heart of the matter Emma!

Forget about pitting men against women, and generalizations of stereotypes of what men and women are supposed to be or do. It would be great to see the couple for their situations and their sorrows alone.

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avatar Yana

They should appreciate each other’s strengths, and spend time together doing what they both enjoy. It would be good if their individual endeavors were complementary. Janice doesn’t have to be passionate about Patrick’s work, but they should both appreciate each other. It sounds like work is more than a means to an end for Patrick. There is also a life to live and enjoy. You try to find as much pleasure as you can in work, but that’s just the means to something genuinely worthwhile.

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avatar Big Rob

One admires Patrick’s zeal and resilience… God knows I’m not working 60 hours a week and building a side business on top of that. But I’m also not fighting with my girlfriend or stressing out that she doesn’t support me.

People like Patrick never get enough. Alan Watts said:

“You will never, never be able to sit back with full contentment and say, “Now, I’ve arrived!” Your entire education has deprived you of this capacity because it was preparing you for the future instead of showing you how to be alive now.”

I grew up with a father like that who was so worried about making sure that his family had all these things that they never asked for. The only thing we ever asked for was more of his time. We were appreciative of everything we had, but he had no off button and it ended up costing him his family. Patrick could get taken out by a runaway city bus tomorrow and would have missed out on all the moments he never had with the woman he loved because he was too busy squirreling away money for “someday”.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

“The only thing we asked for was more of his time.” That is very insightful.

Enjoy the moment!

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avatar TakeitEZ ♦549 (Dime)

I agree with the majority of the posters so far and see the problem being primarily a communication problem and also see Patrick as being extremely unbalanced in his life.

@Dr. Dean–Those were three great recommendations, specifically #2 and #3. I will definitely give those a try with the wifey this week.

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avatar Dr Dean

Thanks, with that moniker, you would think you woulda thunk of that….LOL!

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avatar vcmcguire

I agree with everything Beth said.

And I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with Patrick.

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avatar eric ♦1,549 (Half-Dollar)

Hehe…I’m not sure from reading the comments if this is the reaction Sam expected. Either way, it’s refreshing to just read a story. Thanks for the article Sam.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

No problem. It’s always fun to see how the comments and reactions evolve.
Sounds like a lot of the women here recommend I let Patrick know that he should consider divorcing Janice bc he is too self-centered. I’ll pass on the msg.

It’s always fun to gang up on the guy .

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avatar Daphne

Hmmm. Let’s be fair.
The original post could be said to “gang up on the girl.”
Maybe we ought to assume that both are doing the best they can and need to talk about what their goals are.

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avatar Marissa

My biggest question is, if Patrick’s working such long hours being a VP at a big investment bank, why do they have “no parachute”?

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

He has no parachute in the sense that he can’t rely on her to retire early. Meanwhile, she can retire on him and his efforts. This is where he feels that since he can’t rely on her, she should at least support him no matter what.

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avatar ghina

Looks like Patrick has reached that point in his life where things are not always getting better, so compensates by working even harder because that has fixed things in the past. But now he needs to work differently and that means communicating and all the other things people here have states.

Patrick’s not a bad guy, this may be the first ceiling he’s not busted through.

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avatar Arohan

I wouldn’t fault Patrick for going after his dreams and I am surprised that so many commenters do. Being married should never be an excuse to compromise on your dreams and ambitions. What I would recommend Patrick to do is to figure out where their marriage falls in his larger vision and if it is important, than to give it the importance it deserves. At the same time, Janice needs to be more involved in Patrick’s goals and if these goals are not aligned with hers, than clearly communicate it so they can jointly work out the issues or atleast Patrick will know not to depend on her for support. Whether most agree or not, if the business takes off, Janice will be as happy as Patrick and might look back at the past struggles as a price to pay for the ‘good fortune’.

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avatar Daphne

There is a huge assumption here: “…if the business takes off, Janice will be as happy as Patrick…” Not necessarily so. If Janice feels (and we can’t know this as we never hear from her) that Patrick spends a lot of time on his business at her and their relationship’s expense, she might feel that the business “taking off” would make things worse.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Good point. Maybe the business takes off humungo and Patrick spends even MORE time on it than ever before! That would be a relationship disaster!

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

I’m surprised that so many commenters are attacking Patrick as well. Do not compromise your dreams is right!

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avatar Squirrelers

I like these types of discussions. Good stuff.

The way I see it, these two might not be compatible. Yeah, that may seem harsh, but it looks like there are differences in personalities, habits, and goals. Not a recipe for long-term happiness for either person.

That said, it appears that there are feelings for one another (hmm…is this too touchy feely here?). Anyway, maybe I’m reading into it, but it seems like both people need to open up to have open communication about their issues with one another, and their life goals. To that end, marriage counseling might be a good way to go, to facilitate the discussions if they aren’t happening – as it would seem from how the story was told.

As far as my own opinions are concerned, I think that Patrick needs to appreciate Janice for who she is, and not wish for her to have the same personality/energy level he has. She doesn’t have that, and that’s not a weakness of hers. I also think that he seems to resent having such *perceived* pressure on him, through such comments. Does Janice expect that he takes the lead in making sure early retirement happens? Is she counting on this ambitious goal to happen while contributing much less effort to make it happen? In that case, she needs to be fair to him and be more supportive of him and their overall efforts.

Either way, it still comes down to communication – but also fairness.

Also, in terms of longing for how things were when younger, maybe it’s all that time and energy focused on career and making money and a business that’s pulling the people apart. Without shared interests and time spent with each other, people might drift apart.

Again, if it’s actually his own individual ambition that’s driving him to work so much, he needs to take a look at his own actions and see if it makes her feel unimportant/unappreciated. If it’s because she exepcts him to take the lead on providing for their lifestyle/early retirement, then maybe she needs to be more supportive or step up her own work. How can she expect to quit her job at a young age if he’s doing all the heavy lifting and she doesn’t contribute? Either way, they need to reconnect and get on the same page. Hope it all works out for them.

Anyway, that’s this guy’s opinion!

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avatar Irene

I think you gave the best answer, or one of them. There are two sides to every story, and without counseling – individual and together – I don’t think they can work. Because we have only the Monday quarterbacking version to go with, anything could be possible. Janice could be spending her energy outside of work penny pinching and couponing to do what she perceives as her ‘share’ – keeping cost of living down and life easy for her husband. We are not either of these people. We do not know, and FS your buddy may not even realize what it is his wife is doing to help him. Both men and women take their spouses for granted at times.

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avatar Yana

Nobody needs counseling – if people in a relationship feel they need counseling, they are not fit to be in a relationship. This type of relationship is between two people, and inviting a third party in it for their profit is an insult to the relationship. Just my view. Can’t keep my mouth shut ;) Plus, this post and the comments serve as good input into outsider views, and to my mind, that is much better than profaning the sacred with a professional.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Strong statement saying that anybody who needs counseling shouldn’t be in a relationship and just break up. I don’t agree at all.

Most things can be worked out.

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avatar Yana

I hope they do work it out. My point is that it is they that need to do so. They are the responsible parties who made the choice to be together. They have all the knowledge that no counselor has. I think counseling should not even occur to them, but I am projecting with that view. I would never think of having a counselor in my personal life, as I value autonomy, freedom, responsibility, privacy and self-reliance. Sometimes people do need help in life, but to me, counseling is not help at all – it is diversion from taking care of your own business.

avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Hard to answer your questions without being in their skins. But, CLEARLY they have feelings for each other, especially him for her, which is partly the reason why he broke down and cried.

If he didn’t care for her, he wouldn’t feel so hurt, b/c he cares so much for how she feels about him.

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avatar Stevedh

Wow! Is there an award for the most comments on one of these post. This was a great discussion which displayed, for all to see, some great advise as well prejudices and real concern. Great advise from the GYN Doc with a lot of additional good advise about “getting it together” Thanks to all – great thought-provoking reading!

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Maybe! But, we have lots of spirited debates over on my site all the time. It’s par for the course frankly!

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avatar jim

Patrick spends 14 hours a day at work. Thats a lot. He obviously works hard and accomplish a lot. V.P. at such an early age is an impressive accomplishment. He also wants to retire early so that he and his wife can have lots of time together with financial security which is a honorable goal. HIs wife’s lack of encouragement and praise for his online business hurt him since he needs and values her support. It really does sound like Patrick loves his wife.

But …

Working as much as Patrick does leaves virtually NO time to spend on anything else in life like spending time with the wife. 14 hours a day is workaholic levels already. But he is so ambitious that he even has a side business on top of his workaholic work schedule. The side business is something that existed before the marriage and is not a mutual venture with Janice.

Janice isn’t a workaholic and doesn’t have the energy to keep up with Patrick. She should not be faulted for that, as most people can’t work as much as Patrick does (hence we aren’t all V.P.’s) and we don’t have that kind of drive. Janice may have no personal interest in the online business and again Patrick should not fault her for not contributing to it. Its also Ok for Janice to sleep in past 10AM on the weekends or not play her music frequently if she wants without those things being considered some sort of failure by Patrick. Janice has a job and does the housework plus possibly other things we don’t know about. Thats enough. Janice is contributing just fine.

Patrick says they “need” the side business to retire early. Why isn’t a VP salary plus Janice’s salary not enough money for them?? Is working yourself to death to retire by 40 really that important?? How much money do they *spend*? Patrick won’t “fail” if he doesn’t retire by 40. What are Janice’s goals for retirement and is retiring at 40 a big concern for her? I think they really need to talk more about their financial priorities and goals to make sure they are on the same page.

I really think Patrick should tone down his drive level and make more time for his marriage.
The couple definitely needs to talk more about mutual goals. Maybe Janice wants more time with Patrick and values early retirement less. She probably didn’t realize her honest, blunt criticism of his website was going to hurt his feelings. Janice may not understand why Patrick started crying and Patrick may want to explain how his work is important to him and the support and encouragement of his wife is very valuable to him. But maybe Janice is unhappy that Patrick spends what freetime he has after 16 hours at the office on a website and she isn’t really thrilled to tell him how great that website is that robs him of her.

Bottom line: They need to communicate more on mutual goals and priorities. Patrick should be less demanding of his wife and accept that few people are as driven as he is.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

More balance definitely is needed. Thanks for your very well thought out post. Not many people are as Gung ho as Patrick, and certainly not his wife. Yet, his wife also would like to kick back and live the good life by 40 too. Hence, he just feels that if she’s unwilling to do things monetary wise to help them out, at least she can be 1000% supportive.

I think a VP salary and hers is great, but I don’t think it’s enough to retire on by the time they reach 40 unless they live extremely frugally. Donno, who knows for sure.

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avatar jim

When I heard Vice President I just assumed its a pretty high paying job. But thats my perspective in the tech industry. I googled ‘average vice president salary’ and on Glassdoor they have many reports of vice president titles at financial companies who earn less than 6 figures. So I guess the VP position is not the same in the financial world. STill he could very easily be making $100K to $300k range. Of course we wouldn’t know for sure, so no point speculating.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,500 (Platinum)

It seems, from this telling of the story, that Patrick never stopped to consider his wife’s needs or desires. Patrick has a drive to be successful — to a definition that is clearly defined above. What is Janice’s definition of success? We only have half the story, and the only thing that’s obvious is that they’re not fully communicating with each other. Patrick decided to start a side business without consulting the person whom he shares his life with (as far as I can tell from the story). If Janice “never shared the same zeal” and this is only now starting to bother Patrick, then any attitude adjustment is on him.

With totally different approaches to life, Patrick and Janice were probably doomed from the start. They can make it work, but it’s going to take communication, understanding, and yes, compromising, especially on Patrick’s part.

Patrick shouldn’t have been offended when his wife was honest with him about the progress of his online business. I would expect nothing less than honesty from the person I share my life with. The idea that a spouse should exist to inflate an ego is a little outdated, in my opinion. If he wanted to feel good about his website, he should have asked his mom (hi mom).

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Good points. From your comment, I understand why some men date their girlfriends for so long, even in her 30s and beyond bc the guy wants to make absolutely sure about her before proposing, even if it does seem to take forever.

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avatar Laura

I would need to know Janice. If she says she wants to retire in her 40s because you ask her that and that’s what she says, well, yeah. we would all say that. but if she doesn’t have a burning desire and is going along with retiring that early because he wants it so badly…well, that’s her way of supporting him. I would want to know if she is just going along with him to support him or if she has an all out burning desire to retire early and is she selfish and a spender and just expects him to earn all the money? I work with a lady like that. She barely makes anything and expects her husband to keep her in style because she is Asian and that’s her culture and that’s just what men are supposed to do. I think my coworker’s attitude is unfair to her husband, who is a sweet guy and works really hard to please her. He does spend money sometimes like everyone does, but not the way she does!

And as far as her being honest with him about the competitor’s article being better: It depends on how she told him the truth. If she was brutal and dismissive and generally being disdainful because Patrick still wasn’t successful in her eyes, then, yeah, I agree with Patrick. But if she praised him for his hard work and admired him for his dedication and was generally supportive in her attitude and then suggested changes that could be made to make his sight competitive to the rival’s sight, well, then no.

It sounds like she changed. She used to be a certain way and now she is not and he’s just now realizing that she’s been changing. He can either grow with her or grow apart from her. If he decides to grow with her, then it’s time for a heart to heart. re-examine goals and make plans from there. I wouldn’t know whether he should tone down his side gig until i knew if she was being selfish or sincere and how badly she wants what he thinks she wants.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

What a wonderful comment, thanks Laura! You’ve touched upon some great points here, and an example within an example.

Thanks for being able to see both sides, even though it seems like it’s one sided.

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avatar Laura

site. sorry.

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avatar vcmcguire

Hey, FS and Flexo, congratulations on such a thought-provoking post! I wouldn’t call this exactly viral, but you certainly generated a lot of discussion.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Hi VC,

Good to hear from you again, and thanks for your kind words. Means a lot from someone who has written for the major publications!

Every time I begin to write, I try and write what I want to read. I’ve found that has helped me stay away during the process :)

Cheers,

Sam

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avatar Beth

What debate! I do hope things work out for them. It’s easy for us to sit around and speculate, but these are real people, not characters in a book.

I do hope they realize that the most precious thing they have is each other. It’s easier to obtain more money than find love, so it’s worth the investment of time and energy to preserve it.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Ah, Beth, you are so right! And funny enough, or maybe it was just unconscious but that’s exactly what I wrote today on my site, “Making Money Is Easier Than Building Relationships”.

Thanks for reading.

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avatar AmberBalanced ♦130 (Cent)

This is simple. Has Patrick sat down and told Janice that “he needs her to support him”? If he tells her in so few words, hopefully she will understand what he needs and can be more supportive. I don’t see that Patrick has explicitly told Janice, “Janice, I am working really hard and I just really want you to support me.” Maybe if he does, Janice will take a hint and start to support him. Until then, he’s just crying and she has no idea why (other than she thinks that his feelings are hurt because she said his website sucked).

Really enjoying these articles, Sam!

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

He has done so and share his thoughts with her. She gets it, and understands it’s a team effort. She feels horrible to belittle his efforts, and promised to work on her own loves in life again.

Marriage is such a work in progress. There’s constantly a struggle to stay balanced.

Cheers

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avatar moneyfunk ♦145 (Cent)

So Patrick sells the online business. Takes a break, delves into the relationship only to think things are better. Everyone goes back to their regularily scheduled programs. Patrick finds himself once again tinkering with the online business because Janice is back to her normal routine. He starts another online business and ends up with some other writing gigs. Things are actually better in the online business world than they were before. Its awesome. But Janice doesn’t understand the whole online business and anything about networking. Its kind of separating their relationship once again. Patrick goes off to promote and meet others in the online business world. Janice is feeling excluded even though she doesn’t understand the business. Its sad, but Patrick doesn’t want to let this online opportunity to slip by this time. Patrick knows the success will make it in helping him retire early and enjoy life. He realizes this is what makes him happy. Why should he need to jeapordize who he is and what makes him happy? But he doesn’t think the marriage is going to make it if Patrick continues. What does he do now?

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avatar Kyle

Patrick kinda seems like a pansy, to be honest. Crying because he doesn’t have the best website? Come on. He needs to man up and deal with his own issues.

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avatar Financial Samurai ♦290 (Nickel)

Let me guess, ur in your 20s, unmarried, and haven’t done anything successful on your own yet?
It’s not about the website, it’s about the company he’s building.

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avatar Kyle

Same difference. If his wife had kept her mouth shut, he would have been upset with her for not saying anything when the site hit the market and failed. She couldn’t win either way.

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avatar karen

So, Patrick is a VP at Morgan Stanley but wants to retire comfortably at age 40? He needs his wife Janice’s help but she unfortunately only has a “steady but un-lucrative career in retail ” (working in an Ann Taylor store comes to mind ) Not much money coming from Janice for the early retirement plan obviously. Bummer for Patrick.

Worse for Janice, Patrick seems critically displeased with her level of energy and effort overall and feels resentful that he’s the only one pulling the cart What exactly does he want Janice to do differently (aside from getting up with him at ungodly hours on the weekend) ? Sit next to him while he tinkers with the website? Win the lottery? Start her own business on the side? JK !

What constitutes support to Patrick? What does it look like? What does it look like to Janice? How can they meet in the middle before it’s too late?

Patrick seems obsessed with the future to the very obvious detriment of the present.
I’d advise Patrick to enjoy time with his wife NOW. Time and loving attention can’t be bought.
That woman could get tired of waiting for him to shape up and if/when she walks out the door all the early retirement plans will be blown to dust.
Seriously. Don’t be such a time-waster Patrick. Enjoy the wife of your youth :)

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avatar peter

If Patrick is a veep @ Morgan Stanley I don’t see how Janice’s extra shifts @ “anonymous retail store” are going to contribute much to the bottom line. Patrick may feel that Janice is not very motivated but he needs to hold up the mirror and realize he is a bit of a freak. Normal people don’t get to work at @ 5:30a and work until 7:30p and then put in three more hours on their side business. Janice may need some more motivation but Patrick needs to get a life. He is completely ignoring his relationship with his wife (and it sounds like most of the rest of his life) to pursue the almighty dollar. He should realize that sacrificing this time now is not going to somehow magically cure his hyperactivity and make his relationship all roses and cupcakes. He thinks he is doing this for this mythical “Us” but really he is being extremely selfish. Patrick needs to stop zipping around like an idiot on crack, sit down, and actually listen to his wife. Find out what she wants. For all he knows his absenteeism is driving her into depression or boredom which is contributing to her lack of motivation to pursue her hobbies or a better job. Not everyone wants what Patrick wants and Janice may want it least of all.

Patrick, heed this now or you may wake up one day in your forties with an ex-wife who took your house, kids, and half your money. Have a happy semi-retirement! :P

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