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Gnawing thoughts at the back of my mind

(62 Posts)
bytheway Thu 26-May-22 10:43:34

I was fortunate to leave work 3 years ago at the age of 55, I didn’t retire as such but my DH has a very good private pension and I was unhappy in my work and he encouraged me to leave (which, I’ll add, was fine by me) I have a small pension from work but DHs pension accounts for over 90% of our income.

My days are fairly busy, for a retiree, I take the dog for 2 long walks and I go strength training 4 or 5 days a week. On top of which I have the usual housework responsibilities etc… meet up with friends occasionally.

I’d be the first to say I have a good life and am grateful everyday that I’m in a position not to have to work and have a comfortable lifestyle.

But, at the back of my mind, I have these gnawing thoughts/feelings that I should be doing more. I should be contributing more income, I should find a way to make money and match DHs income.

He’s never ever made me feel like this, Has no problem with my spending, tbh I’ve never been a big spender anyway. So I can’t say it’s something he’s done.

If I mention to him about these thoughts, about looking for work, he tells me there is no need to but if I want to that’s fine too.

I just can’t get rid of that feeling I should be contributing more financially.

Any advise gratefully appreciated

Oopsadaisy1 Thu 26-May-22 10:46:59

Sit down with a good book and a glass of wine and be thankful.

The urge to go out and earn money will soon pass.🤗


AGAA4 Thu 26-May-22 11:26:55

I have had those thoughts since I retired occasionally.
I don't need to work financially and I tell myself I would take a job from someone who really needs the money.
Just enjoy being able to please yourself.

Saxifrage Thu 26-May-22 11:30:22

I understand how you feel. I only worked part time after the children were born and so my pension is very small compared to DH. However, I did get involved in voluntary work both for a community centre and a local hospice. This meant I felt that I was contributing to the community as well as the family. It is also a great way to meet lovely friends.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 26-May-22 11:46:09

I understand what you mean. It was always important to me to make a good financial contribution and to be financially independent. I didn’t have your opportunity, nor was I able to stay at home with my child, but I can’t imagine relying on a man for money, having him pay all the bills including my personal spending. We’re all different though.

Charleygirl5 Thu 26-May-22 12:06:00

My first thought was would you be able to cope financially if you were on your own? If not, maybe find a job where you could save the money for later.

Doodledog Thu 26-May-22 12:09:03

I agree with GSM. I have always been financially independent, and that has mattered to me, both on a personal level and because I believe that everyone should contribute to the society to which they belong.

I retired at 57, with 9 years to go before my state pension. I too have a small occupational pension, and my husband's is higher than mine. I am not dependent on him, but my lifestyle would be much reduced if I had to live on my own pension until my new state pension age. All of that was all factored into the decision to retire, however. I am younger than my husband, and the original plan had been that we would retire together, when I was 60 and he was 65 and we would both get our pensions. Obviously that plan was scuppered, but if I had waited until I was 66, we would have lost years of time together, so we decided to be poorer but enjoy the time we had planned. It was a collective decision, so I don't feel bad about it, and would feel the same if I were the bigger contributor. Can you look at your situation in the same way?

Iam64 Thu 26-May-22 12:23:09

As long as you’re financially secure, I’d give yourself a break. If you want to contribute generally, there are loads of opportunities to volunteer. If not, I’d get on with enjoying life

Elizabeth27 Thu 26-May-22 12:34:58

I have always been financially independent so I think I know how you feel. I would not be comfortable living off of somebody else.

Maybe you could work part-time if it bothers you.

Baggs Thu 26-May-22 12:47:50

Maybe find a voluntary role that would make you feel more useful to society as a whole (well, part of it!).

But remember that marriage is about supporting each other in all sorts of ways. Financial support is only one and not always the most important. Since it doesn't seem to be important in your marriage/life circumstances because you are financially okay as a couple, why focus on it?

Focus on being useful instead. If your usefulness, whatever it is, is advantageous financially, so be it, but it's also fine for it not to be anything to do with money.

Baggs Thu 26-May-22 12:48:31

How much housework and dog walking does your husband do?

M0nica Thu 26-May-22 13:48:27

It is a bit clearer to me. DH's work included a lot of travel. Often at short notice for indeterminant periods of time. The most extreme was going to Egypt for three weeks and returning 3 months later.

This meant I took on the responsibility of being the family manager, and keeping the family organised and functioning. I saw that as my contribution to the money DH earned. He could go away and do his work with no worries about what was happening. So what he was paid was earned by both of us.

bytheway Try looking at your family life and see how far your husband's career success was due to the time and effort you spent keeping the home front running while he was working and saving him needing to divide his time so much. I think you will find that at least some of his large pension was earned by you.

I would also suggest you find some voluntary work you enjoy. Voluntary work is now much more varied that working in a charity shop or working in charity cafes, and I say that with no disrespect to either occupation. I spent a longtime working as a Home Advisor for 2 different charities and also worked for a heritage charity as a building 'minder', visiting the buildings, which were unoccupied and, usually isolated, to check condition, check on leaflets and empty collection boxes. There reaally are many and varied jobs you could do.

Georgesgran Thu 26-May-22 14:01:22

My life was very similar to MOnica and due to other factors (including a 50mile round trip school run) I didn’t work once the DDs were born.
However DH appreciated that I was ‘completely in charge’ at home and he later said he couldn’t have afforded to pay someone for all the jobs I did, including looking after 10 dogs!
He retired at 55 and had 10 good years, before his cancer diagnosis and lived another 5 years with it. He died last year and when I get ‘his pensions’ every month, I have to really tell myself that I sort of earned it, but in a different way from him.
I’ve done 24 years of quite regimented voluntary work, so now chilling, looking after both DGSs as and when, plus DD2’s dogs who come 2 or 3 days every couple of weeks.
Just enjoy your retirement OP and may it be a long one.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 26-May-22 14:09:50

I always said I needed a wife.😊

kittylester Thu 26-May-22 14:20:54

Good posts baggs!

luluaugust Thu 26-May-22 14:21:52

bytheway like you there is a huge difference in our pensions but DH couldn't have done everything he did if I hadn't been running things at home and working part time.
One of the small jobs I did after 'retiring' was invigilating and I see this year they are short of people to do it. It is for a limited time each year and included University, Further Education and schools at various times over the years. The Open University used to look for people to sit with candidates needing to do the exam at home. I don't know if they still do. Of course its not great money but if you just want a bit extra top up cash it works quite well alongside early retirement.

lovebeigecardigans1955 Thu 26-May-22 14:36:53

I think there's always this guilt at the back of many a female mind. If your job leaves you with only enough time and energy to tackle the absolute necessary when it comes to housework (dust under the settee, the untidy cupboard, etc will gnaw at your mind) but if you're at home you worry about not contributing to the family finances.

I found part-time work to be helpful - but there's no such thing as 'a nice little job' any more. When you are found to be a good timekeeper, a conscientious worker who takes very little time off sick - what does your employer do? They ask you to work more hours. Something else to feel guilty about.

If you are reasonably happy I'd stick with what you have now as long as you are secure but life holds no guarantees, does it?

Farzanah Thu 26-May-22 15:57:52

If you feel happy and fulfilled enough by not working and your DH happy with the arrangement, and doesn’t have expectations that you should contribute more I wonder where the feelings are coming from? Is it just about the money, or feeling less useful or occupied.

I left full time work in my 50s in a similar situation such as yours, with just a small pension. I think that life is short, and was lucky to have the opportunity to pursue activities, and indeed friends, that I didn’t have time for whilst working. Apart from finance, I think my OH and I both bring equal, but diverse and positive things to our partnership.

I appreciate that we are all different, and there are good suggestions for you to pursue on here if you want to, but at the end of the day (if you have enough) money isn’t everything.

welbeck Thu 26-May-22 16:08:04

how about helping in a food bank.
it's not all about doling out tins.
many have extra people who help to make users feel welcome, offer tea/coffee and advice, help. support with forms, bureaucracy etc.

buffyfly9 Thu 26-May-22 16:15:17

I think you should enjoy what you have but ask yourself where this "guilt" is coming from. Your husband sounds lovely and happy for you to do what you are doing. As others have said, I'm sure you have contributed in many other ways and if you feel you should be doing more, there are lots of charities, hospices etc that would love some help. You have a " glass that is half full", so enjoy it, life is short.

Callistemon21 Thu 26-May-22 16:28:32

Maybe find a voluntary role that would make you feel more useful to society as a whole (well, part of it!)

That's a good suggestion. The voluntary section is always looking for fit, enthusiastic people and you'll not only help others, use your expertise to help others and you will feel more fulfilled yourself.

Callistemon21 Thu 26-May-22 16:30:35


how about helping in a food bank.
it's not all about doling out tins.
many have extra people who help to make users feel welcome, offer tea/coffee and advice, help. support with forms, bureaucracy etc.

That's my thought too. They need people not just to help at the foodbank, making up bags and giving out the food but at the supermarket too, picking up donations.

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 26-May-22 16:33:37

Do you know what your financial position would be if something were to happen to your husband? Would you continue to receive money from his pensions, and if so how much? Would you need to work? If so, if you have skills maybe better to keep your hand in even if only part time or on a voluntary basis. None of us knows what tomorrow may hold.

M0nica Thu 26-May-22 20:49:17

I worked as well as being Home Manager, but I had a standard 9 - 5 job, with occasional predictable travel. I am at my happiest when I am over-stretched. I work at either 110% or 10% and prefer the former, even in retirement.

grandtanteJE65 Fri 27-May-22 12:36:55

Look at it this way:

You are doing the h ousework and shopping, thus contributing to your home, and having time to do both, I am sure you are saving money now, compared to former household expenses.

You were unhappy in your job, but fortunately you and your husband agreed you could afford to stop working. Don't throw that back in his face! He wasn't handing out charity, you are his wife and honestly this business of my money and his in a marriage strikes me as totally ridiculous.

We have OUR money and have had since we got married. It doesn't and shouldn't matter who earned what of it, or who does most in the house or garden.

It seems your husband is content with the arrangement, so sit back and relax, Then if you still feel guilty, which you have no need to do, fetch a pad and pencil and write down every blessed thing you do to keep the wheels running smoothly.

Yes I thought so! It's quite a long list, shopping, cooking, making the bed, hoovering, cleaning windows, bathroom etc. gardening plus ?