The reason your spouse doesn’t have to work

I faced criticism I am encouraging my wife to re-enter the workforce after she retired in 2015. However, it is important to clarify that she was not actually retired. Instead, she has been active as a full-time mom since 2017. In addition, since 2009, she has helped do a lot of operational and editorial work for Financial Samurai.

One of the reasons I would like her to go back to work is to make sure she can provide for the family in case I die before our children reach adulthood. With ever-increasing inflation, raising a family is becoming more difficult every year. Besides, even if the economy is on the hunty dory right now, there will be a downturn in the future. After all, the best time to forage is in the summer, not the winter.

Managing our family’s finances, overseeing rental properties and running Financial Samurai, I play a vital role in our financial stability. If something were to happen to me, our family would be in financial jeopardy. However, if my wife returns to work once our children are in school full time, it would increase our family’s security.

I confess be selfish because I want to be sure that in the unfortunate event of my untimely death my wife and children will be fine. There’s a reason they say, “Rest in Peace.” There will be no peace if they have to turn their lives upside down for me.

I encourage my wife to do this update her resume, brushing up on my job skills, earning an income and having a purpose when I’m not here is a source of comfort to me. Moreover, I believe that her work is a valuable example for our children.

My own strong work ethic stems in part from witnessing my parents’ dedication to work while growing up in Japan, Taiwan, and Malaysia. If our children could cultivate a similar work ethic, it would greatly improve their chances of achieving financial independence in the future.

Life insurance reduces the need for a spouse to work

I’ve been focusing a lot on planning for a future that includes return to workthat I forgot about our life insurance policies obtained through Policygenius. In the middle of the pandemic, my wife and I took out matching 20-year term life policies with $750,000 death benefits. Previously, we had inconsistent policies with different death benefit amounts and durations.

My search for an affordable policy took several years, but I faced a setback in 2017 when I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, which limited me to a policy that cost an unaffordable $480 per month.

Determined to find a solution, I underwent another sleep apnea study and the results showed a milder condition. With this improvement, I reapplied for life insurance and successfully secured a policy at a much more manageable $138 per month. The relief was palpable. Please be smart and take out life insurance before visiting the doctor for anything but a cold.

After a podcast episode where my wife and I discussed intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation at work (Apple gold Spotify), the reader reached out with the following email.

An email from a podcast listener that made me see the light:


Really enjoy the content you provide each week, thank you!

In a recent podcast, you discussed the benefits of your wife returning to work so that she can provide for herself and your children if something happens to you.

Currently, my wife and I work full time. I know I have enough life insurance to replace my income for the rest of her working years so she and our children are not financially affected if something were to happen to me.

We are looking at the budget right now to see if we can get her to stay at home – our medical costs and situation are drastically different than most families.

Given your wife’s comments about not wanting to go back to work, I wonder why you think this is best if the same goal can be achieved affordable insurance? I realize you may not be insurable, if you are you probably find this pretty cold – if that’s the case, I’m sorry.

I’m sure this sounds critical and I don’t know your family situation, from the outside it looks like he’ll be happier at home and you don’t have to deal with competing work schedules, asking for time off, office policies/frustrations, etc.


Life insurance helps keep retirees in retirement and stay at home Parents at home

Ah ha! I never thought about that angle before. Working parents with a stay-at-home partner may feel more relieved. Men who claim FIRE but insist their wives continue to work for financial security can now keep their wives free as well.

Thanks to Jeremy, I now know the immense relief that our life insurance policies provide. In the event of my untimely death, the $750,000 tax-free death benefit would cover approx three years of life expenses if she hasn’t changed anything.

This period should give my wife enough time to go through our financial affairs. She will have plenty of time to sell the assets at a reasonable price instead of being a forced seller. Might as well hire some help to keep Financial Samurai going since there are now so many articles to update. Finally, she could wait and secure part-time or full-time employment if necessary.

While ideally I would have preferred a death benefit of $1 million, the maximum achievable was $750,000 without undergoing a medical examination. I might just look at another $250,000 to close things out.

With our life insurance policies, my wife doesn’t necessarily have to go back to work just to provide financial security for the family. Instead, any decision to re-enter the workforce would be driven by her finding fulfillment in her chosen endeavor.

Game plan to make the death benefit last longer

Meanwhile, to make the post-death benefits last longer, my wife could dramatically reduce sneaky expenses of $1,500 per month. With one less person to feed, saving $1,000 a month on food should be relatively easy.

If necessary, the next step would be to downsize by selling our current one and moving back into our old home. I don’t think our kids would protest too much because they lived there for three years and enjoyed it. It was the house I imagined living in for 10 years. With only three people, unless he finds someone new, the size of our old home is more suitable.

A final cost saving measure would be to stop paying for language immersion school and transfer our children to a free public school the following year. Although this will be the most disruptive step, the savings would be huge. I find comfort in knowing that I changed elementary schools every 2-4 years and it turned out OK. The change forced me to work on my social skills.

median square footage of single-family homes over time in America

Returning to work in some capacity is still worthwhile

Despite finding out my wife doesn’t have to go back to work thanks to my life insurance, I still i think it’s a good idea. Our the state of financial independence has changed after acquiring a new home. If my wife went back to work, we could potentially be financially independent a year or two sooner.

There will be a void once both children are in school from September 2024 full-time. Why not spend the extra free time looking for something interesting that is also worthwhile? Unfortunately, after years of autonomy, it’s hard to get back into someone else’s schedule.

Any return to work would be temporary. Working for three to five years after enjoying absolute freedom from 2015 to 2024 seems like a good compromise.

A short-term sacrifice for financial freedom

What are you willing to do? sacrifice for financial freedom? I am personally willing to do anything.

Some individuals choose to take mini-breaks in retirement on their journey to financial freedom. This is a wise strategy because it prevents their resumes from becoming too stagnant. If I had retirementI would take three months off to extend my career to at least 40 years. Retroactively leaving work at 34 was too soon.

Fortunately or unfortunately, my wife and I took longer breaks. Our 12-year and nine-year hiatuses put us at risk problems re-entering the work process. I’ve seen this scenario all too often: a parent leaves work to be a stay-at-home parent for years, only to find no comparable paying job waiting for their return.

However, if we are able to secure jobs again, this presents an opportunity to refresh our respective resumes. We believe that by focusing the three to five years we dedicate to working and saving aggressively, we can ensure our financial well-being for the rest of our lives.

We already budgeted for big expenses like college, a new car, and ours home forever, there are no significant financial obstacles ahead of us. The main challenges lie in the inevitable unexpected expenses we will encounter, so it is crucial to rapidly restore our liquidity before they occur.

While life insurance provides us with security, window of opportunity re-enter the work process narrows. Consequently, in our mid-40s, I look forward to both of us giving the work one last dedicated effort.

Questions and suggestions from readers

Have you ever wondered how life insurance reduces the need for one parent to return to work? If so, is getting life insurance even more valuable because it allows at least one parent to stay free?

If you’re looking for affordable life insurance, take a look Policygenius. You get customized offers in one place. The relief I feel from having matching term life insurance policies is worth the monthly premium alone.

To achieve financial freedom sooner, join over 60,000 others and sign up the free Financial Samurai newsletter.

Leave a Comment