Author Topic: Any one else married and still on the path alone?  (Read 5820 times)

RMD

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Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« on: September 04, 2013, 06:19:46 AM »
Husband and I have been married for 10 years.  We are doing okay financially.  Approx. 30% savings rate, no debt other than mortgage.  He has no desire to take it to the next level and I'm ready to be all in tomorrow.  I love him, though, and if this is his biggest downside, I'll take it!  :)

That said, I'm at the breaking point with my job for a multitude of reasons. I have started to entertain the idea of working to get *myself* FI and if he wants to continue to work then that's up to him.  Our finances are combined and I make more than he does, so this complicates matters a bit.

Is anyone else working toward their own FI goal while their spouse/partner is not?  How are you managing it?  What are your stumbling blocks?

DocCyane

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2013, 06:40:21 AM »
My partner is 50 years old and in a bad financial situation. She made tons of money and either spent it or put it into failed businesses. Now she is underemployed and struggling with how to play out the remainder of her working life.

I'm struggling with her situation too.

I'm a little younger, 45 this month, and I make decent money. I've always been a saver and have a nest egg that is starting to take off. I could retire early, no problem.

The question then becomes how to address the reality that your partner isn't in the same financial situation. Will they be able to stay employed until retirement? It sounds good on paper until someone gets sick.

To be honest, I'm playing it day by day. I save all I can and she's very careful with her money because there isn't much to squander. I show her my financial plan and she's not adverse to it. Basically it helps that we have kept our finances separate. Maybe that's not the case for you.

If so, it must be hard to feel like he's paddling the canoe in the other direction. It doesn't matter how much you have coming in if it's just leaking out the back.

Some couples will rage at this, but I don't think it's the worst thing to keep your money separate. At least then you'll feel you have some control. But in the end if he comes up short or gets sick and his "work forever" plan fails, you will step up. I guess that's the way these things go.

pachnik

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2013, 07:27:34 AM »
Circumstances close to DocCyane's over here with my spouse.   We got together later in life in our 40's and have been together for 7 years.

Our money is kept separate for legal reasons.  I've always been a saver (though not to MMM levels), very debt-averse and had steady work.  My spouse who is in mid-50's didn't have steady work etc. so no savings + had an ex-spouse who couldn't hang onto a nickel.  He has a good job now though, is paying off his debt and is very careful with his spending.  But, of course, if he got sick and couldn't work to 65, we would just deal with it.

so yes, I am working towards FI at 60 (late start) and my spouse will work until he is 65 so he can get full CPP payments.   However because of the difference in our ages, we will actually retire at the same time.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2013, 09:10:01 PM by pachnik »

nawhite

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2013, 11:10:10 AM »
When I first started reading MMM, I started implementing all sorts of changes in my life to lower spending/ increase savings rate. I got us to move to walking distance to work, migrated an old 401k to an IRA with Vangard, ditched my expensive phone, re-quoted all my insurance and saved a boatload, started tracking spending with Mint, upped my 401k contribution to the max etc. These were all things that I could do without any buy in from the spouse (minus the move but she wanted to do that too).

That being said, none of those changes compared, either financially or mentally, to the improvements associated with getting my wife on board. Getting her on board was more worthwhile than all of the above. The 2 bits of advice that a lot of people mention that really really work:

1. Be a role model. Ditch your phone even if it means you drop out of the family plan pricing, it will still save you money. Offer to make dinner instead of going out. Start bringing your own lunch to work. Up your 401k contribution 1%. Start shopping at thrift stores and showing off your deals. And do these things for weeks to months. I didn't even mention why I was doing them, it was more of a, "this seems superflouous, I think I'll go without" Your spouse will see the changes you make and recognise that the changes aren't extreme at all.

2. Get on the same page with future goals. Or even just recognise and be supportive of the goals your spouse has and make sure they recognize and are supportive of your goals. This requires communication!!! Talk to your spouse and find out what their goals are. For many on this forum, the goal is early retirement but that isn't everyone's goal. Maybe your spouse wants to be a stay-at-home-parent? Maybe they want a 30% down payment on a house? Maybe its a chance to start their own business? Until you figure out their goal, and accept that it may not be the same as yours right now it will be almost impossible to get them on board with MMM level savings rates. But holy cow is it worth it!

mm1970

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2013, 11:13:40 AM »
Not really.  We have different goals - we are both savers, but not to the same degree.  I don't think we plan on retiring early.  We prefer to save a lot so that we have "FU money".

katheh

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2013, 11:31:35 AM »
My husband is still very much in the baby stages of saving. He has a future pension from work he is betting on (it's as secure as any pension). He is 48, eligible to collect at 59. I give him a certain $ amount per week in cash and that is what he uses to buy gas & incidentals etc. I make his lunch for work, etc.

I on the other hand squeeze it and save it. He is not really an overspender, he just doesn't have interest in being involved. For now I am just trying to be a good example and save save save. Now that I restarted my 401k after being out of the workforce for several years raising kids, he is interested in seeing how fast the balance actually goes up.

ThatsMyOtter

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2013, 11:41:07 AM »
Husband and I got married a year ago. (I found MMM a few months ago.) A few months before the wedding we worked out a budget based on both our incomes. Between our 401 k savings and cash savings for a down payment on a house we're saving 24.56% of take home pay. By non mustachian standards we're saving plenty for 24 year olds but we could easily bump that up to just over 30% if we reduced our personal allowance from extremely generous to modest.

I've brought it up a few times but my husband isn't interested in shooting for ER. I'm hoping that he'll come around but I've stopped trying to get him to change his behavior. We discussed our major life goals before getting married and ER wasn't one of them. Maybe he'll change his mind someday, and if he does we should have a good financial foundation to start from.

MsSindy

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2013, 12:51:31 PM »
RMD - when you say that you are ready to be "all in", what does that look like to you?  Can you be almost "all in" and still get to your goals?  As nawhite mentions, there are many things that you can do, that does not require your husband to be on board - be a role model.  Take charge of the finances like insurance decisions, meal planning, grocery shopping, vacation budgets, etc.  Get him to meet you in the middle on "pocket money".  I'm in a very similar situation as you.  My husband isn't interested in canceling cable (even though we rarely watch TV!) or downsizing our ridiculous house (we built it ourselves so a lot of emotional and sweat  equity in it), but he's a great DIY guy!

However, to address your comment about saving for your own FI goal.  That's exactly what I decided.  In the beginning, I kept talking about being retired - all he could think about was me sitting around in my sweat pants eating ice cream out of a tub!  So, I changed the conversation to one of having FU money, that resonnated better with him.  One thing I think helped, is that I sat down with him and had a serious conversation about how unfulfilled I was at work and that I wanted to do something different (and it didn't involve sweatpants and ice cream!).  It was useful that I was able to paint a picture of what life would be like once I left my job and it helps him 'buy-in' to my vision of the future, even if he would still prefer to work until he's 55.  I may have batted my eyes and pouted my lips, I can't say for sure.  He wants to see me happy and so agreed that we should be saving fairly aggressive to meet that goal.

All that being said, I still weave stories into our conversations about this couple who worked really hard, saved their money, and now they don't "have" to work anymore, but they still do on things that interest them, like carpentry; and told him about MMMs Hawaii gig - he thought that was pretty cool.  And I walk the talk.  In the beginning, he would say things like, you can turn the heat up, we can afford it you know.  "I know, but it just seems silly when I can easily put on a sweater....now come cuddle and keep me warm"  -- I don't make it about the money, I make it about being efficient, smart, not wasteful, seems like the right thing to do, etc.-- this appeals to his DIY/engineer sensibilities.  Think about what communication style appeals to your husband and "talk his language".

What I have noticed over the past 2+ years since I've been reading MMM, is that my hubby has definitely changed his mindset on consumerism, so I feel I have made a big win in that regard.  I take opportunities to point out things that are silly, wasteful, etc., and to show him our wall chart on where we are with our savings, etc.  It has all helped change his thinking and his actions.  He will never be "all in", but at least he doesn't sabbotage my efforts and understands and supports the goal I'm trying to reach.

RMD

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2013, 05:45:16 AM »
A lot to think about.  Thank you all.

I am doing what I can and walking the talk.  The hard part is that it isn't that much different than what I normally do. I'm just not a huge spender. That said, I don't think I've ever been a saver with a goal like this. We save for "retirement" with the assumption it will be 20+ more years (I'm in my early 40's; he's in his late 30's) or we save for large house projects.  (Husband is *not* particularly handy...but will sometimes surprise me and give it a go.)

I like the approach of talking with him about having FU money...that might be closer to his language.

sleepyguy

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2013, 04:18:31 PM »
Well I was actually "that other side".  We're not married but we've been together for about 12yrs now and 2 kids.  I must admit for about 11yrs I was horrible with money... so as you can see... we can change :)  We'll be doing about 70% take home soon enough :)

Myrmida

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2013, 04:50:54 PM »
We saved about 45% last year.  We'll see what this next year brings.  We could save more, but he is definitely on the same page.  He's all for it if I save in areas that don't affect him, such as finding a cheaper cell plan or lowering our insurance costs.  I've come to realize that he may not have the same financial goals as me, and that's OK.  Money means different things to different people: security, independence, choice, power, pleasure, etc.  Even with being on slightly different pages, I think I will be able to retire in 10-12 years, just as our oldest kid enters his teens  This is one of my goals - to spend time with my kids in those transformative years, so I am very happy to have found MMM so that I can hopefully make it a reality.

ThatsMyOtter

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2013, 06:34:44 AM »
Made some progress with the husband this weekend! Right now our financial priorities are (1) start building our 401ks (he's saving 6% with a 6% match, I'm saving 10% with 3% match) and (2) save up for a down payment on a house. I convinced DH to actually do some math so that I could show him how much we need to save in order to get the kind of house we want. His previous approach was to assure me that everything would work out somehow. So he's agreed to boost our house savings.

lifejoy

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2013, 09:37:29 AM »
I definitely agree with leading by example! Six months ago, my bf seemed entitled and spendy. Now, he's almost more Mustachian than me! I was offering to cook when he wanted to eat out, getting my clothes from clothing swaps, verbalizing my frugality muscle ("I want this... But I think I have enough at home). I offered to make his lunch if he would be willing to stop buying lunch (a BIG change for him). We moved to a smaller place that is cheaper and easier to clean. It's been a very satisfying journey! :)

Like someone else said, part of the key was touting FU Money, rather than early retirement. Who wouldn't like the option of working because they want to, not because they have to? Also, communication is key. Discuss goals, and talk about changes you're both willing to make. Usually if one person makes a concession (that could be you) then the other person might be more open to change (I.e. me making the lunches). Good luck!

PS - sometimes having a less Mustachian partner can balance you out. I find I go on more trips and have more fun *money costing* adventures because of my bf's preferences. Variety is ok :)

BuildingFrugalHabits

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Re: Any one else married and still on the path alone?
« Reply #13 on: September 08, 2013, 04:07:03 PM »
1. Be a role model. Ditch your phone even if it means you drop out of the family plan pricing, it will still save you money. Offer to make dinner instead of going out. Start bringing your own lunch to work. Up your 401k contribution 1%. Start shopping at thrift stores and showing off your deals. And do these things for weeks to months. I didn't even mention why I was doing them, it was more of a, "this seems superflouous, I think I'll go without" Your spouse will see the changes you make and recognise that the changes aren't extreme at all.

2. Get on the same page with future goals. Or even just recognise and be supportive of the goals your spouse has and make sure they recognize and are supportive of your goals. This requires communication!!! Talk to your spouse and find out what their goals are. For many on this forum, the goal is early retirement but that isn't everyone's goal. Maybe your spouse wants to be a stay-at-home-parent? Maybe they want a 30% down payment on a house? Maybe its a chance to start their own business? Until you figure out their goal, and accept that it may not be the same as yours right now it will be almost impossible to get them on board with MMM level savings rates. But holy cow is it worth it!

Great advice here. 

However, to address your comment about saving for your own FI goal.  That's exactly what I decided.  In the beginning, I kept talking about being retired - all he could think about was me sitting around in my sweat pants eating ice cream out of a tub!  So, I changed the conversation to one of having FU money, that resonnated better with him.  One thing I think helped, is that I sat down with him and had a serious conversation about how unfulfilled I was at work and that I wanted to do something different (and it didn't involve sweatpants and ice cream!).  It was useful that I was able to paint a picture of what life would be like once I left my job and it helps him 'buy-in' to my vision of the future, even if he would still prefer to work until he's 55.  I may have batted my eyes and pouted my lips, I can't say for sure.  He wants to see me happy and so agreed that we should be saving fairly aggressive to meet that goal.

I think framing the debate can be very helpful.  There are many facets of frugally and I think it's possible to find at least one aspect that will resonate well with a significant other.  As we know, frugality is about more than perceived self-deprivation or being cheap.  It can be empowering to have options and choices of how we spend our time.  There are also anti-consumerism/environmental aspects which resonate strongly with my wife and I and dovetail quite nicely with being frugal.  She's really into eating organic and paleo as well which automatically limits the amount of dining out we do.  Efficiency is another great arguement if he/she is the engineering type.

He will never be "all in", but at least he doesn't sabbotage my efforts and understands and supports the goal I'm trying to reach.

And sometimes that can end up being a good compromise.  I consider myself in this situation.  I think a gradual transition can be helpful too as too much change can lead to a backlash.  There should always a bit of give and take in order to ensure that resentment doesn't fester.

And in time once the other person can see progress towards goals, they may become more receptive.  Also, I have to remind myself that everyone is wired differently.  I consider myself frugal by nature as I suspect many of you may be.  It's no accident that I stumbled on MMM's site.  Like others, I had already been practicing many of the "Tenets of the Mustache" long before the blog existed i.e. investing, bike commuting, brown bagging lunches, cutting energy use and other waste etc.  However, others are not so predisposed to this type of behavior but patience/understanding, gentle persistence, and well timed conversations can be productive.  Good luck!