Author Topic: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?  (Read 3849 times)

Nick_Miller

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The whole "Retire early" thing really only works if there's not a HUGE wrench tossed at you later in life. And that "wrench" I'm talking about in this particular situation is divorce.

Disability/death of a spouse are obviously huge wrenches but you can insure against them. You can't insure against divorce, can you?

Well, I guess you can "insure" against it by being SUPER intentional about your marriage, prioritizing healthy communication, negotiation, and making sure each partner gets some "wins" on things that are most important to them. And I mean being more intentional than non-Mustachians, because Mustachians are planning to decrease their earning years, and the plan falls apart if one of the partners walks out in early retirement.  A 4% withdrawal rate that works for one household won't work for two.

1) So do you think Mustachians focus more on keeping their marriages strong than do other folks? Is it honest to say they would do so partially "because of the numbers" or do you think that a byproduct of meticulously mapping out, in a specific way, your hopes and dreams with another person just intrinsically leads to a stronger marriage?

2) And do any Mustacians have stories about how a divorce in ER affected their lives?

For the record, I think my wife and I have a very strong marriage. But I'm sure there are a lot of people who thought the same thing who ended up divorced.


KMMK

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2016, 12:50:54 PM »
Well, my divorce didn't effect my ER plans because my networth during marriage is the same as my networth immediately post marriage (as close as matters). And my post marriage expenses were a lot lower.

For my new relationship, yes it is very intentional as both of us want to stay together, took it seriously from day 1, and are committed to good communication techniques. Nothing really to do with mustachianism.

ketchup

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2016, 01:22:42 PM »
Mustachians do tend to plan things better than the median, so they're probably better at planning their relationships too.

We probably also have less stress in our lives, in aggregate.  Stress is a big part of relationship problems.

We're also more likely to focus on home life over work life.

And we're generally better looking.

nereo

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2016, 01:40:03 PM »
i) The whole "Retire early" thing really only works if there's not a HUGE wrench tossed at you later in life [read: Divorce].

ii) You can't insure against divorce, can you?


I disagree with both of the premises that you started this thread with.  Early retirement can still work even through a divorce.  Also, there are methods that can insure both individuals against the harsher consequences of a divorce (e.g. a prenupt).

Adding to this - "money problems" consistently rank as the issue couples fight the most about. I would argue that mustachian couples have far less stress surrounding money because they tend to have a cash surplus each month, eschew high-interest debt and typically have less consumeristic lifestyles.  So to answer the underlying question in your post, I think that Mustachians (if anything) need to exert slightly less energy on their marriages than the national average.  It also probably helps that people who are ER can spend a great deal more time with their spouse than most working couples.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2016, 01:48:24 PM by nereo »

Nick_Miller

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2016, 01:45:06 PM »
Mustachians do tend to plan things better than the median, so they're probably better at planning their relationships too.

We probably also have less stress in our lives, in aggregate.  Stress is a big part of relationship problems.

We're also more likely to focus on home life over work life.

And we're generally better looking.

I was nodding to each statement, and then the last one made me lol for real.

But yeah, I think the planning, less stress, and focus on family is probably a pretty solid recipe for martial success.

I think my wife and I have those things.

1) We budget together and agree on any spending over $50 or so, and we're on pretty much the same page on killing debt and pumping up savings
2) Stress is pretty low. No addictions or destructive behavior. Two well-adjusted kids who attend a great (public school). Pretty short commutes (about 20 min each)
3) We both leave work between 4:30 and 5:30 every day, we prioritize the 5:30pm-8:30pm block of time with our kids, and spend some couple time until bed (and sometimes after bed :) )

Nick_Miller

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2016, 01:50:17 PM »
i) The whole "Retire early" thing really only works if there's not a HUGE wrench tossed at you later in life [read: Divorce].

ii) You can't insure against divorce, can you?


I disagree with both of the premises that you started this thread with.  Early retirement can still work even through a divorce.  Also, there are methods that can insure both individuals against the harsher consequences of a divorce (e.g. a prenupt).

Adding to this - "money problems" consistently rank as the issue couples fight about. I would argue that mustachian couples have far less stress surrounding money because they tend to have a cash surplus each month, eschew high-interest debt and typically have less consumeristic lifestyles.  So to answer the underlying question in your post, I think that Mustachians (if anything) need to exert slightly less energy on their marriages than the national average.  It also probably helps that people who are ER can spend a great deal more time with their spouse than most working couples.

Sure ER can still work after a divorce, but just from a mathematical perspective, it's a still a HUGE wrench...probably the biggest wrench. Let's say my wife and I target $1M as our FIRE number, based on a 4% withdraw rate giving us $40K/year which is plenty because we've paid off the mortgage.

Then the Big D rears its ugly head, and I'm anticipating we decide that 'divorced roommates" is not the way to go, so there you have it. Doubled housing costs are not part of the original plan, and that 4% doesn't cut it. So we're splitting our 'stache and increasing our costs. That's going backwards. That was my point. Again, this assumes the spouses have always shared funds equally (as do my wife and I).


nereo

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2016, 02:05:27 PM »
i) The whole "Retire early" thing really only works if there's not a HUGE wrench tossed at you later in life [read: Divorce].

ii) You can't insure against divorce, can you?


I disagree with both of the premises that you started this thread with.  Early retirement can still work even through a divorce.  Also, there are methods that can insure both individuals against the harsher consequences of a divorce (e.g. a prenupt).

Adding to this - "money problems" consistently rank as the issue couples fight about. I would argue that mustachian couples have far less stress surrounding money because they tend to have a cash surplus each month, eschew high-interest debt and typically have less consumeristic lifestyles.  So to answer the underlying question in your post, I think that Mustachians (if anything) need to exert slightly less energy on their marriages than the national average.  It also probably helps that people who are ER can spend a great deal more time with their spouse than most working couples.

Sure ER can still work after a divorce, but just from a mathematical perspective, it's a still a HUGE wrench...probably the biggest wrench. Let's say my wife and I target $1M as our FIRE number, based on a 4% withdraw rate giving us $40K/year which is plenty because we've paid off the mortgage.

Then the Big D rears its ugly head, and I'm anticipating we decide that 'divorced roommates" is not the way to go, so there you have it. Doubled housing costs are not part of the original plan, and that 4% doesn't cut it. So we're splitting our 'stache and increasing our costs. That's going backwards. That was my point. Again, this assumes the spouses have always shared funds equally (as do my wife and I).

Well there you have it - saying that ER only works if you can avoid divorce is a fundamentally different statement than saying divorce might disrupt people's plans.  I'd bet many ER couples have sufficient layers of safety that they both could be ER independently even with some increased costs.  In your example above you conveniently ignore the value of the paid-off house, which presumably the couple would sell and split the proceeds rather than burning to the ground. Furthermore, it's absurd to think that housing costs for two single people would necessarily be double what they are as a couple.


Prairie Stash

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2016, 02:23:20 PM »
Yes. By mapping out the future I've learned a lot about my wife and it has initiated some great discussions. She and I have made broad plans based on our dreams and stand a reasonable chance of meeting those dreams. We're starting to reap the rewards of the planning, its made us both happier individually which makes us stronger as a couple.

Choosing "by the numbers" is a gold digger strategy, its not for me.

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2016, 02:04:57 PM »
I recently realized that the pillars of my personal happiness rest on three things - my health (and my husband's health), my relationship with my husband, and our financial stability. I spend a lot of time working to protect or enhance these three aspects of my life in a very intentional way. These three pillars aren't independent of each other, as stress from any one of them can bleed into and affect the other two.

I would say that I put more work into maintaining the health of my relationship than is probably average, even before I found the oracle of the mustache, and we have a great one (this sounds terribly smug, but friends and relatives routinely comment on it). I do think that being on the same page about our financial planning (and the act of hashing it all out in order to get on the same page) has definitely strengthened our relationship. Being able to share your hopes and dreams with your partner and have them get on board with it is a well-documented intimacy builder. And having a solid financial foundation alleviates one of the major stressors in a marriage (certainly in my parent's marriage). So there are aspects of mustachianism that have helped us, but I think we were already working hard at prioritizing our relationship before.

Zikoris

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2016, 11:54:52 PM »
I think Mustachian couples have the huge advantage of a) low/nonexistent financial stress, and b) common life goals. There would be more benefits depending how strictly you follow the "program", including way more free time due to not commuting long distances, and better health from all the biking, DIY, lack of vices (smoking, excessive alcohol), and cooking from scratch. All of those things contribute to a much more peaceful household, and happier partners, which makes a huge difference in the quality of a relationship.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2016, 04:10:26 AM »
For us, the lack of financial stresses gives us more time and energy to spend on each other. Being active does the same (related to mmm but not as closely).

The timing of a divorce can make a big difference (particularly for parents). If you separate while the kids are young and share the parenting, you go from paying for one house that can home parents and kids to two houses with very similar size requirements. If you separate after the kids leave home (this seems to be a thing in my parent's social circle) then the two new homes can be smaller. This does equate the old family home to two one/two-person homes.

ETA: It's not that I spend more energy due to mmm, but that I have more energy for SO due to mmm.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 04:47:49 AM by Playing with Fire UK »

Metric Mouse

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2016, 07:00:56 AM »
ETA: It's not that I spend more energy due to mmm, but that I have more energy for SO due to mmm.

Great point.

As to the OP: I'm unaware of any study that shows 'mustachian' individuals are less prone to divorce than the general population. And, judging by the fact that there are posters who cover the entire spectrum of financial statuses posting about divorce, and huge number of topics on how one partner's mustachianism causes friction in their once healthy relationships, it would seem that there is nothing inherent in mustachianism that insures a happier or more successful relationship.

Villanelle

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Re: Do Mustachians spend more energy keeping their marriages healthy?
« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2016, 07:10:15 AM »
I think some MMM habits and outlooks lend themselves to more positive attention (and intentions) to a marriage.  For example, focusing less on things and more on those thing that truly make us happy would mean that someone might spend more time hiking with a spouse than shopping.  Likewise, if both parties are in the same page (and that's a big *if*), there would be very little tension over finances.  I also think there's an intentionality, and an acting-with-purpose, that often accompanies mustachianism that might lead to healthier relationships, but again, I think that only applies if both partners agree on that purpose. 

And there's the rub.  Most of those things require the partners to be on the same page, and yet even within mustachianism, that's not always the case, so I doubt there's much deviation from the typical divorce rates.