Author Topic: Trying to convince the wife  (Read 16154 times)

Forcus

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Trying to convince the wife
« on: September 24, 2012, 11:49:18 AM »
I am trying to convince the wife how badass it would be to not worry about money (be FI). I am still in the process of being reformed (lets say, if I was a two pack a day smoker, I am down to somewhere between a half and whole pack). I think that the wife is slowly coming around to a new way of thinking. But I need some help. I was broaching the subject yesterday and she responded with "you can't take money with you" and "you only live once". The context was that for our next house (within a year) she wants to buy roughly double what we need (space and $$). I was trying to push my agenda which was to buy a cheaper, smaller house, remodel, live in for a few years, then rent it out while we moved to a little larger house that needed the same, etc., until we had a number of rental properties providing income and a sizeable enough savings to be FI and do what we want including buying or building a larger house (not a McMansion, but more than we need).

I do totally understand she doesn't want to deal with another shitty house (indeed, our current one, is quite shitty). And the type of house she wants to buy is maybe 1/2 to 2/3 what comparable couples around here might buy (which is not a justification but at least shows some initiative on her part to meet me half way). But I also feel like caving on this point might mean delaying the ability to become FI by tying up money in static assets instead of investing.

Here's the facts:
Wife: Age 26
Me: Age 31
Combined salary: $140k
My desired house: $85k
Her desired house $200-250k

Help!

AJ

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2012, 12:02:29 PM »
I hear the YOLO argument all.the.time. My response is "Yes, you're right, I will only live once. That's why I don't want to spend the whole thing working!"

I don't know your specifics, but I think its harder for folks that love their jobs to care about FI, and also for folks who are just mentally prepared to work for 40 years because "that's just what you do". My DH is that way, but he has come around over the last few years. We still make compromises, but its better.

Is there a way to spin it that might be more applicable to her? Do you plan on having kids? If so, is she hoping to stay home with them? Or if not, what does she want to do when she retires? Travel? Read? If you can frame it in terms of what she wants in life (or, what she might want if she let herself dream about it) you may have more success.

Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2012, 12:21:12 PM »
Is there a way to spin it that might be more applicable to her? Do you plan on having kids? If so, is she hoping to stay home with them? Or if not, what does she want to do when she retires? Travel? Read? If you can frame it in terms of what she wants in life (or, what she might want if she let herself dream about it) you may have more success.

Thanks for the response! Yes I was short on specifics, I wasn't sure what would matter.
- She likes / loves her job. She has visibility at the highest level in her org at the largest regional hospital. So I think that definitely plays in to it.
- "That's just what you do" is definitely a factor, for both of us. I am shedding that belief. She is starting to. But since she loves her job she doesn't see that it could change just like that. I also don't think she grasps that she doesn't have to stop working - just have the choice to.
- Kids, maybe. I was hoping to stay home with them. She is totally supportive of me not working but unfortunately I bring in 2/3 of the household at this point. If that changes that would definitely help but still not (in my mind) do anything about having a big house as an ankle weight.
- I don't think she has any plans for retirement, which may be part of the problem. I think she thinks of boredom.

Jamesqf

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2012, 12:33:46 PM »
You could try explaining that the enjoyment you get from something is not proportional to the money you spend to do it.

I can pretty well agree with her objections to your renovate & rent strategy.  The question here is whether you actually enjoy doing the renovation work, and would enjoy all that's involved in being a landlord, or whether it's just the money potential that attracts you.  If the latter, maybe you need to rethink.  There is (to my taste, anyway) a lot to be said for just buying one house that you plan to live in forever.  That "you can't take it with you" philosophy applies just as much to time as to money.


prima

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2012, 12:44:30 PM »
I completely understand your wife, i'm that wife, and sometimes my husband needs to bring me back to reality. We bought a house 2 years ago. We did well, we bough half of that ammount that our bank preaproved us for. We pay similar ammount as of rent previously so it wasnt a big shock. I wanted a house on the lake or at least with the pool, he wanted a large garage. We didnt get either of those things, because it was too much money. What we decided is we can build those things later if we really need to. Also, im glad i didnt get too big of the house, i already spend my whole saturday cleaning it. So tips for you when convincing your wife - does she like to decorate? Tell her she will be in charge when doing remodeling and she will be able to change the house to her taste (if you buy a fixer).

Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2012, 12:59:02 PM »
I can pretty well agree with her objections to your renovate & rent strategy.  The question here is whether you actually enjoy doing the renovation work, and would enjoy all that's involved in being a landlord, or whether it's just the money potential that attracts you.  If the latter, maybe you need to rethink.  There is (to my taste, anyway) a lot to be said for just buying one house that you plan to live in forever.  That "you can't take it with you" philosophy applies just as much to time as to money.

At this moment I do not enjoy renovation (this is largely due to the many other things I have to worry about not related to renovation, as well as the fact that my home, to be "right" would need to be gutted). I am attracted to the money to a large extent and being able to have a "custom" home to a smaller extent. BUT being a property manager does appeal to me. I wouldn't mind being on call, fixing managable issues (e.g., leaky faucets, roof leak, etc - not putting in a new foundation, etc). I agree, it may not be the right path. But I do know that my current path (corporate position) is definitely not one I could do for another 20-30 years regardless of pay (low 6 figures). I do totally see what you are saying about YOLO and time and sometimes I forget that.

I completely understand your wife, i'm that wife, and sometimes my husband needs to bring me back to reality. We bought a house 2 years ago. We did well, we bough half of that ammount that our bank preaproved us for. We pay similar ammount as of rent previously so it wasnt a big shock. I wanted a house on the lake or at least with the pool, he wanted a large garage. We didnt get either of those things, because it was too much money. What we decided is we can build those things later if we really need to. Also, im glad i didnt get too big of the house, i already spend my whole saturday cleaning it. So tips for you when convincing your wife - does she like to decorate? Tell her she will be in charge when doing remodeling and she will be able to change the house to her taste (if you buy a fixer).

Probably the main issue as far as the house goes is that we live in a relatively affluent area and it was not really affected by the recession. The "good" school districts and low crime areas are well known and that directly drives housing values. She is not really attracted to pools and other nice to haves (which is nice!) but for some reason a good, newer (20 years) 3BD / 2BA in a good area is 230k+. I don't blame her for wanting it, it's not like she is looking at 3k sq foot mansions. It's just that the price level is high around here and has a direct effect on FI. The difference between a house I find acceptable and one that she does is around 5-7 retirement years. I put a high value on retiring early, she does not, so I think that either I have to be willing to delay retirement, or she will maybe come around to retirement is better than a nice house.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2012, 01:01:12 PM by Forcus »

MoonPilgrim

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2012, 02:00:04 PM »
I would back into the number based on what would be comfortable if either of you lost your job. 

So, use the lower of your two salaries:
subtract your non-housing expenses (account for future expenses if you know you'll need a car, or will be having kids)...
subtract how much you want to invest/save...

...and the number that's left is what can be comfortably put towards mortgage/interest/taxes/insurance. 


This may be an apples to oranges situation.  I don't think she wants to spend x amount of dollars on a house as much as she just wants to be comfortable in a house.  Convincing her to move into a house and live in it while you're renovating will be a tough sell, because most people find that to be a pretty tough life.  If you find a home that is not shitty to live in, my bet is that she'll be happy--whether it costs $85K, $120K, or $240K.

Maybe have your realtor do some "blind" showings, where they don't divulge price until after you do the walk-through.  Who knows?  Maybe you'll end up realizing you want more house than you think and she'll realize she wants less than she thinks.  You guys do have a pretty large gap in your numbers--lots of room for compromise? :)

Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2012, 02:07:52 PM »
Convincing her to move into a house and live in it while you're renovating will be a tough sell, because most people find that to be a pretty tough life.

Thanks for the thoughts. I will do the math that you suggested.

I did forget to mention one important point. I would be renovating the next house BEFORE we moved in to it. I am finding that living in a house and simultaneously destroying it, is not a workable scenario.


tooqk4u22

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2012, 02:48:32 PM »
(lets say, if I was a two pack a day smoker, I am down to somewhere between a half and whole pack).

Hopefully this is figurative to illustrate that you are making progress toward being more thoughtful on spending, but if it is literal.....then this is the first thing you need to stop. Not only is it expensive but will likely shorten your retirement time, although then I guess it would reduce how much you need to save.

I would back into the number based on what would be comfortable if either of you lost your job. 

So, use the lower of your two salaries:
subtract your non-housing expenses (account for future expenses if you know you'll need a car, or will be having kids)...
subtract how much you want to invest/save...

...and the number that's left is what can be comfortably put towards mortgage/interest/taxes/insurance. 


This is a good way to approach it because it is not depriving her, instead it is protecting yours/hers financial well being.  And with you bringing in 2/3rds of the income his makes all the more sense if you are in a more volatile industry.

Probably the main issue as far as the house goes is that we live in a relatively affluent area and it was not really affected by the recession. The "good" school districts and low crime areas are well known and that directly drives housing values. She is not really attracted to pools and other nice to haves (which is nice!) but for some reason a good, newer (20 years) 3BD / 2BA in a good area is 230k+.

If you are in a good area, with good schools, and have the lowest price house then you should explore adding a small addition - it may go a long way to appeasing her and result in a good ROI to boot.


Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2012, 03:13:21 PM »
(lets say, if I was a two pack a day smoker, I am down to somewhere between a half and whole pack).

Totally figurative! None of my habits are that bad. Some of them are about half that bad :)

MsSindy

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 01:16:19 PM »
You may want to try a different approach - it's worked for me, but I'm in a little different situation. 

If she's not interested in FIRE, then try to convey to her your dreams for the future.  Think about what you'd like to be doing when FIRE (assuming that it is something compelling and worthwhile and not sitting around the house).  Discuss with her that although your job pays well, it's not fufilling and you'd like to be doing XXX instead - most people will not want their spouses to stay in unpleasant situations just so they can have a bigger house.  They will be more willing to make changes so that you can live your dream, too - you just need to determine what that dream is and help her to envision it.

I did this with my DH and he's been good about making frugal decisions so that I can make my dream a reality.  When I was talking about FIRE, it was too abstract for him.  So I thought about what I would really like to be doing instead, and that's how I frame discussions now, and how we've set up our budget.  I would like us to be FIRE together, but I've had to alter my dream a bit, and I think it's the next best thing.  Maybe he'll come around, maybe not.  Either way, I'm on a path to a better future (not my ideal one (FIRE together), but a better one!).

Be patient with her, keep the dialogue going.  Acknowledge that you guys may have different goals/dreams and figure out how you can meet in the middle.

Pete914

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2012, 04:02:13 AM »
Just be patient.  It takes time for some people to adopt the concept of financial independence, especially people who have never had to worry too much about money (supported by parents in my (her) case).  I've heard every line from the wife- Can't take it with you, you only live once, what are you going to do with yourself if you don't have a job, we have a lot of money why should we live like we're poor, etc.  MMM had a 2 part article on this as well that was very helpful.  She has bought into most of the concept now, surprisingly without much extra prodding from me- just took some time for the idea to take root.

offroad

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2012, 08:08:12 AM »
You may want to try a different approach - it's worked for me, but I'm in a little different situation. 

If she's not interested in FIRE, then try to convey to her your dreams for the future.  Think about what you'd like to be doing when FIRE (assuming that it is something compelling and worthwhile and not sitting around the house).  Discuss with her that although your job pays well, it's not fufilling and you'd like to be doing XXX instead - most people will not want their spouses to stay in unpleasant situations just so they can have a bigger house.  They will be more willing to make changes so that you can live your dream, too - you just need to determine what that dream is and help her to envision it.

I did this with my DH and he's been good about making frugal decisions so that I can make my dream a reality.  When I was talking about FIRE, it was too abstract for him.  So I thought about what I would really like to be doing instead, and that's how I frame discussions now, and how we've set up our budget.  I would like us to be FIRE together, but I've had to alter my dream a bit, and I think it's the next best thing.  Maybe he'll come around, maybe not.  Either way, I'm on a path to a better future (not my ideal one (FIRE together), but a better one!).

Be patient with her, keep the dialogue going.  Acknowledge that you guys may have different goals/dreams and figure out how you can meet in the middle.

This is an excellent response.  my significant other is reacting the same way.   If I frame it as a MY DREAM type of discussion, would definately get a better discussion going.

Gerard

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2012, 08:41:34 AM »
Is a smaller but well-appointed house an option? Maybe something that costs halfway between your different ideals? I've never understood how knowing you have a bunch of other rooms compensates for being in an ugly or uncomfortable room right now.

Quick240

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2012, 12:09:58 PM »
I also had the same issue trying to convince my wife about 6 months back.  When I told her we could both be retired by 45 (we're both 31 now), her initial reaction was "yeah right".  I then gave her a few rough calculations for what we could achieve, if we were to focus on increasing our savings rate.  That got the wheels turning... 

My next step was sending her a list of 8-10 carefully selected MMM articles to read.  After that she even started doing a few calculations herself!

Once she was convinced that it wasn't only possible, but also pretty straight forward/simple, she was pretty much on board.

StashinIt

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2012, 03:15:48 PM »
I do totally understand she doesn't want to deal with another shitty house (indeed, our current one, is quite shitty). And the type of house she wants to buy is maybe 1/2 to 2/3 what comparable couples around here might buy (which is not a justification but at least shows some initiative on her part to meet me half way). But I also feel like caving on this point might mean delaying the ability to become FI by tying up money in static assets instead of investing.

Here's the facts:
Wife: Age 26
Me: Age 31
Combined salary: $140k
My desired house: $85k
Her desired house $200-250k

Help!

To me a 200-250k house on a 140k combined income doesn't sound too bad. Not that I own a home, a decent 3br/2bt house in my area runs about 500k, so maybe I'm just jaded. But really a $1200 a month payment (principal/interest/tax) should not preclude you guys from saving over 50% of your take home, which should get you to FI relatively speedily. I suspect there are other issues at play here.

Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2012, 08:06:02 AM »
I suspect there are other issues at play here.

I'll try to catch all the comments here, but this one is very true.

Her job is relatively stable, but you just never know.

My job is with a Fortune 50 company. The area I live in is nearly entirely supported by this company, either directly or indirectly. The area could become a mini Detroit if this company decided to move its HQ and operations to a lower tax state. In the next 5 years, I see this as unlikely. However, if our state continues down its current path, I think our company would be forced to move. In any case it would make housing prices implode (Supply > Demand).

Am I paranoid? I readily acknowledge I am too fearful. However I don't want to be that guy who thinks things are alright when they aren't.

I'd rather be that guy who squirreled away money, did not have it tied up in what I view as a risky asset, and be able to cut ties with this job and area if need be, for whatever reason of my / our choosing.

My wife, is the polar opposite.

Her family is all local, her dream is to renovate her parents house, once they move on (in one way or another), and raise a family there. Could be 3 years. Could be 30 years. She doesn't have ANY concept of a life outside this area. As a kid her parents were fairly poor, so they didn't really travel. All she knows is this area.

She loves her job today but doesn't really consider what could happen tomorrow. I don't blame her. She hasn't been in the corporate world long enough (3 years?) to have been through the cycles, the poor managers, downsizing and reorgs, crazy hours, etc. The funny part is she is higher strung than I am so I'd think she'd be more affected when these things happen.

So yes, it is more than just about a house. I know for our income, and age, and current jobs, the house is easily purchased. But all these other things are influencers.

MsSindy

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2012, 01:28:15 PM »
Forcus--
I'm impressed that you have a good understanding of how your wife's background has probably influenced where her head is at today.  I have to admit, when I was younger, just graduated from college and landed a job with one of the large Consulting firms, I was on top of the world.  I wanted to climb the corporate ladder.  I don't think anyone could have talked to me about FI back then - I loved my job and had no plans to stop working - there was no motivation to want to stop.  Now, umpteen years later, I'm tired of my consulting job, the politics, long commute, bored with the type of work, etc..... so I'm ready for FI!

Maybe for now you can pick a savings plan/rate that will make you comfortable that you have a really big nest egg (in case of the unknown), and you can keep working toward FI.... just maybe on a little longer timeframe.   The other thing you might think about is a side-hustle or starting a part-time business - something that if your company did pack-up & move, you would still have a back-up plan and won't feel so vulnerable.  I don't know, just some ideas to think about.

I know it can be frustrating when your SO isn't on the same page.  Trust me, if my DH could get on the MMM track we could be FI in a matter of about 3 years.... but alas, he's just not in the same mind-frame yet..... doesn't mean I don't keep the dialogue going (I'm working on the "power of suggestion"!).

Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2012, 02:41:35 PM »
@MsSindy – From your earlier post - I am going to try to think about how to frame it as my dream – but we BOTH need to understand what we really want to do.

@Gerard – a smaller, but higher quality house is what I’ve been pushing for. You are totally correct. Our house is around 1800 ft2 now + 1800 ft2 basement) and we do not use 2 bedrooms and the second living room, or the dining room, at all. Big waste of space. She is open to it – we looked at a newer home (a carriage house) that was just 1100 ft sq2 with an open plan and two bedrooms. She liked it BUT… it was located in an area that wasn’t really in our target area, right off a busy road. When we inquired about building a similar unit (the seller was the builder) it was going to be around $150k NOT including a basement, or land. We did the math and it was going to be around 180-210 including infrastructure. The one he had built was listed for $135 so… when we’d sell in the future we could plan on losing a bunch of money.

@ Quick240 – I really haven’t showed her the calculations. I handle all the finances – that’s probably why she is tentative about listening about me saying anything about early retirement or costs translated in to time (e.g. this purchase will delay my retirement by xx months).

StashinIt

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2012, 03:16:50 PM »
I suspect there are other issues at play here.

I'll try to catch all the comments here, but this one is very true.

Her job is relatively stable, but you just never know.

My job is with a Fortune 50 company. The area I live in is nearly entirely supported by this company, either directly or indirectly. The area could become a mini Detroit if this company decided to move its HQ and operations to a lower tax state. In the next 5 years, I see this as unlikely. However, if our state continues down its current path, I think our company would be forced to move. In any case it would make housing prices implode (Supply > Demand).

Am I paranoid? I readily acknowledge I am too fearful. However I don't want to be that guy who thinks things are alright when they aren't.

I'd rather be that guy who squirreled away money, did not have it tied up in what I view as a risky asset, and be able to cut ties with this job and area if need be, for whatever reason of my / our choosing.

My wife, is the polar opposite.

Her family is all local, her dream is to renovate her parents house, once they move on (in one way or another), and raise a family there. Could be 3 years. Could be 30 years. She doesn't have ANY concept of a life outside this area. As a kid her parents were fairly poor, so they didn't really travel. All she knows is this area.

She loves her job today but doesn't really consider what could happen tomorrow. I don't blame her. She hasn't been in the corporate world long enough (3 years?) to have been through the cycles, the poor managers, downsizing and reorgs, crazy hours, etc. The funny part is she is higher strung than I am so I'd think she'd be more affected when these things happen.

So yes, it is more than just about a house. I know for our income, and age, and current jobs, the house is easily purchased. But all these other things are influencers.

First off, most people I've worked with seem to get the career blues after about 5 years of working. Not saying your wife will; but I'm saying she will. What about staying in your current place? Could you put some money into what you've got and turn it into something you could live with? Until taking over her parents' home? Regardless, it sounds to me that you guys should stay put for a while until you guys agree on a game plan. I don't think interest rates are going to go up in the next few years if that's what you're worried about.

My only advice for getting on the same page is a scheduled, sit down, family meeting with an agenda or discussing your hopes and dreams for the future. Maybe you guys have already done that, it sounds like you have a good idea of what she wants and is thinking. If that's the case, do it again and be willing to compromise.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 03:20:13 PM by StashinIt »

WageSlave

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2012, 10:16:11 AM »
Purely out of curiosity: in what Central Illinois town are you living?  I'm originally from Peoria, and some of your comments line up with what I know of the area (particularly, Caterpillar being the big driver of the economy).

You say your current house is shitty, so that provides an incentive to move rather quickly.  But, the problem is, you and your wife have dramatically different wants.  Given that, I'd urge to to stay put until you can equitably align your goals.  Plus, it might give your wife an opportunity to experience some of the pain of corporate life that makes FIRE more appealing.  :)

The FIRE/ERE/MMM mentality was sort of a tough sell to my wife as well.  Part of the problem was, I started reading ERE/MMM, and immediately wanted to dive in head-first.  So I basically came to my wife and said, "We need to cut our expenses NOW; I want to start by dropping this, doing that instead, giving up such-and-such..."

And her reaction was effectively, "Woa, hey, WTF, where are you coming up with this stuff?"  The problem being, I had already absorbed much of the FIRE mentality; drank the kool-aid, so to speak.  But the concepts and ideas were completely foreign to my wife, so it was too much to digest at once.

Consider the suggestion, "You should save at least 50% of your take-home pay": to the FIRE/ERE/MMM audience, that's a foregone conclusion; it's stating the obvious.  But to those who have never considered such an idea---probably a significant portion of the general population---it's completely foreign and even radical.  Unless you're making mega-bucks, it's not trivial to save that much, and will typically require some lifestyle changes: it will force you to do things differently than most people.

I also think there's a big personality component to this: some folks seem to naturally gravitate to the MMM mentality.  Those folks will read MMM's blog, and think, "Gosh, this makes so much sense, why didn't I think of it?!"  But for other people, it's a harder sell: it's counter-intuitive, doesn't make sense, or sounds like deliberate deprivation.

My wife is coming around to the idea: as a favor to me, she read Your Money or Your Life (YMOYL).  Then we started tracking our income and expenses in great detail: it's now part of our weekend routine, we sit down and review all our money flows.  We summarize all the numbers every month and have that loaded into a spreadsheet.  And what we're really doing is looking at the "investment income" column compared to the "total expense" column: this is straight out of YMOYL, and in my opinion, a prerequisite for achieving FIRE efficiently.

Ultimately, what I'm suggesting is time: give your wife some time for her FIRE/MMM/ERE zeal to match your own.  Establish some kind of expense-tracking system that both of you follow.  Select key MMM or ERE posts for her to read on a regular basis.  Try to be happy in your current shitty house as long as possible while you wait on your mindsets to converge.

Despite all this, my wife still freely admits that she sometimes worries that one day I'll come home and insist we give up toilet paper or start dumpster-diving for food.  This is a process, it takes time.  And while I was initially frustrated that we couldn't start perfectly emulating MMM right now, I realized it's probably a good thing that she's dampened this process a bit.  I might otherwise be tempted to bite off too much at once, which would probably result in frustration, unhappiness, or worse yet, giving up on this lifestyle modification.

As a final kicker: once you establish a decent history of good expense metrics (I'd say at least six months, a year is better), you can make better predictions as to how changes will affect your wealth flow.  A bigger house has an obvious up-front cost increase: it costs more to buy.  But you continue to pay for unneeded size in property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and utilities.  Loosely speaking, if you increase your house size by 50%, your HVAC bills will probably go up about 50%.  Increasing recurring costs is truly the antithesis of FIRE: it lowers the amount you can save, while at the same time raising the amount needed for FIRE.  (Well, maybe consumer debt is the true antithesis of FIRE, but high recurring costs are pretty miserable.)


Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2012, 09:51:29 AM »
@Stashin It - Thank you for the response. It is clear to me now the house discussion is just one component of the entire discussion on life, finances, etc.

That being said, here are some comments on the house:

What you outlined was my preferred path. I could have this house paid off in 3-4 years (I am 31, so I feel good about that) while making incremental improvements. The house (+) are that it is in a location where we can run our animal rescue without neighbors causing issues, there is enough outbuilding space for my hobbies, and the house doesn't need any IMMEDIATE repairs (put on a new roof this year, putting in a new/used HVAC, etc). Low crime, and fairly low taxes / water /sewer. The (-) are that it is in an area with depressed home values (it is a small trashy town and the last couple years have seen considerable political issues that have further pushed down values). Quite a few foreclosures. School system is fair to poor (no kids yet so this is not much of an issue). The main section of the house is over 100 years old and was placed on a new foundation about 60 years ago. The problem is that they used steel girders to place it on, and ceiling height is limited so finishing out the basement is not much of an option. Also some time ago (10-20 years) the house was gutted and the people clearly did not know how to do drywall, or just threw it together as quickly and cheaply as possible. There is not one straight wall in the house. The ceiling in most rooms are the 1/4" thick fiberboard 12x12" tiles that slide together - normally used in basements - and that is it. They are stapled to 1x4's that are nailed to the rafters. The heating and A/C bills are incredibly high. In other words, it needs to be gutted to be done right. This would be ok by me BUT.. if we do this we are just throwing good money after bad as I do not believe the home value will increase enough to compensate.

Also the house is about 25 minutes north of my job and 45 minutes north of hers, and 1 hour north of her parents. She really wants to move somewhere between her job and her parents who she is close with. If we stay where we are at and sink money in to this house, that is a major deal. The house she is looking at is about 2 miles from her parents, 10 minutes from her work, and about 30 minutes from mine (my drive is not a big deal, multiple facilities, I could likely end up working 10 minutes from home within a few years anyways).

@Matt_garman - I am in the Lacon / Henry / Sparland area. And yes you are right on the Fortune 50 company :)

Thank you for the comments. You clearly put a lot of thought in to them so I am going to print them out and read them where I can focus on them.

Brian

travelbug

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2012, 03:46:52 PM »
In our household DH was the one who took convincing. We were all set with the saving, earning, building assets part of the MMM lifestyle but it was the "how much is enough" and the concept of FI and early retirement that made DH fearful.
I run the finances and love calculating scenarios available to us.
It took about 6 months of introducing DH to an alternative lifestyle and focusing on his interests and what he could be doing with his days.
He was on the path of consumerism because he felt he deserved it and a break from his hardworking life. This was an outlet when he had no end in sight.
When we put a light at the end of the tunnel, he could see what a small sacrifice now could give us in a relatively short time period: freedom.
It was liberating. When he was in this space we started researching what we wanted to do together and it really cemented our desire to be free of the grind.
I would echo the comments above and say give her time, share dreams together rather than figures on paper at the start.

Good Luck

Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2012, 07:49:28 AM »
When we put a light at the end of the tunnel, he could see what a small sacrifice now could give us in a relatively short time period: freedom.

I think that is the key. So far it has been presented only as sacrifice or some nebulous long term goal (e.g. not working). Not put in to terms of sacrifice a little now to have unlimited possibilities in the future, and maybe even identifying real goals. For instance we are both heavily involved in animal rescues and I could totally see it being a full time "job" if we were both retired. Satisfying and not work in the least. I just think she is so used to hearing that you work til 60,65+ that it is a foregone conclusion. Heck before 6 or 8 months ago I thought the same thing and did much the same your husband did!

sockmunkee

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #24 on: October 04, 2012, 01:05:38 PM »
So far it has been presented only as sacrifice or some nebulous long term goal (e.g. not working).

I'm in the same situation as you, sorta.  Same combined income (but we both make the same) although we have one toddler and another kid on the way.  Instead of speaking of sacrifices, I went the other route.  Like some of the ppl above, I sent a model to her showing what we'd need to do to get out of wage slave mode in about 10 years (essentially max out 401k and Roth).  I also sent her a few MMM articles but I think she only read one or two. 

I also just got her thinking about, "what would you do if you didn't have to work full time?"  I waited to pose the questions until that part in the evening when your mind is clear and you are in that semi-sleep semi-giddy state.  When she starts thinking about what she'd do in FI, she has talked about volunteering at the library and turning her hobby into a more serious business.  She likes her current job and it's a cool company, but she also really enjoys her hobbies and her time to herself.  I think this makes it easier actually - if she HATED her job, she'd be in more of a rush to get to "retirement" and might have more of a sense of hopelessness.

I don't think she'll be as hardcore as I would like to get to but it has definitely helped sway the "I need a bigger house" conversation to something more along the lines of "we could def. stay her for quite some time."

The best way to get through to her (for me thus far) has been to just be an example.  I started cutting my own hair and making small changes that allow her to see I am serious about it.  And the longer I stick with it, the more she will see that it is not just "one of those phases" that I go through. 

She gets the FI part - she just needs to get more of the expense-awareness part.

Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #25 on: October 05, 2012, 07:56:17 AM »
She gets the FI part - she just needs to get more of the expense-awareness part.

While she doesn't quite get the FI part, the second part hits home!!!

tyd450

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2014, 10:11:20 AM »
Super old thread I wanted to bring back to life for personal reasons.  If your "Fortune 50 Company" which will remain nameless was to lets say relocate HQ to TX in the next 10 years, and at that point you were FI, would you want to stay in Peoria?

I grew up in Peoria as did my wife and we currently life up in Chicago-  Our 10 year plan is to build up our stash with our higher wages up here and then FIRE and relocate back down to Peoria to be close to family and take advantage of the low COL.

But I am trying to envision Peoria without this company... what would happen?  would it totally collapse?  would it be a place where we wouldn't even want to live?

She gets the FI part - she just needs to get more of the expense-awareness part.

While she doesn't quite get the FI part, the second part hits home!!!

AgileTurtle

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #27 on: November 12, 2014, 11:23:41 AM »
I am trying to convince the wife how badass it would be to not worry about money (be FI). I am still in the process of being reformed (lets say, if I was a two pack a day smoker, I am down to somewhere between a half and whole pack). I think that the wife is slowly coming around to a new way of thinking. But I need some help. I was broaching the subject yesterday and she responded with "you can't take money with you" and "you only live once". The context was that for our next house (within a year) she wants to buy roughly double what we need (space and $$). I was trying to push my agenda which was to buy a cheaper, smaller house, remodel, live in for a few years, then rent it out while we moved to a little larger house that needed the same, etc., until we had a number of rental properties providing income and a sizeable enough savings to be FI and do what we want including buying or building a larger house (not a McMansion, but more than we need).

I do totally understand she doesn't want to deal with another shitty house (indeed, our current one, is quite shitty). And the type of house she wants to buy is maybe 1/2 to 2/3 what comparable couples around here might buy (which is not a justification but at least shows some initiative on her part to meet me half way). But I also feel like caving on this point might mean delaying the ability to become FI by tying up money in static assets instead of investing.

Here's the facts:
Wife: Age 26
Me: Age 31
Combined salary: $140k
My desired house: $85k
Her desired house $200-250k

Help!

Buying a fixer uper, working on it while living in it then moving to rent it out sound absolutely horrible to me. Living in a house and doing any major work to it is the last thing I want to do. I see where your wife is coming from.

Also I wanted to buy a cheaper house, wife wanted a nicer one. After looking for a year I came to the conclusion that a not cheap house is far cheaper in the long run and is build a lot better (where I live)  Houses under a cretin price point were that cheap because they were trash. Not advocating for a big fancy house, just saying that buying for a cheap price is sometimes a bad idea.

Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2014, 10:17:38 AM »
Super old thread I wanted to bring back to life for personal reasons.  If your "Fortune 50 Company" which will remain nameless was to lets say relocate HQ to TX in the next 10 years, and at that point you were FI, would you want to stay in Peoria?

I grew up in Peoria as did my wife and we currently life up in Chicago-  Our 10 year plan is to build up our stash with our higher wages up here and then FIRE and relocate back down to Peoria to be close to family and take advantage of the low COL.

But I am trying to envision Peoria without this company... what would happen?  would it totally collapse?  would it be a place where we wouldn't even want to live?

I totally forgot about this thread, and can't believe I've been on here for 2+ years.

Would I stay? Well it depends. Wife wants to restore and live in her family's farm house. If that stays consistent (she still wants that in 10 years) and we were FI I think we'd stay here. On the other hand, if we were FI because of our investments (e.g. rental property), and rental property took a dive because this is a one horse town as far as employers, it would force us to make some decisions.

I personally have no reason to stay here, family is here, but that is only one consideration. I could live anywhere as long as I was FI and had options.

I think if this company left, it would become a little Detroit (a town nearby, Galesburg, reflects what happened when several large employers left). I think that after massive turmoil it would bounce back to some extent but not previous levels. That being said I don't think this company is leaving in the short to medium term, and especially with new leadership for governor. If this company cements its plans for a new campus, barring some major unforeseen event, they would be around here at least 20-30 years.

Other posters:

With the advantage of 2 years of hindsight from my original post, I can comment. Now that we bought a newer house and I fixed up and listed our old house (still not sold though), I 100% emphatically agree that living in a house you are renovating is a non-starter (for most people, including me). I also 100% believe that we would have more money tied up in renovating an older house than in simply enjoying a newer, modest, efficient house. Our "new" house cost ~175k which is about halfway between her and my "ideal" spot. With a higher mortgage but lower rate, much lower utility and maintenance costs, and lower commute, we are netting money. So I guess we compromised and being in this house for 9 months so far we are happy with our choice.

tyd450

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2014, 10:36:31 AM »
I am so pumped that you responded!

Just for shits and giggles I was looking at real estate in the Dunlap area (my wife used to teach in that school district prior to moving to Chicago with me).  I can't believe that people in Peoria are able to afford those prices! 

Here is one for example... http://www.trulia.com/property/1071878153-Stonegate-11019-N-Onyx-Ln-Dunlap-IL-61525 

Obviously a nice new 5 br house... but holy crap $13k in property taxes!

I just don't get how so many people are able to afford this-  and they are still flocking to Dunlap so it seems.  I feel like other than good schools and parks this area has nothing to offer.  No retail at all, not close to anything of any significance so you are totally reliant on driving everywhere for anything.  Most families there have to be so house poor, right?

If big yella was ever to pull out I just picture Dunlap as a foreclosure ridden ghost town.

Personal question-  where do you think is the most mustachian place to live in the greater Peoria area once FIREd?  Somewhere in the Peoria area or possibly in one of the smaller towns like Washington, Lacon, Morton, etc?

Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2014, 11:33:43 AM »
Here is one for example... http://www.trulia.com/property/1071878153-Stonegate-11019-N-Onyx-Ln-Dunlap-IL-61525 

Obviously a nice new 5 br house... but holy crap $13k in property taxes!

I just don't get how so many people are able to afford this-  and they are still flocking to Dunlap so it seems.  I feel like other than good schools and parks this area has nothing to offer.  No retail at all, not close to anything of any significance so you are totally reliant on driving everywhere for anything.  Most families there have to be so house poor, right?

If big yella was ever to pull out I just picture Dunlap as a foreclosure ridden ghost town.

This exact observation is what led me to question goals / savings / possessions / etc.

This area was mostly shielded in 2009. There were layoffs and job elminations but they were always "someone else". There were foreclosures but (mostly) not for houses like the above.

But when there were rumblings about this company and it's HQ, along with my anxiousness I held over since '09, I knew I had to change stuff up. That's when I examined how people could afford things like that house, new cars, etc.

The answer is not that clear. The jobs here at this company are very high paying. A driven college graduate can break the 6 figure barrier by time they reach 30. Almost all of the people I know are dual income though not necessarily the same income level. In addition there is a ripple effect or trickle down to various suppliers and consultants nearby, grocery stores, schools, etc. So there is a lot of money / income in general.

A segment of those people spend everything they have (no big shock). I know a couple who is in their early 40's, no kids, $400k house, 4-5 vacations a year to the Caribbean, etc. etc. I visited them a couple times and thought they had just moved in to their house because many of the rooms were empty. What I finally figured out is they were so house poor that they couldn't afford furniture for the "secondary" rooms. They appear wealthy to passersby but are not. I have also noted that many of these people have wealthy parents since they are second or third generation at the company I work.

A segment of those people do have expensive houses, but have saved considerable money to buy them and didn't get them until later in their careers. My company basically pays for everything when you move overseas and has a very lucrative relocation program domestically. Additionally the company only recently transitioned from pensions to 401k and it was fairly done, so most people over 40 do not have to be particularly careful with their finances (if they believe that nothing could ever happen to their pensions....) I've noticed that many people with houses like the above have relocated at some point so they've been able to save even more of their high incomes than others.

Painting with a broad brush here but that is my take on it.

Funny thing is, that house has a stone facade but almost all the houses in that price range around here have vinyl siding on sides and back. Not exactly what I would call high end.


Personal question-  where do you think is the most mustachian place to live in the greater Peoria area once FIREd?  Somewhere in the Peoria area or possibly in one of the smaller towns like Washington, Lacon, Morton, etc?


How adverse are you to gunfire (only partially kidding)? Peoria itself is incredibly segmented. Some very nice neighborhoods and older houses on boulevards and then a couple streets over it's some sort of war zone. I had an apartment in central Peoria for a ridiculously low rate of $425 / mo with a pool and two carports. Caring management, and a very nice unit. There were a couple break-ins (trying to steal quarters from the downstairs laundry machines) but the people across the way were fine and the back-to-back neighbors were Mormons. I used to jog on streets nearby, all family homes, no issues. You can get older homes full of character in decent parts of Peoria for well under $100k. Schools are so-so but taxes are fairly low. The city has auctioned off homes for less than a thousand bucks but I wouldn't drive down those streets much less live there.

West Peoria has good areas and cheap homes. Lots of blue collar types. Still some criminal elements in some places.

East Peoria (across the river, so not connected to Peoria) is sort of up and coming. They have riverboat and shopping income so it's bringing their schools up, bring people there to live, bringing home prices up, and improving the "picture". We looked at several houses in EP and would have seriously considered it.

Pekin is fairly cheap but is sort of a large town that is contracting / dying.

"Suburbs" - Germantown Hills, Metamora, Washington, Morton, Tremont, Goodfield, Brimfield, Kickapoo, Edwards, Chillicothe - All are good, stable options with good schools. Housing is on higher end for middle income folks but there are still affordable houses. Morton probably has the least affordable older houses, a typical 70's trilevel is no less than 160-180k but there are some houses with character that can be had for less.

We picked Groveland. She grew up there, it is 4 miles from Morton, Morton school district, 10 minutes to work. Some newer houses, and we snatched up one that was 5 years old and very efficient. We also considered Tremont, a few miles down the road, but got lucky and something came up here.

tyd450

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2014, 12:00:42 PM »
I love hearing another local's take on Peoria.  I grew up in North Peoria near Richwoods and so did my wife.  My Mom's side all lives in Washington so I feel really connected to that community as well.  My wife taught in Dunlap so she loves that community. 

Our plan is to move down there in 10 years or so if all goes to plan.   I love analyzing where we should live when we move back but I should probably just stop for now because all could change in the next 10 years so I might as well wait until we are at that point to really make a decision.

We live in an extremely walkable inner ring suburb of Chicago now so I know it will be hard to re-adjust once we move back.

Question-  do you find people from Morton to be somewhat stuck up and materialistic?

Forcus

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Re: Trying to convince the wife
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2014, 01:05:54 PM »
I love hearing another local's take on Peoria.  I grew up in North Peoria near Richwoods and so did my wife.  My Mom's side all lives in Washington so I feel really connected to that community as well.  My wife taught in Dunlap so she loves that community. 

Our plan is to move down there in 10 years or so if all goes to plan.   I love analyzing where we should live when we move back but I should probably just stop for now because all could change in the next 10 years so I might as well wait until we are at that point to really make a decision.

We live in an extremely walkable inner ring suburb of Chicago now so I know it will be hard to re-adjust once we move back.

Question-  do you find people from Morton to be somewhat stuck up and materialistic?

Washington and Dunlap are fine places. North Peoria and Dunlap are so blurred I'm not even sure where the cutoff is anymore.

Yeah 10 years is a long time when you are planning but when you are looking back it sure goes fast.

Totally agree, this place is not at all walk / bike friendly. Not saying that there aren't bike lanes occassionally and that people don't walk but it is a far cry from other places that have been "engineered" to be walkable in the first place. I will say that having used to ride alot, people around here seem to be very accomodating. No car vs.  bike rage for the most part, didn't have a lot of close calls. I really wish I could bike to work but certain areas on my commute would be very hard to do and the roads in some places are downright dangerous (for bikes). I will say they are spending substantial money connecting the riverfront to the Rock Island trail. Technically you could ride from Dunlap to downtown and points in between. They have a bridge over Knoxville which conceivably would help alot with that commute. That being said I don't see a lot of suits paying $13k in property taxes a year in Dunlap, riding a Huffy to work :)

The old saw around here was that Morton is stuck up / materialistic. My take is you can have that attitude anywhere. Heck my old house is across the river from Lacon, there were plenty of snobby people even though it is a fairly low income river / farm town. People down the street from my old house just bought an Escalade even though he's a truck driver and she doesn't work, and they have couches on their front porch. I guess they want to look "fancy" to somebody (notwithstanding that the older Escalades are just Yukons with badges and chrome wheels). Sure you have that in Morton but my take is it has settled down some since I was a kid (I lived in Morton from age 0-17ish).