Author Topic: FI goals, career paths, spending habits and perhaps the reality of reaching FI?  (Read 3087 times)

Rusty_55

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I have been thinking about this for such a long time, that I feel the need to share. In sharing parts of my situation my wife may appear to be “not on the page” concerning FI. I don’t mean to be rude about how her in any way, but without some context, the story is kind of meaningless.

I first heard about FI in the summer of 2016, via an online article about Jacob. Nice read, but it seemed to extreme for me. None the less, I found MMM a few months later, and that really got the ball rolling.

I am 36 years old, and my wife and I have two children, but despite this late start on the FI journey, we made some real progress in the first few months, where needless costs were reduced and removed, and I began to gain a few more practical skills myself. We built a small portfolio of stocks that were liquated in 2017, where we choose to invest in a holiday home close to where we live (not exactly following the standard FI path, but it generates an ok rental income, we continue to do some work on the holiday home, potentially it could be sold for a profit).

Also in 2017, my wife started a college degree to become a high school teacher. Fair enough, we agreed on that. One consequence of this was that our income fell and progress in “building the stash” slowed a lot. This is also the 5th time that she is starting a college degree, so it really has to work out this time.

During this time, I cut down on a lot digressionary spending relating to myself. At the same time, my wife has continued her main hobby, horse riding (dressage). As many of you probably, owning a horse and travelling around the country for competitions is probably one of the least FI friendly hobbies you can have.
So that just about brings me to where I am now. Still optimizing “small stuff” in the budget, while substantial amounts of our income (I take home about 80% of our income) are spent each month on horse riding. And before you ask, the horse riding is not negotiable.

I stopped reading the forums at ERE and MMM in early 2018, because I honestly got a little depressed by reading these journals of people in their 20’s really hitting the ball out of the park each month, whereas I was making very modest progress, despite the hard work.

I have run the numbers (believe me, I have done this many times), and I still believe that we could reach some level of FI by the time I am 49, if we keep on saving, and my wife starts teaching in two years time. But even if that goal is reached, I have a distinct feeling that my wife’s expensive hobby would continue, and she would probably have to work to sustain it – so I would appear to be a stay at home husband (yeah, maybe I should just get over that).

Alternatively, as such a large portion of my income already goes to un-FI related things, then perhaps I should consider a little more digressionary spending on myself (like subscribing to watch Premier League football again, and perhaps some upgrade to my 2001 Kawasaki?).

Adopting MMM thinking has made our finances more robust. But FI is a pretty distant target.

One more thing – FI sometimes gives the impression of enabling a kind of utopian family life and releasing you form the shackles of some soul draining job. I guess that this is the truth for some people. To be honest, I often have to look after our two young children alone in the evenings and at weekends, for varying reasons. While it can be fun, it is often really hard work. I sometimes find myself looking forward to work the next day. I work in engineering, and I am lucky enough to have (mostly) great colleagues and tasks that I see some value in solving. Work isn’t always great (I worked at another company for 1˝ years that certainly wasn’t fun), but it doesn’t have to be bad.

While this post is irrelevant to single people pursuing FI, I think perhaps other people are in similar positions where they are more or less single handily supporting a whole family, including a wife who really isn’t on board with the idea.

Any creative ideas on how to handle this situation?

fuzzy math

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I think you're in a unique situation because your wife's dreams are much easier to accomplish while young (I don't think many 60 yr olds do dressage) so I can't imagine you asking her to sacrifice everything for an ideal life later would be very motivating for her.

The best you can do is have an honest conversation about your life goals and let her know your intentions. If she wants to spend more now she will have to earn more later. I normally advocate for joint spending accounts but in this scenario if you want to pursue your goal it may be best if you spend and save separately so you can demonstrate your contributions. Then when it's time for you to FIRE she won't have much of a shock to complain about. Be up front and casually bring it up in conversation. If she challenges it, it's an easy place to bring up her spending and how she can better align it now if she wants to finish at the same time as you.

I have full stop told my DH that I am retiring in 8 years. I am the main earner and I don't piss away my personal money the way he does. He is just getting started in his career (plus finishing school like  your wife) and he will likely continue to work for a few years after me while I assume the primary household duties. I've made that known for 2 years now and I would be very disappointed if he complained about it in the future.

Mustache ride

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I second fuzzy math's suggestions. If my wife wants to have such an expensive hobby, she is free to pay for it with her earnings. I think the saying goes... you can have anything, you just can't have everything. If you want to spend all that money and still retire in x amount of years, well the numbers need to support that.

undercover

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Doesn't sound like you two are on the same page at all and you're picking up the bulk of the work.

Sorry to be blunt but there's no way in hell I'd be taking care of kids most of the time and also paying for an expensive hobby I take no part in. I sincerely hope you're not paying for the majority of it (I hope you're at least traveling with her because if not, who knows what she's doing). It was her decision to downsize her income/career and she should take responsibility for that.

Sounds like she wants to live her life and for you to support it while not really caring about what you do. Doesn't sound like she's taking things seriously...5th attempt at college!? You should have had separate accounts a long time ago. You're being had in my opinion. I know you have a family and shit's tough but there's no way personally I could stomach living like that another 13 years. Things need to change or you're going to collapse I think.

I would weigh all of this against how good my personal life was with my partner as well though because of course that matters. If she's truly worth it then some compromises can be made but at the same time you need to allow yourself to hit your own personal goals irrespective of her poor decisions. Opening up your discretionary spending in order to level the playing field between her and your spending is not the answer. That's just masking the problem. Relationships and marriages are about partnership and working together and not about being the other person's caretaker.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2019, 09:12:53 AM by undercover »

Padonak

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Yes, this whole situation sounds like a slow moving train wreck. I don't have any advice, just sympathy.

CheapScholar

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Undercover pretty much said what needed to be said.  It’s super hard to give advice without personally knowing you and your spouse.  I know you just came to get opinions and to help you think about all this, and this is a great forum but it’s still strangers on the internet.

Sounds like a really tough situation.  I think it’d be tough for any reasonable person with generally good person finance goals, not just someone into FIRE.  I’m about your age and looking to retire around 50.  I probably could retire around 45 but I really like my job and I’d gladly work an extra 5 years to put my son through private university and have some extra cash to travel.

I think the way you hit this home with your spouse is saying that retiring at 49/50 is very early by modern standards but not exactly ultra radical or unheard of either.  Make clear this is important to you and that you want to spend your 50s and 60s doing what you want to do and not working for the man.  I get that you found FIRE a little late, but I don’t think that’s asking too much of a spouse if you’re the one working so fucking hard. 

wageslave23

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I would say that if your wife wants to go back to school to get a degree then that's great, but until she starts making a good living then all discretionary spending needs to be eliminated.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.  That's not mustachian just common sense.  She should also be responsible for the majority of the household chores.  Marriage is a partnership and right now she is just taking advantage of you.

soccerluvof4

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Marriage is a lot about making compromises/Give and take.  It took me awhile to get my wife on board and I was careful to just show her things as opposed to force on her (not that that is what your doing). The practicality of showing her how spending 1400$a month in groceries vs 600$ was just moronic to keep doing it. It took a year of me just showing/sharing what people on MMM were doing and now shes as much  of a driving force in what we have done as I am.  Sadly, I don't see a lot of compromise in your marriage. I agree with others your supporting her bad habits per sae. You can accomplish both but there has to be compromises.

Good Luck I wish you the best but if you guys dont address this, this could lead to bigger issues.

Kathryn K.

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Let's take it easy on the wife here.  The OP has only relatively recently got on the MMM train and now wants to change the (stated or unstated) parameters of their joint financial life.  I have a feeling the wife's horseback riding is something she has been involved with for a long time (possible even before the OP himself came into the picture), so in a sense you knew what you were signing up for.

However, I also realize that we all change and couples need to make mutual adjustments along the way.  What does your wife think about FI in general and your FI timeline? Is she ok with working after you have retired? (I will say the 5th attempt at college is concerning.)  Have you gone over the numbers with her in detail?

Disclosure, I have been wrestling myself with how much $$$ to put towards continuing a horseback riding hobby.  This might be heresy here (and part of why I think I may need to step back from participating here/thinking about things as much from a MMM mindset), but seems like the FI dream may sometimes cause more problems than it solves, since if you're not a high earner and/or have expensive hobbies (which even after reflection you conclude are important to you), you aren't just cutting out the fluff to get to FI, you have to make really hard  cuts that make your present day life much less enjoyable. There are also many people who don't mind/enjoy working or certain things are important enough to them (i.e. horses), that relatively large amounts of money spent on them are worth it.

The OP himself admits he doesn't mind his job and doesn't necessarily want more time at home at this point. Is the problem the wife's hobby or is the problem the OP getting fixated on FI even if such a goal doesn't really fit in with the rest of his life right now?

wageslave23

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I don't think the problem is dressage or horse back riding in general, it's the timing of it.  Unless you inherit a bunch of money or work your ass off while going to school, you can't afford an expensive hobby while going to college or a fancy car or expensive vacations.  If you are working and have extra money, then spend it on what makes you happy.  The OPs wife is living a lifestyle that wouldn't be possible without him subsidizing it.

Kathryn K.

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It seems like the OP was fine with "subsidizing" (not a big fan of that word between spouses) the wife's hobby until FI came into the picture. 

OP - if FI is truly something that's important to you, and not just a shiny sounding idea that gives you a focus/interest you might have been lacking (for example, how would you want to spend your time when you are FI?), sounds like you need to have some hard discussions with your wife.  Could there be a compromise that your wife cuts back on her hobby until she has a job again?

Rusty_55

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Wow, thanks for all the replies above.

To be fair, my wife does have some sense of frugality when shopping groceries, clothes, etc. We’ve talked about FI numerous times. She likes the idea and has contributed a little, but she has her red lines – dressage being one of them. She paid for it (almost) all herself until she went back to school 18 months ago.

Exactly as Kathryn mentioned, she was really into horses as a girl, stopped in her late teens, and then restarted a decade later. It means more to her than FI. Of the previous attempts at college she succeeded to get degree in tourism previously, and worked in that field for about seven years, but it became incompatible with children, due to the hours (and also exceedingly low pay).

There are probably some FI hardliners who would opt straight for a divorce in my situation. While it certainly would make my own FI project shorter, it is not even on the table for me, due to our children.

So yeah, a “house husband” at 49, while she works to maintain her hobby. I know I shouldn’t worry about what other people think, but men who don’t work while their wife does are sometimes stigmatized.

I guess could always call myself an independent web designer, even if I only make about one site a year worth $200 😉

Aelias

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So yeah, a “house husband” at 49, while she works to maintain her hobby. I know I shouldn’t worry about what other people think, but men who don’t work while their wife does are sometimes stigmatized.

I guess could always call myself an independent web designer, even if I only make about one site a year worth $200 😉

Putting aside some of the other considerations relating to your wife, I think it would be well worth your time to unpack your feelings about being a SAHP while your wife works.  Part of it seems to come from an expectation that there would be stigma against you as a man for not working while your wife did.  One of the things I'm coming to realize about this whole FIRE thing is that it requires a pretty high comfort level with living really differently than your peer group.  You'll be living differently in the lead up to FIRE because you won't be buying the things everyone else buys.  And you'll be living way differently once you actually pull the plug.  If you're going to end your career at 49, you're going to get all kinds of reactions.  Some people in your life will be impressed, but others may think you're crazy, short-sighted, lazy, irresponsible, etc.  You can engage those people if you wish, but at a certain point, you have to be comfortable saying, "I've made my choice, and I'm comfortable with it.  It's not your concern."  In other words, you should cultivate The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (see Mark Manson's definitive treatise on the subject at https://markmanson.net/not-giving-a-fuck)

If people think less of you as man because you're not working and your wife does? DGAF.  If it works for your family, do it and don't apologize for it.  It has become much more common in the last few decades anyway, and anyone who would judge you negatively for that is not worth your time.

The other piece of it seems to be the recognition that being a full-time caregiver for a family is a seriously demanding commitment on its own.  My husband and I both work right now, partly because it helps put us on the path to FI, but also partly because neither of us wants to be a full-time stay-at-home caregiver for our two kids!  We LIKE being able to go to work and engage our brains on adulty problems and have 5 goddamn minutes of peace without the kids asking for something.

So, you might consider what we're doing: budgeting for childcare expenses as part of FI.   We want retirement to include plenty of time to pursue our own hobbies and intellectual interests.  That means paying someone else to watch the kids.  So, we're budgeting for that.  And if someone wants to judge us negatively for that, well . . . see the discussion above ;)




Slow&Steady

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I just want to post that you are not alone in working towards FI with a spouse that agrees with the concept but is really not ready to be in the the "save until it hurts" category. I also earn 80% of our take home and therefore end up paying for things that I don't think hit the FI ball out of the park.  However, a big difference between you and I is that I am the female of the couple and although DH now runs his own income producing business, he has often been considered by peers to be a stay at home dad/husband.  GET THE HELL OVER YOURSELF, you looking down your nose at being a "house husband" because you are male are exactly the assholes that the other "house husbands" or stay at home dads don't want to deal with. Plus, it is entirely sexist to believe it is okay for a woman but beneath you. 

Now for the other FI goal advice, create a budget with your wife.  Include both of your priorities (savings & dressage) and set a dollar amount for each category per month and then stop over analyzing.  This is a marriage, compromise. If you want to add extra luxuries back into your life, that would need to decrease the money going towards your priority, not hers.  If you guys can't agree on a budget that both can feel like their priorities are being serviced then it might be time to talk about split finances, knowing that her priority isn't FI so she will probably reach that goal much later in life than you will, again bring you back to potentially being a "house husband" (and obviously this would be absolutely horrible).

Last thing, being FI doesn't mean that you have to stop working if you don't want to.  It means you get to make choices about your life that fit your none financial needs/wants.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 11:34:45 AM by Slow&Steady »

MrThatsDifferent

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Hmmm, so mich to unpack here. It’s great that you’re reaching out to internet strangers. I’m hoping this will give you the courage to talk to your wife about marriage counseling. Above you wrote that you won’t consider divorce because of the kids. What you haven’t said is that you love your wife with your whole being and are so happy with her. Now, I’m sure you so love her, she’s the mother of her kids. But I’m imagining that if she’s riding horses, studying, you’re working, watching the kids and all other house stuff is being done by you both, there isn’t much space for sex and intimacy. And when you lose that, you lose the connection. I’d prioritize your marriage first, otherwise your resentment now, which may be an acorn, will grow and you may discover that plenty of people with children who vowed to never divorce because of kids, do so to save themselves.

As you work through therapy and start communicating with each other, you’ll need to address her hobby. That’s hers and she has every right to it. It’s also reasonable that she fully fund it. Marriage and families mean sacrifice. It sometimes means the adults don’t get everything they want because they chose to bring lives in this world to look after. The kids are missing out on you both together, that already is a sacrifice and now financial health and stability are being sacrificed as well. She has her red line, um, ok. You can have yours, you can help subsidize college, but she will cover her hobby herself and if it means putting that on hold until she finishes college and gets a job, those are her adult decisions.

But I wouldn’t go to your red line yet, without the counseling. And if you’re too worried to go to couples counseling, perhaps have some visits with a therapist yourself. You need someone to talk to and you need to build your confidence to address the issues in your marriage so you can have a healthier relationship and so the kids can thrive with you both. Make your mission, save my marriage, because it’s at risk and you’re so, very unhappy right now, but there’s way to work through this. Good luck!

BrightFIRE

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One question I have: have you 2 actually had a conversation about the expenses, or have you been silently assuming dressage was "off the table" meanwhile feeling silently obligated to therefore make cuts in your own expenses, all the while silently resenting it? This doesn't need to be an ultimatum, but you should have a conversation with her about it.

Yes, a relationship involves compromise, but I don't see where your wife is doing any compromising. I'd say the dressage needs to stop while she's in school and she can start back when she has a job and can fund it herself. School is not a hobby, but it is a choice, and she should be able to recognize that she can't have 2 extremely expensive discretionary income activities going with only your salary. (Plus the vacation house, right? So 3 ways you guys are burning up your 1 income.)

From an outside perspective, it seems pretty unfair to you. My partner is currently unemployed, and we are both cutting back - and believe you me, I'd be really annoyed if he thought he was entitled to an expensive hobby and any discussion of it was "off the table."

And yeah, the house husband talk is BS and sexist. Stop being that guy.


CindyBS

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And yeah, the house husband talk is BS and sexist. Stop being that guy.

Yep, I couldn't agree with this more.  What an insult to the stay at home parents in the group. 


I think it is totally reasonable for your wife to want to do a hobby that she has been passionate about while she is physically able to if she is willing to work for it.   Especially since you have only found FI recently and were not up front about this before marriage.

pegleglolita

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I sincerely hope you're not paying for the majority of it (I hope you're at least traveling with her because if not, who knows what she's doing).

Whoa, this is a seriously creepy statement. I don't think the OP indicated in any way that there were the kind of significant interpersonal problems that lead to infidelity.  Pro Tip: "controlling and suspicious", never in the top ten qualities needed for a healthy relationship. 

LibrarianFuzz

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Just wanted to point this out: when you talk about your wife’s hobby, the tone is one of real resentment.

There’s no pride at all. Pride in your wife.

I think this is a pretty amazing, accomplished, skilled, and respectable hobby. In fact, it seems more like a passion for her than a hobby. And you’re only able to see the money side of it. What it’s costing.

I mean, some people have wives whose only hobby is to sit around and eat all day. Sorry if that seems disrespectful, but I know a few wives like that IRL.

How would your wife feel if she read your post? Does she think that you’ve proud of her dressage, or does she know it’s a source of major resentment for you?

If she read your post and it would surprise her, shock her, or make her cry, some counseling might be in order. Definitely doesn’t sound like you two are on the same page.

rockeTree

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Dressage is expensive and she very well could do it into old age. If she has a horse she can’t just stop- it needs food and a home and to be kept at a reasonable skill level and all the rest.  But it’s not a huge ask to say “while you’re in school and not earning and with less time for family, can you do fewer events?” - every one is entry fees and paperwork and trailer transport and housing and and and... a step back in intensity might feel ok to both of you.

AlexMar

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Is getting rid of the wife negotiable?

I am in a similar situation where I earn almost all of the money, wife and 2 kids - but I absolutely cannot relate to you.  Maybe because my wife actually respects the fact that I bring home a vast majority of the income.  So while she has a credit card, she would NEVER spend money on horses (which is funny because that's HER hobby, too) - she won't buy expensive things, and she has a very respectful nature when it comes to the fact that she isn't the one earning the income. Yet your wife is going to waste money for a 5th time on a college degree... so she can be a low paid high school teacher and still rape your finances and FI dreams with horse riding in the most expensive way possible.  And with those spending habits, it's pretty damn obvious that she blows money on dumb shit more than horse riding and college degrees that she never finishes.  For me, it just seems like your wife doesn't respect your labor one bit.  You are an ATM for her.

It seems your wife likes to spend spend spend but not earn earn earn.  Pretty sweet deal she has going.  Until that issue can be solved, the rest seems pointless.

Sorry to sound like an asshole, I just think you have some serious spending and respect issues in your marriage and beating around the bush isn't going to solve them.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 07:16:33 AM by AlexMar »

AlexMar

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So yeah, a “house husband” at 49, while she works to maintain her hobby. I know I shouldn’t worry about what other people think, but men who don’t work while their wife does are sometimes stigmatized.

I guess could always call myself an independent web designer, even if I only make about one site a year worth $200 😉

I know others are jumping on you for this.  Just want to throw it out there that I don't see anything wrong with it.  Having some sense of what it means to be a "man" doesn't bother me at all and I think it's healthy.  Nothing wrong with appreciating more traditional gender roles and what that means while still being modern and flexible.  I personally wouldn't mind staying home while my wife worked if it's because I reached FI.  I wouldn't like the idea of staying home while my wife worked because I wanted to be a house husband and not earn anything.  Others see it differently and I respect that, but they should also respect your feelings and views.

DadJokes

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I generally support the idea of combined finances. My wife and I share everything in our household.

However, what you are describing would make me want to separate them. You could even consider combining everything, paying the necessities, then dividing the remainder 50/50. She can use her half for her expensive hobby, and you can use your half to invest or spend however you see fit. The downside is that if you ever did get divorced, she would be entitled to half of those investments, which is BS considering the circumstances.

On the other hand, the whole purpose of seeking FI is to be able to fund your freedom and achieve true contentment. If that is what makes her happy, then there is no reason to consider withholding it. The question becomes whether or not what fulfills her life keeps you from achieving what will make your life fulfilled. If that's the case, then something is going to have to give.

aGracefulStomp

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I get the impression that you haven't communicated how you are feeling with your significant other. Have you expressly and clearly communicated the gist of this post with your wife? Otherwise I don't feel like she is being given a fair chance to be a good partner i.e. being given the opportunity to work with you to figure out a financial arrangement where each of you feel supported and happy.

In your previous discussions with your wife, she said that dressage was one thing she would not be willing to give up for FIRE. Obviously this thing is very very important to her.  In other words, your wife's special thing is dressage and your special thing is FI. What I'm reading is that your wife isn't willing to give up her special thing so that you can do your special thing, and you are unhappy about it.

Before we all go after the wife with pitch forks, why should your special thing should be prioritised over your partners special thing? You acknowledged that your wife paid for the activity until she went back to uni 18 months ago ... a decision which you both agreed too. I imagine she will resume paying for it once she graduates. Further, as you've also acknowledged, your wife has being doing her special thing since she was a child...you only found your special thing 3 years ago.

I'm not saying that it's all or nothing in terms of who is prioritised - people have raised very good ideas about splitting finances and/or having your wife work to pay for it while you pursue FI - all of which seem very reasonable!

Just please be aware that you've asked a hardcore cult-like community (which I'm happily part of) for an opinion regarding FIRE, and predictably the general consensus is that your wife is being unreasonable. I don't think that position is very fair...even more so if you haven't expressed how you are feeling to your wife. People can't read minds!
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 12:57:14 AM by aGracefulStomp »

EnjoyIt

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Is getting rid of the wife negotiable?

I am in a similar situation where I earn almost all of the money, wife and 2 kids - but I absolutely cannot relate to you.  Maybe because my wife actually respects the fact that I bring home a vast majority of the income.  So while she has a credit card, she would NEVER spend money on horses (which is funny because that's HER hobby, too) - she won't buy expensive things, and she has a very respectful nature when it comes to the fact that she isn't the one earning the income. Yet your wife is going to waste money for a 5th time on a college degree... so she can be a low paid high school teacher and still rape your finances and FI dreams with horse riding in the most expensive way possible.  And with those spending habits, it's pretty damn obvious that she blows money on dumb shit more than horse riding and college degrees that she never finishes.  For me, it just seems like your wife doesn't respect your labor one bit.  You are an ATM for her.

It seems your wife likes to spend spend spend but not earn earn earn.  Pretty sweet deal she has going.  Until that issue can be solved, the rest seems pointless.

Sorry to sound like an asshole, I just think you have some serious spending and respect issues in your marriage and beating around the bush isn't going to solve them.

Once, in a financial advice conversation with a high income earner and the stay at home spouse with 2 kids, I pointed out how they were spending a bit too much to keep up with all their extravagant expenses.  The stay at home spouse actually had the nerve to say "Can you pick up overtime?" What is worse, is the worker was already picking up extra shifts and still not making ends meet.

Being a stay at home parent is very hard work and that parent needs to be respected for the work that they put in, but, so does the spouse who is bringing in the cash.  I have another couple with a stay at home spouse who gets upset that the working spouse comes home from work and wants to relax a little but instead expects that worker to now do errands around the house immediately.  BTW, the working spouse is putting in 60-70 hours a week at work.  Guess what the working spouse does now.  He stays late at the office but uses that time to relax prior to coming home because that doesn't cause fighting.  So sad.

On the contrary, I have a friend and the roles are very well defined and very well respected.  Their goal is early financial independence.  The worker makes good money due to lots and lots of overtime while the stay at home spouse makes sure there is always food on the table, lunch is packed, gas is in the car and all the kids are well taken care of.  They both talk about each other as a team working together for a common goal.  Now that's a marriage.

@Rusty_55,
I feel for you.  I think it is time to really lay out all the cards on the table and have a discussion with your wife if you are still in love and want to make this marriage work. You two are supposed to be a team and maybe it is time you both started acting like one.  It doesn't mean she needs to give up her hobby, but that money needs to come from somewhere and maybe until she has a job she should cut back and sacrifice a little.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 11:48:32 PM by EnjoyIt »

AlexMar

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Is getting rid of the wife negotiable?

I am in a similar situation where I earn almost all of the money, wife and 2 kids - but I absolutely cannot relate to you.  Maybe because my wife actually respects the fact that I bring home a vast majority of the income.  So while she has a credit card, she would NEVER spend money on horses (which is funny because that's HER hobby, too) - she won't buy expensive things, and she has a very respectful nature when it comes to the fact that she isn't the one earning the income. Yet your wife is going to waste money for a 5th time on a college degree... so she can be a low paid high school teacher and still rape your finances and FI dreams with horse riding in the most expensive way possible.  And with those spending habits, it's pretty damn obvious that she blows money on dumb shit more than horse riding and college degrees that she never finishes.  For me, it just seems like your wife doesn't respect your labor one bit.  You are an ATM for her.

It seems your wife likes to spend spend spend but not earn earn earn.  Pretty sweet deal she has going.  Until that issue can be solved, the rest seems pointless.

Sorry to sound like an asshole, I just think you have some serious spending and respect issues in your marriage and beating around the bush isn't going to solve them.

Once, in a financial advice conversation with a high income earner and the stay at home spouse with 2 kids, I pointed out how they were spending a bit too much to keep up with all their extravagant expenses.  The stay at home spouse actually had the nerve to say "Can you pick up overtime?" What is worse, is the worker was already picking up extra shifts and still not making ends meet.

Being a stay at home parent is very hard work and that parent needs to be respected for the work that they put in, but, so does the spouse who is bringing in the cash.  I have another couple with a stay at home spouse who gets upset that the working spouse comes home from work and wants to relax a little but instead expects that worker to now do errands around the house immediately.  BTW, the working spouse is putting in 60-70 hours a week at work.  Guess what the working spouse does now.  He stays late at the office but uses that time to relax prior to coming home because that doesn't cause fighting.  So sad.

On the contrary, I have a friend and the roles are very well defined and very well respected.  Their goal is early financial independence.  The worker makes good money due to lots and lots of overtime while the stay at home spouse makes sure there is always food on the table, lunch is packed, gas is in the car and all the kids are well taken care of.  They both talk about each other as a team working together for a common goal.  Now that's a marriage.

@Rusty_55,
I feel for you.  I think it is time to really lay out all the cards on the table and have a discussion with your wife if you are still in love and want to make this marriage work. You two are supposed to be a team and maybe it is time you both started acting like one.  It doesn't mean she needs to give up her hobby, but that money needs to come from somewhere and maybe until she has a job she should cut back and sacrifice a little.

I think a lot of issues stem from the idea that both partners in a marriage are equal. They are rarely, if ever. And in a relationship where one vastly out earns the other, they are nowhere near equal.  Inevitably, the person who is producing the most ends up feeling resentment and used.  In my marriage, there is no question that we are not economically equal. And so my wife has a lot of respect and appreciation for what I bring. Which means she doesn't feel like she is equally entitled to just spend it however she wishes. And there is no resentment. As you mentioned another couple, we are similar and had very well defined roles and expectations when the decision was made for my wife to stay home.  To me, it seems like OP has a relationship where the wife feels entitled to his earnings and he doesn't quite like that!

bacchi

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Wow, this thread has jumped the shark a bit.


Before we all go after the wife with pitch forks, why should your special thing should be prioritised over your partners special thing? You acknowledged that your wife paid for the activity until she went back to uni 18 months ago ... a decision which you both agreed too. I imagine she will resume paying for it once she graduates. Further, as you've also acknowledged, your wife has being doing her special thing since she was a child...you only found your special thing 3 years ago.

Good advice but what does the length of enjoying a special thing have to do with the price of tea in China (and you're not the only one to mention this)?

The OP has found his "thing," which is saving up for freedom to make a choice about paid employment. Why should it matter that a passion was found 3 years ago instead of in childhood?

I agree that going back to school was a mutual decision and the OP should probably continue to pay for the hobby until the wife gets a job. Then decisions can be made about where all of the earned income goes.

msbutterbean

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In my marriage, there is no question that we are not economically equal. And so my wife has a lot of respect and appreciation for what I bring. Which means she doesn't feel like she is equally entitled to just spend it however she wishes. And there is no resentment. As you mentioned another couple, we are similar and had very well defined roles and expectations when the decision was made for my wife to stay home.

Just curious, do you feel entitled to make decisions about how your kids are being raised? It sounds like your wife is doing all the heavy lifting in this department, so I hope there would be no resentment on your part if she went on the internet and described you as not being parentally equal.

AlexMar

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In my marriage, there is no question that we are not economically equal. And so my wife has a lot of respect and appreciation for what I bring. Which means she doesn't feel like she is equally entitled to just spend it however she wishes. And there is no resentment. As you mentioned another couple, we are similar and had very well defined roles and expectations when the decision was made for my wife to stay home.

Just curious, do you feel entitled to make decisions about how your kids are being raised? It sounds like your wife is doing all the heavy lifting in this department, so I hope there would be no resentment on your part if she went on the internet and described you as not being parentally equal.

You have no idea what my wife does and what we both do around the house, etc. I also clearly wrote "economically equal" which has nothing to do with my kids.  We communicate very well and are totally on the same page. She lives a life that most dream of. We both do. And it works great. The key is having respect for the things the other person does.  She cleans, for example, so I'm very respectful and careful about making a mess. I appreciate her hard work. I work hard and bring in a lot of money, and she is respectful of what I do as well.  We would never be in a position like OP.

And by the way, my wife does make a majority of the decisions about how the kids are raised as she is with them the most. I respect her decisions and don't always agree, but she generally gets the final say. I have no resentment at all about it.  Only when it comes to safety, we both have to 100% agree and basically each have veto power when it comes to that.  Again, it's all about communication and being on the same page.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 03:11:10 PM by AlexMar »

EnjoyIt

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Again, it's all about communication and being on the same page.

This and nothing more.

use2betrix

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One thing that I think is important for every member here, is if you found FI, MMM, etc., after marriage and are looking to drastically change your ways, you have to realize that you accepted your spouse for who they are when you married them. Hopefully people can explain and try to instill some change, but if there’s some pushback, it needs to be understood that in some senses it can be unreasonable to expect you spouse to just accept drastic changes of their habits.

I am very fortunate that not only has my wife always been frugal (I’m not) but even though my income has gone up 5-6x since we’ve met, our spending has only gone up around 1.5x or so. I feel the avoidance of major lifestyle creep (although I’ve bought plenty of junk and wasted plenty of money occasionally)!

horsepoor

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PTF.  Also a dressage rider.  I'll post back later.

aGracefulStomp

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Wow, this thread has jumped the shark a bit.


Before we all go after the wife with pitch forks, why should your special thing should be prioritised over your partners special thing? You acknowledged that your wife paid for the activity until she went back to uni 18 months ago ... a decision which you both agreed too. I imagine she will resume paying for it once she graduates. Further, as you've also acknowledged, your wife has being doing her special thing since she was a child...you only found your special thing 3 years ago.

Good advice but what does the length of enjoying a special thing have to do with the price of tea in China (and you're not the only one to mention this)?

The OP has found his "thing," which is saving up for freedom to make a choice about paid employment. Why should it matter that a passion was found 3 years ago instead of in childhood?

I agree that going back to school was a mutual decision and the OP should probably continue to pay for the hobby until the wife gets a job. Then decisions can be made about where all of the earned income goes.

The two paragraphs that followed explained why I was raising a different perspective from what has been provided in the thread so far. I'm not going to bother re-explaining myself if you can't be bothered to analyse what I said in its entirety.

horsepoor

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Dressage is expensive and she very well could do it into old age. If she has a horse she can’t just stop- it needs food and a home and to be kept at a reasonable skill level and all the rest.  But it’s not a huge ask to say “while you’re in school and not earning and with less time for family, can you do fewer events?” - every one is entry fees and paperwork and trailer transport and housing and and and... a step back in intensity might feel ok to both of you.

OK, I've had a chance to read through this whole thread, and I don't fully understand the OP's wife's horse-life situation.  Whether or not she owns a horse makes a big difference, as well as what caliber/training level of horse it is.  If she owns a decently trained, not too quirky horse, I think it would be reasonable to agree to dial back on the shows and possibly half-lease the horse, or make it available to use as a lesson horse to defray expenses.

A person can "do dressage" all day without showing.  TBH, I find traveling to shows, and all the associated expense, to be ridiculous while in school.  The horse and rider can advance just fine (or more) by staying home for a couple years.  There are also plenty of cheap or free online resources now to help with instruction, so any lessons can be dialed back.  I do this and only get 1-2 lessons per month to keep me on track.

If OP's wife doesn't own a horse, and is a fairly good rider, she could probably "catch ride" other people's horses for free, and continue to advance, or at least not get rusty, while she finishes school (maybe even get paid if she doesn't care about maintaining amateur status).  I did this when I was in college. 

For some of the other posters, on timeline - many people keep riding dressage into their 70's, and even 80's.  The person who said not many people would keep doing it in their 60's is incorrect.  Often jumpers and eventers "dial down" to the more sedate sport of dressage at that age. ;)

However, stopping the sport in your 30's and 40's is really problematic.  A lot of women go back to the sport when their kids are grown, and they are 50'ish, and end up fighting through body stiffness and fear issues that hold them back much more than people of the same age to never stopped riding. 

So while I fully understand the horse and dressage training being non-negotiable, it does not need to be super-expensive.  I personally think it would be reasonable for the OP to talk through some cost-cutting measures with his wife while she is in school, without needing a black and white "stop all riding" ultimatum.

bacchi

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Wow, this thread has jumped the shark a bit.


Before we all go after the wife with pitch forks, why should your special thing should be prioritised over your partners special thing? You acknowledged that your wife paid for the activity until she went back to uni 18 months ago ... a decision which you both agreed too. I imagine she will resume paying for it once she graduates. Further, as you've also acknowledged, your wife has being doing her special thing since she was a child...you only found your special thing 3 years ago.

Good advice but what does the length of enjoying a special thing have to do with the price of tea in China (and you're not the only one to mention this)?

The OP has found his "thing," which is saving up for freedom to make a choice about paid employment. Why should it matter that a passion was found 3 years ago instead of in childhood?

I agree that going back to school was a mutual decision and the OP should probably continue to pay for the hobby until the wife gets a job. Then decisions can be made about where all of the earned income goes.

The two paragraphs that followed explained why I was raising a different perspective from what has been provided in the thread so far. I'm not going to bother re-explaining myself if you can't be bothered to analyse what I said in its entirety.

No, the two paragraphs that followed didn't explain why a 3 year old "special thing" was less important than a "special thing" from childhood. Perhaps you should explain more clearly so that those of us who aren't as clever can understand. Thanks.

aGracefulStomp

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Wow, this thread has jumped the shark a bit.


Before we all go after the wife with pitch forks, why should your special thing should be prioritised over your partners special thing? You acknowledged that your wife paid for the activity until she went back to uni 18 months ago ... a decision which you both agreed too. I imagine she will resume paying for it once she graduates. Further, as you've also acknowledged, your wife has being doing her special thing since she was a child...you only found your special thing 3 years ago.

Good advice but what does the length of enjoying a special thing have to do with the price of tea in China (and you're not the only one to mention this)?

The OP has found his "thing," which is saving up for freedom to make a choice about paid employment. Why should it matter that a passion was found 3 years ago instead of in childhood?

I agree that going back to school was a mutual decision and the OP should probably continue to pay for the hobby until the wife gets a job. Then decisions can be made about where all of the earned income goes.

The two paragraphs that followed explained why I was raising a different perspective from what has been provided in the thread so far. I'm not going to bother re-explaining myself if you can't be bothered to analyse what I said in its entirety.

No, the two paragraphs that followed didn't explain why a 3 year old "special thing" was less important than a "special thing" from childhood. Perhaps you should explain more clearly so that those of us who aren't as clever can understand. Thanks.

Sorry if my response was particularly snarky - there's a lot of posters who give full and comprehensive advice, and then other posters quote a sentence or paragraph out of context, the original poster feels obliged to defend that single sentence or paragraph and the general thesis of what they were saying is lost/ignored (and the quality of the discussion goes down). It felt like this was happening here (a view definitely shaped by how sharky this thread has become absolutely!), but apologise if it wasn't :)

My post was pointing out that the OP's partner refusing to give up something that is important to her so that the OP can pursue something that is important to him is reasonable (as long as there is some compromise on both ends).

I agree that the amount of time shouldn't be a deciding factor, but it's relevant when considering the point of view of OP's wife which I don't feel like this thread has.

OP's partner has done dressage her whole life. OP would have known that while they were dating, while they were engaged, when they got married, when they had kids, when they decided that she could go back to university. OP, after dating, after they got engaged, after they got married, after they had kids, finds his passion and discusses it with his wife who generally gets on board but refuses to give up this thing that she's done her whole life.

I think that that's a reasonable position for OP's wife to have, even more so if OP hasn't communicated how he's feeling and that conversation above took place 3 years ago.

Absolutely there needs to be compromise on her end, which - if he clearly communicates to her how much it is distressing him while at the same time acknowledging that his thing doesn't get priority purely because he wants it to - I'm sure she would be 100% on board with as someone who wants to see her partner happy and fulfilled.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 03:35:59 PM by aGracefulStomp »

bacchi

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Sorry if my response was particularly snarky - there's a lot of posters who give full and comprehensive advice, and then other posters quote a sentence or paragraph out of context, the original poster feels obliged to defend that single sentence or paragraph and the general thesis of what they were saying is lost/ignored (and the quality of the discussion goes down). It felt like this was happening here (a view definitely shaped by how sharky this thread has become absolutely!), but apologise if it wasn't :)

My post was pointing out that the OP's partner refusing to give up something that is important to her so that the OP can pursue something that is important to him is reasonable (as long as there is some compromise on both ends).

I agree that the amount of time shouldn't be a deciding factor, but it's relevant when considering the point of view of OP's wife which I don't feel like this thread has.

OP's partner has done dressage her whole life. OP would have known that while they were dating, while they were engaged, when they got married, when they had kids, when they decided that she could go back to university. OP, after dating, after they got engaged, after they got married, after they had kids, finds his passion and discusses it with his wife who generally gets on board but refuses to give up this thing that she's done her whole life.

I think that that's a reasonable position for OP's wife to have, even more so if OP hasn't communicated how he's feeling and that conversation above took place 3 years ago.

Absolutely there needs to be compromise on her end, which - if he clearly communicates to her how much it is distressing him while at the same time acknowledging that his thing doesn't get priority purely because he wants it to - I'm sure she would be 100% on board with as someone who wants to see her partner happy and fulfilled.

Thanks, that makes sense and I agree.