Author Topic: Advice needed from Mustachians married to non-Mustachians. Please help!  (Read 1041 times)

bornInFlorida

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I have been married to a Non-Mustachian for 10+ years. We've had our challenges in the past and have made things work. However, now my DW, is wanting to upgrade to a bigger house in HCOL. I am completely fine with my existing home which is also in HCOL area. The bigger home, the type she likes, is twice as expensive. That means our savings rate would drop from 50% to about 20% or less. I have been planning to leave the corporate world in about 8 years when I turn 50.  My wife is completely fine with working in the corporate world herself until the traditional retirement age of 60 or 65.

Questions:

a. In general, with respect to finances, how do you make it work with a non-mustachian spouse?
   
b. Calculators such as those on  https://networthify.com/calculator/earlyretirement are not that flexible to put in income from spouse upon my retirement etc.. How do I calculate if I can retire at age 50 while my DW is still working for another 10 to 15 years.

Thank you.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2017, 01:45:23 PM by cooldude2001 »

Laura33

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First, there is a sticky for "how to convert your spouse" -- I am assuming this is not going to work for you, because some folks just aren't interested, but it is still worth reading for ideas.

Second, on the calculators, others tend to know that better than I do, but couldn't you just put in her income as an annuity or other income or such?

Bigger-picture:  the only way to make it work is to talk until you both understand what is driving the other, both treat the other's needs as legitimate and just as important as your own, and then work it through until you find some compromise that meets enough of each partner's needs.  What needs are your current place not meeting -- what is making her unhappy there?  Why does she want the bigger house?  How will that make her life better on a daily basis?  You need to understand what is driving her to see if there is a more cost-effective way to get there -- e.g., if she prefers the neighborhood for the commute or the amenities, would she be willing to buy a smaller home?  Or if she wants the bigger home because she wants a home gym and home theater and basically her own private sanctuary, would she be willing to buy a nicer house in a not-quite-as-nice location? 

And then you also need to discuss the ramifications of those decisions -- would she be happy if you retired in 8 years and she was responsible for covering the payments, or would she resent carrying the whole load?  And if you FIRE, would you be willing to take over all of the cooking/shopping/cleaning/etc. to make her life easier while she is still working?  Or does your vision of FIRE involve playing and traveling and hobbies, and you are assuming that you will continue the same division of labor you have now?  Would you want to FIRE if she is still working, or was the plan for you to travel and enjoy things together?  Etc. etc. etc.

So crack a bottle of wine.  Talk.  Even more importantly, listen.   You need to get her "why," and she needs to get yours.

FWIW, if the answer you are looking for is "don't worry, she'll come around," all I can say is, don't count on it.  You should absolutely do the 50 steps above -- basically, do what you can to show her that happiness and success in life does not depend on making/spending vast sums of cash.  Maybe that will work; even if it isn't 100%, maybe it will help her be more willing to moderate some of her spendy desires.  But in the end, neither of you controls the other's decisions -- you can talk and argue and negotiate all you want, but you can't cut up her credit cards and force her not to buy things she wants.  And when a spendypants' view of herself as a successful professional is tied to making and spending a buttload of cash, you can't change the spending until she decides to change her mindset.  So IME, the tie tends to go to the spendy partner, and you need to figure out if she's worth it on those terms. 

FWIW, my DH is your DW in this situation.  I think we have enough to FIRE now; he thinks we should work for another 12-13 years to retire in a super-fancypants lifestyle (i.e., his FIRE budget is more than we live off of now -- and we plan to have the mortgage paid off by then!).  We continue to negotiate how much and how long;* honestly, I have largely pulled a bait-and-switch on him over the past couple of years since my stepdad died and my priorities shifted, and so I am being patient and doing what I can to bring him around with baby steps.  But he views himself as a successful man because he holds a cool job doing cool stuff and makes a lot of money and can afford to be liberal with it; it makes him feel happy to take his team out to lunch and treat.  Personally, I don't get it; I think there is much, much more to him than what he makes, and I would rather have the time now than first-class airfare in a dozen years.  But that is part of who he is, and so even if I think it is stupid, it matters to him.  Which means I have to accept that if I want to stay married to this particular guy, the tradeoff is delaying FIRE longer than I think is necessary. 

*I think I have talked him down to 7-8 yrs (when DS goes to college vs. when he graduates).  But I'm still working on it.  :-)

bornInFlorida

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Re: Advice needed from Mustachians married to non-Mustachians. Please help!
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2017, 09:02:40 PM »
Thank you Laura33 excellent suggestions!