Author Topic: Another 'spouse is not on board' rant  (Read 15280 times)

HopetoFIRE

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Re: Another 'spouse is not on board' rant
« Reply #50 on: May 06, 2014, 01:03:18 AM »
My husband is very similar to yours.  He has always liked nice things and tries to keep up with what others have.  He actually grew up in a frugal household, which has served his parents very well now that they are retired.  However, he always thought that because of that, his friends had nicer toys, went on better vacations, etc.  Although he is starting to listen to some of my views, it is still like pulling teeth and we still get into arguments at times when I mention early retirement. 

One difference is that I am the breadwinner in the family, by about 2.5-3x.  It gets pretty annoying when I work hard for my (ok, our) money and he wants to spend on things that are overly extravagant.  In the last two years that I have made my current salary, I am embarrassed to say we only saved 1/3 of our income.  It was my fault for not keeping an eye on our finances as well as I usually do.  I am hoping to save about 2/3 of our net income this year, but we are not deprived or mustachians by any means.  We have a very nice house (6 bedrooms, but the girls still share a room) in a very nice neighborhood and our kids live a lifestyle that I could have only dreamed of as a kid.  But alas, my husband feels that we still don't have "enough". 

I have started to talk to him more about why this is important to me.  Having adequate savings means security to me.  I didn't have much financial security growing up.  Having enough to retire early means we can spend more time together to travel, be with the kids, exercise more, and to do whatever we want to do.  I explained to him that I am doing this for US and for our kids.  It's not something I am doing just for myself.  We are the typical two income family who make good earnings, but also spend a ton on child care, food, and pay people to do things for us since we don't have time to do it ourselves.  We have the money, but no time to vacation.  I want to be able to slow our lives down so that we can enjoy each other and our kids.  I want to be able to relax and smell the roses along the way.  I have told him that I am not going to work and stress about work until I am 65 so that we can support an extravagant lifestyle that match our neighbors.  I pretty told him my plans of RE in 7 years.  If he feels that he would like to spend more than we are now, it just means that he will have to work longer in the end.  At this point, he know it's what I want and he can decide what he wishes to do, which will directly impact when he will be able to retire. 

So, I guess for your situation, I would make it known why it is important to you.  How will increasing savings rate impact your family?  Explain to him what RE would mean for your kids, lifestyle and your relationship.  He may choose to spend more and work until he is not able to anymore.  In the end, you can only let him know what your desires and views are, but it's hard to force personal values on someone. 

NewStachian

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Re: Another 'spouse is not on board' rant
« Reply #51 on: May 06, 2014, 04:56:40 AM »
I honestly think, though, that DH seems more concerned about showing friends, family, and employees that he's 'made it' than he is about fitting in with the other higher-ups.

We are a very social species and achieving validation from friends and family is important. I can definitely see where your husband is coming from. I would recommend not looking at his views as a 'problem' (like many of us tend to do as Mustachians when faced with a budget that allows for any spending beyond a mortgage and food), but recognize them and admit to yourself that his views of money are just as important as yours.

Try to put yourself in his shoes as well (just playing devil's advocate here): he grew up not having anything. He's now at the point where he's making it in his career, a job where he's very important, and has the ability to treat himself to nice things. He's already saving 10-15% more than what is recommended by financial advisors. He has no desire to FIRE, but has a wife saying we need to save more, more, more to reach a goal (FIRE) that isn't even a goal to him, just like meeting certain career wickets might not be a goal to you. Again, just playing devil's advocate here, not saying this is necessarily what he's thinking, just trying to spark some thought waves on the subject.

Of course, it's always easier to give advice than take advice: My wife is definitely an on-board spouse, but I sometimes get too crazy with the saving and do everything I can to bump up our savings. I've gotten to the point where I'd rather down a PB&J sandwich before we go out to eat so I can get a salad and water and minimize spending. She's told me this stresses her out because when we're out with friends, it looks like she overeats and spends disproportionally to me. My response was 'don't worry about what other people think about you'. Of course, I'm falling into the same trap here by not acknowledging her view as valid, when in reality, it's a perfectly normal and rational thought to have. Once I acknowledged that, it made things much better.

My main point here is no matter where you are on the frugality scale, there will always be these issues that come up. Learning to put yourself in your SO's shoes is the only way to always get through it.

Nissykins2

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Re: Another 'spouse is not on board' rant
« Reply #52 on: May 06, 2014, 06:44:46 AM »
I would recommend not looking at his views as a 'problem' (like many of us tend to do as Mustachians when faced with a budget that allows for any spending beyond a mortgage and food), but recognize them and admit to yourself that his views of money are just as important as yours.

This is great advice. I guess I am being a little bit bossy. ;)

Although he complains constantly about how cheap I am, DH has given me pretty much free reign to manage and invest our money since we moved in together five years ago, and he does seem to enjoy watching our net worth grow on his Mint app.  I know we are both to be congratulated as in five years:

(1) we've gone from an overall negative net worth due to DH's debt to zero debt and a net worth of over $200K
(2) hubby has gone from being the general manager's assistant to being COO
(3) we make nearly double the combined salary we earned when we got here, and I'm able to stay at home with my son and only work outside the home a few hours a week
(4) we got married and are about to welcome our second kiddo, and have set ourselves up with wills, 529s, life insurance, and all kinds of other grown-up stuff we didn't have before.

It's hard for me to not look at everything and dwell on how much more we could have if we were as frugal as I'd like us to be (like the three-bedroom house DH wants, for instance), but I suppose I can understand why he has some frugal fatigue and thinks we should be able to relax a little. This discussion has shown me that although I have had to fight him about it every step of the way, DH is much more 'on board' than he could be, and we as a couple are in a lot better shape than I give us credit for.  Thanks again to everyone here for giving me some much needed perspective and for taking so much of your time to share your stories and advise a stranger. I feel so fortunate to be a member of this community.

NewStachian

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Re: Another 'spouse is not on board' rant
« Reply #53 on: May 06, 2014, 11:12:31 AM »
It's hard for me to not look at everything and dwell on how much more we could have if we were as frugal as I'd like us to be

Nissykins, I feel you 100% on this one. You pretty much just explained my mindset since discovering this forum (I frequently look at credit card spending and dwell on charges that weren't 100% essential to spend money on, despite our rolling 3-month trend dropping by 4x since discovering MMM). But, the truth of the matter is, the feeling of "I can still squeeze a little more savings out of my budget..." will never go away with a little more saving... just like wealth addicts never feel satisfied with that extra million in bonuses they get.

I think the trick for me is to force myself to feel less guilty about not being 100% frugal (I'm trying really hard ;) I really have looked myself in the mirror and said "maybe I have a frugality addiction". I'm not necessarily saying you're at that point, but I have swung so hard over to the frugality side that I sometimes don't focus on all the positives of how well we're saving. I've made myself more relaxed and actually have found my wife is now willing to meet me more halfway on things because I'm not such a dick about saving money.

I'm just rambling at this point. I hope some of it was helpful, though ;)

thepokercab

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Re: Another 'spouse is not on board' rant
« Reply #54 on: May 06, 2014, 02:12:14 PM »
Quote
For instance today I felt proud of myself for resisting the vending machine at work, which I wouldn't have thought twice of pre MMM, only to gone home and find that he hired someone to poor a concrete slab to make room for his new riding mower.

Classic area man...lol


Kinda hilarious that the riding mower, which is made to drive on grass, can't be parked on... you know... grass.

Can I just take this opportunity to say that I really don't understand riding mowers.  I mean, unless you have like multiple acres to mow, I don't get it at all. 

I live in an apartment complex and every week a small army of lawn maintenance folks come in and spend an entire day maintaining the grounds.  One of the things they do is use riding mowers to mow ridiculously small patches of grass. Like, patches of grass that would take 2-3 minutes to go over with a manual mower.  They do this right outside of our apartment.  Well, the riding mower just seems to rip the grass up, and that, combined with watering it every night, creates basically one big square of mud, littered with grass. It's this way all over the property.  The grass lawns are basically mud with grass loosely attached to it.  I've sent feedback to the front office.  No one seems to notice or care.  Oh well.  Rant over.