Author Topic: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.  (Read 5101 times)

Joseppi

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How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« on: April 15, 2016, 03:59:48 PM »
Hello everyone!

I'm sure this topic has come up more than once before, so I apologise if I missed the other threads. Please help. I need some advice!

How do you get your wife/husband on board with the plan for FIRE??

We're in a good spot - no CC debt, small house with rental suite, $80k invested in index funds, automated savings plan in place, invest 50% of my income etc.

But all I can think about is how can we get there quicker??

My wife is by no means a spendy pants but, she is definitely not on board with the plan. It's almost like she thinks that living a more frugal life will be no fun and we won't be able to do enjoyable things.

Here's an example - last night we were talking and I was nonchalantly saying how her parents both have an SUV yet live less than a mile from their work and imagine how much they'd save if they biked or walked and could get rid of one car.

Her response caught me off guard because it was sorta snarky "Well some people think having a car is necessary."

I know this is a delicate situation and that i should tread carefully but, I want her to see that FIRE is really possible, not some sort of fantasy.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I guess it all boils down to communication, which we sometimes struggle with but, I don't want this to take 20 years when we could do it in 10.

Thanks for your input and best wishes to everyone.

Jo.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2016, 04:21:24 PM »
There's a sticky thread on this very topic:

How to convert your SO to MMM in 50 awesome steps

marty998

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2016, 04:24:49 PM »
Dang. Beat me to it Mother Fussbudget.

stoaX

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2016, 05:36:59 PM »
I've seen many of the related threads to this but not much in the way of clever, immediate answers. It is a situation that many face.  I think what's key is that you said she is not a spendypants.  That should help you accept that things may not progress as fast as you would like...but they will progress.  And for pete's sake, leave the in-laws out of it no matter how non-chalant your demeanor is.  Just talk about changes / improvements you are making and hope that your example is inspiring.  Best of luck!

Janie

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2016, 07:52:48 PM »
I agree with the poster above. Why criticize, or even discuss, her parents' choices? Their lives are up to them.

Focus on shared goals as a couple. Listen to your partner's priorities as closely as you want her to listen to yours. Keep it positive and be prepared to compromise.

CindyBS

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2016, 08:00:14 PM »
I have a DH that is ok with being somewhat frugal, thinks it is awesome that I am very frugal.  He loves our savings rate, financial stability, and that I have run all our finances to get where we are.

However, there is a unconscious negative reaction to the "R" word - retirement.   I can actually see the look in his eyes change to hear that word.  His parents were self employed and started down a path that led to complete financial ruin when they took too many big risks to chase a big reward so they could live a lavish lifestyle in retirement (lost more than $1M).  That led to many situations that have left him with permanent scars.

This is the strategy I use that has worked well.  YMMV.  I think some of it is in the 50 steps post.

First, talk about it a) rarely and b) in small chunks.

2)  Paint a picture.  On a beautiful day say something like "won't it be nice when we aren't working full time and can just hang out and go biking on days like these?" (notice that sentence does not say retirement, finances, or related words)

3) Baby steps.  Don't suggest 45 things at once.    Example:  After sharing great news of our financial check-up/meeting a few months back (he is having positive feelings at this point).  I said " I'd feel a little better if we increased you 401k contribution by 2% more.  Can you do that and we can revisit how it is working in a few months?"  He did.  I never mentioned it again (although I will say the number at next check up).  A month later I discuss getting a new cc with better reward - but only after I share the good news about one of our account balances.

4) Have a deep acceptance that he will never be as frugal as me.  He values some "things" like guitars, bikes, going to concerts.  We will never reach a very high savings rate b/c of that (we are at about 36% right now).  However he earns 90% of the income in our house, has stuck through crappy work situations to get us where we are $$ wise, and has lived through some very difficult circumstances I can only imagine.  I am ok if that means he spends on some of his true passions and retirement is delayed.

5) I never expect DH to do something I wouldn't - ride bike for transportation, eat leftovers, wear used clothes, etc.  Then when I do it - talk it up.  Like the really nice bike ride I had going to store.  (which is usually totally the truth).

6) After announcing all the great news at a $$ meeting/check up (and him still overwhelmed by the awesome numbers).  I said, "yea, I looked at a calculator and we could stop working or just work part time in about x years.  We'll be making enough from our wad (not retirement accounts, not investments - those are loaded words) to cover our expenses."  (notice these sentences avoid the R word, financial independence, etc.) 

Then the doubts, change in the look in the eye comes out.  I reply - "don't worry, we can just keep saving and don't have to quit (not r word) until you feel like you want to.  Worst comes to worst, you keep working and are millionaire (loaded word with positive values that helps the cause).  Don't worry - no firm decisions need to be made now."  You could really put a cherry on top of it by saying something like "can you imagine how those a*holes at work (or insert appropriate person spouse can't stand) hears you are a millionaire!!" 

Then change subject to something positive they like.

*If this sounds too manipulative, my DH has always thanked me for the job I do with stuff and fully recognizes some of his psychological scars hold him back*



You said you have a 50% savings rate and your wife is fairly frugal.  That is awesome in itself and expecting more may be too much. 

Also, I agree with PP - don't say anything about her parents' spending habits.  You are then intertwining 2 issues - FIRE and in-law issues.  That leads to a desire to stick up for her parents, which then comes back with her rejecting both points.   If you have had a lot of conflict about this issue recently, you may want to wait a few weeks before starting the plan.  Good Luck!

JourneyToLaunch

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2016, 09:18:22 PM »
I def can relate. My husband is not into finances and planning like I am.
Up until months ago, he was only contributing 7% to his 403b plan. I by then had realized the importance of saving to pretax so had upped my retirement contribution to the max.

I gently introduced to him the idea of upping it to 10% and then 15%, then I convinced him to contribute the max to his 403b. Around that same time, I found out about 457 Plans and realized he also had access to one. I approached him again and talked to him about maxing out his 457Plan in addition to his 403B plan. Now over 50% of his checks go to pretax accounts which is a big jump from the 7% he was contributing a few months ago.

So how did I get him to get on board?:

-I had a family planning meeting asking him what his ideal life would be like in retirement and what  his dream life would be now.
-We created a budget that accomplished both the dream life now and dream life then
-Showed him scenarios of how much we would be worth over the years if we saved aggressively vs not
-I assured him that we could just try it out and if it wasn't working we could scale back on his contributions
-I asked him for input on the budget and continually ask him for his input on the plan

Since then, we have come up with a 7 year launch scenario where I would retire in 7 years and he would still work (he says he still wants to work but if he changed his mind and wanted to retire too, we would figure out an alternate plan). I think it could happen even sooner if we cut cable and some of the fluff in our budget, but I don't want to push things too much and want to make sure he is comfortable.

Ideally you can't push the other person too hard on the subject, we all come to our own realizations at different times/speeds. Just because I'm prepared to never go out to eat again and cut cable doesn't mean my husband is ready to do that too. It's still an ongoing conversation in our household.

Stupendous

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2016, 09:20:16 PM »
Another vote to don't criticize her family, even if their decisions are bad. Let her come to that conclusion on her own. Also, unless you know her parents full financial picture, the SUVs may be ok.

Noodle

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2016, 10:35:22 PM »
Part of this is just time, as you save and your wife discovers that life is in fact not miserly and depressing, she may become more enthusiastic. I also think the advice in another recent thread, for a guy who didn't want to go on an expensive trip with his partner, would work for you...ie, if your wife suggests or requests something spendy, don't just veto the idea. Try to figure out what it is she really wants and find a cheaper way to fulfill that want. For instance, if she wants to go out to dinner, is it because she's sick of cooking/cleaning related chores? Bored with what's in the house? Craving something that's not practical to make at home? Interested in trying out a restaurant that all her friends are excited about?

redbird

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2016, 11:47:53 AM »
You don't need to give up a car to be FIRE. I am FIRE and own one. It's a Prius and I mostly drive it to the post office and grocery store - both are about 3 miles away. But because I don't use the car much, I haven't had to fill up my tank since December. And I even drove to Alabama once on this tank to see relatives (I live in Atlanta). It's just now getting low so I'll have to refill soon.

Being FIRE doesn't mean you have to give up everything. It's not about being so frugal that you never have fun because you're too busy clipping coupons all the time. It's a balance.

When you actually get to FIRE, you'll find ways to save just because you have more time than you used to. I always used a clothes dryer while I worked because I didn't have time to hang dry it. But I don't even OWN a dryer now, and I just hang dry all of my clothes. It takes time, but it feels like no big deal because time is not at a premium anymore. If you had told me I needed to hang dry *to become* FIRE, I would've told you that you're ridiculous. But post-FIRE I don't mind.

SilveradoBojangles

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2016, 01:01:38 PM »
I was in a similar boat about a year ago. I was really excited by what I was reading on MMM, and was thinking about how to get my spouse on board. The first time I brought it up he was super skeptical. He said, "But maybe I don't want to live on 25K a year."

I didn't get defensive or negative when he expresses skepticism at first, I just talked about the ideas and what made sense to me. I validated his response by saying that everyone's "number" is different, but it was the general concepts that I was interested in. The one's that most spoke to me were making minor sacrifices now to buy ourselves some financial freedom in the future, and prioritizing spending on the things that make us happiest while cutting back in other areas.

It didn't all happen in one night, but over the course of a couple of moths we continued the conversation about our financial goals, our dreams, our short and long term financial plans, and our hot button issues (like, the emotional baggage we are carrying around money because of things our parents did). He was worried about feeling restricted, and so I proposed a plan where we start cutting back our spending a little at a time in different areas (giving ourselves time to adjust), and when it made us less happy, we would know we'd hit out threshold.

And that is what we did. We started using YNAB to track expenses and set a joint budget last June, and it has been wildly successful. At this point my spouse has changed his perspective on budgeting-- instead of feeling restricted, he feels more stable and in control because we know what is going on financial. He has a positive association with budgeting now because he's experienced what it's like when a big expense pops up and we are totally ready for it.

I just started a journal where my first two posts talk about this very thing (including a link to a podcast episode I found helpful), so go there (link below) if you want to read more about how I got my spouse on board. And we are just getting started -now that we've tackled our expenses we are thinking about things like long term investments, saving for a house, etc. But I feel like we have a good foundation, and so those conversations are so much easier than the first one was. It's all about baby steps. Good luck!

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/take-what-you-want-and-pay-for-it/msg1040414/#msg1040414

RetiredAt63

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2016, 09:29:21 AM »
All the above is good.  Plus you are in Alberta - not sure how it is in Medicine Hat, but Calgary is hurting.  So maybe play up the FI part? So if the economy tanks where you are, you are still OK?  Is there a bit of rebel in her?  She can game the system/screw "the man" by opting out of the consumer economy a bit.

Also, the financial dynamics are different for us Canadians versus MMM and the Americans - we pay more taxes (well, you are in Alberta, I take that back) but we get the health care that they worry about so much.   CPP premiums went up a while ago so it is solid.  If either of you likes playing with spreadsheets or graphs, it is fun to see where you are and where you could be.  And of course Mint/YNAB to see where your money goes.  And is it going to goals/priorities?  There are lots of times I see something I would really like, but I tell myself "I can think of all sorts of fun and useful things to spend that money on, so right now I am not buying this.  IF I still think it is really neat/fun/worthwhile after a while I can always buy it later."

FIREby35

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2016, 09:56:18 AM »
All the above is great advice. My wife was frugal and always on point with the money. But, when I discovered MMM I started to make drastic changes a little too quick and she started to resent MMM. I pumped the breaks, gave it some time and she naturally came around. Now she is 100% on board. I think if you have a spouse who is naturally frugal (or at least not a spendthrift) you can make the MMM conversion as family as long as you are patient and accept the pace of change the "slower" spouse can accept.

Joseppi

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2016, 08:47:17 AM »
Thank you so much everyone! Some good tips for sure. The minute I mentioned the parents I knew my chances of success diminished.

I'll ease off with the obsessiveness and try for the more subtle approach I think. Baby steps.

I suppose I should be thankful for where we are now, which is a great place, and focus on the positives and just keep plugging along.

Good luck to everyone and best wishes. See you at the beach in 10-15 years!


Miss Piggy

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2016, 09:19:35 AM »
In my mind, all of this frugality/mustachian stuff exists on a continuum. At the extreme end, people are getting rid of cars, biking to work, growing their own vegetables, forgoing shampoo, etc. That's a bit much for me. I work from home and still have a car. And a motorcycle. And I'm not getting rid of either one. But we are debt-free, saving over 50%, and well on our way to FIRE. It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Not in my mind/life, anyway.

Mother Fussbudget

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2016, 04:03:39 PM »
And if you want Pete's take on getting a spouse on-board with mustachianism... yes, MMM himself covered this topic in:
Selling the Dream:  How to Make Your Spouse Love Frugality

MrMonkeyMustache

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2016, 08:56:13 AM »
If you save 50% of your income you are pretty much set for success. Do you really need for your SO to get "more" on board?

Le Dérisoire

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2016, 09:05:41 AM »
In my mind, all of this frugality/mustachian stuff exists on a continuum. At the extreme end, people are getting rid of cars, biking to work, growing their own vegetables, forgoing shampoo, etc. That's a bit much for me. I work from home and still have a car. And a motorcycle. And I'm not getting rid of either one. But we are debt-free, saving over 50%, and well on our way to FIRE. It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Not in my mind/life, anyway.

I think that you also have to accept the fact that you and your spouse will probably not end up on the same place on the frugality continuum. As with anything else, compromises have to make.

As long as you share common life goals (such as FIRE and general frugality), IMO you don’t have to be on the exact same page all the time.

Joseppi

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Re: How to GENTLY get wife/husband on board with plan for FIRE.
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2016, 11:28:42 AM »
If you save 50% of your income you are pretty much set for success. Do you really need for your SO to get "more" on board?

Absolutely Mr.MonkeyMustache!!! We could be saving 75%!