Author Topic: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?  (Read 7110 times)

uniFI

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Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« on: July 30, 2014, 01:29:37 PM »
Hi,

I could use some ideas for getting my spouse to buy in to my new-ish mustachian plans.  This is a big subject and I don't want to ramble on forever about me, so I'll attempt to summarize what I think are the key points.  I'm not sure how specific I want to go on $-figures, but a little about us:

- We are a single income household, with me being the sole wage slave.  We have always had shared accounts.
- I have a good job that pays well, but...
- I want out of the corp world sooner than later.
- We don't live extravagantly, but our expenses have followed increases in income, so our savings are primarily 401K-based.
- We jointly decided to buy an expensive home last year: shorter commute, nice view, good place for family to hang out and make some memories.  Family is important to both of us.
- Recent changes in my company pension plan necessitate cutting expenses to still get out in 55-60 age range (about 10+ yrs from now).
- She is on board with changing housing, our single largest expense, but it will be a year or so before we can act on this.  We are both in agreement there.

So given all this, whenever we discuss my newly invigorated goals, we quickly hit the wall.  OK, what are my goals?  I want to break the cycle of spending everything we earn for now.  I want to work toward maxing out the tax benefit of the 401K.  This is a small near-term goal that would require about $500/mo more than my current contribution.  I am getting the full company match, but I want to either get to the max allowable pre-tax, or get my personal account going, or ideally both at some point.

I know I need to find ways that having some more aggressive savings goals benefit her.  Me being happy instead of having the life drained out of me does benefit her.  But basically at this point, she views cutting expenses as some kind of poverty mindset.  I am simply suggesting at this point we need to focus at least equal energy on finding other income streams as we currently focus on ways to spend money.  As a homeowner, there are endless ways to spend - whether maintaining or improving.

To my wife's credit, she is a great bargain shopper.  However, I know you can bargain shop all your money away too.  You just end up with more stuff.

Thanks for any input you might share.

kaizen soze

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2014, 02:49:54 PM »
You might point out that you guys were perfectly happy spending less when your income was lower. 

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2014, 03:25:53 PM »
I haven't figured it out yet either. If I do, I'll let you know. But here's some discussion on the topic:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/poll-your-significant-other-and-mustachianism/
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/how-has-being-married-accelerated-your-path-to-fi/

I've had the most success by changing my own ways which have slightly increased our savings rate. Some of my ways have rubbed off, and some of my "nagging/questioning" has provided some actual results but I think it's causing more harm than good sometimes.

Max the 401k. This is a huge advantage to accelerating your goals. There should not be a valid argument against this from your wife. Look to a few other things that are optimizations but not sacrifices (i.e.-mortgage refi, insurance quotes, changing service providers for internet, phone, cable, etc.).

Hank

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2014, 03:49:11 PM »
I'm in the same boat as you.  I've communicated my new goals and interest and where it stems from and my wife feels like she just HAS to play along.  Although, I want her on the same frequency, I can understand her perspective (flying to see family, helping family out if they need it and other random expenses you can justify as completely valid).  As Cheddar Stacker said and I agree, I've changed my own ways and it has rubbed off a little bit on my spouse. 

We also went from two person family income to one person recently as our plan is for her to be a stay at home mother. 

uniFI

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2014, 04:03:36 PM »
I agree with time and living the example of change.  With such a long term goal it is challenging to be patient.  Just being more conscious of spending has made a small difference.  But what I consider paying attention she considers nagging!

I did shop the homeowners ins recently and was able to cut it about 50%.  Cars and an investment property are next on the list.

Thanks for the feedback.  It actually helps to just vent on here a little.

Goldielocks

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2014, 04:14:01 PM »
Hi,

I am in the same boat, except my mustachian tendancy is about 8 years old now.. and hubby is not interested in moving AGAIN!!  (10 moves in 10 years.. he has called me on it and I agreed to no more moves. We already live in the cheapest area around here, so it would mean renting or a much smaller home)

So I'm looking for good ideas here too.

A couple of items I have done: 

1. Auto Saving: As I receive raises, I bump up the % going to retirement and non-retirement accts off my paycheque.   (sneak attack). Leaving a small increase to show on the household budget.  These accounts are in both our names and he sees all the statements, too, so no "hiding" it, I just sometimes fail to discuss it clearly for his approval ahead of time....   (kinda like hiding price tags and receipts but in reverse). 

Bonuses likewise get diverted to savings as much as possible now before hitting the chequing account.   Yesterday he mentioned ..  So goldielocks, we have $XXX? going into our retirement every month?  When did that happen?     It took about a year for him to really notice it, so...

2. Spending allowances: We set up separate allowance spending.  So now when he buys stuff I don't agree with, if it is from his spending allowance I can't say anything, and I don't worry about it.  Big help to our marriage and stressed communication.   Now I only wonder if he is not sticking to the agreed allowance -- I think he thought he could spend all his income for the first couple of months, now that he is working part time, as a "reward" for his getting work after all our saving...  I don't know if it is worth discussing or if we just move on to updating our budgets together.

3. Communication starter: I mentioned how I am thinking about taking a "Sabbatical" for up to a year, and return to work, starting after bonus payout in March next year.  (early FI, in my mind,  ease into the conversation with him...)   He panicked a bit, at the loss in income,  but I was able to discuss what that would mean to me, so that was good, and was a short conversation that we will continue over the next few months.   I am not great with communication, but working on it, this may have been my downfall all along...



Noodle

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2014, 05:54:42 PM »
Another suggestion that sometimes comes up is for the more Mustachian spouse to take on responsibility for spendy areas that have traditionally belonged to the other spouse. For instance, if grocery spending is high, then take on responsibility to plan the menus, shop, deal with the kids' opinions, etc. Even if the job eventually goes back to the original spouse, the groundwork has been laid (finding the cheaper store, training the kids not to ask for soda, whatever). Often, it's all the initial work that puts people off making a change. Depending on your marital dynamics this could be taken as criticism of Other Spouse, so I would only do if you could frame it as giving Other Spouse a break...

uniFI

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2014, 06:00:00 PM »
I like the autosave sneak attack.  We think alike.  One of my models assumes we lock down spending at this year's level, and all future raises go to investments.  Assuming 3% raises, you can get a decent sum after 10 years.  Of course this is the same as saying we're cutting expenses by 3% per yr, which may be painless enough to achieve.

We've tried personal allowance in the past.  What ends up happening is she argues most things should come out of a general fund!  It's hard to draw the line on that stuff.

SailAway

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2014, 06:20:51 PM »
Man, I dunno. I wish my husband was more "mustachean". I like the autosave approach. You can't spend what you don't see.

MoneyCat

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2014, 06:22:20 PM »
I just bribe my spouse with candy.

Rezdent

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2014, 06:48:41 PM »
I keep a couple of large pieces of graph paper on the wall.  On one I plot our monthly debt line and the other has monthly income and spending.
I had to use 2 charts because the debt was so much bigger that the scaling wouldn't work together.
I don't preach (well...not often).  Once a month I run the numbers and plot them on the graphs.  This is the one time per month that I plan to point out the numbers: here's what happened last month, we made X, spent Y, and owe Z.  They are just the numbers from last month.
Sometimes I'll point out how it's changed over time.
Then when those days come and I hear "I hate this job" or "What about buying X" - that's when I can point to the charts and say stuff like "at our current spending levels it will take another 22 years to pay off this stuff, but if we could increase the money coming in or save a bit more, we could..."

The charts work because he is a visual person and they are right there pasted to our wall.
He has cut back spending and now throws extra payments at the ugly red debt chart that keeps him tied to working.

Habilis

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2014, 11:00:12 PM »
Notice what she's doing right, praise the pants off of her for that stuff. My natural tendency is to ignore all the stuff going right while noticing every shortcoming.

How about you start by telling US 3 things she did RIGHT today then for extra credit you can tell HER.

Janie

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2014, 11:12:25 PM »
Have the two of you discussed her bringing in some income?

Goldielocks

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2014, 02:05:14 AM »
Have the two of you discussed her bringing in some income?

Janie, I am guessing that you don't have a non MMM spouse.. Please correct me if this is a wrong assumption.

Until someone both wants to work, and has no barriers about rejection when looking, it is a difficult action to get agreement on, let alone results.

If you have had success with this approach, please let me know your secret.

uniFI

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2014, 05:50:36 AM »
Notice what she's doing right, praise the pants off of her for that stuff. My natural tendency is to ignore all the stuff going right while noticing every shortcoming.

How about you start by telling US 3 things she did RIGHT today then for extra credit you can tell HER.

This is an excellent point.  I have to fight getting swayed by negative items.  It takes some intentional effort to stay balanced on feedback with positives.

I can't accept your challenge at the moment because a spending related discussion prompted this post!

uniFI

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2014, 06:00:35 AM »
Have the two of you discussed her bringing in some income?

Yes we have.  We made a decision long ago to go to one wage for family trade offs.  Our last child just graduated high school so we're reevaluating possibilities.

She could jump right into a local min wage job, but that would be a waste of her talent and ability.  I don't want her to do that.  I'm on the lookout for some part time from home opportunity that wouldn't seem like work to her. 

And I'm not sure more income would solve the problem here anyway.  I know the pattern!  But I'll accept the challenge of managing more income, sure.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2014, 07:23:08 AM »
We're younger than you and while DW is the prime earner, I'm the Mustachian one. She occasionally feels like we're being deprived, but I generally sold her on the dream of being free in 10 years.

For things that require more effort on her individual part, I've been coaxing and even bribing. For example, she's just relearning how to bike now and wants to bike commute despite a 13 mile one way ride. Her motivation? 100% of the gas savings (for a few months at least) will go into her personal $ account.

If you post your expenses like the case studies, we may be able to identify easy wins that even a spendy spouse wouldn't find objectionable.

alwayslearning

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2014, 07:56:05 AM »
I try to keep my DH motivated by:

  • Still having dates every week (just cheap dates like picnics, hikes, playing tennis at the public courts, going kayaking, hanging out by the pool, etc.) This helps him feel like we still do things together without having to worry about how money plays into it.
  • Making goals together. (We want to have a house paid by x, retire by x, have x amount for fun money each month)
  • Having a monthly money talk or budget review, so they feel part of the decisions
  • Have a fancy meal (wine, candles, and a special meal) at home to celebrate big accomplishments (i.e. our savings account is now at x, our retirement account is now x, we can pay off x)
  • Make saving a game (who can save more, what else can we do, how much do you think we are going to spend today at the grocery store) Winner for the week gets to a pick the movie we watch or doesn't have to do laundry that week.

Some of these are silly, but they work for us! You said your wife likes to bargain shop. Is she crafty? Have you thought about giving her a little money every month to buy items at resale shops and garage sales and resell them on ebay or craigslist? Some people make a nice side stache by doing this.

Lentils5eva

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2014, 10:26:34 AM »
As a converted FI/RE skeptic, I thought you might like to read my realtime thoughts as my fiance first started pitching the idea when he sent me Jacob's ERE site.  Here is a verbatim excerpt from our Google Chat, edited only for privacy.  This conversation took place in May, 2013.  In August, 2013, we started a journal, and you can read about our progress in both frugality and attitude there if you're interested.  It took about two months of talking exhaustively about what early retirement was all about to get me excited about it.  Also, I found MMM much more palatable after checking out Early Retirement Extreme, which felt (and still feels) super extreme to me.  It's also important to note that even before this conversation we had been talking about trying to be better with money.  We'd started baby stepping our way toward optimization in January, 2013 and had communicated about it constantly.

Anyway, you may find it comforting to know that people don't just wake up one day and adopt this.  It takes TONS of communication and understanding on both sides.  Try to hear what your SO is really saying when she pushes back on ways you think you should be saving.  If you read my responses below, you'll see there's a ton that's tied up in my resistance to the idea.   I've highlighted sections where I expressed fears and doubts to him.

Ioseftavi: have I showed you this?
  http://earlyretirementextreme.com/
me: i'm not sure
Ioseftavi: it is interesting. The guy is basically retired at like 35 i think.
me: now reading
yeah
living in a van down by the river

Ioseftavi: He lives off about $7k/year
  nah
  it's interesting, I thought it'd be WAY more insane in terms of his standard of living
me:  i'm just going over the "about"
Ioseftavi: about ERE or "about me"
me: um, about ERE
Ioseftavi: This is fascinating to me. I could read this stuff all day.
me: haha
sometimes you scare me sweetie
i am afraid you are going to take me away to live in the woods
or worse go without me.
Ioseftavi: Nah. I don't want to live in the woods, and I definitely don't want to be without a you.
  But this is really well thought out.

  the idea of mutually reinforcing goals for example
10:14 AM Every part of one's lifestyle can be analyzed this way, but the most substantial gains come from optimizing the top three most expensive parts of the budget (see Pareto principle). These are usually housing, food, and transportation. Rather than buying these items separately, they should be selected as a holistic shelter-food-transport system.
  continued:
  A typical, systems-based solution would be:
1) a small apartment or cash-bought house
2) within walking distance of a market that sells healthful bulk ingredients
3) and within walking distance of work and other amenities
10:15 AM The strategic location of the home minimizes the distance that must be traveled, eliminating the need for a personal automobile. That in turn eliminates the need for a garage, making a smaller home more feasible. Cooking from scratch entails less transport than prepared food or restaurants, further reducing transportation needs.
  In addition to meeting all basic needs for shelter, food, and transport at low cost, this solution has ripple effects, facilitating additional life goals. It involves very little effort spent on commuting and housework, and the freed time and energy can then be directed toward other projects. Traveling by foot or bike also provides exercise, eliminating the need to devote additional time to exercise. Cooking from scratch facilitates a healthy diet and provides light exercise. Those lifestyle choices free up time, improve physical health, and save money, which improves quality of life and reduces time and money spent on health care.

  I quite like that.
10:16 AM me: true
  being a lawyer is basically the opposite of that

ioseftavi I dunno, I like the cut of this dude's jib.
me:   i guess there's a very petty part of me
10:28 AM that feels like dudes like this are always the ones who were potheads and never tried in high school
  and acted like i was stupid for working hard and getting good grades

 Ioseftavi: I thought that this dude was that type
10:29 AM but his bio says he's got a PhD and worked for a few big companies
  just got sick of the school - career - retire - die idea
me: i guess
  it's hard to divest yourself of that system
  when you've played by its rules your whole life

Ioseftavi: Yeah, but itís kind of like investing
  "If you do the same things everyone else is doing, you can expect to get about the same results."
10:37 AM I dunno, I want to look into this.
me: ok
  but please, don't get rid of your cell phone
me: back when we were in the early stages of dating
me: and you had a pay as we go phone, it would drive me absolutely nuts
  because you'd run out of money on your plan and then I would not be able to reach you

 Ioseftavi: I'm not going to make any crazy changes without talking to you.
 Ioseftavi: I won't be doing some cocoon transformation where you don't get to see what the hell I'm doign
Ioseftavi: I'm not even sure how seriously I want to take this
10:42 AM but the idea of having hobbies and habits that cross-reinforce each other and promote independence and frugality really appeals to me.
me: true
  i see that
Ioseftavi: yeah
  you still reading?
me: yeah
10:52 AM though i should stop
Ioseftavi: nooooo, I want you to read more!
  I'm curious to hear what you think
me: i dunno
10:54 AM i just feel like i missed the boat on this
Ioseftavi: what do you mean?
me: well
  i have 96k in loans
  no credit card debt
  so that's good
  but
Ioseftavi:
yes!
me: if i wanted to do this i didn't need a law degree to do it
10:58 AM I honestly don't know
  except that these type of minimalist, survivalist type things always feel like a criticism of everything I've accomplished in life
  and my whole values system

Ioseftavi: I don't think that it has to be that way at all
  I think you just frame it differently
  there's so much shit that people, in my view, confuse with being 'wealthy' and 'successful'
11:00 AM wealth = money in the bank, especially money that you don't have to use, and money that is way higher than your yearly needs
11:01 AM success = being good at the things you set out to do. If that is a career then that's fine, but people aren't "successful" because they work a lot or work for a certain firm or whatever. You can be successful at raising a family or successful at raising a garden and involved in your community or whatever it is
me: you're definitely right about success being unhelpfully defined by most people
but I like being able to afford nice "consumer" things
11:22 AM i grew up surrounded by people who could when I couldn't

Ioseftavi: Yeah, I get that.
  for me it's just the opposite to a degree
  I grew up in huge houses with a shit ton of toys etc
11:29 AM and I'm fairly certain that none of that stuff really helps in raising good kids, and some of it might have even hurt
11:30 AM my parents worked REALLY hard but basically committed full tilt to a lifestyle where my dad earned as much as possible, and my mom tried to spend it as best she could, but I still think that both of them (especially my dad) probably could have had a better time if they lived a skosh simpler and just had more time to spend with their kids in general
me: yeah
  i know what you mean
  and i don't want that life either
  i really don't
me: i dunno
  my feelings about money and wealth are very jumbled

« Last Edit: July 31, 2014, 10:52:00 AM by Lentils5eva »

MsSindy

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2014, 11:44:06 AM »
I'm still a little confused on what your new mustachian plans are?  Specifically, what are you trying to convince her to do?  And also, what do you think you can reasonably expect given her personality and goals.

With my DH, I let him focus on the things that he's good at such as all DIY projects, car repair/maintenance, etc (and praise him like crazy for his prowess with a wrench!).  I knew he would not drop cable or bike to work - I talked about other people doing these things and how I thought that was pretty cool, he agrees, but is not willing.  That's okay, because it makes the other things that I ask of him to do seem less extreme.  I focus on the things that I'm good at such as cooking, budgeting, optimizing, and projecting finances.

In the beginning I was hyper-focused on really being "Mustachian", because I relish the feeling of being considered 'badass'!  But alas, I am also a realist.  So I focus on the things that will make a big difference such as no luxury cars, excessive eating out, fancy vacations, controlling hobby expenses, etc., and I let the other little things go.  Now, keep in mind, we are high wage earners and make about the same wage, so I really can't go around telling him how to spend the money at the very detailed level - that would really piss him off!  So, we agree and focus on the big stuff.

All that being said, I do employ some of the tactics that other's mention such as wall charts, quarterly financial reviews, celebrations of financial milestones, conversations that result in 'teaching opportunities'.  I've been at this for a couple of years and I have noticed a change in how my hubby thinks about money - he never liked debt, but had no problems spending money on 'things', but now I'll hear him say something about the guys at work and what they spend their money on: fancy new car, lavish vacation, numerous golf outings, lunch out everyday, etc., and how it's wasteful and silly, and that they'll never be able to retire - so, while he will never wear a full-Mustache, he's def changed over the years.

Take it slow, don't nag/obsess, set good examples....she'll at least meet you half way.  Remember, you're trying to change the rules on her - it's not easy.

Oh, and maybe quit talking about Early Retirement - a lot of people just don't understand it.  Change your discussions to be more about having financial security for the family (I mean, who doesn't want that?!), or that you want to be more prepared (large savings) if you should lose your job - those are goals that spouses can usually get behind.  My DH doesn't resonate with ER (thinks I'll be laying around in sweatpants all day), but he totally gets having FU money...so that's the term that we use.

MsSindy

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2014, 11:47:05 AM »
..............

Anyway, you may find it comforting to know that people don't just wake up one day and adopt this.  It takes TONS of communication and understanding on both sides.  Try to hear what your SO is really saying when she pushes back on ways you think you should be saving.  If you read my responses below, you'll see there's a ton that's tied up in my resistance to the idea.   I've highlighted sections where I expressed fears and doubts to him.

...............

Wow, that felt a little voyeuristic!  But thank you so much for posting it - it's always so interesting to see how other people communicate in a relationship, especially about lifestyle and money matters.

4alpacas

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2014, 04:04:45 PM »
I'm still a little confused on what your new mustachian plans are?  Specifically, what are you trying to convince her to do?  And also, what do you think you can reasonably expect given her personality and goals.

With my DH, I let him focus on the things that he's good at such as all DIY projects, car repair/maintenance, etc (and praise him like crazy for his prowess with a wrench!).  I knew he would not drop cable or bike to work - I talked about other people doing these things and how I thought that was pretty cool, he agrees, but is not willing.  That's okay, because it makes the other things that I ask of him to do seem less extreme.  I focus on the things that I'm good at such as cooking, budgeting, optimizing, and projecting finances.

In the beginning I was hyper-focused on really being "Mustachian", because I relish the feeling of being considered 'badass'!  But alas, I am also a realist.  So I focus on the things that will make a big difference such as no luxury cars, excessive eating out, fancy vacations, controlling hobby expenses, etc., and I let the other little things go.  Now, keep in mind, we are high wage earners and make about the same wage, so I really can't go around telling him how to spend the money at the very detailed level - that would really piss him off!  So, we agree and focus on the big stuff.

All that being said, I do employ some of the tactics that other's mention such as wall charts, quarterly financial reviews, celebrations of financial milestones, conversations that result in 'teaching opportunities'.  I've been at this for a couple of years and I have noticed a change in how my hubby thinks about money - he never liked debt, but had no problems spending money on 'things', but now I'll hear him say something about the guys at work and what they spend their money on: fancy new car, lavish vacation, numerous golf outings, lunch out everyday, etc., and how it's wasteful and silly, and that they'll never be able to retire - so, while he will never wear a full-Mustache, he's def changed over the years.

Take it slow, don't nag/obsess, set good examples....she'll at least meet you half way.  Remember, you're trying to change the rules on her - it's not easy.

Oh, and maybe quit talking about Early Retirement - a lot of people just don't understand it.  Change your discussions to be more about having financial security for the family (I mean, who doesn't want that?!), or that you want to be more prepared (large savings) if you should lose your job - those are goals that spouses can usually get behind.  My DH doesn't resonate with ER (thinks I'll be laying around in sweatpants all day), but he totally gets having FU money...so that's the term that we use.
Great post!  I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one that has to make serious sacrifices with my DH.  I love him, but I don't think he'll ever give up cable. 

I'll try to focus more on the FU money.  Thanks for the insight into how you make it work. 

DoubleDown

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Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2014, 01:48:48 PM »
Welcome to MWAS (Mustachians With Antimustachian Spouses). You are not alone, there are dozens (or hundreds?) of us on this forum.

I've been at it for two years, and my wife has really made some significant changes along the way despite still being generally opposed to the whole "retire early" concept. She shared your wife's opinion that she "doesn't want to live in poverty." She would never admit that she's made changes, but they are unmistakable! So for all of those who tell you to take it slow, and that in time she'll likely come along to a substantial degree -- believe them. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

I think one significant key is to make positive changes that do not decrease the perceived standard of living. Especially early on, make changes where your wife notices no decrease in her happiness. I swear, we spend so much less now than we used to, and my life feels only fuller.

It sounds like you're already going for all the low hanging fruit, and I'd definitely encourage continuing that. There are lots of expenses you can get rid of completely and never notice any reduction in your standard of living, but they can make big increases in your financial strength. Some easy targets:

- Look carefully at that investment property, make sure it is actually making you money instead of costing you money.
- Getting rid of Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) if you have that on any of your houses
- Refinancing loans
- Lowering insurance rates, or canceling insurance you don't need
- Calling up service providers like cable, internet, phone, and requesting lower rates
- Selling stuff you never use, and particularly stuff that requires ongoing maintenance or expenses

After those things (and there are probably others you can come up with), I'd go after large expenses that make up a significant part of your budget. Good for you on already going after your primary housing, that will undoubtedly reap huge rewards for you. Some other larger expenses people usually go after and find little or no impact (or even enjoying life more, like canceling cable TV):

- Expensive cars and transportation. Replacing expensive gas guzzlers with less expensive, economical cars is a huge win. Even better, of course, is biking as much as you can.
- Expensive cell phone plans
- Cable television
- Taxes (such as contributing more to your 401k like you want to do, to lower your taxes paid)
- Utilities
- Any other large expenses that appear in your own spending, like eating out, sports tickets, lame timeshares, shopping, etc.

Your wife might feel a little impact from those things above, so go after them slowly, let her come along so she doesn't feel like she's being forced into that life of poverty she envisions. Once you've tackled those things, you could consider any other smaller things in your budget that you may be able to do away with. But leave those for last, let your wife have her small comforts in life, even if you see them as wasteful (as long as they're not breaking the bank).

Good luck!

uniFI

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 33
Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2014, 10:21:45 AM »
Thanks to all for the input.  There are some really good ideas here.  Keep em coming!

We had a good talk this weekend that revealed the source of much of the resistance.  There are emotional triggers connected to this stuff I had NO IDEA were connected.  While the root issues won't necessarily go away, just being aware of them will help going forward I believe.  I think we are at least in the same book, maybe just not on the same chapter or page (yet).

On the cost front, I requested new car ins and rental property ins quotes which I think will come in favorable.  Car ins has gotten ridiculous in recent years.

A fun item from yesterday: I have rediscovered cheap beer!  I can thank the movers for this.

Here is the progression:  Movers break a bunch of our stuff, including grill> need a new grill > new grill renews enthusiasm for grilling> want to try beer can chicken > need beer CAN > shop for canned beer.

I have been in the life's too short for cheap beer (and coffee) camp for years, so I've been buying bottled beer @$8-10/6pk for a long time.  I'm not a huge beer drinker but I enjoy it as a reward after a long bike ride or some hot yard work. 

So I picked up some PBR, and I was pretty amazed at how good it tasted.  Plus it has a slight sentimental angle on me from days gone by.  But the real kicker: do you know how cheap this stuff is?!  I scored an 18-pack for $11.50!!  Holy crap!

$10/6 pk = ~$0.14/oz
$11.5/18 = ~$0.05/oz!

Along with this, my first batch of fermented Kirkland Organic Apple juice was very drinkable, so I'm onto that now.  After a very small Amazon purchase for startup costs (<$10) I can now crank out some organic party juice for about $0.03/oz.  Cheaper than PBR with the added bonus of making it myself.

I haven't given up on microbrew or wine, but I have expanded my frugal horizons.


uniFI

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Ideas for getting spouse to buy in?
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2014, 10:31:59 AM »
Welcome to MWAS (Mustachians With Antimustachian Spouses). You are not alone, there are dozens (or hundreds?) of us on this forum.

I've been at it for two years, and my wife has really made some significant changes along the way despite still being generally opposed to the whole "retire early" concept. She shared your wife's opinion that she "doesn't want to live in poverty." She would never admit that she's made changes, but they are unmistakable! So for all of those who tell you to take it slow, and that in time she'll likely come along to a substantial degree -- believe them. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

I think one significant key is to make positive changes that do not decrease the perceived standard of living. Especially early on, make changes where your wife notices no decrease in her happiness. I swear, we spend so much less now than we used to, and my life feels only fuller.

It sounds like you're already going for all the low hanging fruit, and I'd definitely encourage continuing that. There are lots of expenses you can get rid of completely and never notice any reduction in your standard of living, but they can make big increases in your financial strength. Some easy targets:

- Look carefully at that investment property, make sure it is actually making you money instead of costing you money.
- Getting rid of Primary Mortgage Insurance (PMI) if you have that on any of your houses
- Refinancing loans
- Lowering insurance rates, or canceling insurance you don't need
- Calling up service providers like cable, internet, phone, and requesting lower rates
- Selling stuff you never use, and particularly stuff that requires ongoing maintenance or expenses

After those things (and there are probably others you can come up with), I'd go after large expenses that make up a significant part of your budget. Good for you on already going after your primary housing, that will undoubtedly reap huge rewards for you. Some other larger expenses people usually go after and find little or no impact (or even enjoying life more, like canceling cable TV):

- Expensive cars and transportation. Replacing expensive gas guzzlers with less expensive, economical cars is a huge win. Even better, of course, is biking as much as you can.
- Expensive cell phone plans
- Cable television
- Taxes (such as contributing more to your 401k like you want to do, to lower your taxes paid)
- Utilities
- Any other large expenses that appear in your own spending, like eating out, sports tickets, lame timeshares, shopping, etc.

Your wife might feel a little impact from those things above, so go after them slowly, let her come along so she doesn't feel like she's being forced into that life of poverty she envisions. Once you've tackled those things, you could consider any other smaller things in your budget that you may be able to do away with. But leave those for last, let your wife have her small comforts in life, even if you see them as wasteful (as long as they're not breaking the bank).

Good luck!

Good stuff, thanks.  I have given attention to each of those items.  We fired our cable company about 15 years ago.  We went cable free for about 12 yrs, splurged on satellite about 2 years, and now we're back to internet/Netflix/Prime only.  I did enjoy the Direct TV commercials warning of the dangers of cancelling cable though.

Cell phones are on the hit list, but I just committed to 2 more yrs w/Verizon in the spring on 2 lines.  Even paying the cancellation fees could come out ahead though, so I may make the switch sooner than later.