Author Topic: MM/Anti-MM Couple....  (Read 12155 times)

hope2retire

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MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« on: June 12, 2015, 08:34:27 PM »
Good:Bad, Yin:Yang, Positive:Negative, Light:Darkness, Left:Right…..etc…

Opposites attract…and eventually they get married…….:)

Continuing the trend…Mustachian:Anti-Mustachian…..

So how do couples who are Mustachian:Anti-Mustachian combo achieve or go through the journey to their FIRE goal? What  do you do to convince the Anti-MM to be MM? It takes two to tango, how do you educate the MM ideology…..
In my case, I find it very difficult. It goes to the extent that I give up the idea of saving and try to see ways to make more money rather than to convince my wife, which adds stress on me. Also, this pushes my personal goal of FIRE (she is a SAHM), as I want to spend time with my kid and my family.
Background: Me- born in a not so financially well to do family with siblings and it has always been a struggle, so all kids studied well and got to very good positions now. Still respect where we came from. Dad worked really hard to brings us up to this level and mom made sure that we studied well and respected every $ Dad made by letting us know the struggle we had while growing up. Typical lower middle class as how the clothes gets passed down from oldest to youngest kind of mentality. Family Not Consumerist mentality at all (even now, after establishing and settled in well paying jobs). Our family lived the MM way from the 50’s. I want to retire early.
Wife: Not sure she had similar upbringing. She and her siblings pretty much gets whatever she/they want from her father and always babied. Some of the things I see are atrocious, and MM inside me throws up when I see some of their lifestyle. Extreme consumerist, when I saw her closet first time I fainted. Although she said it was from her own earnings. But even to date, she gets latest and expensive stuff from her family as gifts. So the idea of EARNING something expensive through your hard work, I do not see that in her. She believes I am lazy and do not want to work. She expects me to work till my kid is settled, and gives example that her father still works.
I see the prices and the value for it, she does not. I see many purchases as unnecessary and as “wants” she sees it as a “need”. 

So, How do the MM-AMM couples tango? or How the MM teaches the AMM to tango?



Hope2Retire

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2015, 08:43:29 PM »
I'm sure this is going to come off as totally bitchy, but if she's a SAHM and expects you to work to feed her extravagances, it would be a pretty straightforward conversation for me. "If you want to spend lots of money on luxuries, you work to pay for it. It's my turn to be a SAHP now." It pisses me off when women behave as if they are the only parent with a wish to be there for the kids. (this affected me in the opposite direction - when I had to go back to work after mat leave, my unemployed husband wouldn't be the SAHP because it wasn't socially acceptable. Result, I remained primary carer when working and paying for daughter to go to day care).
I really can't see how one spouse who is not working has the right to tell the other spouse they are lazy / morally inferior for not working harder / longer. If work is a moral imperative, then why aren't they doing it themselves?

Sorry, I don't know if that was at all helpful.

Faraday

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2015, 09:19:44 PM »
First: Stop nagging her. (And if you aren't, kudos to you. I started this by nagging and it got me nowhere.)

Second: Do a budget. Start tracking spending using the website for whatever bank you have. Spend time getting to know what your monthly expenses truly are. If your situation is like mine, you'll see your wife spending you down to $0 every month. Don't get mad, just get familiar with what's happening.

Third: Rank your expenses by size. Biggest to the smallest. Starting with the biggest, ask yourself "what must I do to reduce that expense?" If it's mortgage and you can lower the payments by refi, then refi. If it's cellphones, then when the contract is up, swap out the cellphones for very inexpensive month-to-month plans (I went with Republic.)

Guess What: If you are like most households, your wife's spending won't be the most expensive thing. It might not be in the top 5 items at all.

Repeat Third step above indefinitely, BTW.

Fourth: Open a new account at the bank you use. (with or not with your wife. I don't care) Start electronically routing your newfound savings into that account and start amassing money. Don't hide it from your wife (tell her if she wants to know) but don't volunteer it either.

Now, here's where it gets crazy:
Fifth: Ask your wife what experience she most desires, that costs money but is reasonable and affordable. Is it a beach trip you've never been able to take? Is it the honeymoon she wishes she'd had? Is it a visit to go see family she's not seen in awhile? Is it an upgraded, used minivan to replace the beater one she's driving the kids around in?

Sixth: Team with your wife to achieve that thing. Set a date to achieve "the thing" by an agreement with your wife, and have the both of you strive to make that accomplishment. Work with her to achieve something SHE WANTS.

Now watch her take off like a lean, strong MMM racehorse. Once you team with her and give her your strength, she will surprise you at how she finds savings, moves money around and generally does whatever is possible to make the goal.

Then, when you have enough money saved, you execute on the goal.

Now, here's the magic part:

a) You oversave a little bit for the object/objective, with the intention of leaving yourself about $1k "seed money". That will begin the savings for the next "thing".
b) That next "thing" can be whatever it needs to be, but it should be something like eliminating a debt or wiping out an expense in order to generate more cash flow. Set the objective like you did before.
c) At some point, move the money from the account and invest it.

Notice that nowhere in this process do you "nag the wife about money". What you do, instead, is focus on wants that make sense and work together to become a team to achieve that goal. Then, since she DOES love you, she'll want to reciprocate and help you achieve a goal that's important to YOU. And of course, YOUR goal will be some mustachian "thing": increasing your 401k contribution, opening a Roth IRA, etc.

This is how I was advised to do this by a co-worker who originated the process with his own spouse. I used it in my situation and it changed things forever.

Now: My DW is not mustachian and never will be. But she understands the power of these principles and no longer fights me on them. In the meantime, my 401k savings rate went from 3% to 21%, I have Roth IRAs for both of us, a post-tax investment account, emergency savings, and I manage to make a big payment against the mortgage principal twice a year.

Most importantly, she knows I'm doing this financial work for the both of us. Not to amass money then drain the accounts and leave her. Because that first project we teamed together on strengthened both our financial picture AND our relationship. I PROVED to her that "I'm in it for you" and demonstrated it clearly.

Now: your process might vary from what I've written above. But the point is the same. Find out what she most wants, use the MMM principles to save money and pull cash from your income stream to an account you designate specifically FOR that want. Then when  you are done, go out and get that want and give it to her.

In the meantime, you streamline home finances while this is going on and when "the project" is done, you've got more headroom for approaching the MMM lifestyle.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2015, 09:39:24 PM by mefla »

hope2retire

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2015, 09:33:49 PM »
Southern Saver
I had that conversation before..it went like this..."I don't require much money for my lifestyle and  I have come this far with out much money and I don't see why my kid cannot. I can always provide the basic necesseties any time ; anything beyond that you need, you have to work for it." All kind of excuses started after that. Finally, she said that she will go to work after the kid goes to school. I doubt it, as I do not see much motivation in her other than her taking care of the kid at home, which I don't mind if both are on the same page financially and thought process on prioritizing things and identifying what is more important in life. The Bigger Picture.


hope2retire

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015, 10:36:34 PM »
Thanks for the advice and suggestions mefla..
I personally would love to offload all this financial maintenance to her if I had the confidence in her So that i can concentrate on work and family life. Just that I dont see her protecting the stash, let alone multiplying it...
1. I used to advice on what to look out for in grocery shopping etc as I have been in this area longer than her. But, after I could pass on all the knowledge I had I stopped.
2. I already do it. I started with a budget, and told her to take care of the shopping variable expenses, rest of all the constant expenses and other variable expenses I took care. I wanted her to think that budget as her salary, so she should save little for rainy days. Initially it was ok within the budget, but no savings for herself (although i had a generous in-built misc exp in the budget). Over a period of time, i am ok with +/-10% swings monthly but 50-70% swings were happening and to bring back it back to normal took me a while. This budget is ~15%-20% of the family monthly budget.
3. Covered this part, true what you said with not seen in the top 5. But there are some surprise expenses etc that pretty much repeats every year due to her improper planning.   Cellphone plans I had to go round about to lower to what I feel comfortable now (although I still feel it is unnecessary, not a need, but a want), same with cable tv
4. Already in use. I just have one acct that is unknown to her that. That is my secret stash for my unknowns. Even offered her yearly savings for investment, but she declined and too scared to take responsibility. So I am planning to invest on my own.
5. This is something I personally I have not asked her. I always wanted to plan some travel for ourselves , but some other expenses (related to her and her family) comes up, which I have to give in. So to finally reach my yearly goal, I will be puffing and panting to reach with all these. Although, I eventually made it for each year except one that is totally due to something else. But, I feel I could reach very comfortably like a cake  walk every year if she was on board, without so much struggle and stress to reach my goal (my sight is always set on the final prize…family time and FIRE..never to get up in the morning for the sole purpose of getting to work and enjoy what I want to do)
6. Although I have told about FIRE, but I have not set a date as such because my estimation always gets pushed because of these kind of set backs. Touch wood, these are very very silly compared to anything major health issues or life changing event..so grateful for the life so far..)
Think the target keeps moving because of this……
 I am doing most of the investment etc, problem is getting her excited and share the vision.
Thanks for all the advice and thoughts.


Hope2retire

Kaplin261

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2015, 05:38:42 AM »
Convincing some one to eat beans and rice so that you can achieve your dreams is not realistic, how ever if you can sell her the dream of Financial Independence then the battle is won.

Think long term, small baby steps and lots of patience. If it takes 5 years and the two of you have another 50 years to spend together, you would have 90% of your life together to live Financially responsible.

partgypsy

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2015, 06:31:49 AM »
It sounds like you are too controlling and that you both are not on the same page at all.
It also sounds like she doesn't feel she has any money that is "hers" and so she overspends in other areas.
My husband and I are not perfect, so maybe not the best to talk. My husband hates to talk about money (I am the primary breadwinner). So, what i do is take the money out of my paycheck for retirement.Not like the people here, just 10%. I also have smaller amounts diverted taken from our regular checkng account to electronic account for emergency funds, on a regular automatic basis.
I would suggest that you do that. Use the calculators on the web to determine how much you need to save for your goal. Maybe you can't retire while your kid is still young, but at least it may be a goal while YOU are still young. Then, you both have to work with whatever is left in the budget.

Allowances don't always work, but in this case having your wife have an allowance, that she can spend or save up for larger purchases, may be helpful because she will have a locus of control.

You may see people here with very high savings rate and think, why can't I do that? You have to be willing to work within your situation. If you go from little savings to try to save 50% it is not going to work. The same, she may be seeing people who are able to spend more and envy them. There needs to be a change in mindset, that you are your own household and team with your OWN goals and priorities, and not look at others so much.

The rest of advice given in prior posts I also like. 

justajane

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2015, 06:50:23 AM »
So, what i do is take the money out of my paycheck for retirement.Not like the people here, just 10%. I also have smaller amounts diverted taken from our regular checkng account to electronic account for emergency funds, on a regular automatic basis.
I would suggest that you do that. Use the calculators on the web to determine how much you need to save for your goal. Maybe you can't retire while your kid is still young, but at least it may be a goal while YOU are still young. Then, you both have to work with whatever is left in the budget.

This is great advice. Are you completely maxing all your retirement accounts? Automate money into Vanguard accounts so it doesn't even make it into checking. I guess this doesn't stop her from running things up on credit. Do you carry a balance on your credit cards? Would doing so appall her or would she not blink an eye? If you could somehow make your money scarce, but not in a manipulative way, do you think that would make a difference.

I feel for you. I am a SAHM too, but I've often said to my husband that if he is unhappy with this arrangement or in any way miserable at his job, we can find other ways. This isn't the 1950s. He can be the SAHD and I could work. I wouldn't make as much, but if he's unhappy I would do it. I'm not saying she isn't contributing to the household in other ways, but she has to realize that you aren't doomed to a life of working if you don't want to just because this is what she foresees for the future.

Noodle

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2015, 07:16:52 AM »
I think this is one of the toughest dynamics that comes up on the boards--when the Mustachian is the working spouse and the other spouse is a SAHP. If the marriage has some challenges in terms of communication or respect, it can be really difficult to make forward progress. (I also think, if I were to be able to give one piece of advice to families considering having a SAHP, it would be not to do it unless the salaried parent can be fully onboard with the idea that it's not "my" money, it's "Our" money, and the other person spending it may not make the same choices as the earner would.) The problem right now is not the logistics of money management...it's that, based on your comments here, you are not full partners in terms of respect for each other and each other's needs and wants. I would work on that first.

amyable

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2015, 08:04:47 AM »
I think you need to accept that this isn't a good vs. evil, dark vs. light kind of thing.  Everyone brings positives and negatives to a relationship.

Example:

My husband:  grew up poor. massive student debt, BUT hugely skilled in living on nothing.  When I met him, he only made like $15k a year, but spent even less. 

Me:  typical middle class, no student debt, BUT less naturally frugal.  When I met him, I made $40K a year, and basically followed Dave Ramsey's advice and drank a lot of Starbucks. 

Awesomely, we've rubbed off on each other, but it's still a struggle sometimes! 

hope2retire

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2015, 08:31:36 AM »
Thanks for the response partgypsy.
Actually, the other way around. But you are correct on one thing, we both are not on the same page at all, infact the opposite. Therefore, the premise of this topic…yin-yang…
That is a great advice, which I am planning to implement soon. I have already started diverting funds to vanguard taxable accounts. I have to wait few more weeks to hit the 10k mark for me to purchase certain vanguard funds, which has 10k min. Once I get it, I will divert most of the savings into this vanguard and emergency fund. So nothing stays.
Tried the allowances route also, but as the allowances always gets used every month, not saved for larger purchases.
That is one thing I am practical about. I don’t compare my situation with others here. All I do is have a set personal goal, which I do save now. It just takes too much effort from me. Yes, I posted this topic just to get advice on how to change the existing mindset to make her understand that “that you are your own household and team with your OWN goals and priorities” and not compare to how she was raised.


Thanks justajane for the response. Yes, I agree that was a great advice from partgypsy. I am in the process of moving to vanguard and emergency accounts on monthly basis. We don’t carry a balance on credit. I keep telling about checking balance, and I got her own credit card. So, she is bit careful on her credit history. It was little manipulative from my side(5%), but also had the long term vision of building her credit history (95%), which I felt was necessary to take up financial responsibility :) if something had to happen to me.
She knows how hard I work and how miserable my schedule is and I believe that she MAY know that I am saving a $ here and there for the kid. All I want her to understand is
Live with whatever we have and make it work. Save for future and take up responsibility as adults and not expect everything to be solved if we work till end.
I always think 5-10 yrs ahead, where as she lives in the present. In my field, after a certain age if you have not grown up the ladder, it will be hard to get back into the workforce after losing the job. So for me all this life we currently have is dependent on just me going to work. I am trying to cut this dependency as everyone else. She does take care of everything else related to the kid and the house, on that side it is fine. Only, her thinking and adopting some of MM strategies for a future is not in sync.

Hope2retire

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2015, 08:47:40 AM »
I struggle with this too. My husband is the most laid back person in the world -- part of what attracted me to him. But that also means he simply never worries and doesn't have any desire to plan or pick over details. He is not analytical. In theory, he loves the idea of self-sufficiency and financial independence, but in practice he loses patience with me quickly when I want to go over budgets or grocery choices. He does not mean to be wasteful or extravagant, but he often is. He also finds discussions of money and budget planning highly stressful, whereas I find them reassuring.

I try (and often fail!) not to pressure him and to find middle ground. Our relationship comes first, since part of what better money management is meant to protect is our future together. It often means I just step up and do more. I do all of our budgeting, tracking, investing, credit checks, and bill pay, and I do most of the grocery shopping as a "preemptive strike" to keep him from buying 6 packages of berries and a bunch of stuff we already have unused in our pantry! I accept that extra work because reducing our spending is my priority, not his, and he certainly takes care of me in other ways.

I have found it helpful to focus on the positive and what rewards it holds for him, so for example I'll give him an update on how much we reduced our grocery bill and add that it means he might cut 5 years off his work time or we might take a vacation together, etc. I load on the praise when he actually does restrain himself with spending. If, on the other hand, I point out that once again he spent x amount of dollars on something we already have in the fridge, I won't get anywhere.

I also second the recommendation on investing directly out of your paycheck or creating automatic transfers on payday so that the money simply isn't there to spend.

Good luck with this. My advice for whatever it is worth is try to model good habits for your wife and children but also to try not to be negative or judgmental when she doesn't conform to your views on money (I know this is so hard!). I think we all reach a point in marriage where we arrive at different priorities than we had at the outset of the relationship, and we can't punish our spouses for that shift. It would never have occurred to me at age 28 when I married my husband to choose someone who had better financial skills. I have to respect his views when they differ from mine.

hope2retire

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2015, 08:52:13 AM »
Convincing some one to eat beans and rice so that you can achieve your dreams is not realistic, how ever if you can sell her the dream of Financial Independence then the battle is won.

Think long term, small baby steps and lots of patience. If it takes 5 years and the two of you have another 50 years to spend together, you would have 90% of your life together to live Financially responsible.

Thanks Kaplin. I am trying to sell my dream of FIRE and live on less so that we both can concentrate on taking care of kid and family. I think I am taking baby steps. Eventually when I pull the plug and FIRE, then may be at that time it will automatically fall in place....

hope2retire

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2015, 09:24:39 AM »
Thanks for the response MakingCents. Great advice. What you do is exactly what I really want, step up and do more. I feel exhausted, going to work and earn, then save, try to find ways to reduce spending, try to find ways to earn more to keep up with the spending and work on investing the savings to meet the yearly goal. I want to offload some of these. I do all the budgeting, tracking, investing, credit checks, and bill pay, except Grocery shopping and paying few online payments. Keeping me happy is very easy, because I am not going to micro manage. As long as we meet the yearly goal and be prepared for future expenses that are foreseeable (say kid will go to school in few years, so need another car or an upcoming travel or anything you want to do), I would not bother to indulge in any argument, it is not worth the time. Whenever I tried to discuss this, she is not too keen on this topic.
May be you should be friends with my wife. :) That would be a good strategy where I find a MM SAHM friend for my wife. :)

Hope2Retire
« Last Edit: June 13, 2015, 09:29:36 AM by hope2retire »

Making Cents

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2015, 10:27:58 AM »
Yeah, the friends are key, aren't they! I am the over-educated frugal planner and my colleagues and friends are pretty well grounded with money too, so it is not hard for me to spend less because they respect a budget, whereas he works with people who are impressed by fancy cars and large flat-screen TVs! I try to note that they are almost certainly overextended with lots of debt and will be working well into their golden years whereas we have no debt beyond our modest mortgage, but he just feels like I am unusually Spartan because he's comparing me to his circle of family and co-workers. It sounds like your wife is the same, so your very reasonable calls for restraint look to her like the extreme position. That's tough. Maybe you can find a young family near you through this forum to hang out with so that she sees the wisdom of saving for the kids as well as for you two. She may at this point (if she's fixated on short term rather than end goals like my DH) feel like your plans might deprive the kids rather than doing right by them. If she can be corrected in that view by someone else rather than you, she might feel more ownership in the changes to family budgets you want to make and get on board of her own accord.

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2015, 11:28:59 AM »
I think you need to go all out with convincing her. Try as many ways as possible to get through to her. Charts, budgets, etc. If you accept she will never get on the same page, you will begin to resent her, which is poison to a relationship. I think she'll come around eventually when she realizes how important it is to you.

pbkmaine

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #16 on: June 13, 2015, 12:18:36 PM »
DH is a spender and I am a saver. For us there was a lot of talking. I would not date DH until he maxed out on his 401(k) contribution. Then we talked about his bonus. What we arrived at: 50% of the bonus after tax went straight into savings. 50% he could spend any way he wanted, including taking it into the back yard and burning it. Having permission to spend the 50% meant that he almost never spent it all. He needed that sense of freedom. He loves, loves, loves, loves to eat out. If I had the choice, I would never eat out. So we eat out more than I'd like and less than he'd like. I have learned to make some of the dishes he likes in restaurants. He has learned to make fancy breakfasts.

Today he said he wanted a canoe. I said I needed to see him renting and using a canoe consistently for a year, then I would enthusiastically support the purchase. It is very unlikely that we will ever get the canoe, but he knows if he can prove he will use it, that we will get it. He likes to talk about dreams with me - a big trip somewhere, a major purchase. I respond with trade offs. And I always start with Yes. "Yes, of course we can cruise the Mediterranean for a month. It just means we keep the car for 10 years instead of 8. Are you okay with that?" It's never "No." It's all about the alternatives we are happiest with.

We are both retired now, though I consult a few hours a week. I made sure, when we moved money around for retirement, that he had a "slush fund" savings account. It has $10,000 in it and he can use it absolutely any way he wants. In three years, he has not touched it. He could even buy the canoe with it, but he won't. He's happier with the idea of having that much money in his back pocket.

When we moved to this retirement community in Florida, he came down here and bought the house. (We sold our old house in 4 days and had to move fast.) We had looked at houses online and had a list of things we both wanted. Our list had a wide price range of houses, from very modest to top of the line. Wouldn't you know that the spender in the family, given permission to buy any house on the list, bought one of the least expensive options?

The trick, at least in our relationship, was to come at this from a sense of abundance rather than scarcity. To say to the spender: "We've talked about 10 things we want to do. What's at the top of the list? Let's do that!"

cripzychiken

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2015, 01:48:18 PM »
This is a huge and long marrithon (not a battle since people win and lose those). 

A few things that I did that helped get my DW to the path of FI (still trying for the RE part, but 1 thing at a time).

Set aside a budgeted line item for "free spending" and no questions asked about what the money is spent on - whether its nail treatments or beer.  It's her money and your money.  Spend freely!  This let both sides still buy what they "need" without killing the budget.

Get 2 more credit cards.  Now, you each get one and the other can't see/access the account.  As long as the monthly, paid in full, bill is less than the free spending amount, your good.  IF not, it comes out of next month's (or months' if your DW is like mine) budget.  When she sees that her new must have item takes longer to 'pay off' than she uses it for....

Let her see the real numbers.  Get Mint or PersonalCapital and let her see the spending.  It helped us a lot when we saw we spent tons for stuff we didn't care at all about (eating out was the biggest non-mortgage item).  This can also help to set 'goals' that increase free spending amounts (if we drop going out to eat from $600 down to $200, we each get $50 more free spending). 

Last thing - this is a little 'dirty' but open up an online savings account (make sure she knows about it, show her how to log on, etc; you aren't hiding money from her) and direct deposit a portion of your paycheck there.  Start low - like 10%.  Then every month or so, increase that percentage.  Any raises, after increasing 401k, increase that percentage as well.  The small 'drops in the main bank' won't really be seen/noticed.  I've had to do this to build our savings.  And she knew about everything, but never cared enough to look and see what the balance in the online account was.  Never seen, never missed.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2015, 02:21:32 PM »
It's hard to accept, but remember that your values are never going to align 100% with another person's.

I tend to think of time and money as both being family resources, and it's frustrating to me when my husband spends those resources (his time, our money) on something that I don't think is a priority. But--I am not the arbiter of "priority." I try to respect his desires as being equally valuable as mine. If I don't feel like that (OK, no one does all that time, but at least USUALLY), then I'm not really seeing him as an equal, and we shouldn't be married

Another thing to keep in mind is that she may feel like you are trying to take something away from her, or to try a different metaphor, like you are trying to force her to eat carrots. Always listen, listen, listen ("seek first to understand, then to be understood," as the 7 Habits guy would have it--maybe even go read that chapter! But the gist of it is that trying to tell people they are wrong will never get you anywhere) before you talk, and try focusing on the positive. Good luck!

TaxChick

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2015, 03:08:26 PM »
It's hard to accept, but remember that your values are never going to align 100% with another person's.

I tend to think of time and money as both being family resources, and it's frustrating to me when my husband spends those resources (his time, our money) on something that I don't think is a priority. But--I am not the arbiter of "priority." I try to respect his desires as being equally valuable as mine. If I don't feel like that (OK, no one does all that time, but at least USUALLY), then I'm not really seeing him as an equal, and we shouldn't be married

Another thing to keep in mind is that she may feel like you are trying to take something away from her, or to try a different metaphor, like you are trying to force her to eat carrots. Always listen, listen, listen ("seek first to understand, then to be understood," as the 7 Habits guy would have it--maybe even go read that chapter! But the gist of it is that trying to tell people they are wrong will never get you anywhere) before you talk, and try focusing on the positive. Good luck!

I agree with Frugalparagon, your values are never going to line up 100%. Is there an area in your relationship that she feels like she needs to be better understood?  For example, daily house chores. Are you living up to her expectations? It is difficult to listen to someone else's point of view on a topic, if you do not feel like you are being heard with respect to topics that matter to you.

And this may not be your situation, just trying to throw out some possibilities.

StockBeard

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2015, 08:40:24 PM »
One thing that someone mentioned in another thread was to talk to your wife about her "pain points". What's painful for her where she thinks she could get help. Can your goal of FI help fixing the pain point?
An example:
My wife feels she has to spend too much time doing the chores around the house. One way to sell her the FI goal was to tell her: "Once I'm retired, we'll share those chores 50/50, I can probably even do more than half to pay you back for those you've done so far". Something like that. (Yeah, I don't do 50% of the chores today... sue me)

I feel some "anger" towards your wife in some of your posts? I've been there. As obvious as it sounds, and as others have said above: it doesn't help. One way or another, you have to make it constructive otherwise you'll both suffer an it will not help the situation.

hope2retire

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2015, 04:04:10 PM »
Thanks to all for the responses..will incorporate some of the suggestions and see how it changes.
1. Sell the idea of FIRE 2. line item for free spending 3. find a SAHM friend/family locally 4.move funds to other accounts 5. yearly reward program if goal is met

I used to do lots of house chores when i was at my previous job, as I used to get some time when i get back home. Spend some time with kid and do some chores or cook. now at the new job, with travel and everything, i come home only to shower, eat dinner and sleep and repeat it 5 days a week. weekends goes with regular errands and little chores around the house and recharge for the following week. No time-off for the past 12 months, just recently getting some time-off which i am saving for year end trip (may be).

I do agree that it is not going to align 100%, then it is like I am married to myself. I would be happy if it is close to 50-60%.

I would say frustrated..than angered because I take two steps and get pulled back a step. Some of the monthly bills I could not convince her otherwise of the choice that had added up while not changing the lifestyle much.


Hope2Retire


hope2retire

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2015, 04:25:10 PM »
Making Cents,
You hit the nail on the head. She does feel like this. "She may at this point (if she's fixated on short term rather than end goals like my DH) feel like your plans might deprive the kids rather than doing right by them."
When I say due to my MM efforts, I have the kid's college expense mostly covered already (when the kid is not even old to go to kindergarden.), she does not seem understand/appreciate how hard that is to achieve for an average family.


Hope2Retire

cripzychiken

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #23 on: June 15, 2015, 10:35:53 AM »
...
I used to do lots of house chores when i was at my previous job, as I used to get some time when i get back home. Spend some time with kid and do some chores or cook. now at the new job, with travel and everything, i come home only to shower, eat dinner and sleep and repeat it 5 days a week. weekends goes with regular errands and little chores around the house and recharge for the following week. No time-off for the past 12 months, just recently getting some time-off which i am saving for year end trip (may be).
...

Use this as a reason you want to FIRE.  Let her know that you hate how due to this job you aren't able to help her around the house, to spend more time with the kid, etc.  Actually you are a bit jealous of how much she gets to spend with the kid, and honestly, you just want to FIRE so you can do the same thing.  Forget the "FIRE = no more required work" and make it "FIRE = more family time".  This is less focused on you and more focused on the family. 

And don't bring this out as a "I want FIRE b/c of this" but next time you guys talk about it, talk about how you plan to spend your RE like she get's to spend her days now - time with kid being a major part of it.  Make sure she knows she has the life you want, and once you FIRE, her life will be easier too (less chores) but overall your family will be the same (same income coming in, just a different source).

...
5. yearly reward program if goal is met
...

Make sure she is a major part in setting both the goal and the reward.  This shouldn't be something you impose upon her, it should be a group choice.  Remember, you want her life, so she should have a say in what really affects it and shapes it. 

Also, sets rewards that favor her - if you are able to fund retirement by x% more, you will cook her a special homemade meal of her choice once a month.  That way she feels pampered, plus it shows that the best rewards are staying away from expensive restaurants (MM point being pushed on her in a positive light).  This is a tactic that I used in the beginning when trying to reign in dining out costs.  Everyone loves a nice candle lit dinner (and usually good times are had after dinner as well ;) ). 

iamlittlehedgehog

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #24 on: June 15, 2015, 01:22:45 PM »
Well - the good news it is very obvious you are not alone in this struggle!
I think most relationships experience this to a certain degree, most couples simply won't 100% see eye-to-eye on spending and saving, and that is okay as long as you are willing to compromise.

My DH is the saver and I'm the spender, the free spirit. So money talk can at times become patronizing and, well, boring. I agree with the suggestions that keep her short-goal oriented and keep reminding her about what will improve with your lives once FIRE is reached.

tj

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #25 on: June 15, 2015, 07:46:38 PM »
Quote
I would not date DH until he maxed out on his 401(k) contribution.

How exactly did this work?


One of my favorite users at Bogleheads posted this blog about financial communicating for couples, which seems helpful:

http://www.worldofwealthblog.com/?p=266

pbkmaine

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #26 on: June 16, 2015, 07:41:40 PM »
Understand that I was a financial planner at the time. He wanted to go out with me, and I asked him if he was maxing his 401(k). We were friends, not strangers, so we could have the conversation. He said no, he was just contributing up to the match. I said: "When you are contributing the maximum legal amount, let me know and I will go out with you." So he switched his contributions immediately. That set the tone for our entire relationship. He knew that FI was really important to me, and he showed he was willing to step up to the challenge.

tj

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #27 on: June 16, 2015, 08:33:41 PM »
Understand that I was a financial planner at the time. He wanted to go out with me, and I asked him if he was maxing his 401(k). We were friends, not strangers, so we could have the conversation. He said no, he was just contributing up to the match. I said: "When you are contributing the maximum legal amount, let me know and I will go out with you." So he switched his contributions immediately. That set the tone for our entire relationship. He knew that FI was really important to me, and he showed he was willing to step up to the challenge.

I wish I could say that to women that I was interested in dating. I guess it helps that you were friends....

Faraday

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #28 on: June 17, 2015, 08:46:49 AM »
Understand that I was a financial planner at the time. He wanted to go out with me, and I asked him if he was maxing his 401(k). We were friends, not strangers, so we could have the conversation. He said no, he was just contributing up to the match. I said: "When you are contributing the maximum legal amount, let me know and I will go out with you." So he switched his contributions immediately. That set the tone for our entire relationship. He knew that FI was really important to me, and he showed he was willing to step up to the challenge.

I wish I could say that to women that I was interested in dating. I guess it helps that you were friends....

Why CAN'T you say that to women? I mean, if you go into a relationship, you gonna be saying it anyways!

lemonlime

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #29 on: June 17, 2015, 09:59:47 AM »
Have her take the lead on budgeting/bills/planning. You get a say, but putting into her hands is going to make her very aware of what is going on and she will probably start asking herself some questions about what she really wants to do with money.

I had been supporting my husband as he finishes school, and for a while I handled all things financial and he was just oblivious. I was frustrated. Eventually I said, you make the budget and we'll go through it together to make sure we agree on it. He did it, stopped being oblivious, started thinking about what he wants for him/us, and started acting accordingly. It has made a huge difference in our relationship. There were some arguments at first (I felt like his wanting to change things was a veiled criticism of me; it wasn't, I just thought I had it all figured out because I had been doing it my way for years with no feedback or differing opinions - I had never had to challenge my assumptions), but now we have gotten aligned on goals and dreams, and life is good because we are on the same plan. That doesn't mean we want exactly the same things but our individual things are built into the joint plan.

Best of luck to you.

tj

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2015, 10:20:25 AM »
Understand that I was a financial planner at the time. He wanted to go out with me, and I asked him if he was maxing his 401(k). We were friends, not strangers, so we could have the conversation. He said no, he was just contributing up to the match. I said: "When you are contributing the maximum legal amount, let me know and I will go out with you." So he switched his contributions immediately. That set the tone for our entire relationship. He knew that FI was really important to me, and he showed he was willing to step up to the challenge.

I wish I could say that to women that I was interested in dating. I guess it helps that you were friends....

Why CAN'T you say that to women? I mean, if you go into a relationship, you gonna be saying it anyways!

You can't because you risk coming off as obsessive about money and you are going to alienate a lot of people before you give them a chance to get to know you.

Noodle

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #31 on: June 17, 2015, 11:37:41 AM »
Yes, note that in that particular story they were friends first and presumably knew enough about each other to have context and know how the comment would go over. That comment wouldn't offend me from the right friend but it sure would from a new acquaintance.

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #32 on: June 17, 2015, 01:25:01 PM »
Perhaps, instead of your goal being FI/RE, you need to look at making a change to your current life. Your work schedule seems horrific. You sound like you're feeling frustrated by not making much progress toward FI, and you're not feeling supported in your goals of having more family time. What about exploring other career options and trying to make a change to a job where you get home at a reasonable hour, don't have to travel, etc.?

I just discovered MMM after being laid off for 4 years as a city planner, during which time we had two kids and I started, ran and then sold an ice cream business, finally being recalled to my city job. While we were somewhat frugal, still we got into a hole over those 4 years that we are still digging out of 2 years later. We are very far away from being FI and with the two kids in full-time daycare (the younger one) and expensive after-care (the school-age one), we're spending as much on that as on our mortgage in our HCOL area. We are working to make changes and get a handle on our financial situation, but an extreme idea of taking on a second job to get us more quickly to FI, for example, or looking for a work schedule like yours to make more money, does not make a ton of sense right now, both from a perspective of wanting to maximize time with our kids, and because we're both constantly exhausted already (from working full-time and parenting the rest of the full-time). We can't even keep our house clean with our current responsibilities ;-)

So for us, we are now looking at lowering our expenses as much as possible and figuring out what makes the most sense to maximize our shared happiness. DH is considering leaving a dead-end, relatively low-paying job to spend more time with the kids and look for something better; this would better support me to work more efficiently and probably do 4 10-hour days (to have 3-day weekends every week!). With our kids young, we will never have this time back, and even now at ages 4 and 6, I already feel as though I have missed things and am so distracted often when I am home that I'm not the parent I want to be all the time.

If you are not happy right now in your current position, and don't want to miss your kid's childhood, you can change your situation now. It's no good to kill yourself for another 10-15 years to maintain an upper-middle-class standard of living just in time for your son to go off to college. Look into both of you working part-time, or you getting a saner, 40-hour-a-week job. It is not crazy that your priorities have changed since having a child. A lot changes when you experience that little life you helped create, and it gets even more fun and crazier when their personalities start to shine and their language skills evolve! You need to tell your wife how you're feeling and figure out what works for you both, right now, given all your goals. 

I wish I had found, and been ready to buy into, something like MMM when I was 20. Now that I'm 40 with two kids, and living in the present with them is more important to me than losing that time to retire a bit early later, I think the MMM ideals can be implemented in a different way to support my priorities. This could work for you too!

I wish you the best of luck in whatever path you choose.

hope2retire

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2015, 08:39:28 PM »
Thanks a lot again guys for all the feedback and suggestions. Have been reading at work and could not post replies.

Wish I could say something like that before marriage. Typically, we don't discuss financial topics  in our culture because it comes out as anything other than responsible....

She is not a good at budgeting (as she never had to do in her pre-marriage life with money), which is what is causing the issues. I started with a simple task by giving her the grocery shopping. Just to test the waters with her, with in-built spare money. I don't want to hand hold her on that, as she may be aware of what groceries are needed and buy it. But, there were never left-overs in the grocery account, always used the whole budget. I was expecting more like small left overs in the budget 5-10% which would add up over a period of time, which she can spend on anything of her choice as time went.
This would give me an idea of how she thinks and processes living inside a budget.

She does not know anything about all the 401ks and stock market accounts etc because she is in the US only for the past 5 yrs. She is not too keen on learning as well. She has not worked here but worked in another country.  She knows some thing about real estate from where she is from (foreign country), but that also her family takes the decision, so she never had any experience on her own.
I even asked her that I will give certain amt for RE, but she does not want to take the risk.

That is a good suggestion Lemonlime. I am going to ask her "how much do you think is required for living if FIRE or I lose a job". Since i already told my number/month to her before, she may just tell that back to me. But i am going to ask the split, that would put things into perspective for her.

Thanks amandapdx. Yes you are correct. I am frustrated the FIRE is being pushed forward after all the hardwork I am putting and not being supported. I recently joined one year back and my situation is like that I have to take this job atleast for now, I am putting lots of effort at work so that I will be recognized for my work, so they can hire me full time in future. If I do not go to work, my emergency savings would run out very fast in the east coast with HI and HCOL area with single income. May be after 1 year I will move more closer to work , that is something I am looking. I would panic, If there is no money flow for 4 years, good that atleast your husband was working. it would be less stressful if she was working because of the obvious advantages on savings to choosing where you work if you don't like the job. But unfortunately, I am pretty much shouldering the whole responsibility for now. If i get a full-time at my current work and move closer to office, it would be little more manageable time wise. Thanks again for sharing your story.


H2R
« Last Edit: June 17, 2015, 08:44:17 PM by hope2retire »

humbleMouse

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2015, 09:41:56 PM »
This might be the best post to ever grace mr money mustache forums.  Thank you for this brilliant piece of writing.


First: Stop nagging her. (And if you aren't, kudos to you. I started this by nagging and it got me nowhere.)

Second: Do a budget. Start tracking spending using the website for whatever bank you have. Spend time getting to know what your monthly expenses truly are. If your situation is like mine, you'll see your wife spending you down to $0 every month. Don't get mad, just get familiar with what's happening.

Third: Rank your expenses by size. Biggest to the smallest. Starting with the biggest, ask yourself "what must I do to reduce that expense?" If it's mortgage and you can lower the payments by refi, then refi. If it's cellphones, then when the contract is up, swap out the cellphones for very inexpensive month-to-month plans (I went with Republic.)

Guess What: If you are like most households, your wife's spending won't be the most expensive thing. It might not be in the top 5 items at all.

Repeat Third step above indefinitely, BTW.

Fourth: Open a new account at the bank you use. (with or not with your wife. I don't care) Start electronically routing your newfound savings into that account and start amassing money. Don't hide it from your wife (tell her if she wants to know) but don't volunteer it either.

Now, here's where it gets crazy:
Fifth: Ask your wife what experience she most desires, that costs money but is reasonable and affordable. Is it a beach trip you've never been able to take? Is it the honeymoon she wishes she'd had? Is it a visit to go see family she's not seen in awhile? Is it an upgraded, used minivan to replace the beater one she's driving the kids around in?

Sixth: Team with your wife to achieve that thing. Set a date to achieve "the thing" by an agreement with your wife, and have the both of you strive to make that accomplishment. Work with her to achieve something SHE WANTS.

Now watch her take off like a lean, strong MMM racehorse. Once you team with her and give her your strength, she will surprise you at how she finds savings, moves money around and generally does whatever is possible to make the goal.

Then, when you have enough money saved, you execute on the goal.

Now, here's the magic part:

a) You oversave a little bit for the object/objective, with the intention of leaving yourself about $1k "seed money". That will begin the savings for the next "thing".
b) That next "thing" can be whatever it needs to be, but it should be something like eliminating a debt or wiping out an expense in order to generate more cash flow. Set the objective like you did before.
c) At some point, move the money from the account and invest it.

Notice that nowhere in this process do you "nag the wife about money". What you do, instead, is focus on wants that make sense and work together to become a team to achieve that goal. Then, since she DOES love you, she'll want to reciprocate and help you achieve a goal that's important to YOU. And of course, YOUR goal will be some mustachian "thing": increasing your 401k contribution, opening a Roth IRA, etc.

This is how I was advised to do this by a co-worker who originated the process with his own spouse. I used it in my situation and it changed things forever.

Now: My DW is not mustachian and never will be. But she understands the power of these principles and no longer fights me on them. In the meantime, my 401k savings rate went from 3% to 21%, I have Roth IRAs for both of us, a post-tax investment account, emergency savings, and I manage to make a big payment against the mortgage principal twice a year.

Most importantly, she knows I'm doing this financial work for the both of us. Not to amass money then drain the accounts and leave her. Because that first project we teamed together on strengthened both our financial picture AND our relationship. I PROVED to her that "I'm in it for you" and demonstrated it clearly.

Now: your process might vary from what I've written above. But the point is the same. Find out what she most wants, use the MMM principles to save money and pull cash from your income stream to an account you designate specifically FOR that want. Then when  you are done, go out and get that want and give it to her.

In the meantime, you streamline home finances while this is going on and when "the project" is done, you've got more headroom for approaching the MMM lifestyle.

zsmith

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2015, 10:38:48 PM »
My husband is definitely the spender and before our finances were together I was saving a lot more money as a percentage of my income. It took some time for me to stop stressing about (and harassing him about) how our savings rate has dropped.

Some steps we took together:

1. Canceled cable. This was easy. We have Roku, Netflix, Hulu, HBO and an antenna for a fraction of the cost. He is happy because he doesn't feel like he's missing out on anything and I'm happy because we have saved a ton of money.
2. I've relaxed. Our savings rate is 45 percent - so what if it takes us 15 more years of working to retire. Our marriage is more  important than ER and I think we'll continue to make more money and increase our savings rate in the coming years.
3. I ensure he has money in our budget to spend on what he thinks is important - monthly massage, money for dining out, whatever he wants. His free money is almost double my free money and his couple hundred freelance money is his to spend as he wants. He's changed so many habits already I think some of this will shift over time, but for now if that's how he wants to spend. Fine by me. We review the budget every month and he helps me decide where we should shift money to cover the next month's expenses.
4. We eat out more (I'm also super pregnant so this is almost a need at this point anyway), but it's a compromise. I also buy food that's easy for him to prepare so he is eating at home more than ever. I buy prepared tofu, prepared spaghetti sauce, etc. It gives him confidence to prepare meals. Since he loves to eat out brunch, we do this on the weekends, but I'll also wake up early one day on the weekends and make a home cooked brunch that tastes just as good.

In relaxing a bit, I've found that he has actually started to spend less. He's packing his lunch for work more and thinking about his spending. We are tackling it as a team and he is even on board for early retirement by age 45. Sooner would be better, but baby steps for now.

Cassie

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Re: MM/Anti-MM Couple....
« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2015, 05:36:55 PM »
Relationships are more important then saving $ unless they turn into sinking ships. Sounds like you both are compromising. Great!