Author Topic: Tell how you converted your partner  (Read 5964 times)

2ndTimer

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Tell how you converted your partner
« on: August 19, 2014, 09:39:32 AM »
I recently read a post by Dude about how he converted his wife to mustachianism and how badass she had become.  It occurred to me that given the number of "How can I convert my partner?" threads I see here we might benefit from some real life conversion stories.  Here's mine:

My spouse was of the moderately careful spending but it doesn't really matter as long as we don't go into debt type.  The kind of person who thinks it's great that we paid cash for our used Honda Civic but who didn't get the connection between having the cash and not making yet another visit to a convenience store for coffee and a hot dog. 

I finally found the key to his psyche when I added up our projected retirement income (we are 57) and suggested that we had better be sure that we could live on that amount.  My spouse is the sort of person who really shines in real world emergency situations so presenting him with a real world situation that he was definitely going to encounter instead of yet another of my careful plans for avoiding it was what he needed.  Now that he has internalized the situation he is an enthusiastic participant. 

EarlyRetirementGuy

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 09:46:47 AM »
I wish I knew the answer. My partner was recently talking about having kids and wanting to stay at home with them instead of going back to work. I tried to explain to her how we could make this happen by living cheaply now but instead shes of the opinion I should just work more overtime while she stays at home with the kids :rolleyes:.

ketchup

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 10:08:11 AM »
It definitely can take time.  Some posters say they were able to make it "click" with their SO right away.  It took a while for my GF to really embrace it.

At first, her reaction was along the lines of "Oh great, we have to cheapskates forever" while still OK with the idea of saving money on certain things.  Gradually she came around (I'd say it took about a year for her to truly transition).  She's decoupled spending money from happiness and all that.  She no longer aspires to be "rich" later in life (the "park your Audi in front of your 3000sqf house in the suburbs" kind of rich that she used to dream of, having grown up quite poor).  As she's focused on improving her life (building her photography business, bettering her health and losing weight, etc) she's come to think more about the future, and that naturally leads to early retirement, or in her specific case future optional part-time enjoyable work that can support hobbies.

When I mentioned that next year when the two of us move into our 1 bedroom rental house that our total everything expenses could be <$1000/month she was excited instead of challenging like she would have been in the past.  Excited that we'll be able to save so much.

It can be done.  And it's worth it.  Having aligned goals is paramount to a happy relationship.

2ndTimer

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 10:14:17 AM »
I wish I knew the answer. My partner was recently talking about having kids and wanting to stay at home with them instead of going back to work. I tried to explain to her how we could make this happen by living cheaply now but instead shes of the opinion I should just work more overtime while she stays at home with the kids :rolleyes:.

Wow, have the two of you ever discussed the fact that a sensible person might not want to mingle their genetic material with someone who prefers their money over their company

soccerluvof4

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 10:14:45 AM »
I chose not to "convert my wife" but to want her to make changes on her own.

I did this by simply first by taking over the groceries shopping and sharing the excitement in the savings being careful not to rub in her nose.  Before to long she got sick of what she use to spent. It was easy for her to see by using mint.

Second I kept checking out book after book and would share stories of smart things I felt people were doing but not extreme cases.  Before long she would ask if she could read the book when i was done.

I would ask her to set certain things up saying i wasn't good at it so she would then have to ask questions to be able to do so.  Some examples automatic withdrawals for payments.... Setting up HSA....

I then had her go with me to do our taxes and when I was pretty much running the show on deductions etc.. being an accountant she was like how did you know all that.

Long and short of it we have come along ways and have plenty to go but by not forcing her and it becoming her own decision since she is a practical person its working out well. Some might find this deceptive but I find it more allowing the person to learn and figure it out on there own which will make it last longer.  She now brings a lot of ideas and questions to the table as well.

If you have been together awhile and all of a sudden see the light don't expect no matter how much sense it might make to you to be able to just force something on someone. They might feel all different emotions one being they have been foolish.

Give them the opportunity to get aboard on there own. Its working for me.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 10:17:21 AM by soccerluvof4 »

EarlyRetirementGuy

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 10:17:55 AM »
I wish I knew the answer. My partner was recently talking about having kids and wanting to stay at home with them instead of going back to work. I tried to explain to her how we could make this happen by living cheaply now but instead shes of the opinion I should just work more overtime while she stays at home with the kids :rolleyes:.

Wow, have the two of you ever discussed the fact that a sensible person might not want to mingle their genetic material with someone who prefers their money over their company

Hah, It's not quite that bad ;)

Although we do still maintain semi-separate finances at the moment. At least I managed to convince her to up her company pension contributions.

nawhite

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 10:19:21 AM »
My wife was never crazy spendy but she did have about $150k in student loans (in addition to my $55k) when we got married which meant that we had to go 100% mustacian if we wanted to make serious retirement contributions in addition to loan payments.

The trick I found was talking about her goals and dislikes and framing mustacianism in terms of those instead of my goals and dislikes. So mostly it was just a change in how I presented things. Money was never ever the motivator for my wife and never will be. But she does hate driving, likes to by knick-knacks, does a lot of yoga, and wants to have kids. I can work with all of those things to get her on board.

So instead of:
"We should start biking to work, or at least carpooling because we would save SO MUCH MONEY, and then we could put that money towards never needing to work again"
the conversation changed to:
"I know you HATE driving. We're planning on moving anyway and this neighborhood has houses in our price range and is less than a mile from your work. That way you won't have to drive again! How awesome would it be to never have to drive to your work again?!?!"

and

"Yoga sessions are really expensive! You should listen to more free yoga podcasts at home instead of going to a studio!
changed to:
"What are some ways we can get you more yoga for less money?
Oh, they offer free weeks if you try out different studios? Just think, you could do a yoga session EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK if you tried out that new one down the street.
Oh you don't know what to ask you family for for christmas or your birthday? Looks like your favorite studio is running a Groupon for the holidays, I bet you could ask your parents for that for Christmas.
Oh your favorite studio needs people to work the front desk? I wonder if they would pay you in class time if you worked there? Then you could hang out with the instructors even longer."
Oh if you take the instructor class you get around 300 classes for half price? And then you can get paid to do yoga? And I can say my wife is a yoga instructor who has the body to match?!?!

and

"Wow that area rug costs like $500!!! Why in the world do we need an area rug for $500 that wont make us any happier?"
changed to:
"You know that Habitat for Humanity Re-Store? They had some really nice area rugs there that looked like they were donated by interior decorators with no spending limit (that also happened to only cost $50). Let's go check them out after work this week and see if we can get one before they're all gone.

And the biggest one for my wife in particular:

"I dislike my job so I want to spend way less money so that I only have to work X more years!"
changed to:
"I know you desperately want to have kids and sooner rather than later. I honestly wouldn't feel comfortable with them going to daycare every day while we worked because I want to be the one to raise my kids, not a daycare. So, when we have kids, I would like to be a stay at home dad. If I did that, this is how our finances might change... It looks like it would be really hard for us to afford me being a SAHD with our current spending so lets brainstorm some ways we can get our lifestyle in line with those numbers. When the math works out, then lets honestly talk about having kids."
(That conversation made her go mustacian to the extreme! Almost never eating out, never asking to stay at higher end hotels, bringing her lunch everyday, buying less "things" for around the house etc.)

okkiedokki

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 10:30:51 AM »
I have only been on this site for a few months, but for me it took baby steps and not forcing the issue.  My wife learned a lot from me in regards to saving and finances in the past.  At the beginning she wasn't thrilled for example the A/C being set to 78/79 F, she wanted it at 70-72F.  I was a little firm and we compromised and when she saw the electric bill down $70 the next month she was willing to give up a little more.  After 3 months of taking baby steps with groceries, electricity, etc she told me to cancel cable and is on board.  Now she talks about taking our lowest debt we owe on (Student loans) and taking any last penny we have at the end of the month and making an extra payment.  She's even on board with buying a used car when the time comes which I never thought I'd convince her of.

Eric

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 10:34:38 AM »
How'd you like to retire by age 45 if not before?
Yes, please.
Here's how we can do it.....
Sweet!

rubybeth

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 10:37:26 AM »
I'm the wife and converting the husband was pretty easy, since we live fairly cheaply by most standards (we were mustachian before we knew that was a thing), and had were already aggressively paying off our debt a few years prior to finding MMM. DH's aunt suggested Dave Ramsey, so we were snowballing like crazy and we paid off over $50K in under four years. We were just a few months away from paying it all off when I found MMM via another forum. I just started the conversation one day, "So, I found this financial blog and it's kind of 'out there' but what would you do if we only had to work until age 45?" and DH got excited by the possibilities (he's thinking slow travel to visit family/friends for extended stays, maybe do a PhD, write a book, etc.). He trusted that I had figured out the details/math, which was fairly easy to explain, since I said that all we'd really need to do is convert our huge debt payments into investments, and eventually having enough to retire early would happen pretty much automatically.

Credaholic

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 10:37:57 AM »
He's not super MMM, but my biggest breakthrough with DH came when setting our retirement accounts to all max. Since I think FIRE can be a really hard concept for people to wrap their minds around, especially if it's not the luxe retirement they imagine, I brought it up like, "Hey, if we save this much for the next 10 years, we could have this much income which would put us in such a safe place you could quit your job and start your own business like you've always wanted to without us having to worry about it!"

DH is the kind of guy who NEVER sits still, never stops working on something, etc. So retirement for him has to be golfing every day somewhere tropical or sailing around the world, not just happily but mundanely going about our lives at home without having to go to work. Framing it in the work for yourself kind of way resonated with him.

rubybeth

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 10:38:39 AM »
How'd you like to retire by age 45 if not before?
Yes, please.
Here's how we can do it.....
Sweet!

Awesome, this is pretty much what I said, too, as described in my post above. :D

teen persuasion

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2014, 11:21:58 AM »
DH was of the mindset that he'd never get to retire, he'd just have to work forever.  He also is distrustful of investments and the stock market, thinks it is all fake.  We were never spendy, not with low income and five kids; I've always been frugal, so we are comfortable.  As we paid off our modest SLs, and worked to pay down our 9.75% mortgage, I'd have him slowly increase his 401k contributions as payments went away: 5%, then 10%, then 20%.  I got a part-time job about the same time the mortgage was paid off, so I wanted to double contributions again and add Roths, but he wanted to stop having to teach during summers, so we compromised.  I got a raise, and he finally maxed his 401k.

He was getting more and more unhappy at work, but still viewed all the money put in retirement accounts as "my money" (since it was all my idea, and he'd rather spend some of it on stuff).  I'd found MMM, and begun considering the idea not just of retirement but early retirement, and had explained some to him, but it was still unbelievable to DH.  One day, his dissatisfaction with working finally overcame his disbelief, and tada!  Paradigm shift!  Unfortunately, I wish he could have held out about three more years, then he could have quit completely.  We're not FIRE, yet, he could switch to something lower paying and let investments compound, or he can find something different but similar paying and continue to save for a shorter time.  I would like to continue with my part-time job indefinitely, it is fun, but doesn't fully support us on its own.

It is still a work in progress, I'd like to eventually downsize the house, move so we can walk/bike more places, cutting expenses further.

J Boogie

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2014, 11:24:09 AM »
I like to talk about net worth as a goal we're racing towards, which helps a lot.  We intuitively understand net worth as being the goal that unlocks our other goals.

Some of our shared goals:


The ability to help family out should they ever need us

The ability to get out of Minnesota during the winter

The ability to spend more time with family, especially our kids as we progress in our careers (both of us intend on starting our own businesses which we would run from or nearby our theoretical house)

The ability to quit our jobs and start those businesses without having to stress out over finances


I think if you have shared goals, you can always refer back to them if something threatens to take them off their course.  It's good to each have around $150/mo of discretionary spending so that not every purchase has to go under the microscope. 






aetherie

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2014, 11:40:55 AM »
How'd you like to retire by age 45 if not before?
Yes, please.
Here's how we can do it.....
Sweet!

Mine was pretty much:

I read this blog where a guy retired at 30 by saving most of the money he made. I think we could do that too! Read this and tell me if you're on board.
[reads]
Let's do it.

Boyfriend and I were still in college at the time. I'm glad he found the idea as exciting as I did - no real "conversion" to be done here.

BonBon

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Re: Tell how you converted your partner
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2014, 11:51:57 AM »
As the converted significant other I thought maybe I should comment. Now for starters, I've never been truly spendy and neither has my partner. We met in grad school, neither one of us had cars and neither one of us had any kind of debt despite both of us paying to put ourselves through our undergrads. Long before discovering MMM, he convinced me that investing through my bank for mutual funds etc. wasn't the best idea just simply through a little bit of math and got me investing through Questrade instead.  My parents are the type of people though who aren't happy unless they are working and so my mom especially has a "you can't take it with you when you are dead" philosophy so I'd occasionally use this thinking to justify things to myself. For me the problem was that he started talking about the possibility of retiring before I was even done grad school (he had been working for a few years) and to me this was very scary as I didn't have a job (I'm currently postdocing so I sort of view myself as still not having one) and didn't know how much I would ever make. He came up with a nice plan for what we would do in retirement of camping and hiking/running/biking exploring the world together but without evening having a job yet it all seemed hypothetical and impossible.  For me it was occasionally also frustrating because he would talk about his time line to retirement which would never be achievable for me independently as I was still a student. One detrimental thing he did was that he would occasionally try to tell me that I would need to cut certain things out of my life, like yoga, not realizing any benefits it had to my overall happiness but just seeing the cost associated with it. Yet he would still feel it was okay to buy a new pair or two of running shoes every time there was a sale.
Anyhow after years of living in separate cities, we eventually moved in together once I finished grad school.  He left the MMM site bookmarked for me and on a slow week at work I got hooked. He realized how little I actually spend and we both started spending less, but realizing that it's okay to spend on things that matter to either one of us. Now the retirement conversation is about when we will retire and he has pushed back his timeline because he is budgeting for two people instead of just himself. I am not the type of person that you can push ideas on and for me it was important that I come to similar realizations but independently. :) But now it's great that we have a shared goal.