Author Topic: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single  (Read 17608 times)

yuka

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #50 on: January 05, 2016, 09:56:26 PM »
Hopefully this hasn't already been covered, but the huge advantage to being single is you can do extreme things like living in your car at company parking and having almost zero expenses because of it. However, that option is far from being available everywhere; your climate has to be sufficiently hospitable in both summer and winter.

arebelspy

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #51 on: January 05, 2016, 10:30:05 PM »
Hopefully this hasn't already been covered, but the huge advantage to being single is you can do extreme things like living in your car at company parking and having almost zero expenses because of it. However, that option is far from being available everywhere; your climate has to be sufficiently hospitable in both summer and winter.

You can do this married.  The wife and I considered living in a vehicle for awhile.
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gerardc

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #52 on: January 07, 2017, 10:48:30 PM »
I'm not convinced that married > single, financially, even if both parties are frugal.

Taxes: married filing jointly get a slightly better combined tax rate than filing separately if both incomes are very different (a bad deal for the higher earner), but a slightly worse combined tax rate if incomes are similar. Small difference overall.

Expenses: Most shareable expenses for a couple (housing, food, transportation) can also be shared with roommates/friends, e.g. common meals or sharing a car. Plus, friends are more flexible and expendable, i.e. easy to make new ones and move on without screwing your whole life over.

JLee

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #53 on: January 07, 2017, 11:00:36 PM »
I'm not convinced that married > single, financially, even if both parties are frugal.

Taxes: married filing jointly get a slightly better combined tax rate than filing separately if both incomes are very different (a bad deal for the higher earner), but a slightly worse combined tax rate if incomes are similar. Small difference overall.

Expenses: Most shareable expenses for a couple (housing, food, transportation) can also be shared with roommates/friends, e.g. common meals or sharing a car. Plus, friends are more flexible and expendable, i.e. easy to make new ones and move on without screwing your whole life over.

The biggest difference there is you're not likely to go FI with a roommate if you each have 50% of your combined living expenses covered with retirement savings.

gerardc

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #54 on: January 07, 2017, 11:13:04 PM »
The biggest difference there is you're not likely to go FI with a roommate if you each have 50% of your combined living expenses covered with retirement savings.

You could if you're confident in your ability to maintain the same living situation in retirement. Just like married people count on staying married forever for their finances to work out in retirement (which we all know how that turns how statistically).

I noticed the tendency on this forum for couples to FIRE around $700-1500k in combined net worth, and singles to FIRE around the same amount (!). This seems due to couples higher confidence in being able to maintain their expense level forever, which has no strong basis in fact, statistically.

JLee

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #55 on: January 07, 2017, 11:20:35 PM »
The biggest difference there is you're not likely to go FI with a roommate if you each have 50% of your combined living expenses covered with retirement savings.

You could if you're confident in your ability to maintain the same living situation in retirement. Just like married people count on staying married forever for their finances to work out in retirement (which we all know how that turns how statistically).

I noticed the tendency on this forum for couples to FIRE around $700-1500k in combined net worth, and singles to FIRE around the same amount (!). This seems due to couples higher confidence in being able to maintain their expense level forever, which has no strong basis in fact, statistically.

If you like sharing a vehicle, food, and a bed with your roommate, then sure...I guess that'd work.

arebelspy

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #56 on: January 08, 2017, 12:45:39 AM »
I noticed the tendency on this forum for couples to FIRE around $700-1500k in combined net worth, and singles to FIRE around the same amount (!). This seems due to couples higher confidence in being able to maintain their expense level forever, which has no strong basis in fact, statistically.

Nah, I think couples are FIREing with higher amounts than singles.

Not double, but that's due to the efficiency of sharing with someone.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

SuperMex

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #57 on: January 09, 2017, 12:13:23 PM »
Divorce is nearly 50% and it is one of the biggest obstacles to building wealth. So in theory being married should be better but you are betting on a 50/50 proposition.

I am married but I strongly recommend against it for my son; to much unnecessary risk.

maizeman

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #58 on: January 09, 2017, 03:45:55 PM »
Yeah, that's the overall risk, but there are lots of things you can look at to get a better sense of your risk of divorce before making that decision.

For example, if you either are or marry a college educated woman, the risk of divorce is closer to 1 in 5 than 1 in 2 (the husband's education level appears to matter less).

arebelspy

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #59 on: January 09, 2017, 03:50:19 PM »
Divorce is nearly 50%

It's actually much less than that, and trending down, probably about 1/3 of people getting married today, on average, will get divorced.

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/upshot/the-divorce-surge-is-over-but-the-myth-lives-on.html

We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, and now travel the world full time with two kids.
If you want to know more about me, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Carlin

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #60 on: January 09, 2017, 03:55:25 PM »
I agree, having a spouse definitely makes things easier, provided you both have the same goals and values.  Another person means two incomes, half the rent/mortgage/bills, and less reason to spend money seeking entertainment or socialization.  For example, it's much easier to spend countless nights in the house playing music together, reading, board games...etc with a spouse than it is alone.  I wouldn't have accomplished most of what I have in life without my spouse.  He is the reason I was able to finish school, pay our debts quickly, and much, much more.

Ryland

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #61 on: January 09, 2017, 05:45:39 PM »
Definitely depends all on the spouse.

If you get a spouse committed to FIRE, you've got a huge advantage. If you don't, it can be a huge drag. But you can slowly show a spouse the insane benefits of financial independence. A great article from a wife who didn't believe in FI, and now is relentlessly pursuing it is right here: http://www.madfientist.com/an-unexpected-guest-post/

If you have a spouse not into FI, you've got to focus on "What they want out of life?" If you can dig deep enough where they explain their values and goals, you then can show them how beneficial FI is to living more of that life. Focus on their dream, then bring FI into the conversation.

sonjak

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #62 on: January 09, 2017, 05:52:30 PM »
Didn't read all the posts since I'm not in the mood to read a debate.  Just to answer the question...

For me, I don't know that I would have ever been able to retire if I had stayed married to who I was married to as he was a train wreck financially and in many other ways.  He did not support savings AT ALL (including for even a minimal down payment).  I had no clue about mustachianism or FIRE when we were together, I was just trying to live the Dave Ramsay plan and we couldn't get past baby step 2 together.  I am grateful we didn't have kids together (which would have further impacted FIRE plans) and am actually very happily CF - moreso the older I get.

I am doing much better as a single.  I am not making as much as many folks on this site and know that if I was and/or was married to someone else who was, who was equally committed, we'd be flying right now or have retired already.  Sometimes I feel mildly jealous of that but I focus on what I can control and am happy with where I am.  I am hoping to a relationship but do not consider that in my plans.  I will need to work until my early 50s but I should be able to retire comfortably and frugally then and I'm good with that. 

tooqk4u22

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #63 on: January 10, 2017, 09:00:16 AM »
For me, being married has substantially contributed to being able to FIRE and is overall net positive for many of the reasons mentioned above like greater efficiency, two incomes that help increase the stash or shares the risk of unemployment (ie unlikely both will become unemployed at same time), SAHP scenarios that allow one to manage the home front and the other to maximize the earnings.....all kinds of things. 

My FIRE is taking longer than I want for variety of reasons but the marriage specific one would be that DW spending levels are higher than what I want/need - but that's part of being married. If we looked at it on 50/50 assets, I could be FIRE and she could work to pay for her extras which she is ok with, but I am not.  I would rather get to a point where we are both covered for our desired lifestyle.  For the record, she is by no means off the reservation with spending. 

Similar values and goals is a big driver of the positives....if you don't have this it has to be a negative. 

Also, kids don't count in this discussion because single people can have them too and kids are a lifestyle choice (no different than where you live or what you drive or how you vacation) aside from ooops situations but even those are mostly due to irresponsibility (which is a choice in itself).

oldtoyota

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #64 on: January 10, 2017, 09:14:50 AM »
I haven't done the math, but I wonder how married with kids breaks out versus single without kids. Daycare and college expenses are high. Daycare, especially, could set back the savings rate.

And, of course, staying home to care for children means one parent is not earning an income while their marketable skills age and, perhaps, become obsolete.

Libertea

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #65 on: February 09, 2017, 10:17:27 AM »
I haven't done the math, but I wonder how married with kids breaks out versus single without kids. Daycare and college expenses are high. Daycare, especially, could set back the savings rate.

And, of course, staying home to care for children means one parent is not earning an income while their marketable skills age and, perhaps, become obsolete.
This is going to be very person-dependent, and it gets back to spending levels.  I'm single without kids.  My (married w/ two kids) sister and BIL earn about as much together as I did alone while I was working FT, but I'm now semi-retired after 2.5 years of it, while they're (hopefully) going to retire in a couple of decades at traditional age.  That difference has everything to do with our widely disparate spending/savings rates, even with taking into account the fact that I am funding my niece's and nephew's college accounts (which I consider to be an expense on my balance sheet for financial planning purposes, since that money is not being saved toward my own FI).

Goldielocks

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #66 on: February 09, 2017, 09:55:14 PM »
I did not see it mentioned, but getting married early kick started my savings.   I spent far less on eating out, girls weekends and entertainment than my single friends.  Spent less on all those expensive costs for girly looking good, too.  (nails, spa, clothing, gym membership, etc.)


As for the two incomes making it take half as long to FIRE, well that doesn't always work out the way one thinks. Spouse not on board, yet also NOT working for 11 years... (various good and not good reasons). 


erp

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #67 on: February 14, 2017, 10:28:14 AM »
Based on the case studies I've read, it really seems like married units have some huge advantages over singles. In Canada there's the added benefit that it basically doubles your access to Tax Free accounts (through spousal RRSP contributions and an extra TFSA), which can have a pretty large tax impact.

In reading the millionaire next door, I was really impacted by the statement that married couples were much more successful at acquiring and keeping wealth. I certainly feel like having someone who has the time and emotional energy to be running at 'full mustachian' while the other partner is earning the big bucks (and still onboard with FIRE) would be way easier than needing to juggle all of the priorities on my own. Still, as much as a positive marriage is a huge boon to your FIRE track, a messy divorce is way, way worse.

Also - Cathy, your additions to this thread have been invaluable, thank you for your contributions.

Goldielocks

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Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
« Reply #68 on: February 19, 2017, 12:52:23 AM »
Based on the case studies I've read, it really seems like married units have some huge advantages over singles. In Canada there's the added benefit that it basically doubles your access to Tax Free accounts (through spousal RRSP contributions and an extra TFSA), which can have a pretty large tax impact.


I think you are off base a bit with these assumptions:

1) TFSA limits are 2x, only because you have double people to support with them.   No advantage there.  Married people are treated identically to two singles, in terms of TFSA's.

2)  Spousal RRSP - the benefit is the ability of spousal contributions to split incomes in retirement (or after the money has been in the spousal account for more than 3 years)...  It is 100% off of your own contribution limit, so no doubling impact there.  anything that you contribute to the spousal account is subtracted from the room to contribute to your own....

The advantage to married units is the shared cost of living, and the fact that the lower income person has access to more income;  the higher income person has access to a helpmate in the home / life that may reduce other expenses.