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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: RonMcCord on December 23, 2015, 05:01:08 PM

Title: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: RonMcCord on December 23, 2015, 05:01:08 PM
Maybe it's just me, but it seems like a lot of people who reached FIRE quickly also happened to be married with both spouses working.  It seems like it would make things easier.  Two people with entry level salaries of about 30k can pool their money and make as much as someone a few years into their career making 60k, and having a second person working gives you more of a safety net if someone gets laid off or if you move than one person working.  I'm probably oversimplifying it and I'm not really looking for a relationship right now, but a strictly financial standpoint it seems like an advantage. 

So I guess the main questions I have are, what are the advantages and disadvantages saving for FIRE alone vs with a spouse, and are there any singles out there who are working towards or already reached FIRE?
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: GrOW on December 23, 2015, 05:18:07 PM
Married working on FIRE here.

One big challenge is have two people buying into FIRE and then delivering on it constantly with two people's worth of life's crazy moments.

Positives are having a spouse who is committed to you so maybe convincing them to FIRE is easier than convincing them to put up with your quirks and marry you &,yes, the dual income thing.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: mozar on December 23, 2015, 06:32:50 PM
If you are married you would have to be on the exact same page in order to be able to use your dual income to retire early (assuming you live together and can save on some expenses). For example one spouse might be more risk averse and want to retire later which brings up a lot of issues to negotiate. Really (imo) the savings comes from people able to share a house/apartment. If you are single you can just get a roommate.

There is definitely more of a safety net when married (assuming you have that kind of marriage).
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Cathy on December 23, 2015, 07:42:44 PM
There is no serious debate here. Assuming that you are born in a western country, and assuming that no one gave you any large monetary gifts, a life partner is without a doubt the single biggest conceivable edge in reaching financial independence early in life. As I've noted before, a partner is an absolutely phenomenal advantage (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/taxes/would-you-pay-thousands-a-year-to-be-married/msg906744/#msg906744). And let's be clear about one thing: doubling your income by adding a partner does not just cut the time to retirement in half; it cuts the time down to a third, a quarter, or even less (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/how-different-would-your-life-be-if-you-were-asexual-and-aromantic/msg911865/#msg911865), depending on how the math works out in your particular case. A single person on average has to work many times longer than a married couple to reach freedom -- not just twice as long.

But dating, partners, romance, and marriage aren't in the cards for everybody. Maybe it's because you are asexual and aromantic. Maybe it's because you are an asshole or generally perceived as one or otherwise have an eccentric personality that prevents anybody from ever loving you. Maybe it's all of the above. Real life is a cruel place. If you find yourself in this situation, the only thing you can do is be many times more badass than the average married forum member here.

When other members are claiming that maximum happiness occurs at a salary of $75,000 per year, you'll be aware that that is nonsense (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/$3mil-$1mil/msg702167/#msg702167). When other members here are posting silly comments about a $200,000 income being "upper class" or "rich", you'll be laughing because you will have already retooled your thinking to earn as much money as possible (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/forum-check-what-forum-is-this/msg894709/#msg894709). When other members are endlessly debating the merits of various motorised vehicles, you won't even have a driver's licence because you are aware that, if you are an able-bodied adult, driving is generally for consumer suckers. When married members write about how they have a sexual fetish for prepaying fixed-rate low-interest student debt and mortgage loans (it just feels so good!), you'll be applying math instead (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/pay-off-0-debt-or-not/msg617746/#msg617746).

It won't be easy, but if you are sufficiently hardcore, you may be able to retire by age 25, while the married couple who had every advantage over you is still working in their 30s or later.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: icemodeled on December 23, 2015, 07:56:12 PM
I completely agree that having a spouse who is on board to FIRE is quite an advantage over a individual. Having a spouse who is not on board could be worse then being single. My husband and I made low wages starting out, our combined income a year was only $25k! Not a whole lot and we both were full time. We saved everything though and bought our first rental with cash. Saved awhile more and did it again. 2 years later we quite our jobs and its been 5 years now semi retired. We both had a goal though and knew when we reached that, we would be financially secure. Us both working helped a lot, plus we both put in equal effort with the rentals we bought (most all fixer uppers). It would of taken just one of us MUCH longer to reach that goal given our salary.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: ozbeach on December 23, 2015, 08:15:34 PM
Single, FI and almost RE here. I didn't really start to save seriously until my last relationship ended in my early 40s. Prior to that I had been in relationships where the spending was largely dictated by the other person. Finding myself single and 40 I guess I came to the realisation that the only person that was going to look after me was me, and this gave me the motivation to double-down and really make it happen. A big part of this was the realisation that if I lost my job or there was some other financial meltdown, that there was no-one I would be able to rely on while I got back on my feet. That got me into saving an emergency fund, which established the savings habit. Undoubtably its easier to do with two incomes, but only if you are both aligned to the same goal.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: RonMcCord on December 23, 2015, 08:26:38 PM
It won't be easy, but if you are sufficiently hardcore, you may be able to retire by age 25, while the married couple who had every advantage over you is still working in their 30s or later.

I highly doubt that in my case, because I'm 25 now and only have a net worth of 9k.

I do see you point though.  It would be significantly easier, but some people don't always get the opportunity for a significantly easier life.  When I look in the future I don't really see myself with another person, I want to go places and do things and as much as it feels like I'm falling behind seeing people my age or younger getting married, the fact is I feel like a lot of them are going to put down roots and stay where they are, and the thought of staying in this town forever would make me feel even worse.

I guess it would be nice to have someone, and if someone did come along I wouldn't fight it, but I might be better off working off the assumption I won't and if I'm right I'm single and FIRE and if I'm wrong I'm married and will hit FIRE that much faster. 
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Paul der Krake on December 23, 2015, 08:51:50 PM
The whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

Economies of scale and pooling assets is only part of the answer. Pooling one's time allows many many more combinations of how a couple decides to sell that time in exchange for money. It may slow you down, but the options increase greatly.

There's nothing wrong with taking the "hardcore" route and becoming an earning machine making 500k a year and reaching FIRE at 25. Personally, I've opted for the more scenic route.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: maizeman on December 23, 2015, 09:28:27 PM
When it comes to building a 'stache, I would say:

Two spouses with matching financial goals and/or risk tolerance > Single person > Two spouses with discordant financial goals and/or risk tolerance.

Since I'm the middle case, I could certainly be jealous of the case studies with married couples who're clearly on the same track and will likely hit their magic number well before I do, but it is always tempered by gratitude that I'm not in one of the couples, also frequently appearing in case studies, where one partner is trying to drag the other along kicking and screaming. To pick one random example: I would HATE to either try to impose an allowance on a spouse or be the recipient of said allowance setting.

But dating, partners, romance, and marriage aren't in the cards for everybody. Maybe it's because you are asexual and aromantic. Maybe it's because you are an asshole or generally perceived as one or otherwise have an eccentric personality that prevents anybody from ever loving you.
(emphasize mine)

I certainly hope that's not the explanation in my case, but I suppose it is good to keep that possibility in mind.  ;-)
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: FiveSigmas on December 23, 2015, 11:48:31 PM
I completely agree with Cathy. That said, I hope no one goes off to find a partner just to decrease his/her FIRE date. That's a recipe for all kinds of fail... :-)
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: astvilla on December 24, 2015, 03:08:27 AM
Hmm no posts about kids delaying FIRE yet?

I'd imagine kids can delay RE since you have to save for someone else besides yourselves.

But I think even with kids, Married w/kids can still be better than single and no kids, though every family would vary.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Noodle on December 24, 2015, 10:41:08 AM
When it comes to building a 'stache, I would say:

Two spouses with matching financial goals and/or risk tolerance > Single person > Two spouses with discordant financial goals and/or risk tolerance.


I think "married with children" often goes  into the same category as Single person. Like-minded couples who either aren't planning on children or who will make it to RE before children can pile up the stache fast, but once kids are in the picture so that one parent is home or childcare is being funded, it can really slow the process down. Of course, many expenses related to children are optional (should college be funded? do you want each child to have a bedroom?) which mitigates the extra cost. But I do notice that my married siblings (both dual career couples, kids in school so only after-school/summer care paid for, well into six figures) don't seem to have a lot more spare cash than I do. None of them are particularly spendy either, but they do want to help fund their kids' college education, so a lot of the extra is going there.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: CheapskateWife on December 24, 2015, 10:53:31 AM
For me, I see my DH as both a drain on the expense side (hello car hobby) and tremendous boon on the financial side (hello pension).  So the scale is balanced...until you factor in the intangibles, like someone to share the load at home, to help with chores, a confidant, sexy time, etc.

Sure there are ways I could be FIRE on my own right now and build a tiny house and live that way.  I would be completely happy pulling my house behind me and homeschooling the kid from the road.  DH will never sign up for that...there must be a garage and he loves his project cars.  But it isn't about the money really...its about FIRE so we can have the life we want.  And I choose a life with him.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Jon_Snow on December 24, 2015, 11:17:58 AM
No way would I currently be FIRE'd if I had been running solo for the past dozen years. Nope.

Or if we had kids.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Prairie Stash on December 24, 2015, 12:07:28 PM
Using a single person, no kids as a baseline here's some scenarios with some broad generalizations to think about:

DINK - Dual Income No Kid, then usually its easier
SAHP - Stay at Home Parent then its usually harder
SINK - Single Income No kids - harder for the wage earner, easier for the person not working (technically they're FIRE in some cases)
Dual Income but out one is 4-5 times larger then the high earner is delayed and the low earner is faster (think $100K and $20K earnings)
Single with kids then its usually harder

Pick your comparison appropriately and you'll find anecdotes to match. There probably more broad categories but my point is its not black and white between single and married. I'm one of those with delayed FIRE due to marriage, a decision I don't regret. It definitely improved my quality of life.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Cookie78 on December 31, 2015, 01:48:50 PM
Single, no kids, and working towards FIRE. I envy those who have two incomes of course, and plan to live with my SO (who is also on his own path to FIRE) eventually, but probably not until after I FIRE due to circumstances and international borders. It's harder to do on your own, but I think easier than if you had a spendy-pants SO. My decisions and choices are my own and I don't HAVE to compromise on expenses or future plans/goals.

Lately though, I feel that I don't have the emotional energy to be alone* and wish I was working directly with someone towards compatible goals. But I know once I get there I'll be glad to have done it on my own.

I'm not really alone. I have moral support and encouragement. But ultimately the work, income, expenses, and decisions are my own.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: RetiredAt63 on January 01, 2016, 02:35:55 PM
I had the spendy-pants SO and it takes a lot of emotional energy to be the one in the partnership worrying about long-term finances (and short-term too).  The emotional drain isn't always that obvious until the situation changes. 

Plus a spendy-pants SO often means not only a more expensive life-style for the parents, but also for the kids.  Lose-lose situation.

Single, no kids, and working towards FIRE. I envy those who have two incomes of course, and plan to live with my SO (who is also on his own path to FIRE) eventually, but probably not until after I FIRE due to circumstances and international borders. It's harder to do on your own, but I think easier than if you had a spendy-pants SO. My decisions and choices are my own and I don't HAVE to compromise on expenses or future plans/goals.

Lately though, I feel that I don't have the emotional energy to be alone* and wish I was working directly with someone towards compatible goals. But I know once I get there I'll be glad to have done it on my own.

I'm not really alone. I have moral support and encouragement. But ultimately the work, income, expenses, and decisions are my own.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: dmbsux on January 01, 2016, 09:51:56 PM
Quote
But dating, partners, romance, and marriage aren't in the cards for everybody. Maybe it's because you are asexual and aromantic. Maybe it's because you are an asshole or generally perceived as one or otherwise have an eccentric personality that prevents anybody from ever loving you. Maybe it's all of the above. Real life is a cruel place. If you find yourself in this situation, the only thing you can do is be many times more badass than the average married forum member here.

Cathy, I know you're not whining because that's not your style.  But still... I find it hard to believe that, in the age of the internet, there aren't thousands of other asexual/aromantic people out there, with whom you could partner with if you chose to.  And hell, there are plenty of folks who are attracted to assholes and eccentrics.  My point is that no one is condemned to be single; it's always a choice. 

With all that said, I would like to weaken your argument from a different angle.  Let's assume that someone partnered up with someone else b/c it helped them reach their financial goals quicker.  Let's assume further that this asexual and aromantic person willingly and intentionally engaged in activity that was both romantic and sexual in order to preserve the relationship and maintain the partnership, which was financially beneficial.  That would be like the worst thing ever, right?  Maybe not... Why is selling your mind to an employer (or a customer) for financial gain worse than giving away your body for financial gain?  What makes the body sacrosanct but the mind expendable?

Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: RonMcCord on January 01, 2016, 10:48:57 PM
With all that said, I would like to weaken your argument from a different angle.  Let's assume that someone partnered up with someone else b/c it helped them reach their financial goals quicker.  Let's assume further that this asexual and aromantic person willingly and intentionally engaged in activity that was both romantic and sexual in order to preserve the relationship and maintain the partnership, which was financially beneficial.  That would be like the worst thing ever, right?

If we're speaking purely hypothetically here, why does a marriage have to include love or sex at all?  Historically, marriage has been a way to form political alliances, consolidate wealth, and produce heirs.  Marrying for love is comparatively recent.  What if two Mustachians who don't love each other at all married for the benefits and sped up savings?  They get a pre nup, decide to have an open marriage, and if they find someone they really love, they divorce and split the pot.  If you want to make absolutely sure no one will develop feelings you can pair up with someone who doesn't line up with your orientation. For all intents and purposes, you'd just be roommates with a piece of paper saying you have slightly more rights.

Edit:Apparently soldiers in the military have entered "contract marriages" for higher pay, so not a new idea.  It's against military ethics to do it and you can get in trouble if caught, but there's no law against two citizens doing this, is there?
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Cathy on January 02, 2016, 12:05:38 AM
Let's assume that someone partnered up with someone else b/c it helped them reach their financial goals quicker.
... why does a marriage have to include love or sex at all? ... What if two Mustachians who don't love each other at all married for the benefits and sped up savings? ...

You're both asking substantially the same question here, which I'd rephrase as follows: If dyadic partnership is such an effective model for achieving early retirement (as I essentially claimed in my earlier post in this thread), then why aren't rational single Mustachians partnering up for the financial benefits, even without any sexual or romantic feelings in play?

The answer to that question is pretty obvious if you look at why there are financial benefits to (some) romantic relationships. Partners can pool their income and resources and plan their life as a single unit. Together, they choose the general direction and structure and organisation of their lives; and they basically have a shared vision for their future and joint goals to reach it. They prioritise each other over people who are not part of the relationship. They care for and support each other through times of difficulty. They are willing to make personal sacrifices in furtherance of their combined wishes. They are loyal to each other. For all those reasons, getting the maximum financial benefit out of a relationship necessarily involves spending a lot of time dealing with each other, frequently in emotionally intimate ways.

I am not particularly studied in social anthropology, but it seems clear that this kind of close, intimate relationship isn't likely to last long or to be successful if the parties don't actually like each other on a deep level. That's why "love" is relevant here: the attributes of a romantic relationship that are important for financial success are the very attributes that are associated with, and define, romantic feelings.

I do agree with RonMcCord that sex and sexual feelings are irrelevant to what makes such an arrangement work, but most people will not enter into such a relationship without sex being involved. That's the only reason why sex is relevant from an early retirement perspective. I'll also comment on this further below.


Historically, marriage has been a way to form political alliances, consolidate wealth, and produce heirs.  ...

Historically, marriage was a deeply patriarchal institution, the means through which women were conveyed as property from their fathers to their husbands, for the purpose of being financially, socially, and legally subservient to the latter. Chronicling all of the ways that women were oppressed by the legal and social institutions of marriage is far outside the scope of this post. One could write a lengthy treatise on the evolution of marriage from its extremely sexist roots to its current and evolving role in society. Indeed, a treatise of that nature probably already exists, but as mentioned, I am not particularly studied in social anthropology, so I'll have to leave it as an exercise to identify those references. For present purposes, it suffices to say that historical marriage is not a positive model and is not relevant to this discussion.


Let's assume further that this asexual and aromantic person willingly and intentionally engaged in activity that was both romantic and sexual in order to preserve the relationship and maintain the partnership, which was financially beneficial.

Compromising on sex for the purpose of maintaining a relationship is not a novel proposition. Many asexual people are coerced into sex by their partners. This is typically achieved through a program of emotional blackmail. Sometimes the asexual person later feels traumatised and posts heartbreaking stories on the internet. You can find plenty of examples on Google if you search for something like asexual coerced into sex. I won't survey those materials in this post, but from a casual review of them, it appears that the psychological harm outweighs any very hypothetical financial benefits that might be achieved by staying in the relationship. It doesn't look like a reasonable path to wealth to me, even if it actually works, which, as discussed above, it probably won't.


My point is that no one is condemned to be single; it's always a choice.

I'm not really sure what this claim is supposed to mean. If you mean to claim that everybody who is single could instantly find a loving romantic relationship whenever they want, and the reason they haven't done so is because they want to be single, then I disagree, because that is clearly false. I'm guessing you meant to say something to the effect that anybody who is single and doesn't want to be single is making some kind of mistake that is holding them back, such as not searching the internet effectively enough for potential partners, or whatever.

Regardless of what your point was supposed to be, I will tell you what my point was in the paragraph that you quoted: it's much easier for some people to find financially beneficial romantic relationships of the kind discussed earlier in this post than it is for other people. That is intuitively obvious.

The dating pool for a socially normative heterosexual person is much larger than for an asexual person who doesn't even like to be touched, let alone to have sex, and is not willing to agree to either. If a person is sufficiently eccentric, the dating pool may be small enough that they never find anybody that they actually like (as discussed above, it's not enough just to have compatible orientations), or at least it takes until much later in life and is generally more challenging. I don't think it's a bad thing to be different, but it does make some things harder. That said, even though such hypothetical people may not get the financial benefits of a loving relationship in reaching early retirement, they can make up for it by being more badass in other ways, as I said in my first post in this thread.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Prairie Stash on January 02, 2016, 12:32:34 PM
Cathy, your first post is based on the assumption of equals. If the partners have unequal earnings then your assertion of halving time to retirement for both parties falls apart. That's where the discussion lies, it's not a closed case.

Married or single isn't an excuse. A persons time to FIRE depends on the ratio of income to expenses. Married and single people can both deploy tactics to improve their own circumstances. Everyone also has the power to sabotage their plan.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Cathy on January 02, 2016, 01:01:16 PM
Cathy, your first post is based on the assumption of equals. If the partners have unequal earnings then your assertion of halving time to retirement for both parties falls apart.

Actually, the partners do not need to have equal income in order for the relationship to halve the time to retirement for each of them. If the partners do have equal income, I've previously shown that a relationship can cut the length of a working career down to one third, or even smaller (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/how-different-would-your-life-be-if-you-were-asexual-and-aromantic/msg911865/#msg911865), depending on all the facts. If the goal is to cut the time to retirement merely in half, that does not require two partners with equal income.

Secondly, a party to a relationship can be an equal partner even if they don't earn the same quantum of taxable income as their partner or partners. Other contributions still have real value. For example, a hypothetical fancy married NYC corporate lawyer might have a relationship with somebody who doesn't work, but who provides free childcare for two young children, which is equivalent to that partner having a pre-tax gross salary of around $70,000 per year, which is a respectable amount. I picked childcare only because it's easy to value in dollars, so don't get caught up on the fact that many single people do not have children and so wouldn't have to pay for childcare. All of the other aspects of the relationship (some of which I described above (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/reaching-fire-married-vs-single/msg922045/#msg922045)) are meaningful and also contribute to an earlier retirement, even if those contributions are difficult to value and are not subject to taxation under the Internal Revenue Code.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Prairie Stash on January 02, 2016, 01:42:58 PM
Assume earnings of 70k, assume 2 children...why assume married people have kids? It's simpler to say kids delay FIRE.
I read the Link - suppose both earn 40k (suppose they don't), lots of assumptions there too. If you make enough assumptions you'll always get the answer you want. If you challenge those assumptions there's alternate views. There is no singular answer, sometime marriage is better and sometimes not.

Try this assumption; a single person has a roommate that pays half the expenses just like a marriage. How would a marriage improve FIRE time?

My take on getting FIRE early is to cut house expenses by sharing them is a common assumption of why marriage is better. A friendship can also achieve that end.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Cathy on January 02, 2016, 01:48:29 PM
Try this assumption; a single person has a roommate that pays half the expenses just like a marriage. How would a marriage improve FIRE time?

My take on getting FIRE early is to cut house expenses by sharing them is a common assumption of why marriage is better. A friendship can also achieve that end.

I already addressed these arguments in my second post in this thread (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/reaching-fire-married-vs-single/msg922045/#msg922045). Shared housing is one way to retire faster, but it is not the only, or even the most significant, financial advantage of a romantic relationship.


I sense the real question here is: Why did I make my first post in this thread (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/reaching-fire-married-vs-single/msg913415/#msg913415)? What was the real point that I was trying to get across? Clearly it was not that marrying somebody will automatically make you reach retirement faster, because (a) that is absurd, and (b) I argue against that in my later posts. The real point was this: I see a lot of people on this forum squandering advantages that they have, without even realising that they have them, and I hoped that that post would convince them to step it up and retire sooner.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on January 02, 2016, 01:52:29 PM
I think that if both partners are on the same page it can accelerate FIRE dramatically. If one spouse is trying to FIRE and the other is extremely spendy, doesn't earn, and generally doesn't help reach the goal it can be much harder than being single.


For my SO and I it is accelerating her time to FIRE, and for me it is slowing me down a few years since I make ~3-4X what she does.

When we started dating in 2010 I was making $40k/yr and she was making $12,000 and still in school. We have since tripled our incomes while maintaining our $40k/yr lifestyle.

Working as a team to get there faster is making the journey just as enjoyable as the destination.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: StetsTerhune on January 02, 2016, 02:18:05 PM
I think in my case it probably worked out about even. My wife has a higher spending requirements than I do. Not that she's a profligate spender by anyone's standards, but left to my own devices I have very, very low standards and requirements. But on the other hand her income and advantages of sharing an apartment, cooking, etc.  probably come pretty close to evening it out. I'd need to run the numbers to see how it actually worked out, but my guess is that if I were single, I'd be planning to retire about the same time on 1/3rd or so of my wife and my spending.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: arebelspy on January 03, 2016, 01:21:17 AM
* FIRE.

My wife makes me happy.

I would gladly never FIRE to be with her.

If she slowed down, or sped up my FIRE, it'd be irrelevant to my desire to be with her.

I'd rather be with someone who makes me happy and work until 65 than be with someone I'm meh on, in a not too happy marriage and FIRE at 30.

:)

(But yeah, my wife did speed up our FIRE--I guess that's just a bonus. Irrelevant though, to my choosing the relationship, like I said.)
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Prairie Stash on January 03, 2016, 05:04:50 PM
Try this assumption; a single person has a roommate that pays half the expenses just like a marriage. How would a marriage improve FIRE time?

My take on getting FIRE early is to cut house expenses by sharing them is a common assumption of why marriage is better. A friendship can also achieve that end.

I already addressed these arguments in my second post in this thread (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/reaching-fire-married-vs-single/msg922045/#msg922045). Shared housing is one way to retire faster, but it is not the only, or even the most significant, financial advantage of a romantic relationship.


I sense the real question here is: Why did I make my first post in this thread (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/reaching-fire-married-vs-single/msg913415/#msg913415)? What was the real point that I was trying to get across? Clearly it was not that marrying somebody will automatically make you reach retirement faster, because (a) that is absurd, and (b) I argue against that in my later posts. The real point was this: I see a lot of people on this forum squandering advantages that they have, without even realising that they have them, and I hoped that that post would convince them to step it up and retire sooner.
I skimmed the post when you said there was no serious debate, it makes what follows sound close minded.

Single people have advantages as do married folk. A single person can move across country without hindrance or even bigger, single people don't have divorces. If you give it some thought you'll find more ways that being single can be of benefit, for many people it's better. Marriage is great for emotional reasons, I don't agree that it's clear cut better for FIRE. I also see lots of people who have great marriages that achieve FIRE faster, it all depends on the person.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Playing with Fire UK on January 04, 2016, 12:41:40 AM
A single person open to a relationship and kids needs to consider the additional stache/plan to support a family (housing, food, medical).
A coupled person needs to consider the additional stache/plan to support a separation or divorce (potentially also kids).

I agree that living in a shared house/with a room mate has many of the advantages of being in a couple.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: whybe on January 04, 2016, 06:14:54 AM
If you are married you would have to be on the exact same page in order to be able to use your dual income to retire early (assuming you live together and can save on some expenses). For example one spouse might be more risk averse and want to retire later which brings up a lot of issues to negotiate.

This. I'm suffering through this right now. Failing to communicate my need for just a tad of financial flexibility and confidence. Right now DW is afraid of using savings as income in case one of us is out of a job.(savings I saved up years before marriage on my own just for this purpose) and I can't seem to get my message across.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: andy85 on January 04, 2016, 08:36:25 AM
Single, single income, no kids here - 30 years old

I'm looking at 15-20 more years, so 45-50 years old. I just found this place a year or so ago. Had i figured this game out sooner, say at like 22, then i think i could've been done by 40 years old. It is doable single if you have your priorities right.

Of course having another income (and more importantly, similar spending habits) would speed up FIRE. Would probably shave 5-7 years of my time frame.

Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Stupendous on January 04, 2016, 05:47:45 PM
As a 6-figure income earner it's easier to achieve as single versus married for me. Marriage for me brings on the financial risk of divorce unless I marry someone equal or better off.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: onlykelsey on January 04, 2016, 06:02:30 PM
My husband and I married when he was 32, and he had spent the previous 22 years making every conceivable bad money choice, whereas I had spent the last 22 years developing (for an American with no experience with mustachianism or related strains of thought) some pretty serious fiscal muscles.  Of course I always plan to help DH in his life and support him if things go badly, but we are on the same page that I did not sign up for a 32 year old dependent.  I certainly pay more than half of our shared expenses, but we're each trying to get to a point where our staches will throw off a low-moderate income separately.  I think I'll be able to contribute my share towards household income much earlier than him, but he won't be 65, either. 
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: use2betrix on January 04, 2016, 06:21:15 PM
As a 6-figure income earner it's easier to achieve as single versus married for me. Marriage for me brings on the financial risk of divorce unless I marry someone equal or better off.

Absolutely. If you get married, with the thought of divorce weighing so heavily on your mind, then you're doomed to fail before you even get started.

People with successful marriages don't have any thoughts closely resembling what you mentioned.



In regards to the thread topic, I work and my wife generally doesn't. In our 3.5 years being together, she's worked about a year of it. We are young and don't have kids, I'm 27 and her 22. I do contract work and she travels with me for it. I make such a larger amount than her when she does work, that I've found if she doesn't work and does everything else it makes it much easier for me to focus on work. She has 0 debt, drives a mustachian vehicle, and very low maintenance.

The most she has ever made is roughly 15% of what I'm making right now. Is it increasing our time to FIRE? Yep! But at the same time, we eat amazing home cooked meals for every meal, and 100% of my time not working and our time together is spent doing stuff we enjoy or relaxing. No groceries, errands, laundry, cleaning, anything. Ever. She does it all while I'm at work, plus has time to read and do yoga and spin classes.

Also, because of my wife, it's far easier for me to save in other aspects. Less "doing stuff" with friends that involved money. Not as many "dates", etc. etc.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Stupendous on January 05, 2016, 06:50:41 AM
As a 6-figure income earner it's easier to achieve as single versus married for me. Marriage for me brings on the financial risk of divorce unless I marry someone equal or better off.

Absolutely. If you get married, with the thought of divorce weighing so heavily on your mind, then you're doomed to fail before you even get started.

People with successful marriages don't have any thoughts closely resembling what you mentioned.

Not at all actually. I stated a fact. Marriage is a 3-way contract between 2 people and the government. Any meaning beyond that, such as it being for a lifetime, is simply something someone adds on to what marriage actually is.

I'm sure most people in this thread (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/divorce-wmfd-(weapon-of-mass-financial-destruction)/msg137162/#msg137162) had the same attitude and now that attitude is costing them severely.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: onlykelsey on January 05, 2016, 07:02:20 AM
Quote
As a 6-figure income earner it's easier to achieve as single versus married for me. Marriage for me brings on the financial risk of divorce unless I marry someone equal or better off.

I see where you're coming from (as a six-figure earner myself), but I think that's a strange way to think about it.  My husband and I had a prenup that essentially reiterated the default that what I bring in is mine, what he brings in is his, and stuff accumulated during the marriage is shared, which I'm okay with.  I know they're not airtight, but I'm not sure what the point of FIRE is if you don't have someone to spend it with.  Maybe you're very close to siblings or friends or pets, but I'd rather tack on an extra year of working and not be bored out of my mind at home alone.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Gyosho on January 05, 2016, 07:24:57 AM
My suggestions for any Mustachians considering marriage:

- Review the statistics on marriage/divorce

- Review the statistics on how many couples there are who stay married who both contribute equal financial amounts to the partnership

- Read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Marriage-Really-Getting-ebook/dp/B00C8YW0JA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452003550&sr=8-1&keywords=case+against+marriage

- Read the divorce thread! http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/divorce-wmfd-(weapon-of-mass-financial-destruction)/msg137162/#msg137162

- Read this website: http://www.realworlddivorce.com/

You can have all the romantic partnerships you want without tying them up in the legality of marriage. As Stupendous says: "Marriage is a 3-way contract between 2 people and the government."

If you're still determined to get married, GET A PRENUP.

Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: arebelspy on January 05, 2016, 07:39:34 AM
My suggestions for any Mustachians considering marriage:

- Review the statistics on marriage/divorce

- Review the statistics on how many couples there are who stay married who both contribute equal financial amounts to the partnership

- Read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Marriage-Really-Getting-ebook/dp/B00C8YW0JA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1452003550&sr=8-1&keywords=case+against+marriage

- Read the divorce thread! http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/divorce-wmfd-(weapon-of-mass-financial-destruction)/msg137162/#msg137162

- Read this website: http://www.realworlddivorce.com/

You can have all the romantic partnerships you want without tying them up in the legality of marriage. As Stupendous says: "Marriage is a 3-way contract between 2 people and the government."

If you're still determined to get married, GET A PRENUP.

My advice is to read all those things, read about prenups, and then do what is right for you and your relationship.  I think most relationships shouldn't have a prenup (and probably have nothing to protect, so it will do way more harm than good).

If one lives their whole lives worried about what might happen, and shuts themselves off from a healthy, loving relationship due to worries about what might happen with money, they're severely depriving themselves, IMO.

Learn, consider, but don't let fear stop you.

Good luck to all in their relationships, romantic and non.  :)
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: use2betrix on January 05, 2016, 07:52:38 AM
If you read the Millionaire Next Door, one of the very top contributing factors that millionaires contribute to their success is a, "supportive spouse."

Just because a spouse doesn't earn money "financially," a GOOD spouse should help contribute to the success of your family in other aspects, which can lead to financial gains even if they aren't direct.

If this doesn't apply to someone in their relationship, then you obviously have a relationship that leaves a lot to be desired, and no wonder that person feels so negatively towards marriage.

Like I said, I'm 27, and right now I'm making roughly 250k, probably one of the highest income earners for my age on the forum. I contribute a lot of this success to the support of my wife. She's made my life insanely easy outside of work.

Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: onlykelsey on January 05, 2016, 08:01:43 AM
Quote
Like I said, I'm 27, and right now I'm making roughly 250k, probably one of the highest income earners for my age on the forum. I contribute a lot of this success to the support of my wife. She's made my life insanely easy outside of work.

It's great that you recognize her for that. I'm 29 and earned ~265K + 10K in rental income last year, and my new husband (meaning, we just got married this autumn) earns 45K.  Of course I get taxed heavily in NYC (not a political statement, but an empirical one) and work more hours (both at home and in my job), but I still earn ~3x/hour what he does.  A couple years ago I thought we might end up in a SAH father situation, but I'm not sure he's cut out for the management of a household, although he's great with kids.  We've redirected a bit towards PT work for me in a few years, while he continues to work FT and build a stache.   

If one of us does end up staying at home full-time, I would really like to make sure they get a fair shake, especially if (God forbid) we head towards divorce or other separation.  It seems like the person staying at home should get "credit" for both the money they're saving the couple (20K in childcare costs) plus the hit they're taking to their eventual earnings, somehow.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: use2betrix on January 05, 2016, 08:39:29 AM
Quote
Like I said, I'm 27, and right now I'm making roughly 250k, probably one of the highest income earners for my age on the forum. I contribute a lot of this success to the support of my wife. She's made my life insanely easy outside of work.

It's great that you recognize her for that. I'm 29 and earned ~265K + 10K in rental income last year, and my new husband (meaning, we just got married this autumn) earns 45K.  Of course I get taxed heavily in NYC (not a political statement, but an empirical one) and work more hours (both at home and in my job), but I still earn ~3x/hour what he does.  A couple years ago I thought we might end up in a SAH father situation, but I'm not sure he's cut out for the management of a household, although he's great with kids.  We've redirected a bit towards PT work for me in a few years, while he continues to work FT and build a stache.   

If one of us does end up staying at home full-time, I would really like to make sure they get a fair shake, especially if (God forbid) we head towards divorce or other separation.  It seems like the person staying at home should get "credit" for both the money they're saving the couple (20K in childcare costs) plus the hit they're taking to their eventual earnings, somehow.

Glad to see someone else that can also recognize this. Love and marriage is more than just contributing financially. In fact, that's one of the worst things to hold too high.

Fortunately, my wife is a machine in regards to the stay at home/household part. I could not do what she does, and she leaves nothing to be desired in that department at least.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Zikoris on January 05, 2016, 09:21:06 AM
I see a lot of married couples here who are badass Mustachian machines amassing wealth like crazy. I also see a ton of posts both here and elsewhere in the financial forums sphere from people whose spouses are causing retirement to be delayed a tremendous amount, or even so spendy as to eliminate the possibility of early retirement altogether. So I think it's less about whether you're married or not and more about whether the important, influential people in your life (a spouse would definitely be one, but also a girlfriend/boyfriend, good friends, family, or whoever) are dragging you down or not.

I personally think "living in sin" is a better way to go, at least in Canada where cohabitation is treated exactly the same as marriage by the government, health providers, and insurance companies, without having to spend a bunch of money and go to court if you decide to split.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Cathy on January 05, 2016, 11:00:14 AM
... I'm not sure what the point of FIRE is if you don't have someone to spend it with ...

This is pretty mean and harsh, not to mention uncreative. :)

There is an extremely pervasive societal narrative that being alone is sad and that people need romantic relationships, or at least other close relationships, to be happy. I like to think I'm largely immune to messaging in the popular media, but even I am affected by this one from time to time -- that's how thoroughly this idea is integrated into our culture. But despite any propaganda to the contrary, one of the great things about being human is that we construct our own meaning in life (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/off-topic/'prosperity-gospel'/msg805629/#msg805629). Each individual person is free to decide whether they need a partner to be happy. Sometimes there might be a dissonance between what we want to make us happy and how we actually feel, but I view that as a personal failing, rather than as a reification of social narratives about happiness and romance.


I personally think "living in sin" is a better way to go...

In some of my posts in this thread, I did use the word "married" specifically, but most of my arguments actually pertain to romantic relationships in general. Although there might be certain advantages unique to marriage in certain jurisdictions, those advantages aren't the main thrust of my posts. There's also no special significance to the partnership having exactly two people. Presumably a larger romantic relationship could be even more effective, if it had some or all of the positive characteristics that I described in my earlier posts.


... in Canada where cohabitation is treated exactly the same as marriage by the government ... without having to spend a bunch of money and go to court if you decide to split.

Neither of those claims is true.

Under the Constitution of Canada, provincial legislatures have exclusive plenary jurisdiction over "Property and Civil Rights in the Province". Constitution Act, 1867, 30 & 31 Vict, c 3 (https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/30---31-vict-c-3/latest/30---31-vict-c-3.html), § 92(13). This power includes the regulation of unmarried relationships, including the rules relating to the dissolution of relationships. Reference re Same-Sex Marriage, 2004 SCC 79 (https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2004/2004scc79/2004scc79.html), [2004] 3 SCR 698 at ¶ 33. Therefore, as an initial matter, one cannot make a generalised statement about "Canada", because the rules relating to the dissolution of relationships are different in every province, not just as a matter of theory but actually of practice.

For example, in Alberta, property acquired during a marriage is generally split "equally between the spouses" upon the dissolution of the marriage, subject to certain exceptions (Matrimonial Property Act, RSA 2000, c M-8 (https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/laws/stat/rsa-2000-c-m-8/latest/rsa-2000-c-m-8.html), § 7(4)), but on the breakdown of an unmarried relationship, the former partners are only entitled to what they can prove is theirs under a theory of unjust enrichment or constructive trust. In Alberta, there is no equal division presumed by law for unmarried couples because "it is not the purpose of the law of unjust enrichment to replicate for unmarried partners the legislative presumption that married partners are engaged in a joint family venture". Mailhot v. Galbraith, 2014 ABQB 396 (https://www.canlii.org/canlii-dynamic/en/ab/abqb/doc/2014/2014abqb396/2014abqb396.html) at ¶ 19 (quoting Kerr v. Baranow, 2011 SCC 10 (https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/scc/doc/2011/2011scc10/2011scc10.html) at ¶ 84).

Although the exact rules vary by province, a marriage is not "exactly the same" as an unmarried partnership in any province. This is because "[m]arriage and civil unions are two distinct ways in which couples can express their commitment and structure their legal obligations". Reference re Same-Sex Marriage at ¶ 33 (emphasis added).

Even if you think you've mastered the law of your current province of residence and you are satisfied with how it treats unmarried couples relative to married couples, that law could change at any time, and, more interestingly, you don't know for sure what state's law will actually apply to the dissolution of your relationship, especially if you travel as frequently as you and your boyfriend do. Depending on all the facts, chocie-of-law principles can sometimes result in law being applied that you did not expect (http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/antimustachian-wall-of-shame-and-comedy/inheritance-drama-you-got-any-stories-wanted/msg925074/#msg925074), especially in the absence of written agreements.

Your second claim, that remaining unmarried allows the partners to avoid "spend[ing] a bunch of money and go[ing] to court if [they] decide to split", has no evidentiary basis. Unmarried couples assert legal claims against each other on the breakdown of relationships all the time. I actually cited a few examples above, but these cases are not rare. The character of the proceedings at the end of your relationship will depend in large part on how litigious your partner is, how willing the two of you are to compromise, the lack of ambiguity in written agreements, the quality of the counsel that you retain, and other such factors.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Zikoris on January 05, 2016, 11:41:43 AM
Quote
For example, in Alberta, property acquired during a marriage is generally split "equally between the spouses" upon the dissolution of the marriage, subject to certain exceptions (Matrimonial Property Act, RSA 2000, c M-8, § 7(4)), but on the breakdown of an unmarried relationship, the former partners are only entitled to what they can prove is theirs under a theory of unjust enrichment or constructive trust. In Alberta, there is no equal division presumed by law for unmarried couples because "it is not the purpose of the law of unjust enrichment to replicate for unmarried partners the legislative presumption that married partners are engaged in a joint family venture". Mailhot v. Galbraith, 2014 ABQB 396 at ¶ 19 (quoting Kerr v. Baranow, 2011 SCC 10 at ¶ 84).

I see the "you get what you prove is yours" system as VASTLY superior to "split everything equally", so in my mind that's a huge advantage.

Quote
Your second claim, that remaining unmarried allows the partners to avoid "spend[ing] a bunch of money and go[ing] to court if [they] decide to split", has no evidentiary basis. Unmarried couples assert legal claims against each other on the breakdown of relationships all the time. I actually cited a few examples above, but these cases are not rare. The character of the proceedings at the end of your relationship will depend in large part on how litigious your partner is, how willing the two of you are to compromise, the lack of ambiguity in written agreements, the quality of the counsel that you retain, and other such factors.

Sure, splitting up as an unmarried couple COULD cost money if people are vindictive and have a lot of shared assets, but that's not a necessity the way it is with marriage - you can choose to just walk away with your own things, and live your own lives, which I've done multiple times without paying a cent, setting foot in court, or signing a single legal document.

Is it possible to divorce in a way that doesn't cost either party a cent? To my knowledge, even if both parties are totally amicable, there are still associated costs and hoops to jump through to make that happen.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Cathy on January 05, 2016, 12:10:50 PM
Is it possible to divorce in a way that doesn't cost either party a cent? To my knowledge, even if both parties are totally amicable, there are still associated costs and hoops to jump through to make that happen.

In Canada, provincial legislatures have exclusive power over "Procedure in Civil Matters", including the procedure for obtaining a divorce decree. Constitution Act, 1867, 30 & 31 Vict (https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/30---31-vict-c-3/latest/30---31-vict-c-3.html), c 3, § 92(14). In Alberta, the Legislature has delegated this power to "[t]he judges of the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Court of Appeal". Alberta Rules of Court, Alta Reg 124/2010 (https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/laws/regu/alta-reg-124-2010/) ("Rules"), § 1.6(1). The judges have exercised their power to craft a "desk divorce" procedure which, if the parties are completely amicable, allows a divorce to be obtained just by filling out a relatively simple form. The Alberta courts have even published plain language instructions (https://albertacourts.ca/court-of-queens-bench/publications-forms/divorce-forms) on how to complete the aforementioned forms (click the "Divorce Forms" link, and then see the "Instructions" links). If the parties are completely amicable, the only cost to obtaining a divorce is the filing fee, which is currently CA$250. Rules, Sch B, Div 1, § 1(a). This fee can even be waived in full or part for impecuniousness. Rules §§ 13.32-13.36.

Even though the substantive law for obtaining a divorce is under federal jurisdiction (Constitution Act, 1867, § 91(26)), civil procedure in provincial courts is governed by provincial law. I haven't researched what procedures other provinces might make available for processing uncontested divorces.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Zikoris on January 05, 2016, 12:23:57 PM
Is it possible to divorce in a way that doesn't cost either party a cent? To my knowledge, even if both parties are totally amicable, there are still associated costs and hoops to jump through to make that happen.

In Canada, provincial legislatures have exclusive power over "Procedure in Civil Matters", including the procedure for obtaining a divorce decree. Constitution Act, 1867, 30 & 31 Vict (https://www.canlii.org/en/ca/laws/stat/30---31-vict-c-3/latest/30---31-vict-c-3.html), c 3, § 92(14). In Alberta, the Legislature has delegated this power to "[t]he judges of the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Court of Appeal". Alberta Rules of Court, Alta Reg 124/2010 (https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/laws/regu/alta-reg-124-2010/) ("Rules"), § 1.6(1). The judges have exercised their power to craft a "desk divorce" procedure which, if the parties are completely amicable, allows a divorce to be obtained just by filling out a relatively simple form. The Alberta courts have even published plain language instructions (https://albertacourts.ca/court-of-queens-bench/publications-forms/divorce-forms) on how to complete the aforementioned forms (click the "Divorce Forms" link, and then see the "Instructions" links). If the parties are completely amicable, the only cost to obtaining a divorce is the filing fee, which is currently CA$250. Rules, Sch B, Div 1, § 1(a). This fee can even be waived in full or part for impecuniousness. Rules §§ 13.32-13.36.

Even though the substantive law for obtaining a divorce is under federal jurisdiction (Constitution Act, 1867, § 91(26)), civil procedure in provincial courts is governed by provincial law. I haven't researched what procedures other provinces might make available for processing uncontested divorces.

So $250 fee and some paperwork (unless you're penniless, which Mustachians generally aren't), versus 0$ and no paperwork. I know which one I'd pick!

It's honestly pretty cool that they have that in Alberta though. My parents divorced amicably about 15 years ago and the process was a lot more complicated than filling out a form and paying a fee, despite there being no disagreements about assets, child custody, etc.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: brooklynguy on January 05, 2016, 01:17:22 PM
My advice is to read all those things, read about prenups, and then do what is right for you and your relationship.  I think most relationships shouldn't have a prenup (and probably have nothing to protect, so it will do way more harm than good).

If one lives their whole lives worried about what might happen, and shuts themselves off from a healthy, loving relationship due to worries about what might happen with money, they're severely depriving themselves, IMO.

Learn, consider, but don't let fear stop you.

This is excellent advice, and it reminds me of the following comment from Go Curry Cracker's post (http://www.gocurrycracker.com/path-100-equities/) on having a 100% stock allocation (which is admittedly not exactly on point):

Quote from: Go Curry Cracker
Since publishing this post, I’ve received a surprising number of messages to the effect of: “Don’t go 100% stock! You are guaranteed to panic and lose everything!”

I suppose that is a little bit like announcing you are going to get married, and instead of saying, “Congratulations!”, they said, “Dude, you are guaranteed to cheat on her and get a divorce. Don’t do it.”

Yes, if generally speaking somebody has a habit of cheating, maybe they should reconsider getting married. There is a good chance things won’t work out

But in both cases, action is 100% in my control. Keep your pants on and don’t sell. Those are two commitments I can firmly commit to (see margin of safety section above)


[lots of text]

Cathy, your use of cross-referencing links (not just in this thread, but in general) to weave your seemingly disparate and unrelated posts sprinkled throughout the forum into a cohesive whole is too impressive to go uncommented-upon.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: onlykelsey on January 05, 2016, 02:45:15 PM
Quote
Glad to see someone else that can also recognize this. Love and marriage is more than just contributing financially. In fact, that's one of the worst things to hold too high.

Fortunately, my wife is a machine in regards to the stay at home/household part. I could not do what she does, and she leaves nothing to be desired in that department at least.

We're in the sort of strange position where I am definitely the higher earner (for the foreseeable future, at least, although he can definitely get in to six figures himself), but also the household head (and planned bearer of child[ren]).  We need to get him in a position where he can be a higher earner and be more helpful around the house.  I think moving out of NYC (in a few years) will definitely help.  For now his job is mostly to increase his earnings, decrease his debt, and continue dealing with the basketcase that my job makes me some months.  Plus also walk the dog when it's below 30 degrees. :D
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: blinx7 on January 05, 2016, 02:58:44 PM

Generally speaking, in terms purely of ease of saving:

Married No Kids > Single No Kids > Married with Kids > Singe with Kids

For the record, I am married with two kids.  I wouldn't change a thing and we might even have a third later on (man does not live on bread alone).  But YMMV.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: arebelspy on January 05, 2016, 09:40:21 PM
Quote
[lots of text]

Cathy, your use of cross-referencing links (not just in this thread, but in general) to weave your seemingly disparate and unrelated posts sprinkled throughout the forum into a cohesive whole is too impressive to go uncommented-upon.

+1.  I actually missed it at first, because I thought they were just embedded citations to law stuff I wasn't interested in, but then realized they were to other posts, and it was pretty neat.

Involves lots of googling for a specific post (or find in page on your page of posts), or bookmarking things.  Either way, nice work.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: yuka 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: arebelspy 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: gerardc 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: JLee 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: gerardc 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: JLee 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: arebelspy 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: SuperMex 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: maizeman 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).
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: arebelspy 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

Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Carlin 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Ryland 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: sonjak 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. 
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: tooqk4u22 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).
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: oldtoyota 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Libertea 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).
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Goldielocks 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). 

Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: erp 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.
Title: Re: Reaching FIRE Married vs. Single
Post by: Goldielocks 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.