Author Topic: Spouse not on board with financial independence  (Read 6723 times)

FranklinDelanoRomanowski

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Spouse not on board with financial independence
« on: July 28, 2013, 02:01:24 PM »
Did anyone here start off with a spouse who was not on board with financial independence (preferring to live a "normal" life) but eventually achieve financial independence? How did it work?

DougStache

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Re: Spouse not on board with financial independence
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2013, 04:38:34 PM »
These two kick-ass posts could get you going down the right road.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/22/selling-the-dream-how-to-make-your-spouse-love-frugality/
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/03/27/selling-the-dream-of-financial-independence-part-2/

My wife was already fairly frugal.  She didn't shop for fun, at least.  However, she did have her heart thoroughly set on purchasing a 2014 Subaru Forester, which would have been an enormous setback on the road to financial independence. 

I tackled this first by offering my (definitely excessive, but paid off) car to use instead of her '93 Sunfire.  This bought me time.  Once I had time, I did the best thing I could have possibly done: leading by example.  I started riding the bus to work.  I began riding my bike to the gym.  I got her a bike.  We biked to the grocery store together.  We biked just because it was fun.  We cut out eating out, even if that meant I was doing a little more of the cooking.

Each step of the way, we talked about it.  We didn't miss eating out.  We enjoyed biking together.  Hell, I think riding the bus was a life-style improvement over driving (hello, extra hour a day to read a book!).  At the end of all this, she's perfectly content with us being a one car household.  And equally important, I'm okay with us selling my car to get something she'd prefer (not a 2014) since she does most the driving now.

The two keys here were me leading by example, and the fact that we did it together and talked about it along the way.  I would dare say we're both happier now than we were beforehand.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 04:40:17 PM by DougStache »

steveo

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Re: Spouse not on board with financial independence
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2013, 04:41:24 PM »
I'm not FI so I can't state that is the case now however my wife thinks I'm crazy for wanting to retire at 50. My wife also earns a lot less than me and has a job that I really don't think she likes.

In saying that my wife has always been fairly frugal. She isn't a big spender and whereas I can be frugal I can also spend on stuff that I like. I think my wife is basically on the same level of frugality as me but she for instance is happy to spend on junk food and travel whereas I don't see the point of these things. I though will spend on nicer clothes (not a lot) and better quality food as well as alcohol.

I think without trying we have been saving at about 50% and I think at the moment it is about at 70%. I think I will be FI in about 10 years (at 50). We could sell the house and move and be FI earlier than this and we could make changes like getting rid of one car and not travelling at all but I don't think that this is going to happen. I think my wife will continue to work though even if I retire. I think that basically not having the same goal with regards to FI is okay so long as your spouse is not a big spender or you can somehow manage the spending or saving.

FranklinDelanoRomanowski

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Re: Spouse not on board with financial independence
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 05:45:59 AM »
These thoughts are helpful, thanks. I'll check out those two articles.

cerberusss

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Re: Spouse not on board with financial independence
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2013, 07:59:03 AM »
Two things helped for me.

Firstly, leading by example. That was actually pretty hard for me, since it meant: not skipping my turn to cook, brown-bagging lunch, not spending big on candy and coffee, skipping gadget purchases etc. It also meant that I'd have to try and control the grocery bill under control.

Secondly, show her the choices. We were discussing early retirement and she said she didn't want to sell the house when the kids move out. I said fine -- you want to work more days to cover the extra cost?

Note that our finances are split, we're not married.

MsSindy

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Re: Spouse not on board with financial independence
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2013, 09:37:38 AM »
So, how "not on board" is your spouse?  Does she spend mindlessly or out of boredom, or does she have a strong desire to have the fancy things like Coach purses and such?  I find that mindless or boredom/habit spending is a littler easier to curb - changing someone's mindset about 'status' is more difficult.

That being said, it can be done.  Lead by example is probably the best advice and don't nag.  Set up a budget that you BOTH can live with, even if it's not completely as bad-ass as you'd like.  Talk about future goals.  Even if she doesn't want to quit her job, paint for her a vision of what you want your life to be like (and it can't be sitting around in your sweatpants watching football!).  Tell her about your dreams and how you'd like her help in reaching that dream - make it specific.  In time, she may start to have dreams of her own.

On the flip-side, if she spends like crazy and blows through every budget you agree to and is completely out of control, then you have bigger problems that fall more into the marriage/communication/counseling realm.  And that's a completely different animal.

MissStache

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Re: Spouse not on board with financial independence
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2013, 09:47:07 AM »
It worked for mine when I showed him the math. " Look honey, if we save x% of our income, we only have to work for 9 more years!  I think we can do it by eliminating x, x, and x, and saving more on x, x, and x."

And then I panted a very specific picture of what that would me.  For us it is moving to the country, having a little cottage, and watching our chickens walk around.   Yours could be anyting- travelling the country in an RV, spending time with your kids, volunteering.  Whatever!

When it was a broad "hey we should do this so that we have FI" it was way too abstract for him to believe or focus on.

I also had to sit down and make a budget WITH him, talking about what he felt comfortable with and what he thought was reasonable.  I was also very open when I had my own victories and failures with my budget, so that helped him.  Openness was big.

That said, he still has hiccups.  I just try to commend him for the successes and try not to get upset when he deviates from the budget.   


sassy1234

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Re: Spouse not on board with financial independence
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2013, 07:38:46 AM »
This is a really helpful post.  I have been trying to get my husband on board and have made some progress, but not enough. 

Leading by example, showing the numbers, and talking about future plans is great advice and I will focus more on these.  Thanks! 

MrsPete

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Re: Spouse not on board with financial independence
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2013, 08:02:30 AM »
My husband and I started out frugal in different ways, but we both learned from one another and made up for one another's weaknesses. 

My husband came into our marriage with a long-term vision.  He was the one who said, "I want to buy a house now."  He was the one who insisted upon maxing out our 401K accounts from the very beginning, and he is now the one who's in charge of investments.  Today I see that he was really right, and we are reaping the benefits of having begun saving at an early age.   

On the other hand, I was more frugal with what he saw as the little stuff.  He shopped at the most expensive grocery store in town (because he thought he got better service), he thought it was cheap to use a coupon at a restaurant, he didn't pay attention to sales, didn't see the point in brown-bagging lunch, etc.  Over the years I got him to understand that bringing a 12-pack of sodas to work was cheaper than spending .50 per soda in the machine, that stocking up when chicken is on sale is smart, and a hundred-hundred other little things all add up to real money.  Today he is totally on board and actively searches out ways to economize.

My suggestions:

1.  Set goals.  Doing without something you want today for no particular reason is tough for the newly frugal.  It's easier if you're doing it because you want to buy a house next year or because you want to retire at X age.  Once she sees that you achieved those early goals without serious deprivation, it'll be easier to convince her to work harder at later goals. 
2.  Set a realistic budget, and agree upon when you'll review your progress.  We do this twice a year:  Around New Year's and on our mid-summer anniversary. 
3.  Find examples for her -- in magazines or online -- of what middle-class people can achieve financially if they begin saving early.  She is surrounded by examples of people who allow themselves to fall pretty to instant gratification.  Show her how you can do better.
 

 

 

cerberusss

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Re: Spouse not on board with financial independence
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2013, 08:10:29 AM »
a hundred-hundred other little things all add up to real money

This. I thought I couldn't really save more than 200 euros per month. Then I started budgeting groceries and discretionary spending, and last month I saved 700.