Author Topic: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?  (Read 26091 times)

arebelspy

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #50 on: January 16, 2014, 09:42:33 PM »
Lots of stuff has already been covered but I don't think anyone has mentioned this: A higher stash (i.e. two stashes combined) can also lead to better investment diversification and the ability to invest sooner.

It can also be highly beneficial if you are in a "better to buy than rent" housing market. The Single might not be able to finance a home on a $30/k wage, but with a partner, their combined income is $60/k and they can get finance. (The bank does not care the single will sublet a room to a friend as they will generally not count this income, so the single keeps renting, paying a higher cost and not building equity.) [As an aside: Using Australian tax rates the couple on $30/k each (minimum wage) will pay almost no tax, a single needs to earn approx $85k to bring home the same amount of household income as the low income couple.]

Great points.

Some investments have hard minimums that are much easier to accomplish with more (combined) income, despite it not actually increasing the per capita income.
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AlmostIndependent

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #51 on: January 17, 2014, 11:06:00 PM »
Getting married helped grow my net worth. The divorce, not so much.

oldtoyota

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #52 on: January 18, 2014, 01:12:52 AM »
Why not say old parents are expensive (they can be) or sisters or spouses? Seems like "expense" gets used a lot in relation to kids. In another thread, people were talking about the "expense" of kids. What about the "expense" of me? It just seems silly.

I think the reason is pretty simple. You have to support your children assuming you are a standard parent who loves and cares for their children. Typically parents and family should be expected to take care of themselves financially. Personally I expect my parents and in-laws to contribute a lot more to my financial well-being than I will ever contribute to theirs.

Well, of course, for you. Others on this board have talked about helping their parents and others. A parent with dementia who needs $$ for daytime help is probably not going to get turned away by their kids if financial help is needed. That can be expensive.


arebelspy

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #53 on: January 18, 2014, 07:31:17 AM »
Why not say old parents are expensive (they can be) or sisters or spouses? Seems like "expense" gets used a lot in relation to kids. In another thread, people were talking about the "expense" of kids. What about the "expense" of me? It just seems silly.

I think the reason is pretty simple. You have to support your children assuming you are a standard parent who loves and cares for their children. Typically parents and family should be expected to take care of themselves financially. Personally I expect my parents and in-laws to contribute a lot more to my financial well-being than I will ever contribute to theirs.

Well, of course, for you. Others on this board have talked about helping their parents and others. A parent with dementia who needs $$ for daytime help is probably not going to get turned away by their kids if financial help is needed. That can be expensive.

Sure.  And at that point I think it would be reasonable for them to say "having a parent who needs a full time nurse is expensive" - they're not putting a price on their parent (just like someone saying having a kid - which they support - is expensive isn't putting a "price" on the kid), they're just noting the impact on their budget. Which they clearly think is worth it, or they wouldn't do it, so if anything, they're saying the person's worth is above any price they're paying...
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Gray Matter

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #54 on: January 18, 2014, 08:06:41 AM »
It's hard to say for sure, but I don't think marriage has accelerated my path to FI.  For one, I would not have had children if I hadn't gotten married, and our lifestyle is significantly bigger because of our children.  (I know kids don't HAVE to be expensive, but ours are because of choices we have made relating to them).  We have a much bigger house in a more expensive (safer, better schools) neighborhood, we have bigger cars (and two of them) because of children, and have spent a substantial amount over the years on childcare, healthcare, food, diapers, activities, etc.  At one point, I ran a retirement calculator based only on out-of-pocket costs of raising my kids (not counting the larger house/car, the lost opportunity costs of being on the "mommy track" at work), and if invested instead, it would have amounted to an extra $4-5 million by age 67.  So yeah, while I wouldn't say all kids are expensive, I would say mine very definitely are.

Even without kids, I think DH and I together have spent much more that we would otherwise have, probably even more than the dual incomes brings in.  If I were single, I'd have a small apartment or a small condo somewhere, a small car that I didn't drive much (I hate driving).  I also wouldn't travel as much if I weren't married, as DH is the one with wanderlust.  We are more inclined to eat out when it's the two of us and we buy more when we're together than either of us do when alone--not sure what that's about.  Just that we enable each other instead of holding each other accountable (hoping we can change that, but there's a 20 year history there).  For a lot of years, we even had a "rule" that if one person splurged/overspent, the other got to overspend in the same amount.  I know that's crazy, but it was the only way to alleviate major resentment when one spouse didn't stick to the budget.

So...lots to work with here, but not a marriage that is on a straight trajectory to FI!

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #55 on: January 18, 2014, 01:43:39 PM »
Why not say old parents are expensive (they can be) or sisters or spouses? Seems like "expense" gets used a lot in relation to kids. In another thread, people were talking about the "expense" of kids. What about the "expense" of me? It just seems silly.

I think the reason is pretty simple. You have to support your children assuming you are a standard parent who loves and cares for their children. Typically parents and family should be expected to take care of themselves financially. Personally I expect my parents and in-laws to contribute a lot more to my financial well-being than I will ever contribute to theirs.

Well, of course, for you. Others on this board have talked about helping their parents and others. A parent with dementia who needs $$ for daytime help is probably not going to get turned away by their kids if financial help is needed. That can be expensive.

Naw, I'm a sociopath :-)

steveo

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #56 on: January 18, 2014, 02:41:46 PM »
Naw, I'm a sociopath :-)

Is this a quicker way to FI ?

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #57 on: January 18, 2014, 04:29:18 PM »
Am I missing anything?  How has being married sped up/slowed down your living expenses?  I know having children is awfully expensive, but it seems like it shouldn't be?

In Canada, when two lower-income single parents are considered "married" (via sharing a home for a year), they lose a lot of cash benefits. Further, even though I am the only parent and only provider for my kid, I would no longer be allowed to submit my child care receipts on my tax return because my partner had the (ever so slightly) lower income. Finally, my half of the rent was higher sharing, because my kid and I can squeeze into funnier places, and can be further out of the city, and because BF likes more expensive places. So, it ended up much cheaper for me to be not "married".

Part of me would far prefer to be married, though. (This is more an emotional piece for me.) And I'm confident that if I were in a specific type of marriage, I could greatly accelerate the family's FI. I'm awesome for working, budgeting, saving, etc.

The other day I suddenly remembered a place we had found to live together. To me, it was perfect, albeit a bit costly. To him, the price was totally fine but he didn't want it -too far out, etc. Remembering this place the other night, I was crushed. So I'm always aware of this part of me that fantasizes about a marriage with a white picket fence where I get to be a housewife and we work together toward dreams.

Now kids, that's another question. Kids come with some expenses, of course, and my kid cost quite a bit (read: enormous amount) when I was first sorting out his disability-related challenges, but he's quite cheap now that I have his disability-related resources in place -and that's why I appreciate the government of Canada despite the weird imposed-marriage/child care deductions issues that block some avenues for me.

Nords

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #58 on: January 18, 2014, 10:10:28 PM »
In the short term, the divorce is costing me (financially and emotionally), but it will be well worth it in the long term since I will soon be soley responsible for all life/financial decisions that affect me and I'll also be free to search for a partner with similar goals/aspirations as I do (financial and otherwise).
Sorry to hear about the divorce. 

But your life will accelerate once you're free of the drag.

imustachemystash

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #59 on: January 18, 2014, 10:31:33 PM »
Ha ha, being married is the only way I would have ever thought becoming FI was possible because my husband gets paid so much more than I do.  I joke that he earns the money and I save it. 

elderflower100

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #60 on: January 18, 2014, 11:12:07 PM »
We used my salary to pay down my student loan pronto, then emergency fund - done, now we have slayed the mortgage (6 more months!)and have been continuing investing. My husband's salary is for bills and saving/investing.

Once my husband saw the progress that was possible through being frugal, rational, and planning, he was on board with me.

So yes being married to my second husband has accelerated our path to FI. My first husband just would not work with me on this.

As noted in previous posts it's handy to split skills. He has many skills in the house reno and the IT dept and I plan, organize, cook bulk from scratch, grow food etc.

chasesfish

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #61 on: January 19, 2014, 05:31:35 AM »
Hell yes, that's my answer.

I can't make my wife spend money, but she's done a damn good job earning money,

mm1970

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #62 on: January 19, 2014, 01:48:44 PM »
Quote
I understand the "lower expenses through efficiencies of scale" and psychological benefits, but  I really don't get the "double income" argument.  Your per capita income doesn't increase when you get married (edit, well it could I guess your employer values "family men" or whatever)

Well, not "double income", but ...

Being married allowed my husband to take longer to finish his PhD.  Okay, maybe this wasn't the BEST thing (2 extra years), but...
after his first year at his job, I sent him into his review with a review I had done on what the "going rate" was for his position in our town.  His raise was small, he presented the info (as if he'd done it himself of course).  The boss got all offended and gruff and "well you can look somewhere else" (small startup company) but...the next day had doubled the raise.

A few years later when it became clear to me (based on our talks) that this company was really sucky and going down, I strongly suggested he look elsewhere, particularly at a local company that we'd been aware of for years and which one of his former classmates was working.  This guy tried to recruit him. So, he interviewed, took the job (about 5 months before the company went belly up).  All in all - his salary has doubled in the last 12 years (since taking that first job) and the bennies at his current company (401k particularly) are amazing.

As much as I've always been a bit of a career woman, I've especially tried to support him in his job more and more since the kids have been born (it's sometimes hard for me).  Fact is he makes 50% more than I do.  It is to our mutual benefit for him to work as much as he can / wants to, to take on more responsibility, get more contracts - this improves his salary and raises.  I have attempted to increase my own income in the same way, and it just hasn't been working for me (my company has issues, to say the least).  That doesn't mean I've given up, it just means that I am patient.  Or at least trying to be.

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #63 on: January 19, 2014, 02:25:04 PM »
While we do not have two incomes, partnership has allowed me to really progress in career and earnings, while we have a full time parent at home. SO is also really good with money and spends a good amount of time managing our money. Plus we push each other on the FI topics and goals - always good.

oceanowl

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #64 on: January 19, 2014, 03:59:09 PM »
I'd say I slowed it down for my husband, because I brought debt to the marriage when he had none, but being married and having more income in the house has enabled me to significantly speed up paying it off. Also, another vote for splitting skills. We balance our landlording pretty well with his handy repair skills and my people management ones.

taperted

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #65 on: January 20, 2014, 06:41:09 PM »
I think every relationship will have a different perspective on money. Here's mine:

With my wife and I, we have very contrasting and complementary approaches to our finances, and I believe by discussing (which of course is a euphemism for arguing) our decisions, we have found a common ground that ultimately is responsible for where we are today.

On daily spending:

Me: Don't sweat the small stuff; DW: Extreme frugality.

My wife is constantly hunting for deals, cutting coupons, inspecting receipts, haggling with service providers, etc. I've never worried about paying $40 vs $50 for groceries, but it is something she obsesses over.

On loans and debt:
Me: There is good debt and bad debt; DW: All debt is bad debt

We agree that credit cards are evil and pay the balances off every month. But we disagreed on the mortgage. Before she met me, she never thought she would own a house simply because the only way she would ever buy one is if she had the cash upfront. When we had our mortgage, the thought of that much debt ate away at her. There were nights she would lose sleep over it.

We accelerated our payments, and during the housing crash, she almost had an anyeurism when our ARM jumped from ~4% to 8%. We ended up paying off our mortgage soon after, much to my reluctance (I wanted to buy stocks during the downturn). Shortly after, interest rates were cut, and our mortgage rate adjusted down to ridiculously low levels.

Nevertheless, having the house paid off gives her peace of mind, and as they say, you can't really put a price on that.

On stocks and investing:

Me: High risk tolerance; DW: Risk averse

I've been investing since before 2000. I survived the dot-com bust, the housing market bust and plenty of other corrections and bear markets along the way. To my wife, I've been "playin' the market" which is no better than betting it all on black in Vegas -- and at least Vegas is a lot more fun!

After we married and as our investable cash grew, I was able to get her involved in the stock picking process. It is a very good exercise to discuss stocks with another person. If I am interested in a company, I have to distill the thesis down to a few sentences. So I have to force myself to understand it well enough to explain it to her in the simplest terms possible. If the business makes sense to her, thumbs up. She has a certain sensibility about these types of things, and we are pretty happy with our portfolio.

We have been very fortunate and her attitude towards stocks has thawed out a bit.

So to summarize, being married has accelerated our path to FI because our approaches to financial management have ultimately been complementary. Her strength is to manage costs in order to increase savings and investable cash. My strength is having the patience and risk tolerance to invest and grow our cash. This "push-pull" between us seems to have keep us on the correct path.

G-dog

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #66 on: January 20, 2014, 07:35:58 PM »
It has not for me - I am a saver, spouse is a spender.  I've gotten to pay all bills and try to save while spouse pays personal bills and doesn't really save (other than what job 'default' savings happen).


CanuckExpat

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #67 on: January 20, 2014, 10:20:21 PM »
They say there is no such thing as "The Marriage Penalty," (in terms of taxes) but...

"It is mathematically impossible for an income tax system to have all three of these features simultaneously: joint filing for married couples; marginal tax rates that increase with income; and independence of a couple's tax bill from their marital status."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_penalty
http://ask.metafilter.com/237767/Whats-the-sense-in-the-marriage-tax-penalty

MrsPete

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #68 on: January 29, 2014, 04:36:22 PM »
1. Dating seems to be wicked expensive, between the activities, meals, clothing/beauty treatments, etc. Married people can and should date their spouse, but it seems to be cheaper.
Yeah, we've laughed about that many times!  We used to go out to eat constantly, to movies and events.  Now we agree NOT to purchase gifts for "holidays" like Valentine's Day and our anniversary.  Also we no longer enjoy going to crowded restaurants on Mother's Day and so forth -- instead, we splurge at home on crab legs or a good steak for the grill, and we enjoy a nicer meal in the solitude of our own home. 

I married a frugal man. He researches purchases to make sure we get good deals, he clips coupons, and he makes a good salary. He is not a shopper and he is a saver and investor.

I believe what the book The Millionaire Next Door said. Choice of spouse is very important in becoming wealthy.
I didn't marry a frugal man, but I realized that he liked money and he was trainable.  He caught on quickly and has surpassed me in certain areas. 

I used to have a poster in my classroom (lost it somehow when I moved schools) that listed 30 things to do to increase your chances of lifetime happiness.  #1 was marry the right person, and it went on to say that something like 80-90% of your personal happiness would come from this one decision.  I think it's true. 

Why not say old parents are expensive (they can be) or sisters or spouses? Seems like "expense" gets used a lot in relation to kids. In another thread, people were talking about the "expense" of kids. What about the "expense" of me? It just seems silly.
You're equating "expensive" with "not worth the cost". That's not true. 

For example, my house was expensive, but I'm glad I own it.
Those antibiotics I took when I was sick a few weeks ago were expensive, but I am awfully glad they were available to me.
Quality shoes are expensive, but they last a long time and keep my feet from hurting after a long day at work.
Many things are expensive, yet totally worth the cost.

To use your own example, in the last few years of my grandmother's life she was unable to drive and called upon me on a very frequent basis to do errands for her or take her places.  She was a lot of work -- wheelchair in and out of the car, help in and out of the bathroom.  Towards the end she kind of forgot that money was "a thing", and she started expecting me to pay for everything too.  Other times she'd call me up and said, "I wish you'd cook me a pot of chicken and dumplings.  And a batch of those cookies with white chocolate chips and cranberries."  Two hours later, I'd be at her house with the requisite meal.  Though I spent more than a few dollars on gas, lunches, pedicures, groceries, medicine, and pillows and drawer organizers and washcloths and all sorts of other things that she wanted RIGHT NOW, I regret not one single penny.  Oh, and 2/3 of the things she had me buy, she had me return the next week!  Still, I took good, good care of her right up to the end.  Was she expensive?  Oh, yes!  Was she worth it?  Oh, yes!  She did so, so much for me when I was younger, and she was one of my best friends in the whole world.  I'd spend any amount of money if I could call her up right now and say, "Would you like to go out to lunch tomorrow?"  And if I could, I'd take her to the pedicure place she loved where the little Korean woman always asked her, "How you doing, Mama?  You warm enough, Mama?  I not too rough on you, Mama?  You really 100 years old, Mama?" 

Great.  You made me cry. 

happy

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #69 on: January 29, 2014, 06:11:24 PM »
Being married impeded my path to FI, due to the spending habit of my previous partner. This had nothing to do with our divorce, which at the time also appeared expensive.  A few years later I realised somewhat to my surprise since I was now sole decisionmaker about where the money went, that I was actually financially better off. ( I don't receive any spousal support, and didn't  "get the house", although have received a small amount of child support, below that amount required by Australian law). It took a couple of years to see this, but as I say it was  completely unexpected and turned out it was one of the best parts of being divorced.

Task specialisation is not limited to couples. We have naturally developed some task specialisations: son is our tech expert, and gets selected for tasks requiring tallness and physical strength. He's the best in the household with tools and machines. Daughter is our sewing machinist, and is the best in the household at detailed tasks. I like to think I'm the benevolent dictator. I recall living in group households as a single, and again some task specialisation worked within the household, albeit ad hoc.

CanuckExpat

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #70 on: January 30, 2014, 02:17:17 PM »
I may be taking the title too literal, but aside from possible tax implications, most of the things mentioned in this thread don't seem to have anything to do specifically with being married, but more so having (a) long term comitted partner(s) and combined finances

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #71 on: January 31, 2014, 09:23:08 AM »
We're not officially married yet, but for the purposes of this thread I would say we are (since the tax aspects don't seem to be getting addressed too much).

For us, I would say being together has been a benefit to both of us, BUT that is largely because we are pretty much on the same page financially.  First, the basic stuff: both of our rents went down when we moved in together--even my partner who was in a houseshare with 4 other people saw a decrease in his rent.  This was in part because we both have FI as a goal and were willing to move into a studio rather than a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment.  If one of us had been insistent on more space or a "better" location, our rent would have gone up!

I
Also, having two people means we can push each other to do better.  For example, when we moved in here I investigated the internet options and the two mainstream options were going to be $40-50/month.  My partner thought that was highway robbery, so I did some more research and we wound up going with a FreedomPop account for $15/month, which works fine for our needs. If I were on my own, I probably would have just sucked it up and paid the $40-50 and not thought to look further, if he'd been on his own he probably would have sucked it up and paid the $40-50 because he wouldn't have had time to chase down that savings as his job requires much longer hours than mine.  I would say some of our other utility costs have gone down a bit though the savings are probably only on the order of a few hundred dollars a year right now.  Another random thing: we both get a lot more thrifted clothes now--I saw how he was able to score great work shirts and such at the thrift store and started using it more myself.  Likewise, I can make thrift shopping a more efficient experience for him because I'm good at going through the racks (which he's not so keen on) and bringing him a continuous stream of stuff to try on (this is harder for him to do for me as there's so much more variation in women's clothing and sizing, sigh).

In short: if you're both into FI/frugality, being in a partnership can provide you with all sorts of little boosts and savings, which DEFINITELY add up!

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #72 on: January 31, 2014, 09:48:52 AM »
I do not know why people say kids are expensive. Mine is but I choose some of those expenses (private school tuition). However, she'd be cheap if I sent her to public school.

I don't think kids are expensive, per se, but as I pointed out, there are opportunity costs.  My kids don't cost me that much more... but since a SAHM parent is a priority for us, the lack of my husband's income does not accelerate FI.  I don't think it can be argued that having a kid while working on FI slows the path a bit.

Hedge_87

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #73 on: January 31, 2014, 09:52:31 AM »
My wife was able to drop her health insurance and get on my 100% employer paid program. Beside that we can enjoy things together that are free. I never liked going for a walk alone. Now we do it together and talk about or day. Also pretty sure I wouldn't live long enough to reach fire without her. She has defiantly helped me to calm down and become a better man.

Mt9982

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #74 on: June 29, 2014, 07:11:06 PM »
I hate to say that I feel my 20 year marriage has actually lengthened the time it will take me to become FI and RE. Don't get the wrong impression, I love my wife very much. We, however have somewhat different views when it comes to money, saving and FI. My whole life I have always been more on the "mustacian" side of the fence while my wife is more on the other side. When my wife was working we were well on our way to FI and I was able to get her see the positives of company matching and maxing out her retirement plans. In 2010 she suddenly decided to take some time off and quit her high paying job to become a stay at home mom. I understand why she quit and support the reasons for quitting. I was more upset that she had no plan to get back into the workforce and put us back on track for early retirement. The original plan was for a 6 month break. Here we are in 2014 and she still has not gone back to work. Over the 20 years of marriage, there have been times when she did some very anti-mustacian spending and it still haunts me. She knows this and to her credit, she has made some very positive and surprising changes in spending behavior that have put us for the most part on the same page. As I get closer to retirement, it will be interesting to see what happens...stay tuned :)
If I knew then what I know now would I go back and change some decisions I made??? Definitely not.  Although we may not see 100 percent eye-to-eye on money matters, we still love each other very much. How boring would it be if the two of us were exactly the same???   

That's awful your wife quit her job to raise your children.  Same with bearing and birthing them.  Did she charge you for the labor?  I feel for you. 

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #75 on: June 29, 2014, 07:26:02 PM »
Lets see.. When I met my (totally hot redhead Wife) I was busilly paying off the mortgage with the extra rent I was making above my salary.

I was planning on clearing the debt within 7 years.

My Wife showed up an was not convinced that I was doing the right thing.. She didn't know anything about finances either but she knew a guy who did and so she set us up an appointment.

I still wasn't totally sold on the investing idea.. but I did make some contributions to mutual funds and quickly realised that the best way to save was tax free.. ala.. 401k.

So I continued to pay off the house but max out the 401k.

When the house was done it seemed logical to flip to saving.

I emigrated to the US in 97 with a 160k mortgage and not much savings... Due mainly to the great recession and the subsequent recovery our NW is now $1.4M.

So just the fact my Wife pointed me in a different direction made all the difference.

Frank

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Re: How has being married accelerated your path to FI?
« Reply #76 on: June 29, 2014, 08:09:22 PM »
He keeps me in line, and I keep him in line. We make financial goals together, and doing it as a team makes it 10x easier! Gentle nudges for the win :) (similar to a face punch, but they occur before the antimustachian act!)


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