After “Trapped’s” reader case I realized something.
And no, it’s not that house horny people are crazy (they are), it’s that at the end of the day, regardless of whether “rent” or “own” wins, if the goal is to RETIRE, you have to sell at some point to capture the gains. Period. Otherwise you can kiss early retirement goodbye. (And don’t get me that bullshit about “oh, you can rent it out”. To meet the 1% rule of real-estate investing, a $1.6 Million dollar house will need to have a rental income of $16,000/month, not $6000.)
Which comes down to the one thing preventing this from happening:
“Retirement/job downsize is definitely out of the question as long as I stay in the home. Seems I would need to go somewhere cheaper to retire or at least get a less onerous job, but would need to get the wife on board with moving to a much less prestigious city and getting Obamacare….
Now, I’m glad Trapped mentioned this, because this is a challenge we’ve heard over and over again from multiple readers:
“How do I get my spouse onboard with FI?”
Now, I’m no psychiatrist (Hell, most days I NEED a psychiatrist), but let’s break this down.
Of the readers who’ve written in, here is a list of spousal personalities they describe:
The FI Virgin
This type of spouse has never heard of MMM or JLCollins and has no idea what FIRE stands for. Because they’re so busy following the herd, they think the only way to live life is to buy a house, work until you’re 65 to pay it off, and then ride off into the sunset with a big fat government pension. They are completely in denial that outsourcing exists and that 30-year jobs, which reward you with a big fat pension, are essentially extinct. Until this spouse finds out that FI as a concept exists, they will remain blissfully ignorant.
The FIX: This type of spouse is actually pretty easy to convince. Since they’ve never heard of FI, their ignorance can be fixed with a healthy supply of FI blogs. Once they know what FI is all about, it’ll be much easier for you to make plans on achieving FI together.
The “I Love My Job” Spouse
The “I Love My Job” spouse is stuck with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. They don’t want to even entertain the thought that their perfect job might not stay perfect forever.
Their retort to your FI dreams is “FI is only for people who hate their jobs.”
The FIX: The best example of this type of spouse is Brandon (MadFientist)’s wife, Jill. If you’ve ever read his posts “My Wife is Not a Fientist” and “An Unexpected Guest Post”, you’ll see that Jill went from “I love my job, why would I bother becoming FI” to “let’s do this together.”
So how did this happen? In true diabolical MadFientist fashion, Brandon convinced Jill to hop aboard the FI train by getting her to proofread his blog posts, and let the concepts sink in over time. Once she realized becoming FI doesn’t mean giving up the job she loves, but instead just giving her the benefits of having a more flexible schedule, time to travel the world, and the ability to spend more time with family, she jumped onboard.
The Spendy Spouse
This type of spouse coined the term “burning a hole in my pocket” and regularly confuses “wants” with “needs”. Like the lab mice pressing the button that continuously delivers endorphins to their brain until they starve to death, the spendy spouse wants to do one thing and one thing only: SPEND. And while splurging on investments, experiences, and things that bring you happiness enriches your life, spraying money at the latest iWatch or Louis Vuitton purse, only to be bored of it within a week and needing another fix, is not.
The FIX: The problem with spending money to get that dose of endorphins is that due to the hedonic treadmill, our minds get used to anything (bad or good) over time. So whatever thing you spend your money on, you quickly tire of it and then revert back to your normal level of happiness. This is why people say you “can’t by happiness”. You can only buy freedom and choice, not happiness. Happiness comes from creating, not consuming.
So in order to cure Spendy Spouse of their Spendiness, they need to find something to work towards. A goal of some sort. Whether it’s to publish a book (like me) or start an Etsy store (like Mrs. Money Mustache), once the Spendy Spouse discovers that deriving their meaning from creation rather than consumption generates a happiness high way stronger than buying the latest Roomba, they’ll be hooked. And no longer Spendy.
The Scaredy Spouse
This was me. Even though I hated my job, I was terrified to quit. I kept thinking about every single scenario that could go wrong and why we SHOULDN’T retire. News lines kept popping up in my head about how dangerous the world is (it isn’t) and why we shouldn’t travel (we should). I kept worrying about running out of money in retirement (we actually have more money than when we left 2 years ago). I kept thinking about how bored and lonely we’d be (we met all sorts of wonderful friends all over the globe, and we have enough passion projects to keep us busy)
The FIX: Ask them to think about it this way. “One day we are all going to die”. If we don’t do all the things we want to do because of fear, we’ll regret it forever. Oh wait, was that supposed to help or make things worse. Hm…
Okay, If that doesn’t work, show them all the back up plans you have to alleviate their fears. I.e. The fear of running out of money?
Plan A: keep expenses within the Yield Shield so you never have to withdraw from the portfolio.
Plan B Have 3-5 years of living expenses as a cash cushion.
Plan C: Move to inexpensive locations where the cost of living is $20K/year and the weather fantastic.
Plan D: Take on a part time job or side hustle for extra income.
If fear is holding them back, alleviate the fear.
The “What About The Kids” Spouse
This type of spouse thinks it’s a parent’s job to make a kid’s life perfect, and if they don’t do exactly what’s dictated in the “Keeping Up With the Jones’ Kids” handbook, they are a failure as a parent and a failure at life.
Yes, I get that you need them to have stability, go to a good school, have a good life, etc. This does not mean you should throw in the towel and use your kids as a shield to avoid becoming financially independent. Like I said before, being FI doesn’t mean quitting your job and dragging your kids around the world. It simply means you can CHOOSE to work less and spend more time with them.
I’ve said this over and over again.
Kids are not expensive. Parents make them expensive.
My parents raised me on a song and I ended up becoming the youngest retiree in Canada. Your kids are not going to be a failure if you don’t blow tons of money on them. Sometimes they could use a bit of CRAP.
One of the biggest misconceptions we’ve heard about FI is that it’s involves sacrifice. Only by living in a basement, eating cans of cat food and subsisting on your own tears, can you accomplish such an insane feat.
To which I say, does this look like sacrifice to you?
And it’s not just us. Check out all the Hell these other FIRErs are putting themselves though after escaping the rat race:
FI is NOT about depravity. Or sacrifice.
It’s about freedom.
And no, I don’t mean the running off to “find yourself” type of freedom. I mean the freedom to CHOOSE.
Becoming Financially Independent doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and travel the world. It simply means you can CHOOSE to work or not work. If you love your job, great! Continue doing what you love. In fact, once you become FI, you will find that you can do your job even BETTER because everything you do is genuine and no longer influenced by money. Where you were fearful, you now have courage to speak up. Where you’ve been greedy, you can now be generous. And where you’ve been afraid to push your boundaries and reach for that promotion, you can now take that risk because you are invincible.
Hate your job? Now you can build that dream you’ve always wanted. Or spend more time with your spouse and amazing kids.
Okay with your job but want to cut back on your hours? Great, do that. Make a flexible schedule that’s perfect for you.
Money is simply a tool that gives you choices. It doesn’t define who you are. Nor is it a pissing contest.
Follow MadFientist’s lead. Start a blog. Ask your spouse to help you proof read it. That way, instead of brow-beating them into accepting your plan, you are giving them the chance to understand where you are coming from. The more they understand FI, they more they will be willing to accept it. But at the end of the day, THEY need to be the one to convince themselves. Not you.
What do you think? What type of spouse do you have? Can you get them onboard the FI train?
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