According to a study conducted by Ramsey Solutions, money fights are the second leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity. It can be extremely difficult to be on the same page with your spouse when it comes to spending and saving. The methodology of the FIRE community is so different than the norms and expectations of society, it can be extremely challenging for spouses to share the dream of reaching financial independence and retiring early.
My wife and I were gifted The Total Money Makeover along with admission to Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University when we got married. I was blessed with a spouse who took interest immediately in the idea of paying off debt. It wasn’t always that easy for us, though.
Having paid off all of our debt, Gina was extremely risk averse. She wasn’t interested in buying a house unless we could pay in full with cash, she didn’t want credit cards, and she wasn’t interested in investing money in anything that wasn’t recommended by Dave Ramsey. As I started to introduce some ideas that weren’t necessarily “Dave Ramsey approved”, the more tension arose between us.
Author’s Note: I am a huge supporter of Dave Ramsey and highly recommend his Baby Steps for anyone looking to get their finances in line!
After slowly introducing Gina to the Choose FI podcast, Facebook page, and web site material, she began to realize that the dream of retiring early could come true, but she had to get out of her comfort zone in order for that to happen. A short time later and here we are, attending our Choose FI local group together (taking turns attending now that our 10 month old son doesn’t sit still!), we’ve bought our first home, took our first free vacation with travel reward points, and are just over 9 years from retiring.
Your spouse may not be interested in the FIRE community right away. I recommend accepting conversations about financial goals, starting a budget together, or reading/listening to any FIRE related content as minor victories. Additionally, make sure you avoid “pointing the finger” or starting arguments about finances if your spouse doesn’t take to the idea right away.
Interested in encouraging your spouse or partner to join you on your journey for financial independence? Here are some methods you can try!
Share Your Dreams – Discuss Your Why for FI
If you’re still reading, you almost certainly have a dream of what your life could be if you could retire early. Share that dream with your spouse. Do you see yourself traveling the world? Homeschooling your children together? Growing a business? Don’t be ashamed of your dreams. Throw them out there and see what you get. Maybe you’ll be surprised and your spouse would love to see those dreams come true.
Keep in mind, depending on their upbringing, your spouse may struggle to believe retiring early and reaching these dreams is even possible. Try using multiple methods to encourage them to understand that these dreams are attainable.
Buy Them a Book
Is your spouse a reader or does he/she enjoy audio books? If you struggle to communicate exactly how reaching financial independence is possible, consider leaving it to a professional. I have found that some of the easiest-to-read financial books are also the most motivational. Here are a few of my favorite books that got me started on my path to FIRE.
Introduce Them to a Podcast
The ChooseFI Podcast has done a better job, in my opinion, than anyone at explaining what FI is and how to get there. It has been a wonderful resource for Gina and I throughout our quest for retiring early.
I wouldn’t recommend asking your spouse to jump into the latest episodes of ChooseFI without listening to Episode 38, The Why of FI, or Episode 21, The Pillars of FI. These are two staples that everyone should listen to, especially someone looking to become financially independent.
Start a Budget Together / Hold a Weekly Budget Meeting
Sounds awful right? Actually, high-fiving after we crush our budget is one of the best ways Gina and I have connected and stayed motivated. There are days when we dread doing our budget, but I can’t think of a time when we’ve completed it that I wasn’t glad we did.
We update our budget every Saturday evening (exciting right?), this allows us to have a good grasp of where we stand for the month and make adjustments if necessary. By meeting weekly about our finances, Gina and I remain focused together on our goals.
Set a Goal Together
Let’s not make this one too complicated. You may have a goal of retiring in 10 years, but if you’re still reading, your spouse probably isn’t ready for that. How about a goal of discussing finances weekly, reading one book, listening to one podcast, or even paying off $100 extra in debt this month.
Think baby steps here. Complete one small goal and then work on another in order to gain some momentum. Give it some time and your spouse may even come up with some goals of their own.
Encouraging your spouse to care about your finances or working towards FIRE can be a real challenge. It may not be a fast or easy process, but it IS worth your efforts. According to the aforementioned study by Ramsey Solutions, 94% of couples who say they have a great marriage discuss their money dreams with their spouse.
If your spouse doesn’t share your money dreams, I encourage you to try one of these methods. What have you tried in order to spark a financial interest in your spouse?
PS: Don’t forget to follow the Four Walls Instagram @FourWallsofFIRE. You’ll find daily motivation, challenges, and to find out what blog is coming up next!