Significant others: Having the talk ...

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
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Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by jacob » Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:53 pm

Lets have some war stories about how you've figured out to bring your SO, family, and others around?

People have different ways of understanding new ideas. Some follow example (SP!?), some follow rules (SJ!?), some follow reason (NT!?), and some follow dreams(NF!?). What works on one might not work on another. Similarly, some are influenced by direct communication and hands-on examples and others need more subtle indirect hints in order to figure things out on their own.

DW: SJ and hands-on.

* Making a spreadsheet projecting networth, SWR, etc. out year by year for the next 50 years is how she finally grokked the FIRE concepts. In particular, I think it was how the spreadsheet showed a specific year and number. (key: hands-on exercise)

* Putting a hard limit on the grocery budget was what drove the acceptance of the strategy of actually learning who has the cheapest groceries and what's actually on sale. E.g. "you have $24 left for the rest of the month". This took 6 months but now she's lecturing/telling other people about the best deals all the time. (key: hard rules/concrete goals)

Family: Mostly SJ and NF.

* Random comments about dividends and market behaviour finally convinced them that I was actually making enough money to live on by investing. Now they sometimes ask me for financial advice. (key: taking control of the framework)

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by GandK » Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:05 pm

I (NF) was brought around.

The question was: "If money was no object, what would you do with all your time?"

That got me dreaming. It took me weeks to answer. I fell deeper in love because he cared enough about me to ask the question. It meant my dreams were important.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by Ego » Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:11 pm

GandK wrote: The question was: "If money was no object, what would you do with all your time?"
Funny, I asked the same question to Mrs. Ego.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by GandK » Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:14 pm

Ego wrote:Funny, I asked the same question to Mrs. Ego.
Did it work on her, too? :D

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by IlliniDave » Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:14 pm

Do you want to hear stories of failure and divorce? That's all I got :D

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by jacob » Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:18 pm

Nah, I'm mainly interested in specific examples of what worked and why it worked.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by Ego » Fri Jul 01, 2016 6:27 pm

GandK wrote:
Ego wrote:Funny, I asked the same question to Mrs. Ego.
Did it work on her, too? :D
Well, that's a good question. I think, in a way, it worked for both of us. It got us both thinking about what we would do - together - if we were free of financial concerns. It made us think about each frivolous purchase as somehow chipping away at a future freedom. I don't think that I convinced her or she convinced me. It was more like a starting point from which we gradually convinced one another. That process is still ongoing.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by sl-owl-orris » Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:31 am

I'm married to another forum user.

In my case, there was never "the talk". He just started to read the blog and the forums and got more quiet for a while. At the same time he started investing and also disputing some of our habits and expenditures. When I would talk to him I would hear that he doesn't want to work all his life and that there are better things to do with his time. A sentiment I totally agree with. He would also mention things like "SWR" and "portfolio" and "ER". I'm not going to lie, ER didn't seem very possible to achieve, but I kept an open mind.

What actually got me, was him saying "I'm going to retire in this many years" and "I'm going to invest money, so they work for me". I felt excluded from this big dream of his, so I started to ask questions and I wanted in. And only then he revealed the whole concept to me. Visual aid, such as excel charts helped a lot. The actual idea (with numbers, percentages etc.) was difficult to grasp from conversation only, but seeing it visualized made all the difference. I tested as INFJ, so this may work not only for SJs. I guess this is helpful in general. On the other hand Jacob's theory seems plausible, since I wanted to follow the same dream my husband had.

Even though we started to spend less, instead of feeling deprived, I began to feel content. With expenses, working out what my true hourly rate is (after tax, time and cost of commute etc.) helped me realize how much of my life I'm trading for stuff. Now, I was never a big spender and I always liked to have something saved, but this exercise was helpful at the initial stages, when I was trying to figure out if I'm really willing to trade certain amount of time at work for a certain product.

It never felt like he was convincing me to do anything. Rather, he just started on his own and I got curious.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by Dragline » Sat Jul 02, 2016 6:53 am

I have not figured out any successful way of convincing someone they would be better off conserving their resources and employing them highly selectlvely. There is no sales gimmickry that works. There is only a simple invitation. The invitation is made by displaying some satisfaction or inner peace with an idea and a willingness to share how and why that happened if and when asked. If that doesn't work, you must simply kick the dust off your shoes and move on to the next "town".

I did not convince DW that we would be better off if our resources would be mostly conserved or expended outside ourselves, or that owning a lot of things is pretty meaningless beyond their practical use, that objects should not be replaced until they are no longer fit for purpose, or that people ought to cook most of their meals at home from scratch. That's the way I found her. I just chose right or got lucky. But when somebody tells you they lived on a baked potato most days for an extended period of time, you move them up the list.

I am fairly convinced that the only leadership in this area is by example and it will only persuade a minority who is interested. Hence, the most useful model of persuasion is that of an invitation.
Last edited by Dragline on Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by sl-owl-orris » Sat Jul 02, 2016 8:14 am

@Dragline I agree that leading by example may be the best approach.

I have a friend who knows about the idea of ERE (and finds it a bit silly to put it mildly). Nevertheless, she is a good friend who will listen when I talk about my life, ideas and issues and I do the same for her. While I would never openly say, that she should do something, I would discuss in detail things that I or my husband do in life, especially when I think she could benefit from it. Her initial reaction is always, "Yes, but that would never work for me", or she just stays quiet and doesn't comment. However, it usually takes her roughly a month to start implementing in one way or another something I told her about. When I met her she would go on shopping sprees at any opportunity to "buy happiness", she and her partner had a large debt and in general they were unhappy with their lives and complained a lot about lack of direction. Now they are both debt free, they started saving and even low-key investing money, they changed jobs for less stressful ones, they keep a budget spreadsheet, and they plan to quit working in a year or two and start living in a different country each year supporting themselves from teaching English (they both completed their TEFL courses recently). She does contribute all those changes to my influence, but she was open minded in the first place and even if she would initially dismiss an idea, she would mull over it later on and apply it.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by Did » Sat Jul 02, 2016 11:00 am

I'm the sort of guy that scorns ideas then works it out himself and then starts lecturing everyone. The DW thought I was mad, and that perhaps I was not the guy for her. Then I spoke about quitting my job and relocating to Thailand, Ferris style, and she is one for adventure so agreed to that. We lived in our van for 8 months instead and the freedom was so sweet, and the simplicity so natural that it all seemed to make sense. She could not contemplate going back to her old job. We are still on a journey, but escaping the man is important to us and being as efficient as possible seems obvious to her now. Not so mad after all.

(Correction: she says I am still mad just not in that way)

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by cmonkey » Tue Jul 05, 2016 11:36 am

DW is absolutely NOT a numbers/analytical type. In fact if I start talking about SWR, savings rates and how they relate to FI dates, etc.... she actually will get angry with me and/or just start nodding off*. The closest I've come to bridging that gap is something like 'the less money we spend, the sooner I can spend all my time with you**'. So definitely more of the hands-on, example type. I believe she is INFP and leans heavily towards the creative, free-spirited sorts.

She has naturally always been frugal. Taking it beyond the level of 'going without' or buying with a coupon is something we are both learning, but I have more initiative and she is starting to learn by my example. Lifestyle hacks such as going without a dishwasher is something she's also learning by example.

* like if she talks about crafting ;)

** she is the type of person that thrives on being with me as much as possible. Being alone is not an option. Hey I'm not complaining. :P

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by Tyler9000 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 1:30 pm

DW was the one who convinced me. Thinking back, I believe it was a combination of her knowing me well enough to understand my motivations and a bit of timing luck.

I had always been a career guy with a good deal of professional success and high aspirations, and I was squarely focused on expanding my resume and moving up. DW never really had the same career motivation as I did. At one point she started looking for books on career happiness, and somehow stumbled into the early retirement genre (YMOYL, The Joy of Not Working, etc.). From there she found MMM and ERE, and really bought into the 21 day makeover. That's when the pestering started. ;)

But it's not like I was non-receptive. Her revelation occurred right about the same time when I was laid off from what could have been my dream job and the reality of how work shouldn't define me was really starting to take hold. I was aimless at the time, and years of stress and sacrifice had taken its toll physically and emotionally. Still, the idea of walking away felt very -- extreme.

I remember her trying to convince me to read a few of her books. I skimmed a few and thought it sounded novel, but it didn't really click for me until I read Work Less Live More. I can't explain exactly why it worked better than others, but I think it was because the message of financial independence and personal autonomy was an easier stepping stone than a full ERE commitment.

While she was most focused on how to cut expenses, the part that captured my interest was the finance side. I remember spending hours building various spreadsheets to project future investment growth and burn rates, and reading up on the mechanics of SWRs. It encouraged me to get serious about knowing how my investments worked, and in the process I discovered the Permanent Portfolio. I think the combination of the sound macroeconomic foundation and the libertarian bent of Harry Browne's writings is what solidified financial independence in my head. It was an amazingly empowering goal within my grasp in just a few short years if we would only take the steps to embrace it.

Along the way, I remember us having conversations about once a week or so to check back in on the topic. She would sometimes get frustrated, but I generally came around to her way of thinking once I had time to study it for myself. I used to joke that she was always " a few weeks ahead of me". She was patient but persistent, and an effective salesman. What's in it for me? For you? For us?

By the time I officially signed up on the ERE forums, we had already committed to the idea of moving out of the Bay Area to pursue jobs in a LCOL area to jumpstart our FI journey. I think that making a clear commitment like that also reinforced our mutual appreciation of the goal. No more talking about it in theory -- let's do something about it right now.

Long story short, DW was really good about making it feel less like she was convincing me to do something and more like we were scheming together.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by TopHatFox » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:01 pm

Interestingly, the women my age (20-ish) that I've spent months or years with are fairly keen on the idea of financial independence. Most of the women I have been/am partners or polyamours with are/have been INFPs, and I am quite the salesperson for freedom and dreams (and the sometimes required corporate drudgery to get there!). :mrgreen:

On the other hand, my parents & to-an-extent my brother are A+ screwed IMHO. Parents have been over-leveraged in a 200k house with 30k annual income for about a decade now. The principle has been reduced by, say, 15k. I'm unsure whether they still expect me to bail them out after they likely foreclose even though I've repeteadly said I would not, but who knows. That said, After using bicycles as a main form of transport, eating a healthful mostly vegan diet, having multiple romantic relationships, investing, etc. they seem to think of me as different ("crazy") but level-headed, which is a product of leading by example. My brother became more interested in money accumulation (not necessarily FI) after I showed him portfolio growth, allocation, and how the structure (housing, food, transport) make big growth in networth over time. He'd like to have lots of money, cars, etc.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by Freedom_2018 » Tue Jul 05, 2016 7:21 pm

Partner : INFP

I asked : " For a similar amount that we spend living in this apartment, what if we could have a life on the road? "


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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by Fish » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:34 pm

This journey is still ongoing, but I've been working on my wife (SJ and "natural follower") for the past few years. She has her own frugal instincts and strengths, but in keeping with the spirit of this thread, I'll list out areas where we've been able to change. Most of the day-to-day habits were cases where I led by example and she eventually adopted the same behaviors as they seemed more natural over time. In other cases I had to insist on the change and she eventually agreed that it was for the best. Then we still have a few outstanding issues where we have to agree to disagree for now.

Successes (lead by example):
1. Buying stuff used.
2. Taking the bus, especially when parking at the destination is not free.
3. Weekend family activities closer to home, instead of going out of town on day trips all the time.
4. Packing food when we go out, instead of defaulting to restaurants.
5. (Letting me) repair broken items. When something breaks DW's assumption is that "Fish can fix it", not "we need a new X". :D
6. Doing our own landscaping instead of hiring it out. The work is much more manageable as a regular hobby rather than occasional chore.

Successes (insist on change):
7. Finally agreeing with me that there is no need to upgrade our house.
8. Gym membership not needed to exercise.
9. Living debt-free as a requirement (agreeing to pay off the mortgage).
10. Agreeing with me that our neighborhood's 10/10 public elementary school is good enough for our kids, and that the $25k/year private school is not needed. For this one, the satisfied parents in our community did the persuading.

Work in progress:
11. Reducing spending as a goal.
12. Early retirement as a goal, when investments are to be the primary source of income. (SJs and their need for security! :evil: ;))

As mentioned in the "Career Advice For Fish" thread I think all the major issues were resolved in my favor.

@Jacob - Since your DW wrote this guest post on Dollar Frugal nearly 10 years ago, has she moved past thinking of your ERE lifestyle choices as sacrifice? How does her discretionary spending compare to yours? ... rugal.html

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by 7Wannabe5 » Thu Sep 21, 2017 5:22 am

My puzzle has been how to resolve inherent conflict between valuing frugality within the context of a non-equity-sharing or non-committed relationship. Simple example being what is the upside for me if I try to convince a man I am dating to let me cook dinner from variety of leftovers in his kitchen vs. allowing him to throw down for dinner out? The problem isn't just that I am giving away my labor/skills for "free", but that I am also signaling that I desire partnership with such behavior. It's like when I forget myself and perform some small gesture of grooming a man on a second date.

This is a problem for me at the moment, because due to this conflict, I have somehow managed to promote myself somewhat significantly into relationship with my current BF on the basis of all my "good wife" skills, but he is still in love with an ex. I don't suffer terribly from romantic inclinations, and I do not suffer fools, but what female wants to be chosen on purely sensible basis? Blech. Makes me feel like a pair of the kind of shoes everybody wears in Midwestern University towns, or like my name is Hannah Gruen (Nancy Drew's housekeeper.) You would think that all of my eccentricities, tendencies towards intellectually provocative debate, and overt practice of polyamory would detract from this image, but not. (sigh)

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by Farm_or » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:03 am

For FarmOR, it's not "the" talk as much as it is an ongoing evolution. Patience and consistence can move mountains.

The extreme part of ere is a tough sell. However, the more significant your suffering from a mainstream existence, the more you open up to extreme ideas. It is a lifestyle decision.

We have made some baby steps progress and a few major accomplishments. Getting my DW to read "The Millionaire Teacher" was a great progress. I think that she considered it due to the word "teacher" in the title, because she is a school teacher. She has read another book and I read to her from the forum regularly.

She has announced her goal of early retirement in five years. From my perspective, she has a long ways to go to achieve that goal! But I am excited about the progress made and the commitment she has.

There are so many facets to the goal of self sufficient living. There are so many ways of doing it. I am especially relieved that at least she is on track financially. She comes from a family of debt ridden, living beyond their means, and one paycheck away from crisis.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by Sclass » Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:21 am

I spent years trying to convince my SO to invest with me.

She was naturally frugal. I mean like some people just have it in their nature to be careful with money. However, she kept the money to herself. When we started living together about twenty years ago she kept her finances separate. And she used my income to pay for rent and other expenses. It was a tug of war for years. Note she didn't squander her earnings, she hoarded and invested them albeit poorly.

She invested her pile and it went sideways for years. So it wasn't like I had to convince her to be financially disciplined. I needed her to stop making me pay for her rent, her car, her food while she brought in a salary. Not to mention, she didn't trust my investing style and encouraged me to divert my savings to a joint vanguard account she set up. What I invested in was "dangerous". Not to mention my family had a reputation of being financial dirtbags in our community thanks to my dad.

This was all complicated by the fact that her daddy is a wealthy man. My nasty family has always said only a rich woman would feel comfortable with a crap shot like me. Perhaps it was true. Anyhow, her father didn't understand nor trust the stock market (he is an RE guy) and he helped my SO wall off her assets from me using a series of corporate entities that I still don't understand. I never really tried because I never wanted to confirm her dad's fear that I was after money.

Shrewd daddy. I love the man and we get a long well. But we have a truce. He stays out of my business and I stay out of his. We NEVER talk about money. I pay for our pizza and he pays for our beer. :lol: He lets his daughter be with me. And he trusted me with her when I moved her to the slums...when we were kids.

So one day into our union my SO broke down while looking at her statements a long with mine. "I wish I could have grown my money like you did," she cried. It was ugly. AMZN beats the crap out of bond mutual funds. I told her it was okay, I no longer care about her separate accounts. I write it off as lost in the cushions of my couch. We moved on and never talk about it. She never checks her statements. I open and shred them. I never ask about her daddy's secret corporation she sits on the board of. I suspect this is why she was content with me renting and not owning our home. I may never know but who cares.

A truce so to speak. Our parents never liked each other. I'm only starting to understand the long term implications of this.

And my SO lives under my budget. That's part of the truce. It's easy for her because she's naturally frugal and likes our lifestyle. And I happen to take care of all the expenses. A truce. She has hidden means to leave me in a heartbeat if she desired but why when we can do things like this. I am happy to have a frugal teammate.

SO is very proud that we have saved and grown our nest egg together and we appear to have made it on our own steam.

Love in the far out world of Sclass.

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Re: Significant others: Having the talk ...

Post by SustainableHappiness » Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:54 pm

That is a weird story S-Class. Weird as in I have no good frame of reference for it, but it is oddly enticing and seems kinda bad ass in a way I again don’t understand.

DW was unconvinced by ERE, automatically wrote it off as ‘too extreme’. Not a big deal since she was on board with natural frugality after learning that I had zero debt and some savings after finishing an undergrad and master’s degree. This impressed her and showed what was possible. MMM was a bit of a step forward due to his style and relatability for young adult above average income earners with a WASP-ey background.

The REAL unlock was when I sent her two articles within the same week a few years ago. The first was an article from MMM’s wife on how she got convinced on the FIRE path. I think it was this one ... frugality/

And then later (or before) in the week I sent her the F-U Money article by JLCollinsh ... you-money/

This provided an article from a female perspective (+ wife and mother) and gave her a concept she still loves to this day (F-U Money) instead of the far-out idea of FIRE. Since learning about F-U Money if I ever say I’m thinking about trying another career or cut my hours or taking time off or whatever, she’s just like, “well we’ve got FU Money and we are good at keeping expense low, try it out!”

I’m still definitely the optimizer and investor, but we rarely (or never) argue about this sort of stuff anymore, since she’s on board 110%.

Getting pregnant helped too.

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