Your greatest weapon in reaching FI (or your greatest weakness)

There has been a lot written about the strategy and tactics used to achieve FI and set yourself up for a lifetime of freedom.  Discussions on investments, frugality, job success, and a host of other topics. I want to discuss what is probably the greatest financial decision you will have, and one which will make or break your chances of financial success. That decision is – your choice of spouse or significant other.

The world is full of a long list of stories in which one person makes the money and the other person spends it (or they both spend it). It is often said that opposites attract, and that you marry your opposite. Thus savers marry spenders and vice-versa. The result is often fights over financing, as one person struggles to make the money, while the other one spends it just as fast (or faster).

Many people go into marriage swiftly, with very little knowledge of their prospective mate. Others take the time to get to know that person, and in today’s society, many more are living together for a period of time prior to tying the knot. What this allows is for someone of a ‘FIERY’ bent to get to understand their potential partner and to understand how they will aid or detract from their goals – not only their FIRE goals, but their other life goals.

I’ve recently seen several stories where one person called off a wedding after finding out the other was in significant debt, and hadn’t told them. There is also that story of the guy (I believe in Colorado or Texas) who married a girl and was with her for 3 years, while he helped her pay off her student loans. On the day the last payment was made, she filed for divorce. Ouch!

The world is also full of stories of couples on the same sheet of music, who complement each other and help each of them move towards their lifetime goals, and achieve FI. Most of the links in the blogs to the right are of couples (or one of a two-person couple) detailing their success at working towards their goals. It should be obvious, but I’ll say it – Life is much easier and sweeter if you have someone to travel it with you.

What brought this post on? As some of you have read lately, I have been a bit down in the dumps, and Mrs. 39 Months has noticed. She has sought to cheer me up at times, and took me out to dinner for my birthday, while inviting friends. Her birthday present for me was a new book, The Happiness Trap, by Russ Harris (a future blog post/book review). Basically, my partner has seen my troubles, and is working with me to assist (as I have done for her in the past).

Mrs. 39 Months is also extremely frugal. Just last night, she was arguing with herself on whether to buy a certain tool for one of her crafts (making leather shoes) and was not sure if she wanted to spend $40 on it. This is a woman with over $100K in the bank (our emergency fund). Needless to say, I gave her a kiss, told her how much I loved her, and then suggested she go ahead and buy the tool. I am still not sure she did, though.

So take the opportunity, if you can, to thank your spouse or significant other today. Life is better with them in your life.

Mr. 39 Months.

5 thoughts on “Your greatest weapon in reaching FI (or your greatest weakness)”

  1. thats an excellent book. I agree with you, being on the same page about finances and having similar core values is so important in a relationship.

    1. Yep.

      Just starting on the book, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to knock through it over the next few weeks.

  2. Yes, sharing money temperament is critical, as well as giving each other space to make individual decisions. My husband and I have some shared interests but many different ones (he’s still a Mets fan, I still see Broadway shows despite the crazy price tag). We make the differences work too.

    1. LOL. We are both in NJ, and Mrs. 39 Months is a Jersey Devil’s fan (hockey) while I am a flyers fan. The benefits of marriage to a good spouse definitely outweigh most differences on smaller issues. The fact that she is dramatically frugal has been a major plus in our financial lives, as she has helped keep me from spending way too much.

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