How I Convinced My Spouse To Join The FI Journey (And You Can Too)

How I Convinced My Spouse To Join The FI Journey-min
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I have been on the FI train for a long time now and it seemed like my wife has just tolerated it. She has always been a good saver for short-term goals like travel or a home purchase. But she also had career aspirations and didn’t see the point of leaving work behind to pursue other endeavors.

Lately, she has gotten much more interested in Financial Independence. Did I do anything different to convince her? Or, did she finally come to her senses?

Neither! In reality, we all want more time, more options, and more freedom. And it turns out that a number of things have changed in our lives recently and the pieces have all come together to change her outlook.

The Goals That Convinced My Wife To Join The FI Journey

To be more specific, three lifestyle goals have become more important to her as of late.

And all three just happen to be more achievable when you have Financial Independence. These are the three goals that convinced my wife to join the FI journey.

1. More Time

Having a child changes your life.

And no, I’m not just talking about the lack of sleep. It changes your perspective about what’s really important in life. It makes you re-evaluate your priorities.

Since both of us are working, our daughter spends most of the week at daycare and we see her for a few hours a day.

  • I leave before she gets up and come home in time to spend about an hour with her before she goes to bed each night.
  • My wife gets more time to spend with her but still not as much as she’d like.

Financial Independence, we hope, will let us spend more time with our family and take advantage of the time we have together before it slips away.

2. More Options

Options have become more valuable to my wife as of late. Specifically, she’d love to have more career and travel options.

Career Options

My wife’s career goals had always included becoming a principal and then moving up higher into school administration at the county level.

But recently she got a new job that gave her more insight into the day to day tasks and responsibilities of a school principal. Now that she can see the role of school administration from the inside, she’s considering whether that path is still the way she would like to go.

Financial independence would mean she could adjust her career aspirations or think outside of the box completely. Perhaps she could even teach or be a school administrator in another country!

My wife loved the idea that there could come a day where she’d be able to pick her job solely off of what she wanted to do, not merely what would pay the bills.

Travel Options

Like many others, we like to travel and the possibility of living abroad with our family has really struck a chord with us.

We recently discussed how cool it would be to try something crazy like that. But we quickly came back to earth when the realization set in that it would be too risky in our current financial situation.

This was when the impact of reaching financial independence really clicked for my wife.

All of a sudden she no longer viewed Financial Independence as just a dollar amount in the bank. Instead, she began to view it as the golden ticket to a world of endless possibilities.

We have since thrown around ideas on the logistics of raising children in a foreign country and where we would want to live and for how long in each location. We’ve discussed homeschooling and how much more interesting lessons could be if you’re learning about World War II in Germany or Japan.

We’re so pumped! And the discussions have genuinely brought us closer together.

Podcast Episode: Travel Rewards with Marla Tanner

3. More Freedom

The freedom offered by FI is the final benefit that convinced my wife to join the FI journey.

She began to realize that FI would allow us to chase good weather around the world, plus have extended time with family and friends during the holidays or birthdays (how was everyone in my wife’s family born in May?).

As I said, there was nothing I could do to make this concept resonate with my wife better than her coming to this on her own. Now we can both look forward to and plan to make financial independence our reality.

How To Convince Your Spouse To Join The FI Journey

Now that I’ve shared the journey that my own spouse had to take to finally decide to hop on the FI train, let’s apply this to your situation.

If your spouse has been hesitant to dive all-in with Financial Independence, you really should take a long, hard look at the three goals that led my wife to get on board.

Why? Because I would propose that everyone joins the FI journey for essentially the same three goals: more time, more options, and more freedom.

Now how we use that additional time, options, and freedom will be completely different based on our hobbies, interests, passions, and family situation.

  • For my wife, “more time” meant more time to spend with family. For your spouse, “more time” might mean more time to spend mountain biking, hiking, reading, or volunteering at a local nonprofit.
  • For my wife “more options” meant that she could change her career or we could change our home location. For your spouse, “more options” might mean being able to cut back to part-time or start an Etsy business.

Finding The “Why” Of FI With Your Spouse

Simon Sinek is a well-known motivational speaker and author of the book Start With Why. He has spent his career trying to convince leaders they should never begin by telling people “what” to do.

Instead, he argues that big change and innovation always begins by answering the question “why.” In your spare time, check out this cool clip of Sinek sharing his concepts at a Ted Talk.

I firmly believe in this concept of starting with why and I think it applies to areas beyond the workplace. In fact, I think it applies to the FI journey as well.

If you don’t why you’re putting in the hard work and sacrifice of FI, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to stick with it.

The same goes for your spouse.

The “Why FI” Quiz

With that in mind, I recommend giving your spouse a “Why FI?” quiz. Ok, you don’t have to call it that corny name. In fact, you don’t even have to call it a quiz.

But one day when you and your spouse have some downtime at home or are enjoying a relaxing night out, ask your spouse these three questions:

  • What kinds of things would you do if you had more free time each week?
  • If money wasn’t an issue, what would you want your day job to be? Where would you want to live?
  • What kinds of hobbies or interests would you pursue more heavily if you had the freedom to do so?

The answers to those three questions will be your spouse’s why of FI. Explain to your spouse briefly how Financial Independence could help to make those dreams a reality.

And then leave things alone.

Let the why marinate for a while. And guess what might just happen? Your spouse may come around all on their own about FI without you having to do any arm-pulling at all, just as my wife did.

And all because you let the goals be the driving force, not you.

Have you and your partner come to the FI movement at different times? Do you have any advice for those of us who are working to convince their wives why you’re saving so much or prove to their husbands that this really can be done?
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6 thoughts on “How I Convinced My Spouse To Join The FI Journey (And You Can Too)”

  1. I’ve been a FIRE fan ever since college and my wife (GF back then) has always been supportive. However, she’s always done her own thing with her career and truly loves working… who am I to interfere with that? Recently, however, she had a small taste of early retirement when we had our two children. I had already retired early and she decided to work part-time (~25 hrs/wk). This gave us a lot of precious family time early on and I think she enjoyed it. So, the last time we spoke about FIRE relative to her, she was interested in transitioning to part-time work indefinitely when the time is right. We’ll see! 🙂

    • That’s great and I think that is how our situation will turn out. Lately my wife has leaned more towards working longer but at a reduced schedule if possible. Sounds like we will need to check in with you in a few years for any updates that we should apply to our lives!

  2. My wife actually started me down the road to FI by accident. She passed along a suggestion from one of her colleagues to check out this new podcast called ChooseFI.

    6 months later, she asked me what app I used for podcasts and listened to her first episode.

    It was a rocky 6 months, but that had nothing to do with money. The silver-lining of that unrelated turmoil was that it kept discussions of finance off the table. In the meantime, I kept plodding away, updating my spreadsheets, doing research on asset allocations, making (and sticking to) grocery lists. When she decided that she wanted to make a change, she knew she would find me prepared to talk about it, so it was easy for her to start the conversation.

    If I have any advice, it would be get your own house in order first. After all, you share a roof with your partner. Your actions will change their environment, too. Make sure that you are clearing a path that you find inviting, and chances are that if you like it, eventually, the person you love–who shares many of your interests and personality traits–will discover that it’s really is pretty appealing.

    • I definitely agree that pushing your partner is not the way to go. Planting a seed and letting him or her come to the realization is a far better way to achieve the mutual goal.

  3. I struggle with getting my husband on board with it. He’s fine with me handling all the finances and doing what I think is best with investing. However, the part that is really hard for me is to get him on board with the cutting expenses portion. If one hasn’t read up on opportunity costs and growing the gap between living expenses and income, it can be hard to understand that portion. I think he just thinks, well, we can make more money and then maybe we can get there. It is a battle that I fight in my head all the time. I don’t want to push him so I randomly send him articles every few months. It has been mostly crickets in response. Its so delicate to point it out without him thinking “You’re telling me I spend too much money.” I’d love to figure it out one day!

    • Maybe try discussing the time frame and what you need to do so that you can reach your goals on time? You’re right that it can either come from more income or less expenses. It can be frustrating from both sides if you two want to approach it from the opposite directions.

      My wife and I have had more friction because I want to accelerate the time frame and therefore cut expenses even more. We don’t have much more fluff in our budget so that’s creating some angst for her.

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