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Spouse Involvement

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  •  AZPT 
    Participant
    Status: Other Professional
    Posts: 30
    Joined: 02/02/2019

    About a year ago I presented her with a plan to get us where she’s said she wants us to be. When the plan projected we’d have $1m in retirement savings by age 40, her immediate reaction was “what?! why do we have so much in retirement while I constantly feel like you’re making me pinch pennies and control my spending habits?” I knew there was no way I was going to get her see the big picture  and see that this is how we get on the path to financial freedom and doing what we want to do rather than what we have to do.

    Click to expand…

    I chuckled at this. So familiar.

    #189012 Reply
    Liked by JBME, Peds
     Anne 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 712
    Joined: 11/07/2017

    My husband and I are on the same page philosophically about money but I probably like to think and talk about it more than him. Thus I like this forum as it’s full of people who also like to think and talk about money. He is more of a doer where I am more of a thinker, at least when it comes to financial management.

    We earn about the same amount. It is arguable who spends more. He buys more big ticket items but less frequently whereas I buy smaller stuff on a more regular basis. I’ve never gone crazy with spending but have noticed that I buy a lot less random crap than I used to. One thing we never do is complain about the others spending–he might complain that the sofa I picked out is not as comfortable as he thinks it should be, and I might complain that the woodworking equipment needs to be put away so I can park my car where it belongs in the garage, but we never complain about the amount spent, and we never try to influence each other’s spending. We also do not worry about making everything even when it comes to family spending, we give to our respective families of origin as we think it will most benefit them. His family is mine and mine his anyway. I give to charity more than him and let him know “we gave x to y this month” and he says ok. We have different opinions about stock vs bond allocation although are on the same page with regards to low cost index investing–so I decide how my retirement accounts are invested, he decides how his are invested, and when we contribute to our joint taxable account we have equal say. I think trying to influence your partner’s behavior when it comes to money eventually backfires in most cases.

    One thing we do that I would recommend is each month we sit down together, track our spending for the last month in large categories, and there is a category that says “her misc” and “his misc” that we each enter our discretionary spending for the month. At first mine was always higher than his–there was one month that mine was over $500 and his was $1 LOL. I think he was traveling a lot for work that month and so most of what he did was expensed (plus he had no time to buy stuff) but still. Seeing that made me feel like it’s sort of a game and did improve my awareness of “do I really want this?” Some months his discretionary spending is higher, some months mine is. We never lecture each other or say $900–what did you buy??? But everything is transparent and we know where the $ went. It’s also fun to look back over the years–the spreadsheet is kind of like a journal of our life together (here is where we bought the tix to Italy! And remember–this is the month your family came to visit and we replaced the mattress on the guest bed before they got here!). At the same time we update all the accounts in the net worth spreadsheet. I actually look forward to doing this with him every month. He generally doesn’t like to sit around and talk about finance but once a month he does this with me and we make sure we are on the same page with where we are and where we are headed.

    #189080 Reply
     Kamban 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1959
    Joined: 08/01/2016
    As I hope to have a different outcome this go-around, what are some strategies that helped YOU and your SO when it came time to get serious about your financial plan? I know I need to share my resources with her and encourage her to consume the material, but what else? My initial strategy is: Jointly create an Investing Personal Statement. I love this idea and have seen many posted on WCI. Ask her when she would like us to retire. (I am a PT, she a PA. Each currently 32yo) Breakdown our current Savings Rate and future projections of what that will give us at retirement age. Compare this value with the value we will actually need at retirement for the lifestyle we desire. Determine the actual Savings Rate we need for this amount. Then, determine within our budget where our spending is really going, and recommend we begin to “pay ourselves first” with ~20% of income going towards retirement investing, etc etc etc. What else?

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    My wife has absolutely no interest in finance except she loved to rent ( has now realized the pain of being a landlord but loves the monthly rental checks). I decided to let her do her own thing but also take charge of the ship until we are steady and sailing merrily along.

    In your case, based on your previous posts I would do the following

    1. Attack and pay down debts.

    2. Decide on the percentage of gross income you want to save. Say 25%. Have that automated in her and your tax deferred and Roth plans and then in taxable plans.

    3. Then make a budget and spend the rest. Make her feel that she is enjoying life for the hard work she is doing as a PA. Slowly she will appreciate the growth in your retirement money.

    Looks like you are on that path except that make saving and investing simple. Otherwise she will never be on board.

    #189097 Reply
    Liked by AZPT
    MPMD MPMD 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 1900
    Joined: 05/01/2017

    2. Decide on the percentage of gross income you want to save. Say 25%. Have that automated in her and your tax deferred and Roth plans and then in taxable plans.

     

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    I think that is a great point.

    My wife is not super interested in FP although she is frugal and pays attention to spending. But she is 100% on board with the idea that certain things are non-negotiable e.g. 20% for retirement, spend less than we make, no further consumer debt.

    Frankly this started with me being very honest and saying “I will have a nervous breakdown if we start spending more than we make” so I convinced her that it was cheaper than therapy!!!

    #189101 Reply
     AZPT 
    Participant
    Status: Other Professional
    Posts: 30
    Joined: 02/02/2019

    Great points from each of you… thanks.

    Attacking debts is first priority, and she is okay with this.

    I think having non-negotiable 20% savings with maxing out our tax advantaged accounts is a must. I also agree that having it automated and out of sight is the way to go, that way she can still have “what’s left”. Probably better from a psychological standpoint and this will indeed keep it simpler. The biggest key to all this will be reigning in the spending and having a more accurate budget that we actually live by. A problem I know that many have, until it becomes habit.

    #189105 Reply
    Liked by Anne
     Anne 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 712
    Joined: 11/07/2017

    Great points from each of you… thanks.

    Attacking debts is first priority, and she is okay with this.

    I think having non-negotiable 20% savings with maxing out our tax advantaged accounts is a must. I also agree that having it automated and out of sight is the way to go, that way she can still have “what’s left”. Probably better from a psychological standpoint and this will indeed keep it simpler. The biggest key to all this will be reigning in the spending and having a more accurate budget that we actually live by. A problem I know that many have, until it becomes habit.

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    AZPT you are clearly really excited about this, which is great. From what I recall on your previous posts, you guys aren’t in terrible shape, you are far ahead of a lot of families, and if you can get organized and keep your spending in check with what you really want rather than trying to compare with others you are going to do great.  To be fair, you are only 32.  When I was 32 I was still trying to figure out what I liked and cared a whole lot more about what others thought than I do now (almost 42).  This is evident in my spending habits.  I think this happens for most people at some point, but the progression is pretty typical from what I’ve seen.  Of course, as soon as you don’t care what anyone thinks about what you are wearing or what car you drive your kids will be at the age where they care a lot and you’ll have to learn how to handle that.  But my point is to try to be on the same page and get things automated with regards to saving, but also don’t force the spending issue with your wife unless her spending is completely out of control–in which case there might be deeper issues to look at.  From my experience with friends, nothing makes someone want to go on a spending spree more than their spouse telling them they can’t.

    #189110 Reply
     bonebrokemefix 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 33
    Joined: 04/10/2017

    My longtime budget-resistant spouse has come around a bit after a recent discussion we had. Probably helped that we did it over cabs at her wine club place.

    I showed her some notes I had prepared:

    “Honey, here is what we made after taxes last year. This number here, that is half of that, minus 12 mortgage payments. On the next line, I’ve divided that by 12. Do you think you could run the household and be happy on that much per month, knowing that the other half is going towards our future selves, and that doing so would facilitate having FU money by early 50’s?”

    “Definitely.”

    “Ok. Cheers.”

    :glassesclink:

    #189161 Reply
     AZPT 
    Participant
    Status: Other Professional
    Posts: 30
    Joined: 02/02/2019

    You guys…. we had a talk on Sunday and it went…. awesome!

    I took the advice of many on here. Kept the spreadhseets, figures, and reading materials away initially. We dropped the little guy off at the in-laws and went to Cheesecake Factory (BECAUSE WE HAD GIFTCARDS, OK) for a nice lunch. I told I her I wanted us to have a discussion of our future and where we see ourselves in 5, 10, 25 years. We talked about each of our desires in retirement, outlined a picture of how we envisioned living our lives, and that led us into the “how much money do we need” for that?

    I mentioned to her that I had ran some calculations to help us figure that out, if she’d like to see them. To my surprise… “yes, let’s take a look”.

    You guys…

    Twenty minutes later she was trying to petition me to “save/invest just $500 more each month” because “look how much more that will give us in the long run!”

    I truly couldn’t believe it. It shouldn’t be a shock, but simply starting with the WHY instead of the What or How seemed to play a huge factor in this for her. After 2 hours we came up with a solid game plan that we both see the benefits of and I am so excited to get moving with our new financial goals.

    I am planning to call RBC soon about transferring our accounts to Vanguard, after making a $30,000 student loan payment today.

    Thanks to everyone who provided input on this thread – the WCI has been so valuable to me even in the short time I have been here.

     radnater 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 15
    Joined: 12/08/2018

    (BECAUSE WE HAD GIFT CARDS, OK) BWAHAAHAHAAHAHHAHA, I did let out an audible chuckle after reading that.

    So glad to hear it went well! Spousal buy-in is crucial for FP success (pun sort of intended)

     

     

    #192307 Reply
    Liked by Lordosis, AZPT
    jfoxcpacfp jfoxcpacfp 
    Moderator
    Status: Financial Advisor, Accountant, Small Business Owner
    Posts: 6697
    Joined: 01/09/2016

    You guys…. we had a talk on Sunday and it went…. awesome!

    I took the advice of many on here. Kept the spreadhseets, figures, and reading materials away initially. We dropped the little guy off at the in-laws and went to Cheesecake Factory (BECAUSE WE HAD GIFTCARDS, OK) for a nice lunch. I told I her I wanted us to have a discussion of our future and where we see ourselves in 5, 10, 25 years. We talked about each of our desires in retirement, outlined a picture of how we envisioned living our lives, and that led us into the “how much money do we need” for that?

    I mentioned to her that I had ran some calculations to help us figure that out, if she’d like to see them. To my surprise… “yes, let’s take a look”.

    You guys…

    Twenty minutes later she was trying to petition me to “save/invest just $500 more each month” because “look how much more that will give us in the long run!”

    I truly couldn’t believe it. It shouldn’t be a shock, but simply starting with the WHY instead of the What or How seemed to play a huge factor in this for her. After 2 hours we came up with a solid game plan that we both see the benefits of and I am so excited to get moving with our new financial goals.

    I am planning to call RBC soon about transferring our accounts to Vanguard, after making a $30,000 student loan payment today.

    Thanks to everyone who provided input on this thread – the WCI has been so valuable to me even in the short time I have been here.

    Click to expand…

    I am nominating you, my dear, for the ✨Post Of The Week✨. That was absolutely an absolutely fabulous follow-up and thank you for sharing!

    Johanna Fox Turner, CPA, CFP, Fox Wealth Mgmt & Fox CPAs ~ 270-247-0555
    https://fox-cpas.com/for-doctors-only/

    #192318 Reply
    Liked by AZPT
     treesrock 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 236
    Joined: 08/14/2017

    Wait what’s wrong with the Cheesecake Factory?!?!?!  But seriously congrats on getting on the same page and good luck moving forward!

    #192339 Reply
    Liked by AZPT
    Lordosis Lordosis 
    Participant
    Status: Physician
    Posts: 81
    Joined: 02/11/2019

    #192343 Reply
    Liked by AZPT

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