Some Compromises

My wife and I are generally joined at the hip on weekends, this past weekend being one of the few we’ve been apart over the 5-years (this week!) we’ve been married. I went to visit friends in Toronto, while she went on a “girls weekend” to Buffalo (which seemed to be a shopping trip more than anything). People who have read this blog for a while might realize that a trip focused around shopping is my own personal hell.

In our household, I am the main driver of our financial plans. For a 15-year plan to work, some compromises needed to be reached. Mostly, these compromises center in on me butting out of her business most of the time, as long as she has done what she needs to do on a monthly basis to maintain our financial plan. This method is done by design in response to the statement “This plan seems like a good idea – tell me how much I have to give you to make it happen and then leave me alone” (or something like that). So, she essentially writes me a cheque once a month and I minimize the amount of negative complaints around her purchases (but really, who needs 3 pairs of boots that look exactly the same?)

If we made our budget tighter, and left less money for shopping trips to Buffalo (or trips to microbreweries in Toronto for me), we would be able to retire a few years earlier. It is our choice to “ease back” on the intensity so that we can spend money on some stupid things that would probably be ridiculous to hardcore Early Retirement people.

Left to my own devices, I would probably lean less into silly spending, and more into exiting the workforce as quickly as possible. Easing back on our savings and spending allows my wife to buy the vast majority of things that she wants to buy, while dealing with a super fiscally conservative husband. I think we have both compromised to achieve the balance we are at today. I am less of a stick in the mud around money, and my wife is not constantly being harped at for her excessive purchases of $8 “girl shirts (which are basically disposable clothes).

Are you the “driver” of your financial plans? Were you able to meet in the middle with your significant other, or are did you do it on your own?

9 thoughts on “Some Compromises”

  1. We are somewhat similar. We have a plan where we’ve decided that each of us will save at least one million each (separately) if we want to retire / when we retire, and the rest of the money is ours to spend as we see fit. Even if it means buying 3 pairs of boots that look the same 😉 Or if he wants to buy 3 laptops.

    (Something I don’t do as shoes are bulky and I find them difficult to pack and carry, but I do have a lot of coats..)

    We are also not likely to retire at the same time. He is older than I am, so I have more years to work (which I will likely take advantage of).

  2. Compromise is key in my household as well (she says while tripping over Ikea boxes).

    Happy Anniversary!

  3. Both now retired but while we were employed, and still to this day, my wife acts as the family Purchasing Manager while my job is Treasurer. Although we didn’t retire “early” it’s all worked fine for us over the years – totally debt free, investments doing well, kids in successful careers, no worries for us grandparents. So hang in there. You’re on the right track.

  4. I am definitely the “driver” in terms of our finances. I have been the one to encourage and foster our frugal habits. I have been the one to invest heavily in dividend paying companies, so that our work incomes have slowly been made redundant by our investment income. My wife is aware of and impressed by our ever increasing dividend stream, but she seems uninterested in examining it in minute detail like her husband. 😉

    But moving forward, I will have to be careful. This year, at 42, I will leave my job – whether I get another one down the road is unclear… we certainly don’t need my work income anymore. My wife has repeatedly expressed her desire to work longer – 5 years, 10 years, she isn’t sure. In my perfect scenario, we would keep up with the frugal habits while she is still working, allowing us to save and invest at a very good clip, even without my job income anymore.

    Now, what if she suddenly decides that our carefully developed frugal life isn’t for her? I’d guess that she would point out that since she is still working (6 figure job) she shouldn’t be bound by any previously agreed to level of spending. I honestly think she would have a valid point. I have always considered us to be equal partners in our marriage – will my lack of a job weaken my standing in terms of the finances of the marriage? It will be something to consider moving forward towards ER…. all sorts of issues could crop up with one spouse “retired” while the other still works.

  5. Sometimes I wish there was someone else to put a brake on my frugal tendencies. The kids are no help because they’re turning out to be less spendy than I am. Since there isn’t, I have to take that job on myself.
    Also since I’m having a fantastic Q1 financially, I bought a new computer, tablet, some clothes and boots (that don’t look the same as any others) and a week in Banff for spring break. Everything I bought was on sale though… including 3 offshore drilling contractors. 😛

  6. “ in on me butting out of her business most of the time”
    Smart man. Women need to have a closet full of shoes to feel happy and content. It is a worthwhile compromise. (to the militant feminists who are bristling; lighten up, get a sense of humour, I am being facetious–but I am on the mark)

  7. Anyway, to answer your question, being the prime wage earner(3 times her wage) when I was working(we both retired 8 years ago, I did the savings and planning while the house spouse paid certain house hold expenses(power and half of groceries). She was free to spend her excess cash without me whining and butting in.

  8. You have to find a balance between saving for your future and enjoying your life now. I have always done that. I would be further ahead if I didn’t, but I could get Cancer next week. I could fall on the ice this winter and hit my head and pass away or worse be a vegetable.

    You could also wind up like some of your fellow bloggers where their spouse simple decides that your dream is not their dream anymore, and your splitting up your assets probably due to you never doing anything crazy or fun anymore. (And resetting your investment savings goals and retirement date) Life has a way of changing the best of plans unexpectedly.

    Your choice of words in your 3rd paragraph kind of says it all for me. It’s fun to make the occasional “stupid purchase” or a “me” purchase – just budget some money for it. I do the Buffalo trip with the GF a few times a year. It’s fun, eating there is cheap and you can almost share 1 meal, the portions are so generous.

    I go to “boys” stores and usually plan a parts purchase for one of my cars as pricing is in most cases 1/2 price of Canadian pricing. Same for any car care products. (Usually buy one get one free). Oil filters are 1/2 price. Book stores there have deals and a bigger Finance/investing section then here… Loosen your tie man, go have some fun!

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