Please welcome Even Steven! Let me know if you would like to guest post on RFI.
My blog is named Even Steven Money and I’m working on paying all of my debt back, becoming Even Steven, and building financial independence to retire early. I started my official journey about a year ago and have been sharing my accomplishments and stories for going on 5 months and the progress and encouragement I have made and received has been nothing short of amazing, so give yourself a round of applause if you have stopped by to check me out, if not here’s your chance.
Let me start out by saying like many bloggers working hard for the money or just the enjoyment of sharing their story, there is a better half. Most of our spouses do not write, but most are very supportive, if not we all probably would have stopped writing or been divorced months ago! My wife is no different she loves reading everything I write about, without a doubt my most loyal reader. She is a private person and prefers I do not talk about the numbers including salaries, mortgages, and all the flashy numbers out there. While my wife is very smart, makes a good salary, and came into our marriage without any personal debt, she is slow to my crazy ideas of financial independence.
Getting Mrs. Even Steven Money on board for saving and investing is a tough battle. She would rather talk just about anything else rather than a monthly budget meeting, how to save money and cut costs, and even retiring early. I usually have to bribe her with some sort of coffee shop latte and candy like baked good to talk about money. She loves the concept of financial independence and retiring early but I don’t think she is sipping the Kool-Aid just yet. Here’s an example.
The other day we sat down and the conversation about FI came up. One of the conditions or bargaining chips I have is that my wife loves her family and wants to move back to Florida what seems like at all costs. Our plan has been to pay off our rental property in Florida, which is on track for being paid off in December 2016. This is where the dream was built, if we pay off the rental property we can revisit our situation and decide if moving is the best thing for us and for our financial situation. If we would move we would still have to work and most likely would move into the Florida rental property, thus giving up our Florida rental income. Our Chicago home would go from a 2 unit rental to a 3 unit rental since we would move out, the difference would be the lower amount of rental income, but more importantly we would still have to work, something that if I move back to Florida is not in my plans. As you can see there is a lot of give and take when it comes to our Financial Independence Journey, possibly even a cross-road of sort.
Earlier when I mentioned Mrs. Even Steven Money not drinking the Kool-Aid, she displayed her doubt recently. She asked “So what happens when we reach FI and we want to move to Florida, will we be able to retire early because aren’t we losing some of the rental income”? She brought up a good point as my plan would be to own a smaller home that would be drastically less than our current mortgage payments. She’s a numbers person so she starts asking how much the Chicago rental brings in, and the Florida house? OK so what expenses would we have? (I have this all laid out in a spreadsheet, of course I do I’m a nerd). After going through the numbers she said with a smile oh yeah this could work! My beautiful doubting wife, of course it can work, I read about this stuff daily and run spreadsheets, I know that it can work! My FI scenario relies almost entirely on rental income which is not my perfect scenario, so I explained my plan is to have a large emergency fund, stocks/bonds that receive monthly cash flow, and a side hustle like eBay or like Pauline a blogging income, I lost her, our conversation was over the latte was finished she was already thinking about if we had any ice cream in the fridge or what else was going on that had nothing to do with money.
I would love to say if you want your spouse on board you need to follow these 3 steps, but everyone’s situation is different. I have learned some things along the way about getting your spouse on board with FI, here are a few of them:
- Nobody will be excited as you about FI. You blog about it, read about it, dream about, run spreadsheets about, I repeat nobody will be excited as you about FI.
- You have a dream and so should your spouse. My dream is to spend a month golfing with my Dad and sleeping on my best friends couch while we incorporate the new bring your friend to work day. That is my dream, not Mrs. ESM. She has a dream to spend more time with her family, wake up and drink coffee and eat bread talking to her mother, while making sure all of her brother’s home work is done and they become successful young men. You both need dreams, separate dreams.
- The dream needs a financial roadmap that you both are on board with. We both want to spend more time with our family, we both realize that we need to have less expenses and more income to make that happen. She is focusing on paying off the rental property, I am focusing on paying off my student loans, and we have a roadmap to retire early.
- Give and take along the way. If all financial decisions were mine and mine alone we would focus on debts in a different order. Our investments would probably be a higher percentage and we might not be driving a big SUV (paid for). We are a team as much as you want to pay off this loan or that loan, you have to be together on your decisions and that might mean some give and take. If getting on board with our plan includes making the Florida rental home a priority, let’s do this. Whether it’s the highest rate, largest loan, or customer service reps you hate the most, you want it all paid off, so give and take a little for the common good.
I would like to think I have learned a thing or two along the way in my financial journey, but I know there is more to figure out, overcome, and learn about along the way. I hope you will join me on my journey and share insights about your own.