The divorce rate in the US has statistically been high in over the past few decades. For a while it was believed to be around a rate of about 50% although new data (thankfully) shows this number has actually declined. Now there are many reasons for divorce but a couple of the consistently top reasons are money and communication. For the SFF household though, this is certainly not the case.
Money is probably one of the biggest topics of conversation in our house. We are probably an anomaly but we talk about money almost every day. Whether it is our FI goal (my favorite topic!), current spending like our food budget, or spending money for a big ticket item, money is always out in the open. We do keep separate checking accounts but this is not because we are hiding anything, it is just how we have been doing it for almost 15 years and it works.
When I first caught the FI bug at the beginning of last year after finding Mr. Money Mustache I kind of felt like I was on my own on this journey. Mr. SFF was supportive but it seemed like it was more my dream. As the year went on though I realized the he did in fact want this FI dream as well and I soon felt like we were a team. This made a huge difference in how we were handling our money and also how we communicated. Now on any given day either one of us might make a comment about how great it will be when we don’t have to work full time and how it will be great to do X, Y, or Z instead. Also we are saving even more than we were at the start of this journey as this is now our goal.
Sometimes I wonder if I talk about FI too much as I tend to dream a lot about what our future looks like (I even created a 7 year plan one day). Over the past month though I have been trying to dial it back a little and get a little better about living in the present moment. I even had a discussion about this internal struggle I was having so that Mr. SFF would know what’s going on in my head because trying to figure out what someone else is thinking or feeling is next to impossible. I was spending a little too much time dreaming about our future but after talking about it with his support I was able to get out of my funk and move on with my daily life and am doing better about enjoying our journey.
We have always discussed big ticket items before jumping in. Whether it is a vacation, a home repair, or just a big ticket item, we run it by each other first. We also plan for big purchases such as vacations and home repairs. One of the savings accounts at our bank is even named Aruba and we add to it monthly so that we know our next vacation will be fully funded out of cash. Because of this there is never a fight about “you spend how much on ____??”. We are on the same page about purchases, discuss which option might be best, and then make the decision. Do we do this for everything we buy? No, of course not as that would be way too time consuming and we both have some natural frugal tendencies anyways. But we do always make sure we are on the same page about finances and that is the most important thing.
I think one of the best things we do is we are always supportive of each other’s dreams and goals. I encouraged Mr. SFF to go out on his own when he was laid off in 2014. This was his chance to see if he could get away from the corporate world and make things work (so far so good!). Mr. SFF is supportive of my love of Spartan Racing and all of the workouts that I have to do to maintain/improve my fitness. And together we now have this goal towards FI. We know roughly what our future could look like (but all plans are soft as we might say) and are working towards this goal together. You know how in interviews or sometimes just in life you will get the question of “where do you think you will be in 5 years?” Well we do know as we have this FI goal we are working towards being financially independent in 5 years. What exactly does that look like? Well, we are not sure but at least we are working towards the goal together, as a team. We know how much money this will take so we are saving as much as we can to make this happen. Will we be traveling the country in an Airstream or staying local and working part time jobs that bring us joy? I am not sure but I do know that I will have Mr. SFF by my side as we make this journey together.
Has working toward FI or paying off debt strengthened your relationships or do you avoid money conversations at all costs?