FIRE progress: getting the spouse on board

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On the surface, not too much has happened on the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) front over the last few months – asides from getting richer every pay cheque due to our well-paying STEM jobs and low expenses. (I share my own contribution on my monthly savings page).

But structurally, things are changing in our lives as well as in our mindsets.

Merging our finances!

Mr. German and I have finally opened our first joint bank accounts with the free, online bank comDirect.

We are still setting things up, but are planning to pool our savings here, pay our expenses, and set up a tax sheltered investment account for our retirement.

I’ll admit that we are so used keeping our own accounts, that it feels a bit weird to merge. But I think over time, this method will work well for us.

Simplifying slowly

Between the 2 of us, we have 5 bank accounts opened here in Germany! It gets confusing at times. So we’re planning to close the 2-fee accounts we hold with Volksbank (his) and Deutsche Bank (mine), and keep our 3 no-fee online accounts with comDirect (joint), ING-DiBa (mine), and DKB (his).

Before we merge everything completely into one account, we’re going to see which one makes sense to keep and which one makes sense to close. Or maybe we’ll keep all 3 opened and designate them for certain things (i.e. a vacation fund!).

This kind of administrative stuff takes a long time to do here in Germany. It’s a several month process (at least it feels that way!) rather than something you can do over a week. At least things are rolling on this front, which helps to alleviate my type A stress by a lot. :mrgreen:

Giving real estate a break

After all our excitement with buying property, we’ve kind of cooled down about it and have decided to walk away from the cute little flat we were seriously considering.

In the end, it just didn’t feel right and we noticed we were making excuses to psych ourselves up rather than being genuinely excited or interested in becoming homeowners.

It doesn’t mean we’re completely out of the game, but we want to take a step back for now and see where our priorities lie.

Mr. German gets on board with early retirement

Mindset wise, Mr. German is coming around. πŸ™‚

He is completely new to FIRE, and has been startled by it (my fault!).

I completely inundated him with excited chatter and spreadsheet calculations over the last 2 months. Actually, Mr. German is the reason why I started this blog – so that I could write about the personal finance (PF) things I’m planning to do, and he could be read it at his own time and pace.

If your spouse isn’t already interested in PF, it’s not a good idea to just puke out financial info at them at avalanche speed (so I’ve found!)

People need to come into it on their own, if they come into it at all.

In our case, Mr. German was interested, just not as interested or excited about achieving financial independence as I am. And definitely not as extreme (as I tend to be!).

He also wasn’t happy about me getting all stressed about it, so I’ve learned to calm the f*@# down too, and not stress us both out so much especially when we are already on track.

Now, it’s safe to say that Mr. German is also slowly getting more and more into my scheming, and this will set the path for a smoother, joint planning for our early retirement goals.

So, while not much has changed net worth wise, it feels like so much has changed! :mrgreen:

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7 thoughts on “FIRE progress: getting the spouse on board

  1. I understand what you mean about getting the spouse on board. I have been way more into the early retirement thing than my wife for quite a while, but it has taken her a lot longer to get into it. Every time we make some sort of “breakthrough” (e.g. getting her to shop at a cheaper supermarket) it feels like I’ve won a marathon! I’m sure everyone else wouldn’t notice any difference, but that change alone probably saved us about $4k/year for the rest of our lives!

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  3. Being on same page on our goals and values has really helped us to stay on track towards our goal of financial independence. It also makes for a happy and strong partnership! I especially like how we keep each other accountable and grounded (e.g. get my husband to wake up earlier in the mornings so he doesn’t get lazy and drive to work instead of biking!). Good luck on your journey, looking forward to reading all about it.

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  4. Pingback: On track means less fights (hopefully!) | Ms. Canadian Expat

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