How To Get Your Partner On Board For Financial Independence
Money can make or break relationships.
Whether you are still dating or in a long-term relationship or marriage, money has significant influence.
In fact, you only need to ask one or two people you know, and they'll point to a broken relationship with roots tied to money differences.
Given we can't do without money or positive relationships, how should we make both work?
Going a level deeper, how can couples set off and succeed together on the journey to Financial Independence (FI)?
I get asked this question a lot (!) and I've literally gone on a drive with Mary as we take a back seat to think of a response.
We've been on this FI journey now for almost 10 years.
Some of you might know that I met Mary at a property investing course run by Robert Kiyosaki’s team in London.
So in a way, we were already primed for the FI journey even before we started dating or talking about marriage etc.
We both knew we wanted to expand our personal freedoms and money had a lot to do with it.
From the hunger to do more in our communities, to the ambition of doing life better than our parents, we knew we needed to solve the money puzzle.
Starting off as somewhat like-minded individuals did help, but we needed way more than that to set off on the journey and run the race without fainting.
What we are sharing below are some of the tips that have worked for us. This list will no doubt continue to grow.
It's our assumption that if you're reading this in a relationship and seeking FI, then your relationship must be one that's long-term and committed.
Below are some thoughts:
Use A Third Party
When I met Mary, we got engaged after 12 months and had another 8 months to prep for marriage (including the wedding).
For us, marriage means that you’re in and that’s it. And to be in means to make it work.
Old fashioned…I know… but hey!
Part of what that prep involved included classes on how to do a long-term and committed relationship well.
In fact, the church we were going to marry at required this and offered it for free. It was abit of a pain initially as it went on for 6 weeks and was in the evening!
Each week covered seriously important topics. Things like sex, children, friends….and MONEY!
The money week was particularly interesting, because, we started to better understand each other’s philosophies on all things money.
I’m telling you this because, in order to even consider setting off on the hard journey to FI, this stage of understanding each other cannot be skipped.
You might already have been in a committed relationship for some time, but do you really understand your partner’s beliefs about money?
Most of us don’t have the time for these type of subjects mainly because we are distracted a lot by many other things… like bills to pay, TV etc.
Some practical tips for gaining this understanding include:
1) Diarise specific spaces in your week just to talk with your partner in a casual manner. The goal here is of understanding. Not criticism or finger-pointing.
2) It really helps to have a third party involved if you can get one. A relationship counsellor like we had, for example, is a good step.
3) Journaling is brilliant. You can both pick 3 open-ended questions around the subject of money, and write in your own space.
Then share notes in order to understand each other better. Writing things down not only helps you frame your thoughts, but it also begins to help you commit to an idea.
Note that at this stage, you have not even started to talk to your partner about the idea of Financial Independence.
You are merely fact-finding and team building.
What you’ll learn as part of the above exercise is that you might have bits of agreement on money.
Ben and Lucy, for example, might have this much in common when it comes to money:
The bigger the bits you agree on, the better, as that might dictate what tactic you use to introduce FI to your partner.
Source of Idea
If after doing the above exercise, you find that you agree on a lot of things with your partner, then you might be the best person to sell them the idea of Financial Independence.
There is a chance that you and your partner might not agree on many things, in that case, I’d recommend you introduce them to it indirectly.
What I mean here is, you have to show them slowly how other people have achieved Financial Independence.
People usually buy into things when they see and believe. So your job is to get them past that first milestone before the “how?” question is asked.
Practical examples for doing this include:
1) Attend Face to face meetups – Nothing beats hanging around with others with similar interests or on the journey.
This is also great for motivation. You need other believers in your life!
I co-host London FI meetups with Barney from ‘The Escape Artist’, and it’s really well attended.
These are free and people are really nice to meet face to face. More info here
2) Buy them books related to the subject – Reading is by far the thing that has helped me the most in my personal development.
3) Attend conferences together around personal finance and wealth building
4) Watch YouTube Videos or TED Talks or listen to Podcasts together e.g. Bigger Pockets Podcast, ChooseFI Podcast
5) Read other high-quality blogs e.g. The Escape Artist, Monevator, Mr Money Mustache, JLCollinsnh etc
6) Attend Courses – Check out our Financial Independence course, created to help you take action and create a Personalised Plan for your Financial Independence. See FIRE SuperPower
7) Do some coaching together. Or meet someone who has been on the journey.
Talk Dreams, Trade-offs & Understand Why
Talking dreams on an ongoing basis is important generally because it’s what usually converts into some action being taken.
It also leads to a very important component of the FI journey – Your Why?
Knowing why you want to achieve Financial Independence is a very important topic because the journey is hard.
On the face of it, financial independence sounds very attractive. Why wouldn’t it?!
However, pause for a minute now and think about why you might want to achieve FI.
Mine was simple – I’m an immigrant and I wanted to change the picture of my family generationally from a financial perspective.
Over the last decade, I’ve worked my a** off to elevate our situation and transform our destiny.
I wanted to give our children a totally different life outlook. In addition, I looked to my parents and their sacrifices for us, and I wanted to do things differently.
Forget about paying for a mortgage till I’m 65! No way!
Freedom from the shackles of debt, for example, was an important motivation for seeking mortgage freedom
For me, these anchors were the fuel I needed to keep my fire burning all the time. To stay focused, disciplined and very hard working.
Mary also had her dreams – She grew up in Hackney and wanted a different type of life and education for our children.
She wanted the freedom to choose what she did with her time and enjoy family life.
You too will have those dreams that sometimes look like they might never be achieved.
Look, I can you one thing for sure – If you make it a REAL GOAL in your life, and orientate your life around it, it will happen.
My practical recommendation here is to go on a weekend away with your spouse, with the sole purpose of talking dreams.
If you have some children, organise childcare.
I’m specifically recommending a weekend away because it helps to change your routine and environment to talk about big goals and dreams.
Finally, the journey to FI requires real trade-offs. No one likes pain, but the pain is necessary for achieving anything of worth.
You’ll have to give stuff up to get stuff. However, this will also serve to make you a better and simpler person.
It will be hard, but talking about it is the beginning of doing that journey well together.
Be sure to write your thoughts down and encourage an open and ongoing dialogue between yourselves after you’ve had this initial big session.
Make It Fun
Most of the journey to FI is similar to pushing a massive rock up a hill.
You have to fight a lot of resistance, and this can become draining.
As such, once you’ve both agreed to pursue this goal, I’d recommend making it fun.
For example, you can share food shopping days to see who can get the best bargains.
Offer each other small rewards when you achieve your target savings rate each month.
One of the things we do for example is to defer any material purchases to only birthdays or anniversaries.
I got a phone upgrade as my birthday present last year after having the same phone for 4 years. I looked forward to it but had to wait.
Having these controls in place not only stops you from spending but it keeps things fun.
One of the major challenges to going on the FI journey is the lack of togetherness.
Seeing your money as “mine” and “yours”, won’t get you very far.
You literally have to see all the money you make as coming into our pot, and as a team, you save from that.
I think couples should have joint accounts for transparency and better money control.
You can ofcourse also have individual accounts, but there is something symbolic about receiving your household income into one pot.
Remember, this journey is about togetherness.
Other Relationship Areas
If you want to flourish together when it comes to money, then you really must flourish in other areas of your relationship.
This is because money becomes easier to talk about when you’re both working in sync and really understand each other.
Simple things like going out on date nights is an indirect investment in making your money journey better.
We want to be on the winning side of this journey and avoid breakups or divorce!
To wrap up,
The journey to FI as a couple is about teamwork, communication, and love. This gets harder when you have children, but if you’ve set the right foundations, then you’ll do well.
Having the right people (friends and mentors) around you is super important as the journey is not for the majority.
It can be lonely and difficult especially when you have to give up many of your current luxuries.
But remember – The Financial Independence journey is a worthy and purposeful one. Choosing it will change your life forever. However, you’ll need bucket loads of perseverance and patience with each other.
- Our Financial Independence Course – FIRE SuperPower
- How To Achieve BIG Goals With Your Partner
- Achieving Financial Independence As A First Generation Immigrant
- How Fear Can Help You Achieve Financial Independence
- Plot Your Escape. Choose Financial Independence
What are your current struggles with getting your partner interested in Financial Independence? Please comment below.
Do please share this post if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.
Hiya Ken! I love the advice you gave to go away for a weekend to talk dreams. It took us years to finally get to a point where we could talk about money without anyone getting offended or shutting down and I’m pointing an invisible virtual finger at someone who shall remain nameless lol so I truly understand the importance of connecting as a couple and getting on the same page! Preferably before you get married 🙂
The Humble Penny says
Your virtual finger pointing made me laugh haha.
Dorcas, in 2 weeks, we would have done 10 years together. Weekends away are a gift! In fact, I’m planning one right now 😊