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Author: peteyperson Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 5069  
Subject: Re: How much to FI/RE Date: 9/23/2003 12:42 PM
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What an excellent reply, Choco. I had been worried I would offend some with my comments as they are not the norm.

>> No offense taken. I think that I and other women planning for FIRE are in the tiny minority. I've tried to teach my women friends about finances, but they just wave their hands and say "Oh, I'm so bad with money" and change the subject.

I've heard that reaction so often it has colored my impression of women. I see money management a bit like techie stuff, not usually women's forte. It's to be spent on fun things and you're boring if you won't spend.. I would highly recommend a gift of "Smart Women Finish Rich" for girlfriends you're trying to help. The website www.finishrich.com and http://www.finishrich.com/book_excerpts.html has excerpts of the book which would give you a nice idea of the style.

>> One theory I have is that many women, no matter how liberated they say they are, still have the "white knight" fantasy stuck in their brains. Y'know, dreams of being taken care of. Finances are not romantic, and giving up the idea of having someone take care of the problem for you is a tough one to give up.

Yes, yes, yes! It's the, I'm going to buy clothes and shoes all on credit card and get him to pay for it later and just darlin can you pay off my credit card for me, that's a sweetie dear (Brit version). I know I don't have the resources to play with women like that. My mate is with a women who thinks he should have for the vacation to the Bahamas (a very luxury vacation from England). I was tellin' him last week how unfair that was and if she has that kind of attitude he should suggest somewhere closer/cheaper. I can understand if I suggest somewhere more expensive and have a high income that I might chip in the difference. It would be more than she would usually spend and could afford. That's then a choice by me but this is just expected of a man even in the day an age. I find that odd, we're strong and independent and pay for ourselves but buy me a drink in the bar or a vacation if you want to keep my interest.. Contrastly, finding someone who isn't like that with money but is not tight either is tricky too. A recent relationship was too far in the latter's direction and it wasn't too fun.

I thought your observation of how men sometimes do things was very astute indeed. I'm certainly on the path of learning how to do things better and my mistakes being my own.

Money rarely comes into marriage because it seems to be a given or it is swept under the carpet as something we'll hopefully deal with later. I see/hear about so many unhappy marriages which come down to money and spending and a lack of reality with women and their relationship with money. Men too. It seems that you need to take a good look at how someone handles money and planning for the future. I've lost count of how many women I've taught basic financial management, the last major one I saved from bankruptcy after it just got completely away from her and that month's bank charges eclipsed half her salary.

I too see marriage as a merger. It can be viewed as a very high risk business transaction that carries a 50% failure rate, where failure will cause you not to lose what you invested in the transaction but instead half of everything you've ever made and stashed away. Viewed in that light it is not something you really want to do twice! Indeed you cannot afford to fail. I don't think I'll be able to fail, lose half at whatever stage and still FIRE until I plan more than double what I need to cover such an eventuality. I just don't expect that much money available and it will delay FIRE. If it was a business choice to buy or to invest, I would not do so. People worry about volatity of the markets that generally come back up over time, but oddly don't consider marriages where you could forever lose more than half. Perhaps it is because when people usually marry they don't have much net worth and aren't yet planning for the future so it isn't a question to consider!

I don't really know whether I'm into marriage or not. May depend on the woman! While it would be nice to say okay the wife, it is her responsibility to fund her own FIRE and I'll retire when I have enough and she'll have to keep working, the reality is not like that. It would create a great deal of resentment I think. Also marriage is supposed to be a joint effort in life and that isn't joint. If you have that kind of approach I don't really see the point of marriage per se. Tricky though as women tend to view marriage as the goal from a happy relationship and not wanting that dooms possibly every one you have.

Petey

That being said, I don't think that men are immune to the fantasy either. I've worked with plenty of men (I work in a male-dominated field) that talk a good game, but turn over all the financial decisions to a stockbroker and run up their credit cards. So rather than depending on a husband to take care of them, they depend on their broker and their credit cards. Same fantasy, different execution.

I cringe whenever people talk about marriage and focus only on the love aspect while ignoring the equally important legal and financial aspects as well. I've been told (by some MEN!) that my model of marriage-as-business-merger is just cold. No, it's called facing reality. Why on earth would I want to create a legally-binding contract for life with someone without hashing out *all* the details? Beats me. But people do it every day when it comes to marriage.

As far as the kids thing, I think it's important to recognize that even though the parent staying home doesn't bring in income, they still contribute value to the relationship. I find it funny that some men will complain about their wife staying home to take care of the kids when they BOTH had agreed to have the kids in the first place! Uh, SOMEONE has to take care of them, right?

I think the key is to plan carefully, choose carefully, and be honest with yourself about what your priorities. Marriage is not a high priority for me, but I'm aware of the risks on both sides (both getting married and staying single) and am willing to address them.

Anyway, those are my random thoughts, FWIW.

CK
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