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Is there a thread that discusses the gap in savings that spouses have when co...
Old 10-23-2014, 12:01 PM   #1
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Is there a thread that discusses the gap in savings that spouses have when co...

Wife an I respectfully disagree on what we need to have saved and invested. I'm going to walk her through the math this weekend as well as go over our budget. And while I think about it logically, she gets very worried about not having enough to do each and everything possible thing for the kiddos. I assume most couples have gaps just wondering how you dealt with them...


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Old 10-23-2014, 12:59 PM   #2
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Take a look at this one:

How do you convince your spouse to RE?
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:20 PM   #3
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Best of luck to you. Unfortunately, this may be beyond a "gap in savings" goals. It may be a fundamental difference in how to raise your kids. I apologize if I am way off, but alarm bells went off in my head when you said "each and everything possible for the kids".

What kind of lesson does that teach them? What does she mean by that? I grew up just fine going to public school, not having the latest designer clothes or video games etc., and learning the LBYM lifestyle and what it meant to budget, save, and plan.

My point is just that I think the discussion may be broader than the way you are framing it...
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:33 PM   #4
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In our case, DW has little interest in the topic and simply asks if we have enough, I say yes and that is the end of it. (I've managed our finances our entire married life.)

In order to decide whether or not you have enough, you first need to decide what expenses your nestegg is going to fund. In our case, we factored in DS's college costs and a possible wedding for DD, but that's it. Other people might want to factor in annual gifts to their kids, helping out with grandchildren private schooling, etc. We have chosen not to consider such things but would consider it if at the time we are in a position to do so.

Obviously, the more the nestegg has to pay for the bigger it needs to be all else being equal. My view is that we plan for certain things that are of critical importance to us and if there is favorable investment experience we can then consider other discretionary costs.
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Old 10-23-2014, 02:57 PM   #5
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JMo, you and wife are in total agreement compared to my situation when married. I was in charge of the budget and she kept control of the checkbook and credit cards. Yet it was my fault I couldn't solve the problem with only a pencil and piece of paper to do battle with.


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Old 10-23-2014, 03:26 PM   #6
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My only concern was the long term so I made sure all available retirement accounts were maxed out. The remainder was fair game and I was indifferent how it was spent.

Now the kids are in college and soon WE will be retired. My wife at times wondered why we put so much in retirement accounts but now she is glad we did.



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Old 10-23-2014, 03:58 PM   #7
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DH and I have occasionally differed on where funds should go.

Usually a good discussion about what our priorities should be and how we wanted to reach our goals resulted in a compromise. As far as funding everything for your kids - we've found that having *one* outside activity (sport or academic league type thing) per season is the right balance - it allows them to have some down time. It also limits the cashflow out.

As far as clothes/toys/etc... Kids will play the same whether in gymboree or cherokee (target house brand) - and small kids grow so fast. If it's gymboree or nothing - look at the very extensive USED market for the clothes. I'm fortunate that I had boys - and the boys expensive clothes weren't so uber cute I had to buy them.

Also - convince her that funding a 529 is more important than having the absolute latest best toys.
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Old 10-23-2014, 04:06 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Jmo1969 View Post
Wife an I respectfully disagree on what we need to have saved and invested. I'm going to walk her through the math this weekend as well as go over our budget. And while I think about it logically, she gets very worried about not having enough to do each and everything possible thing for the kiddos. I assume most couples have gaps just wondering how you dealt with them...


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First, your kids will be fine without having everything. There will always be a kid's family with more and always a kid's family with less. It is part of life and learning to be happy with what you have.
Second, you need to pay yourself first so retirement is covered and considered a necessary part of the budget. No exceptions.
Third, live below your means (LBYM), which relates to first one above. Your kids will be fine if they are dropped off at school in an older car rather than a brand new one, for example. Kids can play just fine on older game system and not need the latest released version, as another example.

You can estimate needs if you have a good understanding of your future budget in retirement, and then calculate how much savings is required to support that level of spending.
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Old 10-23-2014, 04:46 PM   #9
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Best of luck to you. Unfortunately, this may be beyond a "gap in savings" goals. It may be a fundamental difference in how to raise your kids. I apologize if I am way off, but alarm bells went off in my head when you said "each and everything possible for the kids".
I see the statement "each and everything possible for the kids" another way. I doubt that OP's DW really said this meaning to spend heavily today spoiling the kids with inconsequential stuff. That's just how OP expressed it. More likely, she just has a more conservative view towards funds directed at meeting commitments to the kids than OP. I feel much the same way.

If I made a commitment (which I have) to help send the grandkids through some sort of post secondary education, then I plan to be able to do that conservatively with little chance that market returns could or will interfere. OTOH, if I'm setting aside funds for DW and I to remodel an already pretty nice kitchen, I'm less conservative. If lousy market returns means the remodeling gets put off a year or two, so what?

There are great variations in financial commitment to children among parents. On one extreme is the parent who would use this month's 529b contribution for yet another fancy dinner out. And on the other extreme is the parent who skips an important doc appointment for themselves in order to make the 529b contribution. Moderation is best.

OP and his DW will have some interesting times working this out.
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Old 10-23-2014, 05:05 PM   #10
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This stage of my life is over, unless I took some responsibility for my grandkids as Youbet has done. I won't, not because I would not like to, but because my children while both very successful are huge spenders compared to me and compared to my former wife and me when we were raising them. So I won't add a few sticks to an already blazing fire. This offends my frugality so I just do not get involved. In any case, my older son is much more able to care for his child than I would be, and much more picky about what is OK.

Former wife and I had very few disagreements. The main one was that when the youngest was school age I wanted her to return to remunerative work and she planned only on "life enhancing" pursuits that tended to be economic longshots. Still, if a woman today wants to win an argument, she can easily marshal all kinds of supports (better understood as enablements) to bolster her position. So I gave up, but her resentments of my efforts led to our separation and eventual divorce.

My advice to men is always to be careful, realize that if push comes to shove, you will be the shovee, so protect yourself as best you can.

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Old 10-23-2014, 07:19 PM   #11
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The wife and I are pretty on board with joint spending goals. We acknowledge that we won't be able to give our kids everything, but that they will be just fine with whatever we are able to provide.

To take an example, we have 2 years of college tuition saved for them so far in dedicated 529's. We'll probably fund the other 2 years out of our portfolio, and wing it for living expenses (room and board and transportation mainly). Depending on how Mr. Market does between now and 2023 to 2034, we'll potentially be able to give them full rides. We are on board with that plan, and I've already explained to our kids that they may have to pay for part of their college (to which suggestion they immediately started brainstorming entrepreneurial ideas to fund their college).

I wouldn't have retired early if we weren't mostly on board with these goals.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:23 PM   #12
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Also some wives don't want their husbands to retire. They like it the way it is.
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Old 10-24-2014, 10:22 AM   #13
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This stage of my life is over, unless I took some responsibility for my grandkids as Youbet has done. I won't, not because I would not like to, but because my children while both very successful are huge spenders compared to me and compared to my former wife and me when we were raising them. So I won't add a few sticks to an already blazing fire. This offends my frugality so I just do not get involved. In any case, my older son is much more able to care for his child than I would be, and much more picky about what is OK.

Former wife and I had very few disagreements. The main one was that when the youngest was school age I wanted her to return to remunerative work and she planned only on "life enhancing" pursuits that tended to be economic longshots. Still, if a woman today wants to win an argument, she can easily marshal all kinds of supports (better understood as enablements) to bolster her position. So I gave up, but her resentments of my efforts led to our separation and eventual divorce.

My advice to men is always to be careful, realize that if push comes to shove, you will be the shovee, so protect yourself as best you can.

Ha

My friend is in the same boat you were Ha, but he is too clueless to see it. Neither were ever the frugal set and debts have climbed as they had kids. He says when they turn school age she will go back to work and then they will pay it off. This is not happening. She quit jobs often and wasn't even working half time before the kids came. So he thinks after all that and 5 years at home she will return to the workforce? No way, besides she doesn't care one bit about the CC debt. He better be prepared to work more if he wants the debt to be paid down.


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Old 10-24-2014, 10:32 AM   #14
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My ex, had a few faults, but one of them wasn't not listening to me on financial matters. She realized right away that I knew a lot more than her about these issues, and as a result maximized her pension contributions. This paid off for me even at divorce. When we balanced out assets (50/50) to divide them up, she had a ton more money than I had in pension savings. As a result I was able to 'buy' her half of the home without having to take out a bigger mortgage.

Note: my pension options at that time were pretty pathetic. She had the opportunity to put a lot more into hers than I did into mine. Just in case you wonder why Mr. Know-It-All was in that situation.

Another note: despite her good position, she married a guy who who was not so good at finances. The last time I talked to her she will probably be working past 66 to make up for his deficiencies. As a result, while she is slaving away, I may collect off her SS for a while until I turn 70.
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Old 10-24-2014, 10:52 AM   #15
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Wife an I respectfully disagree on what we need to have saved and invested. I'm going to walk her through the math this weekend as well as go over our budget. And while I think about it logically, she gets very worried about not having enough to do each and everything possible thing for the kiddos. I assume most couples have gaps just wondering how you dealt with them...
(emphasis mine)

It seems to me that this is a relationship issue, with no easy answers. Mutual respect is helpful, of course, and I assume (perhaps incorrectly?) that you have married someone of your general level of ability. Have you asked her to walk you though the math?

As for us, we are not married; we are just "going steady" and have been doing so for almost 15 years by now. Frank and I do not live together, mix our money, or have control over one another's money. We have no intention of changing anything. This arrangement works for us, though others make different choices and we respect that fact. For us, life is good.
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Old 10-24-2014, 11:07 AM   #16
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Wife an I respectfully disagree on what we need to have saved and invested. I'm going to walk her through the math this weekend as well as go over our budget. And while I think about it logically, she gets very worried about not having enough to do each and everything possible thing for the kiddos. I assume most couples have gaps just wondering how you dealt with them...
An idea ..... have her input the variables into FireCalc and other calculators, rather than trying to convince her yourself.
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Old 10-24-2014, 03:10 PM   #17
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Wife an I respectfully disagree on what we need to have saved and invested. I'm going to walk her through the math this weekend as well as go over our budget. And while I think about it logically, she gets very worried about not having enough to do each and everything possible thing for the kiddos. I assume most couples have gaps just wondering how you dealt with them...


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we were pretty amazing similar. money can be the big one in a relationship.
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Old 10-24-2014, 04:07 PM   #18
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I think fear of the unknown scares her, or anyone for that matter. I'm hoping that the math eases her fears. Or really helps her understand that there is only going to be so much and the budget we will need to adhere to given our level of savings.


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Old 10-24-2014, 04:31 PM   #19
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I would recommend as reading the book DIE BROKE for you and your wife. It may help you with the final decision.
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Old 10-24-2014, 10:01 PM   #20
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It seems like this is a talk you two really need to have, so I'd suggest you focus on making it a discussion rather than a lecture.
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