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FIRE, love, marriage, and the single man
Old 09-28-2013, 02:56 PM   #1
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FIRE, love, marriage, and the single man

Long-time lurker, first-time poster here. Somehow, through several relationships that weren't quite "it", I've ended up over 30 without getting married in an area where that's not the norm. Over the past year or two, I've gotten into the FIRE thing and LBYM. Changed my priorities and outlook on life quite a bit. I've always been into my career, tend to be ambitious and goal oriented.

When I was young I always thought I would get married and have a family. I grew up in a typical nuclear family. But, now having watched many of my friends' and peers marriages crash and burn and thinking in the big picture terms of FIRE and LBYM, I'm questioning whether marriage is even a good idea.

Part of me holds out hope that it is (because I like being in relationships), but only with the right partner, one who is financially healthy, self-sustaining, also has LBYM and FIRE goals. But, it seems adding those financial criteria on the "must have" list has narrowed the dating pool to an unrealistically/impossibly small size.

For some reason I'm good at finding girls who are financially upside-down. I haven't ever dated a single one that has been in good financial shape, let alone having actual financial goals or plans. Not painting with a wide brush here, this is my experience in the dating world with 25-35 year old women in my area. All have been able to just barely survive, paycheck to paycheck. A couple have seemed like they have their stuff together for a while, but both just had huge consumer debt I didn't find out about for months. I've seen it all, huge credit card debt, living off of alimony, pay day loans, title loans, living on credit or overdraft, living beyond means, near bankruptcy, etc. The worst is that none of them have had the ambition to actually change their situation. None of them have liked or been proud of these situations, but coincidentally, none of them have had the ambition or fortitude to actually take action to really change their situations either. Whatever gets them by. It kind of seems the good ones get snatched up when they are young around here. It seems like there is a bit of entitlement going on around here, like they expect their partner to come along and fix it for them, provide for them, like it's their responsibility.

I'm hesitate to screen girls by financial criteria because finding some who a) I'm attracted to and b) I get along well with is hard enough. Maybe it's the demographics of the area, maybe it's me, I don't know, maybe both. I can find ones I'm attracted to, and like, but they seem to never be career oriented. I have found a few who are ambitious and career-oriented, but in my experience, they tend to be overbearing and domineering, which is not attractive to me (I'm sure they aren't all like that, but it's my experience, in my industry).

I am feeling strongly these days, looking at my life through the lens of FIRE (which is still probably 15 years away for me), that bringing someone into my life who has a negative financial impact (say, brings lots of debt, or has little earning capacity, or doesn't have the ambition to change either or both of those things, or won't ever be able to contribute to retirement), is a bad idea, regardless of how good the relationship is.

Part of me wonders if I'm being stupid about it. It feels like I'm choosing money over love. Say, I find someone who I get along with well, is attractive, and would be a great relationship partner, but is a financial mess. Do I walk away because of money?

In an ideal world, I could have it all: a great relationship partner, who is attractive to me, is smart, and financially going somewhere. But I'm telling you, I haven't found all of those things in one person, and I feel like I have to choose.

It seems like a lot of people on the forum are dealing with FIRE and all of this in marriage-years, after the choice of partner is already made, and you have a stable home life. Your partner is your partner, and you adjust your lifestyle and goals accordingly if you're on a path together. But what if you had to do it all over again?
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:17 PM   #2
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Do I walk away because of money?
No. You run away!

Seriously.
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Old 09-28-2013, 03:23 PM   #3
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Money is one of those things that if you don't share the same values and beliefs, you'll wind up splitting anyway. It is a core part of compatibility in my book. There are compelling reasons to make that part of your criteria for what you find attractive about a person.
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Old 09-28-2013, 04:02 PM   #4
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People we know who have spendthrift spouses are usually miserable. One friend had to turn over half his assets in retirement to a wife who never could hold down a job, was a lousy mother, spent her days shopping and getting pedicures, and left him for someone younger.
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:10 PM   #5
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Part of me wonders if I'm being stupid about it. It feels like I'm choosing money over love. Say, I find someone who I get along with well, is attractive, and would be a great relationship partner, but is a financial mess. Do I walk away because of money?
Different factors for different people. I'd happily give up the financial compatibility and the superficial good looks (attractive) for a wonderful relationship. YMMV. I think financial responsibility can be learned. At least I hope it can with someone who's intelligent and interesting enough to be a potential relationship partner.
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:23 PM   #6
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Why marry? It sounds like you have been quite happy in committed relationships without that piece of paper and the financial entanglements that seem to come with it.

But then, I am a divorcee so what do I know....
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:24 PM   #7
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We have had threads like this before here and I've seen similar threads on other financial forums. It is usually men posting.

There are certain professions in the Stop Acting Rich book that are more likely to produce millionaires, or at least frugal millionaires in the making. Have you tried dating a teacher? That was one of the frugal professions listed that had a large percent of females.
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:26 PM   #8
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Stay your course.... you WILL find someone who shares your money goals...

There is nothing wrong with having the goals you are looking for. If you hook up with someone who does NOT share your financial goals, you will only end up unhappy...and it only takes a minute to fall for someone and FOREVER to get untangled when it doesn't work out.

And YES there are women out there..Like me!!!! 57 , retired this past January, live alone and have the same problem with meeting men who have the same goal. Of course most of the men I know my age are still working to maintain a lifestyle, or will NEVER be able to retire.


And now I'm afraid to get involved because I can't afford to make a mistake at this stage of the game....

But if there IS a Next time.... I will get one that shares my financial goals as well as all others. And they will have to prove it. Today there is no reason to get "shocked"...just too many ways to check/confirm stories.
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Old 09-28-2013, 05:32 PM   #9
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I went through this between wife #1 and wife #2. Believe me, you are right on target. Most of the women that I dated (ages 40 to 50) had virtually no assets and no financial goals beyond survival.

All I can suggest is to keep looking and don't get involved with someone with a different outlook with regard to spending and saving. It sounds callous, but it can really make or break a relationship once the initial excitement is over.

And yes, marriage is overrated.
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:16 PM   #10
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I have a daughter! She has also given up on finding the right guy... My hub luckily looked past my 10k in debt and two young kids in tow...sorry, but it can be difficult juggling the career, typically lower paid and raising kids, it's not something we plan to do. Sometimes it takes two to finally get the lbym working. Now after 28 yrs of marriage we are both ER'd, but if you had looked at me at 30, you would have said no way..
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:30 PM   #11
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I was the opposite. I was very frugal and definitely had no shopaholic ways. I was a "magnet" for guys who were looking for someone who could help them make the payments on the townhouse they bought too young with the ex-wife, the child support payments, etc.

One error some men make, is not realizing that few women are naturally gorgeous, and it takes continual infusions of money and time to produce the package of long, straight, shiny "blonde" locks, tanned skin, made-up face, gym-toned (and cosmetically enhanced) body, fancy outfits, shoes, etc. which young men seem to find so irresistible. Then they wonder why their gorgeous girl friends and wives never seem to have any money. Not saying that applies to OP, only that I've seen it happen.

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Old 09-28-2013, 06:35 PM   #12
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Uh, Carl, you wouldn't happen to live in Austin would you?

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Old 09-28-2013, 06:37 PM   #13
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I was 49 before I got married (56 now). Rather not get married than to go down the road with someone who you are hoping to "adjust" into what you want.
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Old 09-28-2013, 06:49 PM   #14
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I was the opposite. I was very frugal and definitely had no shopaholic ways. I was a "magnet" for guys who were looking for someone who could help them make the payments on the townhouse they bought too young with the ex-wife, the child support payments, etc.

One error some men make, is not realizing that few women are naturally gorgeous, and it takes continual infusions of money and time to produce the package of long, straight, shiny "blonde" locks, tanned skin, made-up face, gym-toned (and cosmetically enhanced) body, fancy outfits, shoes, etc. which young men seem to find so irresistible. Then they wonder why their gorgeous girl friends and wives never seem to have any money. Not saying that applies to OP, only that I've seen it happen.

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Old 09-28-2013, 07:07 PM   #15
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I was the opposite. I was very frugal and definitely had no shopaholic ways. I was a "magnet" for guys who were looking for someone who could help them make the payments on the townhouse they bought too young with the ex-wife, the child support payments, etc.

One error some men make, is not realizing that few women are naturally gorgeous, and it takes continual infusions of money and time to produce the package of long, straight, shiny "blonde" locks, tanned skin, made-up face, gym-toned (and cosmetically enhanced) body, fancy outfits, shoes, etc. which young men seem to find so irresistible. Then they wonder why their gorgeous girl friends and wives never seem to have any money. Not saying that applies to OP, only that I've seen it happen.

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We women call these ladies "high maintenance".

Stay away from them if you value FIRE.

It's absolutely appropriate to be selective when looking for a lifetime partner. Money is the most common cause of marital conflict, IIRC.

Perhaps the OP will have to compromise on appearances, or at least on artifice. Remember, looks don't last. Consider staying away from bars and nightclubs and focusing on places where there are likely to be more LBYM women, e.g universities, tech firms, banks, hospitals, places of worship, sports clubs, thrift stores, amateur arts groups, and selective internet dating sites.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:27 PM   #16
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Be true to yourself. I hear that money is the main area that couples argue about.
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:27 PM   #17
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I think it is kind of funny that you mention marriage and single man in the same sentence. I have not yet known a single man who gave much thought to marriage, and managed to remain single. By then, you have your neck halfway into the noose.

Life would not be good without women. And life is often enough no longer good once the man is married. It is like a wild horse, compared to a horse broken to halter and reins. Jut look at the threads about asking permission to spend $50, or getting you honey-do list caught up. Is this a masculine way to live?

If you do some service for a single woman, who of course realizes that you didn't have to do it, rather it was out of the generosity of your heart, she will show her gratitude. If she doesn't, not being stupid, she will realize that the favor will likely not happen again. By getting married, you are posting a bond, the amount of which is TBD at trouble time. Maybe it is just that she would rather have ~50% of your money without your presence, than however she perceives her current bargain.

Women are not rare; they are everywhere. Pretty ones get kind of few and far between as time goes on, but that really isn't a terrible problem. To a large extent, pretty is as pretty does.

Lastly, a guy has to ask himself what he is bringing to the deal. You have to be willing and able to care about the woman as she is, and to not try to control her or shape her to your desires. In my mind, this is the strongest argument for not trying to change someone who does not have the money habits you need and want. Women don't like to be our projects, anymore than we like to be theirs.

Ha
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Old 09-28-2013, 08:34 PM   #18
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.... I have found a few who are ambitious and career-oriented, but in my experience, they tend to be overbearing and domineering, which is not attractive to me ....
Yeah, from my male perspective women have a fine line to walk if they want to exercise their full ability and power while remaining attractive to us cavemen. Hang in there - met up with my gal over 35 years ago when we were 28. She had had several less than responsible and capable men in her life - we've pretty much been showing off to each other since we met. Never did get married, but our relationship has outlasted most of our peers.

We sing Tom Petty at one another - "You got lucky babe".

It'll come.
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Old 09-28-2013, 10:03 PM   #19
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Oh, just go ahead and pick the hot one. As Robert Palmer says "She's so fine, there's no telling where the money went."

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Old 09-28-2013, 10:13 PM   #20
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[QUOTE=
And yes, marriage is overrated.[/QUOTE]

By you... Sorry you feel that way and that life has dealt you some body blows.

I'm still on the 1st wife. Married 33 years and its been the best 23 years of my life - Though the eighties were kind of turbulent I wouldnt trade my marriage for anything.

Without my DW I would either be in prison or living in a refridgerator box on lower Wacker Drive in Chicago. She keeps me socialized, civilized, and on my toes and fairly well groomed. She is extremely frugal and embraces LBYM, but it han't always been this way.

I can empathize with the OP - right after we were married it turns out she had several credit cards maxed out and was making minimum payments. Several years worth of her income in debt. Not the full disclosure I expected when I asked her if there was anything I should know about before we get married. Not her fault - she was working two jobs to make ends meet and didnt know how to manage money. Her experience with debt, while looking terrible on a balance sheet, made her determined to never get in that position again.

Keep the faith young man. Don't look so hard - someonew who is right may knock you off your feet when you least expect it. Even though her resume may look dismal, if she is the one, you can work it out. its amazing how people can and do change for the better, and with some education provided on your part. We are RE at 58 next year.
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