Saturday, March 16, 2019

Pursuing FIRE while in a relationship.

Image result for relationship

There is one question that I am not good at answering :

How does one pursue FIRE while in a relationship with someone else?

The first problem is that finance experts are generally not relationship experts, you should treat all relationship advice from financial experts with a pinch of salt. ( Of course, I freely dispense relationship advice because I want to keep readers entertained. )

The second problem is that financial experts who solve these problems within their own marriage can only describe their solution based on one data point. This kind of wisdom is not empirical at all.

There are two obstacles towards crafting a satisfying answer :

The first obstacle is that, generally speaking, academic studies suggest that spendthrifts ends up marrying tightwads. This is unusual because we tend to marry folks who have the same political views and personal values. It's just that when it comes to money, opposites attract.

The second obstacle is that men and women have different spending patterns. For example, men like to put their discretionary spending on sports goods and woman spend more on maintaining their personal appearances. Having different priorities often leads to conflicts. You can't just tell your wife to cut down on cosmetics unless you want to spend a week at the doghouse.

I also do not like the solutions offered on social media that prioritises "better communication" and that "since everyone is different, the answer depends on the individual". These are not answers. It suggests that the person dispensing the advice might not be knowledgeable at all.

FIRE is hard, but it has a particular bias for technology professionals. You can read about the saltiness of American women who say that the FIRE movement seems to only work for white males in Silicon Valley ( Even though FIRE was invented by a hippie woman called Vicki Robins who inherited wealth ). In fact, if you have MBTI profile of INTJ, I suspect that FIRE is somehow twice as easy for you than someone else like me who is ESTJ/ENTJ. Even right now, I suspect that my method I teach to help folks achieve financial independence is particularly useful for BBFAs because it's not hard saving and investing if all you do is lock yourself in a room and play the console and watch anime all day.

For my own personal situation, like many folks, I watched my parents fight over money all of time while I was growing up. I know how hard it is when my mother's siblings always seem to be trying to borrow from my dad all the time.

So I grew up knowing that whatever plans I have to become wealthy, they needed to be executed while I was still single. Financial independence is a solo achievement, not a team sport.

As for the ladies I meet in my workplace in the 90s and 00s, let me get flamed for saying this - Gen X Singaporean women I encountered when they were single in the corporate world WERE LARGELY, IN MY OPINION THEN, FULL OF SHIT ! 

I want to be Ally Mcbeal !

My life is Sex in the City !

I must remind female readers that I may have been immature when I was a single engineer in my late 20s ]

They scare me.

They were just too overconfident, too busy indulging in their spa-obsessed scuba-diving lifestyles, and getting point to point on taxis, leading a happening life of salsa dance and salsa culinary delight. I calculated that if I fell in love in one girl from this environment, I'd be a corporate slave for the rest of my life which would fun in my 20-30s but hell in my 40s.

This is why I did so many weird things as a single eccentric guy :

a) I transferred my CPF-OA to CPF-SA because I don't want my future girlfriend to see a single cent in my CPF-OA and push me to buy a private condominium. Today, I get over $10k from the CPF board on my interest alone for my SA and MA accounts.

b) I was able to cut down my expenses within $1,200 and spend within my dividends when I was barely 32 years old. There was no way I could have been able to do that if I had a mortgage to pay.

c) I refused to travel, figuring out that volunteering for outsourcing projects would cover my holidays when I was not running projects on a weekend.

So if I use my life as a data-point, it may be better for a guy to just FIRE as a single male then look for someone who can tolerate his strange approach towards personal finance. Even then, I have no qualms when I was building my wealth that there is a large chance that I would be a BBFA today.

But I didn't.

Is it something I would do again if I can live my life as a Millenial?

Hell yes.

Should I recommend my extreme approach to relationships to guys reading this article?

Probably not.


  1. Well, the Moustache couple did it together. Although they did split recently, supposedly amicably.

    If you read CNBC & WSJ and such, they have quite a number of stories of young female millennials achieving FIRE. But it's mostly white chicks with a couple east asian types.

  2. Let me guess, you surf EDMW quite often? haha. The lingo BBFA! I have been with my wife for the last 16 years. The last 6 years as a married couple. The last 1 year as a married couple with a kid. I think we should be around similar age? I guess girls at the work place tend to try to portray a different image as they dont want to be viewed as the weaker sex, which unfortunately creates a high wall.

    Frankly speaking, the 1 and only solution to solve problems within a relationship is definitely better communication ( i know you dont belive in it. :)), yeah for a lack of other concrete solution. Through communication, you let the other half know why u are doing a certain thing. You want to reach FIRE not because you are a Miser. It's because you want to spend more quality time with her. This is what i told my friends all the time, and its something that i practice regularly. Its easier for us guys to say what we want, but for girls, they tend to keep it to themselves, prefer for us to guess what they want.

    I havent reached FIRE yet, but i think im on the right track. Having an understanding partner in life definitely makes it easier for FIRE. I spent way too much. Haha anyway, im not trying to give any advice as im definitely not qualified, and you are definitely doing a much better job in terms of reaching FIRE, and being a husband and father!

  3. Unknown,

    I doubt MMM had an amicable divorce. Amicable divorce is an oxymoron.

    Happy REIT Investor,

    You dated for 10 years before getting married ? Your never scold you ah !