Financial independence is a wonderful thing, but not everyone shares the same mindset about money. Your spouse can make or break your financial independence goal. Hopefully, you can convince them to make it, but the next best option is to make sure they don’t break it. It’s okay if you don’t share the exact same visions, but it is important for you to respect each other’s goals and decisions. If you want to become financially independent, but your spouse does not want to, or chooses not to join you then you need to know how to become financially independent without your spouse. It is possible, and it can be implemented in your own life.
If you want to become financially independent without your spouse then the best thing you can do is keep your finances separate and respect their decision.
Keeping your finances separate will aid you in achieving financial independence and allow your spouse to use their own money as they see fit. Although you cannot completely separate everything financially, you can split most costs fairly. Respect your spouse’s decision to keep working if they want to and to spend their own money if they want to. The best thing you can do is educate your spouse about financial independence and try to get them on board if you can.
How To Keep Finances Separate For Financial Independence
Keeping your finances separate is nothing new in a marriage. Lots of people do it, and if you don’t have the same goals when it comes to money then you need to start separating finances. It does not need to be a big deal, just like you may enjoy different hobbies and pastimes, you may enjoy utilizing your money differently.
The first and most important step is to get separate bank accounts. Most households are dual-income this day and age, and so usually there are two deposits going into one shared bank account. Open up two separate bank accounts and don’t add joint ownership for each other. Redirect your paychecks to the new accounts and divvy up the existing funds in the joint account however you see fit. Once you have your own bank accounts and therefore have to manage your cashflows separately, it will make financial independence for you much easier.
This isn’t possible for everyone because some households are still single income households while the other spouse stays home and takes care of the children. This is an important job and they should be compensated fairly. I hate to say it, but the best case here is to actually change where your paycheck goes. Keeping more money withheld from your paycheck and sending it straight into investments can cushion the blow in a single-earner household because the money never hits the bank account and therefore cannot be spent. Another option would be to have split bank accounts and to “pay” your spouse for the childcare, but either way, this will require lots of communication to do it right.
Not only should you keep income separate, but you should also split household expenses as well.
How To Split Expenses For Financial Independence
There are common expenses that need to be split down the middle, and then there are expenses that are more exclusive to one another. Start with the obvious expenses that you would each have such as rent or mortgage, utilities, phone bill, etc. Those are expenses that can easily be shared because they are equally used. The expenses that you will be splitting are mostly your short term fixed expenses.
Now that you have separate bank accounts, the discretionary spending can easily be separated because you each will be using your own bank account balances to spend whatever you see fit. You can spend your own money on discretionary items like clothing, entertainment, shopping, etc. This approach will make focusing on your own financial independence goal easier because it will allow you to be the only one responsible for your progress and your results.
If you have been sharing finances for some time, then it might be a little awkward to suggest something like this. You should introduce the concept and explain what financial independence is and what it means to you. Your spouse might not get on board just yet, but they should respect your decision. On the flip side, you need to also respect their decision not to want to seek financial independence.
Respect Their Decision If They Do Not Want To Join You
This can be harder than it sounds because when you are passionate about financial independence, it is hard to comprehend that not everyone is interested in it. Unfortunately, this is true and financial independence is not for everyone, or at least not everyone wants to change their lifestyle, not everyone thinks it is actually possible, and not everyone is educated on low-cost index fund investing, etc. There are many reasons why your spouse might not want to join you, here are a few common ones:
They have no idea what you are talking about
This one is mostly your fault. Although you might not want to bombard your spouse with too much information all at once, you do want to make sure that they truly get a grasp of what financial independence is and what it means to you. If they don’t understand what you are going after then how can they really support your decision, or how can they join you in the pursuit? Introduce your spouse to some influencers in the financial independence community and let them really decide for themselves once they have the knowledge.
They love their job
For spouses that say that they love their job, you should be especially happy for them. They have made it. Part of financial independence is being able to do the things that make you happy, and if part of that is getting a job that makes you happy then you are already enjoying one of the perks of financial independence. Plus if your spouse is working then that makes things much easier for you since you get to split expenses with them. Don’t try to take them away from their job if they don’t want to because believe it or not, some people take a lot of pride in where they work. They also get a lot of their socialization from their job with co-workers and customers.
They don’t trust the stock market
If this is the problem, then the fault is on you again. This is a simple education fix. There are a lot of people that grow up poor or lower middle class and their families have never invested. They think that investing and gambling are synonymous when they clearly aren’t. You have to teach your spouse that investing doesn’t have to be scary when you invest in things like low-cost index funds and spread your risk among many different assets. Changing their way of thinking when it comes to investing is not going to be easy, but with enough research and education, you can get them on board with investing.
They love to spend
Are they spending your money? Well, then that needs to stop. Nothing is worse than creating a financially dependent spouse. It is important for your spouse to be able to support themselves, or at least know how to. Some couples have dual incomes, but one spouse earns much less money and still ends up spending much more than the other. This is not an ideal scenario, and this situation will be one of the hardest to combat.
If your spouse loves spending their own money then you have less to worry about. Just focus on making changes in your own life that optimize your way to financial independence. Just by implementing optimizations, you might influence your spouse to make small changes in their own spending habits. Maybe they won’t be as extreme as you will, but small changes are good.
When discretionary spending habits are high, it is the most difficult situation to combat. This is because an inflated lifestyle is hard to give up. It means that a line has been crossed where needs and wants have been blurred into one. Having your spouse overcome this one is going to take time, but if you can consistently help make small changes, they can add up to big changes eventually.
Educate Your Spouse As Much As Possible
You can’t force everyone to want financial independence as badly as you do. What you can do is give them as much information about it as possible. Financial Independence stems much further than just money and investments, it is also a personality change, a behavior change, a world view change, and so many other things. It is a lot to take in, and if your spouse is just hearing about it for the first time then it can be hard to take seriously.
After all, the rat race is all a lot of people know about. It can seem that there is no way out of the box, but there is. You know your spouse best, and you will have to educate and inform them in a way that makes it appealing to them. Try and listen more than you talk when you are discussing it. Give them some time to think about it, if you spark their interest enough then maybe they will do their own research on financial independence and that would be the most ideal scenario. It’s not going to be easy, but you can achieve financial independence without your spouse. If you can get them on board then that’s even better, but if not then focus on your goal and respect theirs.
If you want to reach financial independence and your spouse does not then you need to separate your finances. This is the easiest way to make you responsible for your journey and it starts with separate bank accounts and splitting expenses. The only thing you can do to try and get your spouse on board is to educate them and let them make their own decision. If they don’t want to join you, recognize why that is and respect their decision and they should respect yours. It’s not going to be easy getting to financial independence alone, but it is possible.