Posted by Tim Stobbs on March 17, 2011
Last week Ross asked the following question:
How do I go about getting my wife to start reading this blog or some of the articles above? She is already great at budgeting but isn’t as motivated or excited by the thought of early retirement as I am. I think if I could get her reading some of these blog posts it would give us something more to talk about as well. Thanks.
Well I’m not an expert on this one, but I do understand your problem since I had the exact same issue for a number of years and to some degree I still do. You see my wife initially was good about not spending too much and knowing the value of saving, but she didn’t have any interest in my early retirement plans either. To her the idea was a bit too far out there to really care about.
So how did I get her interested in my plans? Well to be honest I think her curiosity got to her about what I was writing about on the blog and she realized if she wanted to know what I was thinking about she would have to read it. So after writing this blog for a few years she finally started reading it. She then also developed an interest into the family profiles they do in Moneysense which I leave around the house. Then finally she developed her own interest in the meltdown of 2008 and frankly has read more books on that than I have.
On one hand this is great, but on the other she still not that particularly interested in my early retirement plans, she likes the idea, but doesn’t want to discuss it too much since it is still so far away.
So how did all of that happen? Well first off remember you can’t force people to do anything, all you can do if make the conditions right for them to want to do it. So to support an interest in these things here are a few ideas:
- Leave a few magazines about money around the house or even print off a few of your favorite articles from blogs. That way they are an invitation to learn without forcing it on her.
- Talk about money in a more general sense that she is interested in. For example, saving for your next vacation or perhaps expand that idea to wouldn’t it be nice to take a year off and see the world or perhaps it would be nice to able to work at something she enjoys but doesn’t pay that well all the time. Start slow and work your conversations up to early retirement.
- Lay the groundwork for early retirement, but cultivating interests outside of work for both of you. Also make sure to encourage her to have her own interests and activities. You don’t need to spend every second together.
- Talk about how nice it is to have the security of an emergency fund. Then just keep building the fund way past the usually six months expenses. At some point the idea of having a four year fund starts to get interesting.
Regardless of how you approach the topic do not force the issue. Keep the conversations interesting and useful for now if you have to. If you get pushed off, so be it. Let it the issue lie for a while than slip it in again for a different angle. You might have to approach the topic for various angles to find what will eventually draw in your spouse to talk about it.
So do you have Ross’s problem as well? If so, what worked for you?