As some of you may know, talking about financial goals and habits with loved ones is not easy. Before I met my girlfriend, I thought that people could get married and keep their finances separate. Only recently did I realize that this was for the most part, not practical. Sure, we could get a prenup or keep our bank accounts private, but what kind of marriage would that be?
In my case, my girlfriend and I happen to both be frugal and value a non-materialistic lifestyle. We both enjoy saving and making the most out of our hard-earned dollar. So naturally, I thought that financial independence would be a goal we could share. That assumption was not quite true.
The truth is, you can be frugal and not materialistic, without ever wanting to be financially independent. Why wouldn’t you want to be financially independent? The same reason why a person (say, Bob) who’s good at his job as a teacher might not want to teach. Maybe it’s just not Bob’s calling.
What’s more, once Bob decides he wants to teach and perhaps, become a principal one day, his priorities may change. Up until yesterday, he’s made it to class on time everyday, knocked out his teaching plan and paid attention to his students’ problems. But today, because Bob decides he wants to be principal, he steps up his game. He gets to class early to prepare, volunteers to teach summer school classes and actively challenges his students to improve their test scores.
Just like past Bob who was good at teaching but had no desire to teach, your loved one may be frugal with no desire for financial independence – especially if he or she has just started a career and looks forward to its long term prospects without the added worry of tedious budgeting. What’s more, once your loved one decides that he or she wants financial independence, they may step up their game, challenging you to be more frugal than ever.
I’ve come to realize that despite our similar habits and lifestyle, my girlfriend and I don’t quite share the same financial goals yet. But that may change one day. What’s important now is that we respect each other’s views and continue to align our spending and saving habits, whether to achieve financial independence or to simply not be wasteful and materialistic.
To be continued. . . .