You love finance. It is hard to remember a time when you didn’t know that FIRE stood for Financial Independence, Retire Early. You have a savings rate of 70% and you can’t think of the last time you bought something without asking yourself if you really need it. But your new date doesn’t know anything about managing money— so it’s your job to teach them.
Here are some tried-and-true methods to get them to stop listening to you, ignore all of your advice, and make them second guess their choice of being with you in the first place.
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- Start with the hard-hitting stuff. Skip budgeting and tracking your spending, that stuff is way overhyped and booooring. Why should you start with the basics when there are way more interesting topics—like the 72(t) withdrawal strategy, the virtues of ETFs vs. mutual funds, and triple-tax advantaged accounts. They probably already know about tools like Mint and Personal Capital, so jump ahead to the tax strategies that saved you a ton this year.
- Consider your surroundings. The best time to teach your significant other about conscious spending decisions is right at the register. Ask him or her to reconsider whether the Ikea artwork they are passing to the cashier is really worth retiring a day later. There is nothing like a long line of people waiting behind you to really make you want to re-examine your purchases.
- Be deliberate with your timing. Nothing beats riding your bike to work—rain or shine. Convince your boyfriend to start immediately without regard to the weather. He will be totally amped about the gas money he saved when he arrives to work completely soaked. Similarly, if you are trying to get your girlfriend to pack her lunches, be sure to remind her right after she collapses on the couch after an exhausting day. The best time to motivate change is now.
- Give money advice that ignores their personal situation. Forget all that “personal” finance crap. You know what is best for you, and it should be enough for your love interest too. You invest 50% of your paycheck, and so should they, even though they make less than you and have student loans to pay.
- Get them to go all-in. Remember that their first investment experience is about seeing what it’s really like to see swings in the market. So, rather than a slow introduction, be sure to get your significant other to invest in 100% stocks or bitcoin. Money decisions have big real-world consequences, and there’s no better way to drive this home than with a ‘go-big-or-go-home’ strategy.
- Make them realize how simple it is. Think about it, when you are learning something new and having a difficult time, nothing is more encouraging than someone telling you it is so easy their first-grade cousin could do it. Repeat that saving and investing is “not that hard,” and they will realize that whatever is holding them back is trivial.
- When you get frustrated, give up and say, “Nevermind, I’ll just do it myself.” You can’t afford to work through all of their money issues. Treat them like you would a child. Give them an allowance while you take charge. Who needs to fully understand their financial future anyway?
These are surefire techniques to get your partner to hate FIRE. Each one will surely test your relationship and bring some lively discussion to the table. With any luck, they will take something away from your teachings — even if it’s that they should run for the hills.