Today's post is a topic near and dear to my heart: dating. More specifically, dating while trying for Financial Independence.
As a single 25-year-old female, the first question people ask after learning about my FI plans is usually something along the lines of "What happens when you get married and have kids?"
My response is to simply shrug my shoulders and say "I'll worry about that when I get there."
It kills me to not be able to predict this part of my future, especially when it's one of the most important aspects. I make tentative long-term plans for things over a year out, make firmer plans for things within the next year, and make concrete plans a few months out. For example, I made tentative plans with new friends I met while in Ecuador to hang out in Chicago and go see a baseball game. That was last October, and our plans are coming to fruition this August. I have most of my time planned out through Thanksgiving, and I'm making tentative plans for next year. Hello beach trip to NC! Seriously, the fact I can't plan out my future to include a potential Mr. Gwen is a problem.
However, it's not such a huge problem that I'm rushing off to the nearest military post to find a solider to marry tomorrow. For something so important, I'm willing to wait and take my time to make sure I'm making a good choice. I received some excellent advice with regards to this very topic at Camp Mustache from none other than Keith the Tax Guy. He's good at more than just taxes, folks! One morning, myself and the other young single lady in attendance were sharing breakfast with Keith and his lovely wife. I try to ask every couple I meet how they got started and they were no exception.
The best people to get advice from are those who are where you want to be.
Not to get overly mushy, but they have the kind of relationship I want. Fun, with some sass, but a lot of love. Keith told us the biggest impact on our finances will be the person we end up in life with. After hearing many stories of ruinous divorce, I wholeheartedly agree. I can see how other FI couples who are married help each other out, not just with dual incomes but with that team mentality and not being alone.
So what do you do when you're a single 25 year old? Normally, my peers fire up Tinder or some other online dating app and swipe or tap to find a partner. It's a bit more difficult when you have such a clear vision of where you want your life to go. Most people my age are more concerned about getting a new Luxury SUV or affording season tickets to the local sports team than saving for retirement. And that's ok for them. YOLO and all that.
But that's not for me. Sadly, no FI or Mustachian dating app exists (yet). Even if one were to get created, no one would pay for it because we're all funneling our money into our 401(k)s or IRA's. There is the Mustachian and Single section of the Mr. Money Mustache forum, but after seeing what else is on there, I refuse to put anything on there out of principle.
Coincidentally, with my life in such upheaval: possibly staying put, possibly moving 3 hours away, possibly moving across the country, or possibly moving to another country in November; focusing on getting my side hustle up and running; Pokemon Go; all my upcoming travel plans........ I've simply stopped dating for awhile until my life settles down a bit.
But what if I do meet a guy? How do you bring up FI? I haven't had such great luck with it in the past. Talking about money in relationships can get tricky fast. If I'm too focused on his financials, I get labled a gold digger. If I make more than him, I run the risk of being a sugga momma. Or, I can run into straight up jealousy like occured in a previous relationship when I dated a high school teacher. They don't exactly rake in the dough hand over fist, and after awhile he couldn't handle the fact I made more than him and dumped me via Snapchat. True story.
Then there's the problem of actually going on dates. If you're the guy, you're expected to pay. I always, always, always offer to either pay or go Dutch, but the guy rarely takes me up on it. The "where do you want to go" question is actually a pretty great litmus test. If I suggest playing frisbee in the park with our choice of adult beverage, and the guy turns up his nose, we're probably not a great match. Dating is literally sometimes NOT a walk in the park, much to my chagrin. I once went on a date with a lawyer. He picked an expensive martini lounge in the heart of downtown. We had a nice enough date that we had a second one later which consisted of walking around the nearby lake with his dog. There were clear enough signs of mismatched values that we parted ways on friendly terms.
I suppose I could always meet someone at a FI meetup. The lure of meeting a cute guy already on the path to FI is a pretty powerful reason to keep going to all sorts of FI related activities, whether they be a geniune Mustachian meetup, a FI related event or even something barely related like FinCon. One caveat though- to those of you who were at Camp Mustache, it was NOT me who's stated goal was to meet other single Mustachians. I can't say the thought didn't cross my mind though 😉
Then the only challenge would be to make sure our FI goals match. Maybe he wants to ride a motorcycle all the way up the Pacific coast from the furthest southern tip of South America to Nome, Alaska. Maybe he'd like to travel the world for extended periods. Or maybe he'd like the freedom to take a lower paying but more fulfilling career with a sizeable nest egg of supplement income. Maybe he'd like to get down and dirty with houses that are falling apart and turn them into a porfolio of rental houses. The options of what to do after achieving FI are nearly endless, so it's important that whoever I end up with and I have compatible visions of the future.
Dating is super complicated. Married people, grab your spouse, give them a big kiss and hold them tight, because you do not want to have to deal with this!
Are you single? How is dating working out for you?