I’ve been reading up on personal finance for so long that honestly, a lot of the posts I read around the blogosphere (mine included, not hating on anyone) don’t excite me or even get me thinking anymore.
So when I find one of those thought provoking posts I get kind of excited.
A recent post on the popular early retirement blog, Mr. Money Mustache, got under my skin in a few different ways. And I couldn’t help but write a post about it.
But first, let me rewind a bit.
If you’ve never read Mr. Money Mustache let me bring you up to speed.
Mr. Money Mustache is what I would consider a “super frugality” blog. MMM was an engineer who lived a very low expense lifestyle and was able to retire at a young age (under thirty, I believe.)
Although he has what I would consider a pretty darn good life including a family, a super nice house, nice vehicles, and financial freedom he obviously worked hard to get where he is.
He advises people to practice extreme frugality by riding bikes instead of driving cars, saving money in common sense ways, and avoiding consumerism. And he does the same, only living on about $20k per year. (Super nice house and cars paid off, of course.)
I definitely don’t practice everything he advises because I firmly believe there is no one-size-fits-all financial solution. We’re all different. (And there’s no way in hell I’m riding a bike everywhere.) But overall I think he gives some pretty good advice.
The Post – Gender Roles, Money, & Extreme Frugality
Alright now that I got that out of the way let me tell you what got me fired up.
A reader wrote MMM asking him to stop writing because her husband had become obsessed with frugality to a point where that’s all he thinks about. (If you have time go read the post and skim through the comments.)
She’s a nurse practitioner and her husband is an orthodontist. They live in a super cheap apartment, have paid off their student loans, use a bed she’s had since she’s been eight years old, and their couch is currently a blow up bed. But that’s not the life she wants.
She wants a nice car, a nice house, and doesn’t want to live like she’s poor for the rest of her life. And I can totally relate. I don’t blame her one. little. bit.
But the commenters on the post don’t seem to relate quite as much.
Why the Judgment?
While the author of this email had no idea her email was going to be published she did make a couple of comments that have a lot of people hating on her.
In a gist she grouped the female gender as “soft” and not money minded – that personal finance is more for men and not women. Which as you know, is totally wrong.
It’s not the gender – it’s the person. And that’s fine.
I believe that this woman was just expressing her frustrations and had she known that her email would go public on a huge blog she might have worded things differently.
After all, there’s always things that we want to say but just don’t.
Money Roles and the Living the Life You Want
In all of my relationships I have definitely been the money minded person. I hate spending money.
But I also know couples where the man, for religious reasons, makes all the financial decisions. I know couples who work together as teams and I know plenty of singles – men and women – who fend for themselves.
There’s no right or wrong.
But there’s also a huge problem when couples are on totally different pages. From the woman’s emails I sense that she is frugal minded but it’s gone too far.
She wants a certain life and her husband wants something different and there needs to be a middle ground.
After all, we only live once. We all want something different out of life. If this woman has her stuff together and wants a Tahoe and a Pottery Barn House who cares? Why should we would judge her – we aren’t in her shoes.
(And after all the author of MMM has a super nice house and vehicles.)
When it comes to relationships I think it’s so important to be able to find that middle ground. Because at the end of the day when two people want opposite things out of life one person is always going to feel miserable. (Trust me, I’ve been there.)
In my opinion this woman is not an internet troll. She’s a human being with valid concerns.
If you read the post what do you think? Is this woman being judged too harshly? Is it wrong for her to want to a nice house and nice vehicle when her husband is obsessed with early retirement?