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When I was a little girl, I didn’t dream of weddings or Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome. I was too busy avoiding lava in our living room, running barefoot in the desert with a gang of teenagers, and stealing handfuls of sugar.
Years later when I became engaged and was regaling my best friends with the announcement, they were surprised. They assumed I would grow old with cats.
I agreed with them. Heartily.
I love cats.
A lot has changed. One of the best investments I ever made was saying yes to Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome, who was passionate about finances, just like me.
Even if that’s not how it started.
Mr. BuLL and I met in college at the veteran’s club.
He was busy chatting up another guy to notice the only other Navy veteran in the room. But I was stubborn, persistent, and lonely.
By the next academic year, we were living together to the disappointment of Mr. BuLL’s roommate. At this point, I was more frugal than I had ever been and bore the scars of lackluster home cooking. We muddled our way through finances by splitting housing and utility expenses. Eventually, tension escalated around groceries.
We would alternate who paid for groceries, but bickering would start when one party paid more or less than the other.
We eventually graduated, moved, and became engaged. It was around this time that we started changing our financial relationship.
We opened joint accounts, which felt scarier than deciding to live together. Still, we continue to argue over groceries, so we decided to move it to joint expenses similar to other living expenses.
Changing the grocery bill from individual expenses to joint expenses relieved a lot of pressure. I am a strict list follower, whereas Mr. BuLL enjoys more spontaneity. This adjustment seemed like a fair middle ground where everyone was winning and no one was arguing over a $50 grocery bill.
We continued a 50/50 split of finances, where 50% of our post-tax income goes to joint expenses. It translated into an unequal balance of finances since Mr. BuLL earns twice as much. It took a lot of talking to get all the emotions squeezed out, but our current balance is Mr. BuLL paying for our outdoor gear, restaurant visits, and most of our joint travel.
It would be simpler to lump all our expenses, but I need to have my own money. I need to have financial freedom to give generously or stockpile like I’m on an episode of hoarders. Having a bit of financial independence means I am honoring my financial dreams which are different from Mr. BuLLs.
Retiring early is one of my financial goals but it’s different from Mr. BuLL’s.
We discuss this goal as well as many financial ramblings. Investing was one of the many topics because it’s like steroids for early retirement. No prescription required!
Mr. BuLL loves numbers and logic, this translated into quickly learning cumbersome concepts like the stock market and investing. What began as a slow sharing of words grew until it became a love language.
We take pleasure in discussing the nuances of investing while discovering our own comfort levels. Mr. BuLL dabbles in the rise and fall of individual stocks, and I prefer the smooth ride of index funds.
In the end, no matter where our love takes us, we will reach new financial heights together. Hopefully, our love language will translate into financial freedom for both of us.
And cats. All we need is financial freedom and cats.