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The Economics of Divorce

Image result for heart break emojiEven in the most carefully run and financially independent of lives, there will be some wrenching twists and turns.

Friendships and businesses will fail. You or your loved ones will get sick and some of them will die. Kids will have plenty of trouble on their long road to adulthood – if they even make it. And all around you, there will be a sea of fighting and breakups and divorces and mismatched relationships that you wish would end, for your sake or that of your best friends.

With all of this happening, it’s a wonder that we can remain happy and productive and even thrive as humans. But we can. And we do. Because sometimes life just serves up a shit salad and we don’t have a choice in the matter, but we always have a choice of how to respond to it.

So if you haven’t already heard through the rumor mill, the former Mrs. Money Mustache and I are no longer married. Although we had been drifting this way for a while, the formal change of our status is still less than a year old, so it’s still a topic that deserves some quiet respect*.

The downfalls of our own relationship are personal and not something we choose to make public, but you’ve heard it all before anyway. Sometimes people just grow apart over the decades and no matter how much they work at the relationship, find that they want different things from life. And when this happens, not even the greatest advantages of a lifetime money surplus or a supportive network of great friends and family or living in a beautiful place can save you.

Update: Some of the negative speculators have assumed “your wife dumped you because you were too frugal.” This part may be necessary to address because of the money theme of this blog.

The answer is NO. I was the one who asked for the separation so you can blame me for it. And no, there were no frugality issues because earning and accumulating money was always extremely easy for us. We spent whatever we wanted, we just happened to have finite desires. Plus I was not the “boss” of the house. Mrs. MM has always been an independent-minded person who is good with money and decides on her own spending.

So that’s the bad news. The good news is that we have had about the most amicable separation that one could hope for, we all still spend plenty of time together and our son is still in the same loving environment he has always had. And I would venture to say that both of us parents are going to come out of the experience much better off than we were before.

See, even the harshest moments come with a little golden key taped secretly onto their side, which you can use to unlock personal growth and greater future happiness. But only if you choose to accept that key and put it to use.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that there weren’t plenty of harsh moments for both of us, both before and during this experience, with plenty more still to come. Because divorce, especially with children and family and traditions involved, is really fucking hard. 

But guess what? There are a lot of things in life that are hard. Being born and going through childhood is hard. Having babies of your own is even harder. School and jobs are hard, and money is really hard for most people. Relationships and friendships and dealing with bossy or dysfunctional friends or family or parents, personal habits and addictions, and everything else. Life is full of hardships.

But throughout all of it, we always have a choice about how to deal with them.

We can choose to focus on how unfair the situation is, how we were right and we tried our best and the world still mistreated us. And we can fight back, chasing the unfair person or company or situation and get revenge. We can make sure they know exactly why they were wrong and every way in which they were flawed.

And we can collect bathtubs full of sympathetic tears from our friends. And burn years on reliving the past, with a mixture of regret and vengeful self-righteousness and self-pity.

– OR – 

We can get right back to work on positive things to rebuild our lives. Improving ourselves through better habits and health. Building new relationships and nurturing old ones, and making sure we put out only positive energy to every person in our lives, including our ex-spouse. Building everyone up and never, ever tearing anyone down. Because they already do that plenty to themselves.

Like almost everything else in life, human nature draws us to the easier but more destructive of these paths, and only self-knowledge and self-discipline can lift us out of that rut and place us onto the more productive one. And even then, our human nature will keep pulling us back and we’ll make mistakes. And then we’ll have to drag ourselves back out of that rut again. And put the happy face back on, and start behaving like an adult again.

As one friend puts it, “Being a divorced coparent is like being the co-owner of a business. Except it’s the most important company in the world and having it fail is not an option. So you have to treat your business partner accordingly.”

It has been a hard year. But at the same time, I feel we have both already learned so much, that it seems almost impossible that the experience won’t help both of us live better lives in the future. We are both doing well in forming new relationships and supportive of the other’s success in that important aspect of moving on.

But this is usually a personal finance blog. What does my romantic life have to do with your financial life? Not too much in the specifics, but quite a bit in general, because about half of all marriages end in divorce, and I have found it can be quite a tricky minefield to navigate.

First of all, there is the effect on your child raising, which is a parent’s most important job in life. In the best scenario, the end of a marriage is just a change to your love life, and you can continue to collaborate with your former spouse in a wonderful and open way. But the more conflict you have with that ex, the harder it is to cooperate, which leads to a worse experience for everyone – especially your children.

Then there is the social shame attached to divorce in our culture. While it could be looked at as the natural and peaceful end of an arrangement that has just run its course, other people will see it as a failure or a betrayal or a sin. In fact, when rumour of our separation got out, multiple gossipy and negative and downright distasteful discussions formed around the Internet – on Reddit, other bloggers’ websites, even right here on my own forum. People who don’t even know you, will speculate on your character and your motives. It adds pain to an already difficult situation. The only way to survive this is to ignore it and focus on your own internal compass.

And finally there is the famed financial cost of divorce. It is legendary for destroying lives and fortunes, and indeed this is sometimes accurate. This is because conflict is a form of war, and war is the most expensive thing humans have ever invented. And if you hire lawyers and other specialists to fight on your behalf, you just multiply the damage and the cost and stretch out the timeline.

But fortunately, like everything else, going to war is almost always a choice.

And if you don’t choose to fight, a divorce doesn’t have to cost much at all. Two people can peacefully collect up their financial and physical belongings and go their separate ways, and the only cost is in any duplication of possessions you choose to do, to replace things you formerly shared.

So the former Mrs. MM and I (mostly under her guidance!) worked through the do-it-yourself paperwork and paid a $265 fee to the county court for the divorce. I bought the lowest-cost house in the neighborhood, just a 2.5 minute bike ride down the hill from the family house, and I’ve already fixed it up and started hosting Airbnb rentals to help make it carry its own weight. I left the Nissan Leaf behind and chose not to buy a car of my own because I already have bikes.

We share plenty of time with our son and he is doing amazingly well – because we are choosing to make this new life about growth rather than conflict.

And most notably from the perspective of early retirement and financial independence, having enough money in advance has made this part of the split much less painful. Both of us can remain retired and continue to live in mortgage-free houses with investments easily covering our living expenses, while sharing child raising expenses. Although I chose to buy a house, nobody had to compromise on quality of life or sell the expensive family house.

Because I enjoy moderate living for its own sake, my own cost of living will go way down. And because I continue to enjoy writing and working, my income may continue to stay high through this next stage of my life. I’ll continue to use the surplus for projects and philanthropy just as before, but the point here is that one’s relationship status does not have to affect their financial status.

As a long-time reader said to me in a recent email as we discussed our shared fate, having a solid financial cushion and low expenses and lifestyle flexibility, has made the best of an otherwise difficult situation – especially in not having to disrupt the lives of our kids.

Still, having been through it, I would not recommend divorce as a decision to be taken lightly. If you’re still married and there is even a chance that you want it to last, you might consider the following steps.

How to Stay Married

Read about how to stay married – early and often. Peruse the bountiful relationship advice section at Amazon and definitely check out the 5 Love Languages book that resonates strongly with so many people.

Most of us (myself included) drift through the years, assuming we are doing a perfectly good job at being married, while unintentionally making all the same mistakes that everyone else makes.

Bad idea.

You need to proactively nurture a close, loving relationship before things get too dire, and never take it for granted. Because many bits of damage you do to a relationship are permanent. You cannot nag or criticize your partner for years and expect them to forgive you when you eventually see the light. And for those being nagged: you cannot ignore the requests of your partner for years, and expect them to forgive you for that either.

There are so many things, like being on each other’s team in times of hardship, and being genuinely excited and greeting your partner warmly at the door if they’ve been away, that fall to the side in marriages as they get stale. Every time you let this slide, you do a bit of permanent damage. The effects are cumulative like erosion, not temporary like moods or weather.

So the bad news is that there is definitely such thing as “too late.” At some point, the idea of “working on” a marriage sounds like hell because you have been waiting for so long to be able to escape it.

But the good news is that it might not be too late for you, if you do want to stay married. And the benefits begin immediately – if both people are working at it, every positive gesture from one side will be met with a positive one from the other, and they can reinforce each other into a beautiful upward spiral.

But if You’d Rather Not Stay Married

The flipside of all this is that many, many people are currently married, who should not be and don’t want to be.

You may be two perfectly great people with irreconcilable differences, or there might be one great person stuck with an abusive user or loser, or any other combination in the grand spectrum of possible humans. And it is important for these people to hear that although divorce is always difficult, sometimes it really is the best choice and there should not be shame or blame associated with this choice.

Every human needs and deserves to be accepted and loved – even the people who drive us crazy and even those who treat us poorly. They are who they are and while you can’t change them, you can’t make the world any better by spitting venom back at them. So your best strategy is to carve them out of your life, while keeping your words as kind and respectful as you possibly can.

And heed the wise words of my own relationship and coparenting counselor, who noted that the first months after any divorce are the times of greatest conflict. And then it gets easier. And easier. And mellower and friendlier. And after a few years, many former divorcees have moved on so happily that can’t even believe that they were ever angry at each other. That’s entirely possible, and it should be your goal.

So lean on friends, talk to a relationship counselor even if it is just by yourself (yes, it’s really worth it!), read books, laugh, cry, learn mindfulness and meditation, eat salads, get outside and exercise, write more new things and build new things and new businesses and new relationships, and you will come through it better than ever.

That’s what I’ll be up to in 2019.  I hope your new year is even better!


In the Comments: I have found it so helpful over this past year to share with others and realize that I am not alone in this. Feel free to share your own experiences and hopes and fears anonymously.

My comment form allows you to use a pseudonym so you can be anonymous while you let out the truth. And read the other comments, to see what other people around you are feeling.

And for those who have been through this and gotten through the other side and found happiness, go ahead and share your message of hope.


* A bit of social approrpriateness that seems to be lost on certain forum participants and even other bloggers, who we won’t call out here. Please don’t be like them – using the Internet to publicly gossip about strangers helps nobody.

 

 

  • Suz January 2, 2019, 10:46 am

    MMM,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I wish your family well. Will definitely check out the book.

    Would you care to share how to divide financial assets? You touched on housing. What about other assets such as ETFs, which have fluctuating values based on market? Do you have tips on how to divide these assets without taking a big tax hit or capital loss?

    Reply
  • Anonymous January 2, 2019, 10:48 am

    Your genuine and sincere posts are appreciated. I wish you and your family peace and happiness for 2019. From Ottawa

    Reply
  • Sophie January 2, 2019, 10:51 am

    Really sorry to hear about this, Mr. Money Mustache. Wishing nothing but good things for you, your family, and for the former Mrs. Money Mustache. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • Jessica January 2, 2019, 10:52 am

    This is probably my favorite post you’ve ever written. I can’t imagine the heartache and thoughtfulness that must have gone into writing something so beautifully composed. I appreciate that you took the time to find your peace with the situation before sharing this. I think for a lot of people going through this process, the desire to publicly put out your feelings in those most heated moments are the hardest to suppress because those are the most damaging ones. I’m sure this probably spoke to so many people and I hope you are both receiving much support and positive energy in your new chapter. Keep on Keeping on, MMM.

    Reply
    • Cameron January 7, 2019, 5:06 pm

      It’s true, this is an amazing post. I remember my divorce only too well, and I resented the world for months afterwards. Only once the heavy fog lifted was I able to say a kind word about life, love, etc. So to say what MMM has said while still in the fog’s mire is why this guy has the following he has. It’s inspirational!

      Reply
  • Reader In Awe January 2, 2019, 11:00 am

    Dear Mr. Money Mustache,

    As the saying goes, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. It’s been a rough season for me, too. I didn’t divorce, but I was “this close” to being engaged, then things completely imploded, now I’m single, and I will be for some time.

    I woke up thinking that now-ex was like a tornado blowing through my life. But as destructive as tornadoes are, they have their good points, with the right perspective. The blowing away of the old reveals things that needed to change, along with things that needed to be discarded. And like any other major storm, tornadoes require preparedness in order to best survive them, start over again, and thrive.

    Everything you wrote was something I needed to affirm, and I agreed with your words and your point of view. Choosing to be better instead of bitter might sound passe and trite to some, but it’s really the best way to live. There’s nothing constant in life except change, but how we adapt and move forward determines the future. And it’s really our choice.

    Thanks for being a light and an inspiration in your personal and financial aspects of your life.

    Reply
  • WorkingAtItStill January 2, 2019, 11:16 am

    Wow, this is brave of you to share. I hope you don’t mind if I vent a bit. If you do, please feel free to delete.

    I am posting anonymously because my wife also reads this blog and while none of this would be of total surprise to her, I don’t want to discuss such things openly with my identity. My wife and I have been together four years and have a one year old son. While our relationship, like many others, started out amazing, wildly romantic and passionate, has sort of devolved into a lot of fights about the fundamental questions of our compatibility.

    My wife has brought up divorce 4-5 times in the past year and a half and always backs off the topic when I tell her that it isn’t what I want and that she should task herself with the logistics of getting it started. Always the fear and dread sets it immediately when I start to imagine how we’d exist operationally separate with a baby. We’re not financially independent yet, but are on our way to being so. Aside from the dread of losing something so important to me (the family unit that I did not have as a child), I was distraught thinking about how financially vulnerable we’d be separate. It is relieving to know that you’ve managed to work out things amicably with your ex-wife.

    I am still committed to making things work, mostly for our son’s sake. I dragged the both of us into therapy and it seems to at least be holding an objective mirror up to our faces about our behavior. Maybe that’s a bad sign? Not doing it for the marriage’s sake. I don’t know. Anyways, I am able to breathe a bit easier reading your account of how you approached this and got through it with some sanity. I am also relieved to know there’s such a thing as co-parenting counselors out there! I firstly hope my wife is open to working things through with me, but secondly if there’s not a chance for success there in the end, that we can be responsible and loving like you and your wife were.

    Thank you again for all that you do in sharing your life’s successes and challenges with us.

    Reply
  • Adam January 2, 2019, 12:20 pm

    Very sorry to hear about this.

    While I of course do not know the exact circumstances, it is foolish to cast the failure of a loving marriage as anything other than an complete and utter tragedy.

    IF – there is any chance that you can work through your differences, reconsider your priorities, and reconcile your family, it would almost certainly be the most important thing you could ever accomplish. My parents did this 25 years ago when I was a child, and it happily changed the course of all of our lives for the better.

    I genuinely wish you all the best.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 2, 2019, 5:33 pm

      Thanks Adam, but I genuinely disagree.

      There is abolutely nothing sad about an incompatible relationship naturally ending and both people moving on to find new love that works for them. In fact, this is the best possible outcome!

      The family is still as together as ever. The only difference is we now have a chance to find what we need in other areas of life as well – This is only a change in our love lives.

      Reply
      • DocAtheist January 2, 2019, 11:26 pm

        My friend, “D”, divorced with two or three children, remarried and had another one or two. The kids were essentially grown, when we met. He and his wife invited me for holidays, because I was alone. Lo and behold, their holiday table was huge, including all the expected relatives plus his ex-wife and all her local relatives! Everyone felt welcome and loved. Everyone still felt like family! “D” had managed his divorce and remarriage with that much heart! What a true human being!

        Reply
  • Valerie Clark January 2, 2019, 12:26 pm

    Hi MMM – I’m so sorry to hear this, but it’s heartening to see that you are handling such a tough situation with your characteristic level-headed grace and class. My husband and I have been big fans of yours for a couple of years now, and you have brought us so much inspiration in our own journey toward financial independence in whatever shape that might end up taking. Now you’ve inspired me once again to make sure I never take him for granted, and to start being mindful of all those little things that might end up making a big difference in our marriage. Thanks, and best wishes to you and your family.

    Reply
  • Birmingham AL January 2, 2019, 12:37 pm

    MMM, I’ve read your posts since you started. Your sentiment hasn’t changed, I think you’re awesome. I got a divorce in 2005 and people in the South treated me like that lady in the story Scarlet Letter. Then I realized if you are pissing someone off you must be doing something right. I make 6 figures now and am happily remarried. And I don’t give a damn (a different Scarlet reference), but Financial Samarai is a huge asshole. I’m going to drink a craft beer for you buddy, keep being you.

    Reply
  • Brenda January 2, 2019, 12:43 pm

    Over five years ago, shortly after I got divorced, an aquaintance approached me and hugged me and said in my ear “I know how strong you are, you will get through this.”

    I was a single mom in her 40s with four teenagers to raise and no idea how I was going to make it on one salary. One of the first things I did was take a cold hard look at my budget and sought out financial advice from books in the library and the internet. That’s where I found you, Mr. Moneymoustache.

    I want to thank you for inspiring a radical shift in my mentality toward finances and more importantly a general badass ”I can do it myself, fix it myself” attitude.

    Sending you well wishes. You made my painful journey a little bit lighter. I’m now on track to retire early(ish). As painful as divorce is, trust me, it does get better.

    You are strong. You will get through this period and learn new things about yourself in the process.

    Reply
  • Dianna January 2, 2019, 12:43 pm

    So sorry that it came to this for you guys, but I admire how you’re choosing to handle it. It should really be for the best for everyone in the long run.

    Thank you for your blog – your work has really helped my family tremendously already.

    Reply
  • slugline January 2, 2019, 1:02 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for a while, and I find myself surprisingly unsettled by this bit of personal news in the life of an Internet Stranger. There’s a distinct possibility that I may never personally reach financial independence, but even more than the pontificating you do about money I have found your views into the subject of human happiness insightful. Finding out that even a person who has put a lot of time and energy into learning about happiness cannot avoid this type of heartbreak has really got me thinking today. I wish your family only the best as you adapt to difficult change.

    Reply
  • Austin January 2, 2019, 1:14 pm

    Pete,
    I’m really sorry to hear about this. I’ll leave alone the personal details, because it’s none of my business, but I’m really curious as to the financial details of this, specifically if, absent money from the blog and other post retirement sources, would this have killed your FIRE? I think we all know by this point that income from this blog has made any real math of portfolio survivability essentially moot for you, but I’d be really interested to read a post that did something like assume you retired as you originally did (about 800k in net worth around ’05 if I remember right), but never started this blog and produced income from it, and the divorce still happened. Of course I respect your privacy, and I get it if you don’t want to talk about it, but I’d like to know how that would have worked out, assuming a roughly equal split of assets. Do you think this is something we should plan for in our FIRE calculations? For example, if we FIRE in a marriage in which housing costs are shared, would you recommend saving enough such that we could each afford the housing on our own without messing up the safe withdrawal rate, or something like that? I get that it’s hard to discuss it, but as this case clearly demonstrates, a whole lot of us will likely have to deal with divorce at some point, and I think we should do our best to be financially prepared should that occur.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 2, 2019, 5:30 pm

      Hi Austin – yes those are relevant questions.

      It all depends on the person. For example, I happen to love working, so I have earned money for most years since retirement. The blog is just the latest and most public thing (and has produced the most cash too, admittedly!). XMrsMM also has earned quite a bit since then. So in our case, even without the blog our lifestyles would probably not have to change.

      Scenario 2 is if we had retired on $800k and never done any work since then. Depending on where our investments were since then, this could go either way (and I’m too lazy to run a simulation of S&P versus a $24k withdrawal on a $600k investment over these 14 years but you can do so!)

      However, there is no doubt that an innovative single person can live happily on $12k per year if they chose to do so. The only thing that really requires hacking at that level is housing – you need to either live in an alternative dwelling or share a place in some form.

      The real key to questions and answers like this is, “Do you believe that money-efficient living is a chore, or a joy?” … some people fear it to their very core, while other people embrace it with gusto.

      I am somewhere in the middle. A bit lazy at being frugal, but I compensate by being pretty good at working hard on things I enjoy, and earning money.

      Reply
      • Dean January 2, 2019, 11:35 pm

        I was considering a house sharing situation for a while, but wanted a place for my daughters to stay when they aren’t attending college. Plus, I have a dog that my ex wasn’t willing to take. Now that I’m down to one income, it seems impossible to reach FI. I definitely didn’t do enough when I was married to reduce expenses. It’s something I regret now.

        Reply
  • H.E. Pennypacker January 2, 2019, 1:17 pm

    Very sorry for your troubles and appreciate the forward-looking attitude as always. A timely post as I’ve been down on my own marriage lately. Lots of acidic comments flowing the past few days, and you’re right, it’s serious, permanent damage even if it is drip by drip. I needed a poke in the ribs to get busy fixing instead of tearing down. Thank you.

    Reply
  • bealbert January 2, 2019, 1:18 pm

    I divorced a year and half ago after 32 years of marriage. We both decided that we did not want to fight through lawyers and did our own divorce. We did pay lawyers to review the paperwork. The filing fee was $410 and I paid an attorney $150 for review. We are amicable and still get together with the grown kids for birthdays and holidays. It can be drama free and leave both of you financially strong.

    Reply
  • John O January 2, 2019, 1:21 pm

    MMM,
    Thanks for the brutal and open post. I’m a long time reader, and this may be the most connected I’ve felt to you and the blog. I went through the same thing, minus kids, and found that writing about it helped as well. It is so reassuring to hear about others going through times of change and realizing that people always change. Thanks for sharing. Good luck in this new time of life.

    Reply
  • Mike January 2, 2019, 1:45 pm

    MMM,
    I have been reading your blog for several years now and have never commented on a post until today. Not that I don’t find your articles insightful, educational, and inspirational, but I suppose this one struck a nerve for me.

    A few years ago, I was notified by my at that time wife that she wanted a divorce. Not that we didn’t have a few troubles, arguments, etc. along the way, but otherwise this came as a gigantic surprise to me. I figured those little ups and downs were part of a normal long-term relationship and I never got too caught up in them. Not without a lot of pain, I accepted her decision and for the past couple years have been moving forward with my new life. We also have 3 kids caught up in the process and easing the transition for them is, and will continue to be, my upmost concern.

    The financial impact was minimal compared to most (no attorneys or battles) but splitting a nest egg that was designed for one unit into two is not an easy task. I now live in my previously earmarked investment property, and we share time with the children equally. Most of the financial hardships have come over the almost two years since, during which time I lacked any confidence in myself and focus on my company. It took me a while to finally get there but I have adopted your optimism for this being the greatest opportunity in my life to start fresh, build a better future both personally and financially, and to never again take for granted the happiness and joy a partner/marriage can bring to one’s life.

    I want to say thank you for taking the time to put into words a perspective that summarizes all that I aspire for. All your articles have served as some inspiration to improve my financial and personal well-being, but none quite like this one.

    I hope anyone going through this process can expedite their journey to accept the situation for what it is, find peace, and continue with their individual badassery! I am in the process of turning my company around, am involved in an amazing new relationship that seems only to be possible with the insight such a painful and self-reflecting experience can bring and have fostered a connection with my children that is much deeper and with more love than ever before.

    So, heads up and keep at it. I look forward to learning how you transform an already admirable career and life into something even greater and more appreciative of all the opportunity that this world offers to us.

    Happy New Year!

    Reply
  • Taylor January 2, 2019, 1:56 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story so eloquently Mr. MM. I recently lost a parent and while I am not getting a huge inheritance I am getting enough to make a difference in my FIRE journey. I have read that if you keep the assets 100% separate from your spouse than your spouse has no right to them in the event of a divorce. While I have no plans of getting divorced I am no dummy that with statistics it’s always a possibility. Of course my spouse didn’t like me mentioning this. What are your thoughts?

    Reply
  • Grem January 2, 2019, 2:01 pm

    Ah sorry to hear this MMM. Glad you’re going to continue writing, I look forward to checking your new blog posts.

    We’ve finally just got debt free, apart from my student loan (but I’m in the UK so they don’t really count). I just wanted to say a massive thank you for writing this blog and all the motivation that comes with every post.

    Wishing you all the best in the future.

    Grem

    Reply
  • Kris Kramer January 2, 2019, 2:17 pm

    Yes, life at times is fucking hard. At other times it is so beautiful one can’t help but weep with awe.
    I, too, am divorced mostly because after 15 years we wanted different things in life and were holding each other back. Financially, he now earns well into six figures working 60+ hours a week and takes several high-end trips a year. I retired by age 50–no SS and no pension–and live a simple life with chickens and have the time to work on issues and politics that I find so meaningful.
    Very different lives. Neither better or worse. Just better fits for each of us.
    Best to you.

    Reply
  • Mari January 2, 2019, 2:47 pm

    Sorry to hear this, MMM. I am sending you and your whole fam a big hug! Thanks for continuing to share your life with us. We appreciate it.

    Reply
  • Sarah January 2, 2019, 2:48 pm

    So sorry to hear about this. I’ve been thinking about the future of relationships. I think there’s still such a bad stigma attached to divorce but I think as we evolve and diversify, separating will just be another path, equal to staying together, or being open, or choosing to be single. You see it already with more and more people like you, having more conscious breakups without all the drama. Endings are always painful though! I feel for you. Have you ever been to Vipassana? A 10-day silent meditation retreat that is donation based. They have a location in Colorado. I went to my first one after a horrible breakup and it really saved me! I know you’re into mindfulness and meditation so thought I’d throw it out there. Good luck with everything moving forward!

    Reply
  • Gernot January 2, 2019, 3:11 pm

    Sorry to hear that. But it’s impressive how you always try to find the good parts, even in bad situations.

    It was an important reminder for me to take some more care of my marriage. It’s not too late for 2019 resolutions.

    Reply
  • Sonja January 2, 2019, 3:21 pm

    Just to put in my 2 cents, try not to make too many changes elsewhere, when going through a divorce. Ten years ago, I divorced my husband, enrolled in a university, and quit my job, and moved back to my hometown all at once and ended up in the hospital! Since then I’ve learned to wait a year or two after, if possible, to make voluntary major changes after the involuntary ones, & less stress! On the up side, dating in your 40s is awesome because both men and women are past all the raging hormones, but still young enough…

    Reply
  • J January 2, 2019, 3:41 pm

    Glad you and your ex were able to work things out like adults.

    For anyone wanting to keep their relationship on the right track, to correct the course if it’s drifted, or looking for ideas on how to build a healthy long term relationship I’d recommend the Gottman Institute as a resource.
    https://www.gottman.com/

    Reply
  • TJ Stevens January 2, 2019, 4:08 pm

    MMM — just a quick thank you for everything. You’ve changed my life in so many ways. I am saving, investing, reducing my debt, eating better, and we’re about to sell our house and move into a cheaper alternative (and invest the difference each month). You have made more of a difference—in my life—than most of my friends & family … and we’re perfect strangers. So yeah. I just wanted to say thank you for all you’ve done for everybody in this community. I consider you a role model, hero, mentor, and a fantastic & hilarious & insightful writer.. Hope that things get easier and easier for you as time goes on. And thanks again for everything.

    Reply
  • Claire January 2, 2019, 5:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing something so personal with reflection and honesty. Your kid is very lucky to have you as his dad. I’m sending good vibes your way.

    Reply
  • DallTex January 2, 2019, 5:02 pm

    Wow- I wasn’t expecting this news. So very sorry for what you and your family are going through.

    When I was a child my mother often told me that under every roof there are people dealing with problems. When I fly I often see countless houses and often think about her words.

    I am sure it was a punch in the gut to deal with this but as you are aware this too shall pass. I love the “little golden key” comment. I also want to thank you for the reminder to fuel the flames of the relationships we might have.

    Reply
  • mynameissmile January 2, 2019, 5:03 pm

    MMM,

    It takes a tremendous amount of courage to end a marriage. When I ended my first marriage it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The person you were in that relationship will cease to exist. A part of your identity dies. That is a big part of why it’s so hard. And while that part fucking sucks, the growth that follows is worth it. Most people continue to follow the same routines (surmounting debt, rampant spending, familiar relationships). However, I think Mustachians are too goddamn smart to get stuck in comfortable routines born from poor (or perhaps lazy/easy) choices.

    And so, while this will be a hard year, take comfort in knowing that you two have made the right choice for your family, and that there are many out there who have made the same tough choice. Honestly, I’m not sure why we so readily celebrate the choice to stay married and vilify those that choose divorce. In the end they are just choices that can each be the best and worst decision depending on the situation.

    As Shannon Hoon said in the song (aptly named) Change: “when life is hard, you have to change.”

    This change ended up being one of the best life decisions I have ever made. As a result of my choice, I met my very own Canadian from Ontario not long afterwards. He automatically earns cool points just by being Canadian, but he also happens to be a person that is generally a better fit for me. I also became what I believe to be a much kinder and happier version of myself.

    Thank you for sharing your story. And remember there are a whole hell of a lot of Mustachians out there who genuinely care about you.

    Reply
  • Todd P January 2, 2019, 5:08 pm

    Wow, MMM, so sorry to hear about the divorce, but like so many others have said, thank you for sharing your learning experiences. From the start of the article, I have to admit, I was hoping the outcome would be Epic Mustachian, and it was: thoughtful, practical, and leaving all parties involved better off for the experience. I, too, found the golden key comment to be a valuable notion to hold on to. Best wishes for you and your family as you go through this transition.

    TP

    Reply
  • JDixon January 2, 2019, 5:24 pm

    Wishing Mr, Mrs and Jr MMM all the best through this difficult time. Congratulations on keeping things amicable, practical and focused on the important things. All the best. GP

    Reply
  • Val January 2, 2019, 5:26 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your split, but it sounds like you, your ex-wife, and your child will do fine moving forward.

    It seems to me that almost all of my divorced friends and family actually do get on well with their exes and do shared custody instead of having horrible custody battles and trying to get all the alimony possible and all of those really contentious things that can happen. I think it’s because Gen X were really often children of divorce, and if your parents weren’t divorced, your friends’ were, and you heard a looooooooooot of shit.

    Humans sometimes just can’t live together anymore. I wish you all well!

    Reply
  • Jersey Dave January 2, 2019, 5:58 pm

    Just to nit pick; The chance of a current first marriage ending in divorce is much lower than 50%. Its probably closer to 30%.

    50% is the gross divorce rate. Its calculated by comparing the number of marriages to divorces in any given year. The problem is the people getting divorced in a year are not the same people getting married–As the marriage rate is dropping the gross divorce rate can’t be used to predict chance of divorce for a given marriage. It’s actually possible (though unlikely) to have a gross divorce rate over 100%.

    Here’s a NYTimes article that has a chart showing the divorce rate broken down by the wedding decade.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/upshot/the-divorce-surge-is-over-but-the-myth-lives-on.html

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 2, 2019, 7:34 pm

      Thanks Dave, I appreciate the correction!

      And on top of that, I noticed that the divorce rate for high education and income people is also much lower – more like in the 20% range, although I think that article was just citing the ten year survival rate. For the record, we made it about 14 (with over eight years of mostly-on dating before that too).

      Reply
  • Courtney January 2, 2019, 7:07 pm

    So much truth! So much wisdom, hopefully many will read and benefit. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  • Simplesam January 2, 2019, 7:08 pm

    Man I’m really sorry to hear about this. My thoughts are with you. Write, reflect, exercise, and hang out with friends & family a lot. Godspeed.

    Reply
  • Tara January 2, 2019, 7:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing MMM. I genuinely wish the best for you MrsMM and your son. As always, you have articulated a collective human struggle and experience with grace, wit, and wisdom. Best wishes during this difficult time and take good care of yourself!

    Reply
  • Mongo January 2, 2019, 8:01 pm

    So sorry to hear this news. Like many of your inspired readers through the years who have only met you through your articulate and thoughtful posts, I wish you the best in 2019! Keep your head up…. then again, we all know you will Pete!

    Reply
  • Dennis January 2, 2019, 8:38 pm

    Although I don’t know either of you, it saddens me to hear of any break up. When I was young and working long days and going to school at night and working weekends with the National Guard, I came up with a plan to not ignore a wife if I ever got one. It was to buy a stock that paid dividends, and when the dividend check came in, that would remind me to do or get something special for the wife. It pays every three months, and until I found someone, I reinvested the dividends. I never got married. The stock is doing great. Back in 1976, I bought a house that I expected my then girlfriend to marry me and live in it, but she dumped me. I still have the house. Tennyson said that it was better to have loved and lost than never to have loved. But one can love, and not get married. Still, I regret never getting married. It sounds like you both are happy and friends, and I wish you both well.

    Reply
  • Ali January 2, 2019, 8:54 pm

    Well, the optimistic (and ironic) part is that you may have saved a few marriages with this post. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for the tips.

    Reply
  • Anna January 2, 2019, 10:26 pm

    Thank you for writing about your experience with your divorce. Sorry to hear it’s been such a hard year for you and your family. Your optimism and resilience is true to character and shines through in your writing, even about such a hard thing.
    I am married (we have been together 9 years) and I am 24 weeks pregnant with our first child (she’s due in April). We have been working on our money stuff and I have been voraciously reading the articles on your website and it has been so helpful in this time of growth. Thank you for doing what you do and take super good care of yourself in this new chapter of your life.
    Kindly,
    Anna

    Reply
  • Jack January 2, 2019, 10:28 pm

    First off, I’m sorry to hear you guys are splitting up. Your blog inspired many changes in my life. With regards to FIREd people, I’d love to see divorce statistics. I would bet they’re higher than average. Here’s my theory:
    1- FIRE is deliberate living, but most people are not as deliberate when they couple. They select for attractiveness and physical compatibility. That’s true for me and most people I know. As people age and become more deliberate with their lives, they unfortunately find, like you did, strong irreconcilable incompatibility. I know that’s what I’m experiencing in my marriage and it makes married life less fulfilling. So young people, look for compatibility beyond looks before tying the knot!
    2- Time. FIRE allows spending more time with your spouse and kids. That’s not always an optimal outcome. Depending on personality, that might become suffocating to spend so much time together. I know couples who both work from who also struggle with all that togetherness. You probably spent the equivalent of 30 years together in your 14 year of marriage relative to working stiffs. Incompatibility will be magnified with having more time together. Not good or bad, I would just caution people with a lot of free time to find forcing functions to spend time apart. I intend to work forever for that reason.

    Reply
  • Honey January 2, 2019, 11:12 pm

    When my husband and I divorced, the court clerk, whom I queried by phone, explained that our state (Virginia) required the use of a lawyer to submit the proper paperwork. So my husband and I shared one lawyer. The lawyer said we needed a deposition from a third party, testifying that we lived “separate and apart” the required amount of time, despite continuing to share one apartment. That and the filing cost $300 — back in 1993.

    As for the separation agreement, saying who would get what, we were able to do that on our own. We only argued over one thing: who would get the beautiful furniture we’d bought. Each thought the other should take and enjoy it.

    Yes, we had an amicable divorce, as amicable as we could make it. He followed my lead, expecting worse perhaps because it wasn’t his first, and appreciating the difference. As I told our friends, we didn’t marry in hate, and I refused to divorce in hate. My parents divorce in hate, and sadly that horribleness never ended. I wanted none of it.

    There was just one thing we couldn’t avoid, something you very nearly alluded to in your blog post: When the divorce came through, it felt like a death in the family, as though the marriage, itself, was an entity, and that entity died. For all the crying and mourning that ensued, with the unexpected sense of death hitting so hard, I was glad that the humans involved lived on. And I was grateful that my ex and I stayed friends, at least until he remarried, ten years later. He will always have a place in my heart, because we married out of love, and I believe it should stay that way.

    Reply
  • Dean January 2, 2019, 11:16 pm

    While I’m also sad to hear the news, it was also an encouraging post. I went through a divorce in 2017 after 24 years of marriage. I admit it frightened me in part because I felt very dependent on both our incomes being new to the idea of financial independence. It made me wish we had done a better job of managing finances. We had quite a bit of equity in our house and we split those proceeds after selling. That has helped put me at ease, giving me a taste of what it means to have a sizable emergency fund. Now I’m renting and waiting to decide if I should buy, but don’t want to tie up that cash.
    I really need to get more serious about the ideas you write about, but often feel stuck as to what the right move is. The way you have put your concepts into practice is very impressive. I almost wished I had an advisor that could help. At least I have your blog to provide me with a wealth of ideas.

    Reply
  • PLS January 2, 2019, 11:38 pm

    Hey MMM. Sorry for you and the fam. Divorce sucks, no doubt about it. But, like you said, it can lead to better things.

    My parents divorced when I was in high school. It sucked for all of us but it turned out to be the best thing for everyone in the family, kids and parents. As a kid, I discovered who my parents really were once they divorced and it turns out I liked them both a lot. I really didn’t know who they were before because they weren’t free to be themselves and they were both tense and angry. My relationships with both my parents grew stronger after the divorce.

    As for my parents, they both moved into relationships and remarried. My stepparents are both great people and I feel blessed to have them. They both supported me, loved me and, most importantly, loved my parents.

    The process is hard. But, I know from experience that the potential is there for a much brighter future for everyone. The trick is to treat each other with kindness and respect.

    PS For those readers considering marriage, my dad gave me some great advice. “Everyone has something about them you don’t like or makes you crazy. If it’s worth it and you can live with it, marry them. If you can’t live with it, move on.”

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 3, 2019, 7:51 am

      Great story PLS and thanks for sharing it! This is the thing I want people to see – there is absolutely NO REASON a divorce can’t be a win/win/win situation for both parents and kid(s). It is purely social stigma that trains us to assume otherwise.

      People who don’t believe this should consider this counter-example: is it possible for a still-married household to be a BAD experience for both parents and their kids?

      Of course it is.

      The real factor is not your legal status, it is your behavior to each other afterwards.

      Reply
  • New single mom January 3, 2019, 12:51 am

    I seriously thought from the title that this was going to be a case study on me. I emailed you a little while back about my divorce in progress and my financial situation. I have been reading your blog for the past 3 or 4 years. So this was very painful for me to read and it has brought me to tears that you are going through this too. I wish I could be in an amicable divorce but my spouse chose the war option. I lost nearly all of my material possessions, even all the stuff I owned before marriage because he has possession of my belongings. Coparenting has been absolute hell so far. I have been to counseling for myself but he refuses it for himself. This has been the most difficult decision in my life and the stigma of divorce held me in this marriage. I am happier separated but I still await final judgment for our divorce. I have a week long trial to get through for that. This war has drained me financially and emotionally. It’s been a little over a year and I still feel stuck in the past thanks to the war that is raging on. I have been trying to rediscover life, evaluate my finances and when I can retire now. I’ve also been trying to understand The Who what when and why my marriage ended. In the months leading up to it I did read several marriage advice books and they were insightful. But the partner has to be willing to change as well- one person can’t fix their marriage alone. My heart is broken for my child because I wanted her to have a normal life, instead she is getting a two household life with double toothbrushes and all.

    Reply
  • Aaron January 3, 2019, 1:06 am

    I like everything you write Sir, all of it, except this one. You just grew apart? OK man, if you say so, but in my 42 years, I’ve never seen it happen like that at all.

    I know it’s awful, nearly as awful as death, and I know you’ll be fine, and you’re coping and doing the best you can here. I get that much from it. I still like you and I’ll wait for your next article like a kid waiting for Christmas, but you blew this one being middling.

    It isn’t honest, not completely. If you’re going to write something, and you want me to give a shit, you better open up and bleed. No half measures, no euphemisms to separate yourself from reality. State the facts, whatever they are. We fought about money. Someone cheated. We made decisions that were dumb. Tell me the story. Life is unfair, whatever happened here included.

    My point is that your premise must be completely honest. Don’t lose your edge trying to write something middling like this is the Economist or the New York Times, you’re better than that and you’re free from any editor, so don’t hold back. Bleed on the page. You don’t need permission and you don’t need the money.

    I love your blog though. In fact, it’s the only one I like at all because you’re a very good writer. So maybe I should comment a on the 100 other good posts. Sorry to be a dick, I just assume you’ll understand it’s meant to be constructive. You probably don’t read 400 comments down anyway. And it sounds like you’re already through the worst of this and I’m glad for that.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache January 3, 2019, 7:44 am

      Yep, you are right Aaron that if I opened up and told you EVERYTHING, this would be a more interesting blog post.

      But that would come at the price of the feelings of people in the *REAL WORLD*. My esteemed former spouse, our son, our families and friends. So of course I would never do it, for any amount of online “success”.

      This blog is just a hobby. It comes at a far, far distant second to anything I do in the real world. If it has to be less juicy in order to avoid hurting people I care about, that is the easiest choice in the world to make.

      Also, yes, people absolutely do just grow apart. The exact daily symptoms of how this affects your life will vary, but the underlying cause is just a lack of two people wanting to spend time together. Happens to millions or even billions of couples.

      Reply
      • Aaron January 3, 2019, 10:50 am

        Yeah, I get the sensitivity, but you don’t tend to write this way, so it’s out of left field from my perspective. For all I know, you had to run this through the law office to make sure it was cool.

        Lack of shared interests, tendency towards accidental conflict, and high demand situations…well that sure does clarify it, lol. Maybe I’m just dumb, but that leaves me bewildered. WTF does that mean? Y’all fought about the toilet seat being up or down? It’s not your usual style at all. I thought I’d clicked a HuffPost link, lol.

        You’re not just some dude with a blog about his vacations, you’re an icon, a brand, the defacto leader of a movement, like it or not. How do you divide the Coca-Cola label up in a divorce? I’m left here thinking you got the rights to the Beatles albums and she got the Nissan, lol.

        I just think you’ve really missed an opportunity here, and you’re right, who gives a f*ck what I think or the rest of the internet thinks, but the box says comment and the spirit moved me because I admire the way you write and the way you live (way more than I admire the retire early part, but that’s pretty cool too). Seems like every FI/RE blogger only writes about how everything is good, no matter what, but you tend to be different. You’ve practically trademarked the terms “face punch” and “badassity.” The same guy who just wrote that your wife has a boyfriend and you’ve had to move out of your house, but we’re told the story that everything is good! I’m not saying you’re doing it wrong, I’m just saying it’s not congruent and suddenly for the first time I can’t relate. You posting this one from jail for causing a scene doesn’t seem likely, but more likely than what I just read, lol.

        I haven’t read it in a while, but you once wrote an awesome post about how you were doing some real estate business with your buddy building houses back in 2007 or around then. You took us through the blow-by-blow of how that situation went south. I really respected you for that post especially, because it was about a bad financial decision, about a learning experience, and you shared your emotions as you told the story. I read it a few years ago, and it stuck in my head because it was f*cking good writing and a good story. This time you’ve just glossed over this huge life event, and this is a much bigger deal from a financial perspective than a house that took a while to sell and a shitty friend.

        You could’ve written this whole blog post in 2 sentences. “We got divorced, but it was cheap and we’re not mad. I bought a house and moved down the street.” That’s the summary. The rest was just fluff.

        I never knew a relationship that ended because people grew apart. I suppose it happens on occasion, like when someone’s deployed a lot maybe, but I think it’s usually just something people say when they don’t want to be honest. I’m just having trouble buying the grew apart story. You’re two people who don’t have jobs and stay home all day together, or at least pretty often, so the grow apart story was either some real bad luck, or kind of half true.

        I love your blog, a lot, so I’m not your enemy, I’d say I’m a concerned fan. I feel a bit like I did when Garth Brooks changed his identity to Chris Gaines or when they took the original Duke Boys (Bo & Luke) off the show and replaced them with their cousins. I felt betrayed or something like that. It didn’t seem real, and neither does this.

        But you probably hate me by now, and I probably deserve it, because you’re a bloody excellent writer, but this wasn’t interesting or realistic, for the first time in my experience reading your stuff. I hope it’s an exception and not the new normal. Don’t disappoint me like Metallica did and turn pop, lol. Just keep being you and writing the goddamned truth.

        Anyway, I sense that’s probably all we’ll get regarding this topic, and that’s unfortunate considering it’s such a big, threatening one, up there with losing your health or your job in terms of impact to finances.

        But to end my wall of text, I’m very honoured that you responded to me at all, and although I can’t entirely relate, I definitely sympathize. I had a 9 year relationship once that ended and it was just miserable. We didn’t even have kids. I learned some powerful psychological tools during those dark days, months, and years and I know I’d have never learned any other way. So will you. I’ve been able to help others along the way too with bad things, like death and divorce, because I can relate to people in the pits of despair and know the method to get out of that hole and I learned to explain it pretty easy. I had to go there myself or I’d have never learned. I’m not a Buddhist, but it was some Buddhist stuff called the wheel of life, about keeping every important aspect of your life balanced. It got me back on track, and it changed my world view entirely. Before I was so singularly focused, always trying to win or excel at something, but now I try to keep everything in balance. I prioritise a balanced life over being the best in some category.

        Half the people I know are divorced. It’s just something that happens. Keep your head on straight now that you’re a single rockstar. You’ll have some unique challenges and not many people will understand. I’m glad it’s going reasonably well for a bad time and good luck to you and your family.

        Reply
        • TO_Ont January 3, 2019, 11:21 am

          It’s a personal finance and lifestyle blog, not a personal tell-all column. He’s _never_ written about very personal stuff, ever. He has always been extremely careful about his son’s privacy in particular, but more generally about his and his family’s. I feel like you and I have been reading completely different blogs. Publically sharing a lot of detail about someone starting a business is fun and cool, treating your family or sex life or kid the same way would not be.

          He’s not ‘writing from prison’, he’s just trying not to he an asshole to his kid or to his kid’s mom.

          Reply
          • Aaron January 3, 2019, 4:05 pm

            The mom and the kid know the truth either way, whether he tells it to others or not. I wouldn’t call it a tell all blog either, but this was a tell nothing at all post.

            Reply
        • James January 3, 2019, 12:33 pm

          > I’m just having trouble buying the grew apart story.

          Nobody cares what you’re having trouble buying. Can’t you see that you are being incredibly rude?

          Reply
          • Aaron January 3, 2019, 4:12 pm

            The financial independence sub on reddit changed the rules and put a new stickied post at the top of the page as a result of discussions precipitated by precisely this event. I doubt if everybody cares, but a lot more than just nobody.

            I’m a dick for never commenting here before on the many good posts he’s written and only commenting on the first one I don’t like. I’ve already admitted and owned that.

            Reply
            • TO_Ont January 4, 2019, 8:46 am

              I guess we will have to disagree on what it’s appropriate, kind, or healthy to share publically about one’s family relationships.

              And we clearly strongly disagree on what it’s appropriate, kind or healthy to pester another person about about their family relationships.

              If there’s a reddit thread somewhere giving you the idea that trying to pry into someone’s private life like this is OK… well, maybe reddit isn’t always the best place to learn how to be a decent, kind, or emotionally healthy person?

              Reply
              • Cameron January 7, 2019, 5:14 pm

                I know it’s early, and therefore a big call… but this comment gets my vote for comment of the year!

                Aaron’s coming across as a douche rocket, whether intentionally or not. Certainly not deserving of the gracious, respectful reply MMM gave him. Needs a face punch.

      • Birmingham January 3, 2019, 3:46 pm

        Dude, you are a class act. Been following your post since you’ve started and have NEVER said a word on here. I got a divorce in 2005 and am now happily remarried, but I remember it was an awkward feeling at first, and us tough types bounce back quickly (at least this gal considers herself tough – I make 6 figures and put myself through school twice, undergrad & grad and anyone who doesn’t like me can well, kiss my arse). Dude, you’ll be fine. Really think a lot of you, really do. I didn’t get schooled on finances, I’m an only child and my parents were much older when they had me and I’m 44 years young. If it wasn’t for people like you, sharing, opening up, we (society as a collective) would not do as well. We need people like you. I hope to meet you one day, you’ve been so inspiring— when I retire, one thing I would like to do is buy you a beer (remember this for 2025) LOL. Hang in there… Anonymously cool chic from Bham AL

        Reply
      • Strummin January 7, 2019, 4:47 pm

        No Mr Money Mustache!! You cant have “chosen” divorce, something terrible must have happened. I feel so sorry that your marriage failed but as you already know we learn more about ourselves through the difficult times. I have personaly learned more from my ginormous list of failures then I have from my successes and my foundation is built on what I have learned from failure. I hope you find 2019 to be a blessed year for your entire family and may the bumpy road of life lead you to even more positivity.

        Cheers,
        Strummin

        Reply
  • Jean Young January 3, 2019, 1:15 am

    I too have gone through that heartache divorce. It is very difficult when you are going through it, but time heals all wounds, and later your life is transformed into something more appropriate and way more meaningful.
    On the financial side, we used a mediator to help us craft a settlement agreement. It sailed through the courts and we did not have to appear. It did take time, about 8 months to arbitrate everything, and that was awkward, cobbling around disconnected in the same house. But we both understood that the pay off was worth it.
    We owned two properties and gifted each other one of them, I kept the second house. I owned my x-husband $250K which was the price differential from one house to the other, so I wrote an exact check as what I receive in child support each month for 8 years to stay in our second home. Each of us kept a car and our 401Ks.
    My ex-husband came over each day to spend time with my son, which was wonderful, although I felt it prevented me from moving on to other relationships. But getting my son through it and our commitment to stability and loving parenthood was most important.

    I asked my Mom to live with me, and after 45 years of marriage in Pennsylvania, the death of my father and the sale of her farm house, she, a native Bostonian, came to Los Angeles to do just that. It was a wonderful time in her life and she truly enjoyed it. I had been away from home since 25 and had not lived with her in 20 years, but I enjoyed getting to know her well, too. Then I took on more freelance writing work, writing for second contracts at night to reduce the income stress.
    I also received a Masters in Education, in instructional design, which I did on the cheap, through the CSU system, as an insurance policy.
    My divorce was finalized in 2002 and I am well beyond it now. Into another relationship now and happy. I am still working as a consultant, which at 62 may seem funny to someone who retired at 32, but you know us Californians, always pushing the outer end of the envelope. I am interested now in teaching and continue consulting work as a next step.

    I also opened an Airbnb 5 years ago and it has been a wonderful experience to host people from all over the world. I have had people from Germany, France, England, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, Guatemala, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and India. It has been a tremendous income boost, since I am in a 3 bedroom with my son staying in Chicago after college, it has helped offset my expenses and property taxes.

    If you want information on maximizing your Airbnb earnings and marketing your listing, I would, as one divorcee to another, be happy to give you any information I can.

    Wishes for peace, patience and prosperity in 2019!

    Reply
  • Eva January 3, 2019, 1:45 am

    I am sorry to hear about your divorce. It is always good to know that both of you managed to get through the process in an amicable way, the couples I know don’t follow that way and end up arguing about everything, including their children as weapons…
    In relation about the gossip. I was looking for a quote to be applied to those who love/fall for gossiping:

    “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

    And I ended up investigating this quote and reading more about the subject.
    https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/11/18/great-minds/

    I wish all of you well.
    The “too little, too late” will come for me too this year.. thanks for your post, it is inspiring.

    Reply
    • Ms Blaise January 6, 2019, 2:35 am

      re the small minds discuss people, I was paralysed by “what people thought” when I left my ex husband. There was nothing “wrong,” we were just miserable, and one of us had to have the balls to admit it. So I was “the one who left”.
      My liberation moment came when an acquaintance told me that my personal drama was other peoples 5 mins of gossip at the end of a day. Suddenly I was freed. and I have never looked back or worried about other opinions since.

      Reply
  • J Redd January 3, 2019, 2:45 am

    Sorry to hear about the divorce. It’s never easy. With that said I think you should start a side blog about dating. I think this would be great. Can you imagine the look on a dates face when you pick them up on a tandem bike. Mr. Money mustache looking for love. Probably be better as a vlog though. Just a thought. Good luck with everything!

    Reply
  • JP January 3, 2019, 3:03 am

    I’m really sorry to hear this, but it’s nice to hear from someone so early on who’s positive. Me and my ex have also separated this year and are currently going through divorce proceedings. We are both trying to be as amicable as possible and spent Christmas together as a family with our 2 young kids. It’s not an easy path to do this, but I think it’s the right choice and it’s amazing to hear it validated by someone I really respect.

    Although we are not young retirees, I want to say that even being on the semi-FIRE path for a little while (about 5 years at 30% savings) has really helped make things smoother for both of us. The excess savings we had were dumped on our house as mortgage overpayments, so we had enough equity for me to cash out the house and buy a property myself about a 1 minute walk away.

    Kudos to the both of you for making it work as best as this can.

    Reply

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