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Here's the point blank truth: I wouldn't be retired early right now if it weren't for my wife, Courtney. She's my partner in crime, and her influence played a big part in our early retirement lifestyle.
For many early retirees, their spouse plays an integral part. Not only does the spouse provide support (both emotional and otherwise), but their income (if they worked) is equally crucial.
The people we marry influence our own livelihoods so profoundly that we become a part of who they are - and them us. If one spouse isn't on the same page as the other, this whole financial independence and early retirement thing wouldn't happen. At least, not nearly as easily.
I am enjoying my life as a free man...free of a full-time job, adventuring through some of the most amazing parts of our country and working toward incredible goals, because of the person whom I married.
She makes us financially independent
The most remarkable aspect of all this: I'd be working right now if we weren't together.
Without the wealth that she brings to the table in this relationship, I'm not financially independent. And neither is she without me.
To many, this means that neither of us are financially independent - at least, individually. And, that's true. We aren't. We need to be together.
But hell - let's face it: If either of us decided to make a break for it and end the marriage, my financial independent status would be the last thing on my mind. Like, who cares? My life just got turned upside down.
Like I care whether or not I'm FI at that point.
Our combined forces make us strong
Together, we make the team that you see. I'm the writer on the blog, but Courtney supports me and this blog through work behind the scenes, like the TSR Pinterest account and coming up with ideas and serving as a sounding board to discuss new ideas. In fact, the entire new theme of the site (ie: living differently and changing your life) was all her, not me.
She also understands when I'm working on blog stuff as she prepares dinner. She knows I hate to cook (like, it's a genuine hatred), and she's in the kitchen whipping up a delicious dinner as I blaze a trail through a new post. It's never an issue.
Our YouTube channel A Streamin' Life (that recently surpassed the 10,000 subscriber mark!) is her's, though I do all of the video-editing work. But, she's the one scheduling them, coming up with topics and places to go (she's the planner in the relationship!) and responding to comments.
And speaking of planning, I'd probably be crying in the middle of a deserted street somewhere, isolated and alone without any idea where I am or what happened to my ride, if it wasn't for Courtney and her ability to organize, strategize and plan.
Holy shit, can that women ever plan...
And recently, we began work on a course together - a course that we hope will take the RV and traveling community by storm. We are both putting a ton of work into this course, and it's becoming our baby. The baby that we want to nurture and raise as if it were, like, an actual human being.
Oh, and that too...the baby thing. I'm incredibly fortunate that she, like me, is okay not having children. I never wanted kids and she was always indifferent. But, there's also no discounting the fact that if we had kids, we'd love and support them the best we could...but, we'd also be in a very different place. Neither of us would be retired.
She brings a whole other level of support to this relationship that makes my influence, frankly, a bit hollow. I might write, but she enables the writing. I might put together our YouTube videos, but she's the one finding all those epic adventures and places to go. I might be the one being interviewed on podcasts, but without her, none of this would be happening.
Financial Independence and Early Retirement often requires two
The financial independence community doesn't talk a lot about this topic, but it's as important as anything. Though we can achieve FIRE if we're single, marriage statistically assists in the accumulation of wealth.
Even if that spouse didn't bring much money to the table, they absolutely support your ability to live life without the relentless torture of full-time work. Without them, you'd probably be in a very different place right now.
Courtney, I know that you are reading this: Thank you for everything that you do. I couldn't be on this adventure without you, and your never-ending love and support is the true reason that we're both sitting here. Free.