When Frugal Turns Miserly: Is He Wrong for For Extreme Position on Saving?

The quest for financial independence and early retirement forces us to make sacrifices. If we want to leave the workforce early, we must either make a ton of money, or give up on “keeping up with the Joneses.”

However, sometimes we get so caught up in saving for the future that we forget to live in the present. We scrimp and save every dollar, sacrificing our own comfort and even safety for a future that may never even come to be. 

One man seemed to fall down this rabbit hole and came to the popular Reddit community where people can ask whether they’re in the wrong to find out whether he was unreasonable or his wife was selfish. 

The Backstory

The Original Poster (OP) shared some backstory before asking who was wrong. He and his wife have been together for six years, married for four. They bought a starter home soon after the wedding. 

Then, he received a job offer across the country. Although they had no support system in the new town, he decided to jump on the proposal, as the pay increase was impossible to turn down. She chose to move with him. 

Over the past few years, the couple acquired a small portfolio of rental properties, and their current combined income is about $300,000 per year. 

They live off her income while investing his. 

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His Wife Isn’t Happy

Given their high income and asset collection, OP is baffled by his wife’s unhappiness. He stressed that she’s not needy or demanding and admitted knowing her dream was to live a simple life. All she ever wanted was a small place to call home and to raise a couple of kids. 

Instead, OP forced her into a minimalistic lifestyle. Despite the high incomes, they drive a 15-year-old car he calls “unreliable.” Instead of living in one of the five properties, they rent a tiny apartment in an area where she feels unsafe at night. 

“But the rent is cheap!” exclaimed OP. 

What She Wants

OP knows his wife isn’t living the life she wanted. He said she’s sick of living so cheaply and wants to buy a small home in a nicer city nearby. 

She also wants an upgrade to her engagement ring for their 10th anniversary because when they initially got engaged, she compromised on a smaller, cheaper ring that she wasn’t in love with. 

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OP Thinks his Wife is Unreasonable

The OP scoffed at his wife’s simple demands. They could easily afford the house she wants, but he refuses to be tied to a mortgage. 

He sees the upgraded engagement ring as an unnecessary expense and gift-giving as a waste of money

“I’m not big on gift-giving,” he admits. “But she is constantly spending whatever money she has left at the end of the month (after rent, bills, groceries) on gifts for me and my son. It’s generous, I appreciate the thought. But I wish she would save it instead to contribute to investing more.”

Whose Priorities Are Off?

The OP ended by calling his wife selfish. He claimed that he makes sacrifices too, and her priorities are off. 

“Who wouldn’t want to set up for a financially free future?” he ultimately asked. 

He sought advice from Reddit. Is his wife selfish, or is he too hard on her?

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OP is the Selfish One

Most Reddit users called OP out on his selfish behavior. He refuses to compromise and forces his priorities and desires on his wife, knowing full well she doesn’t share his goals. 

“This isn’t a compromise. You‘re forcing your ideas and priorities onto her and basically blackmail her emotionally.” said one user. 

“Op – you’re miserly,” added another. “What’s the point of having that much money if you’re making the people you love miserable?”

Signs of Financial Trouble

Some users questioned OP’s motives, wondering if his “investments” were high-risk ventures like cryptocurrency. They couldn’t imagine a valid reason for being so miserly. 

Others pointed out that his behavior towards his wife pointed towards financial abuse, and it didn’t sound like he even liked her at all. 

“You are getting everything you want,” stated one user. They added, “She is getting…well basically just a lot of emotional abuse and disdain from you. Do you even like your wife?”

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OP Doesn’t Understand What Compromise Means

A lot of users pointed out that OP doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of “compromise.” In a healthy relationship, partners will work together so they can both be happy and get something they want, but in this situation, OP demands his wife do what he wants with no regard for her well-being. 

“You’re not compromising. You’re forcing your choice down her throat,” said one user.

Another told OP that they need to devise an actual solution, or the marriage will likely end.

Different Goals

One Redditor found nuance in the situation. They didn’t want to tell OP he was wrong for having a specific life goal because everyone is allowed to have their own wants and priorities. 

However, the user said that OP was unfair to his wife. Relationships take work and compromise, and if OP can’t compromise on his goals, he shouldn’t be with his wife, who wants something different. They could divorce, and both could live the life they want. 

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What Do You Think?

Most of Reddit agreed that OP is in the wrong. He got eviscerated in the comments and ultimately deleted his question (though the responses are still available!)

Do you agree that OP needs to compromise to make his wife happy, or should she give up everything she ever wanted in the hopes of retiring early?