Money is considered a sensitive topic not only in society at large but within marriages as well. It seems to me that a partnership in which a spouse doesn’t know how much the other makes or spends is a house without a good foundation. Rough winds or slight trembles could easily crumble it. Secrecy when it comes to money and wealth taints it with negative emotions, and these restrict us from processing very important concepts that could lead to financial stability.
We are not experts with money and relationships, but we believe that transparency is key to creating common goals and finding creative ways to reach them. There is no one correct way of handling money in a relationship. You could do separate accounts, combined finances, or both. Talk about different points of resistance and come up with win-win systems that would strengthen your relationship and take you to your common goals.
Chris and Angela Pempsell have been married for 5 years. They bonded over two things from the moment they met, the love of hiking and budgeting. What may be an awkward first date conversation for some is what made their relationship flourish.
Intentionality in handling money started with Chris when his parents exposed him to real estate investing and the value of hard work. After graduating, he lived with them to help save aggressively for his own home. He invested in real estate right at the heels of one of the Great Recessions of our time. The goal of wanting to get one house snowballed into an accumulated mix of residential and commercial properties that he managed and maintained himself.
Financial Independence was not as popular online as it is today when Chris started building his net worth. Everything he needed to gain momentum in his FI journey he had to learn through his network of family, friends, and co-workers. His focus has always been less on early retirement, and more on having the option to do so. To live a more intentional life, do what you love rather than hustle for a paycheck to support a life you don’t enjoy.
The FIRE concept was foreign to Angela before they met. When Chris told her that he has the option to leave work in his 30s, she didn’t believe him. She always believed that everybody must work into their 60s to have enough for retirement. Although FIRE was not on Angela’s radar, she is a natural saver and although she didn’t know it yet, practiced Minimalism from her childhood years. She remembered saying no to big birthday parties or expensive gifts, even if it was alienating at times. Her intentionality in ownership of things was reinforced by the contents and books by Fumio Sasaki that she practiced when she had her own space.
Filipinos don’t typically embrace the concept of minimalism. Perhaps because we have been conditioned to keep up with people in our circle and our idols on the screens, we accumulate stuff at our disadvantage. This inspired Angela to start the Minimalist Philippines Facebook group with her friend. They put up content and stories to show Filipinos the freedom that minimalism brings. It eventually grew to thousands of members where everyone shares their struggles, strategies, and how their lives were changed for the better by owning things that truly give joy.
Designing a Financial Independence Life
When they got married, Chris and Angela merged spreadsheets and finances completely. They still have their separate accounts so they could spend their paychecks without affecting their overall net worth. Angela designates about 10% of her income for her family in the Philippines and Chris is 100% on board with this because they are aligned in this set of values.
Chris and Angela combined not only their spreadsheets but their dream of traveling around the world. To make the most out of it, they make sure to aggressively save for travel expenses. It is easy to prioritize travel because they aren’t so much into retail therapy. When they do need to buy something, they make sure to buy quality, so they’ll have it for a long time. Chris has been driving the same car for 10 years. They can enjoy new sights with each other because they are comfortable that they already have what they need.
When Angela entered the world of Real Estate investing through Chris, the DIY mentality became their joint hobby that grew out of necessity. Since they always buy the worst house in the best neighborhood, rehabbing a property through contractors could be costly. The truth is that if you own a home something is bound to break. Foundational skills on how to fix up and maintain a property not only saved them money but those turned into small projects that Chris and Angela bonded over. From this recording, they bought, lived in, and flipped four houses that they sold for more than they paid for.
The FI life
Chris and Angela want to build generational wealth by choosing to work on opportunities and projects that they value. They would spend half of their time in the Philippines and the United States so they can be with their families. They would continue to spend extravagantly on travel and live a fully rounded life. Building the life that they want now and then saving for it, but not the other way around.
Angela has been applying the power of pause in her life. Allowing herself to reflect on a stimulus before reacting to it. Making sure that when she responds to a situation that she is doing it for herself, not only to please others. Chris is now working on embracing the power of no. So many things will be thrown at us at any point and time, but we don’t have to say yes to all of them. As a matter of fact, by hoarding responsibilities and commitments you could be doing yourself and others a disservice.
Small daily seemingly insignificant improvements, when done consistently over time, yield staggering results.Robin Sharma, 5am Book Club
Financial independence is attainable for everybody. It is a matter of planning your course and consistently applying sound practices in earning and spending money. Yes, there will be people who will hit the jackpot and become instant millionaires, but what are the chances? Your FI journey would seem slow and tortuous. Stay the course. You’ll get there before you know it.
We are a Pinoy Physical Therapist duo living somewhat unconventional but intentional lives. In this podcast, we want to learn how Filipinos all over the world in different industries and walks of life earn, spend, save and invest money to achieve Financial Independence.
We are NOT certified financial advisors, analysts, or CPAs. Investing strategies shared in this article and the website are not financial advice, but our own opinions that are for educational purposes only. We want you to treat our content as a preview to do your research so you can make smart financial decisions.