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.



  • Anonymous December 31, 2018, 5:04 pm

    Sorry to hear about this. I hope you keep sharing your experiences. I think they help a ton of people.

    • arb dude January 1, 2019, 3:26 pm

      As I am reading your post, I admire your strength to keep it cool through this tough process. I survived and later thrived out of divorce (it was a process, 10 years). I think you have the exact right approach and for right reasons. I had the right approach (as in not go through an expensive divorce) but my reasons for doing the right thing was because I enjoyed the pain of doing the right thing. It’s an unhealthy mindset but I was young and stupid.

      My advice for anyone going through this
      1) Find multiple healthy distractions. A good way to find them is to learn and engage in things you are interested in.

      2) Get outside and independent advice (pay for it if you need to). Someone who doesn’t know your situation and can be objective. Write down the good advice they give. Emotions get heavy in these situations. You need your objective reminders to stay sane. For example, I told an independent advisor that every divorced person I knew (in personal life at that time) is a total loser. They told me, so change that or don’t’ be that guy. I wrote that down and changed my perspective of the situation. I didn’t want to be that loser guy. I wanted people to get inspired by my situation.

      3) Survival, Survival, and Survival! Aim to not fight ever during the process (even if you have to start from zero or negative). The opportunity cost of fighting is way too high in these situations. Surviving is the most important thing when you are in a crisis and are getting emotional. If you survive, you will have the world one day. For example, if you survived the financial crisis, you could have bought S&P 500 at 666. So aim to survive. People in crisis situations who survive are those that take very little risks and focus on surviving at all cost (no frills, just survival).


    • Anonymous January 2, 2019, 6:21 am

      Thankyou for this blog, it really has come at the right time.for me to read it. I am also going through a divorce after separating from my husband last February. I have been rereading your blog to see how I can keep my head above water. My husband left in February, leaving me with two children under 4, a mortgage and all the bills. I have just lost my job and am frantically looking for another, but the bills are piling up and my husband hasnt been contributing since June. If you have any additional tips for me I would be most grateful.

      • Maitas January 2, 2019, 7:28 pm

        The two biggest expenses “normal” (whatever that means) people have is housing and mobility.

        House hacking might be an option. Besides lowering your expenses to bare minimum, maybe you can rearrange your house (sleep all in the same room) to rent out other rooms to pay for the mortgage and even have some extra money left over.
        Also, if possible get rid of the car (assuming you have one and the kids are big enough to use public transport by themselves) and start biking.

        I really wish you the best of luck and wisdom.


      • Maitas January 2, 2019, 7:52 pm

        Besides House Hacking, if you have a car, you might want to try out being an Uber or Lyft driver.
        MMM has an entry on that. You really need a cheap car for it to make sense. Also you need to learn hypermiling techniques (google it) to save as much gas (or energy if it is electric) as possible to earn more money from each trip.

        • Peter January 4, 2019, 11:21 am

          Actually, I find that I make a lot more if I drive a little faster and minimize delays. My costs for gas are around $5-6/hour. My income ranges from $15(very slow monday)-$80(very busy Saturday night) with the average hovering around $25-30. My car is the cheapest reliable car I can find (2007 Pontiac G6 w/V6 engine). It’s KBB is about $3500. Hypermilling could possibly decrease the cost of my gas by $1/hour (assuming you can get about 15% better mileage) or I could just drive a little faster (below the speeding threshold) and work to minimize delays when picking up a dropping off passengers. A single extra 5 minute Uber ride per hour will net me approximately $3 which is a much high return than hyper milling can give.
          Just some food for thought.
          Oh, and if anyone is thinking of driving for Uber or Lyftt, make sure you have a good tip box. This can drastically increase your hourly earnings.

          • Matias January 8, 2019, 5:27 am

            Nice info !!! Makes a lot of sense.
            Also the tip box.

      • Hello January 3, 2019, 11:10 am

        Sorry to hear! You may want to post a case study on the forum with all the numbers and this community will rally around to give you their specific thoughts. You are in crisis, so I think you need to take baby steps and ask everyone in your circle to help. This may be a time to get a housemate, get assistance at your local food pantry, apply for any programs associated with low income households (utilities will lower your monthly bill, you may get some heating assistance, etc. – look for your local community action agency), get as much as possible for free (get kids’ clothes from Buy Nothing Group on Facebook, ask friends to give you hand me down clothes for kids), etc. You may have to pay only the most essential bills that keep you and your kids housed, warm and fed. You may have to examine whether or not you can afford to live in your current home.
        Reach out to this community online. There are a lot of resourceful folks here willing to help.

    • Mike January 28, 2019, 3:04 pm

      Divorce sucks all round, but seems to be easier for the the one who planned to leave, they’ve already laid out the groundwork for leaving long before the one that gets left has much of a clue. There are lots of reasons for divorce, but the idea being retrospective/shoulda,coulda/woulda…is a bad one. I spent quite a while going back and forth over my own divorce after 24 years of marriage that could been better spent elsewhere. I determined that you have very little control over someone elses’s happiness, especially at middle age. You can be the best spouse in the world and have them leave you for a Bass player with a drug problem in an AC/DC cover band……which is the dating pool you will run into after 40. ;)

      • Been There Done That February 1, 2019, 10:02 am

        Reconciling life after divorce is a tricky operation, be it financial, emotional, spiritual, interpersonal, etc. I’ve experienced the calmness of relief, followed by tidal waves of anger and resentment. Much like all things in life, there’s an ebb and a flow to post-divorce life. Having experienced it myself and reading ad nauseum on the topic, you’re right on about the initiator having the advantage of planning their exit far in advance of the one on the receiving end. Not a game of fairness, especially when children are involved.

        I’ve known people who’ve viewed the experience as their great escape, and have bounced into new romantic relationships, and seemingly new lives before the ink has even dried on the divorce decree. This was not my experience and it is my hope for those who are currently going through the initial stages of this process, or are years past the initial event and are still healing, to continue to let time work its mystical magic. Seek professional counseling when necessary, find support in your family and friends, and have faith that the pain is only temporary and you will find wholeness again. I know the hurt, especially at those times when you kiss your kids goodbye until your next assigned custody day(s) to spend with them, and how quiet the house can seem when it’s just you and your thoughts. Rather than lament the unfairness of it all and use it as an excuse to go down a road of unhealthy escapism of bar hopping, bed hopping and self-pity, use the time to work on yourself, so that you can be your BEST self. Fill your mind, body and spirit with positivity. Hit the gym, go for a run, have lunch with a friend, read that inspiring book, listen to that light-humored podcast, integrate yourself back into life and let it take shape.

        Like Mike said above, all the could’a, should’a, would’a talk and thoughts will do little more than continue to rehash what has already happened and, unfortunately, will no effect on the past, but it will most certainly delay you from moving forward. If anything, use the experience for the valuable life lessons, and count the many blessings in your life and continue to build on them. Accept the temporary setbacks, wait out the storms and keep moving forward. Be resilient. Be well!

      • Mr. Money Mustache November 12, 2019, 9:09 am

        Mike, I hope you have come out of it okay. But I just wanted to remind you that a pessimistic attitude like that is very self-fulfilling, especially in the area of finding future love.

        The “dating pool” for 40 plus people is actually a wonderful place, as long as you live in an area with your own type of people (for me this is educated, oudoorsy professional types – preferably a bit quirky and artsy and nerdy as well). At this age, people have mellowed and learned from their past relationships and are moving on to a new free stage of life since our kids (if any) are growing up. It’s a fun world. Hooray for grownup single life!

  • Jamie December 31, 2018, 5:07 pm

    Thinking of you all, and wishing you all the best.

    I’m so glad to hear you were able to find a suitable house nearby. I look forward to hopefully reading some blog posts about your new place and your adventures in Airbnb in the future.

  • Ilona December 31, 2018, 5:10 pm

    Thank you for sharing. This is a very personal matter between you, (the former) Mrs. Money Mustache and your family. This is however, a very valuable blog post for many. Both you and (the former) Mrs. Money Mustache have achieved much financial prosperity and going forward, will still be able to prosper. I wish you well! I wish (the former) Mrs. Money Mustache well! I wish for the two of you, peace, in 2019. A fellow Canuck.

  • Stan December 31, 2018, 5:12 pm

    As a long time reader of your blog, I was shocked to hear the news. As someone who has been married for 23 years with 2 teenagers, I understand the ups and downs of a relationship and family. It definitely is not easy. Your story made me think about my situation and motivated me to let my spouse how much I appreciate what she does every day. Thanks for sharing and giving your perspective. Happy and healthy new year to you and your family!

    • Mr. Money Mustache December 31, 2018, 5:17 pm

      Go for it Stan!

      I am so happy to hear that and hope that every happily married couple will FIRE IT UP in 2019 to make their good thing better.

      • TheAngelsReply December 31, 2018, 6:15 pm

        Hello Mr. Moustache,
        I am so glad that you and your wife were able to work out your divorce in a mature and dignified manner. I appreciate your candor and transparency. I do hope that you take time heal from the pain of this trauma. From personal experience I have found the media to be uncivil and just downright cruel. Ignore them if you can or shut them down. I would even contact their governing body if they really do exaggerate or sensationalize the details of your life event. It normally shuts them up when they get a note from their press complaints commission. As for these other people commenting well they can go kick rocks. Their opinion of your personal matters are irrelevant. Focus on what keeps you happy.

        . I just found your blog two days ago. I have spent eight years recovering financially from a messy separation. Trust and believe finding your site was a blessing. Sending you many blessings for 2019.

        I am hoping to start the Moustache journey tomorrow.
        Stay true to you and sending all my love to you, your wife and your son.

        • Andreas January 1, 2019, 4:49 am

          Glad you found it! It is truly a life changing website and I cannot thank MMM enough!

          Best wishes for 2019 and forward, hoping that they all will recover nicely from the divorce. I think they will!

          Thanks MMM!

        • Tt January 1, 2019, 11:25 pm

          I have been a fan of MMM for years, I see you found his site just two days ago… I really recommend reading all of his posts “from the beginning of time”… He has a real good handle on what otta be important. And I find it to be important to pay attention to what people’s actions say, and how they can affect you, and how those actions affect relationships. Welcome to the club!

        • TheKiwi January 17, 2019, 6:02 pm

          Hi! I just started reading a couple of days ago too! I have flicked to this site over the years but not read in depth. Let’s grow a money mo!
          MMM, good for you re civil divorce. Mine was too as we explicitly stated from there our primary concern had to be the kids. We’re friends now (six years later).

      • Stan January 1, 2019, 7:55 pm

        Since you are a numbers guy, let me share with you my numbers on marriage. (I explain this to my friends before they get married.). Take 100 marriages. 55 end in divorce. Figure half of the remaining 45 marriages are happy marriages. Therefore, there is about a 22% chance of being in a happy marriage. Those are pretty bad odds. Everyone looks at the divorce rate, but nobody looks at the “happily married” rate when talking about marriages.

        • David January 2, 2019, 5:32 am

          A number of my friends have taken that angle, Stan, though not through crunching the numbers as you have. I think what you are overlooking however is that the life choice of marriage or not marriage does not follow “steady state” mechanics, where you can just consider things as a simple function of the binary happy-unhappy. In reality life (and marriage) is a complex and changing process which includes kids as well as getting old and weaker. When you are young, energetic, and gregarious, marriage and kids can definitely make things a lot harder, but things start looking different when you are old without kids or you get (really) sick. Don’t think your ability to put together a (ridiculously oversimplified) equation makes you exempt from the age-old mechanics of the human life cycle. Marriage, even if it doesn’t work out exactly the way you wish, is overall a winning concept.

          • anonymous January 2, 2019, 7:22 pm

            I don’t think it’s over simplified at all. If you’ve ever been in an unhappy marriage it is every bit this simple. I definitely am not willing to be in one just so there is someone to take care of me if I’m old and sick (or conversely, I get stuck taking care of someone else after being in an unhappy marriage – no to that). Yes, if you get in that 22% (or whatever it is precisely) you are super glad. But I agree the odds are not good, and to Stan’s point – the odds are higher than people typically state because we usually only reference the divorce rate; something I hadn’t thought of but agree with.

            I’ll leave you with one of my favorite jokes:
            Why are divorce attorneys so expensive?
            Because they are worth it.

            • Mr. Money Mustache January 2, 2019, 7:32 pm

              Yep – the idea of a mediocre partnership just so someone can change my diapers sounds like hell to me.

              I am going for the Fearless Maximum approach. Live happy, free, and empowered until the day I die. And I’d rather call it a good game a little early, rather than being a burden on someone else to take care of me.

            • Michelle January 3, 2019, 9:57 am

              Heh, bit of a sidetrack but I don’t even want a happy DH (or DD) to have to do all that in my falling-apart old age… def trying to keep end-of-life care in mind with my financial planning…

          • Paul C January 13, 2019, 12:50 pm

            Thanks for saying that marriage is a good deal even if it doesn’t seem that life delivered what we ordered. A divorced friend told me that,” when one door closes another one opens…but the hall’s a bitch”.
            My divorce and loss of five kids was the biggest tragedy of my life but has led to the best thing in life: a solid and reliable relationship with God that brings peace and eventually a new marriage.
            Cheers MoneyMan… you continue to serve us with the truth as you know and you’re a VERY generous man!

        • Mindy January 9, 2019, 5:17 pm

          I don’t know if that’s very fair… What are the rates of happily single people? How does the happiness level of happy married people compare to the happiness level of happy single people? I would never advise someone to stay in an unhappy marriage out of fear of being single, and not questioning the choice of those who prefer to stay unmarried. I’m just not sure I think your numbers tell the whole story.
          MMM – hats off to you for taking the high road and I’m sorry for what you and your ex-wife are going through, and that you have to do it as public figures.

        • Skip-the-Hyperbole February 4, 2019, 1:11 pm

          Marriage is a compromise, to be sure, but your starting assumptions are simply not factual. Divorce rates have never been as high as 55%, and have been dropping for decades. I would describe myself as satisfactorily married. Is it a panacea? No. Is it good for my finances? Ummm. Do I love my wife and is she an overall wonderful human being? Definitely.

        • Durr D February 25, 2019, 8:53 pm

          Thank you! Finally somebody addressed that part of the marriage equation. I’ve always thought marriage was a risky endeavor and to be taken with extreme patience. Too many couples marry on passion and spur of the moment decisions. Proceed with extreme caution is my advice.

        • Texasproud October 7, 2019, 5:38 pm

          Your formula seems a little simplistic. My sister’s husband cheated on her with her neighbor and friend. Unbeknownst to either she found out by accident. She is great at keeping things close. He had to go overseas for 6 months and gave her POA over all their assets. She spent that 6 months selling off many of the assets and giving big gifts to their children. She gave them down payments on houses, cash, cars, more college assistance, etc. When he got back she waited to see if the affair would continue then had him served divorce papers while he was in bed with the neighbor. She was the main bread winner and came out the winner with a lot more income for herself. It was still extremely painful but she definitely played it to her advantage. I liked how she put it best – I was happy for 25 years but the 26th year was awful. I was ready to move on in life. I told her I admired how she kept her cool cus she told no one not even any family because she said she knew how angry we would be at him. She wanted to spare us until she had everything in place. I was still angry but was tempered by her methodical thought process. It has now been 8 years and they are friends, he did marry the neighbor but my sister moved to a much nicer house and kept the other as a rental. Point is many of the years were happy so 96% of my sister’s married life was good. A positive trade as I adore my nephew and nieces.

    • RelaxedGal January 2, 2019, 8:36 am

      “Your story made me think about my situation and motivated me to let my spouse how much I appreciate what she does every day. ”

      Same here. This post inspired a talk with my husband. We think we’re doing pretty well, but could we do better? I will look into the Love Languages book, thanks for the recommendation.

    • Matt January 15, 2019, 7:31 am

      Stan, I couldn’t agree more. As parents of a 6, 4, and 2 year old sometimes life is incredibly hard where all we’re doing is surviving- but in the (many) moments of fun and smiles, it’s good to go a little deeper than just enjoying what’s on the surface and realize the deep joy and bliss. In these moments I need to constantly reminder myself how good I actually have it- how lucky and blessed am I?! What a reminder to tell my wife know how much she means to me, and then to show her with my actions.

      MMM, man I grieve with you at the ending of your marriage. I’m most encouraged with this line though: “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.”

      Time to extend that badassity to my marriage!

      • Andrea May 8, 2019, 9:30 am

        This section of writing resonated with me also:

        “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.”

        Coming off the back of a divorce I often marvel that something so personally painful as a relationship breakdown was so ‘text book’ and the issues so run of the mill.

        If this blog post inspires some to put the work into their relationship then that’s great because I found that there came a point where it was “just too late”. Given how long things had been sliding in my marriage it surprised me that in a very short period of time (no affairs) it was like a switch was flipped and I knew there was nothing left in me that wanted the relationship to continue.

        I’m not sure that the initiator of the divorce necessarily has it easier in regards to planning it out. In my experience and from discussions with others (women mostly so it’s a fairly skewed premise) the initiator has just already worked through the realisation and subsequent grief of the relationships end. I found that my attempts at rebuilding the marriage were never really a priority until I finally said I wanted to divorce and by then nothing was salvageable. I felt that the turbulence I had coming to my decision while trying to make the marriage work was replaced with relief once that switch had flipped. My ex husband then started his turbulent time of realising the marriage was over and the window to work on it had closed. Perhaps it looked like I was better off and had plans….I didn’t really, the desire to separate was all I knew for certain.

        I rarely read this blog

        *whispers: I find MMM kind of annoying despite his liberal dose of financial advice that rings true to me*

        but divorce is hard and economically it’s often devastating so I’m pleased it’s a topic on here, even if there are not many divorcing couples who will find themselves in similar financial circumstances.

        I actually read very little after my divorce (related to divorce that is) but somewhere I saw these quotes and they reflected my divorce experience:

        “Getting divorced is hard, being divorced isn’t”

        “Give time time”

  • Jesse December 31, 2018, 5:19 pm

    Wow, great post MMM. I’m continually amazed at how you can take difficult circumstances and choices, and come out stronger. It is proof that the core tenets of Mustachianism really are universal, and truly lead to greater lifetime happiness. It sure has changed my life for the better. I hope the bump of divorce on the road to badassity doesn’t deter anyone. Keep up the good work sir!

  • Gatsby December 31, 2018, 5:22 pm

    1. I wish my parents had divorced 15 yrs before they actually did – everyone, especially them, would have been much happier.
    2. I hope I never go through a divorce.
    3. C.S Lewis has some interesting words on marriage in his book ‘Mere Christianity’, which he openly qualifies by admitting he has never married. Most profoundly (I think) is his point that while you should of course continue to love your spouse, it’s not reasonable to expect to feel “in love” with someone for your whole life.

    Good luck.

    • R December 31, 2018, 7:26 pm

      C.S. Lewis was married to Joy Davidman. It’s a shame he never wrote a follow-up piece on his post-marriage thoughts (she pre-deceased him by 3yrs)

      • Katie Camel January 1, 2019, 3:35 pm

        Their story was allegedly captured in a book and movie, both named “The Shadowlands.” It’s a beautiful story and one of my favorite movies. Unfortunately, there is no account by Lewis that I’m aware of in which he shares his own story. My guess it was too personal to share.

        Mr. MM,
        Thank you for sharing such a personal and inspirational story. Having never been married, it’s hard for me to imagine all your family has suffered, but I know it was extraordinarily painful. Your son is very lucky to have two parents who found a way to reasonably and fairly amicable way to end their marriage and preserve as much normalcy as possible. It sounds as though you’re both stellar role models. What a great post to share on this first day of the new year!

        I’m sorry you were the subject of gossip, but I’m glad you’ve risen above the nonsense with such a positive post. Happy New Year to you! And thank you for such a great blog!


        • H. Bale January 2, 2019, 1:17 pm

          Lewis wrote “A Grief Observed” after the death of his wife.

    • John Warlock January 1, 2019, 1:54 pm

      I read a research paper back in the days, that your “in love faze” just lasts for 4 years before it begins to fade away. And this made perfect sense to me. As all my previous relationships lasted no more than 2 years. Been single now for a loooong time. :-D

      • Jabro January 3, 2019, 4:07 pm

        Hey John,

        Our biology is against us when it comes to long, monogamous relationships. Need to keep spreading the genes around to ensure survival of the species and our neuro chemistry promotes this. No wonder relationships are so difficult!

  • Maddie December 31, 2018, 5:22 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a personal matter with us. Divorce is tough. Wishing you and your family a fresh start in 2019. Thanks for using the internet to inspire and improve people’s lives. Keep on keepin’ on.

  • Alana December 31, 2018, 5:23 pm

    Does anyone know of good places to read advice about improving frugality while meeting your emotional needs? As an adult who has moved a lot while single, introverted and secular, this is a big hurdle. Working from home, traveling by bike and eating at home save $, but it’s also lonely. It seems so much easier for those who are deeply rooted in supportive, non/consumerist communities.

    • Mspbiker December 31, 2018, 8:04 pm


      Consider volunteering your time in/with/for a group that either supports your goals or has people similar to you. Not all ‘volunteer’ positions involve pure charity-feeding-the-lepers type action (just saying because it sounds like you could use a battery charge in your vollie time).

      Consider animal shelters, park/rec groups, etc- very people-interactive.

      My mom was a strong introvert but was a community volunteer in a wide, wide variety of organizations (one at a time) to fulfill her social needs.

      • Daniele January 2, 2019, 8:32 am

        Alana (volunteering organizations),
        Re: Financial Volunteering (to stay busy/if lonely/need to give back/healing)

        I work for a Bank and to satisfy our CRA (Community Reinvestment Act) needs, we are required to volunteer hundreds and sometimes thousands of hours each year to teach ‘financial literacy’ in ‘low to moderate income areas’. We must ‘find’ these organizations ourselves. It can be tough. Personally, I have found over 18 financial literacy organizations that every-day-people can volunteer for.

        Some of these (below) are nation-wide and some in Los Angeles County area only. Contact me if you’d like to learn more. I love this stuff and could talk about how rewarding it is to give back and encourage others to pursue their dreams and practice the financial basics.

        Junior Achievement – morning shifts from about 8a-2pm at local schools or at JA Finance park
        Operation Hope – 1 hour shifts at local schools teaching 1/5 modules
        LAEP-high school FAFSA help, mock interviews, career day speaking engagement, etc.
        NFTE-national entrepreneurship organization
        Spark-youth 10-week career mentorship program
        DAYS LA – long beach program to bring adults back into the work-force
        Youth Business Alliance-youth training program for businesses
        VITA-Tax training program – for adults that would like to give free tax prep to any LMI persons
        Regional Occupational Program – ROPs’s are all over the nation
        …there are thousands more…you can find one that fits your style :)

        Wishing you the best on your journey. Daniele

    • Simon January 1, 2019, 12:20 am

      I can heartily recommend taking focusing courses with Ann weiser Cornell, taking the courses obviously costs money but then you can maintain peer-to-peer partnerships for years (I’ve been talking every week to one of my partner’s for 8 years now, he probably knows more about me than anyone else, but we’ve never met). This performs a vital function in my life because although I have good friends I have no friends who I feel I could discuss my emotions with in a way that would be helpful (this is what happens when you grow up mailed in our society). I hope that’s of some help.

      • Simon January 1, 2019, 12:21 am

        Male not mailed

    • Susan January 1, 2019, 8:21 am

      Alana, your state may have a Master Naturalist program, which is a fabulous way to meet environmentally-minded folks. You would go through a few months of training, and then do volunteer and advanced training to maintain your status. My husband trained a few years ago, and we have met some really great people through the program. It doesn’t cost much, gets you out into nature, and introduces you to others with similar interests.

      • JudyB January 2, 2019, 4:20 pm

        Yes! My state has that program, and I’ve met and formed friendships with the nicest men and women of all ages by participating in the classes and volunteering. It has also led to other related nature/outdoor group activities. If you have any nature/environmental interests, see what you can find. If you have any land trusts in your area, they are usually looking for volunteers.

    • Hannah January 3, 2019, 2:32 pm

      Hey Alana,
      While I can’t recommend any particular book, if you’re looking for a great place to discuss this with other FIRE-minded women, check out http://www.reddit.com/r/FIREyFemmes


    • Anon January 24, 2019, 7:00 am

      Check out meetup and Facebook groups. I’ve met a lot of people through meetups. You pick groups where the activity sounds interesting. There are discussion groups, people who like to cook, board games, running, hiking, etc. There are some less expensive groups than the spendy happy hour ones. I also mention Facebook because some of my more active meetup groups are also there. My city also has a FIRE Facebook group that meets monthly in person. The FIRE group also has some other meetings like game nights in addition to their monthly meeting.

    • Jodi February 6, 2020, 2:45 am

      Join a Permaculture community. Or sustainable living community. Lots of quiet, introverted people get together and find friends amongst the rest of the gang.

      The good thing for introverts, we need something to do while communicating with others.

      Permies (those in Permaculture) dig gardens, fix things, make great food and enjoy quiet company while doing things together. So not much awkwardness.

  • Marc December 31, 2018, 5:25 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your split. It sounded like you were a great couple. I wish you both happiness in the coming years.

  • Mr. F December 31, 2018, 5:25 pm

    Sorry to hear of this.

    Divorce is flat out trauma. Top 5 life crisis type trauma, but it eases with time.

    Today I celebrate 17 years with the second Mrs. F.

    Change is inevitable, what we choose to do with it is our own.

  • Tawcan December 31, 2018, 5:26 pm

    I had no idea until I met up with Carl (Mr. 1500) at the MMM HQ last month and he mentioned it. Sorry to hear and you’ve definitely provided some good advice. Marriage is hard, especially when you have kids. It’s definitely important to continue working at your marriage every single day. Marriage is a partnership and it takes 2 people.

    Your story has only motivated me to pay more attention to the little things with my wife.

  • MMMlifestyle December 31, 2018, 5:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing this MMM. I’m deeply sorry that it happened.

    I am happy that you are ok and I am looking forward to continue being mentored and inspired by your blog. My wife and I have learned so much from you and we are forever grateful for your contributions to our family and friends and this society as a whole.

    As for the blogger that distastefully tried to capitalize on this rumor by writing a lengthy post using your name and this subject as it’s posting name, I have unfollowed the blog ever since and I will not read it again unless a proper apology and other follow up damage controls are properly issued. I know this is unlikely but I’m fine with never read that blog again.

  • Stuart December 31, 2018, 5:30 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a personal topic. It’s a shame that our (current) cultures treats divorce with shame. Looking forward to see you leading by example that divorce doesn’t mean financial ruin and damaged relationships. Hope to read more posts like this in the future!

  • Geoff December 31, 2018, 5:33 pm

    This was so sad to read, but thanks for your honesty and openness MMM. Makes the blog so much more “real” if you include all of life’s ups and downs. Wishing you all the best for a fresh start in 2019.

  • Olivia December 31, 2018, 5:38 pm

    Glad to hear you’re doing well and your son sounds like he is getting two parents who are going to be great at co-parenting. Living 2.5 minutes away by bike is a pretty close distance!

    I took the love languages quiz some time backs and really think each needs to be aware of each other’s language. It’s definitely hard sometimes, but nurturing a relationship is important. In some ways, it’s the opposite of passive income since you have to keep at it.

  • Christine T December 31, 2018, 5:39 pm

    Wow sorry to hear about this. I like your advice heck where were u when I divorced 25 yrs ago. I sure could of used your advice then. Best of luck to you

  • Dave December 31, 2018, 5:39 pm

    Very sorry to hear, but love your attitude about it. And the fact that you can live so close and still have a great relationship is a sliver lining. Focusing on the silver linings in life is something that I need to improve at, and this example can serve me well as a model.

    “…because I already have bikes” Love it. Chapeau.

  • Sam K December 31, 2018, 5:43 pm

    It takes a lot of courage to share this information with the public. Thank you. It’s a good example of how divorce can get to an amicable place. The biggest thing I got from this is how you and your former wife are able to maintain a healthy atmosphere for your child!! In my experience, of folks in my extended family, the hurt and anger turns the kid into a pawn to hurt the other parent. So thank you for being aware of this and my hope is your experience will be a positive tool for everyone. Remember reading that some Buddhist believe that suffering is a path to Nirvana. May you find peace and joy within the grief and loss.

  • Just Stop Spending Seth December 31, 2018, 5:44 pm

    I left someone whom I had a child with three years ago. It was one of the toughest actions I’ve ever had to take in my life. The decision was easy, but the process and action was insanely difficult.

    I’m glad to hear it is going well for you now, MMM, and I am glad you’re staying positive. Although that is not surprising since you’re outrageously optimistic. It is quite hard to stay positive and optimistic when your ex is abusing (verbally/mentally/physically, whatever), but it really is the best thing you can do.

    I’m 100% certain that I would not be a Mustachian or on the path to FI if I hadn’t taken the actions I did when I did. I would still be living the most anti-mustachian life possible, full of drunkeness, cigarettes, and loads of credit card debit (and of course no salads, barbells, or bicycles – the MMM TRIFECTA).

    All the best to anyone else going through this scenario, especially with kids.

    • Mario January 3, 2019, 11:19 am

      “salads, barbells, and bicycles”, I like that one.

      Best wishes to you MMM. Another inspirational and honest piece of writing.

  • Jeremiah December 31, 2018, 5:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing. For what it’s worth to you and this community, I went through this and now, 9 years later, I have nothing but gratitude for my former partner and mother of our teenaged son (he was 4 at the time). It’s so hard in the beginning, but if you keep your child’s best interests at the top of your decision-making pyramid, you will be ok. Luckily, my ex was ready to do the hard work, too. Reasonableness is required on both sides.

  • Joyful December 31, 2018, 5:44 pm

    These are well written sentiments about divorce and the handling the process – and the aftermath. While the ending of a relationship can be sad, I honestly think that as we grow, sometimes the effect of our growth is growing out of a relationship. Your approach is similar to how my European friends handle these situations – down to earth and practical-minded with no shame. I appreciate your stress on the financial aspect as I recently went through a divorce, and my divorce was too expensive. The process was handled as if it were a way to punish someone (me). During this stressful time, I heard of similar stories from others who were also locked in a high-cost battle. It sounds like you were all successful in handling the matter in a calm, straightforward way, which is to be praised. I’m reminded of a refrain from an old Dave Mason song – “there ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy – there’s only you and me and we just disagree.” Good luck to all of you. No judgment here. Sounds like you all done good. Hope 2019 works out well for all of you.

    • Mr. Money Mustache December 31, 2018, 6:36 pm

      “there ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy – there’s only you and me and we just disagree.” – Damn that is a nice line to repeat, for ANY argument including the ones where you think YOU are the good guy.

      • Two-L Michelle January 2, 2019, 10:32 pm

        Dave Mason, “We Just Disagree”… Timeless and true.

        I’m sorry you’re having to go through this. You’ve got a lot of folks wishing you well, and I hope that gives you some comfort. [To the haters: You wanna judge? Take a look in the mirra, ya dirty rat bastids! (phoenetic Massachusetts accent)]. Please do take the best possible care of yourself. (hug)

        • Don October 6, 2019, 4:40 pm

          Actually, Jim Krueger, An early bandmate of Dave’s, wrote that one. Some great video on YouTube of the two of them performing acoustically.

  • Robinson December 31, 2018, 5:44 pm

    Thank you for the courageous post. Your statement that “even the harshest moments come with a little golden key taped secretly onto their side” rings true. This past year, my extended family saw the loss of a mother and the loss of a baby. Both were and are heart-wrenching, but the ‘golden key’ has been the awareness of how precious our time together is, and a renewed commitment to cherishing each other.

    Wishing your beautiful family a joyful 2019 – and beyond.

  • Anonymous December 31, 2018, 5:47 pm

    Ironic that you posted this today I was divorced five years ago on 12 31 2013. I really enjoyed reading your post your perspective on finance happiness life fulfillment purpose and avoiding excess in order to enjoy what really matters is very inspiring. I look forward to reading your future post regarding continued growth. Your choice to focus on the positive is very admirable I’ve had to learn the hard way that cherishing both the good and bad in life is the only way to live in the present and to value future opportunities

  • Michael Peterson December 31, 2018, 5:49 pm

    Appreciate your putting divorce in a positive light. I’m sure the initial feelings were not publishable. My wife has been a divorce mediator for 25 years and helps me stay keyed to both the negative and positive sides of struggles between spouses or parents and those close to them over separating their family while jointly tending to children. Be strong and kind and carry on.

  • Frogdancer Jones December 31, 2018, 5:51 pm

    Speaking as a 21-year divorcee, life gets better and better as time goes on. Being married to the wrong person is such an emotional and psychological drag. It ruins lives.
    It sounds like you two have handled it as graciously as possible, though anyone who says divorce is easy is a dirty rotten liar!!

  • mchrist152 December 31, 2018, 5:58 pm

    Wow, my condolences. My daughter just told me she is getting divorced which also surprised the heck out of me. Two great people, why would they divorce? Next thing you know, you will land a corporate job! Life throws some curveballs alright and although I’ve been fortunate in the marriage space, being married for 29 years, I’ve definitely had a few beanballs thrown my way in other areas. Hang in there and thanks for sharing this. That can’t be easy to do with some people being what they are.

  • Mr. Been There December 31, 2018, 6:03 pm

    Sorry that you and Mrs. MMM had to go through this breakup. My own breakup 22 years ago was incredibly emotionally and financially difficult. Your post will be valuable to many and hopefully save a many relationships. I wish you continued success and look forward to more inspirational posts. Thank you. Happy New Year.

  • Twopupsonacouch December 31, 2018, 6:06 pm

    I am so sorry to hear about your split. You and the ex-Mrs have generously helped all of us with this blog and changed many lives for the better. I never would have expected that early retirement was possible with you. Unfortunately, the internet is a place where nasty voices can gather a lot of steam, but those voices do not reflect the truth that many of us are here for you. I had learned of your divorce through an article, but didn’t want to add any comment at all until you were ready to post here. After all, the information you kindly share is a gift to be thankful for. There is a lot of wisdom is this article. Any further commenters need to remember that we are not entitled to information about you, or your family, or anyone else… ever. The few comments I had read, the baseless speculation and entitlement were disgusting. And reflected very badly on those taking part.
    I’m excited to read about the new home, Airbnb, and all the positive possibilities that you are growing into… if you choose to share.

    All my best to you and family.

  • AA December 31, 2018, 6:22 pm

    Dear MMM, sorry to hear what a year it’s been and I admire the grace with which you and your family have made the best of one of life’s curveballs. (No surprise to anyone.) We’ve never met but you mean a lot to me as someone who has changed my life for the better, and I feel as though I’m writing to an important friend or family member. I just had the best year of my life, largely because of the influence you’ve had on me. I found your writings during a personal abyss some years ago in my mid-20’s and you really helped me. You gave me strength, hope, wisdom, vital knowledge and something to aspire to. You got me on track to live life from a position of strength and positivity. It started something wonderful and snowballed into more success and satisfaction than I could’ve imagined. Thank you. Planning to visit Longmont someday and get to say thank you in person. Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.

  • JeffD December 31, 2018, 6:26 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. We happen to be going through a lot of life changes at the moment, and this is a great reminder that through the stress we need to focus on what is important for us, both as individuals and as a couple.

  • Kent December 31, 2018, 6:27 pm

    Hey MMM.. brave post, way to go. I found your MMMness in December of 2o15 along with other folks out there who were writing about minimalism, finance, relationships, etc. ; as my one and only quarter-of-a-century marriage had ended earlier in the year. While the first year was very difficult, as you mention. Life continues to get better as time passes. For me my friends who had known me for decades came through like long time friends do. With some counselling and continued learning, I started the path to being a better me in the world. 3.5 years in, I’m still a work in progress but know that I’m okay and can enjoy life, and experience joy. Thanks for your words and all the best!

  • SwordGuy December 31, 2018, 6:33 pm

    I wish all three of you the very best. Thanks for making all our lives better.

  • Stephen Tamang December 31, 2018, 6:33 pm

    Thank you for everything you do MMM. You continue to be a role model to me.

  • Mr Shirts December 31, 2018, 6:35 pm

    Thank you for posting about this, there were a number of divorces for my mom and dad growing up. There no perfect way to navigate this minefield and I can’t imagine how difficukt it must be as someone with a cult like following.

    Loving the new YouTube channel, I’ve missed the MMM one liners like “We call this the oil well pants”. Or “let me impart some wisdom, that shit can get old”

  • Owl the Kitty December 31, 2018, 6:36 pm

    Wow, when I read the headline I was really hoping that the topic of divorce wasn’t personal for you. I’m so sorry to hear about this. You both seem to be such wonderful people but that doesn’t equal a wonderful relationship automatically. The gossip has to hurt and the internet can be ruthless, likely filled with people who are experiencing their own levels of hurt.

    Having seen the documentary, “Divorce, Inc.” I’m very happy you are settling this amicably and without spending the average 40K plus as expected. It is a testament to your characters that you are able to part on such terms. When you do not define yourself by your relationships with others it makes divorce, splitting up, etc, much easier because you can keep it in perspective. I think you both do that.

    I hope others read your blog and are encouraged towards finding their own amicable ending to relationships if needed.

    I can tell you from experience that even under the best of circumstances a divorce is emotionally very difficult.

  • Josh December 31, 2018, 6:41 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s so easy to take your relationship for granted and we could all use a reminder to be more appreciative and understanding of our spouses.
    I wish you nothing but the best in 2019 and appreciate every blog post you gift to us.

  • Sammykins December 31, 2018, 6:41 pm

    Man, I feel sad. I don’t know you very well, but still. From the outside, it looked like a well-working marriage. Anyway, I agree with what you’ve said. Sometimes it’s ok for things to come to an end. I have a few questions:

    1) Is there anything you and the mrs could have done different that could have prevented this?
    2) Do you have a pre-nup? Do you think it’s good to have one?
    3) Do you think marriage as an institution is still valid in this 21st-century society?

  • carrie December 31, 2018, 6:43 pm

    Hey MMM,

    I have no insights into divorce or coparenting but I just wanted to say I’m sorry to hear about your divorce but glad you both are working through it so amically. Hope your son is doing well and my best wishes for you all in 2019.

  • The Bludger December 31, 2018, 6:49 pm

    Woah! What a powerful post for a hungover new years day.

    I don’t feel that I have any immediate risks with my marriage but I have to ask myself why I have put so little effort into improving this critical part of my life. So I have already placed a number of holds on the “5 Languages of Love”, which looks to be quite the franchise.

    “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.”

    This quote really articulated how I have been feeling of late and obviously applies to humanity as a whole. I’ve noticed myself spitting venom with my heart being in the right place (ie. teach a lesson, attempt to reduce or protect ego) but it very rarely results in the desired outcomes. There are better ways, which I need to work on…

    Anyway I have found my NY2019 resolution – bring more love.

    Thank you MMM for this very important post. Definitely one of the classics.

  • Abdel December 31, 2018, 6:50 pm

    Sorry to hear that. Very impressed by your broad viewpoints and wisdom even through tough times like these. Please keep up your valuable contribution to humanity

  • ABM December 31, 2018, 7:10 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this post MMM! My very amicable divorce became final just two days ago, and i find it normalizing and validating to read your experience. Our friends and families had so many questions when we announced our separation – there were no major injuries, no addiction, no betrayals. It was just time to do things separately. I call my ex-spouse the Best ExHusband Ever and we are good friends, still have fun together, sharing holidays and family events, and take great care of our son. It can be done. Life is short. May as well play hard, and be kind. Many blessings to you and former Mrs. MMM, and to all of us out there in a new chapter!

  • Paige December 31, 2018, 7:16 pm

    One of the best things you did was move down the street from your child. Logistics matter a lot more than people realize, and this will ensure you see each other more often than if you lived a car ride away.

  • Edith December 31, 2018, 7:19 pm

    Odds are against you if you meet and marry in your twenties. I divorced in my twenties and spent two and a half years on my own, thinking about what I did wrong and how I could do it better the next time. I have been married for almost twelve years now, and we have never fought… I learned and taught my spouse how to solve differences with love, respect and flexibility. He is amazing, the best man I know, and that helps. But without my divorce, and my solitude time to absorb my lessons, I would not have the wonderful relationship I enjoy today. I hope your divorce is a step towards that, but I would wait to date again if I were you. It is hard to reflect and plan for your next relationship while you are in one, and it is hard to appreciate and treasure company when you have never enjoyed and endured solitude.

  • Utah Valley December 31, 2018, 7:31 pm

    Honestly the first time I heard this I cried. It was ridiculous and my spouse and I laughed while I was crying, but I’ve been envious of your life for a long time. I want to FIRE so I can spend more time with my family and be the type of father and husband you are, so this news came as a shock and a reminder of how difficult marriage is.

    I loved reading this post. It sounds like you and your ex spouse are both still amazing people and parents but it was also a good reminder to me that achieving FIRE won’t make my marriage easier in fact having more time together will give us more opportunities to neglect or fight with each other if we aren’t vigilant.

    In the end I’ve come to appreciate how you’ve handled being a father, husband and now partner in raising your son.

  • Anonymous December 31, 2018, 7:35 pm

    It’s so weird to receive this post the day before my financial freedom starts and yet how perfect the advice is. In March of 2017, I listened to you on the Tim Ferriss podcast and then devoured your entire backlist. Our financial planner had me working until age 68 (2022) I ran the numbers again with the tools and common sense you provided. It took four years off my sentence. My spouse was skeptical, so we ran it by a different financial planner and then again with our guy. They both agreed that our children would still inherit a big chunk of change even if we both lived to be 100. I’m grateful to you for helping me get time off for good behavior. When the ball drops tonight, I start my second career which I’m very excited about. I am sad to hear about your divorce, but glad to hear that y’all will keep mushing on as best as y’all can. Your post today reminded me keep my head and heart focused on those dearest to me as I take my first steps of financial freedom tomorrow.

  • Anonymous December 31, 2018, 7:44 pm

    Hey MMM. I am really sad hearing this man. I was rooting for you two. While my only experience in relationships was a year long, long distance relationship, when it ended, it was really horrible. I can totally understand what you went through. But you two are awesome. Seriously. You two show so much maturity in handling this, I can only hope I grow up to be someone like that. All the best!

  • MAD Wealth December 31, 2018, 7:44 pm

    Very brave to share that news. No marriage is ever easy, it’s why they say “…in good times, and in bad..”. Alas sometimes parting ways is the best choice. It’s so tough to even deal with clients that go through a divorce. Stress is plentiful in that situation for sure, and can spread to everyone nearby. Hopefully this makes a lot of us reflect on what is really important. At the end of the day we all just want to be happy.

    Wish you the best in 2019.

  • havingtolearnthehardway December 31, 2018, 8:02 pm

    Sorry to read about your Divorce and hats off to you for staying close and dealing with it amicably. It is truly one of the worst things that can happen, most people don’t understand unless they’ve been through it, which can be very isolating. I went through a Cat 5 divorce, it cost a bomb and there wasn’t much left after my ex raided all the accounts, (never was held accountable) and the Attorney’s bills of $300k plus. On top of all that I’m not allowed to leave the US (kids were born here), where I had never worked before and without any family. My prior career doesn’t exist in the US. I did give it a good try though and miserably have worked for crap $. Since I have no SS, pension or retirement I basically decided to myself that my retirement plan would be a self induced deadly “accident”. Okay that was a dark plan. But it get’s really dark during a war like divorce, (and anyone that say’s, “it takes two”, would you say that in the event of a Grizzly Bear attack?!). So anyway, what I wanted to say is that I came across your funny and enlightening Blog and I could see a way out my mess, I’m older but I can still apply the FIRE plan and retire – well at normal retirement age but I can try and make it happen in 5-10 years, thats what really has me super focused now. I’ve already downsized my home to something half in value and I’m hatcheting expenses like a Halloween psycho! So thank you for sharing your lifestyle philosophy and also keeping it real. Hugs from the internet :)

  • Mustachio December 31, 2018, 8:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing, it’s been a bit over a year since my own “too little too late” moment. I’m thankful for this and all your stories, in that they will likely help people focus before it’s too late. Also enjoyed how you are all focused on growth for the future, whatever shape that takes. Cheers to a great future for us all!

  • Linda December 31, 2018, 8:09 pm

    Your story sounds similar to mine. I commend you on the cooperative divorce. My ex and I did the same. We did the spreadsheets and figured it all out, spent the minimum on filing, and have been adults about it ever since (it’s been 10 yrs). We still celebrate family events together (Christmas, graduations, etc.). One thing that I think we did well is that no matter what the communication was between the ex and me, it did not affect our communication about the kids. We were in constant communication, sometimes daily about what was happening in our kids world…homework, sports, friends, etc. And importantly, the kids knew it. If one kid was acting sassy or sullen all of a sudden, I collaborated with my ex. Also we never talked bad about the other. Best of luck but you don’t need it; you got this.

    • Linda December 31, 2018, 8:15 pm

      BTW I want to add that tomorrow January 1 is the first day of the year I turn 55. With the rule of 55 with regard to my most recent 401K, I can technically retire. I’m on a two year plan and have been following your posts. Keep ’em coming!


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