Help us – We consider a 0 pct savings rate!

Now that our focus is no longer FI but LifeJoy, we are having some interesting discussions at home.  We explore a lot of new ideas. Let’s discuss the impact of a recent thought we had. Can you help us to improve?

My wife has a creative itch. She wants to spend her time being creative and creating items to sell, help others to discover their creative side via workshops and encourage people to meet. In order to explore this route and make it happen, we did a thought experiment.

What if my wife stops working all together and goes after her idea and pursues an ideal occupation?

The main problem with this idea is that our current lifestyle can not be supported by my salary alone.

Option 1 – Use the FU money and Ms. ATL stops to work

We do have FU money. That money could fund for many months the gap that we create. That means we will have a negative savingsrate as long as my wife can not make a profit.

This plan scares the hell out of me. It leaves us very vulnerable and depending on just me. What if I get fired, get sick, die,…? These are unlikely events, yet possible.

With this plan, we would need to define a checkpoint in time to decide to continue, to stop or to switch to another option.

Option 2 – Redesign life and Ms. ATL stops to work

In this option, my wife stops working, we adjust our life to life of my salary alone. It would mean we need to take a set of actions to lower our cost of living. The ideas we have:

Sell the second car, use the money to buy an electric bike. This means we need to plan our activities around one car, public transport and an e-bike – not impossible. This would save us 180€ per month

Extend the mortgage. We have a flexible mortgage and the renewal is due at the end of this year. We could double the time to repay. I have a call with the bank to explore this. This could save us anywhere between 100€ – 500€ per month. Just go off the phone… We could save 220€ per month (due to a contractual maximum extension). The total cost of the loan would go up – borrow longer means that you pay interest longer (This comes down to a yearly average cost of  118€ when interest remains the same). Our loan has a cap, so, I know the max interest I would need to pay…!

Staycations. This would be by far the most effective way to reduce our budget. Between summer holiday and ski and random weekends out, we are north of 7K per year. 

Reduce our fun money. We each have a monthly allocation for fun, clothes, gifts,…. This is spend guilt free. To be honest, there is some slack here…

No more cleaning lady. At this time, we have a cleaning lady. We could stop that. (Note MS. ATL is 100pct against this suggestion.)

This option makes me feel bad. It does not solve the problem from option 1 and it makes my life in the short term less joyful…

option 3 – Ms. ATL finds/keeps parttime job to close the gap

Option 3 means that my wife finds jobs that can close the gap and put our savings rate to 0% while keeping the lifestyle we have.

In this scenario, she has less time to explore and set up the framework she has in mind. It does make us less dependent on only one salary and our lifestyle does not need to change. Sounds perfect! I dislike the 0% savings. I know, I want it all…!

option 4 – Job to close the gap and lifestyle change

In this scenario, my wife would work to put the SR to 0% or slightly above. With a lifestyle change, we would pump a SR hogher. That way, we keep working on our longterm plan as well. The lifestyle change would not have to be that dramatic in order to reach a SR of 10-15%. by FIRE norms, this is ultra low, by average norms, this is high already.


What are your thoughts? Have you gone through something like this? share your experience with us.



14 thoughts on “Help us – We consider a 0 pct savings rate!

  1. My favourite is option 2 because you have more flexibility to fund and justify the lifestyle change.


  2. Option 4 for sure. Get rid of the car, tweak the mortgage, dump the cleaning lady, have Mrs ATL work part time and start with the business idea. Perhaps a good compromise? But it will take a lot of work and effort, no debate here. Definitely Mrs ATL should do what she love and try to make a bit of money while at it. Best of luck trying to find your sweet spot.


  3. How about bumping up your options income towards the salary of your wife? 🙂 Our opinion is first to try out and test carefully the succes potential, do market research of what she wants to do. Start small and improve. Once you see it works…go all for it. It’s how most entrepreneurs start.


  4. Not something you read a lot about in this community 😉 I would go for option 4 as well, gives you the most flexibility and provides less risk. As soon as the business of your wife becomes (more) successful, she can quit her job all together. Best of luck, think it’s a very difficult choice here.


  5. Redesign life (cut all the unneeded costs) and make the wife work more.
    Accelerate the path to FI so you can both enjoy together within a few years.


    1. This would also be my preferred way, actually I’m doing it now (working again full time after part time work last year).


  6. Similar opinion as Cheesy.
    Working half time means working approximately 20 hours a week, which leaves another stunning 148 to pursue dreams and goals. Eventually resign when her business starts rolling.
    To me it would be more than financially wise too. For sure she’s gonna meet people here and there but in the beginning it might be pretty lonely setting up the business. Still working half time would prevent from social isolation.
    Good luck!


  7. We have kinda been in this situation for the last 5 years. Since purchasing our house (an old farmhouse) all savings have been used to pay for renovations. So yes, my expense overview shows a savings rate, but sooner or later this will be spend on home renovations! The stash had to fend for itself and fuel it’s own growth! If I still had been able to save money the stash would have grown faster (and I would have been very close to FIRE now) but it is a choice we made and are still happy with. But my stash is working a lot more than your stash is, mr. mutual funds !! The way I see it, either your wife works and earns her keep 😉 or your stash needs to start working harder …


  8. Nr 4 + Sell the second car. A lot of couples get separated these days, and I think different lives within the relationship is exactly what´s wrong. Don´t make your world and her world totally different. It might work for a short period of time, but things will become irritating and suddently you are having a huge fight over nothing. Nope. Work as a team.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Interesting conundrum ATL, I hope you find the answer. Perhaps she could start off doing it on the weekends and see if it’s actually something she wants to do? If yes, then perhaps she could leave her job and you guys do whatever you need to do to make it work. Sometimes things aren’t as fulfilling or fun when you’re actually in it. AKA grass isn’t always greener.

    Mr DDU


    1. Things start to move now… SOme set backs in the plans of my wife might accelerate other things. As our goal is to be happy, nt to be FI per se, we are willing to go off the FI road


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