You are both so wrapped up in money that it seems you are wasting the life you currently have...
I politely disagree.
In my 20s, I just spent - whatever seemed normal, I did. "Normal", of course, doing what friends did, going out often, etc...saving nothing.
In my mid-30s, I split from my ex, and gave her everything. I believe in getting things done and over with.
But now I applied wisdom: In one's 30s, if one has zero net worth, retirement will be feasible only if one applies a little thinking.
It didn't take long. A quick study showed that as long as I put the max into 401k and IRA accounts, retirement would just happen and be wonderful.
One litmus test: Is your current spending at or below the annual amount you will be able to draw when you hit retirement? I discovered that for me, putting max into 401K and IRA would do just that.
Cutting spending was trivial. A tip from a magazine said to simply put 5% more into savings every month than you used to. After a year, bump it up to 10%. Then 15%. If you're not actually budgeting, you won't notice the 5 or 10% levels, and probably not the 15%.
I didn't cut myself off from anything.
Except in 1999-2001, when our household income plummeted 70% due to the high-tech crash in our area...and we chose to not move so that wife could continue working on her degree. Those are the 3 years when we really did shut things off - it was like a game, how low can we go and still be comfortable and happy.
I learned that what my generation used to say is true - money does not buy happiness, and the best things in life really are free.
Spending more does not beget happiness...so, the fact that a person saves doesn't, in any way, say that they are "wasting the life they could have had..." What life comes from spending?
Because my wife is so obsessed, I now discuss money WAY more often than would be my preference. She brings it up. Her views seem distorted, and I come on here to see how other people do things, to see whether she's closer to the norm, or I am. My preference would be to dump the software and go back to exactly how I used to do things, which is "don't worry about it".
We don't budget here, we simply live withing our means and have a balanced view of enjoying the here and now while the retirement funds are dealt with quietly in the background, no stress.
I gather that "enjoying the here and now" means spending money? I just don't think that way.
Once you have housing and transportation taken care of, life is relatively cheap. We have a paid-off house and never use loans to buy cars or anything else, so the burn rate stays low even if we "go out on the town" now and then.
There is a saying "every 60 seconds of unhappiness is one less minute of happiness."
Agreed. And every new item you purchase is more maintenance. Minimalist living's purpose isn't to save money - it's to increase the Joy / Stuff ratio.