As this year of my life starts to come to a close I realize that there’s a lot that I want to do. While I have definitely had some milestones this year that included finishing my PhD, I’m not satisfied yet. Working in a hospital again has reminded me of how short life really is. I’ve had numerous patients who have passed away without any warning. I’ve had a lot of major changes that were unexpected but I also got hired on to my dream job (at least past time). So far I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel a little bit and I’ve visited 8 countries. I’m hoping to develop a good work life balance in the coming year and maybe flex my entrepreneurial muscles just a bit. The whole dating thing has absolutely been a bust so far so I figure I’ll just set goals around what I can control. Here’s to bigger and better things.
I ran across an article that was in response to a tweet that went viral. You can read the article here. Basically the author talks another the fact that most marital relationships aren’t truly 50-50. Women complete the bulk of household duties. This is absolutely true. I did a dissertation on it. However, women who want men who are providers or more specially black women who want men who are providers are labeled as gold diggers. The interesting thing that the author points out is that black women tend to out earn black men in many instances so then they also carry the financial responsibility of the household. From this aspect, a 50-50 split is an upgrade. I’ve met a lot of guys who aren’t comfortable with solely providing financially for a household while their wife works part time jobs or stays at home with the kids. Their mindset is if they have to go to work 40 hours a week, their wife should too. I’ll admit that I’m a bit old fashioned when it comes to this but I’m also trying to be realistic. I would love to have a husband who considers it his primary responsibility to provide for the household. But I also don’t want to be in a situation where he exerts all control over finances because he earns it. I just hate the idea of being in a relationship where I have to keep tabs on whose turn it is to pay. I don’t want to worry about that because there’s the understanding that he will. Not to say that I’ll never do it, but I want it to be an option instead of an obligatory split. Is this even possible these days? I’m doubtful.
I can across an interesting article that coincides with what I’ve been thinking hard about these past few days. It’s about black people and wealth disparities. You can read it here . As the product of two generations of a middle class family (grandparents and parents), I don’t have anything to show for all their hard work. No property, no trust fund, no assets. Just a crippling amount of student loan debt. And I know that I’m not the only one in this predicament. Growing up, my father worked and my mother stayed home to care for us. She decided that she wanted to raise her children and homeschool us so she did. As a result, we lived in a single income household. A phenomenon that I’m experiencing now with my household of one. There are so many things that I want to do now but I won’t be able to because of my financial obligations. Transitioning to teaching or a post-doctoral position would require a pay cut of about 20k to 40k per year and I can’t afford that. This year one of my goals is to become more financially literate and I’m working on it. However, I wish that I didn’t have to start from the bottom and if I ever make enough money to afford kids I want them to have a different experience. It’s like I’m starting off at a disadvantage and don’t have the opportunity to at least start at baseline. Definitely tough.
Religion is one of those things that qualify as a touchy subject. It’s off limits if you’re talking to a group of strangers at a dinner party and not the best first-date conversation material. I remember hearing quotes about religion being the opiate of the people and how it’s a psychological crutch, etc. All the arguments, pros and cons aside, there’s always some inherent danger in allowing someone else to think for you. There are people out there that live and die by the words of their faith leader. There’s a dangerous dynamic that happens when an entire group of people trust one person to guide their lives. It almost sounds like the makings of a cult. While blind faith may be admirable to some, to others it’s an opportunity to take advantage of people in a vulnerable situation. Hope isn’t a hard thing to sell when it’s exactly what people need. Everyone wants to hear that they’ll rise to the next level and become healthier and happier. There’s value in genuinely believing that your life will turn around and that the next breakthrough is around the corner. But there’s also something to be said when these promises of a better life, financial stability, a spouse, and a nice car are tied to how much money you donate to the cause. When you’re inundated with promises of prosperity if you’ll give your last dime and demonstrate your loyalty, it’s time to consider the role religion is playing in your decisions.
I’ll be the first to admit that my spending habits are not always as disciplined the way that they should be. This story happened about two years ago so it’s not super recent but it was a very valuable learning experience. Anyway, one of the things that I’ve come to enjoy are comedy shows because I like humor. Anyway, I was at a comedy show and I got an SOS message from a somewhat close acquaintance asking me to call them as soon as possible. Now, because it wasn’t from a member of my immediate family or close circle I decided to wait until after the show to call the person back. So I did. Thinking that it was some big emergency I called as soon the show was over somewhat concerned. The emergency was the fact that this person wanted to borrow some money from me. Now, when that happens the answer is usually a straight “no.” I hate mixing money with friends and acquaintances and usually will just give it away and not worry about it instead of wrecking a relationship. I don’t think that it’s worth the hassle of lending it out. Now, it wasn’t an obscene amount of money—about a hundred and a half (ish). It was for a good cause and they promised to pay me back the next week. However intuition, common sense, and intelligence were screaming “don’t do it!!!” But, to be honest I was at a point in my life where I was still searching for reasons to have faith in humanity. I guess it was a personal thing. I wanted to trust that this person had good intentions despite the fact that I had known them for a few short months. So, I said yes. Against my better judgment and trying to have faith in humanity and taking a risk. Second mistake in this fiasco was that I let this person use my debit card for the transaction that they so desperately needed. Well, not my actual card but I gave them all the appropriate numbers deciding to trust that they were trustworthy. So the next day I awoke to a text message that informed me that this person had “accidentally” charged $100 more than I had authorized on my card. Being that it was a debit card, the money was already gone from my account. It was then that I found out that the money was actually for this person’s friend who (ironically) I actually knew personally. It was then that my feelings toward the situation gravitated towards significant irritation and annoyance. Mostly at the fact that there was a more noticeable lack of funds in my bank account due to my own stupidity and not making a smart decision. Needless to say, I was only reimbursed the original amount which left me $100 poorer and it was a bad situation all around. Lesson learned. I guess the icing on the cake was a few unauthorized charges that appeared a few months later on my account totaling about $200 that required the freezing of my account and the issuing of a difference card with the accompanying stress. Faith in humanity substantially shaken. They say an ounce of experience is more than a pint of advice and I certainly learned a lesson.
The topic of this article is somewhat near and dear to my heart. To the extent that I was seriously considering doing my dissertation on something related to it, but decided not to because I already have some strong opinions that would most likely prove me to be biased. The article raises some valid points as it relates to rates of marriage. Among the people I know, many are working to become financially secure before they get married. In contrast, many people from my parent’s generation got married young and struggled. One positive thing about that path is that if you’ve already made it through hell when your marriage is young, you’ll probably be less likely to leave the partner who stood by you during that dark period. However, while there’s nothing wrong about being in love and being poor, it’s not the easiest of lives to lead. Add children to the already financially stressed couple and you have a recipe for a super stressed relationship that could easily lead to divorce if the couple has not developed some good communication skills and a genuine friendship with each other. One of the premises of this article is that marriage can lead to wealth but the rates of marriages are declining. People are waiting longer to get married. I know of a couple who became wealthy simply because they only lived off the salary of one of the partners and then invested the salary of the other partner. Decisions like that are impossible when you’re living on a single income. People want to know that they have some sort of a buffer in marriage and aren’t coming into it with nothing. For some people, marriage is the best financial decision that they’ve ever made. I wonder what the lasting effects of people getting married at later ages will be on wealth accumulation as a whole?
One thing that I’ve admired is women who voluntarily become totally 100% financially dependent on their husbands in the early stages of marriage. Something about that makes me shiver inside. While it could be an expression of true love to go into a marriage without any resources of your own, it’s a scary thing. They say that the area of conflict in most marriages is money. It would seem to me that there would be added stress in that department when one person is making all the money ALL the time. I’ve met women who want with all their hearts to leave their husbands but they can’t because they don’t have any way to support themselves. While there may be housing options available, many do not want that experience. They don’t have the resources needed to sustain a decent quality of life, and many times it’s vastly different than the one that they had with their husband. While some may argue that keeping finances separate and having your own money goes against the “togetherness” concept of marriage, I think it needed in quite a few circumstances. You aren’t planning for failure but you are leaving room for the humanity of both people. Relationships and marriages fail all the time. And while we all want to believe ours is the exception, wouldn’t it be smart to have a backup plan just in case it isn’t? Dropping several socioeconomic classes because you had to leave despite not having adequate resources is a hard experience to have. But it can be avoidable. Not in all situations, but in some.