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Old 07-19-2012, 02:55 PM   #16
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"Partners in a project" - I like that! I can definitely relate to that. Buying the house was a huge deal for us, and even a year later every single time I pull in the driveway and open the door I have a sense of satisfaction that we got the house we wanted and needed and aren't house poor in the process. I also have the satisfaction of knowing that nothing was ever handed to us. We paid (or are paying for since Phil is still in school for graduate degrees) our own educations which got our jobs which allowed us to get our house and comfortably afford it and our modest lifestyle. It just seems foreign to me that people making six figures are mulling over whether they can get married when people making less than half that combined are living comfortably and raising families.

As to the original post, being married will most definitely help me personally as far as socioeconomic status but it did not factor into my decision of who to marry and when. Phil will end up with graduate degrees and is "worth" more than I am but hindsight is 20/20. He has switched careers since we met and since we got married. I personally have never put much weight in marriage being "equal" and that goes way beyond breadwinning. Phil is definitely more career-minded. He likes to work and gets hopelessly bored at home, whereas I do 99% of the "household" stuff as far as cleaning, budgeting, paying bills, doing taxes, normal upkeep (like if there's a leak or the dryer breaks down, I get that taken care of). I can't stand sitting at work doing something mindless knowing that I have three unfinished projects at home. At the end of the day, we both put about equal effort into the marriage, the household, and the finances but the actual tasks are in no way split 50/50 and I don't want or expect them to be.
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Old 07-19-2012, 06:52 PM   #17
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My wife and I have shifted the dynamic if you will significantly in recent years. When we were in Saipan and had no kids, we both worked full time though she made about twice as much as I did. We split up the household chores, and went so far as taking turns by week being responsible for cooking.

Now my wife works part time and I make significantly more than she does. We have a more "traditional" arrangement where she does most of the housework (although I still have sole responsibility for the laundry and the dishes) and I am the main "breadwinner."

The common thread is that we've never made decisions based on who is "supposed" to do what, but on what makes sense for us at a particular point in our lives.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:23 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liesje View Post
It just seems foreign to me that people making six figures are mulling over whether they can get married when people making less than half that combined are living comfortably and raising families.
To be honest, I know a lot of people in that socioeconomic bracket and I haven't met a single couple who was mulling over whether they can get married.

But there are certain things that affect people in that bracket that may not be obvious (I'm talking about the ones who came there from modest families, not trust fund babies). For example, almost everyone that I know who makes over $100K shares the following traits/circumstances: (i) massive student loans because they are typically doctors/lawyers/MBAs who paid for two very expensive degrees; (ii) unmarried - whether single or dating/cohabiting - at a much later age because most were unwilling or unable to get married while they were still students; (iii) living in expensive urban centres where houses like yours might cost 8-10x as much but they are not making 8-10x as much as you may be on an annual basis; (iv) work at a minimum 60 hours a week, but usually closer to 70-80 on average and many of them will put off getting married or have very long engagements because frankly they barely have time to do their own laundry much less plan a wedding. Just some food for thought.

On a personal note, when my partner moved in with me, we actually had a full disclosure financial session - all our accounts, savings, retirement plans, investments, and we also built savings models for us - what we want to save as a couple for purchasing a home, what we want to put in our retirement base every month, and so on. We were actually extremely meticulous, but this could be b/c I'm living with an economist. I don't think I'd have been that organized about it on my own.
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Old 07-20-2012, 10:29 AM   #19
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But there are certain things that affect people in that bracket that may not be obvious (I'm talking about the ones who came there from modest families, not trust fund babies). For example, almost everyone that I know who makes over $100K shares the following traits/circumstances: (i) massive student loans because they are typically doctors/lawyers/MBAs who paid for two very expensive degrees; (ii) unmarried - whether single or dating/cohabiting - at a much later age because most were unwilling or unable to get married while they were still students; (iii) living in expensive urban centres where houses like yours might cost 8-10x as much but they are not making 8-10x as much as you may be on an annual basis; (iv) work at a minimum 60 hours a week, but usually closer to 70-80 on average and many of them will put off getting married or have very long engagements because frankly they barely have time to do their own laundry much less plan a wedding. Just some food for thought.

this pretty much describes our life. combined with the fact that we'd have to move across the river to DC to get married since VA hates us, and that would likely necessitate buying property first, which entails a colossal down payment, which is all intimidating. and then even a bare-bones city wedding that would cost an easy $10k (a standard wedding would be $50k). granted, one doesn't need to have a reception at all, but still ... most people want one, and most people want one for you. i'm lucky in that i don't have any student loan debt as i've managed to make a comparable salary with just a BA, but Memphis has some (since he's paid for everything himself since he was 17). and then for a gay male couple, kids are very expensive. unless you go the foster care route, you're looking at expensive adoption or even more expensive surrogacy.

the costs of living just seem incredibly daunting. we have a great life in a small but modern-with-amenities highrise, and we have the money to go out to eat and on vacation within reason. but to get married and buy a home and then adopt would probably take us reigning in our lives and saving considerably for 2-3 years. which may be necessary. but add that to the time needed to even look at property and it just seems so much easier to maintain the pleasant status quo. (but, obvy, that's my decision ... i certainly could, but it seems so complicated and expensive.)
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