Losing Our Personal Financial Priorities

by Kristina on April 25, 2011 · 3 comments

Yesterday I was talking with my Dad on his way out to a dinner party; he was going to visit the new home of some family friends.  My Dad’s friends recently relocated to be closer to the husband’s place of employment so he wouldn’t have such a long commute into work every day.  This move advanced the career of the husband, but in the process the wife had to sell her self-owned business.  Would you give up your career to follow your spouse?

I asked my Dad what the wife is doing for work in their new town, and he said that the husband makes well over $100,000 per year and “they aren’t too worried about the wife working”.  I thought that the wife would just relocate her business, but instead she shut it down.  It may be nice to be retired, but what is the point of having spare time if you don’t have anyone to share it with.

People say that they would love to not have to go to work every day, but I wonder if that is really true.  We probably say that we would love not to work because we are only thinking about the spare time it would create, we aren’t thinking about the loss of income at it would also create. 

When is enough money really enough money?  Maybe my Dad’s friends are happy with enough money to pay their mortgage and their bills and have a little bit in savings.  It is nice to have a household income of $125,000 but if your wife can bring in an additional $65,000, it would be nicer to have a household income of $190,000. 

My sister is going through a similar situation.  She recently moved for the second time to follow her boyfriend towards another promotion.  My sister has been with her boyfriend for over 5 years, but she has only recently become a DINK for this past year.  Last February my sister’s boyfriend was transferred to another city and my sister chose to quit her job and relocate with him, so she became a DINK.  Last year she found a job in her new city, and now just over a year later she is relocating again, this time they are moving to a new state.

She has put her career on hold to advance her boyfriends career…twice.  When we are in a couple we can lose our personal financial priorities.  We have to remember that when we come into a couple, we are still an individual person.  This is why I have a problem with merging finances and joint bank accounts. Not to mention the messiness of dividing assets in a divorce.

(Photo by James Trosh)

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