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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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ravi Gupta April 25, 2011 at 8:34 am

I think you’re absolutely right. I endorse keeping seperate finances at all times. Having moved away from home and my girlfriend for the last couple of months it’s been hard and I can see why many people would quit their jobs to follow a significant other. That being said I did what I had to do in order to further my own career and through the support of my girlfriend we were able to weather the storm. It’s tough but sacrifices have to be made.

-Ravi Gupta

2 Kristina April 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm

It’s nice if we can stay in our relationship and follow are career, but unfortunately too often is the case that we have to choose one of the two.

3 Bret @ Hope to Prosper April 30, 2011 at 7:35 pm

One of the hardest things about being a couple is making decisions that are best for the couple, when they aren’t necessarily best for one individual. It’s even harder when when there are kids and the decisions also involve them. No matter what choice is made, it’s never going to be perfect.

As for me, I have always placed my family above my career ambitions. I have seen people uproot their family and sell their home to relocate and then get laid off within a few months. I have seen people move when their kids were in high school and disrupt their lifelong relationships. Jobs come and go, but a family is supposed to last a lifetime.

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