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More One-Income Stuff

April 25th, 2008 at 03:54 pm

Second incomes: twice the work, half the return:

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I actually came across this article yesterday and thought it was quite EXCELLENT.

Probably all of my thoughts/experiences in a well written article. I mean seriously, I could have written it. Though maybe not so well. Wink

It was just on theme with my post yesterday so had to share.

Of course this article was in terms of families with one high wage and a low wage. BUT we found much to be true with 2 mediocre wages. Dh and I made equal wages when he decided to stay home.

So though the logistics were a little different for us, we came to much the same conclusion.

I particularly like th last paragraph:

"Also on the bright side, discovering that a second income really doesn't contribute much financially can free a spouse to learn new skills, go back to school, pursue an unprofitable dream career or launch a home-based business that may pay little during the first few years. If you're going to work for free, after all, you might as well enjoy it."

Which sums up our thinking beautifully. Dh hated his job, and he wasn't going to stay. I think financially this was much preferable to getting used to a second income that could not be sustained indefinitely.

I realize with time that I don't think we could have timed having kids any better, or that we would have ever been in a better spot to have one of us stay home with the kids.

We graduated college at age 22/23 and worked a few years, saving considerable dollars. Never lived up to the second income, as we didn't expect to have one forever.

We had our first child at 25/26. Dh just turned 32, and he has been home almost 6 years. He will probably return to the workforce, maybe go to college first to update his degree, in his 30s. Plus he already has a degree and a decent amount of experience, which is worth something. & yeah - so he returns to work at 35 or 40 - still has a good 20-30 working years left. (He actually worked 12 years before kids and is eligible for social security benefits as well - so kind of sweet timing there).

I can't imagine establishing myself in a career and working hard many years, and then trying to have kids. I think that way is a hard road, though it is now the norm. I also can not imagine having a kid much younger or before having a degree or some savings. So I think somehow we hit some sweet spot, in he middle. Took some planning, but also quite by luck.

So anyway, I don't think dh would have had the guts to really examine his career otherwise. I remember before we had kids he talked much of going back to school to get an emergency teaching credential (the state of education at the time meant desperation for teachers). I encouraged him many times to QUIT his job and pursue teaching. I told him if he was going to make a move like that, then was the time. When we were young. He just never could do it, no matter how supportive I was.

I remember he was concerned about teaching wages too and I asked him if he was out of his mind. I said, so we'll save $30k/year instead of $40k. YEah, I am really worried about it. (Not).

Anyway, so old habits die hard. Dh said something the other day about pursuing some high wage job. If he wants to because it is something he loves, then sure, I am all for it. More money is good. But his parents have it pounded into his head that you hate your job and make more money. (I find this ironic since my dad loves his job and makes more than the 2 of them combined. Obviously I prefer my parent's philosophy - do what you love). There is a lot to be said for not being miserable AND having money too. Big Grin

So anyway, he said something just the other day along those lines. I said, huh? Honestly, I prefer he make less so it doesn't all go to the IRS anyway. I think ideally he would make a smaller wage. & that fits in great because he wants to be an artist. So go for it. I wonder how many struggling artists out there wish they had a sugar momma like me. Wink & instead dh struggles and struggles with what to do.

Plus, if he is going to work full-time and make a comparable wage, hell if I'll see the point to work full-time. But when I say this out loud, we fight. He has it somewhere in his head that we need to make a ton of money, though mostly he knows better.

Well, we'll work it out. I was actually surprised the other day when he said he wanted to pursue a $70k-$80k job. I said, great, I can cut back my hours then. & I was surprised when he didn't like this. I did point out that would put us at an insane tax bracket. IF he was happy and wanted to make money, great. But that then I didn't feel as much need to myself. But I know when the time comes if we have this debate we can run the numbers.

I have no desire to live in a 2-full-time-working-parent household. BLECH. Talk about stress.


Of course, on the flip side, we are entering a time of great transition. Of course we have agreed it makes no sense to work with small kids and with insane daycare expenses, etc.

But the playing field is completely changing for us this year. Big Monkey starts public school in the fall. I am already paying full-time daycare in total dollars for the two to attend part-time preschool. So in theory, dh could get a full-time job and we could save his entire take-home pay, with no changes to our budget.

I have to say it is incredibly freeing.

Of course, we have no desire to put our child in full-time daycare. But I have brought up the subject, that we could put him in M/W/F and dh will be incredibly freed up all of a sudden. From having had 0 free time a year ago (well beyond nights and weekends, which are always very exhausting to both of us), suddenly dh can easily have the potential to have 3 free days a week.

Of course, on the flip side, we received BM's school calendar and there are a million days off. On one hand, I have a flexible schedule and I was prepared for some of it. But they decided this year to shorten summer by a month and take like every Friday off for the year. I looked at this calendar thinking, you have got to be flipping kidding me.

& as usual, though most of the year I could share much more in the care of kids, I have greatly reduced time and flexibility during tax season. Which is the bane of our existence for now (will be incredibly freeing in the long run as I could feasibly only work part-year, etc. But with kids it complicates things GREATLY).

So, we decided to kind of just bide our time and wait and see how things go.

I say this will be transition time for the next 5 years. Where care of the kids is still of great concern, but at least we can move pass this 24/7 care thing.

& in 5 years at least the kids won't need a babysitter every second of every day. When I think much of this becomes moot.

Dh's worked on a very promising movie project and made some great contacts, but has kind of hit a wall when it comes to selling the movie. He is quite confident he could sell it and recover the costs, but the screen writer/brainchild has already turned down a good offer, which would have recouped the costs (doh) and doesn't seem to have any true desire to sell it. Plus he moved out of the area. So dh is very frustrated. The other promising contacts he made are dropping like flies.

Anyway, don't ask me how he made these contacts. I think he did a lot of this when I was on maternity leave with LM. So I told dh the other day. I said, you know, you have 2 free days a week now. Get out and meet some new people, work on some NEW projects.

He just seems to need that push sometimes.

So he is. He really wants to work on writing his own screenplay so he can do his own movie and then have control over it. But he's kind of stuck on that. Anyway, he is considering taking screenwriting classes at the community college. He is also looking into a group that meets weekly on screenplays, though he is finding they focus much more on plays than movie scripts. However, he thinks he will give it a whirl and practice on a play.

The other funny thing is he is getting some attention for his writing abilities. He writes a lot of skits and some professional group just performed one of his skits - he won some contest. So I have been encouraging him to go that angle.

I think dh's biggest problem is he likes to live in a bubble and he doesn't want to leave that bubble. I have told him many times that I would be willing to move closer to LA so he could more seriously pursue his dreams. I brought it up again because with house prices on the slide, it may actually be doable. I have always wanted to live in San Diego, and look at those home prices slide. !!!!!

BUT he is just dead set against it. I remember back to how it is amazing I got him to move to Sacramento. He is extremely adverse to change.

So, that's his thing. He has to figure out how to make it work then. I guess there is a fair amount of work in San Francisco, and a budding local film maker scene. So it's not a lost cause. At least we don't live in the middle of nowhere.

But yeah, we will enter a time of transition. I think he will take a year or 2 to pursue his hobbies more vigilantly, now that he will have considerably more time.

I think from there he will seriously pursue going back to college, if not much comes of it. Get a major in film (update his minor) or maybe even pursue teaching. For now he doesn't seem to have much more direction than he did 6 years ago. Which worries me a bit. BUT I understand he hasn't been able to make a lot of progress with full-time charge of the kids. That I *get*

So I am hoping this is the catalyst for change...

I just want him to be happy. Which seems a very impossible goal at times. *sigh*

I am not sure what more I can do though. IT's in his hands at this point.

I am also optimistic that my income will be pretty sustaining in 3-4 years time and that I could really care less what he does at that point. Ideally. I expect to be maxing out our ROTHs and have all of our bases covered, really in about 3 years. LEss depending on more income, more thinking that I will pay for less childcare. If I paid $0 for childcare we could max out today. So I really expect overall to be in a good spot in a couple of years.

For now, life is still a little stressful on one income. But we are definitely moving into a whole new realm. & that is rather refreshing. Phew.

3 Responses to “More One-Income Stuff”

  1. Koppur Says:

    For a long time I worried about getting money for all the things I wanted (not needed). I had a pretty decent paying job, and when I gave notice, they offered me a fantastic promotion with a great raise. I still said no, and took a job that paid $7,000 LESS than what they were offering me (also $2,000 less than I currently made there). The pay cut was really hard, and I had to depend on some financial help for a bit. But, I got into a field I love, and now, 1 year and a half after I left the decent paying job, I am in a career I love, at a place I love, with a salary almost $20,000 higher than the one I left!!

    I think you summed it up perfectly when you said " There is a lot to be said for not being miserable AND having money too."

    Big Grin

  2. merch Says:

    Excellent article. Sums up me and my wife.

    My wife works 5-10 hours a week to get out of the house and keep her skills up to date. But I do think that couples should look at one of their careers as being the dominate bread winning career. Otherwise, it's difficult to get on some of those big projects that require a lot of time an energy.

    My wife also has the choice like your husband to do what she wants without financial pressures. While you and me are the donkey pulling the plow in the back 40. Smile

    We also made the decision that we wanted to raise our children and not put them in daycare 7-8 hours a day.

    In 5 years, when the kids are in school full time, maybe I'll be the one pursuing my dream while my wife becomes the breadwinner.

    Right now the focus in my house is to get financial to that point.

  3. thriftorama Says:

    Yep. I'm in the worked hard to get a career and then had kids boat and now I am wondering if and when I will ever be able to productively work again. The bean is so labor intensive and sleep deficient I have had to turn down work because I just don't have the energy. It worries me.

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