Growing up, my parents were able to provide a stable middle-class upbringing for me, my three sisters and my brother. I can understand now how fortunate we were not to worry about hunger, housing, or medical bills. Although my Mom made a point to show us how privileged we were — I’m from Fairfield County, Connecticut, where the “wealth gap” between rich and poor is top in the nation — I lived securely inside a wealthy suburban bubble in the booming ’90s. As I graduated from high school, went to college and began my working life, I still managed to have financial security, even when the economy tanked in 2008. Some friends, recent college graduates like myself, lost their jobs or just plain could not get hired. But me, I still got to stay inside a safe little bubble.
Then I did something that probably didn’t make sense to some people, especially those from the background that I come from: I married someone who was unemployed. Keep reading »
A wife bringing home the bacon isn’t the death knoll of a relationship that it has been made out to be. According to a new survey of 1,000 married couples over age 25 by MONEY magazine, husbands are actually happier when on equal financial footing with their wives. Keep reading »
One of the things I’ve learned, over my many years of roadtripping in and across Texas, is that hell is being stuck going 50 miles per hour behind a recreational vehicle. But recently, I’ve come to wonder if heaven might be being behind the wheel of one.
I don’t generally dream about buying big-ticket things like cars and houses. I’m a freelance writer, after all. At this point, saving even a few hundred dollars a year is a struggle — though that got significantly less stressful once I moved in with, and later married, my husband. Splitting rent and groceries and bills has taken significant pressure off my wheezing bank account — even more so than living with roommates.
So maybe that’s why I started letting myself fantasize about taking long trips to Marfa in a giant vehicle with a wildcat or a wolf emblazoned on the back. When I proposed this to Patrick, he was, as we say here in Texas, “raring to go.” Some couples dream of outfitting a nursery. Patrick and I dream of converting an engine to biodiesel and training the cats to ride shotgun. Keep reading »
My husband is my best friend in the world. I’m sure I’ve caused several cavities just by saying so, and can hear a few of you making gagging noises through my computer screen right now. But hey, it’s true. He’s amazing and he understands me better than anyone. He’s the only person who doesn’t annoy the crap outta me after long periods of time, and he laughs at all of my jokes. He’s also totally hot and you should all be extremely jealous.
That said, I have absolutely no desire to share my spending habits with him. Keep reading »
I’m not even going to sugarcoat it: I’m basically the poster child for the white girl from the suburbs whose dad just took care of all the bills growing up and never taught me anything about finances. They were traditional that way: Dad handled money stuff and Mom handled childrearing stuff. My parents never gave me spending money and I always babysat and worked after school jobs. However, other than generally teaching me that I had to earn my own money, neither of them talked me to at all about saving, investing, 401ks, interest rates, or any of that other its-like-speaking-another-language stuff. I had to read blogs and buy books to myself about money (Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich by Lois P. Frankel is a good one). Still, I wish I’d made some financial decisions differently. (Luckily, I’m only 27, so it’s not too late to start!) Keep reading »
It’s time again for “Dear Wendy Updates,” a feature where people I’ve given advice to in the past let us know whether they followed the advice and how they’re doing today. After the jump, we hear from “Lucky in Love But Not In Money” who was saving for a house and felt resentful that her friends only invited her to participate in pricey activities even after they skipped out on throwing her a bridal shower and bachelorette party for her recent marriage and didn’t spend enough on her for her wedding. After the jump, she shares a few words … Keep reading »
Around the same time I started raking in the big bucks (courtesy of the Tooth Fairy), my father started enforcing the rule that the topic of money was off-limits in polite conversation. There was no, “Hey, how much was your incisor worth?” in my house. And the one time I asked my dad the amount of the bill at a restaurant, he handed it to me since he assumed I was offering to pay. I never asked again. Keep reading »
Out in paperback now: the book Smart Girls Marry Money: How Women Have Been Duped Into the Romantic Dream—And How They’re Paying For It, by Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake. Forget for a moment that they annoyingly refer to grown women as “girls” in their title and check out their thesis: because, for a variety of reasons, men earn more money than women, it’s a wise move to marry someone who can provide for you and your family. Keep reading »