Jump to content

Menu

Anyone willing to discuss lower incomes and lifestyles??


Recommended Posts

I know it's kind of personal, and certainly I'm not pressuring anyone to share information they aren't comfortable sharing, but...

 

If you live on a fairly low income, would you share what it is, how big your family is, and if you are able to, budgeting properly, be comfortable? Also, share if you own a home.

 

I have a reason for wanting to know this. My dd wants to marry someone who may never make much money. I KNOW money isn't everything, and being happy is more important. I am just trying to realistically determine what a small family HAS to earn to survive - like, what is the minimum you think is reasonable?

 

We don't have what I consider a large income for our family size by any stretch, but it's a good bit more than ds' bf will probably ever have a chance of earning and ds does get a lot of perks too.

 

I know many on here talk about stretching dollars, living in small homes and on small incomes and I'm just curious...

 

Any input here is appreciated, and I hope I'm not being too nosy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you really want to discuss this in huge detail, there is a whole subforum on mothering.com about finances, including some people who live REALLY cheaply:

 

http://www.mothering.com/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=312

 

I've also unintentionally "run across" some WTM board members on some other forums (as they use same distinctive screen name), so I'm sure you'll get lots of ideas.

 

Your Money Or Your Life seems to inspire a lot of people.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This might be rather difficult as cost-of-living varies so widely from place to place.

 

In 2004, the estimated median incomes for 4 person household in

 

California was $63,761

 

in

 

Mississippi it was $46,810

 

HUGE difference.

 

By these numbers, our 4 person family's current income falls below the median income of California but we are rolling in the dough by Mississippi's stats.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not really answering your question, but my advice to your young woman would depend a lot on WHY her intended isn't expected to make much money? Is he disabled? Does he have a limited education? Does he have issues with money management? Hopefully there are no serious problems with gambling, alcohol etc? Can the limitations be overcome, eg if he works in a low income kind of job, could he retrain and get more lucrative work? Whatever the scenario, she needs to look at the wider ramifications, and what they plan to do about the situation, and what are the realistic long term expectations. She needs to have a serious think about her personal expectations regarding such things as security, standard of living, children she hopes to have, how self sufficient she wants to become and what kind of career, if any, she expects to maintain during the child rearing years. Because what is a fun challenge to one person could be misery to another person. Never owning a home could feel terrifying for her but freeing for him. Etc.

 

(ETA I'm not that coy about our financial situation, but I don't think it would be relevant to you seeing as I'm overseas. However I can say from experience that it's possible to live in comfort on s lot less than many people think.)

Edited by Hotdrink
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not really answering your question, but my advice to your young woman would depend a lot on WHY her intended isn't expected to make much money? Is he disabled? Does he have a limited education? Does he have issues with money management? Hopefully there are no serious problems with gambling, alcohol etc? Can the limitations be overcome, eg if he works in a low income kind of job, could he retrain and get more lucrative work? Whatever the scenario, she needs to look at the wider ramifications, and what they plan to do about the situation, and what are the realistic long term expectations. She needs to have a serious think about her personal expectations regarding such things as security, standard of living, children she hopes to have, how self sufficient she wants to become and what kind of career, if any, she expects to maintain during the child rearing years. Because what is a fun challenge to one person could be misery to another person. Never owning a home could feel terrifying for her but freeing for him. Etc.

 

ITA, but it's so hard to tell kids in love that kind of thing. I remember being one! Also point out to her that after a few years of marriage, things that didn't seem important in the beginning suddenly seem huge, and vice versa--especially after a kid or two.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DH and I married while in college and started our family before we graduated and we made $750 a month...that was six years ago. He's been steadily climbing since then and I consider us to be semi-comfortable in the income category now.

 

Being that low down on the income bracket, we qualified for a lot of assistance--WIC, Medicaid. We didn't have to pay for our first two children to be born.

 

All in all, it sucked. It was very stressful, not knowing if we'd be able to afford diapers, being desperately afraid of my husband getting sick and missing the pittance of hours he was able to get at his on-campus job, eating rice all the time, living in pathetic housing (there was "the dungeon" and then we upgraded to "the shack") with the sorts of neighbors that you get the privilege of living next to when you're in the poorest part of town. To pay $1 in library fines was a BIG deal and had to come out of our $20/wk grocery budget.

 

The only reason we got through it was because we knew it would get better eventually because we were in school and simply "paying our dues." I could never have soldiered on knowing that that was the best we had to look forward to, and I grew up with a single disabled mother, so I was no stranger to having no money. Plain and simple, it sucked and I sincerely hope that my own daughters never experience the worry and the anxiety and the hopelessness of being that financially strapped.

 

Don't know if that's what you were looking for. Hope it helps or...well, whatever. :) Sure makes me grateful to bring my babies home from the hospital now...an actual house with food in the cupboards and a working thermostat. We're enormously blessed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think a lot of it depends on your dd. I've been low income for my whole life, so it's not difficult for me to be so now. I have no problem cookin' cheap (man I miss that show!) and material things are just not that important. If your dd is used to new clothes and comforts like junk food, then it will be harder. If she's used to making things last and only eating left overs or raw veggies and fruits as snacks (they can be made into dinner food later), then it won't be so bad.

 

It really depends on whether or not she really and truly is willing to be happy with less. If she says she is, but secretly believes she'll get all that great stuff that money can buy, then she's going to be miserable. If she's willing to enjoy the free things in life, companionship for instance, without all the extra trappings, then she'll be fine.

 

How strong do you think your dd is?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and lived on a lot. I've weathered a breadwinner job loss.

 

What I noticed is that for me, hope is everything. I can live on a little when I have hope for either better times ahead (like in college) or for a good family life (like when DD was younger and I was trying to be as frugal as possible so that I could stay home with her; something that we really hadn't thought was remotely possible.)

 

Having the higher goal or the hope for the future was key. Grinding poverty really does grind. Comparison is the thief of contentment. I think it is a lot easier to endure grinding poverty where it is 'normal' than where it is always a source of wistfulness or envy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've never lived off of more than about $45,000 but we felt reasonably comfortable at that level. Hubby's work paid for most of his medical insurance premiums and the rest of us paid out of pocket for individual insurance. We had plenty of money for food, clothing, entertainment, car repairs, and generally necessities. We spent way too much on unnecessary expenses (eating out) leaving little for savings, retirement, college savings, and major repairs to our house (we own). We own an old, small (1250sq ft) home the worst part of town. Most of the time, that doesn't really bother us.

 

Last October, we got word that hubby's pay was being reduced to about $36,000 so we took a leap of faith and he quit. We cashed out his small IRA ($11,000 after penalties and fees). Between that and the $27,000 or so that he's made, we've managed without too much change in how we live. Of course, we qualify for state medical for the kids, WIC, and food stamps. I really appreciate the aid while we need it. Hubby and I are both uninsured and I just got a letter saying my breast ultrasound had some issue that they felt warranted more tests. Last month, when I had insurance, they told me it was fine. At this point, I don't see going for those tests; we simply don't have the money. We're just barely managing to keep up with the kids' clothing needs; we have to do laundry frequently since we don't have many outfits. There's nothing left over for car/home repairs, savings, etc.

 

So, I would say that we're happy at $45,000 to $50,000...I don't recommend $27,000 to $36,000 for a family of 6.

 

ETA: For comparison, I found a report that said $74,300 was the median income for my state.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We used to live in Florida and made near the median income. We had the house with an inground pool, new cars, luxury vacations, etc. But after dh's father died, we decided to move back home to Ohio. Since then my father has passed on also. We are able to help our mothers with the little things like replacing light bulbs in ceiling fixtures, getting in firewood, changing furnace filters, etc. along with being close by for the occasional medical crises. Unfortunately we had to take nearly a 50% pay cut to do so. Wages are absolutely dismal in this scenic, rural area.

 

Actually, dh has never made top dollar in his career. He is in media broadcasting and we saw early on that the people who traveled the most with the job and who put in the longest hours succeeded within their companies, but of those we knew, the divorce rate was 100%. We both agreed that less money and a sound marriage was our choice. (Of course, not everyone in his career is divorced, but the percentage is huge.)

 

We currently live in an old farm house, we have no furnace and heat with wood only, we drive very old, cheap cars. We don't spend a lot of money. However, I would say that I am quite happy. It would be nice to not have the occasional money worries that we do, but as I understand it from friends who have much higher family incomes, the extra money has not made them happier. They just swap one set of concerns for another. While we are in a lower income bracket, we have always had adequate food, shelter, and clothing. Just nothing fancy.

 

Sometimes I am more aware than other times of how the "other half" live. And if I dwell on that, it can breed discontent. Therefore, I seek out people who enrich my life in other ways rather than those who make me constantly unhappy about our finances. I have learned to value loyalty, honesty, integrity, diligence, kindness all far above income. I have had to learn to trust God that while He will never give me more stress than I can handle, He is doing the same with my finances. He has given me what I can manage and thrive on and will not increase it until there is His need to do so. We have never gone without life's essentials and we have been blessed with plenty of luxuries. We are just somewhat below what most people in America currently consider an acceptable income.

 

IMO, the specific numbers are not all that relevant. As previously mentioned, $65 in one community will be rich as kings but in another will be practically nonfunctional. Also, as we all saw last year, if gas, grocery, and housing costs skyrocket, an income that first seemed adequate can very quickly become lacking.

 

One acquantance once told me, "You guys are the only college educated people I know who are willing to live like this!" I'm pretty sure she meant it as a compliment;).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are a low income now but thinking about having me stay home. Eeeek! Right now we work on opposite shifts (no daycare), own a home (mobile home but with fenced yard :D), use cloth diapers, breastfeed (it's definitely cheaper :lol:), buy almost no processed foods, no pets to take care of, shop at Costco for what we can, don't have cable TV, don't really eat out... are generally cheap :tongue_smilie:.

 

ETA: I am finishing my degree and dh will be starting school next summer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes I am more aware than other times of how the "other half" live. And if I dwell on that, it can breed discontent.

:iagree:

 

We know a family that lives in a really nice house, in a really nice neighborhood. They drive nice cars, have nice clothes, and go on nice vacations. Visiting their house can be hard. However, I've also seen their relationships first hand. Dad works long hours. Mom works. I would not consider the relationship they have with their older kids to be good...at all.

 

On the other hand, we've chosen a single income so I can be home with the kids and limited to no overtime for dad. We have good relationships with our kids. It's worth it. I would NOT trade with the above family. My kids agree. Even at their young ages, they say they'd rather have their parents home than the nice stuff,

Link to comment
Share on other sites

ITA, but it's so hard to tell kids in love that kind of thing. I remember being one! Also point out to her that after a few years of marriage, things that didn't seem important in the beginning suddenly seem huge, and vice versa--especially after a kid or two.

 

And it isn't "stuff" I'm attached to, it is the idea that if I fell ill or was in a significant car wreck, I have the savings to get by on. Or if my arthritis catches up to me, I don't have to work until 67 before I retire. I won't have cushy retirement, but I won't have to lean on relatives.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you live on a fairly low income, would you share what it is, how big your family is, and if you are able to, budgeting properly, be comfortable? Also, share if you own a home.

 

I have a reason for wanting to know this. My dd wants to marry someone who may never make much money.

 

I would really encourage her to picture her future life and then estimate how much that kind of life costs to get a realistic picture. (Housing/Utilities/phone/food/furniture/clothes .... EVERYTHING!) It's romantic to say, "We can live on love" and "I only need him to make me happy", but when you're down and dirty in the realities of life, being low income sucks. Sorry to put it bluntly.

 

My husband, I, and two children lived on one income of $13.00 an hour. It was H-A-R-D hard. We lived in the ghetto four blocks from the projects. We were stressed out.

 

We now live on about $50,000. We still don't have all the things all of my friends from college have. No cable, 10+ year old car, 25+ year old furnace, 1100 sq. ft. house in blue collar neighborhood, etc. We have credit card debt and business debt and little savings. We're a lot better off than we were 7 years ago, but it's a hard process. We're still stressed, but no where near where we were 7 years ago.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

and lived on a lot. I've weathered a breadwinner job loss.

 

What I noticed is that for me, hope is everything. I can live on a little when I have hope for either better times ahead (like in college) or for a good family life (like when DD was younger and I was trying to be as frugal as possible so that I could stay home with her; something that we really hadn't thought was remotely possible.)

 

Having the higher goal or the hope for the future was key. Grinding poverty really does grind. Comparison is the thief of contentment. I think it is a lot easier to endure grinding poverty where it is 'normal' than where it is always a source of wistfulness or envy.

 

Hope is not everything. It makes a big difference, but it is not what has truly been most important.

 

What is everything is Faith. Flat out.

 

When DH lost his job and I was home homschooling, what got me through that was Faith. Not belief, Faith. Belief is what saves me, by the grace of God, from sin, death, and the power of the devil. But Faith is trusting in God, and that is what got me through one of the most frightening experiences of my life. I am deeply grateful to have had Faith as well as belief at that time and beyond. It was a gift from God, by His grace, and it was and is the most important thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hope is not everything. It makes a big difference, but it is not what has truly been most important.

 

What is everything is Faith. Flat out.

 

When DH lost his job and I was home homschooling, what got me through that was Faith. Not belief, Faith. Belief is what saves me, by the grace of God, from sin, death, and the power of the devil. But Faith is trusting in God, and that is what got me through one of the most frightening experiences of my life. I am deeply grateful to have had Faith as well as belief at that time and beyond. It was a gift from God, by His grace, and it was and is the most important thing.

 

Awwwww. :001_smile:

 

 

 

We are trying to pay off debt now that we are making a bit more than we were (I had a position change/raise in Jan), and then it will be easier to make things work.

 

And we don't buy the kids much at all for birthdays/Christmas. The grandparents get plenty, lol. The kids are used to playing with something at a store and then saying, "goodbye ____" and putting it back. They don't expect to buy things or get treats everywhere. Except maybe the free balloon at the market, lol. If we want to buy extra, we try to sell something or dh donates plasma for play money.

 

And after working opposite shifts for over 4 years, I'd rather pinch more if it means we can be together as a family. So we'll possibly/probably try to go to one income next year. Hopefully dh will get a decent raise in Jan. His boss likes him, lol.

 

Oh, and we also pay tithing. Tithing blessings are like Christmas all the time! We were a bit underwater this last month and we paid tithing on time anyway, and then I found over $300 we misplaced two months ago. Seriously. :D

Edited by LittleIzumi
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it helps, our family income has fluctuated all over the place. When we first married, we were college students with little money. We made do with being Resident Counselors (free apartment) and hubby worked for minimum wage (even though he had a B.S. and was in grad school) on campus at the cafeteria (free meals).

 

Hubby went on to being a Clinical Research Scientist but only made $22,000 a year. I had to work as a Schoolteacher to pay off our college loans. I made more money teaching ($42,000/yr) than hubby before I stepped down to at home full time. Hubby stayed at home and did full time ministry (no income) when son was born (since I was the major breadwinner) in 1995 - 2000. He did a great job! When son entered K grades and I was at home (working part-time at son's school - $4500/yr) hubby worked as a school custodian with an income of $21,000 a year.

 

We made do with sticking to a budget and doing without. My in-laws gave us many gifts -- and hand-me-downs like ('79) washing machine, ('88) refrigerator, ('77) deep freezer. The appliances and furniture were dated and old but suited us just fine. I never complained. It was a good feeling to know we lived out of debt and our credit rating was in the high 700's for a good part of our marriage. Our income was meager. We went without health insurance for a long time. We were self pay -- and if COBRA did not cover us, son would be covered via Kid's Medicaid program.

 

Son was in a coma back in 2003-2004 and he was diagnosed with a rare genetic liver disease. Turns out I gave it to him (X-linked) and I also have to be on a strict low-protein diet and meds daily like son. A simple cold or flu can trigger a health crisis for us and hospitalize us. Worst case scenario is mental retardation, coma, or death if we do not take care of ourselves. As a result, working even part-time is impossible as I would get sick (I get sick often and things like attending church or going to the library is impossible during cold/flu season.) and bring it home for my son to get it from me.

 

Hubby got a job 5 years ago and for the first time in our 23 years of marriage -- he earned a 6 figure salary. We had a nest egg of $300,000 and felt very secure. Then about 2 years ago, we found out our nest egg was gone via a "mini-Madoff" scandal and more headaches. Hubby lost his job about a year ago and our savings account ($20,000) was dwindled down to nothing as he hunted down a job. Meanwhile, we lost our home as refinancing was impossible with the recent bank crisis. Another bump in the road. You learn to adjust. Thank God our items were paid off -- car and more. We got rid of a lot of stuff in the move to a smaller apartment and hubby is working again. His income is $2200 a month. I'm just happy I am able to homeschool and be there for my son. It could be worse. I do thank God and count my blessings.

 

The one thing I would strongly encourage any young couple thinking of marriage is to discuss all possibilities they would encounter in marriage. What would she do if injury occured and hubby is not able to support the family? Does she want future children to go to private school? Who will work for the tuition? Are they in agreement with a joint checking account? Credit cards? Regardless of income, a couple needs to be in agreement with goals for money, raising children, and more. If she thinks she may have conflict in any of these decisions -- that may be a dealbreaker? She needs to be willing to weather the "bumps in life" and support family decisions. Sorry for being so long winded. :D Best wishes.

Edited by tex-mex
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My husband and I live on anywhere from $27,000-$32,000 and we are a family of four. We have never had a lot, but we have always had enough. We have never been on public assistance until this year(except 3 mths of WIC) when dh lost his job and I went to work for 6 months. We do both have our parents living nearby, but neither have ever been in a position to help us, and we do not ask unless an absolute emergency arises. I have always been content with less and although we do have our frustrations at times, it is based more on "want" than "need". We do live in an apartment (1170 sq ft), but it is located in the nicest section of town. This is something dh feels very strongly about and would rather rent where we are and have peace of mind when he is not with us than to buy in an area that is less desirable. I feel that we have ample space where we are. Although I am at a point where I am the most content I have ever been(coming back home and not working now has done that for me!!!) I think that I have been this way for all of my adult life. In this recently reached higher plateau of contentedness(word?), I am realizing maybe for the first time that this just may be the income level we will be at for most of our lives. I am OK with that. We do not have a new car, no cable tv(although this is only since dh lost his job), second hand clothing and items of need, and we eat at home for all meals, but this does not hurt us in the least. Our kids do not suffer even though they do know money is an issue at times. We do not do to many "extra-curricular" things, but my 12 yr old dd plays softball every year, and she and my 7 yr old dd are both involved in our local community theatre. We look for free/low cost activities and find a plethora of them in our community! I just want to offer you some peace of mind that it can work out fine. DH and I began dating when I was 17~he was my focus rather than a higher education~and it concerned both of our familes. DH is six years older than I am and has never had a lot of money although he has always been an extremely hard worker. This was a big concern for my mother of course, and an even bigger concern for my MIL who has half raised me. My MIL married young rather than go to college and this has always been a regret for her. She and I are totally different people and to me, she has always idolized material possessions, and it has really made her home life a challenge. Both of our parents now see that that same focus for family that began 20 years ago still holds true, and that same hard working young man has provided well for his family. What he lacks in funds he makes up for immensely in time and love!!! HTH!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it might be, if the OP's daughter intends to (for lack of a better expression) embrace a lifetime of poverty, she should consider many issues, such as food. Seriously. Does she know how to cook and is she ready? Does she expect to eat a lot of expensive food? Does she know how to shop healthily and cheap? Does she like to eat out daily? In all areas (not just food), does she know how to use coupons, sales, pick less expensive shops, and think creatively? If so, it will enhance her life greatly.

 

She and this man should discuss many things money-related as it does contribute so much to marital problems and general stress. I recommend this for everyone. I think she needs to be on the same page as this man, and really understand what she's getting herself into. They also need to talk debt -- do they have any?

 

Health care is a big issue, esp. if she wants to be a mother. She may find that she qualifies for state assistance at least when pregnant, and her kids may qualify -- and perhaps more affordable options for adults are on the horizon. (That is a topic for another thread!) But affordable healthcare, or lack thereof, can make a huge difference also in one's stress level via the financial issue as well as the sheer worry associated with any sickness/injury.

 

Also there is a big difference between his low income due to respectable but low paying job (e.g. some sort of religious vocation that she respects) and someone who refuses to work, and also that due to circumstances (such as being handicapped and unable to work). She should also consider to what degree she will work, and how this will interact with her plans for children.

 

Some people find it hideously humiliating to receive any sort of personal charity or government assistance. Others find it to be a great blessing. Others are neutral about it. Others seek it out even when they don't require it. This may be an issue for her.

 

And yes, it might help to know what sort of jump down in income level from living with her parents she will take. But there is a certain level of poverty that is very very difficult, where it is virtually impossible to afford anything, while there are others that are workable. Generally, in the US, I'd say anyone making less than $20,000 is going to have a relatively tougher time, but for $50,000 and above, I think one's happiness does not really improve, as your expenses rise to meet your income.

Edited by stripe
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't know what to make of this thread.

 

Do most people *seriously* consider whether the person they love and plan to marry is making a lot of money or not? Work out their future earning potential?

 

That's so foreign to me. I can't imagine.

 

We're not talking about buying a racehorse. :tongue_smilie:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you don't consider it at all, then you're in for a nasty surprise and a lot of arguments. I'd ask for a man's medical history too -- I'd rather not catch HIV and syphillis, I don't know about anyone else.

 

I considered whether my husband was suitable in many aspects. Many fathers traditionally ask their daughter's suitors about their prospects.

 

I think it's entirely appropriate, and a much more worthy avenue for DISCUSSION (not necessarily grilling, but talking about shared goals) than yakking about the colors of the sashes on the bridesmaids' gowns.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Probably you would. But those considerations may have gone in to your staying with him for all that time, and the fact is that some financial issues (such as acquiring someone's debt and whether someone can be added to the other's health insurance) may not occur to an unmarried couple that's just dating, and the prospect of spending one's life together (at least for the foreseeable future) may trigger an examination of issues such as -- "do I want to live in his junky apartment" and "how will we afford kids."

 

Some of these issues are the mark of looking at things with a long-term perspective that some young people may not have before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The answer to the question really depends on the circumstances. I have relatives that live almost turn-of-the-20th-century (the city grew larger and ran water out their way so they are off well water and electric came a long time ago with the REA)...they have the property and just need to sell enough eggs/produce/etc to pay their taxes and buy what little they need. It's cash up front for the vet, dr. and dentist. They feel no need to bring up their health care to today's standard - pretty much take life and death as it comes. Their income is well below poverty level, but they are much better off in standard of living than poorly educated people in my area who are working hard but paying a significant proportion of their income for slum housing, transportation and food. I don't beleive any are eligible for Social Security & beleive they'll follow their parents into working as long as they live...late 80s for most.

Edited by lgm
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a priest, Dh makes it a point to cover "money and its potential problems" during the premarital counseling he requires of couples. I think it's completely appropriate to talk realistically together, and can be helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off of and to ask the hard questions.

How we handle money says a lot about our character, and so does willingness to better oneself (whether or not that comes with more earning potential). We all have "tapes" from our childhoods about $, and it's really wise to be aware of them and to compare them with our potential spouse's tapes.

 

We were on the lower end of middle class when dh was in school. The first year we were married, I made $150 a week before taxes, and dh made about $15,000. Our rent was $250 a month for a 1 bedroom duplex in Ft. Lauderdale. The next 3 years, we lived in VA at Seminary--rent was subsidized, and we lived on less than $20,000. OUr income rose steadily, but we still did 4 years of Ph.D studies, and I worked part-time then.

 

It wasn't until we moved here that our income was comfortable, and then ds had all his problems--we've ended up with no college savings for the boys, but I can still work part-time, we bought a house (and live in a rectory), I can homeschool, our retirement thru the church is great, and we are "automatically" saving $2000 a year for a sabbatical.

 

My point is that it's crucial to talk about $, find out what your (perhaps hidden) expectations are, and be realistic. I think God can provide in any situation, but we have to be content with what we have--he can provide that, too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess I would like to know how you know he will not make enough to take care of his family. I got married when I was 18 - dh was 19. He didn't know who he was going to be at that point - nor did I. We were pretty sure we wanted me to be a SAHM, but nothing concrete. He spent 2 years getting a computer degree and then poof - changed to auto mechanics because he found he was much better at that. Over the 20 years we have been married, things haven't always gone as we would have liked, but we have never starved or been late on a bill. I was very fortunate to have a telecommuting job for many years. I was laid off in 2006 - losing about 40

% of our income. We have since moved out of state, rented our home and a bazillion other things to deal with that loss. Then my dh was laid off in May. After some careful thought and prayer he has accepted a state job that will pay him about $12k less than he usually makes. Why are we taking that when he could keep looking? Benefits. We officially make half of what we were making 3 years ago, have two houses to pay for and the list goes on. Somehow it will work out. I certainly would not decide to not be married to my dh because he took a job with the state and now has a pretty icky salary. I love him - he is my husband. Money is not everything - not even close. I think the better questions to ask your young couple is what is their plan? You can get by if you have a plan and stick to it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I try to tell my children that they may be happy with fewer than average material things, but they need to think about how they are going to feel if they can not give their children the opportunities that they want to give them.

 

Personally, I don't mind going without, but it would be very hard for me to not be able to give my kids everything I want them to have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother said the kindest thing about my husband to her boss one day. Her boss was upset that his daughter seemed to be getting more serious with a young man, and he thought his daughter could "do better than him." My mom told her boss that he should look at the integrity and the work ethic of this young man, as well as how this young man treats his daughter. My mother said that yes, her daughter may have been able to "hook" a man with more money, or a higher degree, but no one would love and work as hard to provide for her more than the man she married.

I love my mom.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I, too, am interested in why you think he will never make much money. The reasons for that would alter my answer to your question.

 

We were totally broke when the twins were born; dh had a $12 hr job, we did own our home, but his parents co-signed our loan and our mort was only $350. We did qualify for food stamps and WIC, but were too (proud or ashamed, I'm not sure which) to use them. However, once those kids came and my job was no longer a feasable financial option, along came some very serious stress. Right or wrong, finances (or lack there of) tax a relationship to the point of divorce more often than it should.

 

But, that experience really forced us to make darn sure we were never in a position like that again, within our own power. It was a driving force to make more money for comfort's sake, at the very least. A character building experience for sure, but a situation we both really wanted to rise above.

 

Even now, we aren't loaded; 10 yr old vehicles, 1 outdated television, don't own a stereo, etc, but we are comfortable; we have food, a house, work/income, everything we *need*, which takes a lot of pressure off dh, but he still stresses about $ and when he does that, it stresses everyone.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that while your potential sil's present income (he's still pretty much a kid, right?) shouldn't have too much of a bearing on her decision to marry him, his willingness to provide for a family is something to consider as a character issue, and if he doesn't have it, he probably isn't ready for the responsibility of marriage.

 

Does that make sense?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't - it didn't even come into consideration for me. BUT, looking back, I would have liked to have been more prepared for this....

 

I would have made very, very different decisions over the past 12 years.

 

:iagree: I would certainly still have married DH as well, but my expectations would have been vastly different.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, but if you have been dating someone for awhile, wouldn't you have an idea of some of these things already? I knew my DH for 5 years before we married. Was I really going to subject him to a battery of tests and measures at that point?

 

So the concept is a bit weird to me.

 

You might think so. People change, on both sides of that equation. I never expected to want to quit my job. I thought I was in for a nice, long publishing career. Having kids changed all that in ways I never never never imagined. We both thought DH would go to grad school. I thought DH would do whatever it took to support our family--moving, extra schooling, whatever. We both changed.

Edited by melissel
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I guess what I'm saying is that while your potential sil's present income (he's still pretty much a kid, right?) shouldn't have too much of a bearing on her decision to marry him, his willingness to provide for a family is something to consider as a character issue, and if he doesn't have it, he probably isn't ready for the responsibility of marriage.

 

Again, ITA. It's good for her to go into marriage with her eyes open. Conting on the idea that everything will magically work itself out or that he will change his ways once they're married/have kids/have a mortgage etc. is the wrong way to start a marriage, IMO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't know what to make of this thread.

 

Do most people *seriously* consider whether the person they love and plan to marry is making a lot of money or not? Work out their future earning potential?

 

That's so foreign to me. I can't imagine.

 

We're not talking about buying a racehorse. :tongue_smilie:

 

YES. Well, the making a lot of money thing wasn't that important, but making enough money to keep me in the manner I wished to become accustomed was important ;).

 

And I'm not talking about first impressions. Dh drove an old rusty Honda Civic and lived in a trailer house when we met. But he had a good job, and had a small airplane as a hobby. He was frugal and thoughtful about his money, which is what I was looking for at the time.

 

I certainly would have stopped dating him early on if I thought I was going to live in poverty my whole life. Marriage is about a lot of things, not just love. Love can grow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are in poverty (according to the census). We could get assistance if we wanted to but we are ultra republicans and as principle, we have decided not to. Basically, what "poverty" means to us is that hubby has to get a 2nd job to supplement our income and that everything we pay in taxes gets paid back to us at the end of the year (refund):) We own our home but paid the downpymt w/college money (my grandfather saved for my education but I got a scholarship) so our monthly pymts are the same as rent would be somewhere. We pay mortgage, electricity, phone, health insurance, gas, and groceries. No cable, no "extras". Birthday money (mine and the kids') goes to homeschool curriculum. Of course, I would like to go out to eat more and would love to be able to have money saved up for college, retirement, "rainy day", whatever. There is not much we can do about the situation...my dh has a heart for kids so he is a pediatric nurse (pays less) and we have decided that I will stay at home with the little ones and we have decided to have as many children as the Lord desires...all we can do is live within our means... It's easy to say how life would be easy if my dh made more but I know if he made more, we would spend more so I just decide to be content in our situation and not covet what others have.

 

My opinion is that as long as your dd's bf is serious about providing for his family, he will. My dh never had a job before we got married (neither do his brothers or sisters) b/c his mom babies them but he got a job when we got married. As soon as we found out we were pg, he started talking to a builder (friend) about building us a house. And as soon as dd1 came, he got a 2nd job. It can be done and we are really happy and would have it no other way. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We also live right at poverty but only because dh's work on a small hourly plus commission and the way the economy is we are strapped for $$ right now. Things have gotten a lot better and because of assistance we have insurance for our kids and we do get food stamps which has enabled us to almost catch up with bills. WE have had rich times and poor times, because of poor investments and a Madiff type thing we lost everything.

 

We drive a 10 year old car, and only have one. We get hand-me down clothes for our kids (and we get bunches and bunches enough to share). We are very happy and kids have learned how to make meals from scratch, enjoy only getting a small amount of Christmas presents and most of all enjoy when dad is home because he works 6 days a week to provide for us.

 

We decided when we had kids to homeschool and that we would have to do with what we had, I don't feel bad about having assistance. We paid for it when we had the rich years, I am VERY VERY thankful to have it so I can get milk every week for my growoing kids :) The best part is having a loving family!

 

blessings

lori

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The median income in our area for families with two adults working is only about $24,000 and people make it.

 

There was a year my mom made $5000 when I was about 16...we had an apartment, clothes, food, and a car. I got little Christmas gifts. It took a huge toll on my mother to live like that...and I must admit, that I don't ever want to live that way again. Even now, she only makes about $12,000 a year...and it's very difficult, even as a single person for her to make it.

 

We lived for a while on about $12,000/yr. That was dh, me, and one child. We just budgeted very, very well. We rented and rent was about half of our income. Even so, we had health insurance, an apartment, a car (and the bus system), clothes, plenty of food, and we always had enough money to buy Christmas and birthday gifts for our son. And we were happy. BUT, in that case, I knew that there would be an eventual end to the situation.

 

Now, if you're talking "low" income as sort of not middle class, but not as low as I mentioned above...definitely doable, and livable. But she might need to be prepared to always cook from scratch, make her own cleaning products (of course any of these things could be her husband doing them too), buying clothes from thrift stores, garage sales, and really, really great sales for new clothes, and driving a car that is fifteen years old. Not having a second car, etc.

Edited by chaik76
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't know what to make of this thread.

 

Do most people *seriously* consider whether the person they love and plan to marry is making a lot of money or not? Work out their future earning potential?

 

That's so foreign to me. I can't imagine.

 

We're not talking about buying a racehorse. :tongue_smilie:

 

:iagree:
My (now) husband and I talked a lot about finances before we were married. I grew up with almost nothing (I'm literally talking living on ramen noodles) and I didn't want to spend my life that way. My husband and I love each other very much...but we will never earn as much as I would like us to. We chose that...my husband has a job he loves, that pays well, but will never make us even moderately wealthy. And I don't work outside the home (but do pick up projects occasionally). So yes, dh and I both considered finances when we were deciding to marry. He doesn't need much, I'm a stuff person. It was important he know that I didn't want to work...and I wanted to be able to stay home before we had kids. It was important for me to understand that he was going to take the job he loved the most, not the type of high-paying job that he could have if he chose. So yep, we discussed it, thought about it, etc.

 

If you and your spouse have always been on the same page, moneywise, then maybe that isn't necessary. But money is one of the top reasons for argument...and for divorce.

 

I still struggle with our standard of living. I wish it could be better. But I chose this life and am, for the most part, happy with it. Going into a situation knowing what to expect (the good and the bad) is the best way to enter any situation...especially marriage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't know what to make of this thread.

 

Do most people *seriously* consider whether the person they love and plan to marry is making a lot of money or not? Work out their future earning potential?

 

That's so foreign to me. I can't imagine.

 

We're not talking about buying a racehorse. :tongue_smilie:

 

I agree it's not a very romantic subject, and I honestly did not make these considerations when I married my dh, but I do think it is wise to have your eyes wide open before making a commitment. I'm saying this because of two situations in my family that are happening right now. The first one involves a female relative who married a guy who promised that he would support her and take care of her. Not that she needed it - she is a brilliant lawyer and a super hard worker, but I think she would have liked to be able to stay home w/her kids or just work part-time when they were young. This guy has turned out to be a complete flake, refuses to work, hides all his money from his wife, and has blown through $70,000 in credit. The whole things has just turned out really badly.

 

Situation #2 - another young relative, male this time, is getting married in a couple of weeks to his fiance. They have one child already and have been living rent-free with his parents for the last several years. The girl comes from a wealthy background while my relative is from a middle-class family, and I'm already sensing trouble. Once they try living on his income alone, which is decent, but not affluent, I think she is in for a rude awakening. I've seen their gift registries and the items on it are frankly ridiculous. I think her expectations are going to be way out of line with their actual style of living.

 

My two cents - if you can be happy living on a lower income, then no problem, go for it. DH and I have survived our financial ups and downs, and it does not bother me to be frugal. I feel very fortunate to be able to stay home and that we were able to have the size of family we wanted. As long as the couple can figure out their priorities and agree on them, they can be happy, IMHO.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally Posted by fivetails viewpost.gif

I really don't know what to make of this thread.

Do most people *seriously* consider whether the person they love and plan to marry is making a lot of money or not? Work out their future earning potential?

That's so foreign to me. I can't imagine.

We're not talking about buying a racehorse. :tongue_smilie:

 

 

 

Considering that money issues constitute one of the biggest factors in marriage break ups, I think it is extremely naive not to consider the topic. I don't mean that a young woman should use income earning capacity as a determinant factor in accepting a proposal. Of course not! I mean that she needs to consider it from many angles and then have some serious discussions with her fiance. Firstly because, while being poor is not in itself an objection, the cause of the low income could be. What if the young man is constitutionally lazy , is used to being spoilt by his parents, and therefore expects that he is going to sit around on his backside while his wife works several jobs, looks after the house and brings up children? That is surely a problem, isn't it? Secondly, assuming that his lack of income doesn't flow from any problematic aspect of his character, they still need to figure out how they are going to work their money management. This is important for all couples, regardless of expected income. If she expects to be an equal partner in the financial management of their household, whereas he expects to keep all money matters in his hands except for a small allowance for her, it's going to cause stress! Likewise if he expects that they will live frugally within their means while she anticipates accumulating massive debts without worrying much about repaying them, it will be a flashpoint in their marriage.

Edited by Hotdrink
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't look at marriage as finding someone else to support me. I was supporting myself at the time. In fact I supported my DH for a short time when we married (he came from another country). I did think he would have good job options (engineering degree) so yeah I guess that factored into my decision to take the risk.

 

Since he had an engineering degree, or was working towards one, then you would have already known that he had the drive and capabilities to obtain a decent paying career. But often times,when people are very young, the person they are dating hasn't made it far enough yet in their education or work experience for them to have a clear idea of where they are heading.

If a young women is wanting to raise children and be a stay at home wife and mother, than it is especially important to know if her husband to be will be able to support the family, or eventually support the family, without her going to work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

*sigh*

 

I never said "do people seriously discuss their financial goals together?", nor did I say not to be concerned if someone is really & truly "lazy" and just doesn't care. /etc/

 

When my daughter grows up, I hope she marries a good man who loves her with every breath in his body ~ whether he works at a high powered law firm or washes dishes at a pub. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

*sigh*

 

I never said "do people seriously discuss their financial goals together?", nor did I say not to be concerned if someone is really & truly "lazy" and just doesn't care. /etc/

 

When my daughter grows up, I hope she marries a good man who loves her with every breath in his body ~ whether he works at a high powered law firm or washes dishes at a pub. :)

 

I agree. Actual income was never a consideration for me.

 

My stepfather had hired my ex and my now-dh (at different times, lol) to work a very low-income, long-hour, physically demanding job. My ex decided the job was beneath him and quit pretty quickly. Dh appreciated the job and put his all into it. Obviously I chose the hard-working poor guy. :)

 

Fast forward 9 years and my ex is still a semi-bum (he's matured a tiny bit). Dh took that crummy little job and has turned it into an impressive career. We had no reason to believe it'd go that way, but it did.

 

For the record, my family was very low-income when I was growing up. Dh grew up very well-to-do.

 

While I don't think it's fair to claim that love alone is enough, I don't believe actual cash money has anything to do with successful relationships- it's people's desire for money. When someone places money over love (from the beginning, or 20 years down the road), of course the relationship is hopeless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really don't know what to make of this thread.

 

Do most people *seriously* consider whether the person they love and plan to marry is making a lot of money or not? Work out their future earning potential?

 

That's so foreign to me. I can't imagine.

 

We're not talking about buying a racehorse. :tongue_smilie:

I agree. However, my sister is a different animal. Her and her dh sat down and discussed budgets before they got married. They talked about whether or not she would quit working once they had children. They talked about how much they would have to set aside to take a family vacation each year, and whether or not it would be better to take minivacations and save up to big vacations once every blue moon.

 

I think priorities are the deal breaker here. Money is not important to me. I'm alright with living off quantity foods, iykwIm, I'm fine without buying clothes, I don't mind buying used. Now, I was very insistent that we have a house. Dh and I talked about this in a round about way while we were dating. I would never rent (no offense to those who do, it's a personal decision). Dh would not rent either (mostly because I wouldn't). We both agreed that having a house, owning a house, came first. We can live without phone, electricity and water, as long as we had a house.

 

Now, we own our home. I'd rather have the utilities shut off than dh 'trapped' in a job he hated. He knows that. Money is still not important. I can make do, I am very good at that :p

I try to tell my children that they may be happy with fewer than average material things, but they need to think about how they are going to feel if they can not give their children the opportunities that they want to give them.

 

Personally, I don't mind going without, but it would be very hard for me to not be able to give my kids everything I want them to have.

That is hard. Whenever I consider having another dc, my first thought is... what will we do at Christmas?

In response to the OP I'd say things change. Life changes. Plans change. No one knows exactly what their future holds.

Right, even if she married D. Trump, she should be prepared to live on nothing. Being absolutely adverse to living off little could break any marraige, especially since the definition of little can become rather large if you're living high on the hog, iykwIm.

I don't mean that a young woman should use income earning capacity as a determinant factor in accepting a proposal. Of course not! I mean that she needs to consider it from many angles and then have some serious discussions with her fiance. Firstly because, while being poor is not in itself an objection, the cause of the low income could be. What if the young man is constitutionally lazy , is used to being spoilt by his parents, and therefore expects that he is going to sit around on his backside while his wife works several jobs, looks after the house and brings up children? That is surely a problem, isn't it? Secondly, assuming that his lack of income doesn't flow from any problematic aspect of his character, they still need to figure out how they are going to work their money management. This is important for all couples, regardless of expected income. If she expects to be an equal partner in the financial management of their household, whereas he expects to keep all money matters in his hands except for a small allowance for her, it's going to cause stress! Likewise if he expects that they will live frugally within their means while she anticipates accumulating massive debts without worrying much about repaying them, it will be a flashpoint in their marriage.

I agree with some of this, but I don't think it's the same thing Five Tails was writing about. She meant, who does a financial back ground check, who truly cares about income potential, at that point (or at least, I think that's what she meant ;) ). All of your points are very valid, but I'm not sure, when I considered these things, that I would've put them under income or income potential. Laziness is an issue of character, imo. I didn't date lazy, can't put up with it, especially not to the extent you describe. Head of household, joint accounts and things of that nature, are more a question of how the relationship works, imo. IOW, dh is the head of household, but I pay the bills. Separate accounts, we discussed those, because I had married friends that were adamant that they'd never share an account. Dh and I saw that as a trust issue. We share the account. He makes the money, I pay the bills, we saw that as a division of labor in the house. IOW, most of the money issues you listed are things I never considered money issues :lol: They're things we discuss before and during our marraige as they arise, as they become important. We commited to working through things with each other. Our priorities were different. These things were either discussed as we saw them or faced them. It doesn't make our marraige any shakier than anyone else's.

Edited by lionfamily1999
To reflect a change in a quoted post.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If your daughter can make a decent wage, and plans to only take a month and a half off work when she has children then she doesn't have to depend on her husbands low wages.

 

I do expect my husband to be the breadwinner while I stay home with my infants, and preferably stay home indefinately. Even when I was young and in love I kept in mind that a future husband has to be able to support me.

 

My husband is a hard working man, and he makes decent money when he can find work. It's been hard to find work lately. He isn't frugal when he does get money. It's really hard. I am not going to go into details because I don't feel cofortable doing so on this board. I was a bit offended by the "I would never be so poor as to use cheap toilet paper and eat cheap hot dogs" thread.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is possible to live on a small income, but you do have to be willing to live a different lifestyle than that of the typical American. Is she willing to do without things that many would consider necessary, like cell phones and cable? Is she willing to buy older cars instead of new ones and smaller, older houses? Or rent instead? Is she willing to be creative about ways to save money? We have lived at various income levels from very low (while in school) to pretty decent (just recently). We had one child at the very low income level and two more while we were still near poverty level. After we pay off dh's student loans he will likely take a lower paying job. He wants a slower paced job that will allow him to be home with us more. We are always trying to find new ways to save money. This lifestyle has been quite comfortable for us, even while we were in school, but wouldn't be for others.

Edited by Lisa in the UP of MI
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...