Every time I attend a wedding I do two things. One: cry. Two: put myself in the bride’s shoes, and wonder how I’d feel walking down the aisle, tying the knot forevermore. I’m writing about this topic a lot lately because it’s been on my mind. I’ve spent my entire life fighting against allowing money to factor into who I date, but at the ripe-old age of almost 30, I’ve realized that there are two key pieces of a happy marriage: One: financial compatibility. Two: frequent blow jobs (seriously.) I’m pretty convinced at this point that as long as those two things exist in a marriage, it will be successful.
This week, I spent time with a good old friend who is now the mother of a one year old. Just a few years into the marriage, she says that if she could do it over again she’d get married for money. When you have a kid, she explained, they become your world, and all you care about is providing for them. Her husband apparently went to school for a certification and failed the exam, refusing to go back to take it again, and he’s stuck in his job making around $55k per year. Meanwhile, she makes a small salary as a hair dresser, and they both struggle to make ends meet. The pair bought a condo and, additionally, are paying off a car payment of $300+ per month. On the other end of the spectrum, sort of, I have another friend who is pregnant with her first child, and she’s married to an engineer for a major tech company, and even they are struggling with finances at the moment with a kid on the way and major house remodels. I kick myself when I share my concern about my boyfriend’s financial situation with her, as she’s struggling to pay off her debts as her husband pays for their expensive bay area starter home.
I’ve been scared to be with a man who has his life together. Because of my depression and other crazies, I just don’t trust myself to maintain a relationship with anyone who is focused on their career. I feel safe with my boyfriend, I know I’ll always be in charge of the finances, he’ll surely stay at home with the potential offspring, and maybe that’s fine. I just don’t know what I want. I can see myself going on like today if I don’t have kids, living with roommates, semi cheaply, splurging on dresses, shoes and makeup on occasion but overall keeping my living expenses low. Thinking about a life with kids changes the picture. And I worry one day I’ll be upset at myself for not seeking out a man who had his life together. Just enough to have a bit of retirement savings at 30.
It seems what destroys marriages is passive agressive bitterness about the things that one cannot change about their partner. They’re terrible with money. They aren’t sexually compatible. They don’t pick up the dishes. Suddenly there’s this grudge that makes two people who were once perfect for each other fall apart. And this may be a natural part of growing up, understanding yourself more and what you want. I just don’t want to get married without it being forever. And how can I commit myself to someone forever if I don’t feel like we’re on the same page financially. I want a reasonably nice house, which, in my area, will cost at least $1.5M. I want to take vacations around the world every couple of years with the family, once the future kids are old enough. I want to be with a person who inspires me to be my best all around. Someone who is contagiously, yet realistically enthusiastic for life… from road trips stopping at the motel 6 to catch some shut eye hitting the road again, to embracing the occasional luxuries and new adventures.
I don’t want to struggle with money at any point in my life. I’m still committed to having $500k in savings before I have children. It would be nice if my partner could contribute to this. I made a silly ultimatum the other day, to my bf, that before I say yes to a proposal he must have $100k in the bank. He has about $0 today. This means we won’t be getting engaged for a few more years, but I need him to prove to me he’s capable of achieving financial goals. $100k is a lot but not impossible. He lives at home, pays no rent, and if he had a job paying $60k per year, and let me pay for all our dates, he could save this much in three years. I’m willing to wait for that, because I know he loves me, but if he really loves me, in the way an adult loves another adult, he’d take on this challenge and strive to show me that he can provide some sort of stability in our lives.
And I feel like a TOTAL BITCH for requesting this. Who am I to want a husband who has saved money? Doesn’t that make me a gold digger? Well, maybe I am. Maybe I just want to be with a man who earns a six-figure salary, like I do, so we can have a comfortable life. It still won’t be easy in our neck of the woods, but my vision for my life will not be so far off the reality of it.
That said, what if he can’t save the money? Or doesn’t want to? Why not just get married now, have a family, and figure it out as we go like most people do?
Because I’d be bitter. I’d be bitter putting all of my savings to the life I want to have when he can contribute very little or nothing at all. That bitterness will destroy us. I need to be supportive now of his getting his life together. But I also am worried he will propose to me before he’s achieved this goal. Then what do I say? I told him not to buy me a ring. It is really just irresponsible to purchase an engagement ring when your salary is less than $15k from off and on freelance projects for the year. If he said to me, let’s go elope, let’s skip the rings, let’s save the money, and one day when I have a stable job and savings I’ll get you a ring, I’d probably say yes. Because that would show me he at least has achieved some level of financial maturity. But if he gets down on one knee with a ring that cost a few grand, I’ll be terrified, and won’t know what to say.
…so I just asked him to take the $5k he planned to spend on my engagement ring and to use it to start a Roth IRA. Propose to me by maxing out a Roth for just one year, to start his retirement savings before he turns 32. He doesn’t like it when I say things like this. 🙁