Friday, May 05, 2006

No Worries

Yesterday, Broadsheet posted a link to an interesting article about couples who choose not to marry, but instead maintain seperate households. The couples interviewed for the article inferred that they made this decision in order to preserve there own spaces. These people seemed very happy with the arrangement and, personally, I really don't care what people do so long as it's consensual. Apparently, I am in the minority, though, as it is fairly common for singles, particularly women, to be pressured into marriage and child rearing by those around them. I have had married people tell me all about the joys of marriage and that raising a child is the most wonderful experience imaginable. I'm not sure if they were saying this for my benefit or there own, but for their sake I hope that they believed what they said. The timing of this article was ironic because I recently recieved a vivid reminder of why I've chosen to remain both single and childless.

Last week, my employer made an announcement about a major change at the company. I'm not supposed to discuss the details of it and I know that sitemeter gives the name of my employer, so I am deliberately being vague. Let it suffice to say that the potential for cutbacks or layoffs at the end of this year is distinct. Of course, we were assured that the precise opposite was true, but many of us can see enough of the big picture to know what's what. Regardless, as the ramifications of this change sunk in to my co-workers' psyches, I could see the fear and panic begin to take hold. Particulary, amongst those who are married with children. Although I sympathize with their plight, I am firm believer that we are accountable for the choices that we make. For many of my coworkers, they need two incomes and in some cases more, to make the nut.

Thankfully, I'm not tied to this area, with it's outrageous cost of living, for any reason. I don't have kids in school or a spouse's job to worry about. Also, I'm not trying to make a godawful $2000/month mortgage payment. Although renting is throwing money down a hole, I can give the hole back at anytime. I don't have to worry about staying in this area until my house sells in a flattening market, or making two mortgage payments. I'm not making payments on new vehicles for myself and a spouse, instead I drive a '93 Camry that I own outright. I've never taken a bank loan to take a vacation and I pay my credit cards off monthly. I have banked as much of my pay as possible and I've tried to invest wisely.
Additionally, if I have to look for a job I'll have the entire country to choose from. This has been absolutely invaluable in the past, as your negotiating position is poor when you are tied to any one city. Consequently, I truly couldn't care less what happens. If they asked for voluntary layoffs today, I'd be first in line and I'd likely take the rest of the summer off.


At 8:58 AM, Blogger Broadsheet said...

I own my home (which I love), and I make quite a nice living with no debt other than the car, but faced with the same pressures, I could also put the house on the market, take my 300% windfall in real estate value, and move. Financially, it wouldn't hurt me in the least, but after 11 years, I've gotten quite attached to this place and many of the people in it. THAT would be hard to give up.

But your point is a good one. I know too many people "trapped" in a lousy job beacuse of their spouse's job, kid's school, or financial pressures to keep a shitty, well paying job.

I am fortunate to be pretty damn happy.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger Cham said...

They did a survey a few months back, if you want proof I am sure I can dig out a link for you. The demographic group that suffers the most depression are married women with young children. Raising a child might be the most wonderful experience imaginable but I am not so sure I want the obligatory daily dosage of Prozac that goes with it. There is an underbelly of childrearing that nobody talks about because our culture wants everyone to believe it is such a great thing.

I agree with BS though, it will be a cold day in hell you will get me to move away from here for a job, I have too many ties to Baltimore, living somewhere else would suck. Although that 900% real estate windfall would be nice. I guess us gals will be laughing all the way to the bank.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger tfg said...

I moved to Baltimore about 2 years ago, so I was seeing the top of the housing bubble. There was no way in hell I was going to buy into that.

However, if you have owned your property for 5+ years, you are sitting pretty, unless you buy back into this market. This is what I keep seeing. Married couples will take the gain of their original house and buy the largest house they can. These are the people that are screwed rude if it starts raining.

As for marital bliss, I know many unhappy married people and not so many happy ones. I don't blame the institution itself, but often people make unwise decisions.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Kira said...

my uncle has lived next door to his GF for over 30 years. thank god he doesn't have kids, he is crabby. another aunt had no kids, and thank god for that, she is married to my uncle but she would be horrid with kids.
having a husband, child, and mortgage which can be a burden, are good for several things. perhaps I will elaborate on it on my blog sometime.
I will say now though, that the problem isn't necessarily with the financial burden of those things, but not being able to part with all accoutrements of middle class life, in trade for finiancial security. people aren't willing to do without, and are more into keeping up with the jones and their own need to have toys.... there are lots of single people who have that problem, too.

At 1:43 AM, Blogger elcapitanhink said...

Do what I'm doing, man. Sign a deal with the government, get a COLA advance, and take a wrong turn into Juarez with Juanita on your lap.

Okay, so I'm not _really_ defrauding the government, but as I am not terribly picky where I live (I've never lived in one place more than a decade, so I am used to being a carpetbagger), I am getting a very good deal from Uncle Sam, and who knows where I'm off to after Texas. Hell, right now I'm in fucking BF Arkansas.

You could always do the mail order bride thing and just leave her in Kerplakistan with a web cam.

Wait, what was your question?

At 6:22 PM, Blogger tfg said...

kira-Like my dad always says, "Screw the Joneses. If I want to know what they are up to, I'll buy them and find out." This is coming from a guy who drove an '82 Malibu up until 3 years ago.

hink-I'm with you, I'm not choosey about where I live, either. Hell, I lived in Terre Haute, IN for a year and that's bottom of the barrel. When I see housing prices in the rest of country, I ask myself why I'm still here. Particularly, because I can and have earned a comparable salary in BF.


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