Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Best Things in Life are Free.

Us singles have a different approach to life and finance than the marrieds do. Since I'm almost 30 and have pretty much resigned to never finding someone to settle down with I'm really thinking about my financial future at the moment, and looking to set myself up in alone-land. Alone-land involves thinking about 'what if I get sick?', 'what if I lose my job?' 'who will look after me?'. The answer is no one, and actually that's fucking scary. There's a lot of insecurity there - and this is because I know what it's like to account for every penny. It's how I grew up. It's not fun.

I've done a bit of soul searching and I've realised that I've been unconsciously doing something for a very long time that hasn't been good for me. I've been waiting. The waiting has held me back. While I *have* been looking for a house I'm realising now that maybe my fear about 'going it alone' has been holding me back from really laying my savings down on the line and buying something. Going it alone is bloody scary when you know that you're not ever going to earn enough to really be totally secure in mortgage land. Whatever I choose to do I know I'll have to be careful with money. That's okay in theory, but actually doing it is scary. The alternative however - waiting is a lot worse for me. Waiting is not on the cards - I need to be truly independent with waiting not even a factor. If this means I'm cutting off certain possibilities then so be it. I'm not going to suddenly win lotto so I need to really plan for my future now.

I hate people saying 'oh but you're so free'. Usually this comes from people who are snug as a bug in a rug in couple land where they're not thinking about how they are totally dependent only on themselves for everything. It's easy to say 'you're free to do what you want' when you've got a kid on your hip and hubby coming home for supper - I once challenged my friend on this and she admitted in the end that if she didn't have her husband then she wouldn't be able to do half the things that she's done. House, trips, etc - they can rely on each other. It's different when it's just you and I know the quirkyalone among you reading this will totally know what I'm talking about - serial monogamists excluded.

Anyway on being free - I don't really feel like going on an extended trip overseas, coming back with no savings and having to start again in a market that is even worse than what it is now. No thanks, I don't want to get caught up later. Honestly, if I was married, I think I would PUSH for an overseas trip right now, perhaps a stint living there for a while - because quite frankly it's easier when you've got two salaries to play with and there's safety in numbers as well. When you come back you have two salaries to bolster yourself up. Spending money on two living together is almost the same as one living alone - but you have two salaries to do it with. Yes, sure I *could* easily pack up my life and go overseas right now and not have to tell anyone about it. It could be great...for now - but while you hear all those romantic statements about living in the moment blah blah, back in the land of reality that ain't happening. Certainly not with the big stuff anyway. I'm pretty naive sometimes but not stupid. I know I have to plan and I know it has to happen now. I wrote an entry about this a while ago, in the context of men who say 'where have all the girls gone?' - well we went and got ourselves financially secure buddy.

Anyway it's taken a lot of soul searching on my part but I'm at that stage where I know I want to be financially secure so that I don't have to stress about it for the rest of my life. I've worked out a way to make it happen and am in a process of creating a future where I will not become my parents.

The relationship my parents had with money has taught me to never depend on another person for money coming in. Yes, that means I'm scarred but better to live and learn than to repeat the mistakes of others. I never want to have to 'talk about my spending' I never want to have to justify the extra pair of knickers I bought, I don't want to have to talk about how 'since I'm earning more that means you do more housework' (which yes, I have seen happen with friends of mine). I reject marrying for money (and all arguments out there that say that all women look for that in a man) because even the thought of someone paying for the date makes me incredibly anxious. Actually KNOWING that they resent doing this (from what I keep reading on the internets anyway) has opened up my eyes in a very bad way. The crap about women being gold diggers is even worse. For someone who already has a chip on her shoulder about being independent this whole money in relationships issue really gives me hives.

It's a good thing I'm planning for alone-land then eh?

So anyway, the point is I've got this plan that is actually going to happen and it's a good one but then something hit me hard - what if someone comes along in the future - waaay in the future when I least expect it? Where do they fit into the financial stability that I've (hopefully) created? I do believe in share and share alike and I'm generous to boot. I just don't want to be dependent - ever. I like the thought of a buddy relationship where you have each others backs and you both contribute the same, that would be ideal - but I'm wondering does that really exist when money and ego come into play?

The other day I was at my friend S's place and we were playing with her new baby. The baby did a poo and S looked at her husband - "can you please do it this time?" she said. He looked at her smiled and made a joke "no, I'm bringing the money in, you change the baby". I didn't say it was a funny joke, in fact it wasn't a joke at all - he was completely serious. These two actually have very similar work ethics and ideas about money and yet, there it was hanging over the room like a storm cloud waiting to erupt. Money.

Does money get in the way of a good relationship? How do you stop that from happening? Singletons, do you worry for your financial future - have you tried to plan for a future alone or are you waiting for someone to come along and help? Marrieds - did you go into your marriage totally financially secure or is this something you've developed together? Have you ever HAD these worries or were you married before it got to crunch time (for the record, I reckon 30-40 is crunch time). Is it detrimental to a relationship if one person is financially secure and the other isn't?

Labels: , , , , , ,