On "Secrets" to Buying a House Without Getting Hosed

Yes to less house than you can (technically) afford! It also leaves you money for repairs / renovation, which is always more expensive than you think it will be, by, like, magnitudes of order. We did use a realtor, and it was helpful to have someone else dealing with that paperwork. But here at least the sellers pay the realtors' fees. I felt like the calculus was really different from having a realtor when you're renting, and you end up paying someone a chunk of change for what feels like a lot less service.

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 10:20 am 2

On How Wizards Do Money: Cho Chang

Unexpectedly lovely and moving. The parallel first & last lines especially. Nice.

Posted on August 11, 2014 at 1:13 pm 0

On The Four-Hour Workday

During the fight for the eight-hour workday (and I think the ten-hour day before that?) one of the arguments was what the author says above: there will be more jobs to go around. Interestingly this turned out mostly not to be the case. It turns out people are a *lot* more productive on a shorter workday than a longer one. Like Meaghan says, no time for gchat! Plus, you're not dead tired, etc.

Posted on August 7, 2014 at 8:59 am 0

On Pre-Nups: Maybe Necessary, Necessary, Offensive, or Harmless?

@Tax Token I'd be interested to see the Billfold do a follow-up with a divorce lawyer on this. Kleinberg's advice is interesting, but she has pre-nups to sell, right? My sense is that pre-nups become less effective the longer it's been since the marriage, though of course it must vary by state. But still, there must be a cost-benefit analysis to this decision.

Posted on June 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm 1

On How Vampires Do Money

I think the metaphor is supposed to go the other way. It's not that vampires are rich. Rich people are vampires!

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 11:43 am 2

On What Should a City Do When the Rent Becomes Too High to Afford?

It's a very long read, but James Meek's essay in the London Review of Books has some suggestions: http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n01/james-meek/where-will-we-live Subsidization of housing on a large scale, and in a way that doesn't stigmatize those who live there, has been done, as Meek demonstrates. But current fantasies about "the market" (which really are just fantasies) make that a hard sell.

Posted on April 30, 2014 at 9:22 am 0

On How Do Couples Use Joint Accounts?

@dilworth From a Smug Married with a twenty-year relationship: I disagree! Separate accounts provide some space and autonomy in ways that are good, emotionally, for a relationship. And separate accounts also provide some protection in case the relationship sours. The investment account, for example, might be "legally" equally your wife's, but ultimately you could secretly blow it in Vegas and she couldn't, and that's an important distinction. (Obviously, I mean, couples should do what works for them. But I still vote for separate accounts.)

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 2:37 pm 0

On Fronting

@emmabee It also made me think of Thomas Shapiro's work (at Brandeis) about wealth disparity by race in the US, and how reduced family assets have a cumulative effect.

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 11:58 am 1

On How Do Couples Use Joint Accounts?

My partner and I also have joint accounts plus our own separate accounts. We have a budget that reflects what the joint money is supposed to cover (mortgage, utilities, food...) and contribute to the joint account based on that. The list of what's joint and what's separate has definitely evolved over time... we realized, for example, that we liked being able to use the joint card to pay for casual meals or coffee out together, so we added that in. Other things (clothing, hobbies) are solidly in the non-joint category. As always in relationships, I think the keys are communication, flexibility, and goodwill.

Posted on April 2, 2014 at 10:07 am 0

On How Do You Split the Cost of a Group Trip?

@Jake Reinhardt I got that vibe from this question, too, and at the moment I'm generally on the higher-income side of my friend groups. "I thought a road trip would be was just a fun thing to do, not a transaction/massive exchange of goods and services!" Well, it's both of those things! Something being fun and friendly doesn't mean it doesn't also require spending resources, and that should be done in a way that reflects the relationship. Of course below a certain threshold it's not worth the time to figure out relative contributions (I wouldn't count how many tea bags I've served a friend at my house) but if the activity is above that threshold for even one member of the group, some intentional cost-sharing is appropriate.

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 11:21 am 0