I saw this story differently. Two people on the verge of marriage react highly emotionally when one of them reveals a secret about debt. They find their way back to each other with the help of some space, effort, and good advice. This struck me as well-written, real, and full of hope.
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.
Unexpectedly lovely and moving. The parallel first & last lines especially. Nice.
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.
@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.
I think the metaphor is supposed to go the other way. It's not that vampires are rich. Rich people are vampires!
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.
@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.)
@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.
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.