I actually cheered when you got to the part where you considered an MFA and decided against it. I have seen so many people struggle to realize their artistic dreams and decide that what they really need is more school, more "proof" that they're a serious artist. Everyone I know with an MFA in the arts now works an unrelated day job that they would have been qualified for within a year of college graduation, had they deigned to go that route years earlier.
@Niko Bellic Probably the greatest comment ever posted here or elsewhere.
People. Stop taking unpaid internships.
@Renleigh The latte thing is such a peeve of mine, too! Second the Ramit Sethi recommendation. His advice makes so much more sense: rather than putting themselves through trivial struggles of willpower every day, people should be looking for structural changes to their lives that can be automated. Moving to a cheaper apartment, getting a higher-paying job, increasing automatic debt payments and savings contributions. These are things that make a much bigger difference AND usually require one tiny fraction of the psychological energy it takes to repeatedly skip lattes or shoes or haircuts.
@Meghan Nesmith@twitter Definitely. I think the way I'd approach it would probably be "big things first": a cooperative retirement and savings strategy, a joint account for bills and housing, and so forth... and maybe leave it at that. I'm actually not too uncomfortable being bound to someone in lifelong finance, but I could definitely do without my day-to-day spending decisions being subject to anyone else's input.
I'm just like Meghan; I dread merging finances completely, because I don't ever want to feel beholden to someone. In my case I think this traces back to two experiences I had becoming too financially close to a partner - both involving a relocation and one of us being unemployed for multiple months, therefore forcing the other to briefly support the team. I've actually been on both sides of this situation. Neither relationship was truly ready for a situation like that, and both experiences were equally relationship-ruining. My current relationship is likely headed toward marriage, but I still can't bring myself to merge despite my boyfriend's frequent offers to do so in order to pay off my student loans faster. Given my heebie jeebies over ever "spending someone else's money" ever again, there would have to be a very large upside to change my mind. I just don't see a good reason to do it... I feel like we've both worked hard to become financially independent, so why would we throw that away before it becomes absolutely necessary (due to illness, children, etc)?
"Everyone feels poor sometimes, and unless you know why they feel that way it doesn’t mean much!" This is incredibly true. The feeling of wealth or lack thereof has to do with so much more than what your paycheck says and what your bank balance is. I make just under $100k, and my boyfriend earns $60k. I have debts, though - and am behind on savings - while he has a decent nest egg as a result of not taking on student loans and living very cheaply in the first few years of his career. I would say that overall we consider ourselves equally rich. For me, crossing the threshold to feeling "rich" happened when I got to a point where I could handle day-to-day and unexpected expenses without much inconvenience. Like the interviewee describes, I could stop paying attention to the cost of my meals and impulse purchases, and if I had to make a copayment at the dentist a few times during the month it wouldn't upset my budget. Part of this was the transition from a salary in the 50s and 60s to one in the 90s, but an equal part of it was just getting control of my finances in general: having an emergency fund, being on an accelerated loan repayment schedule, building up my retirement savings, etc. There is a certain chicken-and-egg component to this, though. Being financially responsible is much less work when you make more money. I can honestly say that I got my financial act together over the past couple of years with almost no pain or sacrifice, which would definitely not be the case if I earned less.
I only disclosed the fact that I Suffer From Depression to one employer, and not intentionally... it only came up because I was starting a new medication, and had a severe adverse reaction to it that caused me to pass out at my desk. In the ensuing chaos/paramedics/etc., I had to be very candid with everyone (and everyone within earshot) about what had happened and why. I thought it was better for people to know the incident was caused by prescribed psychiatric drugs than recreational ones. I ended up leaving on short-term disability for a few weeks while undergoing tests to try to uncover possible other causes of the adverse reaction. The official diagnosis on my disability claim was depression, but the actual reason I had to leave work was the possibility of a more "serious" physical condition. Though people were sensitive at the time, things were never the same for the two more years I was at that company. I feel like people accommodated and protected me, but had less respect for me. I was viewed as less stable, less reliable and less ambitious. Things that would have gone unnoticed by a normal person (e.g. arriving at 9:15 in a casual office with no official start time) were viewed as my taking advantage of my condition or expecting special treatment. In other cases, I found that people were just more distant and less friendly than before my absence. They acted awkward... like maybe they thought mental illness was contagious? If it could have gone any differently, I would not have "come out" as a person with depression. I'm in the closet at my current job and plan to stay that way.