@cjm Yes, that is exactly the main option. But the only full-time job opportunity between the two of us happens to be located in one of those cities (how did you guess?!). It just doesn't happen to pay enough for a family of 3 to live on there, so we have to hope to find a second job in the same place relatively quickly, or a better financial option for one of us to pop up elsewhere after putting in a year or so at that job. Outside of major cities you do sometimes run into the problem of housing being cheap, but jobs being primarily around minimum wage and part time, which I think is a symptom of the same issue. If you're a 30 year old with kids working retail 25 hours a week, your housing may not cost very much, but it can still be a huge portion of your monthly budget without the extra bedrooms or hot tubs. I really think that housing affordability is a huge issue related to wage stagnation and the casualization of the workforce.
I really agonized over choosing between colleges, and I think that's because it was the biggest one-time decision I'd ever had to make at age 17. I absolutely loved my alma mater, so I think I made a good decision, but I realized pretty quickly that my second and third choices would have been good decisions, too [note: I'd already filtered based on cost and financial aid by that point]. I agree that if you're looking at schools of the same type, it's comparing apples and apples, and probably any of them will taste good.
I have a few today (in addition to work-related stuff, which is also not completed): 1. unpack bag from trip - done 2. clean up some piles of papers and file medical bills - done 3. send out email inviting people to birthday gathering next week - not done because I can't figure out what to do (host something at my sticky, sweltering apartment vs. make people spend money going out to brunch just to hang out in A/C). What should I do? 4. attempt a full-length run, which I am nervous about because short runs while pregnant over the last few weeks has been pretty achy, crampy, and generally awful. But I should at least try, right?
@Sureok Wow, this is super incredibly rude. It's insanely irresponsible and luxurious to have kids and pets on one full-time plus one less predictable income? God forbid that anyone who has children "responsibly," in your book, ever suffers from unemployment, wage cuts, or disability later in life - now THAT would be irresponsible. You're right, only couples in which both parties are earning above median salaries, and have accumulated enough savings to weather unanticipated financial disaster at ANY point in the future, should be allowed to own pets or bear children.
@Ester Bloom Right! I went to small liberal arts college that will not be named, and one of the frequent topics of conversation during orientation was people from fancy prep schools bonding over getting rejected from Harvard and Yale. (Just Harvard and Yale - the other Ivies weren't good enough to bother applying to, apparently.) I suspect it wasn't a very different group demographically than...the people who got into Harvard and Yale.
Out of this list, I choose craft beer, marriage, and children. Pretty happy with that. (Also have an IRA, but that's pretty hands-off, so not sure if I'd count it as investment.)
@jalmondale Agreed, but the problem is that housing costs are not something you can control the way you can control latte spending. For example, for my partner to get to work, we either have to spend a minimum of 60% of his monthly take-home on rent to live within an hour's commute, or spend more like 35%...but then spend another 20% to pay for an expensive, 2.5 hour commute. So then we've got an extra little bit of money at the end of the month, but pretty much no family time. When the reasonable answer is "the only solution is to get paid a lot more or get a job with a lower cost of living," which is the case in a lot of tough financial situations, I think we have to admit that it's not an issue of personal responsibility. That doesn't mean people can't try to get different jobs, but we also have to look at wage stagnation and job opening vs. seeker numbers and recognize that at some level, we have to deal with what we CAN get.
@cjm Yes. Emergencies don't necessarily come one-at-a-time, well-spaced out. Sometimes you can blithely sock away money for five years, and that's awesome, and then sometimes you wind up with a huge move, a breaking down car, a baby, and unemployment all in the same year.
Agreed in theory. If you have unlimited space. But when it comes down to your parents crying on one end of the phone because they will never, ever be able to show their face to the extended family again if you don't invite six of their great aunts, and you crying on the other end because you're like, "FINE! WHICH OF MY CLOSE FRIENDS DO YOU WANT ME TO NOT INVITE?!" ... not including plus ones for single people you know will have friends to hang out with at the wedding starts to seem like the least of all evils. (And no, sometimes you can't find a bigger venue.) Hands-down, worst part of wedding planning: making a guest list small enough to fit into a building, and wondering who's going to resent your choices. Obviously, someone is.