I don't really like the idea of an employer coming up with a targeted workshop to improve savings rates among female employees like AT&T did. It seems to imply that the problem with lower savings among women is a problem with female behavior, rather than a natural consequence of making less money to begin with. Helaine Olen explores this quite a bit in her book, Pound Foolish, which I know The Billfold has covered before. It's not that women are financially irresponsible compared to men (the data as described above, seems to indicate the opposite, since their savings rates are actually higher compared to men) but a lot of advice seems to be geared towards the assumption that women are just squandering all their money on handbags and lattes or something.
On For Poorer
Wow, I've read many of Tim Dowling's columns in the Guardian. What a surprise to see him on the Billfold! I didn't quite register the byline, but the style is unmistakeable.
@thirtysum That's another point that I feel should be reiterated - acting as though it's possible to both hold down a full-time job and be the primary care provider for a child puts additional pressure on other women to act like they're superwoman. Again, I'm not sure exactly how Sandra DOC delivered her answer, but on the face of it, I find it refreshingly honest. If you do cop to outsourcing childcare, you run the risk of being labeled a "bad mother" or worse, so women who have been successful as both parents and outside the home often resort to talking about time management or other cliches, without addressing the elephant in the room.
@TheDilettantista Count me as another one whose mother "had it all", but only because she had an awful lot of help -- a nanny when I was young, and later on, a live-in housekeeper. It also has to be said -- even if you are a government lawyer, your pay is unlikely to be so poor that you can't afford at least some help. There is a general reluctance to pay people to do "women's work" that you don't see when we're talking about things that are generally thought of as men's responsibilities -- such as mowing the lawn or fixing the plumbing.
Wow, it's hard to quantify exactly how much my parents have helped me out. They have been incredibly generous, and believe me, I know I am extraordinarily privileged. First, they paid for college, but this was in India, so it worked out to around $2000 a year for tuition. I stayed at home with them during college so they paid for all my living expenses as well. After undergrad, I moved to the US to start grad school. I was paid a generous stipend by grad school standards (~$30000 a year) due to winning a fellowship, but they regularly sent me gifts of money and paid for plane tickets home to India (~$5000 a year in total for more years than I care to count). They also invested for me in various stocks/real estate back in India. I don't really expect anything from this -- if it pans out, great, but I'm planning my life so that I don't have to depend on any of that. After grad school I got married and started a well-paying job. They paid for our reception in India, but honestly, I would have been happy with a registry wedding. They told me that the big reception was more for them than for me, and I went along. Sometimes, I wish I hadn't because it was a very large sum of money (the entire sum of which they refuse to disclose), but they assure me that they're more than comfortable for retirement and that they wanted to do this. They were also amazingly generous to my friends who visited from abroad for the wedding, putting them up at their cost because they felt they had spent enough on plane tickets to get to the reception. With two incomes and no kids, our budget got considerably looser after grad school, but my parents still love sending me monetary gifts from time to time. I think I got about $750 in Amazon gift certificates last year. I buy them presents too, of course. They're very bad about accepting money from me though -- they are even loathe to let me buy dinner. They will be visiting us in July though and I hope to change that. They still talk about helping with the costs of a down payment or childcare costs, though we saved about 40% of our income last year, so I'm hoping it won't come to that. They're also generous with their time -- now that my mom has retired she says she is going to drop everything and come look after her grandchild once I give birth. The rest of my family is also crazy generous (a $20000 gift from my aunt and uncle for my wedding, my grandparents willing my cousin and me their house, shopping trips every time I go home where they implore me to buy whatever I want). They're all just wonderful people, so I must have been born under some lucky star.
This must be an American thing. I'm an Indian and work in an American job where we have generous FTO policies, as well as managers who encourage employees to take time off. I still hear a lot of people grumbling that they only allow to roll over 20 days a year and how difficult it is to take time off. People get called into their manager's office to discuss how they're going to take time off so they don't lose it. I can't quite understand it. I have a plan for all my FTO and I fully intend to use all of it and feel no guilt about it whatsoever.
I bring in lunch almost every day. Our office actually has an excellent cafeteria. Most often I bring my lunch to the cafeteria and eat with my friends there. This is not uncommon. I also like that we're encouraged to take a proper lunch break. Managers respect that you'll be out for about 45 minutes (and they go eat with their friends too). This is not to say I never eat lunch at my desk -- I do sometimes -- when it's a busy day or when I just feel like some alone time.
Am proud that Massachusetts (where I live) is actually trying to do something about the healthcare transparency problem: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/11/05/360351551/how-much-is-that-mri-really-massachusetts-shines-a-light
1999 - I was 14 years old in India, starting to gear up for the grueling last couple years of high school. I loved science, particularly biology, and envisioned myself as a professor. Income $0 2007 - I graduated college, and left India for the US, to enroll in an Ivy League grad school for my PhD in a science-y thing. Year of big dreams. Income $30,000/year 2013 - I dropped out of grad school with my Masters and started at an entry-level actuarial job. After the uncertainty of my graduate work, it was a relief to not have to worry about my research any longer. I enjoyed the work (mostly) and enjoyed the workplace (mostly). Income: $70,000 or so.