As with most marriages, ours has been one of both successes and failures. While I’d like to think we’ve chalked up a few more marks in the “win” column than “loss”, I can think of a few major issues on both sides that have greatly affected our personal finances.
Thankfully, we’ve kind of evened the playing field by spreading out the responsibility for both successes and failures between the two of us, which makes them a little easier to bear. Here are our more memorable of each and what we learned from these experiences in the process.
Our biggest failure
Our biggest financial failure was one we entered into together. While I do my best to manage our personal finances, my wife’s desire for a single-family home, and my complacency in the matter, guided us into the biggest financial failure of either of our lives.
As we neared the end of 2008, and Chicagoland area home values neared a 10 percent drop, we though the worst was over when it came to the housing market collapse. We were dead wrong. We therefore bought a home for $295,000 that we ended up selling for $230,000 three years later, which had a devastating affect on our personal financial situation.
However, in the process, we learned an amazing number of lessons. Among the few most valuable gems gleaned from the process was that a home is more than just a house, and that the area in which the house is located can count for much more than the house itself. We also found out just how expensive owning and maintaining a home can be outside the actual cost, and how expensive the process of selling a home is when such expenses cost us nearly $20,000. And finally, we realized that size doesn’t always matter when it comes to a house, and that it can actually hurt more financially as a bigger home can come with a bigger mortgage, higher property taxes, and greater repair and maintenance costs.
Our greatest success revolves largely around our individual career decisions. I left my role in hotel management six years ago to become self-employed as a freelance writer. My wife on the other hand has remained in her health care related role. Between the two of us, we have created a situation in which we both retain job stability and a healthy family lifestyle as well.
While my career decision reduced our income dramatically, it allowed us to save huge amounts of money on childcare. Having paired my lower-income work role with taking care of the kids at home means that I make up for much of this lost income. Meanwhile, my wife’s stable role in health care — an industry that’s booming right now — has enabled us to retain income stability and good health benefits.
We’ve learned that in the process, by working together, we’re able to be employed in roles that we enjoy, make plenty of time for family, don’t have to have a huge income to get by due to savings (upwards of $20,000 a year) on things like child care and transportation through my working from home, and are able to stay relatively happy in the process.
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The author is not a licensed financial, relationship or parenting professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.