The NY Times published this article on 10/3/19 detailing four American family budgets. It’s a sobering look at the stress and anxiety facing families juggling rising housing and health care costs, student debt, and children. This article drives home the poignant fact that the choice to have kids can push many families past a financial breaking point.
When women take time off to raise kids, even with maternity leave planning to return, their jobs aren’t always there when they return. Another sobering fact (not from this article): the biggest factor in determining whether a single woman will have to declare bankruptcy? Whether she has a child (or children). If one parent stops working to raise the child, their ability to pay monthly bills is squeezed, and retirement savings can stop altogether. Imagine paying $2900/month to share a nanny in San Francisco!
One primary takeaway from this article is that the American dream is dying a slow death, and that most of us just can’t have it all. And that, dear ones, is a beautiful truth in my view. Getting clarity, as a single person or a couple, on our priorities and our values, in my view, is a necessary and savvy way to inform and prioritize major life decisions that impact our money lives…and the world around us. The point is not to take on shame or project blame to ourselves, our partners, or society, but to simply breathe deep and seek out the tools and support to make conscious and informed decisions going forward.
My passion is to help people access hope, in the form of creativity, options, choice, and new skills or knowledge to turn around any situation we’re in. Many of us can DIY our research and solutions; at other times, a financial coach can objectively brainstorm options and resources.