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Work, Joint Finances, Life

May 22, 2011

Rather suddenly it seems, things have changed for the better at work.  A handful of people are moving to other programs, leaving me the room I need to grow my own role and learn some areas I’ve been hoping to get more deeply involved with.  There is a mixture of tedious work and really great work coming up, and I’m really excited. The tedious stuff I don’t mind – I can slog through a bit of necessary paperwork, as long as there is something interesting around the corner.  And most importantly, there is a LOT of work.

I’m still not happy with my overall compensation, and part of me wants to pursue other options, mostly as a bargaining chip.  But that is also a lot of work, and I guess I’m kind of hoping my promotion goes through this summer and spares us all the awkwardness of that sort of situation.  I realize that is the lazy/weak answer, and for now, I’m accepting that I’m being lazy & weak in that regard.  If it gets blocked again, I honestly don’t think I can stand the option of waiting another year.  Patience is one thing, being walked on is another.  I already feel that it has moved a bit beyond patience.  Still, my main complaint was the tasks and needing bigger challenges, and those are have appeared.  For now, I’ll take that.  Happily.  Yay!

The joint budgeting is going well, and I’m happy with the system we have.  For awhile, I was unsure that maxing out my 401k was the best thing to be doing, but when I look at our money as a couple, I can see that we should.   But I am now truly seeing it as money for our retirement rather than mine, which is only logical since we are building a life together.

We were out to dinner with our friends a week or so ago.  They recently started the joint credit card method of splitting finances, and we shared that we did that too.  I think the conversation would have led them to think we split everything 50/50, which would be a bit unfair to T, but the conversation shifted before I could go all pf nerd and explain how we really do things.   We’ve never really split things 50/50, but over time things have become more and more mixed together.

Life has been pretty much ideal lately, and I’ve gotten very good at not freaking out about the fact that we still have no idea what we are going to do when T graduates.  He has about a million ideas and options, which is great, but makes it hard for me to explore options that nicely parallel his.  There are just too many directions to look.  We are considering all of these:  staying here & he finds a job, post-doc abroad (switzerland, scandanavia, asia…), moving closer to our families in the Midwest, moving to Colorado or somewhere else with mountains, east coast, San Fran, or he maybe wants to start a business (in ~5 years, working at start ups and growing his skills in the meantime).

Still, the more time that passes, the more I enjoy our life here, and start to try to think if long term we could pull off a starting our own little family here, in this expensive city so far away from family.  It feels like it would be hard to leave everything we have (our Stuff, our routines, our friends and the city we love), and start anew.  In the past, starting anew always excited me.  Maybe I’m old now?  I want to live somewhere that we can afford to raise two kids.  I want my kids to know their grandparents.  But I want my kids to know the ocean, the mountains, and I really don’t know that I can move back to the Midwest.  It would be hard in so many ways.  But Minneapolis and Chicago our on the list – the most reasonable options for our situations.

I also am in the midst of my favorite activity – travel planning and daydreaming!  I’m thinking glacier walks, hikes, bikes, fjords, and more!  I’m beyond excited, and we’re still figuring out our itinerary.

In short, I have very few things to complain about right now, and I am grateful.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2011 11:18 pm

    This post was very heartwarming. I am terrified to combine our finances. Okay, maybe not terrified, but it’s really scary. When you have your money seperate it’s easy to say, well my money is going on this and this. But, when you write stuff like this, it makes not seem scary and if anything, make it more of a team, which I like. Because that’s what marriage is about. Being a team!

    • May 23, 2011 8:38 am

      We took a more gradual approach, which I think made it less scary. Though I do think T was a little scared when I had him transfer all of his savings into “my” account!

      Thanks for the comment – it really is about being a team.

  2. Bonnie permalink
    May 23, 2011 8:44 am

    Wonderful post. 🙂 Happy to follow you on your journey no matter where you end up. I can definitely see why you are relectant to leave California! The Midwest ain’t all that exciting…but MPLS and Chicago have a lot to offer. I do think that you could make it in CA long-term, especially since you are obviously great with your money. Things do have a way of working out somehow!

  3. May 23, 2011 8:47 am

    I think that joining finances was actually one of the hardest parts the first year of marriage. I am a control freak and I wanted to know that I would still have partial control of our finances. We hadn’t really talked that much about money beforehand so it was hard to get married and talk about it all the time. I know that it would be hard but your kids would still know the mountains and the ocean no matter where you live. Of course you will take your kids on vacation. Colorado might be a good option if you want to be near the mountains. That’s still a (long) day’s drive to the Midwest and has more options.

    Also, moving back to the Midwest would be different this time. You have been on your own and its not like you would be moving back to your hometown. Both Minneapolis and Chicago are nice options with a lot going on in each city.

    • May 23, 2011 7:46 pm

      Very true! I lived in the Midwest another 1.5 years after graduating, about an 8 hour drive from my family (and 12 from my grandparents/relatives). And it was a long drive, and while I saw them more easily than I do now, it still was pretty hard to get home. That was one of the hardest things about living there – it so much like my hometown in so many ways… but my family wasn’t there, and it really wasn’t all that easy to see them.

      I guess my point is… if the reason we move somewhere is to be closer, I want it to be close enough to do weekend trips easily. My sister lives in MSP, and chicago is within a couple hours of T’s family. Some smaller cities might work, but I’d have to look into the job markets.

  4. May 23, 2011 9:27 am

    SOunds like things are going great for you. I know the feeling of being ready to graduate and not knowing where you are going to be at all – it makes it tough to do even the simplest things, like saving a moving fund (for me, I wanted to stay in Wyoming, but had the option of going to washington, dc. 2k in wyoming would be about 4 mos expenses – and less than 1 month in washington, dc.)
    Good luck with wherever you land. There are many great things in colorado (I grew up there) and it’s a nice place to live.

  5. May 24, 2011 8:31 am

    Great post. 🙂 That is really all I have to say about that. 🙂

  6. May 24, 2011 9:16 am

    You have time to decide and can always make changes, although it does get harder to change/move as you get older! I think now that we have kids, I realize how great it is to have family nearby. My friends w/o nearby family definitely have a harder time and greater childcare and travel costs. Obviously this only works if you have family that is willing or able to help with childcare. Even if not, it’s great to have kids know at least one set of grandparents.

    • SP permalink*
      May 24, 2011 11:13 am

      For sure! I don’t think we’d actually live in the cities our parents do, so regular (day time) child care would still be an issue. But i really loved the holidays I had with my extended family and would love our kids to have some part of that. (Of course, it will be different for them, as both of my parents had large families and the cousins were close in age)

  7. Alice permalink
    May 29, 2011 9:01 am

    I love Chicago! So many career opportunities, so many great places to raise cultural kids and a great running community. Yes, we do have bad winters but get a place with a fireplace and you’ll love it. Good luck on your decisions!

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