Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Does It Even Matter?

Here is something to consider when making a choice whether to be a two income family or not. In a modern Western society, does it even matter?

Let me illustrate my point by examples. I know a couple of people who by different reasons live in subsidised housing.  One is sick and couldn't work any more. The house looks quite decent. She has time to cook nutritious meals and she has housekeeping help from the government. The neighbourhood she lives in isn't really bad. There is a huge beautiful park right behind her house.  People in this situation won't have money for luxuries and expensive vacations, but they still can afford clothes, shoes and even going out sometimes. If by health or money reasons they can't drive, we have a good system of public transportation.

On the other hand, some (young) families I know went for a 2 income lifestyle. Some took a huge amount in debt to live in a similar 3-bedroom house, in a slightly better neighbourhood. Of course, there IS a difference, I know there is. The point I'm trying to make is that the said difference isn't big enough, at least in the country I live in, to justify the debt and children being raised by strangers, imo. Unless you are a surgeon or a lawyer but live from two lower middle class/working class salaries, there won't be any huge rise in your standard of living compared to a one-income family, and if you are a surgeon, you can afford for your wife to stay home full time and there still will be the difference between you and a truck driver, so to say.

So what's the point?


  1. Totally true! It's good to hear this from someone who also lives in the West. With how much more comfortable life is here compared to developing countries, a one income household can definitely be possible.
    You just won't have a big house in the city and fancy private schools and two cars, though no one needs all that, truly.

    I still think you can get some holidays or luxuries, though if well-planned and once in a while. Even without children, there can be savings from the wife working part-time before then, it is all so possible here.

  2. Where I live we don't have any fancy private schools anyway:) (Of course, the rich could send their children to UK, I guess). In fact, some working mothers choose to send their children to not-so-good-schools because they are close to home which saves time commuting, while a mother at home has time to bring her kids to a better school further away.

  3. Also unless you live from a minimum wage or have 6 kids, you will definitely be able to go on vacation, just not 3 times a year to some luxury resort.

  4. What I find most prevalent with two income families is the focus on the material things. They always want the latest car, the most fashionable clothes, instagram pictures eating at posh restaurants or lunching with girlfriends...and they love to talk about their most recent incredible vacation. I have been a sahm for the past 13 years...we choose to spend our money saving for the kids future, making our home a sanctuary, and buying good wine:) We love our lifestyle. The comedy begins when these well meaning working moms express pity on me as if they think I live under a rock since I am not out posting photos of myself eating a drinking far and wide.Anyway, my point is..the money they spend on "keeping up with the Jones'" would allow them to stay home. I doubt they would give up those luxuries ever...because what would they brag about? little do they know the peace they would find....

  5. I think we are all accustomed to think of luxuries as material wealth, vacations etc, anything that money can buy. Yet, inner peace, the ability to "stand and stare" as a famous poem says, to spend time with your family, to sit in the garden with a good book, is a luxury, too. I'm convinced that many health problems in women come from the stress of modern lifestyle of running around the whole day.

  6. For me, solitude, tranquility and time to read is the greatest luxury. And you cannot buy those with money.

    One finnish nurse stopped working and wrote a book about it. She got really bad burn-out. She did her math and realized that working is actually quite expensive hobby! You have to buy more clothes, bus card or car, lunches, etc. So she cut down her expenses and now lives on her isolated family homestead (tiny and old house) alone, spending usually under 500 euros per month. And is much more content. Unfortunately she writes only in finnish.

  7. One more thing came to my mind. Isn't it strange that in our society, it is concidered almost a crime to willingly lower your economical standards of living, if that is done by not working or working less. But at the same time society wholeheartedly approves divorces. And in every divorce both the husband and wife usually end up being poorer than they were. Even stranger, it is fine for women to have kids with some random men who cannot support even themselves. No problem, society gives this single mother allowances and it is cool to be poor single mother.

    It seems to me that it is ok to make bad decisions and end up being poor, buth if you willingly lower your income to make your life better, your are mocked. Because you should be good consumer and buy, buy buy. And to be able to buy, buy, buy, you must first work, work, work.

  8. Yes, it's all about "doing your duty for economy"! That's why those who choose to leave the consumerist life style behind are practically rebels:)

    What gets me is how they are squaring the promotion of double income families with the overblown attention to environment. Because nothing is more caring of environment than driving two cars, contributing to the number of traffic jams and flying to some resort 3 times a year!

  9. About the nurse, here is the article saying that housework makes women live longer while working outside house has no benefits for their health: