Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Verdict: Paying $15,000 to parents is OK, $170 per month to boyfriend is bad!

Having recently posted about how I'm planning on paying back my parents for $15k in student loans, and about how I'll be paying about $170 more of the rent for my boyfriend once I start my more lucrative new job, it seems that parents win hands down. However, if you read the tenor of the comments on both posts, it's a little unsettling.

Giving $15k to my parents in a short period of time is evidently commendable, such that someone will be along to give me a prize any moment now, but giving my boyfriend $170 a month is dangerous to my health and may actually kill me.

Just an observation.


D said...

Isn't Drama Fun? I'm having a blast!

In the end, as long as you do what is right for you - none of the rest matters!

English Major said...


I have to say, my first reaction is that it wouldn't be nearly as big a deal if the genders were flipped. I make about $15k less than my boyfriend. We live together and split rent evenly, but mostly he buys the household products (you know, sponges, toilet paper, &c.) and he'll pick up mutual cabfares and buy me drinks on expensive evenings out. I have never once encountered anyone telling me that this will break us up.

I think income disparities influence what "one's share" truly is—I'd argue that your boyfriend's "share" of household expenses is less than yours, and that mine is less than my boyfriend's. And yeah, pretty much I think people are worried, subeconsciously, that you're emasculating your boyfriend and he's allowing it, and thus you, just as Phyllis Schlafly explans, will eventually lose respect for him as a man.

I would take that with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

If I can pipe up as a gentle observer... I don't think the suggestion was that you paying ~$170 more per month was going to a) emasculate your BF or b) break you up.

I think the underpinning concern was that, in our gendered (patriarchal) society, women earn less than men pretty much always and are more likely to experience financial insecurity / instability than men. Also, your parents are a part of your life for the long term, while your BF may not.

I think the general message was meant to be understood as, in the kindest possible sense, Look out for yourself and your current family first, and worry about your future family (?) later.

I really don't mean that to sound horrible. But my generous self got taken financial advantage of by an ex-BF, and I would have been better off emotionally and financially if someone had made a few gentle observations to me at the time.

Congrats on the new job!


Bob said...

You're not just giving away $170/month. Add up the future investment earnings and you will see how much potential money it really is.

$170/mo for 5 years in an index fund @ 8% will be $13,200.

10 years = $32,200
20 years = $101,600
30 years = $251,300

I would put the money in an index fund. Then if you stay together, you both have a quarter million bucks+ to share in your old age. If you're not together then you haven't given away a ton of money.

Kira said...

I think what people are generally missing is how MUCH I already have. Next year, even with giving more money to Boyfriend, I will be putting away over TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS for retirement, between my and my workplace's contributions. I will also be saving a lot of money outside of retirement. This is something that can be easily afforded.

Also, that this is a temporary situation. If Boyfriend had a regular job, he would make probably twice what I do since his degree is in computer science as well as classics. And I don't think that we are going to stay together for 30 years and never marry...