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Hate not being financially independent

(36 Posts)
Picasso56 Wed 19-Feb-14 23:08:49

I used to work quite a bit -creative world - but while the children were small, I happily let work slip, as I found it hard dividing my brain between the two worlds of family and work- The children are 14 and 18 now, and though I still get the odd bit of work, I spend my life with my bank acct in the red, and my husband, same job as me-is the breadwinner. I'm finding this terribly difficult, now the children are older- I hate not earning my own money and relying on him financially for everything. I feel I've lost my identity a bit ! And confidence about my work- and really should be finding another job, but find myself frozen about it, and bit lost... I have no degree, so shifting jobs at this stage seems hard- Does anyone else share this feeling of hating not earning ones own money, and hopelessness when it comes to finding some other work? Husband very nice about it, what's his is mine etc... But I just hate it!!!!

Preciousbane Wed 19-Feb-14 23:16:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bunbaker Wed 19-Feb-14 23:17:53

Why don't you have a joint account? You are married yet one bank account is in the red and I assume the other one isn't. Sounds bonkers to me.

Have you looked at adult courses where you could retrain in something else?

Amicus1966 Wed 19-Feb-14 23:21:43

I'm in.
Worst thing in the whole wide world is finding yourself financially dependant on someone else.
It completely sucks everything you are out of yourself.

Picasso56 Thu 20-Feb-14 08:56:24

You can wiggle money around as much as you like ( joint bank accts etc..) but it doesn't disguise the fact that you are not contributing, and therefore not financially independent. I don't think anyone enjoys buying eg.. a birthday present for husband with what is essentially his money. I was always financially independent and didn't foresee a future when I wouldn't be, and finding it hard. It's the fundamentals of life isn't it? Being able to stand in your own two feet.

Picasso56 Thu 20-Feb-14 08:59:00

I'm not criticising people that don't have a problem with it- I'm just struggling with it. It doesn't sit right- very comforted to hear others struggle with it too!

Picasso56 Thu 20-Feb-14 09:03:51

Thanks, yes I have, will do again- was more a question of mourning an old career a bit, you know? But yes, practically that makes absolute sense

vitaminC Thu 20-Feb-14 09:06:13

I totally get you, OP.

I'm a full-time (mature) student and was a single mum, relying on benefits when I moved in with my now-dh. The hardest part of remarrying for me has been losing my own income (even if it was from the state, while studying) and being totally dependent on him.

He's lovely and generous and he turned his account into a joint account, where I can spend whatever I want, but it still makes me feel uncomfortable!

I've kept my own bank account as well, where my XH transfers the child maintenance payments, so it does feel like I have some money of my own (although all our bills are joint and we do our accounts altogether).

DH reassures me by saying that he'll have funded me through 4 years of university, but as he's 4 years older, it'll all work out in the end, when I'm funding his first 4 years of retirement.

It still feels strange, though...

stinkingbishop Thu 20-Feb-14 09:08:09

Completely agree. It does my head in. I genuinely think it does mess with your sense of self, because my old self was about being independent/resilient/a fighter.

DP is brilliant but I hate a) not having a complete overview of where we are financially and b) having to ask for a top up because I've overspent my 'allowance' as bills have been bigger than expected (not exactly please can I get me nails done!) We've kept separate accounts, though at the same bank so can see each other's, because I wanted to feel like I had my 'own' money. And I have a tiny amount of savings but most has gone into the house/paying for DS at Uni (DP's stepson).

I used to earn 5 figures and had got to the point where I could push a trolley round Waitrose and just put things in the trolley because I fancied them...but then we had twins 2 years ago, and moved to the other end of the country for DP's work, where I can't do what I used to. And nor, in fact, would I want to. Am moving into medicine.

Am going back to Uni in the Autumn for a Masters and then doing a Clinical Doctorate so it is at least 4 years till this changes (and I know I am incredibly lucky that DP is supporting me through this even though the twins will be at school by then so I could be earning)...Even when I qualify I am going to be on at most half of what I was. But will be forging a new sense of self.

But till then it will be hard. I even thought about getting a job in the local newsagents for a few hours a week. Just so I had fifty quid to call my own...

Picasso56 Thu 20-Feb-14 09:14:51

Preciousbane and Amicus1966 ( how DOES this work ? How do I reply to you directly ?! New to it ) It is tough, isn't it. On paper seems so simple- you retrain, you become industry from your kitchen table, you redefine yourself with a lot of hard work- and then possibly go on to be one of those amazing women that make a lot of money, and the husband looks chuffed and relieved- but in reality, you can be a bit frozen as emotions are bound up in it, especially, perhaps, if the work you did was of a creative or vocational quality.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Feb-14 10:02:08

I think people should feel a degree of discomfort at not having financial independence. I don't care how lovely the money-provider is and how much they share the cash around, relationships can & do go pear-shaped all the time, often without much warning, and money represents choices & freedom.

If your bank account is in the red, fix that with some family money as a starting point. But then, if you want to get back into work, just go for it. Don't wait to feel confident.

Bunbaker Thu 20-Feb-14 10:03:27

I am obviously in a minority here because it doesn't worry me one iota that OH contributes more to our finances than I do. We have been married for over 30 years and have always had a joint bank account. I contribute to our partnership in so many other ways that I don't feel unequal or like a kept woman

OH is self employed and there is no way on earth that I could legally earn the daily rate that he does, and I don't even want to because I would never be at home it would mean that our family life would suffer.

Elderberri Thu 20-Feb-14 10:15:17

I feel the same.

If you feel so bad how can you ask your partners to fund you through uni.

Surely the answer to your dilemma is to get a job and be financially i independant.

vitaminC Thu 20-Feb-14 10:26:36

I'm studying medicine and had started my course before moving in with my DH! I wasn't about to give that up and look for a job, just because I was in a new relationship - I'd worked very hard to get a place!

But I also wasn't going to wait 6 years to move in with DH and get married. We have a great relationship and we discussed at length before moving in together and have continued to discuss it from time to time since then.

It makes me uncomfortable because of the financial and emotional abuse I suffered with my first husband. I'm not really worried about my current marriage, but the bad memories are always in the back of my mind, IYSWIM sad

And when I qualify, I will have a job and be financially independent!

Elderberri Thu 20-Feb-14 10:44:55

Maybe this is the sting in the tail of the feminist movement.

Instead of being free to choose how we want to live as women, there has now become a stereotype of what women should do and feel.

vitaminC Thu 20-Feb-14 10:49:31

I'm not sure I understand your comment, Elderberri confused

I'm living exactly how I've chosen! Nobody pushed me to apply to study medicine, in fact most people thought I was crazy, but I have zero regrets! I certainly don't think I'm trying to live up to anybody's stereotype!

Elderberri Thu 20-Feb-14 11:00:18

What I mean is that a lot of women only value each other if they work, bring in money. Therefore instead of feminism being about freedom to choose how women live, we have assimilated a guilt when we don't earn, and feel guilty for making a free will choice to be supported financially..

vitaminC Thu 20-Feb-14 11:04:58

Oh, OK. For me it has nothing to do with being valued by other women!

I just don't want to find myself in the same position as before my divorce, so I'm much more cautious now. Once bitten, twice shy and all that!

Preciousbane Thu 20-Feb-14 16:34:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Preciousbane Thu 20-Feb-14 16:35:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

theycantalk Thu 20-Feb-14 17:53:00

I feel the same as Bunbaker and it's sad to read of so many women feeling helpless and inferior. I think it's all a state of mind really, I know there are lots of messages from society in general telling us that we should be earning and only to be proud of monetary achievements, but somehow I've never really absorbed them and I don't feel any lack of independence based on who earns what in our household. I've had comments made to me similar to Preciousbane's SIL above, but just shrug it off.

I wouldn't be happy to have to ask for a top-up to my allowance and I think that kind of system makes women feel guilt and less ownership of the family money. We have separate accounts at the moment but mine is topped up with enough that there is always more than enough, and I never need to check with DH about spending on anything and he tops it up without asking once it drops below a certain amount.

I feel secure with our financial situation as it's not only dependent on DH being lovely and caring and sharing (although he is!) but we've also taken legal and financial steps to ensure that I'd be secure whatever happened to DH or to our relationship. I would recommend that to all non-earning/lower-earning partners in a relationship.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Feb-14 19:01:55

It's nothing to do with assimilated guilt Elderberri or even feminism for that matter. It's about the inherent vulnerability of one person becoming wholly dependent on another for their living. Remarkably few people embarking on long term relationships actually sit down and work through all the implications of sharing finances let alone extrapolate that through to income sacrificing, inheritance and asset protection. Some do but some, like the OP, drift into a situation of 'happily letting work slip' and then wondering where their independence went. When it gets really scary is when someone goes the full nine yards of children, giving up work and sacrificing their independence and finds a few years down the track that, because they've not thought about this stuff, the person they are dependent on is happy to cut them adrift and they don't even have a claim on the roof over their head.

So that's why I say people should be uncomfortable at the idea of dependency. It's a significant risk and shouldn't be done lightly.

BrownSauceSandwich Fri 21-Feb-14 07:32:37

I sympathise, OP... There have been a couple of times in my life when I was financially dependent on my husband, and I hated it. Now he earns a bit more than I do, but that's fine... My self-worth isn't proportional to the amount I earn, but it does depend on the knowledge that I could have a happy and comfortable life on my own.

Theycantalk - I think it's great that you and your husband have been able to engineer your financial security if the unimaginable were to happen. He's obviously very fair minded. But however fair-minded my husband (and he really is!) we could never be in that position. When he was the sole-earner, we had enough, with care, to support one household, but nowhere near enough to support two. Even if we had a 50/50 split of all future earnings (and even in the most generous divorce settlements, that seems rather far-fetched) we would both have to be working to be financially secure. I guess the majority of single-income households are more in our income-bracket than yours, so your recommendation would be pretty meaningless to them.

OP, just based on your children's ages, I'm guessing you have 15-25 years of work to look forward to... That's plenty of time to work back into your old field, or to change tack. And plenty of time to recover an investment of time and money in retraining. Why not have a chat to some old colleagues, and find out what skills are sought in your area of specialism, or go and see a careers advisor for some new ideas about things you could turn your talents to.

theycantalk Fri 21-Feb-14 13:27:03

I don't think it's meaningless to recommend getting all your legal and financial ducks in a row if you're concerned about the future, no matter what your income is (and I don't think I'm in so much of a minority, after all there is a poster here whose DH earns enough to support her through 4 years of postgrad study!). Things like insurance, wills, marriage, tax efficiency all make a difference. You don't actually need to think about a 50/50 split of future earnings, as those on a low income will get some state support to help with childcare and other bills, especially with a dependent child, and you only need a smaller home for the non-resident parent. In fact I've known a couple of mums who found they were far better off once they left a relationship as the income top-up from the state was more than the allowance given by the DP.

I do agree with your points about training, it definitely helps foster a feeling of self-confidence and I think it's good for sahms to spend some of their time studying/volunteering/developing their own projects. I feel secure that I could return to paid work if needed, due to additional study/freelance experience. For me I see it more as a hobby for now but it's something that could be turned into work if the need arose.

stinkingbishop Fri 21-Feb-14 16:51:22

fyi 3 of the 4 years of postgrad study are funded by the NHS, as I will actually be working in hospitals while doing my doctorate smile.

That does help a little with the whole self worth as, net, we'll be better off. Just!

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