As of today I am no longer the breadwinner. DH’s new salary is more than twice his old salary (and is more than mine). If all things stay the same in 2014, we’ll have jumped up two marginal tax brackets for that tax period. I guess it’s true what they say about the private sector!
This will be his first time working for a real company. He was given a choice of start dates and he picked the earliest one. He was eager to get back to work.
I don’t think either of us is cut out for the Mustashian lifestyle. Maybe if we were living in California it would be more fun to have more free time, I don’t know. We both like working, that’s all there is to it. DH was happiest during this self-employment stint when I needed his help with a knotty programming problem. He got very little done on the large set of home-improvement tasks we listed (though he did do a lot of yard work and did some pretty elaborate cooking experiments). That’s just not what makes him happy.
Does that make us haters? No! (Though we’re fairly sure MMM would say it does because anyone who doesn’t want to be him is a hater.) It just means that different people have different preferences. Some of us prefer desk jobs that use thinking and computer skills over manual labor, no matter how creative that manual labor can be. DH’s father likes doing home improvement as a hobby… it’s pretty clear that DH doesn’t. Or at least only in moderation.
DH said he could never be quite at ease during this self-employment stint. Of course, he loved the year he spent working on a start-up with his friends (one of whom he’s working with again), even though he brought in very little money that year. But maybe the difference was that he had interesting projects to work on even if they weren’t lucrative. And we’d saved a set amount for that year to spend down and didn’t really have to worry about economizing.
Turns out we prefer working and making money to not working and spending time having to think about money. Even though I love money! I’d rather have a wide margin of more than enough from earnings than from spending time doing things to save more money. Given our already reasonable levels of spending (particularly if you subtract out non-negotiable private schooling), the bang for the time buck is a lot bigger for us with earnings than it is with savings.
And spending time on earning activities a lot more fun for us– DH would rather create a computer program that makes lives better for people than replace the bathroom carpeting with tile himself (something that will eventually have to be done because small children are gross). I’d rather determine whether a program does what policy makers want it to do than get rashes (from severe allergies) doing yard-work. Not only do we have comparative (and absolute) advantage in these activities, but we also get utility rather than disutility from them. We can’t help it, it’s the shape of our utility functions and our budget constraints.
And, of course, we all have our own utility functions and budget constraints, so what makes us happy isn’t what makes all other folks happy. What we are good at doing isn’t what all other folks are good at doing. And that’s a good thing– when different people do different things, the economy has a better chance at working. If everybody had identical preferences and abilities, everybody would be miserable because the people following their passions would be getting minimum wage at most, and the people making money would hate their jobs. (California would also sink into the ocean from everyone trying to live there.)
Variety is the spice of life. And I’m glad now that we can afford buy cardamom even if it’s crazy expensive.
Where are you on the work for pay/work for savings continuum?