Work has not been great for DH. His earnings continue to be sluggish. However, in comparison to his peers, he's doing better financially than the other three, out earning them he estimates, all combined in sales. There is a base each receives first, with commission on top, but the base is low. The economy is weird right now. At a macro level, those in power are trying to tell everyone the country is doing great-better than it has in the last decade. On a micro level, my family specifically but anecdotally as I talk to other people, not all is peachy. The tariff situation is having a very real impact on people in my life, my family. DH was brutally honest with me as he was writing his paycheck deposit into the check book that it is a real possibility his store won't make it to the new year, let alone until his planned retirement in under five. He personally has a few options, but will change our family dynamics. These are things beyond our control, so it pushes me to work harder where we do have control.
In our discussion, we played around verbally with a bunch of what ifs, and how we would handle different financial scenarios. He made a statement that I thought about for a while after he left for work. Essentially, he doesn't like that I would carry so much of the financial earning power on my back. Our financial life has been all over the map in our 31 years of marriage. We married when I was making $8,000 a year as an assistant preschool teacher, which I loved, but he had a well paying job comparatively at a refinery, a job he greatly disliked . The rotating 24-7 schedule of the plant meant hours that sucked for a newly married couple. A year plus later, DS enter the picture and the hours really sucked even more. During that time as I had been taking classes while working, I finished school, got my teachers license, took on my own classroom, a better salary along with it. DS changed jobs with a lot less pay, but hours that worked for us. There has always been a balance to how we have approached our jobs and careers-neither making a decision in a vacuum, always looking at the big picture and not just minutia. We did that again when I went back to school over 20 years ago to get farther in my career, while working full time with two kids, shifting a lot more at home on his plate. I've since reminded him of that team effort that has always eventually meant life worked out.
We've battled lay offs and years when the costs of living were staggering-two kids in college plus child care for a third? Oh, were those years tight. We've also, like the first job change DH made, intentionally had one of us change jobs even though the salary was lower. The intentional decisions were made through sorting out benefits and risks of course, but also how together, we would make the new budget work through different choices elsewhere. My points being, families need to work as a team financially, or chaos will ensue. It doesn't matter if you are living paycheck to paycheck, or have salaries that allow you a second home. When one spends and chooses their employment path in isolation from the other, I feel eventually priorities will collide.
Here is a real story about an acquaintance of mine. Odd what people freely bring up over a girls night out with alcohol. She didn't work outside the home while raising kids, and even a few years after, but pretty much did everything for the household but manage the finances. She has just gotten her first job in 25 years after recently finding out her husband had set little to nothing aside for retirement. She's trying to catch-up now. They still have one child with two more years of college as well to pay for. Had she been aware of how little was set aside for their future, she casually said she would have gotten a part time job at least while the kids were in school. Had she known, a part time income might have funded a Roth and they would have had something more. Pure speculation on my part, but had she known more about her family's finances, she might have pressed her husband to put more in his retirement plan and made different financial choices about her current and older daughters college education. All her plans, in her head mind you, about how she and her husband would spend his retirement, are gone because she now feels like they will both need to work into their 70's. This isn't a dumb woman-she just saw their roles very divided, each doing their part, but not talking about the financial long term. Her husband was worried about paying bills now, not future retirement. I too defer most of the long term money management to DH, but He manages to our combined plan.
I don't know how DH's job will turn out. 2019 may look very different. Regardless, he doesn't own the fall out himself and I won't be carrying too much financial weight on my shoulders. We are a financial team, co-CEO's of our household corporation.