This guest post from Kerry is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes.
Hello. My name is Kerry. I'm 26, and I'm the sole provider in my household — and have been for the last three years while my husband pursues his life-long goal of getting a college education.
I met my husband four years ago. At the time, he was working as an XM Radio district manager in Florida. Three months later, they closed his department and he got a job right away at a call center. That job was horrible, though, so he left after a month to take another job as a waiter. (Do you see where this is going?)
I lived in Michigan, so this was definitely a long-distance relationship. Soon, though, we knew we're going to get married. We began discussing life goals, and he said he someday wanted to go back to college. It was my turn, and I told him that if he wanted to, I'd support him financially if he chose to go back to school, but that he had to graduate within five years of us getting married. He flew up three weeks later and applied to the community college in my county. Three months later, he moved up to good ol' Michigan and became a full-time student. (In between, he proposed.) After a year, he transferred to a four-year college nearby and commutes every day.
My husband holds down a part-time job to pay for his own gas and the internet bill. But in my eyes, his only real job is to be a full-time student. Of course he helps with housework and cooking; but honestly, I don't even care if he does that. He knows that he's an equal in the marriage, helping equally in every aspect (where he can). He's a great husband and very supportive of my own ambitions.
I, on the other hand, pretty much take care of everything and let him get good grades (3.85 — high honors — woot woot!). I hold down a full-time job as a teacher. I'm even taking classes and will graduate this month with my Master's degree. But I'm used to the pressures, craziness, and time management challenges. He's not. Unlike him, I got to experience college right out of high school (thanks, Mom and Dad!). He, on the other hand, is 35 and never had the experience. I think everyone deserves that opportunity.
Here's the most important part. I hope someone out there in blog-land can relate. If not, try.
I grew up in a semi-happy, semi-miserable household. My mom and dad fought a lot about money. Later in life, I realized it was because my dad didn't ever felt successful in the career — or 20 careers — that he's held over the years. He didn't have a formal education after high school, but my mom has her BA and just recently added another degree into the mix. My parents have been married for over 28 years, and when I look back at my childhood, I realize that my mom did most of the raising and was always steady, while my dad was off trying something new. He still hasn't found his “niche”, and I doubt he ever will. (My dad has doubts, too.)
I didn't want this to be my life. I want to be a provider — but I want an equal provider in my spouse. Although I know that we'll probably fight about money, at least I won't have to worry about him feeling less worthy. I want an equal. I want to disqualify education and money as “argument” topics. I want to have a good marriage to someone who is happy with his career and happy with his life. This education, for my husband, will give him a stronghold in both.
So, I decided to support my husband in his pursuit of a B.S. in Aviation Management. I'm proud to say that he'll be graduating in May of 2012 and will even have completed an internship (unpaid, of course). He'll even have his VFR, IFR, Commercial, Multi-Engine Commercial and Certified Flight Instructor pilot ratings when he's finished. He can mark a college education off his bucket list and he can fly me anywhere I want!
More than that, he'll be happy. And we all know happiness in a professional life tumbles over into a personal life. Meanwhile, I can mark a happy marriage off of my bucket list.