I went out to dinner with some friends the other night. Yeah, believe it or not, I actually have friends! One of them is a pretty consistent reader/commenter here on PDITF (shout out to MattyIce). We were talking about some of my recent blog posts when he said, “Ninja, you are sooo good looking and you smell amazing”.
Okay, you caught me. He didn’t say that, but wouldn’t that have been really weird if he did?
This was our actual conversation…
Friend: One of my buddies reads your blog and he made some comments to me about your recent budget posts.
Me: Oh yeah? What did he say about them?
Friend: He said you seemed super stressed about your post-marriage budget even though you anticipate having about $2,000 in left-over income each month.
Me: Yeah. He’s right. It does stress me out a little bit.
Friend: He also said he can’t believe you seem stressed about having such a large surplus when he doesn’t even make $2,000 in a month.
Me: Hmmm. I guess I may have came across as a little ungrateful. I should probably blog about this.
Friend: Yes. You should. Because I love your blog and it is what gets me through the day. It’s the wind beneath my wings. I love you. If it were possible, I would want to bear your child.
Yup. That’s EXACTLY how our conversation went down the other night. Moral of the story mi amigos is this: I’m a crapbillion times more excited about my income than I am stressed about it.
If I have ever came across as ungrateful, unappreciative, or even snobby, then I have failed yet again at communicating my thoughts.
Just last week I wrote an article about how it is difficult to verbalize financial success, but easy to communicate financial turmoil. Well, I think this is probably why I may seem more stressed about our budget than I actually am. It’s a lot easier to say “Oh man this variable income thing kinda stresses me out” than saying “Wow, Girl Ninja and I are going to have an incredible income.” I’d feel weird proclaiming the latter statement as people may perceive that as arrogance. But ya know what? I shouldn’t be afraid. It’s time to just lay it out there and tell you how I really feel.
I’ll be 25 when I get married this summer and Girl Ninja will be 23. I expect our 2010 annual income to be approximately $85,000. Next year, 2011, we should hit right around $100K. Our income level for our age is WAAAY higher than I would have ever expected. I am totally stoked on our generous income, but I also believe it’s important to temper that excitement with reality. The reality is, our income could decrease at any moment with the loss of job, medical issues, etc.
With a generous income, a great deal of responsibility follows. How should we save for a house? How much should we contribute to retirement? How much rent is “too much”? When you have a smaller income, or a lot of debt, you don’t have the need to stress about such things. Instead your wondering “Can I afford my water bill this month?” of “Will I be able to make my car payment?”
Now obviously I’d much rather worry about retirement and down payments than putting food in my mouth or gas in my car, but an increasing income doesn’t come without its own unique issues. Transitioning from ‘frugal bachelor’ to ‘upper middle class husband’ is a pretty big change. One that I like to share here on the blog. Please forgive me, however, for focusing on the things that stress me out about the transition, when I should be writing more about the joy and gratefulness I feel.
I’ll do better. Pinky promise