My friend and I were walking our dogs recently, and I was lamenting the price of the houses that I’m interested in. The one house I told her about was priced $15k more than I want to pay. In response to my disappointment, my friend said, “Do you know what you need?”
“What?” I asked, hoping she had a magic formula so I could afford another $15k.
“A second income,” she said.
She wasn’t talking about a side hustle. She wasn’t talking about a stream of passive income.
She was talking about becoming part of a two family household. If I had a partner, then his income combined with my income would make that extra $15k seem like a silly annoyance, not a major obstacle.
I shook my head, though. I’m an independent gal. I always have been, and not because I’ve had to be. I’m an independent gal because I like it. I like answering to myself. I like the challenge of being on my own. I’m not a woman who thinks much about my relationship status, because I don’t notice it all that often. I’m single. It’s one fact about me. It’s not the defining one.
The fact is: I’m a single woman. I make a single income. And, my net worth is in the single digits.
I’m on my own in growing my net worth, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Well, maybe I’d enlist a little help in changing a few things that have affected my net worth.. As a single woman, I have to deal with a few things that have impaired my earning power, and the more people we have working to fix them, the better. For instance, women still make .80 for every $1.00 earned by a dude for the same gig. Like many gals, I wasn’t socialized to negotiate for myself, and could have probably asked for more when I took on my full-time job. I haven’t always stood up for myself in work situations because I was taught that it was more important to be liked. Women who make waves (which clearly meant taking a stand) aren’t the most popular. I’m not talking in vague generalizations. If I started telling stories about all the misconceptions I’ve encountered, well, I wouldn’t have time to talk finances.
There are plenty of misconceptions beyond finance, too, though. Especially when it comes to being the single gal. The other day, a friend was coming in from out of town. She arranged for us to meet up with another old friend, one who lives in town, but I don’t see often. I was eager to see them and catch up. Things have been going well – with work, with writing, with hobbies. I have news for once! We got coffee and pastries and sat down and the first thing the in-town friend asked was, “Are you dating anyone?”
“No,” I said and started to mention my new literary project.
“Why not?” she asked.
“I haven’t met anyone,” I said.
Then our other friend came to the table and the subject changed and I never did get to announce my full-time gig or my personal finance blog or my literary project. No opportunity arose in which it seemed appropriate to mention them. And those are the things I’m excited about! Those are the things that matter the most to me right now. I’m busy with THOSE THINGS. I’m not lamenting the absence of a partner.
I’m lamenting the absence of a fairly priced house.
It’s not that I wouldn’t welcome the right person into my life. I’d love to meet someone who is sweet, supportive, and sexy. I’m not going to settle for less. I’m not looking for a person solely to purchase property with. I don’t want to date someone just so I can have a ready “yes” when friends ask me about it. And I don’t want to entertain the idea of a partner’s second income.
I want my income to be enough.
Speaking of enough, I can’t help but think about how I’m a single woman and I have no dependents (but my dogs.) I’m having trouble making it all work, and I don’t have children to support. I marvel at how single mothers do it. Truly.
I want their income to be enough, as well.
The single life can certainly be lonely at times, but a little loneliness is good for the soul. It’s the financial stress of the single life that’s worrisome. To me, at least. And, I doubt I’m alone.