The following post is from staff writer Melissa Batai
I went to a Big 10 college and lived off campus. I shared a room with a girl who came from my hometown. (I’ll call her Jessie.) Jessie was one of six children born to a stay-at-home mom and an opthalmologist father. Her family was relatively well off, but she was in a wild bohemian phase in college, and we got along great.
I, on the other hand, was born to a stay-at-home mom who eventually began a day care center in her home to bring in more money. My dad worked in a factory. My upbringing was decidedly blue collar.
While Jessie and I got along great in college, we eventually lost touch. I had not talked to her for over 20 years when I found her on Facebook.
Jessie was a mathematics major in college, and she moved to Chicago and became a teacher. Now she has three kids and is a stay-at-home mom. I don’t know what her husband does, but clearly he makes a very good income. All three of their kids attend private school, their family goes to the beach for a week every year, they just built a new house in a very expensive suburb of Chicago (where property taxes alone run $15,000 to $20,000 a year), and for her 40th birthday, her husband surprised her with a trip to San Francisco.
My husband and I also have three kids, but our life is very different. I’m a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom who works part-time from home as a writer and virtual assistant. My husband just completed his Ph.D. two years ago and is currently in a post-doc/researcher position. He has the potential to make a very good income, but that is several years down the road. We just bought our first house this summer when we made the move from the Chicago suburbs to Tucson, Arizona where the cost of living is much cheaper.
Every time I tell my husband about Jessie, he always laughs, “Sorry, you married the wrong man.” He’s joking, and I couldn’t be happier with the man I married or the life we have together.
Still, my husband and I have both reflected on how many people who come from a more financially secure background tend to marry people who can also help them achieve the same financial security.
We’ve often wondered, do people marry into the same economic class as their parents? When we’ve looked at our friends and their spouses, the vast majority, especially women, are married to men who help them reach the same level of financial security their own parents did.
My Question for You
Did you marry someone who helped you achieve the same level of financial security you had when growing up, or are you in a vastly different economic class now than you were growing up?