I’m a 29 year-old, married caveman with two beautiful daughters. I am a software engineer and have been with my current employer for over 5 years.How did I get here?
My story starts in my senior year of high school. I worked my butt off through high school and got good grades. Those grades bought me a full scholarship to a state university. Graduating college with no debt was quite a bonus!
The Cavewife, on the other hand, wasn’t quite as fortunate. She went to a private university and paid out of her own pocket. Her parents did not support her education, so she was forced to work throughout school and take loans to cover the remaining balance. To her benefit, she graduated with about one year’s worth of tuition in loans – not too shabby! So when we got married, that debt officially became “ours.”
Unfortunately, I graduated right in the middle of the bursting tech bubble and getting a good job was no easy task. After school, I held an IT job, and then moved to retail temporarily after getting laid off there. Then I moved on to a “favor” job from a fellow church member at a company’s help desk. Knowing that was to be a short-term position, I used it to leapfrog into a better job. That job provided me with a security clearance which I used to move to where I am today. After nearly two years, I finally made it into the position I’m at now, which I can honestly say is the first job out of college that I actually wanted and allowed me to do what my degree said I could do.
My wife had similar troubles. She graduated with a BA in Accounting. Unfortunately, with just a BA, there isn’t all that much a company will let you do right out of college. She applied to many local accounting firms, but none would hire her. Eventually she had to settle for a teller’s position at a local credit union. After a couple of years there, she was finally hired by a larger company as an accounting clerk. While that job paid more, it was far from fulfilling for her and she got dragged down by it all.
Then a miracle came! We found out in April 2006 that we would soon become parents. Inside of my wife, a little, beautiful cavegirl was growing. We discussed the challenges and opportunities this presented us and we finally decided that it would be best for her and best for the family as a whole if she quit her job after the baby was born and become a stay-at-home mom. We knew it would be difficult to lose her income, but it would also likely cost us more to put the baby in daycare than she was earning. So now, she stays home with our two children and manages our house and expenses.
It is certainly nice knowing there’s an accountant at home!
Over the course of the nearly six years we have been married, we’ve bought and sold our starter home and have since moved into a larger home that is better equipped to handle a family. I consider this house to be a good investment, even if the mortgage payments do make things a little tight right now. That will change as time progresses and as we get smarter about handling our income.Addendum: How I didn’t get here
Notice that throughout this entire article, I never once mentioned credit cards. There’s a very good reason for that: we always pay off our balance every month. It’s not always been easy to do, but it’s something we decided from the very start so that we wouldn’t get over our heads. I can’t imagine what the debt graph would look like today if we had let that balance ride… It’s certainly the smartest thing we’ve done in our financial lives.