Hi Dr. Laura:
One of the biggest mistakes newlyweds make today is to purchase a house based on two incomes. I can't understand why my generation (1950's) had so much more economic common sense than young people today. Maybe it's because we grew up with the privation that still existed after the depression. Young people today have many creature comforts they didn't have to work for, while we learned how to avoid economic hardship. The silver platter generations have no clue what it means to be frugal, a word that is not even in their “vocabule,” as my kids used to say.
They buy a house requiring two salaries to pay off and they put the latest model vehicles in their two-car garage. When they think about having children, that’s when they look at the mess they created. And they will have to put their kids in a day orphanage because they need both salaries.
Call me old-fashioned (I am 1.7% Neanderthal), but I think couples should only depend on one salary while they are building a life. Preferably, it should be the man who works when the children come along. He will feel like a man and act like a man when he is truly the bread winner. I do not admire stay-at-home dads who push their children in strollers around the neighborhood. To me, they have been castrated - not real men. I loved children ever since I was a pre-teen. And weekends and evenings are when I took care of my kids as a working father.
My wife, whom I love dearly, raised our kids with both quantity and quality time. We did not miss any meals while living off of my salary. The kids had better clothes than I did as a child. We did not have a mansion or two cars, but we had a very loving family who played together and vacationed together throughout their growing years. For vacations we drove to Ohio, Indiana, Florida, and Texas from Pennsylvania, to visit my wife's sister who relocated several times with her family while her husband was working towards his Ph.D.
I would not trade my life for any other in the world. Economic common sense was our secret of success. We did not try to keep up with the Joneses.