By Jonathan Chevreau
Feeling overwhelmed? Everywhere I look, long-time couples are falling apart.
So I entirely sympathize with single parents who feel overwhelmed both financially and emotionally by the twin burdens of raising kids alone and of still having to bring in money, not to mention re-entering the dating scene.
If you’re in this situation, a good place to look for support is Emma Johnson’s Wealthy Single Mommy blog, which I discovered right here under the Hub’s Best Blogs tag, flagged as one of five “Best-kept secret personal finance blogs.”
Most of Johnson’s blogs address these issues since she is in essence chronicling her own similar journey but the one that caught my attention was a video from February: Overwhelm is a Choice: How to get a grip and stop the constant stress.
No question living off just one income can be tough in the modern world. It wasn’t always that way, of course. Back in the Leave it to Beaver world of the 1950s, it was normal for one partner (usually the man back then) to bring home the bacon in the corporate world while the other played the role of Homemaker and raised the kids.
But those days are gone: it’s almost normal to have two salaries, which is why Elizabeth Warren devoted a whole book to the topic: The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Families Are Going Broke. I have my own theory about this: that increasingly high taxes at all levels forced the second spouse into the workforce: in effect, one spouse works for the family unit and the second spouse works for the government, although in practice each works half for one and half for the other. Then as Governments noticed that families were able to cope with these ever-rising tax burdens by sending both partners into the workforce, they just kept hiking taxes ever higher. Most western democracies have reached essentially the level of “merciless” taxation, a phrase I read several years ago that resonated with me, although I can’t recall the source.
The problem is, as Emma Johnson’s blog makes clear, relationships break down for one reason or another. If you enjoyed the freedom and relatively low stress of being part of a dual-income couple and are then forced to return again to only a single income, it’s got to be that much tougher. Even so, Million Dollar Journey this week described How our Family of Four Lives off One Government Salary.
If it’s tough to get by on a single salary in your working years, the same principles probably apply to Retirement. I’ve always said that two pensions are better than one. Over at the Boomer & Echo blog, Marie Engen (the “Boomer” part of Boomer & Echo) wrote a piece entitled On Retirement: Early or Never? In there, she even mentions my own term, Findependence.
While on the subject of taxes, if you’re almost finished your tax return but worried about a few tardy T-3 slips, don’t. As John Heinzl says here in the Globe & Mail, unlike T-5s due end of February, some T-3s don’t have to arrive until the end of March, or a few days hence.
With Americans filing their taxes in mid-April and Canadians at the end of April, it’s hard not to feel like some of Emma Johnson’s blog subjects — overwhelmed. Tax has become a bigger expense than housing, food or transportation. Which is perhaps why the Financial Post’s Terence Corcoran called for a new National Tax Revolt in the Wednesday paper, with several supportive reader letters published on Thursday.