The biggest financial decision a young man will ever make

by Featured Guest on May 15, 2012

By Ethical

With the college year heading to a close, if you’re a young man in the graduating class of 2012 you’ll soon be heading out into the world to begin achieving your real life goals. Whatever those goals may be, your choice of career as well as the economic conditions affecting that career will help you achieve the financial well-being you need to get there. But chances are that right now you see these decisions ahead more as chores than life defining choices. Unlike earlier generations who expected a loyal relationship with their first employer for a lifetime, odds are you won’t stay at whatever job you choose for more than the current average of 4.4 years. However consider that this is longer than your entire college studies and that by the end of your first stretch of employment your career will largely be committed to a given industry, a given set of specialist skills, and a given market. Your salary and advancement prospects will be heavily determined by the health of that industry and the choice of skills you’ve decided to specialize in. That first employment contract while not drawn in blood, will nevertheless set your life irrevocably on some course you may not yet completely understand the implications of when you sign.

Your choice of career isn’t the only decision that’ll determine whether you’ll achieve the financial well being to realize your life goals. Regardless of what level of income you’re making, a number of other decisions you’ll soon start planning for are just as critically important to every young man:

Matt Richey – The Motley Fool

Deciding to be content: “Contentment isn’t a feeling or a mood; it’s a decision. Only by choosing to be content with what you already have can you accomplish your budget, saving, and investing goals. Without choosing contentment, you’ll be ensnared by a subtle but ever-expanding appetite for money and all the things it can purchase — and worst of all, it’s an appetite that’s never fulfilled”.

An Atlanta real estate agent

The decision to buy a home, and your choice of mortgage to finance it are some of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make in your lifetime.

Gambling vs. Investing,

Gambling is putting money at risk by betting on an uncertain outcome with the hope that you might win money. Investing involves performing a thorough analysis and committing capital only when there is a reasonable expectation of profit.

Peter Lynch, Research Consultant, Fidelity Investments: “An investment is simply a gamble in which you’ve managed to tilt the odds in your favor.”

Tax Planning, a financial planner

People completely forget about tax planning and strategizing, and instead just focus on investment returns. In all of personal finance I would say that tax planning is the most critical issue of all and ultimately has the biggest impact on your financial well-being.

Who You Marry, a financial planner

Savers have a tendency to become attracted to spenders but savers get annoyed with spenders and spenders get annoyed with savers. Attitude towards money is one of the top causes of divorce.

Bizarrely absent from anyone’s list is the decision to get married at all. Having just gone through a divorce myself and having read hundreds upon hundreds of other divorces cases, it came as a shock to learn that working hard in a well chosen career, being financially responsible, doing one’s best to chose a mate, being a good husband and father, and being quite successful at all these things for twenty or thirty years will not save a man from divorce hitting the reset button on his life and setting him back 10-20 yrs or more in terms of his financial well being.

She may leave at a whim and still get unfairly rewarded despite her having a good job, but it gets worse. When she gets the house in all likelihood she’ll get the contents of that house. Unless you have a notarized list of your property at marriage (you’d have one if you got a prenup and it wasn’t set aside by the judge as many are) this means she’ll get your stuff too. A man having to replace or to go without most or all of the possessions he’s acquired during his entire adult life will put him back even further. This not uncommon scenario also applies to those who decide to cohabit instead of marrying if you buy property in a jurisdiction where a woman will get half of your property if she just cohabits with you.

Of course all of these warnings will sound very impotent to young men just setting out to conquer the world. You haven’t yet lost the invincibility of boyhood so by this point in the article your eyes might have glazed over. Being a young man myself not too long ago I can empathize. A young man at the top of his game can still stop bullets, become invisible, and gain secret ninja powers just by drinking a glass of tequila. His quest to subdue the world naturally leaves no time to listen to old men whine about men’s lack of rights in divorce. But at the same time I hope you don’t fail to take note and remain open to learning a little about what you might be in for. Marriage may have been found to have health and economic benefits for the men who never get divorced, but divorce has devastating financial and health consequences and a significantly increased risk of depression and suicide for the larger percentage of men who do. Divorced men for example are six times more likely to commit suicide. Before entering into marriage men need to know the odds are so stacked against them in divorce that the failure of a marriage literally can kill a man.

Unfortunately you can’t predict whether your partner will change for the worse even if they seem like a good choice of partner now, and regardless of whether you find a “good” woman the virulently anti-male divorce laws still encourage her to take your shit and leave with the kids when it suits her, because after all she can. You can’t change these anti-male divorce laws on demand when your marriage is suddenly on the rocks, and even if divorce laws change on their own to be more fair for men you can’t predict they won’t change back against you. So if despite all these risks marriage is still one of your eventual goals it may be in your interest to reduce your financial exposure through the following steps:

  1. Make sure she earns as much or more than you do and that she agrees to go back to work 3 to 6 months after having children. Mind you this promise bears no weight whatsoever in a divorce court. Divorce is no fault. She has the absolute right to change her mind or to falsely represent her intentions, and you have no right to withdraw from the marriage without penalty on the grounds that she lied. Unfortunately this artificially raises of the market value of the older, more educated, higher earning, and often far more unpleasant women you’ll be stuck with as opposed to the younger more attractive, more fertile, and more pleasantly compliant women you would otherwise prefer, and this is exactly what feminism wants. Chalk it up as a strategic loss.
  1. Rent. Don’t buy a marital residence together. In most jurisdictions the marital residence is treated differently from other assets. Usually it’ll be split 50-50. Depending on the length of the marriage and your own investment this split might be ruinously unfair for you. You may been very proud of your home purchase, thinking you’d be getting a 35% return on your investment due to the increase in real estate values over the last ten years. Your investment will look more pitiful than Florida swampland after you give 50% of the worth of the house to your well-employed spouse who invested nothing. Also women get attached to houses, so even if you made sure that you both contributed equally to the mortgage, getting your share of the equity from her may take expensive litigation.
  1. Seek a career with as much capacity for self-employment as possible. Becoming self-employed is the only way to avoid having your wages garnished if you’re hit with the grotesquely unfair child support or alimony payments that millions of men are punished with. These payments are by law supposed to be restricted to a certain percentage of your income. However judges can at whim assign you a fictitious income that you “should” be making and calculate support payments based on that. This may result in you having to pay over 100% of your entire salary in support unless you want to face garnishment or jail. Self-employment gives you some control.
  1. If you feel you’re the type of man who’ll get very attached to any children make sure to spend 50% of time with them doing their homework or taking part in their activities so that after separation there’s a slightly better chance the courts won’t deny you any meaningful role in the children’s lives.  Even today custody goes to the mother in the vast majority of cases. For up to thirty percent of men the experience of being told by the court they have no value in their children’s lives makes fatherhood so painful and humiliating they end up withdrawing from their children’s lives entirely.
  1. Live in a more modest neighborhood where you’ll be able to afford an apartment close to the marital home so you’ll still be able to get joint custody after divorce if you’re forced to leave the home. Otherwise you’ll effectively be paying her to deny you the opportunity to be a father.

This may seem like planning for divorce but in a very real way it’s planning for marriage success. A successful marriage for most men is one in which you get to keep your balls rather than face a lifetime of ridicule because you’ve become so spineless with your wife that you’ve grown the sopping wet mangina you now sport in place of men’s parts. Through your frustration at home you might even synch with your wife’s cycle and begin to develop “monthly feminine emotional issues” with your co-workers as you drag your ‘gina to work with you every day. Don’t believe you’re immune. Divorce today is so ruinous and so stacked in women’s favor it even warps the power dynamic within marriages, as every harsh word from your formerly soft spoken high school sweetheart becomes an unspoken threat to sodomize you in divorce court. As much of an all American stud as you may be, many a better man than you has found himself middle aged and pitifully emasculated by such an endlessly entitled and demanding princess twenty years down the road.

The “red pill” wisdom to avoid these pitfalls not only will help you avoid doing marriage badly, but it also might have a revolutionary impact on society as a whole in that it gives boys about to enter college unprecedented freedom to rethink their life path. Because if the whole modern marriage and family thing is such a losing proposition it makes sense for young men to reconsider their goals even before going into college. If marriage and family aren’t safe options because having his finances tied to the explosive temper of an entitled wife doesn’t sound like it’s for him then right from high school a young man’s goal entering college isn’t simply to earn more money to increase his value in the marriage market. Recognizing this so early and having enough GAME that he doesn’t have to rely on money to get tail frees boys to choose a more rewarding college program. High school boys will soon have to make decisions about what they’ll be doing next year. Many will find themselves contemplating that although the “College Years” can really be the best time of your life, it’s not only important for you to choose the right school to gain the most out of the experience, but also to consider that although choosing a program that will offer financial well being is important, what you need to keep a wife happy and what you need to pay your bills while you pursue your passion if you forego marriage are two different things.

I admit this kind of freedom isn’t for everyone. Not having to compromise for a woman means you have the absolute freedom to achieve as much as you set out to do, or as little as your faltering courage allows you to take on. So lose yourself in perfecting whatever craft you’ve devoted yourself to. Bet your entire prime years on some game changing idea. There’ll be no one to hold you back, but also no one to blame. You are living life at its most terrifying heights “without wires”.

I don’t caution you young men against marriage lightly. There are countless others who’ll tell you the same. It’s food for thought that feminized laws in virtually all western democracies have so changed marriage that “marriage strike” has become a common meme in the manosphere. Marriage is now only a contract where men’s responsibilities are concerned. Men are brutally penalized as being solely responsible for a marriage’s failure while women are absolved of all consequences for frivolously breaking their vows.

Though marriage unquestionably makes a better environment for raising kids deciding against marriage doesn’t mean deciding against children. In fact I hope my son gives me grandkids and I’d be crushed if he didn’t. But I’ve seen how abusive the courts are to men, and having been brutalized by the courts myself, being unable to help him escape some divorce court judge subjecting him to the same subhuman treatment would send me to an early grave. Even if his marriage lasts I pray I don’t have to spend my retirement years watching him be endlessly emasculated from fear of a reaming in divorce.  An ounce of prevention is in order. Marriage is now so dangerous for men that you need to think seriously about how to defuse the threat or seriously consider avoiding it. However for the many young men who’ll ignore this message of caution, though I’m deeply concerned I’m also hopeful because ignoring the words of past generations is what makes young men so inventive. I may be convinced that marriage today is nearly impossible for men to render harmless, but for every old man like myself who said “it couldn’t be done” there’s a young man busy being successful at doing it. So in the end many of you will focus only on earning to increase your value in the marriage market rather than worrying about mitigating risks of marriage itself. This has always been the way of men and I’ll be rooting that the dice roll your way. As you work tirelessly to achieve great success, perhaps even over extending yourself financially, you may be able to give your wife a big house, one or more nice cars, a nanny, maybe even a pool. But I’ve been around long enough to know that where there’s risk there are some who’ll pay consequences. So after the family court forces you out into a one bedroom apartment under the train tracks on the other side of town I’ll be no less sympathetic that you spent so much time at work the pool boy screwing her is the only one really enjoying your house with its big screen and hi-tech three hundred dollar remote.

Yes as a young man you’ll be tempted to ignore this hard dose of truth if it appears to be more whining coming from a bitter middle aged man. So the absolute last thing I’d want to tell you is that I’m bitter. Truth is I’ve escaped most of the above calamities. But I also have to be honest in saying that I can’t help resenting the older generation of men for not having given me this advice when I was younger, which is why I’m spreading the knowledge to you. Am I bitter about that the older generation of men didn’t talk more about the truth? Yes I am. But information is always empowering whenever it comes. You have the God given right to take what you will from this, figure out a strategy that works for YOU, and take no prisoners in your execution while getting yours. Whatever you decide  myself and many other “old guys” will be cheering you on. If we’re lucky YOU will take up the torch to blaze a new path and discover wisdom that will protect our own young sons in turn.

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